Polypropylene vs Polycarbonate vs ABS Luggage: Which is Best?

By Ariya
Last Updated: August 1, 2023
Polypropylene vs Polycarbonate vs ABS Luggage: Which is Best?

Key Takeaways

  • Polypropylene, Polycarbonate, and ABS are leading materials for hardside luggage.
  • Polypropylene offers a lightweight, cost-effective option.
  • Polycarbonate luggage stands out for its exceptional durability.
  • ABS luggage is budget-friendly and easy to handle, ideal for sporadic or frequent travel.
  • Every material has pros and cons, and your choice should align with your needs.
  • Reflect on what matters to you: durability, weight, cost, or other factors.
  • The optimal hardside luggage caters to your needs, secures your belongings, and fits within your budget.

Ever felt dizzy staring at an ocean of luggage in a store, just trying to figure out which one’s the right pick? Been there, done that! Imagine being in a gigantic store filled with candies; only here, candies are suitcases. And just like you’d need clarification about which candy to choose, you’re lost with the luggage too. Hold on! We’re about to dive into the world of hard-side luggage materials. That’s right; we’re talking about polypropylene, polycarbonate, and ABS. Buckle up, ’cause, by the time we finish, you’ll turn into a veritable ‘Luggage Guru,’ ready to spot the perfect travel buddy from a mile away.

Table of Contents

Polycarbonate Luggage

DELSEY Paris Helium Aero Luggage

  • 100% Polycarbonate with deep metallic finish
  • Double spinner wheels
  • Deluxe interior

Let’s start with polycarbonate luggage. I’m talking about brands like Samsonite that are rockstars in hard-side luggage. Imagine a suitcase that’s as sturdy as a rock yet light as a feather, ready to take on the challenges of the travel world while making sure your stuff’s as cozy as can be.

The secret to its might? Polycarbonate plastic. This thermoplastic polymer with carbonate groups is the magic behind these suitcases, giving them incredible strength, flexibility, and lightness. It’s like the secret sauce that makes these suitcases the go-to for many travelers.


  • Super tough and durable. It’s like a fortress for your belongings.
  • Water? No worries. Your stuff stays as dry as a desert.
  • Nimble and lightweight. You’ll be gliding through those terminals.
  • Superb impact strength. Your breakables are well-protected.
  • Kind to your pocket. It’s a fine balance of affordability and quality.


  • Not as bendy as soft-side luggage.
  • Might dent your wallet more than other luggage types.
  • Repairing can feel like a high-level jigsaw puzzle.
  • Weighs a bit more than some soft-side or other hard-side options.
  • Sun is not its best friend. Better to keep it cool and shaded.

Related: Hardside vs. Softside Luggage: Which Is Better For You?

Polypropylene Luggage

LUGGEX 24 Inch Luggage

  • 100% eco-friendly polypropylene
  • Expandable up to 15% capacity more space
  • 8 silent spinner wheels

Imagine needing a travel pal that’s both sturdy and a featherweight champion. That’s where polypropylene luggage steps in. This hard-case gear is sculpted from polypropylene—a resilient and tough-as-nails hydrocarbon resin that’s kind to your muscles. Plus, it’s born from propylene, which is petroleum’s cousin.

Here’s the cool part: despite being so light, it packs a punch regarding strength. You can travel the world and back; this suitcase won’t disappoint you. It’s tough enough to handle the rough side of travel, keeping your stuff safe and sound. And guess what? It’s pretty easy on the wallet too.


  • Built like a tank yet as light as a feather. Perfect for adventurers who like to travel light and need something durable.
  • Budget-friendly, but don’t think it skimps on quality.
  • Boss-level chemical resistance. It can handle spills and sudden temperature changes, keeping your stuff protected.
  • Waterproof champ. It’ll keep your things nice and dry.
  • Comes in all sizes and styles. You can find one that suits your travel vibe.


  • Not as stiff as some other luggage materials. You might need to pack fragile items carefully
  • Sunlight could cause color fading and make it brittle. You better keep it shaded.
  • Color options might be limited, but a funky luggage tag can add personality
  • It can get scratched over time, especially with rough handling. So, treat it like you’d treat your favorite pair of sneakers.

Remember, the key differences in the luggage industry often boil down to what you need most in your travels. If you’re looking for the lightest option that still brings solid abrasion resistance, polypropylene is a strong contender.

ABS Luggage

American Tourister Stratum XLT Luggage

  • Rugged and durable ABS shell
  • Expandable for more packing space
  • 10 year limited warranty

Think of ABS luggage as the middle child in the suitcase family – finding the right balance between weight, affordability, and durability. ABS, or if you want the mouthful version, Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, is a super light thermoplastic material popular in hard-side luggage. This petroleum-based material makes waves, claiming about 30% of the hard-side suitcase market.

Why the fuss? It’s easy on the budget, for starters. ABS is your champion if you want to stretch your travel funds but need a sturdy suitcase. Add in that it’s light, and you have a suitcase that won’t slow you down when racing to your gate.

To help you decide, let’s break down the ups and downs of ABS luggage:


  • Budget-friendly. More money for your travel fun.
  • Light as a cloud, so you can pack more without worrying about your back or those pesky baggage fees.
  • A hard-shell guardian for your belongings against bumps and drops.
  • Laughs in the face of water. It’ll keep your stuff dry, rain, or spill.


  • Some plastic parts might not stand up to rough treatment.
  • A bit heavy compared to fabric luggage, so watch those weight limits.
  • Its rigidness can make it hard to fit into tight overhead compartments.
  • Could show scratches and signs of travel over time.
  • Might not be as tough as its siblings, polycarbonate or polypropylene suitcases.

Despite being a bit heavier, ABS luggage is known for its heat resistance and has a wide range of applications. As with anything, weighing the pros and cons before choosing your perfect travel companion is crucial. It’s all about personal choice, so pick what suits you best!

Related: Pros And Cons Of Hardside Luggage: Is It Worth Buying?

Luggage Showdown 1: Polypropylene vs Polycarbonate

Choosing luggage is like picking a sidekick for your travel adventures – you want them to be tough, light, long-lasting, affordable, and easy to fix if something goes wrong. Let’s zoom in on polypropylene and polycarbonate luggage and see who takes the crown in these travel-worthy categories.

Who’s more rigid and protective? Polycarbonate bags it

Polypropylene: Imagine your suitcase as a flexible wrestler, taking on travel bumps without flinching much. That’s polypropylene for you – a good balance of bendiness and strength.

Polycarbonate: Now imagine an unyielding superhero ready to protect your stuff from the rough and tumble of travel. That’s your polycarbonate suitcase.

Lightweight champion? Polypropylene wins

Polypropylene: If you’re a globe-trotter and want the lightest suitcase, polypropylene is your champ. You can pack more and still carry less weight.

Polycarbonate: This one’s a bit heavier than polypropylene, but it’s still a decent balance of weight and strength. It’s like a sturdy friend who might slow you down but won’t let you down.

Durability: Polycarbonate takes the prize

Polypropylene: This suitcase is designed to keep up with your constant travels, resisting cracks and battling different travel conditions. It also takes on chemicals and temperature changes.

Polycarbonate: When it comes to a suitcase that can handle the battle scars of travel, polycarbonate wins hands down. It fights off cracks, scratches, and water like a pro.

Cost-saver: Polypropylene’s your friend

Polypropylene: If you’re a savvy shopper looking for a bargain, polypropylene’s got your back. It doesn’t sacrifice essential features for a budget-friendly price tag.

Polycarbonate: Polycarbonate might be a bit pricey, but it’s a solid investment for frequent travelers. If you’re looking for peace of mind, it’s worth every penny.

Repair and upkeep: Polycarbonate stands tall

Polypropylene: Polypropylene luggage is humble – easier to fix if things go wrong. It doesn’t create a fuss, making maintenance a breeze.

Polycarbonate: This one might be a bit trickier to fix, but it’s so tough it hardly ever needs fixing.

With these points, the difference between polypropylene and polycarbonate should be clear now. It’s all about choosing what suits your needs best. Remember, the perfect luggage is the one that makes your travels easier!

Luggage Showdown 2: Polycarbonate vs ABS Luggage

Choosing between polycarbonate and ABS luggage is like choosing a favorite pizza topping. Both have great features that make them yummy, but understanding their subtle differences can help you decide which one you’ll love more.

Rigidity and Protection: Polycarbonate Wins this Round

Polycarbonate: Imagine a knight’s shiny, sturdy armor. That’s what a polycarbonate suitcase is like. It can take on the toughest airport conveyor belts and keep your stuff safe from scratches, hits, and cracks.

ABS: Now, think of a suit of armor made from something lighter. It’s still tough but could take more damage if things get rough or super-hot.

Weight: ABS luggage is the lightweight champion

Polycarbonate: Picture carrying a stack of schoolbooks. That’s what lugging around a polycarbonate suitcase might feel like. It’s a bit heavier than ABS, but it’s a decent trade-off for its strength.

ABS: Now, think of carrying a single book. That’s the ABS suitcase for you. It’s light as a feather, so you can pack it full and still breeze through those airport queues.

Durability and resistance: Polycarbonate shows its muscle

Polycarbonate: Imagine a superhero who can resist all things harmful – water, scratches, impacts. That’s polycarbonate, a valid travel warrior.

ABS: ABS is a strong regular guy. He’s pretty tough but might get a few more scratches and isn’t as good with water as our superhero.

Price: ABS luggage is your wallet’s friend

Polycarbonate: Think of it as a designer t-shirt. It’s good quality and looks great but it will cost you a bit more.

ABS: Now, imagine a stylish shirt that’s also budget-friendly. That’s ABS luggage – a fashionable and affordable alternative for travelers.

Repair and maintenance: Polycarbonate’s a bit high maintenance

Polycarbonate: Fixing a polycarbonate suitcase can be tricky, like trying to mend a broken computer. You might need a pro to help you or change some parts.

ABS: On the other hand, fixing an ABS suitcase is more like patching up a bicycle tire. It’s often easier to repair with some DIY, or you could get replacement parts from the manufacturer.

Choosing between hard-sided suitcases of polycarbonate and ABS can be tough, but it all depends on what’s most important to you. So, which one will it be? The sturdy, resistant polycarbonate or the lightweight, affordable ABS? The choice is yours!

Luggage Showdown 3: Polypropylene vs ABS Luggage

Polypropylene and ABS are both popular choices for luggage. They’re like two favorite flavors of ice cream – both sweet but a bit different. Let’s see which one gives more bang for your buck.

Rigidity and protection: a point for Polypropylene

Polypropylene: Imagine a piece of luggage like your favorite pair of jeans – durable, reliable, and can handle whatever you throw. That’s what Polypropylene luggage is like. It’s tough and won’t crack easily.

ABS: ABS luggage is like a sturdy shell protecting a snail – hard and strong. But the key component is choosing whether you want something flexible like denim or a rigid shell. Both have their perks!

Weight: Polypropylene weighs in

Polypropylene: Think of Polypropylene luggage as a feather. It’s the lightest of the hard-side luggage materials, making it easier to carry and letting you pack more without worrying about weight.

ABS: On the other hand, ABS luggage is heavier, like carrying extra shoes. But it’s still light compared to other options.

Durability and resistance: Polypropylene takes a stand

Polypropylene: Picture a superhero with powers to resist cracking, chemicals, and even changes in temperature. That’s how durable and resistant polypropylene is. It’s built to last, even if baggage handlers frequently toss it around.

ABS: The ABS material, while durable, is less invincible. It can get beat up in high temperatures or rough handling. If you’re a frequent traveler, polypropylene might be your hero.

Price: ABS plays the budget card

Polypropylene: Polypropylene luggage isn’t the cheapest option, but it balances cost and durability well. It’s like paying a little more for quality shoes that last longer.

ABS: If saving money is your game, then ABS luggage scores big. It’s one of the cheaper materials that still offers a sturdy build, making it a go-to choice for those seeking affordable hard-side luggage.

Repair and maintenance: Polypropylene shows its practical side

Polypropylene: Picture trying to fix a bike. That’s how easy it can be to repair Polypropylene luggage. Knowing you can fix it if it gets roughed up gives you peace of mind.

ABS: Fixing ABS luggage can be more like repairing a computer – a bit more challenging and sometimes requiring more extensive fixes. Because of this, polypropylene could be the more practical pick.

Remember, each material has its strengths and weaknesses. Whether you want something light, sturdy, or affordable, you’ll find it in Polypropylene or ABS luggage. It all depends on what suits you best for your adventures.

Which Hardside Luggage Is More Expensive? Polycarbonate

When we’re talking hardside luggage, polycarbonate is the gold standard, and yes, it has the price tag to match. It’s all due to its standout strength and durability. This luggage is made from the most robust materials, designed to resist cracks, scratches, and even UV light.

The manufacturers of polycarbonate luggage use the best materials and advanced techniques, giving your belongings fortress-like protection. But it’s not just about toughness; these suitcases have features like TSA-approved locks and smooth-rolling wheels.

Investing in a polycarbonate suitcase means buying a trusty travel companion ready for the long haul. So, it’s a solid yes for those who value durability and quality, despite the higher cost.

Which Hardside Luggage Is Cheapest? ABS

ABS luggage wins the prize for being the most cost-effective in the hardside category. Being cheaper to manufacture than its polycarbonate and polypropylene mates, ABS plastic luggage is a real catch for those keeping an eye on their wallets.

It may not flex the durability muscles as other options, but it’s still a solid choice, especially for less frequent travelers. Its lightness and knack for handling minor knocks without breaking make it a nifty budget-friendly option for your travels.

Which Hardside Luggage Is Most Durable? Polycarbonate

Polycarbonate suitcases are the real deal for those hunting for the most durable hardside luggage. Made from tough-as-nails thermoplastic polymers, these bad boys can survive even the gnarliest travel scenarios. They’re known for their amazing crack resistance, offering superb protection for your stuff even when things get a bit wild.

Top luggage brands know the strength of polycarbonate and often use it as their go-to suitcase material. And yes, these suitcases may carry a heavier weight and cost a bit more, but they’re worth every penny. They’re temperature and heat-resistant, so you can rest easy, knowing that your belongings are in a safe and sturdy shelter no matter where your adventures take you.

Which Hardside Luggage Is Most Lightweight? Polypropylene

For those on the hunt for the lightest luggage for travel, Polypropylene suitcases have your back. They’re the show’s stars when it comes to weightless packing, making your trips as smooth as possible. Built with innovative plastic polymers, these suitcases focus on shedding weight but keep things tough and durable.

With the advantage of weight on their side, Polypropylene suitcases offer the best of both worlds. They give you a lighter load without compromising on the sturdy protection you need. Talk about a win-win!

What Is The Best Material For Checked Luggage? Polycarbonate

Top Pick: Checked

Samsonite Omni 2 Hardside Luggage

  • Scratch-resistant polycarbonate brushed-texture
  • Four, multi-directional oversized dual spinner wheels
  • Robust interior

Polycarbonate is the star player in the world of checked luggage materials. This stuff is like a heavyweight champ, packing a punch with strength, durability, and flexibility. It’s the top pick for luggage manufacturers and travelers who need their stuff to stay safe during those rough-and-tumble baggage-handling moments.

Polycarbonate doesn’t just handle a knock or two; it shrugs them off, keeping your things safe and sound. And the cool part? It’s also scratch-resistant! That’s right, not only does it protect your precious cargo, but it also stays looking good. The Samsonite Omni, made from this material, is a favorite among travelers.

Sure, polycarbonate luggage might make your wallet a bit lighter than other materials, but think of it this way: It’s an investment in tranquility. With a durable polycarbonate suitcase, you don’t have to worry about your stuff getting damaged or constantly replacing your luggage. Polycarbonate is a great choice when it comes to checked baggage.

What Is The Best Material For Carry-on Luggage? Polycarbonate

Top Pick: Carry-on

Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside Luggage 20-inch

  • Polycarbonate construction, brushed finish
  • Four, multi-directional spinner wheels
  • Integrated TSA-approved lock

Polycarbonate is my top pick for carry-on luggage. Why, you ask? It’s strong, flexible, and light all at once. This superhero material brushes off scratches and cracks, perfect for frequent flyers who need durability.

What’s cool about polycarbonate is its lightness. Imagine dashing through a crowded airport; your suitcase should be the last thing slowing you down. That’s where polycarbonate steps in; its featherlight feature makes navigating a breeze. Polycarbonate luggage often comes with four multi-directional spinner wheels, making travel even more accessible! In the vast world of travel luggage, polycarbonate is a standout choice.

Wrap-Up: Choose A Polycarbonate Luggage

Let’s wrap things up and talk about picking out some hard-shell luggage. We’ve peeked at three types of plastics: Polypropylene, ABS, and Polycarbonate. Each one’s got its vibe. Polypropylene’s light and easy on the wallet, polycarbonate’s super tough and durable, while ABS scores point for being cheap and feather-light.

So, what’s the perfect suitcase material for you? That’s like asking, “What’s your dream travel destination?” It’s all about what floats your boat.

Are you a regular jet-setter who needs a suitcase as tough as a superhero? Polycarbonate’s your match. But if you’re a savvy traveler about lightness and saving some bucks, you might fall for ABS. Or you want the best of both worlds: affordability and something that’ll last. Say hello to polypropylene. It’s all about understanding the physical properties of each type and finding your ideal material.

Here’s the deal: your perfect suitcase is out there. It’s ready to join you on your adventures. All you gotta do is think about what you need from your luggage, then pick the one that suits you best. With the right choice, your suitcase won’t just be durable luggage – it’ll be a reliable travel buddy!