The Best Lightweight Luggage

SwissGear Neo Lite VPM Spinner

Our Top Pick for 2016: SwissGear Neo Lite VPM Spinner
Read our full review.

See it on Amazon for $379.00*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
Too expensive? See our budget pick.

In our modern times, people love to travel to new places via airplane more than ever before. While on travel, most people prefer to bring along the items that make them feel most comfortable. Clothing, shoes, personal products and weather gear tend to fill our suitcases often putting us over weight at baggage check. We even try to leave a little room for those wonderful souvenirs we may pick up along the way. Choosing the right lightweight suitcase or suitcase set is an important convenience to consider. With the modern, busy, and highly regulated aviation industry we have today, it is more than important. See our picks below for this years top rated lightweight luggage sets.

Table of contents

100% ABS Plastic Polycarbonate Blend
4 Multi Directional Rotating Wheels
100% Ballistic Nylon
Mounted TSA Approved Lock
Push Button Locking Telescopic Handle System
Interior Features Tie-down Straps
Corrugated Design
Aircraft Grade Aluminum
Mesh Details Hanger Bracket
Strong Shell Strength
Expandable Feature
3 Zip Pockets 1 Mesh Zip Pocket 1 Open Pocket
Effortless 360 Degree Spinner Wheels
Bottom Grab Handle For Easy Lifting
3-stage Telescoping Handle

*Price at time of publishing and may not reflect current pricing.

#1 Gold pick (Winner): SwissGear Neo Lite VPM Spinner

SwissGear Neo Lite VPM Spinner Gold Pick

View it on Amazon for $379.00*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-gold-winnerOur top pick is SwissGear which is manufacturered by Wenger. Almost everyone knows the reputation and versatility of Swiss Army knives, so any suitcase with the name SwissGear must be good. This three piece set will meet any and all of your traveling needs. Sold by Luggage Base, it comes in a handsome, dark grey.

The smallest suitcase (21 inches) is designed to serve as carry-on luggage. It measures 20.5 inches by 14 inches by 9 inches. For the purposes of airline guidelines, it has a total of 43.5 linear inches. You’ll find that it fits nicely into the overhead bin above your airline seat. It is quite lightweight and with a weight of only 6.4 pounds, you’ll find it very easy to lift and maneuver.

The medium size suitcase is a bit larger at 25 inches. This check-in luggage measures 25 inches by 17 inches by 11 inches that combine to create a total of 53 linear inches. It weighs slightly more than the 21 inch bag at 8 pounds.

The largest suitcase is 29 inches. The actual measurements are 29 inches by 18.75 inches by 12.5 inches. Linear inches equal 60.5. Despite the gain of almost seven linear inches, the bag itself only weight 9.5 pounds.

One large advantage of having suitcases that weigh so little when empty is that you can pack heavier items without worrying about going over the airline’s weight restrictions.

Each of these three pieces of luggage comes with multiple features designed to make your travel as smooth as possible. First, each bag had four multi-directional, rotating wheels that spin 360 degrees. This means that you can push the suitcase in virtually any direction and it will glide easily. No more struggling to get all the wheels pointed in the right direction or trying to balance a heavy bag on just two tiny wheels. For those concerned about the wheels adding to the linear measurements of the suitcase, they only add 1.5 inches to the length.

While the wheels of these suitcases provide you with easy maneuverability, each piece also features a bottom grab handle to facilitate lifting the suitcases in and out of back seats, car trunks and airline luggage handling systems.

Pulling or pushing the suitcases on those wheels is facilitated via the multi-functional handle system. Activated via a simple push button, the handles can lock into place to ensure firm and steady control. They also feature a telescopic function that allows you to raise and lower them to your preferred height. Each handle has been channel grooved and is made from aluminum of airplane grade.

Each piece of this set offers you plenty of room for packing. However, in case you find yourself in need of some extra packing space, each bag also comes with the ability to expand. This can be handy when trying to fit that last gift, souvenir or new piece of clothing.

One challenge of owning suitcases has always been storing them when not in use. The folks at Wenger have thought of that, too. They have designed each piece of this set to fit inside the next larger size. This means that the two smaller pieces will nestle nicely inside the largest suitcase so that all three pieces can be stored in the smallest amount of space.

In terms of a warranty, Luggage Base does not offer one. They do offer a 30 day money back guarantee on any unused products they sell. That said, you must ship the unwanted item(s) back to them using their pre-paid label. Once they receive the product, they will refund your money minus $15 to cover the extra shipping costs. If a warranty is desired, customers must contact the actual manufacturer of the suitcase set, which in this case is Wegner (, to determine what is offered.

Users of this three piece luggage set speak glowingly of how light the pieces are and how easy it is to pack their items into each one. They find them quite simple to move and feel that the spinning wheels are simply amazing. One of them mentioned that the outside front pocket of the 21 inch carry on suitcase is perfect for small electronic devices such as tablets, e-readers or smart phones. They confirm that storing the bags is a breeze. Finding complaints about this set was not easy due to so many satisfied customers. However, one comment was that the smallest bag should have been given a suit compartment similar to those found in the two larger sizes.

#2 Silver pick (Runner-up): Samsonite Bora Lightweight Hardside Spinner

Samsonite Bora Lightweight Hardside Spinner

View it on Amazon for $429.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-silver-winnerFor our second, silver pick, we went with the two piece Samsonite Bora luggage set. This set comes in a dark, shiny charcoal color and is made of a 100% ABS Plastic Polycarbonate Blend.

The smaller suitcase (20 inches) functions as a carry-on piece and has actual measurements of 19.5 inches by 14 inches by 9 inches. Adding all of those together, you arrive at a linear inch measurement of 42.5 inches. This means that this piece of luggage will fit into the overhead bin of any airline.

The larger suitcase (26 inches) is meant to be checked. It measures in at 25.5 inches by 17.7 inches by 12.1 inches giving it a linear inch measurement of 55.3 inches. Together both suitcases weigh just 20 pounds when empty.

While this set is only two pieces, it is unique from our top pick in that it offers a hard-side body rather than a soft-sided one. The shell features a corrugated design that helps to maximize its strength and better protect delicate or fragile items inside the suitcase. The corrugated design prevents the crushing that can occur as luggage is moved from the front check in desk through the airlines baggage facilities as well as loading and unloading from the airplane itself.

Each piece offers users four spinning wheels that move 360 degrees. These wheels will just slide across any surface you must cross with virtually no effort on your part. The handles on each suitcase are operated via a push button and will telescope to allow you to customize the height.

These lightweight and durable suitcases are made in China and exported around the world. They already offer users quite a bit of packing space. Those who need more space will find that the expandability feature really comes in handy. Just unzipping one simple zipper will instantly increase the storage capacity. One feature this set offers that is not available in our top pick is a mounted TSA approved lock on the larger suitcase. Having this lock means that only those who have been given TSA clearance can access the contents of your suitcase. This helps to maintain both privacy and security during travel.

This set comes with a 10 year warranty, but customers say it will likely not be necessary to use it due to the rugged construction of this set. They say that the suitcases function tremendously well. Users confirm that the smaller bag works well as a carry-on and fits perfectly into the overhead bin. Customers report that the TSA lock on the larger bag is easy to use and reprogram as needed. They report being able to move the suitcases quite easily with the well-functioning wheels and state that the handles are comfortable to use and easy to adjust to their needs.

Consumers should note that the smaller bag does not have a TSA lock. Also, users reported that the bag does not have any special pockets or zippered compartments. Instead, they offered a mesh divider to separate each bag into two sections. Some users reported that the exterior surface scuffed after use and looked somewhat dirty. That said, even those who were not quite satisfied with a certain feature acknowledged that the suitcases functioned well when traveling.

#3 Bronze pick (3rd place): Tumi Alpha 2 Lightweight Luggage

Tumi Alpha 2 Lightweight Luggage

View it on Amazon for $795.00*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-bronze-awardOur third place, bronze pick is not part of a set. Instead, it is a stand-alone piece. Made in Thailand and exported around the globe, it is a black, soft-sided suitcase made of 100% ballistic nylon patented directly by the manufacturer. Furthermore, the company offers a patented Durafold Construction method to provide a very strong and durable product. The corners of the suitcase are equipped with bumper guards that protect against damage caused by impact.

It measures in at 26.5 inches by 17.5 inches by 10 inches and weighs 11.8 pounds when empty. It boasts a capacity of 53L and has a linear inch measurement of 54 inches. Due to its size, this piece of luggage is definitely not a carry-on suitcase and will have to be checked when flying. The manufacture describes this suitcase as being perfect for three to six day trips.

It features the same multi-directional, 360 degree wheels that our other picks offer. These four wheels guarantee stability while moving and standing. One extra feature found in this suitcase’s wheels is that they are recessed. This offers users more interior packing space.

Speaking of that interior packing space, this suitcase offers straps that connect across the bottom of the suitcase, three zippered pockets along the back, a zippered mesh compartment in the upper half and an open pocket It also comes with a removable garment sleeve that can hold up to two suits. This garment bag can be attached to the bag via a special hanger. However, this hanger must be purchased separately.

Its main compartment is also expandable when more packing space is needed. Just activate the Lever Lock Expansion System offered by Tumi to obtain not one, but two levels of expansion. On the outside of the suitcase, users can enjoy two front zippered pockets perfect for holding smaller electronic gadgets as well as larger items such as notepads.

The X-Brace 45® handle is a 3 stage telescopic design that stores neatly inside the suitcase’s side panel when not in use. In addition, the suitcase offers both top and side molded carry handles to aid lifting. Both the telescopic and the molded handles are extremely sturdy and will prove almost impossible to damage.

Two key safety features found on this suitcase are its TSA approved lock system and its built-in tracking device. The tag for this device is located on the outside of the suitcase to allow greater visibility. This piece of technology means that you suitcase can be tracked wherever it is. That means no more lost bags. Users should not that the suitcase must be registered online after purchase in order to use this feature.

As a company, Tumi is committed to offering only the products they feel are the best and most innovative. They pride themselves on their world-class customer service which can be enjoyed before, during and after a sale. Tumi offers a five year limited warranty on its products. During the first year, the warranty is comprehensive and covers all repairs, shipping and replacement costs of the original owner provided the suitcase was purchased from a licensed Tumi dealer. During years two to five, Tumi will cover damage caused by normal wear and tear, but will not cover damage caused by airlines.

Customers report that this suitcase is beautiful to look at and quite durable. It functions very well as a short trip piece of luggage but is definitely not considered a carry-on. Its well-made and lightweight construction make it easy to use. Users report that it offers ample compartment separators and tie downs, but does not add any pointless gadgets just for show.

#4 Budget pick (Best cheap): Skyway Luggage Mirage Ultralite

Skyway Luggage Mirage Ultralite

View it on Amazon for $93.57*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-cheap-budget-pickOur last option is the Skyway Luggage Mirage Ultralite. Made of 100% polyester, this suitcase is available in either blue or black. Consumers should note that the black version does cost more. The interior of both versions is fully lined and this suitcase style is reported as being great for long trips.

It measures in at 30 inches by 20.5 inches by 11 inches. With a linear inch measurement of 61.5 inches, this piece of luggage is most certainly not a carry-on piece but rather a checked one. Despite its large size, it weighs in at only 8.5 pounds allowing you plenty of extra poundage for the items you wish to pack.

Like many of our other picks, it provides the option to expand the suitcase’s size via a zipper. A bonus feature is that all of the nylon zippers found on this piece are self-repairing. It also features four spinning wheels that will move in 360 degrees to allow maximum mobility. Its handle system has several different locking positions so that you can adjust it as needed. Furthermore, the suitcase offers a side handle to assist you when lifting the suitcase in and out of various locales.

Its interior offers a full length mesh pocket for packing many different small items in a secure position. Two front pockets accessed via a zipper provide additional storage space. These two pockets come in two different sizes to allow a variety of packing options. Finally, users will find built-in, elastic shoe pockets perfect for keeping shoes away from other items.

This Skyway piece of luggage comes with a 5 year limited warranty. Consumers report that it is simply the very best piece of luggage they have ever owned. It is said to be easy to pack and easy to move. Users state that it is extremely durable and at the same time very lightweight. Trips as long as 10 days have been managed using this versatile product.

In summary, while the Skyway Mirage is not part of a set and does not offer some of the advanced security features found in our other recommendations, it is still a a very good suitcase that will provide you with ample packing space, easy maneuverability and a light weight.

Pre-purchase considerations

Number of suitcases

While sets of luggage do look impressive, you should take the time to consider exactly how many pieces of luggage are actually needed. Buying three suitcases when your only travel is a once-a-year weekend getaway is definitely overkill. Furthermore, those extra, unused suitcases will simply take up space in your house. On the other hand, if your travel party is large or if you travel for longer periods of time on a regular basis, then purchasing a full set may be exactly what you need. Sets are definitely more cost effective on a per piece basis than buying luggage piecemeal.


In addition to the number of pieces of luggage you buy, you have to consider the actual sizes of those pieces. If you prefer to carry your luggage with you on the airplane, then you will need to ensure that you purchase a suitcase small enough to meet airline regulations for storage in overhead bins. Those who have to pack bulky, heavy items such as books should consider going with a larger, lightweight suitcase to maximize packing capacity. Some customers may feel that it is more economical to purchase one large bag rather than two smaller bags. However, this definitely reduces the convenience of having separate bags for separate people or items. Lastly, remember that this luggage must not only meet airline specifications, it must also fit in the vehicle you plan to either take to the airport itself or drive to your destination. Size matters, so choose wisely.


Those who are flying to their destination must consider the weight restrictions imposed by each airline. These can vary from company to company so it is wise to check and weigh your luggage beforehand. Weight can also be a consideration for those traveling by car because extra weight means extra fuel consumption. Choosing a suitcase that is lightweight when empty means that you will not be wasting your poundage limitations on the actual materials of the suitcase itself. Instead, that weight limit can be dedicated to your desired items.


We have all been there. Trying to wrangle a suitcase from the closet or into the trunk of a car can be quite awkward. Choosing a suitcase that offers side or bottom handles or frankly both can make moving that suitcase that much easier. This is especially true when it is fully packed. But handles alone will not be sufficient for all situations. There are often long stretches of space where you must move your suitcases along. These can be found in airports and hotels. Having suitcases with wheels definitely makes the process much simpler. However, don’t settle for just any old wheel option. Be sure to get suitcases with four wheels and make sure that they spin 360 degrees. That way you will be able to move all your suitcases with minimal effort across any surface.

Compartment Options

While you can just throw all of your items into one large and cavernous opening, the reality is that they will most likely be completely jumbled together after travel. Having suitcases with multiple storage pockets can really help you to pack in an organized manner and ensure that your items stay in place during travel. In addition to stabilizing your possessions, separate compartments also allow for easier location of those items. Knowing that your socks are all in one certain compartment makes finding them a breeze. Compartment with zippers are even better because they make certain that those items stay put. Internal and external zippered pockets and compartments will give you even greater flexibility in arranging your belongings. Consider suitcases with tie down straps as well as garment bags or shoe pockets for even further customized storage options.

Security Features

Most suitcases feature zipper pull through which a small lock can be placed. While nice, that option is outdated in airports due to the new security and screening requirements. If you’re traveling by car, you may wish to lock your luggage with a simple combination or key lock. However, if you are traveling by plane, you will need to consider other options to secure your luggage. One great new option is a TSA security lock. These locks are designed so that only those who have been given TSA screening access can open them. This allows the airport personnel to do their jobs while also giving you peace of mind about the security of your belongings. For those who may be worried about lost luggage, consider purchasing suitcases that offer an embedded tracking device. After registering your device online, you can rest easy knowing that no matter where it goes, it can be followed.

Conclusion (Wrapping it up)

Travel doesn’t have to be a pain. With a travel-ready lightweight luggage set you’ll be boarding the plane a little lighter and with a smile on your face.

Discussion and comments

We want to know what you think. Do you own any of the products we discussed? Which did you buy and how did it work out for you?

Do you know of an even better product?

Comment below and help your fellow consumers make the right choice. Over to you!


  1. Michelle PF (reviewer), “Pretty good luggage”, Amazon, December 2, 2013
  2. Product Description “Swiss Gear Neo Lite VPM Spinner 3 piece set”, Luggage Gear, 2016
  3. Don T. Gaspar (reviewer), “Rugged and convenient at a great price”, Amazon, December 7, 2015
  4. Amber Flynn, “Beautiful, Functional, Durable. Tracer Bag Recovery Program”, Amazon, November 19, 2015
  5. Product Description, “Tumi Alpha 2 Lightweight Short Trip 4 Wheeled Packing Case”, Tumi, 2016
  6. John Korkow (reviewer), “A travel wonder”, Amazon, June 10, 2015
  7. Product Description, “Mirage 28” 4 Wheeled Expandable Upright” Irv’s Luggage, 2016
  8. Bianca Rossi, “TSA Luggage Regulation” Ebags, 2016

*Updated June, 2016

Pin It on Pinterest