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

By Ariya
Last Updated: August 1, 2023
Pros And Cons Of Hardside Luggage: Is It Worth Buying?

Key Takeaways

  • Hardside luggage offers superior protection and durability for your belongings during travel.
  • It provides advanced features such as built-in chargers and digital locks, enhancing convenience and security.
  • Hardside suitcases aid in load management by encouraging lighter packing and meeting carry-on requirements.
  • Organization and security are improved with compartments, dividers, and TSA-approved locks.
  • While hardside luggage has numerous advantages, personal preferences, and travel needs should be considered when deciding.

Hey there, is picking the right piece of luggage for your trip a tougher task than packing itself? We’ve all been there! The world of suitcases is pretty huge, but hardside luggage has recently been stealing the limelight, and it’s not hard to see why.

So, let’s dive into this world of sturdy, glossy travel companions – yes, we’re talking about the strong polycarbonate suitcase. Together, we will weigh the cool and not-so-cool bits of hardside luggage. That way, you’ll have all the facts when choosing your trusty sidekick for your next trip.

You’re wondering why hardside luggage has become such a hot ticket in the travel gear scene. These super cool suitcases have many features that can jazz up your travel adventures. Let’s talk about the cool stuff hardside luggage brings to the table.

1. Shield up: protection like no other

Picture this: You’re going on a trip and have this hardside suitcase made from super durable material like polycarbonate or ABS plastic. Sounds fancy. Well, these materials are pretty tough cookies! They can take on rough handling, wild weather, and even those creepy bed bugs! Ever packed a bottle of wine for a trip? These hard-shell luggage pieces are perfect for safeguarding fragile stuff like that. Polycarbonate ones are often called the best of the best; they’re thoughtfully built to last.

2. Getting packing savvy: load management

Know anyone who tends to pack their entire wardrobe for a weekend trip? Hardside luggage is great for keeping overpacking in check. These suitcases make sure you pack just right, fit comfortably in those overhead compartments, and keep the weight down. Perfect for smoother, less heavy-items-laden travel days.

3. Cool features: advanced and handy

This is where hardside luggage gets all sci-fi on us. Many of these popular luggage pieces come with built-in power banks – yes, you can charge your devices on the move! Some even have high-tech digital locks that you can control with your smartphone. No need to remember combinations or carry separate keys. Super handy, right?

4. Keep it together: organization and security

Hardside suitcases typically open up like a book with two compartments. These zippered pockets and dividers keep your small stuff safe and sorted. Plus, they come with TSA-approved locks – a big yes for your belongings’ safety!

5. Bring it on, weather! Weather and spill resistance

The sturdy construction of these suitcases means they can brave the elements like champs. If you accidentally spill your coffee or get caught in a downpour, the rigid exterior of your luggage keeps your stuff safe. Some hardside luggage even sports water-resistant or waterproof features. Talk about protection!

6. Light and roomy: lightweight and spacious

Contrary to what you might think, hardside suitcases are light and easy to move around, even when loaded. They’re made of materials like polycarbonate that are tough but don’t add a ton of weight. And you’d be surprised by how much you can pack in these things!

7. Look good, travel good: aesthetics and style

Hardside luggage is pretty stylish too. With sleek, modern designs and a variety of colors to choose from, your suitcase can make quite the fashion statement! And they keep their glossy finish, so you’ll always look travel-savvy. Plus, it’s so much easier to spot your bright suitcase at the baggage claim.

8. Smooth Moves: Great Maneuverability

A major win for hardside luggage is how easy they are to move around. Most come with 360-degree spinner wheels. Think ice skater, but it’s your suitcase. Super premium luggage brands even have these fancy Hinomoto wheels. The solid handles give you great control, especially when you’re running late for a flight or navigating busy city streets. They’re a dream for business travelers, trust me!

Cons: Disadvantages of Hardside Luggage

Okay, we’re excited about hardside luggage quite a bit. But like all good things, they have a flip side too. Let’s dive into some stuff about hardside luggage that might make you go, “Hmm, maybe not.”

The clamshell opening

One thing that might bug you about hardside luggage is this clamshell design. Do you know how a suitcase usually zips open at the top? Hardside ones open up in the middle like a book or a butterfly’s wings. Sure, it’s cool, but here’s the catch: you must open the whole thing to get anything out. Picture doing that in a tiny hotel room. Not fun, right? Plus, it can make things look cluttered pretty fast.

Lack of outside pockets

If you love stashing your stuff in external pockets for easy access, you might be disappointed with most hard-shell cases. No outside pockets mean you’ll have to get creative with storing things like your laptop, books, or anything else you need handy. Use a separate bag, or play a strategy game while packing the main compartment. A bummer but not a deal-breaker!

Limited flexibility

Compared to soft side luggage made from flexible materials, hardside suitcases are rigid. And sometimes, you need that little bit of ‘give’ to shove your suitcase into an overhead compartment or squeeze in that extra pair of shoes. And since most hardside luggage doesn’t have an expandable feature, that’s another strike in the flexibility department.

Heavier weight

Okay, here’s something to consider. Hardside luggage can be heavier because they’re built with stuff like polycarbonate or aluminum. What does this mean for you? Less wiggle room with your baggage allowance and potentially more effort lugging it around airports or upstairs. So, while they have a sleek, lightweight design, they could be more light on the scales.

Prone to scratches and scuffs

Here’s a little reality check. Hardside luggage might start looking shiny and flawless, but they’re not immune to the rough and tumble of travel. Scratches and scuffs can show up, and, let’s be real; nobody likes seeing their beautiful suitcase come off the baggage carousel looking like it just went through a battle.

Limited compression

Packing a hardside suitcase can sometimes feel like a game of Tetris, especially compared to softside ones. Hardside luggage doesn’t squish down or compress your stuff, which makes packing efficiently or finding space for extra things on your trip a bit of a challenge.

Higher price range

High-quality materials and fancy features don’t come cheap, and hardside luggage is no exception. Compared to softside suitcases, these can put a slightly bigger dent in your wallet, especially if you’re eyeing those high-end brands. So, while they seem like the perfect travel companion, it’s important to remember that they’re also an investment.

Are Hard Case Suitcases Better?

Are hard case suitcases the real champions here? That depends on you and what you need from your type of luggage. Let’s say you enjoy bustling city trips or swanky, modern hotspots. In that case, hard case suitcases might be your travel buddy. These tough guys can handle the city’s hustle and bustle, keeping your stuff safe like a personal bodyguard. Plus, they blend right in with the cool city vibes.

Now, if you like to dot their i’s and cross their t’s when it comes to security, here’s a perk for you. Hardcase suitcases often come with built-in locks – even those TSA-approved ones. So, whether you’re a frequent traveler or an occasional holidaymaker, you can chill knowing your belongings are snug and secure.

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

Do Hard Shell Suitcases Crack Easily?

Do hard-shell suitcases crack easily? Let’s clear the air. Yes, it’s possible, but remember, everything could happen when baggage handlers are having a rough day. Still, with the fancy tech and materials used in making luggage today, cracking isn’t really a typical worry anymore. Most hard-shell suitcases, including the popular polycarbonate luggage, are tough and impact resistant. They’re crafted to brave the bumps and bangs of travel life, from the luggage carousel to the cargo hold.

These modern hard-shell suitcases are designed with one thing in mind – to protect your stuff like a knight in shining armor. But here’s a pro tip: If your suitcase isn’t full, it might be more prone to bending and cracking. So, unlike fabric suitcases, hard-shell ones need some support from the inside to maintain their tough exterior. Just something to bear in mind when packing for your next trip.

Why Is Hard-Sided Luggage So Popular?

Why is everyone falling in love with hard-sided luggage? It’s simple. This type of luggage is like a superhero for your stuff, protecting it on all kinds of travel adventures. Imagine a perfect suitcase strong enough to take on the bumps and tumbles of international travel and still hold up impressively.

With their rigid structure, these tough suitcases are like shields for your things, especially the delicate ones. They can do a way better job keeping your stuff safe than soft-sided luggage. Thanks to their solid, water-resistant exterior, they’re like umbrellas for your belongings, keeping them dry when it’s pouring outside.

These guys are real troopers, built to handle the rigors of travel. They can take a beating and still look great.

What Material Is Best For Hardside Luggage?

Thinking about the best material for hard-sided luggage? ABS, aluminum, and polycarbonate are the superstars, each bringing something special.

ABS, one of the popular materials, is like the star athlete of luggage materials. It’s light as a feather yet tough as nails, making ABS suitcases a hit. They can take a beating without breaking a sweat.

Next up is aluminum. Imagine something as strong as a superhero yet light as a balloon. That’s aluminum for you. It’s so durable that it could survive a trip to the moon and back.

And then we have polycarbonate. It’s like the excellent, level-headed friend who’s always prepared. It handles impact like a pro and isn’t bothered by temperature changes.

All these materials have different price ranges, so you’ll need to choose the one that suits your budget and travel needs. In the end, it’s about finding the right fit for you!

Related: Polypropylene vs Polycarbonate vs ABS Luggage: Which is Best?

Should I Use Hardside Luggage For Carry-on?

Top Pick – Carry-on

U.S. Traveler Boren 22 inch Carry-on Suitcase

  • Rugged polycarbonate design
  • Clamshell opening
  • Soft top, bottom, side handles

Choosing hardside luggage as your carry-on can be like having a tiny fortress for your stuff. It protects fragile or breakable items and your precious electronics from knocks and bumps. These bags’ fixed sizes ensure you will only accidentally pack a little and go over the airline’s baggage rules.

A bonus with many hardside carry-ons is the 360° rotating wheels, also known as spinners. These make wheeling your luggage around a piece of cake, even in crowded airports. Some of these bags are surprisingly light and roomy, giving you much space to pack all your travel goodies.

But softside luggage has its charms too. These bags are like stretchy pants – they can expand to fit a few extra items. They also often have pockets outside, so you can quickly grab your book or travel snacks.

Softside bags are typically lighter than hardside bags, helping you keep within carry-on weight restrictions. And their squishy nature can be a lifesaver when you’re trying to squeeze the bag into a tight overhead bin. So, you’ve got plenty of options to consider.

Should I Use Hardside Luggage For Checked Luggage?

Top Pick – Checked Luggage

Available in other sizes

Samsonite Omni 2 Hardside Luggage

  • Polycarbonate, scratch-resistant hard shell
  • Expandable for more packing space
  • 10 year limited warranty

Choosing hardside luggage for your checked baggage can be a game-changer, especially regarding air travel. They’re like personal bodyguards for your stuff, sturdy enough to endure the tough handling by baggage handlers.

These suitcases, often equipped with combination locks and available in a wide color range, are built for impact resistance, ensuring your fragile items and electronics stay safe and intact. And don’t let their solid exterior fool you; many are surprisingly lightweight, allowing you to maximize your packing capacity without surpassing weight restrictions.

However, pay attention to the perks of softside luggage. These adaptable travel companions can squeeze into various storage spaces, including hotel luggage racks. Their fabric allows for extra packing and easy fit into tight spaces while usually weighing less than hardside luggage, making them more manageable.

Many softside checked bags come with an Expandable Spinner feature for when you need that extra room. So, regardless of whether you go for the hard or soft option, both have advantages tailored to different travel scenarios.

Wrap Up: There’s A Hardside Luggage For Everyone

Hardside luggage stands out as a top pick for many journey-goers. These travel champs are well-built, able to withstand the rigors of travel, and good at playing defense, keeping your items secure while on the move. But it’s not just about protection – they score points in looks, come with neat features, and let you stay organized in style.

Still, they aren’t without their quirks. They won’t bend or squish like their softside cousins, and some travel situations might require more flexibility. So, while making your pick, weigh up these pros and cons. That way, you’ll find the perfect travel buddy that matches your needs and your style.