Canstar Blue’s 2021 luggage review has seen Flylite, American Tourister, Guess, Kathmandu, 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 and size, design and style, versatility, value for money and overall satisfaction. Those that received the minimum survey sample size of 30 responses are compared in our latest report.
This year, Flylite 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:
Flylite 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, earning full marks, while Guess scored a one-way ticket to first place when compared on design, weight and size, storage and versatility.
To give you a helping hand with your luggage, below is an overview of the brands featured in our review.
Flylite offers a huge selection of suitcases, vanity cases 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) which features a 115L capacity or 131L when expanded, as well as internal wet pockets for storage and self-repairing zippers to avoid any packing dramas. This soft case luggage weighs lighter than similarly sized hard cases, such as the 4.5kg Flylite Horizon 75cm model (pictured) 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 $129 to $279, 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. The lightest model in the range is the Airconic spinner which weighs just 3.2kg.
American Tourister also offers a duffle bag for $69.95, garment bags for $129, and backpacks made for active, outdoor adventures as well as exploring the city. Many American Tourister bags are available in alternative sizes.
Luxury brand Guess specialises women’s luggage and travel accessories, including women’s suitcases, weekender and carryall bags, cosmetic cases, and more. For a classic travel essential, the brand offers the 53cm Guess Logo Affair Suitcase (pictured) which features a soft case, hard-cap corner covers, a recessed TSA lock, a front slip pocket, self-repairing zippers to protect your suitcase and cross straps keep everything in place inside. This model currently retails for $250.
Guess also offers a range of classic tote bags for travel and travel pouches for last-minute girl trips. Strandbags is the exclusive retailer for Guess luggage in Australia.
Outdoor equipment retailer Kathmandu stocks hybrid luggage backpacks as well as travel bags and classic backpacks for those answering the call of the outdoors or hopping on a plane to a faraway destination.
A standout model in the Kathmandu travel range includes the Split Level 100L Wheeled Luggage Trolley (pictured), which retails for a cool $449. It comes with a durable trolley system, zip locking docks and six external grab handles to make it easy to grab and go. It also opens in half like a suitcase for accessible packing. This model comes in three colours including Granite Marle, Burgundy/Midnight Navy and Black/Icon Green. For something smaller (and cheaper), there’s also the Kathmandu Hybrid 32L Trolley, which as the name suggests, is a lightweight trolley bag that converts into a backpack (349 RRP*).
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 (pictured). 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 an ultra-light suitcase two-piece set (pictured) available in 66cm (2.2kg) and 77cm (2.6kg) for $89.99. 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 $35 for a 45.5cm hard-sided suitcase (pictured) and up to $85 for a six-piece soft case set which comes with one large and small suitcase, a duffle bag, backpack, cosmetic bag and laundry bag.
Aside from finding out which brand of luggage Aussie consumers love most; our research identified the following drivers of customer satisfaction:
Travelling whether domestically or internationally isn’t cheap, and neither are travel essentials, so it’s no surprise that value for money is the biggest driver of satisfaction for Aussies buying luggage. 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 $186 on new luggage. Many respondents bought new luggage because they wanted an upgrade (31%) or needed to replace a broken bag (28%). 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 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.
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 Home & Lifestyle Content Lead, Megan Birot. She’s an expert on household appliances, health & beauty products, as well as all things grocery and shopping. When she’s not writing up our research-based ratings reports, Megan spends her time helping consumers make better purchase decisions, whether it’s at the supermarket, other retailers, or online, highlighting the best deals and flagging anything you need to be aware of.
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 five years (i.e. suitcase, travel pack, duffel bag, etc. specifically for the purpose of travelling) – in this case, 626 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.
Here are the previous winners of Canstar Blue’s luggage ratings: