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Briggs & Riley Review

Friday, February 23rd

2024 Luggage Reviews

Briggs & Riley Review 2.5 Star Rating

Briggs & Riley

2.5 Star Rating
  • 7 product lines to choose from, about 80 pieces in total
  • High-end features
  • Free shipping on orders $99+
  • Lifetime "Simple as That" guarantee includes free repairs, no questions asked

Briggs & Riley calls itself "THE iconic American travelware brand" . This company's luggage is designed to meet the challenges faced by today's travelers by combining legendary performance and quality construction - all backed by a lifetime guarantee.

Sophisticated, professional vibe

If you're looking for a particular type of luggage, you can easily shop this site that way. You'll find ample options for carry-ons and checked bags, rolling duffle and garment bags, even trunks. You won't see any crazy patterns or color combinations here: Briggs & Riley's vibe is definitely on the sophisticated side and well-suited to professionals who need to maintain a certain level of decorum. No cutesy kids' themes or garish prints allowed.

7 collections to choose from

Another way to choose your Briggs & Riley luggage is by collection. There are seven on offer:

  • Baseline: B&R's biggest line with just over 30 pieces to choose from, all with timeless, classic styling in ballistic nylon. These bags feature one-touch CX compression expansion when you need extra packing capacity, plus handles completely on the outside of the bag give you a flat packing surface inside for less wrinkling of your clothing. Other features range from a PowerPocket to store a battery pack and cell phone for on-the-go charging to shock-absorbing spinner wheels with 360-degree maneuverability. Prices range from $75 to $129 for kits (eg. for toiletries), $219 to $459 for totes and bags, and $579 to over $1000 for carry-ons and suitcases. Color options typically include black, hunter green, and navy blue.
  • ZDX: "blurring the line between business and leisure" , this collection is focused on travel. ZDX pieces offer a SpeedThru pocket with RFID shielding for easy access to items like passports and boarding passes at security checkpoints, a HideAway ID tag to conceal your personal information, plus the PowerPocket and outside handles featured in the Baseline collection. You won't find any monster-sized suitcases in the ZDX line, with just 12 total options ranging from duffels to medium-sized spinners and prices at $620 or less. Color choices are also limited to black and hunter green.
  • @Work: the 12 pieces in this line include backpacks, briefcases, and rolling bags designed as "an intelligent extension of your professional style" . Features include elegant personalization, a leather hanging ID tag holder that conceals your personal information, SpeedThru pocket, interlocking handle system for stacking, and ultra-soft fleece lined tablet pockets and laptop sections to protect your devices. Expect to pay between $325 and $375 for an @Work backpack, up to $419 for a carry briefcase and up to $599 for a spinner brief. As you'd expect, this collection's luggage tends to come in black only, though some of the backpacks are also available in navy blue. Also, at the time of this review, three items in this line were sold out.
  • Sympatico: this is Briggs & Riley's main hardside luggage line. These pieces have a unique CX Compression Expansion feature that increases your packing capacity by as much as 22% but then compresses back to its original size to better secure the contents of your luggage. A matte finish keeps your hardsided items from showing scuffs and scratches, but you can also add a Treksafe luggage cover for additional protection. Built-in TSA-friendly combination locks offer security and convenience. You'll get the same PowerPocket offered in other B&R product lines and elegant personalization. No big buying decisions here: choose between a 21" international or 22" domestic carry-on spinner ($599, medium spinner ($699), and a large spinner ($769). All are available in plum, navy, or black.
  • Torq: made for "the rigors of world travel" , this second hardside line offers a TSA-friendly lock, resilient hard-side front pocket in the carry-on (to protect everything inside), and also a USB port on the carry-on (battery not included). There are only four pieces in the Torq line: a 21" carry-on spinner ($549), medium trunk spinner ($669), large spinner (also $669), and an extra-large trunk spinner ($729). Black and hunter green are the only color choices.
  • Rhapsody: if you're looking for something a little more stylish, this may be the Briggs & Riley line for you. Although you'll still get key features like an RFID shielding pocket and double swivel spinner wheels, you'll get some design upgrades like leather touchpoints and chrome hardware. However, this is primarily a line for accessorizing: totes, backpacks, crossbody bags and toiletry kits, but no checked luggage items. And, during our recent evaluation, more than half of the Rhapsody line was sold out.
  • Delve: this line is the more neutral counterpart to the Rhapsody set: toiletry kits, backpacks, briefcases and laptop sleeves, all in black and gray, no luggage per se.
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Lifetime warranty

One reason many travelers feel confident spending more on a Briggs & Riley bag is the lifetime warranty. It covers all functional aspects of the luggage - zippers, wheels, handles - but doesn't include cosmetic wear, cleaning, or damage of your luggage's contents. You can request a self-repair kit, pay to ship your bag to Briggs & Riley (and they'll cover the shipping back to you, post-repair), or reach out to one of their Authorized Repair Centers listed on the Warranty page.

Many super-satisfied customers

We have very mixed feelings when it comes to Briggs & Riley's reputation - and we're not alone. On the one hand, we found more than 2,600 five-star ratings from very satisfied customers of this luggage brand. From pilots to professionals racking up hundreds of thousands of travel miles every year, there's no shortage of people who say that this is the only luggage they'll ever consider using. Some have used their Briggs & Riley carry-on or suitcase for over a decade, only replacing it to get the newest features or colors.

Customer service and repair issues

On the other hand, the Better Business Bureau gives the company an "F" rating, although there were fewer than 10 complaints filed there: the low score comes from Briggs & Riley's failure to respond to all of them. Beyond the BBB, we found more than a few rants - and they were invariably related to this brand's "lifetime warranty" . From calls to customer service that go completely unanswered, to shoddy repairs and beyond, there's a sizable number of people who say that you shouldn't expect a good support experience if your Briggs & Riley luggage fails to perform in any way.

Love the brand, but can't ignore the issues

That would be one thing if you were throwing some cash at a get-it-done suitcase that you didn't plan on using very often before replacing it. But when you're investing the kind of money that it takes to get anything in this brand - easily over $1,000 once you put together a carry-on and a couple of suitcases - you have every right to expect that it will last and that any guarantees will be honored without fail. Sadly, that's not what everyone gets when they buy Briggs & Riley luggage. Although we love their look and stated warranty, we can't ignore the seeming inability to deliver on their promises. We know they can do better.

Which Luggage Brand is the Best?

When it comes to buying your next set of luggage, your brand choice depends on several factors. Are you looking for the cheapest possible set to get your clothes from here to there? A designer label that conveys luxury and status? A mix of form, function, and value? Your answer to those questions will be a good jumping-off point as you decide which brand of luggage is right for you.

Do you have a preference for hard-sided or soft-sided carry-ons and suitcases? Some luggage brands offer both, while others specialize in one or the other. The same goes for the color and/or design: almost any brand will give you several options in basic black, but if you want your bags to stand out on the claim carousel at the airport - so that you spend as little time as possible trying to figure out which one is yours - your options may be more limited.

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Luggage FAQ

Not necessarily. Every company has to start somewhere, and a new brand might be the next big hit. However, sticking with luggage brands that have lots of customer reviews and a track record of honoring warranties is always a safer bet.
Definitely not. Some brands have limited lifetime coverage of manufacturer defects, while others only extend that protection in the first few years that you own your luggage. A very small number of luggage brands protect you against wear and tear, even airline mishandling, but the majority will only replace or repair your suitcase if something malfunctions (like a zipper breaks).
Unused? Yes, usually. Check the policy of the luggage brand you're considering if you think this is a real possibility.
In our experience, not usually. You're paying for the prestige and the look, but luxury luggage brands rarely match their more affordable counterparts with respect to durability and function. Even the ones that supposedly offer a "lifetime warranty" often fall down when it comes to honoring that promise. You're usually better off going with luggage that mixes form and function: what good is a fancy name if your suitcase busts open the first time it's thrown on an airport conveyor belt?
Very few. Even iconic brands like American Tourister and Samsonite are usually made in China.
Your features wish list depends on the kind of travel you anticipate doing. Adventurous, outdoorsy types might like duffel bags with compartments to separate muddy and wet clothing from dry, clean items. Business travelers or the tech savvy might appreciate a carry-on with a built-in USB port. Other commonly-sought features include spinner wheels, TSA-compatible locks, zippers to expand the packing capacity, and external handles that maximize interior packing space.
No. While most luggage brands do their best to designate their carry-ons as domestic- or international-sized, there are no guarantees. Helpful hint: read through the customer reviews on any piece you're considering and see if any mention your frequently-flown airlines.
That's like asking "Coke or Pepsi" . Soft-sided tends to weigh a little less and be more forgiving of cramming in that one last must-have item. Hard-sided is, well, harder. It can offer greater protection if you tend to travel with fragile belongings, but it also tends to get scuffed up quickly. It's really more a matter of personal preference than anything.
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Continued from above...

Still, almost every luggage brand has something that can catch your eye. Whether it's a bright solid color with contrasting accents, or a crazy pattern that's not likely to be repeated among your fellow passengers, you can usually find a piece that will stand out..

Another factor that will influence your luggage brand choice is your travel purpose. Taking the kids to Disneyland would require a very different assortment of carry-ons and suitcases (and sizes) from a couples' trip to hit the slopes at Vail or a solo backpacker adventure through Europe.

Once you've figured out if you need hard or soft luggage and determined what kind(s) of journeys you expect to put your bags through, what else will you need to consider as you choose a brand? Keep these factors in mind:

  • Warranty. The most expensive suitcase won't be worth much if it falls apart and you can't get it replaced or repaired. Warranty coverage can vary widely, with some luggage brands offering just one or two years of protection and others giving you a limited lifetime plan. Read the fine print, though: some warranties include service on issues related to airline handling, but most don't. Also check to see if the warranty includes both repair and replacement or just one or the other.
  • Durability. Does the luggage hold up under normal use? All luggage will get scuffed over time, but some brands do a better job of concealing it. What do customers say about their experience with the brand, especially after multiple trips?
  • Customer service. Does the company have a reputation for providing helpful, efficient responses when there's a problem? Has the brand responded to any complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau or in other places?

To help you get the right suitcases, carry-ons, and duffels for all of your travels, Top Consumer Reviews has evaluated and ranked today's top luggage brands. We're sure that this information will make it easy to find the best gear to take you from Toledo to Tokyo, wherever you may roam. Bon voyage!

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