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Friday, February 23rd
When you think of luggage brands, Samsonite is probably one of the first names that comes to mind. That's with good reason: the company has been in business for over 100 years and is practically synonymous with suitcases and other travel necessities.
Huge variety to choose from
Because Samsonite has over 50 product lines to choose from, the easiest way to shop this luggage brand is by the type you need. Hardside carry-on? Rolling duffel? A three-piece set of spinners? Yes, you can get all of that and more with the Samsonite label on it.
Samsonite's most popular line
With over 18,000 customer ratings averaging 4.6 out of 5 stars, Samsonite's Winfield 2 line is the brand's most popular series. The all-over brushed print of the polycarbonate exterior hides those scuffs that can be so common with hardsided luggage. You can buy the luggage in this series as individual pieces -20" carry-on, checked bags in 24" and 28" sizes - or as a set of two or three. Color choices run the rainbow, from charcoal to brushed white and many other hues in between. You'll pay $139.99 for the carry-on and $479.99 for the three-piece set. Key features include 360-degree spinner wheels, TSA-compatible combination locks, and zippered organizational pockets. The Winfield 2 line has a 10-year limited warranty against defects in materials and workmanship.
Trendy softsided choice
If you prefer softsided luggage, take a look at the Solyte DLX collection. Also boasting an average of 4.6 out of 5 stars (though with "just" under 2,000 reviews instead of 18,000), this series includes the traditional components of a luggage set: 20" carry-on, 25" medium checked bag, and 29" large checked bag. Your color choices in Solyte are a little more muted than the Winfield 2 collection, limited to midnight, navy, gray, cedar green, iris blue, and Mediterranean blue. Solyte luggage has spinner wheels, organizational pockets (including a WetPak), and a 10-year limited warranty. Expect to spend about $170 for the carry-on, $230 for the medium check bag, and just under $250 for the largest suitcase.
Luggage that stands out
Need luggage that really stands out? If you can find it in stock, Samsonite's C-LITE Artist Collaboration series will practically guarantee that no one else will have the same suitcase as you. At the time of this review, the most recent artist featured in the series was Jean-Michel Basquiat: limited to a carry-on spinner ($600) and a large spinner ($700), the exterior designs include two of his works, one called "Pez Dispenser" and other called "Untitled Skull" . There's no shortage of features either, with TSA-approved combo locks, integrated USB ports, lining made from 100% recycled plastic, and exceptional impact resistance in the shell.
Substandard customer service
Unfortunately, despite being a household name in luggage, Samsonite is far from being the most well-loved brand. You'll first start to get that impression when you consider the "F" rating from the Better Business Bureau, for the 112 complaints filed there over the last three years and failing to respond to or resolve more than two dozen of those. Both in the BBB listing and elsewhere, we found numerous comments from just the last few months describing the customer service from Samsonite as "a joke" . Even when trying to get repairs or replacements under warranty - for situations that ought to be a no-brainer to cover - people said that the parts are hard to come by, answers are few and far between, and it's a hassle all around.
At the end of the day, Samsonite offers far more options for luggage than many of its rivals: if you're looking for something unique or you need a range of suitcases to choose from, this could be one-stop shopping. Plus, some customers have had a genuinely good experience with their Samsonite luggage. But, with hundreds of people describing the customer service department as "nightmarish" when trying to get help, we can't give Samsonite our strongest recommendation among luggage brands.
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.
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:
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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