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What Is the Best Material for Hardside Luggage?


Buying the best kind of hardside luggage can be overwhelming but if you know what to look for, not only will it be fun for you in picking which one is the best hardside luggage for you but it marks the start of an adventure.

Traveling means seeing historical sites, visiting beautiful scenic spots and taking photographs to preserve your adventure memories. that will make any Instagram Influencer jealous. This is all part of your travel itinerary. Enjoying leisurely walks along the travel sites with your friends, with your family or having exciting travel adventures.

Travel can also mean a serious business trip. This entails taking notes, recording meetings abroad, on your video conference on your laptop and all your other electronic gadgets. These highly sensitive gadgets must be securely protected from damage and from theft while traveling.

These are part of what we will talk about in this article, "what is the best material for hardside luggage?" We want to eliminate your worries about your personal items damaged or your business files getting compromised and answer as many of your questions.

What is Hardside Luggage?

A hardside luggage often has a solid outer case, ideal for extensive traveling. It is very different from suitcases made of cloth or fabric material. Hardside luggage stands erect, evenly balancing the weight of its contents. You might ask, what is the best material for hardside luggage? Well, a hardside luggage has one big advantage, it has a hard exterior which provides protection and security for your possessions during your travel. Unlike luggages made out of cloth or some kind of fabric; hardside luggages are unlikely to be slashed or ripped.

Hardside luggage comes with either two or four wheels. But not all two or four-wheeled luggages are hardside luggage. Some wheeled luggage is soft luggage made of cloth or fabric. So if you're carrying lots of stuff or collecting tourist souvenirs, you'll need to secure them safely in a hardside luggage. Which you can wheel at your convenience,


What is the Best Material for Hardside Luggage?

When you travel, you are pretty much more often exposed to sunlight, to the ruggedness of roadways, railway and the general weather conditions. While the material for hardside luggage is hard indeed, each material type has its own degree of durability, sturdiness and wear.

Let's take a look at five of the most commonly used materials for hardside luggage that are offered in the market. And after each of the features of these materials, we hope to have answered the question, "what is the best material for hardside luggage?"

Note that each material name may be challenging to pronounce and may require practice to remember. As you practice these names, they may appear like a chemistry teacher made up these tongue twister words; in time, you'll be more comfortable with their names, as you match names with features. And as we answer, "what is the best material for hardside luggage?"


#1 - A.B.S. / Acrylonitrite Butadiene Styrene

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene or ABS as more commonly known in the industry. ABS combines the properties of three plastics, It is said to be the cheapest among the materials to manufacture thus making it very affordable for you especially if you're on a budget, this would serve as a good hardside luggage choice. Being the cheapest however brings disadvantages; it is easily damaged because of the low strength of the material. Experience shows it cracks easily. Here's what each property means:

  • : provides resistance towards chemicals, excessively used, rough surfaces and heat.
  • : mainly provides you with resistance towards impact.
  • : helps maintain color, hardness and heat resistance.

#2 - Polycarbonate

Polycarbonate or plastic is a popular choice among travelers. You think to yourself, "what is the best material for hardside luggage?" Think polycarbonate or plastic as it offers you the ability to not only choose what color, design and pattern you want but it actually gives you more options such as impact resistance and how hard you want it to be and more. There are many reasons why a polycarbonate hardside luggage might be for you

Durable and Lightweight:

It's durable. You can try many ways to smash your hardside luggage to see if it'll fold under. You'll see that your hardside luggage will remain intact. It's practically impossible to break. The quality you get can definitely get you through challenges, difficulties, and mishaps during your travel. This way, it is good to have something up your sleeve. Another good feature is that despite its being durable, it is also light in weight.

If you like to travel in style, because the material is flexible, it can come in many shapes and textures. A polycarbonate hardside luggage comes in a range of stylish designs. One special and unusual advantage is that the material has innate protection against ultraviolet light.

Having a polycarbonate hardside luggage as your travel companion is essentially like always having sunscreen, it may be one of the best factors in answering, "what is the best material for hardside luggage?" As it offers the best protection against the sun's ultraviolet light, preserves the color and design of your luggage, and best of all, the material is less prone to have dents and scratches, helping keep your luggage clean and solid.

#3 - Polypropylene

It is oil-based and plastic. Consider its best asset. Its lightweight feature is far better than polycarbonate. It is also flexible, more than ABC and less than polycarbonate. It is, however, not readily available as polycarbonate hardside luggage.

#4 - Polyvinyl Chloride

PVC as it is commonly known in the industry is a type of hardside luggage that is lightweight. PVC, another acronym: At best, it is flexible. Travelers, however, don't take easily to this hardside luggage because it cannot protect luggage contents.

#5 - Aluminum hardside luggage

This is the most expensive. It is in the market of high profile brands catering to customers in search of high-quality hardside luggage. It is a premium quality hardside luggage. Its key feature is the protection that its robustness offers for your luggage contents. It is also waterproof and can deal with the extremities of temperature. Some disadvantages are that it is prone to scratches and damage. And it is heavy in weight



Choose the Right Hardside Luggage

As we strive to answer, "what is the best material for hardside luggage?" Your travel purpose sets the gauge for your choice of the right hardside luggage. Please consider the following factors, namely weight, strength, durability and of course your budget.

When traveling ask these questions:

  • If you're traveling with a lot of stuff, will you set a limit to your packing inside a hardside luggage?
  • Are you traveling by air, by train or are you on a cruise? Will you be virtually on the road the whole day?
  • Will your luggage be treated roughly or will you be lugging it safely by your side?
  • More importantly, can your budget afford your choice of hardside luggage or do you need to re-weigh your many needs and their affordability and come to a compromise buy?

Choosing the Best Hardside Luggage based on Price

As you are wondering, "what is the best material for hardside luggage?" It may be prudent to consider not just the materials of the luggage but the price as well. Here is a quick list for you to consider when purchasing your hardside luggage:


  • : the common price range of premium quality starts from $300 reaching $700 level. The hardside luggage in this category offer a warranty. Materials are aluminum, 100% polycarbonate. These upscale items are in the category of 'luggage giants' such as Samsonite, Rimowa
  • : prices for standard hardside luggage are in the price range of $100 and up. Materials are often made out of lightweight polycarbonate.
  • : the prices for your average hardside luggages are under $100. Material is usually A.B.S.

Which Hardside Luggage is the Most Durable?

In terms of durability, we ask "what is the best material for hardside luggage?" Tests were done to see how durable the hardside luggage can be. These tests were conducted by Skyscanner, an independent company that helps customers make the best option for travel.

You may gasp when you learn what tests were done. Think what you may, if these tests seem rather extreme. But the end results did confirm the durability of particular hard size luggage items. This greatly helps a customer to decide on "what is the best material for hardside luggage?" Durability is the key factor in these tests. Luggage that comes out intact, without a scratch or dent from the impact of extreme blows and even more extremely hard falls are identified.

These tests were conducted in July of 2018 by Skyscanner. It has four phases. Each phase goes through a series of tough punishments to see if the luggage survived the inflicted punishment. What is the best material for hardside luggage? What material prevents cracking? Eight luggages were chosen for rough handling.


The First Test was called 'Sparta Kick'

Imagine that an unconcerned baggage handler throws your luggage from the airplane towards a tarmac. To approximate the fall of the luggage, it was kicked by the Test conductors, from a height of 1.5 meters on towards the ground.


The Second Test was called 'Hammer Attack'

While on transit, luggages can be roughly handled by the motion of the transport itself. Skyscanner hired its version of a Polish Viking. Vikings were known to be destructive, violent, and rough. This modern Polish Viking unleashed his fury on suitcases, lined in a row, and used a sledgehammer weighing 20 kg, to hit the suitcases. There are videos on YouTube, if you want to see the results from these impacts.

The Third Test was called 'The Stomp'

Luggage can also be stepped on, shoved pushed around because their lives are mobile, not static. Again, the Polish Viking, who weighed around 150 kilograms, the weight of a polar bear, walked over the cases thickly laden on the ground.


The Fourth Test was called 'The Car Drop'

Literally, a car was dropped on the hardside luggage lying below on the ground. Impossible as it may seem, there were survivors.


Test Survivors: Intact upon impact

Three out of the eight hardside luggage brands survived the entire ordeal up to the finale of the car drop.

We can glean from these durability test results, that answer "what is the best material for hardside luggage?"


  • : marketed in Singapore, manufactured by a Taiwanese manufacturer; made of Makrolon polycarbonate. Known to be break-resistant. Test score was 5/5. After the car drop, they pushed out the dents and good as new, the luggage was used to carry the film equipment of the Skyscanner film crew back to base
  • : cost only $48. Test score was 3/5. It survived the Sparta Kick and the sledgehammer but cracked by the time The Stomp was applied to it. It was the second cheapest luggage. So its performance showed good quality for its affordable price
  • :Test score was 5/5. Ratings on luggage put Delsey as having the highest quality materials and having the best prices.


Durability of Materials of Hardside Luggage

For today's choices, ponder on "What is the best material for hardside luggage?" Findings point to Polycarbonate as the most durable material. Its main properties are it is resistant to impact and scratches.

Polypropylene is considered the second most durable material. Although not as strong as polycarbonate, it is temperature and chemical resistant. This plastic material can survive falls that are not too serious. Continued exposure however will make it crack.

ABS is last in terms of the durability of the material. It is, however, heavy which can be an advantage in some situations.


Things to Consider with Hardside Luggages

Advantages of a hardside luggage:

  • This luggage offers more secure protection if you carry valuables.
  • They offer more space inside for packing.
  • You can have a greater choice in modern style.
  • They are more resistant to water.
  • The hard exterior cannot be easily slashed. This serves as protection against theft. Thieves can spot tourists who are new to the area and are therefore ore vulnerable prey


Disadvantages of a hardside luggage:

  • The space inside the luggage is fixed and cannot be expanded.
  • The outer surface is prone to scratches.
  • If you wish to get an item inside, you have to open the entire luggage.
  • If you're walking along rough grounds, and you have four-wheeled luggage, it may be difficult to steer.
  • Unlike soft case luggage, hardside luggage does not have pockets.
  • They cost more.
  • You may encounter problems such as how to fix broken part like wheels or repair handles that may crack


Essential Features of Hardside Luggage

Luggage Size

When you pause to consider, "what is the best material for hardside luggage?" Please consider the size of the luggage. Most suitcase manufacturers will offer a range of sizes. Small cases are usually designed for those who want to take carry-on luggage only and have no plans to check in their luggage.

Small cases measure generally at 22 x 18 x 10 inches. Never assume, though, that any "cabin-sized" hardside suitcase will automatically be accepted in the overhead bins - always check the size restrictions of the airline.

Medium cases can measure 25- 27 inches while large cases can go up to as much as 32 inches in length. While there may not be any restrictions in terms of size when it comes to checked cases, there are restrictions on the weight of the case, and the number of cases you can take with you. If your cases are too heavy, you will be subject to additional fees.


lack of flexibility and stretching that appeals to hardside luggage lovers, as a solid structure leads to better security for your belongings in transit.

Luggage Weight

If you travel frequently, it is best to consider weight. It is no longer true that hardside luggage is heavier than similarly sized soft-sided cases. In this category, we ask "What is the best material for hardside luggage?"

Polypropylene hardside luggage would be your choice as a frequent traveler, based on weight. Polypropylene luggage is the lightest and is even lighter than aluminum hardside luggage..

While ABS is next to being lightweight, but if you travel often, this is not a good choice because it is not durable.

Polycarbonate is the heaviest plastic. If you do not travel often, then it is a good choice since it is durable.

"What is the best material for hardside luggage?" With regard to weight, you must consider frequency of travel in your choice.


It seems unfathomable to think about carrying your case these days, with 360 degree four spinner wheels now available on hardside luggage. This is an advancement on the 2-wheeled cases of before which you pull behind, with the luggage inclined a bit. The four wheels help you breeze through the entire expanse of the airport with ease, another factor to help you best answer, "what is the best material for hardside luggage?"

Luggage Handles

  • Ease of luggage maneuvering is achieved with today's telescopic handles or multi stage handles . They are strong enough to last through your many travel walks
  • Telescopic handles are generally made of aluminum.


Luggage Zippers

Something as simple as a zipper, may not be in your radar as you conduct search on "what is the best material for hardside luggage?" But picking the zipper can provide you with the best security you can have while traveling and are exposed to possible robbery attempts by slashing. An example is Securitech Zipper

Luggage Locks

Locks are required in travel luggage and the lock must be TSA approved. That is, the lock must have the logo of Travel Sentry. Sentry, set up in 2003, oversees the approval of locks for travel luggage, which security in the airport or other transport entry points, can open for inspection of luggage contents.

Hardside luggage often has this lock built into the design and provides maximum security to your possessions.

These types of locks can be opened independently by transport authority agents, when they check your luggage contents. Security agents can unlock your luggage, by using a special TSA key, that is pierced through a keyhole at the bottom of a TSA lock. This facilitates the inspection procedure in airports.


Picking the Best Hardside Luggage for You

When traveling, there are many factors that affect your choice of hardside luggage. The most important factor to consider is that you need to be sure that you have the most durable. The last thing you want is to arrive at the airport with a broken luggage.

April 03, 2020 — Gunrock Park

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