Lightweight Suitcases Compromises

In 2006 the average carry-on suitcase weighed 5kg, in 2010 that became 3.6kg and in 2015 its down to 2.6kg.

But like many things in life finding the best lightweight suitcase is a compromise between size, functionality, type, looks and cost.

IT Suitcases market themselves as the worlds lightest luggage however judge for yourself after you read the Worlds Lightest Suitcase review.

We also looked at 18 lightweight suitcases ranging from basic luggage bags to hard-sided 4-wheel cabin luggage. In Part 1 we look at six of the best lightweight cabin luggage bags. Part 2 compares six well reviewed soft-sided two-wheels suitcases. Part 3 looks at hard-sided 4-wheel lightweight suitcases and in the final part of the review we decide on the best-of-the-best winner. Read on to see if you agree with our decision.

From PART1 Basic BagsCabin Max Backpack 

See all six contenders in PART 1 of this review.

From PART2 Soft-Sided5 Cities Lightweight Wheeled Bag 

The 5Cities Lightweight Wheeled Bag has a reasonable NPS figures here at 71. 82% of buyers liked or loved it while 11% disliked or hated it. It is advertised as a 42 litre suitcase but from the measurements of 54cm x 35cm x 19cm its really 35.9 litres. Its the heaviest bag in this group at 2.6 kg which gives it a big 66 grams/litre figure.  It comes in a limited range of colours.

See all six contenders in PART 2 of this review.

From PART3 Hard-SidedLaptop ABS Hard Cabin Case

The ABS Hard Shell Cabin Case has the second best lightness factor here – 66 grams / litre. It also has the second best NPS score  at 84 which is just one point short of the top mark of 85 – almost 9 out of 10 buyers liked or loved it.

See all six contenders in PART 3 of this review.

Suitcase Size

Size in absolute terms this is about height and width and depth.

The suitcase size that fits most (but not all) airline baggage restrictions is 55cm x 40cm x 20cm. (Check yours here) That’s 44 litres (44L) absolute maximum. No curved edges, no telescopic handles no wheels – all of which eat into that 44 litres. The more litres you have the more room there is to pack your stuff.

Always remember, when it comes to airlines restrictions the size includes handles and wheels.

Soft-sided Suitcases and Hard-sided Suitcases

Suitcases are basically hard-sided or soft-sided although there are a few  hybrids. Soft-sided suitcases are generally lighter, less robust but can be squeezed into tight spaces in overhead bins on the plane. Hard-sided suitcases are more robust, provide more protection for your stuff but are less flexible.

There’s often a perception that hard-sided suitcases are more durable than soft-sided suitcases.  However, lab testing of suitcases over a number of years has proven this isn’t necessarily the case. Results show that the best suitcases for durability can be either soft or hard-sided.

Here are some pros and cons of each suitcase type to help you make a decision on which is the best lightweight suitcase for you.


See examples of small soft-sided suitcases under £50 (50%OFF)


See a selection of 50% OFF small hard-sided suitcases under £50


Suitcase functionality is about things like

  • organisation inside the case
  • outside pockets for quick and easy access
  • wheels for easy transport and manoeuvrability
  • lockable zippers
  • integral TSA locks

See examples of small expandable suitcases with TSA locks

Looks and Cost

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder so you’ll know what you like.

As for cost, only you can decide how much of your hard earned cash you want to spend. But always consider whether you want to spend a little extra for a quality product with a good guarantee that will last a few years or one that you don’t mind if it falls apart after a couple of trips.

Check out these reductions in a price range that may suit you.

50% Off & under £2550% OFF & £25 – £5040% OFF & £50 – £7533% OFF & £75- £100

With more and more travellers opting for ravelling light taking only a single cabin luggage item lightweight is the key factor. We carried out a further and broader test of lightweight suitcases focussing just on cabin luggage. This review covers “disposable suitcases” costing less than £10 through two wheels, four wheels and finally selecting an ultimate best-of-the-best overall winner. Check it out. It might surprise you.