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The 12 best hard shell suitcases you need for your travels

The 12 best hard shell suitcases you need for your travels

Are you looking for the best hard shell suitcase for your next trip?

If you’re anything like me, you will have started searching online and found it to be an absolute minefield. You had no idea they were so expensive, there are so many options and the conflicting reviews are having you going around in circles.

I know, I’ve been there!

Thankfully for you, I have a bit of a luggage addiction and I’ve tried so many hard shell suitcases.

I’ve simplified my list of the best hard shell suitcase into the following categories to make it easier for you!

Table of Contents

Best large hard shell suitcase

Antler Clifton

The best large, hard shell suitcase is the Clifton case by Antler. This suitcase ticks all the boxes.

  • It’s lightweight
  • Stylish
  • Durable
  • Has interior pockets and compartments
  • Smooth and durable spinner wheels
  • Expandable zips
  • Nice, easy handles
  • TSA approved locks
  • Comes in a variety of sizes if you want the full set
  • Comes in different colours

To put it simply, this is the best hard shell suitcase.

I’ve got an Antler Luggage Review over here if you’d like to read my full experience of using the Clifton set.

Antler Clifton Suitcase - Size Large, Mineral | Blue 132L, Super Lightweight, Hard Shell Case for Travel & Holidays | Spinner Luggage with 4 Wheels, Expandable Zip, Twist Grip Handle & TSA Lock
  • CLIFTON LUGGAGE: Our Clifton case is everything you could want from a hard-shell suitcase. Designed to last with its polycarbonate material, it’s strong, eye catching, light on its feet & wheels like a dream.
  • ANTI-THEFT TSA LOCKS: Our bags are anti-theft with their TSA approved locks for added security & peace of mind whilst on your family holidays, business trips or weekend getaways.
  • SIZE & MEASUREMENTS: Our bag features flexible carry handles, 4 interior pockets, compression straps, a zip closure, & interior compartments. The large measures 34 x 51 x 80 cm with a packing capacity of 121 litre to 132 litre capacity when expanded.
  • 10-YEAR WARRANTY: Trust in the quality of our Clifton suitcases – every suitcase is covered with a 10-year warranty
  • ABOUT ANTLER: With over 100 years of heritage, we’ve been making quality luggage since 1914. We’re a leader in our industry, ensuring our experience and expertise is passed down through generations.

Best premium hard shell suitcase

Level 8

If you’ve got cash to splash then the gorgeous Globe Trotter suitcases are for you. They are going to set you back a pretty penny but, wow, they are beautiful.

The Centenary XL Trunk has a 100L capacity but it’s going to set you back a hefty £2,295 so you better put this one on your wishlist to Santa!

The James Bond Collection is also rather sexy but I don’t think you’d be turning up to your budget Ryanair flight with one of these.

For something a little more affordable, can I suggest the Level 8 hardshell suitcase which is lovely and considerably more affordable.

LEVEL8 Suitcase Hand Luggage Suitcases Lightweight 100% PC Trolley Case Micro-Diamond Textured Design, Carry on Luggage with 8 Spinner Wheels,TSA Approved Hard Shell Suitcase (66cm, 65,Dark Grey)
  • MATERIAL -- LIGHTWEIGHT hard shell suitcase made of 3-Layer 100% Germany BAYER polycarbonate. High-strength and durable to provides elasticity and resiliency. Micro-diamond textured design minimizes unwanted marks during checking.
  • High capacity -- LEVEL8 Luggage equipped with two spacious compartments, three interior organizers to store smaller items.No need for compression straps with our fully lined compartments.The ultimate ultra lightweight luggage for all airline regulations.
  • TSA-APPROVED LOCKS--Allows your cabin suitcase to be unlocked and inspected by security authorities without damage.With built-In TSA lock, you can make sure your valuables are secure and safe.
  • 360°DURABLE SPINNER WHEELS--Four multi-directional spinner wheels allow 360°upright rolling in multiple directions so there is no weight on your arm. Dimension:66x44x26.5CM(including wheels and handles)
  • LIFETIME WARRANTY--LIFETIME WARRANTY backed by LEVEL8. If you have any concerns or suggestion to our products, please let us know. Ensure a secure long-lasting usage everyday and weekend.

Best budget hard shell suitcase

Amazon Basics hard shell luggage

You absolutely can’t beat the Amazon Basics hard shell luggage.

It comes in a variety of colours and currently has almost 35,000 4.5* reviews.

It’s simple, sleek, lightweight, has two compartments and pockets, 4 spinner wheels and a decent handle.

Of course, it a lot cheaper than many other hard shell suitcases so this luggage won’t last forever. But if you’re buying this for one annual holiday a year then you can’t go wrong.

You probably have already noticed that there’s no such thing as ‘cheap hard shell luggage’ and it’s all quite expensive. Surprisingly expensive!

In my honest opinion, I wouldn’t buy a cheap suitcase, especially a large one. It’s false economy and will break fairly quickly. A heavy suitcase needs to be durable and if you invest in a good one it will last for years and years. So, if you can afford it, I’d still recommend going with the Antler luggage.

Sale
Amazon Basics Hardside Luggage ABS Hard-Shell Spinner / Suitcase with 4 Wheels - 71cm / 28 inches, Black
  • Amazon Basics Hardside Luggage: 71cm / 28 inches; large suitcase with extra thick ABS hardshell with scratch-resistant finish; with 4 double spinner wheels for optimum mobility; colour: black
  • Convenient: Expandable design provides up to 15% extra packing capacity; with strong zippers and telescopic handle for comfortable manoeuvring (extends up to 31.5cm)
  • Organisation: Medium size suitcase with fully lined interior with divider; 150D-polyester interior organiser with 3 zippered pockets
  • Dimensions & Weight: Travel bag with wheels measures 53.5 x 32.5 x 88cm (LxWxH; includes 5.5cm wheel height); volume 105 litres; weight: 11.8 pounds

Best colourful hard shell suitcase

Soundbox Spinner

American Tourista is, without a doubt, the suitcase brand to go to for bright and colourful luggage.

Their expandable Soundbox Spinner comes in nine colours, including a vibrant yellow, spring green, poolside blue and a coral red which you could never miss on the airport luggage belt!

These suitcases are also a good price and come highly rated on Amazon.

Sale
American Tourister Soundbox Spinner Hand Luggage 55 cm, 41 L, Yellow (Golden Yellow)
  • Expandable to 55 x 40 x 23 cm, 41 L
  • Fixed three digit recessed TSA Lock
  • Light and resistant thanks to the polypropylene material
  • Double wheels for smooth rolling comfort

Best lightweight hard shell suitcase

Antler Clifton

In all honesty, if you’re looking for a lightweight suitcase then you’re much better off getting a soft shell case rather than a hard shell. 

If lightweight is what you’re looking for then a wheeled duffel bag will be your best option such as this 96L wheeled duffel bag that weighs just 2kg!

If you could make do with a soft shell suitcase then take a look at the it New York Wide Handle design.

This suitcase claims to be the world’s lightest. It’s massive and weighs just 2.4kg!

But if you’re here for hard shell suitcases only then I’m going to have to be a bore and come back to the Antler Clifton cases.

The largest of the Clifton suitcases expand to accommodate 132 litres and it weighs just 5kg so it’s the largest and lightest I can find. It’s also worth mentioning that a large, lightweight suitcase is going to be expensive – even the cheap ones are quite a lot – so I think it’s worth investing in a good one that will last.

Antler Clifton Suitcase - Size Large, Mineral | Blue 132L, Super Lightweight, Hard Shell Case for Travel & Holidays | Spinner Luggage with 4 Wheels, Expandable Zip, Twist Grip Handle & TSA Lock
  • CLIFTON LUGGAGE: Our Clifton case is everything you could want from a hard-shell suitcase. Designed to last with its polycarbonate material, it’s strong, eye catching, light on its feet & wheels like a dream.
  • ANTI-THEFT TSA LOCKS: Our bags are anti-theft with their TSA approved locks for added security & peace of mind whilst on your family holidays, business trips or weekend getaways.
  • SIZE & MEASUREMENTS: Our bag features flexible carry handles, 4 interior pockets, compression straps, a zip closure, & interior compartments. The large measures 34 x 51 x 80 cm with a packing capacity of 121 litre to 132 litre capacity when expanded.
  • 10-YEAR WARRANTY: Trust in the quality of our Clifton suitcases – every suitcase is covered with a 10-year warranty
  • ABOUT ANTLER: With over 100 years of heritage, we’ve been making quality luggage since 1914. We’re a leader in our industry, ensuring our experience and expertise is passed down through generations.

Best kid’s hard shell suitcase

Stokke Bedbox

Is it a suitcase? Is it a seat? Is it a bed?

This nifty little case is both a ride on suitcase and a seat, so when your little ones get tired of standing and walking around the airport they can comfortably have a sit down and you can pull them.

But wait, it gets even better!

This suitcase can also be transformed and it rises to form a footstool/bed for your child throughout the flight. What a genius idea.

The only downside is that you can’t actually store an awful lot inside it but most kids really only want an iPad and some headphones anyway!

JetKids by Stokke BedBox Green Children's Luggage, 46 cm, 20 litres, Green, Green, 46 cm, Children's Luggage
  • Size: 46 x 36 x 20 cm / Weight: 3.3 kg / Volume: 20 litres of storage space
  • Ride on and travel case, aircraft bed and seat extension in one
  • Ride on and travel suitcase of approx. Can be used for 2 to 7 years / can hold up to approx. 35 kg
  • 360° swivel wheels ensure good manoeuvrability / shoulder and pull strap included
  • Safety notice: do not use in taxi, when starting, landing or turbulence

Best hard shell suitcase set

Antler Clifton Set

Do you want the full matching set? Yes, me too.

OK, I’m going to be boring again and come back to the Antler Clifton set. I still think this is the best set in terms of value, quality, style, durability and a variety of sizes.

Sale
Antler Clifton Suitcases - Set of 3, Taupe | Beige Cabin, Medium & Large | Super Lightweight, Hard Shell Cases for Travel & Holidays | Luggage with 4 Wheels, Expandable Zip, Twist Handle & TSA Lock
  • CLIFTON LUGGAGE: Our Clifton case is everything you could want from a hard-shell suitcase. Designed to last with its polycarbonate material, it’s strong, eye catching, light on its feet & wheels like a dream. NOTE: only M & L sizes have expanding zips.
  • ANTI-THEFT TSA LOCKS: Our bags are anti-theft with their TSA approved locks for added security & peace of mind whilst on your family holidays, business trips or weekend getaways. The bags feature flexible carry handles, 4 interior pockets, compression straps, a zip closure, & interior compartments.
  • SIZE & MEASUREMENTS: Our set of 3 includes x 1 cabin (20 x 40 x 55cm with a packing capacity of 37 litres), x 1 medium (29 x 45 x 67cm with a packing capacity of 75 litre to 83 litre capacity when expanded) & x 1 large (34 x 51 x 80 cm with a packing capacity of 121 litre to 132) case.
  • 10-YEAR WARRANTY: Trust in the quality of our Clifton suitcases – every suitcase is covered with a 10-year warranty
  • ABOUT ANTLER: With over 100 years of heritage, we’ve been making quality luggage since 1914. We’re a leader in our industry, ensuring our experience and expertise is passed down through generations.

Best carry on hard shell suitcase

Antler Clifton Cabin Case with a pocket

I don’t normally like hard shell suitcases for carry on because they don’t normally have any exterior pockets. This means that if you want to quickly get inside the suitcase – maybe to grab your iPad or your snacks or remove your liquids at security – you need to open up the entire thing.

So, if you are going to get a hard shell carry on suitcase I’d recommend looking for one with exterior pockets.

My current favourite is the Antler Clifton Cabin Case with a pocket. Be sure to get the one with the pocket because they also do one without!

Level 8 have a similar carry on case with a front pocket and there’s a slightly cheaper one from Titan.

Antler Clifton Cabin with Pocket Suitcase - Size Cabin, Black | 45L, Lightweight, Hard Shell Case for Business Travel & Holidays | Spinner Luggage with 4 Wheels, Twist Grip Handle & 2 TSA Locks
  • CLIFTON LUGGAGE: The Clifton Cabin with Pocket has all the features of our best-selling Clifton cases, with the added benefit of a front pocket. The extra pocket allows for easy access to your travel essentials, with a padded slip pocket inside to secure a tablet, & another for a 15.6” laptop.
  • DOUBLE ANTI-THEFT TSA LOCKS: Our bags are anti-theft with their double TSA-approved locks for added security that separately secures the front pocket & the case itself. Perfect for storing valuable items like electronics, headphones, passports, & keys on business trips or family getaways.
  • SIZE & MEASUREMENTS: Our bag features 4 wheels, flexible carry handles, a zip closure & inside the bag, you’ll find packing straps, a D-zip pocket, plus a waterproof & mesh pocket. The cabin measures 56 x 35 x 23cm (depth includes pocket) with a packing capacity of 38 litres, & a 15.6” laptop pocket.
  • 10-YEAR WARRANTY: Trust in the quality of our Clifton suitcases – every suitcase is covered with a 10-year warranty
  • ABOUT ANTLER: With over 100 years of heritage, we’ve been making quality luggage since 1914. We’re a leader in our industry, ensuring our experience and expertise is passed down through generations.

Best tiny under-the-seat ‘free’ hard shell suitcase

Cabin Max Anode Carry On

This might just be the cutest little suitcase on the list! It’s so little! You can’t really tell from the photos but, honestly, it’s so sweet.

This tiny suitcase can slip under the seat when flying with easyJet, or other airlines with similar ‘free’ luggage policies. It’s tiny, it’s robust, it comes in lots of lovely colours and it’s a bargain at under £50!

Cabin Max Anode Carry on Suitcase 45x36x20cm Lightweight Hand Luggage Suitable for Easyjet Under Seat (Tuscan Yellow)
  • Easyjet sized underseat hand luggage cabin case for hand luggage- Sized at 45x36x20 cm and weighing just 2.2KG your ANODE cabin suitcase complies with the hand luggage limitations of most airlines both Domestically and Internationally. Perfect for the New Free hand luggage requirement for Easyjet.
  • Lightweight & Durable - The Anode Small travel suitcase is manufactured from durable and hard-wearing ABS material making the ANODE one of the best suitcases with wheels lightweight available
  • With high quality full 360 degrees, easy glide spinner wheels give you easy control of your carry on luggage.
  • Internal packing straps, zipped divider and zipped pocket Internal capacity of 30 litres makes your suitcase spacious as well as durable meaning that your hard shell cabin suitcase is ready for journey after journey.
  • 10mm durable coil zips, 2.2.kg, handle height 102cm, 45 x 36 x 20 cm

Best hard shell suitcase for men

Level 8 Aluminium Carry on Case

I got this Level 8 Aluminium Carry on Case for my husband to take away for our honeymoon and he loves it. Actually, I love it too.

It’s sleek and beautiful and just feels like such good quality. It’s zipperless and has these chunky clasps on the side and the quietest spinner wheels you’ve ever heard (or not heard in this case!)

It’s a heavy suitcase and it is expensive but I think it’s worth it.

LEVEL8 Aluminum Luggage Carry on Suitcase 20-Inch Hardside Spinner Luggage, Suitcase Aluminium,Hand Luggage,Double TSA Locks,Zipperless Luggage(50cm, 35L,Silver)
  • 【100% ALUMINUM-MAGNESIUM ALLOY HARD SHELL】Using 6-series aluminum-magnesium alloy (aviation level). Luggage surface after 1000 degrees high temperature baking. To ensure that paint is not easy to fall off,the suitcase passes the 100,000km roll test and the 1.5m drop test.
  • 【DUAL TSA-APPROVED COMBINATION LOCKS】Allows your luggage to be unlocked and inspected by security authorities without damage.With built-In TSA lock, you can make sure your valuables are secure and safe.
  • 【ULTRAL-QUIET SPINNER WHEELS】Four multidirectional spinner wheels allow 360 degree upright rolling in multiple directions so there is no weight on your arm.
  • 【LIFETIME WARRANTY】Lifetime warranty from LEVEL8 and friendly 24 hours customer service. Ensure a secure long-lasting usage everyday and weekend.
  • 【CONSIDERATE REMINDING】The suitcases are well made for international airplane travel and day trip.Fits for daily use at business travel and college,suitable for women, men and students.

Best hard shell suitcase for women

Aerolite Retro Vintage hard shell cases

The Level 8 aluminium case above would be gorgeous for women but if you’re looking for something stereotypically feminine then I love the Aerolite Retro Vintage hard shell cases.

Thanks to the leather detailing they feel like an old-fashioned trunk suitcase and comes in a lovely cream, blush pink and a rose pink.

They do have all the modern functions you’d want such as spinner wheels, lightweight material, TSA combination lock and interior pockets for easy organisation.

Sale
Aerolite Suitcase 55x35x20 Stylish Classic Retro Vintage ABS Hard Shell Carry On Hand Cabin Luggage with 4 Wheels, Approved for Ryanair, easyJet, British Airways and more, 55cm, 5 Year Warranty, Cream
  • RETRO STYLING WITH A MODERN TWIST: This suitcase embraces elements of vintage leather/wooden ‘trunk’ suitcases, complete with riveted mock ‘straps’. However on closer inspection, you’ll find nothing else about this suitcase is old-fashioned! The outer shell is made from strong and durable modern ABS plastic to withstand the rigours of modern transport, complete with reinforced corner protectors. It also includes a 3-digit combination barrel padlock to lock the zips together for added security.
  • AMAZING AIRLINE COMPATIBILITY: At Aerolite, we understand that travellers may fly with many different airlines throughout their lifetime. That's why we designed this cabin case so it is accepted on the vast majority of airlines throughout the UK, Europe and North America. Including Ryanair (Priority Boarding), easyJet, British Airways, Delta, Flybe, Lufthansa, Norwegian, Jet2, Virgin Atlantic and many more! Dimensions: 55x35x20cm (All Parts), 46x35x20cm (Body). Weight: 2.7kg. Capacity: 32L
  • TAKE THE STRAIN OUT OF TRAVEL: Just getting to and from your final destination can be frustrating enough - your luggage shouldn't add to that stress. This stylish hold case features 4 dual spinner wheels, providing a full 360 degrees of manoeuvrability and allowing the suitcase to roll along comfortably alongside you, eliminating the strain of pushing or towing. With a push-button retractable handle there's no need to strain your back; and you can even place small bags and essentials on top.
  • IDEAL STORAGE SPACE: Transporting as many necessities as possible with as little inconvenience as possible is the name of the game for any flight. The interior features packing straps to hold your clothes in place, as well as a zipped divider pocket for anything you want to keep separate and mesh pocket for your documents.
  • A BRAND YOU CAN TRUST: Aerolite pride themselves on the quality and durability of their hard-shell luggage cases; so much so that they offer a 5-year warranty replacement service covering all manufacturing defects – so you can buy with absolute confidence! We have over 20 years of experience in the luggage market – and we’re based in the UK!

Best unique hard shell suitcase

Unitravel Vintage Luggage Set

OK, this might not be the most practical hard shell luggage set but look how pretty it is! That tiny little hand luggage bag is just adorable. With floral details and a vintage feel, this is the ultimate girly hard shell suitcase!

UNITRAVEL Luggage Set Vintage Travel 2 pcs Matcha Green
  • 1.Shell Material: resin fiber board, lightweight and anti-compresssion+ high quality PU surface covered with special protective film,so that luggage scratch resistance,oxidation resistance,waterproof,durable
  • 2.Megnetic buckle+3 digit combination lock. Safe and convenient, original password is 000, easy to reset it. Large capacity scientific distribution.Lining is made of high quality and safe polyester fabric.
  • 3.Multi-directional 4-Wheels : 360 Spinner wheels , effortless and quiet movement even on rough pavement .Sturdy and durable enough to prevent them from being broken or lost when bearing a heavy weight.
  • 4.Multi-stage Telescopic handle: multi-stage design can meet the needs of different groups of people. Reinforced and lightweight aluminum alloy makes it anti-compression ability and smooth lifting.