Best Hard Suitcase UK

Thanks for taking your time to read our information on the best hard shell suitcases that are currently available on the UK marketplace. If you are looking for a good quality hard shell suitcase, then you should find this page really useful. The reason most sensible people look for a hard suitcase, often called a shell suitcase, or an ABS suitcase, is because they want to look after and protect the contents inside.

We spend a lot of money buying our clothes and travel accessories. We certainly do not want them damaged by baggage handlers as we all know how they treat our bags and cases.

There are a whole range of hard suitcases available, and for the most part, many of them are very good quality. There are of course quite a few that state they are tough, but they have been poorly made and of low quality.

Aerolite 4-Wheel Spinner Hardshell Cabin Hand Luggage Suitcase

Below you will find a list of what we believe to be the Top 10 hard suitcases currently available in the UK Market.

This is based on the information supplied by real life buyers who have taken the time to leave reviews of their buying and using experience.

We have gathered these from websites like Amazon, travelling forums and other commercial websites. Then we have summarised and reviewed all of that information so as we are confident about what we have found.

Types of Hard Shell Cases

There are different types and sizes of hard shell cases, so it is worth taking a little time to understand what is available in hard cases. There are a few variants, but they come in three main formats:

  1. Onboard Hand Luggage - typically used by people for business trips, or for short break holidays such as City Breaks, or as a part of their main luggage when going on holidays
  2. Hard Shell Cases for the Hold - used by people going on various types of holidays or trips
  3. Hard Case Suitcase Sets - typically a set of two or three hard shell cases of different sizes

Many people buy these to fly with the airlines shown below, so here is a quick reminder of their cabin size approved luggage. In other words the maximum size you are allowed to take onboard their aircraft. For check in cases, then each airline also has weight and size restrictions.

Our List of Hard Shell Cabin Cases

A few of the popular airlines changed their cabin luggage restrictions and have made them smaller. Some of the manufacturers of these bags have not updated the names on their bags and are out of date. We will give you the right information below.

Popular UK Airline Cabin Baggage Size Restrictions


40 x 25 x 20 cm


45 x 36 x 20 cm


56 x 45 x 25 cm


40 x 35 x 18 cm

Wizz Air

40 x 30 x 20 cm

British Airways

56 x 45 x 25 cm

Thompson Travel

40 x 25 x 20 cm

Aer Lingus

55 x 40 x 24 cm

Thomas Cook

55 x 40 x 20 cm

COOLIFE Suitcase Trolley Carry On Hand Cabin Luggage Hard Shell

96% buyer satisfaction based on 2,500+ online buyer ratings

This case measures 56x39x23cm, weighs 6.3 lbs with a 38 litre capacity

Suitable as hand luggage for some airlines including British Airways, and Jet2 

It comes with a 2 year warranty

The case has a combination lock

It also has 4 multidirectional spinner wheels that move smoothly and quietly

It also has a side handle that can be really handy when lifting the suitcase with heavy weight.

The case is made from a hard ABS material

The Interior of the suitcase is covered with two layers of materials. Polyester fabric and a thin layer of foam, to increase elastic buffer and add comfort.

Aerolite Super Lightweight ABS Hard Shell Travel Carry On Cabin Hand Luggage Suitcase

92% buyer satisfaction based on 1,000+ online buyer ratings

Aerolite are a very popular and well known luggage brand. This is their carry on cabin or hand luggage offer that buyers like best.

It is available in the wine colour as shown to the left and also in a rose gold colour.

It measures 55x35x20 cm, weighs 2.5 kg and has a 33 litre capacity.

That makes it suitable for some airlines including Aer Lingus, Jet2, British Airways & Thomas Cook

The case has a 3-digit combination barrel padlock for extra security.

It has 4 spinner wheels  and comes with a 5-year guarantee. It has a telescopic handle, zip closure, and packing straps. The outer casing is made from anti-scratch ABS hard shell plastic.

The interior features packing straps, an internal zipped divider with elasticated pockets (perfect for shoes), to keep the contents in place during transit.

Karabar Cabin Approved Hard Suitcase

90% buyer satisfaction based on 300+ online buyer ratings

With a high buyer rating this cabin approved suitcase from Karabar is a popular choice

It measures 55 x 35 x 20 cm and weighs 2.7 kg.

That makes it suitable for some airlines including Aer Lingus, Jet2, British Airways & Thomas Cook

It has 4 multi-directional wheels for easy movement, an aluminium frame and a telescopic push button handle and a side combination lock.

It also has a fully lined interior, restraint straps and organiser pockets. It is available in the "Cities" style shown in the image above, or in another style known as "Balloons."

This case has an interesting modern design and it comes with a 3-year warranty.

According to buyers this case is ideal for cabin luggage and will hold enough for around 5-7 days. Buyers say the case looks great, wheels easily and stands up to the rigours of air travel.

5 Cities Jetsetter Hard Shell Polycarbonate Carry On

92% buyer satisfaction based on 250+ online buyer ratings

This is an easy to identify brand and this is a 21" case that measures 55 x 35 x 20 and is suitable as carry on cabin luggage.

That makes it suitable for some airlines including Aer Lingus, Jet2, British Airways & Thomas Cook

It weighs 2.6 kg and has a 33 litre capacity.

It comes with a 5 year warranty. This one is available in a black/white style or in a "Night Cities"

It is made from a polycarbonate material and that ensures a tough hard shell protection.

It has 4 spinner wheels and also a 3 digit combination lock. Many buyers use this for their hand luggage or for city breaks or up to 7 day holidays.

List of Hard Shell Check In Cases

American Tourister Bon Air 4 Wheel Suitcase

90% buyer satisfaction based on 6,500+ online buyer ratings

This is from the American Tourister brand and one of the most expensive on my list. This is a check-in style case that will go in the hold for longer holidays.

It measures 75 x 54 x 29 cms, weighs 4.2 kg and has a 91 litre capacity. It is available in a range of colours that include, black, red, seaport blue, emerald green, pink, lavender, mint green, dark green, lilac, purple, turquoise, white, yellow, porcelain blue and fresh pink.

Buyers like this one as a piece of check in luggage that can go in the hold. It is made of 100% polypropylene and has a 3 digit TSA combination lock with a multi-stage push button locking wheel handle.

Buyers like this for their longer 2-3 week holidays and the fact that this one really does stand up to a lot of abuse.

Aerolite Medium/Large Super Lightweight ABS Hard Shell Travel Hold Check In Luggage Suitcase

92% buyer satisfaction based on 1,300+ online buyer ratings

90% buyer satisfaction based on 2,000+ online buyer ratings

At number 4 on this list I included the small version of this which was suitable for taking as cabin luggage. Here I include the medium size and there is also a large size available.

The medium is a 25" case and measures 69 x 50 x 27 cms, weighs 3.85 kg and has a 48 litre capacity.

The larger size shown to the left  is a 29" case and measures 73 x 56 x 31 cms, weighs 4.85 kg and has a 131 litre capacity.

They are both available in 5 colours which are charcoal, golden blue, golden silver, golden wine and rose gold.

They have 4 spinner wheels, a 3 digit combination padlock and they come with a
5 Year Guarantee.

Antler Portobello Medium Hard Shell Suitcase

92% buyer satisfaction based on 300+ online buyer ratings

This is a high end hard shell suitcase from the popular Antler brand

This is their medium sized case and measures 46 x 31 x 68 cm and weighs 3.2 Kgs

It comes in a wide variety of colours

It has a sophisticated aluminium flake in the fabrication that gives this a unique polished look

It is made from a tough and durable polypropylene hard shell that is strong and resistant to scratches and cracks

It has reinforced engineering in the curved corners and around the zips and wheel housings

It also has 4 spinning double wheels at the base to provide 360° manoeuvrability on all surfaces.

Thera era strong handles on two sides and a locking trolley handle for different heights. The case also has high-quality, self-healing coil zips that won’t break if you catch something in them. On the inside, compression straps provide secure packing. There is also a TSA-approved combination lock for extra security when travelling. It comes with a 10-year international warranty.

Samsonite Flux - Spinner L Expandable Suitcase

90% buyer satisfaction based on 1,500+ online buyer ratings

This is a high end hard shell suitcase from the popular Samsonite brand

This is their large sized case and measures 52 x 31 x 75 cm, weighs 4.6 Kgs and has a 102 litre huge capacity

It is an expandable case

It has 360 degree multidirectional double wheels for easy manoeuvrability

It also has a TSA Lock on all sizes for secure and stress free travel

It has a fully lined interior with a zipped divider pad, large hinge pocket, and functional elastic cross ribbons for easy and organised packing

Hard Shell Suitcase UK Buying Guide

What Features Do You Need With A Hard Shell Suitcase?

A suitcase is just a suitcase in many people's eyes, but there are in my opinion, certain features that I always look for. I have listed these below so as at least you know what is available.

  • Strong and durable - your case will get tossed around by handlers, be out in all weathers and it will get abused and battered no matter how well you look after it. That means it needs to be well made, tough and come with some type of guarantee.
  • Weight - Hard cases by their nature will weigh more than soft sided cases. However with the airlines all strict about what weight you can carry, you want to avoid a really heavy hard case. A lightweight hard case should be no more than 2.7-3 Kg
  • Wheels - You can get these hard shell cases with either 2 wheels or 4 wheels. With the 2 wheel version you can pull this along behind you or to your side. With the 4 wheel variety you can also do that, but also slide it easily around the airport or wherever you happen to be
  • Locks - Most of these use combination locks so make sure that your case has one
  • Laptop Protected Section - Some people will want a place to safely store their laptop or tablet. Make sure any pouch is strong and can be locked.
  • Lining - It is a good idea to have some type of protective lining inside
  • Luggage Straps - It is also a good idea to have straps that can be used to hold your clothes etc in place
  • Telescopic Handle - All cases will come with an easy to use telescopic handle - just make sure it is long enough and easy to use

Now that is not an exhaustive list, but if your hard case has all of these features, then you will know it is of good quality and will last you for at least a few years. After that it may simply come down to buying one from your favourite brand, or simply from the appearance.

Some people like pink, some like purple and some like black. That choice is always just personal taste. The good news is that most hard cases come in a choice of colours.