Canstar Blue’s 2020 luggage review has seen Antler, Flylite, American Tourister, Samsonite, ALDI and Kmart compared on their durability, weight & size, storage compartments, security, design & style, versatility, value for money and overall satisfaction.
Time to pack for your next getaway? Can’t seem to fit everything in and need an upgrade? In the big, wide world of suitcases and travel bags, it can be a challenge to decide on which luggage brand to go with, especially if you’re looking for something lightweight and durable. Beyond that, the decision also involves your personal style and budget, as well as how much you have to pack, so that it meets your needs and the airline’s baggage allowance.
We’ve tried to carry some of the load for you, by asking more than 600 Australians their feedback on the type of luggage they purchased in the last three years. They rated brands on durability, security, storage compartments, weight & size, design & style, versatility, value for money and overall satisfaction. Those which received the minimum survey sample size of 30 responses are compared in our latest report.
This year, Antler flew to the top spot after earning the only five-star review for overall satisfaction. It also got full marks in most of the other categories.
Here are the best luggage brands in Australia, as rated by consumers in Canstar Blue’s latest review:
Antler sat in the front row of our ratings, with a stellar five-star review for overall customer satisfaction, while most other brands rated a solid four stars overall. The only exception was Kmart which ended on three stars.
American Tourister spun the wheel when it came to security, being the only brand to rate best in that category and additionally scoring five-star reviews for versatility, durability and storage compartments, alongside Samsonite.
Notably, ALDI was the only brand to score a one-way ticket to first place when compared on value for money.
To give you a helping hand with your luggage, below is an overview of the brands featured in our review.
Antler’s popular luggage range is separated into three categories, including hard case, soft case and casual. You can also choose your bag or suitcase by size, such as cabin, medium and large.
Many Antler hard case suitcases are designed with a high-shine matte finish. The brand additionally claims each bag features a resilient shell that can prevent damage by ensuring the impact of a collision is distributed evenly, rather than letting one area take all the brunt.
Antler hard case suitcases usually fetch for $259 to $949, while its smaller soft case collection varies between $239 and $349. Prices for casual products like toiletries bags, backpacks, holdalls, and small trolley bags additionally cost around $39 up to $279.
Flylite offers a huge selection of suitcases and duffle bags, with a range of sizes to suit your travel needs. The main selling point, according to the brand, is how it maintains a lightweight design in both its hard case and soft case models. Common features to expect include built-in TSA combination locks, anti-theft secure zips, eight spinner wheels and self-repairing zippers.
The largest option is the Flylite Spin Air 3.0 suitcase (83cm), built to fit up to 115L (or 131L when expanded). This soft case luggage weighs lighter than similarly sized hard cases, such as the 4.5kg Flylite Horizon 75cm model which holds up to 118L.
Flylite additionally offers accessories like money pouches, waist bags and packing cubes from $4.99.
American Tourister’s line-up features hard-sided and soft-sided luggage, backpacks and suitcases suitable for business trips. Its flagship model is the Curio, which is available as a 55cm, 69cm, or 80cm suitcase, typically retailing for $119 to $169, depending on the size. It’s available in a variety of bright colours and has dual-wheel spinners, a TSA lock, a lightweight frame, plus is expandable for extra capacity.
American Tourister also offers a duffle bag for $69.95, garment bags for $129.99, and backpacks made for active, outdoor adventures as well as exploring the city. Many American Tourister bags are available in alternative sizes.
Samsonite allows you to sort your luggage by size or trip, so depending on whether you’re going on a business trip or an overseas family holiday, Samsonite aims to have you covered whatever your baggage limit is. In its hard case range, you’ll find the Cosmolite 3.0. It has a lightweight design, weighing just 1.7kg, and is made with ‘Curv’ technology for supposedly added durability and style.
Most of Samsonite’s range features 360° multidirectional spinner wheels for manoeuvrability and comes with three-digit TSA combination locks for added security. Its duffle bags can be picked up from the $180 mark, while its large suitcases can fetch prices up to $1,499.
Recent ALDI Special Buys have seen the discount giant sell stylish replicas of pricey big-name luggage brands for a fraction of the price. But keep in mind that these are only available for a limited time, and specific models may change.
ALDI has previously released the Skylite hard-shell spinner polypropylene suitcase, available in a carry-on for $49.99 and a 76cm suitcase for $79.99. These weigh 2.4kg and 4.3kg respectively. Both come with TSA locks and double zippers. The discount supermarket has also featured a two-piece Skylite Ultralight Suitcase set available in 78cm (2.8kg) and 67cm (2.5kg) for $89.99 (picture courtesy of Honey Travel). Both are equipped with 360° removable wheels, TSA locks and padded top and side handles.
Kmart has come into the spotlight in recent years with a massive online following for its cheap and chic homewares and appliances. It also provides some on-trend and budget-friendly suitcases to choose from, ideal for when you’ve spent more on your flights than you should have. Prices usually start from $13 for backpacks, $19 for carry-on soft case suitcases and $35 for small hard cases. There are also several hard case luggage options for kids, typically around $25 to $34.
Kmart additionally offers luggage sets, costing between $49 for a three-piece soft-sided luggage set and up to $85 for a two-piece hard case combo. Another option is the Kmart 6-Piece Luggage Set which retails for $79 and includes an expandable upright bag with a retractable handle, a gym bag, a tote bag, a toiletry bag and a laundry bag.
Aside from finding out which brand of luggage Aussie consumers love most, our research identified the following drivers of customer satisfaction:
Luggage can be treated quite rough while on the road, so it’s no surprise that durability continues to be the biggest driver of satisfaction for Aussies. Price is also important to consider, because, at the end of the day, your budget will have the final say on whether you can afford the latest in design. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune for a quality piece of luggage.
Our survey showed that Australians spend an average of $200 on new luggage. Many respondents bought new luggage because they wanted an upgrade (32%) or needed to replace a broken bag (30%). Others wanted a different size (23%) or needed to replace one that they’d lost (2%).
When it comes to choosing luggage, the material is as important as the size and weight of your luggage ─ especially as the material can affect both the weight of your luggage and how much you cram in it! Here is a list of some common materials that you’ll find when you’re looking for your next luggage set.
Soft luggage is generally more flexible and forgiving when you’re trying to squeeze in a few more clothes. This type of luggage is usually made with:
Hard luggage is designed to withstand a few more beatings than its soft alternative, offering better protection if you have something valuable inside. However, if you’re looking to pack plenty for your trip, you won’t be able to push the boundaries for extra space as much as with a soft luggage. Here are some of the materials hard luggage is made with:
Deciding between a hard-sided and a soft-sided luggage will depend on what you’re looking for in a suitcase. Soft shell suitcases are typically lightweight and allow you to squeeze in just a few more items, ideal for those who overpack or those who pick up too many souvenirs. This might be useful if you’re anything like the third of people (39%) who said they generally pack too much when they travel.
Soft case suitcases are also said to absorb shock better than those with a hard shell. But some soft-sided bags are not as protective and are prone to ripping if the material is low quality. It might also not be waterproof, meaning if you get caught out in the elements, you may not have any dry clothes to change into!
Hard shell suitcases, on the other hand, are typically waterproof and can protect your packed items better than a soft-sided case, according to some brands. This type of design is additionally seen as more secure as they can’t be torn or ripped open with a blade. The downside is that they can scratch easily and are not as expandable like soft case luggage.
So, whichever type of luggage you go with, we hope you’ve found our ratings helpful and can tick off one more item of the holiday packing checklist!
This report was written by Canstar Blue’s Content Projects Lead, Dean Heckscher. He’s our resident expert on all things automotive, health & fitness, streaming and more. Dean is also one of Canstar Blue’s customer research report producers, helping to turn complicated subjects into easily-digestible information for our readers. He’s passionate about helping consumers make better-informed purchase decisions on all manner of consumer goods and services.
Our latest customer satisfaction research on luggage saw a number of brands rated best in a variety of areas:
Canstar Blue surveyed 3,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased an item of luggage in the last three years (i.e. suitcase, travel pack, duffel bag, etc. specifically for the purpose of travelling) – in this case, 652 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.