We Tested Out All the Smart Suitcases—Here's the Best One

gif of 3 different smart suitcases

Getty Images/Graphic by Cristina Cianci

We can't argue that airport style alone is enough to make us want to upgrade our old beat-up suitcase. But now there's an even better reason: A new crop of chic and smart direct-to-consumer luggage is making waves on the jet-set scene—and it's revolutionizing the way we travel. After all, beyond the aesthetic reasons, there is nothing worse than lugging a suitcase that doesn't roll smoothly or struggling to close zippers that are in dire need of being replaced.

While planning our winter getaways, we decided to test three carry-on suitcases—right down to the zippers and wheels—to decide once and for all what luggage to buy before our next trip. Are you a techie who gets excited about the latest gadgets? Do you prioritize style above all? Whatever your needs and budget, we have the best luggage for you.


The look: 4/5

Away's case is sleek and sexy. We love its simple ribbed design and muted color options.

The weight: 5/5

At 7.2 pounds, it's the lightest of all cases—which means you can pack more inside!

The wheels: 4/5

The 360-degree spinner wheels are smooth, just how we like them.

The zippers: 3/5

They don't zip as fast as you'd like them to, but they're perfectly acceptable.

The lock: 4/5

The TSA-approved combination lock cleverly uses a zipper slot. It means you have to zip it exactly in place.

The space: 3/5

The case is small but spacious, and it features a few zipped compartments, along with a compression system that's perfect for overpackers. The removable laundry bag is a classy touch—no one likes to mix dirty and clean. 

The branding: 4/5

We're slightly obsessed with Away's Instagram, and the brand now has beautifully designed stores in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Austin.

The technology: 3/5

Charge your phone anywhere you go with the two integrated USB ports. The case also includes a wall adapter and luggage-charging cable.

The price: 5/5

It rings in at $225, the lowest of its competitors.

The return and warranty policies: 5/5

The brand offers a 100-day trial and a lifetime warranty on its cases. During your trial, you can travel with your bag as much as you want, so it's a very low-risk purchase. The electronics are warrantied for two years.

The final verdict: 4/5

The least expensive case wins best overall value for the money. Away is perfect for the stylish girl on a budget. We only wish it had location tracking and an integrated scale like its competitors.

Away The Carry-On $225


The look: 5/5

Luggage brand Andiamo has been around since 1970, but it recently went through a major redesign, and we're loving the look.

The weight: 3/5

This suitcase weights 10.4 pounds, slightly above the other three smart suitcases featured here, but it's still lightweight enough to barely notice the difference.

The wheels: 5/5

This was by far the smoothest ride. The TPE coated 360-degree wheels give this suitcase a smooth and silent glide—even through the uneven streets of Manhattan.

The latches: 3/5

Andiamo uses latches instead of zippers, which is new and fun in theory, but not the most ideal solution for over-packers. Because they have to line up perfectly, it is not as forgiving as sitting on your suitcase and pulling the zipper until it closes.

The lock: 4/5

The locks on the latches are simple to use—but we have to note that the code needs to be entered twice as opposed to once on a zippered suitcase.

The space: 3/5

Plenty of spacious compartments means you can be super organized. The laptop pocket is a great feature. The only thing we'd wish for is a more 50/50 split and a suitcase that opens all the way. 

The branding: 4/5

The website is very well executed and easy to maneuver, and the branding is classic and beautiful. 

The technology: 3/5

The Andiamo Classico has a built-in USB port with a separate battery pocket inside the suitcase. That said, the battery pack isn't included.

The price: 5/5

This $300 suitcase is worth its price tag. It's stylish, high-quality, and practical. Overall, this brand delivers on its promise of affordable luxury.

The return and warranty policies: 3/5

The brand offers a 100-day trial period, no questions asked. A simple form on their website is available should anything happen to your suitcase.

The final verdict: 3.6/5

This might be the most stylish, robust, and well-thought-out suitcase. While not the most ideal pick for over-packers, it's spacious and well-built. It might even force you to make more ruthless decisions next time you're outfit planning for a trip.

Andiamo Classico Luggage $300

Arlo Skye

The look: 5/5

Arlo Skye's aluminum-magnesium alloy design is sleek and elevated; the only downside is that the shell scratches easily.

The weight: 5/5

At 9.5 pounds, the suitcase is lightweight, easy to slide around the airport, and a cinch to lift into overhead bins.

The wheels: 4/5

They get the job done but have worn out faster than expected; New York streets will do that.

The latches: 3/5

This zipperless suitcase leaves little in the way of stretch when it comes to packing; I've struggled to pack for a short three-day weekend using this bag. On the plus side, it forces you to pack light and plan ahead.

The lock: 5/5

The three-digit nomination locks couldn’t be any easier to use.

The space: 2/5

As mentioned above, space is limited due to the lack of zippers; you really can't squeeze in an extra pair of sandals or even a sweater. I typically have to stash a few things in my purse to make ends meet.

The branding: 5/5

Arlo Skye was created by alums from Tumi and Louis Vuitton; needless to say, the aesthetic is on point.

The technology: 5/5

With a portable dual-port charger, charging cable, and adaptor, this bag definitely makes the grade.

The price: 3/5

At $550, this carry-on is definitely a bit pricey for the average traveler.

The return and warranty policies: 5/5

The brand offers a 21-day trial and a five-year warranty for carry-on bags, plus a two-year warranty for the electronics. You have to submit a return request to receive the prepaid return label.

The final verdict: 4/5

Arlo Skye is gorgeous, sleek, and a design lover's best friend. For me, the biggest downside is the space issue and the price.

Arlo Skye Carry-On $550

Next up: who even needs a first-class ticket when you have the best designer luggage?

This story was originally published in 2016 and has since been updated.

Related Stories