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The Best Small Suitcase With Wheels

Women on the Road

If you like to travel light and the thought of lugging heavy luggage horrifies you, consider taking just enough to fit into one of those small travel bags on wheels: there are plenty of options, ranging from a small rolling luggage carry on to underseat cases.

PLEASE NOTE: Every effort is made to keep articles up to date but the changing coronavirus situation has made it impossible to provide information about the pandemic or travel restrictions. You'll find updated information from the CDC about travel conditions by country but please check all appropriate sources before you travel as situations can change in minutes. 

small travel luggage wheels in VeniceHere I am in Venice, with a roller suitcase. Still, the wheels were too small for this kind of paving and a better choice would have been something with two large wheels (not four though, because of the unevenness)

Let's face it, a wheeled case can make your travels much easier: no carrying, no dragging, no lifting, just a smooth ride across the airport.

Click here to see the best small spinner suitcase overall: the Samsonite Omni 20”

Samsonite’s Omni range is usually unbeatable, and this is no exception. For a hard side, it’s surprisingly light and even comes with a 10-year warranty.

Click here to see the number one small rolling suitcase: Travelpro Bold 22”

This small travel case with wheels is a rugged choice that’s built to last. It is lightweight yet has a generous capacity, and the outer is stain and water repellent. 

If you want to know what to look for in a small luggage bag on wheels, read on. This article also explains the differences between a suitcase roller and a spinner - as well as the pros and cons of each. 

Whether you’re searching for a cheap small suitcase on wheels or are willing to spend a little more, this guide lists all the best small luggage bags on wheels. I've included cases by leading brands, but also Amazon rolling luggage for budget-conscious travelers. 

Comparisons: the best small luggage bags with wheels
How to choose the right wheeled luggage
What’s the difference between small spinner luggage and small rolling luggage?
Reviews: The top 10 small suitcases on wheels 
Which is the best small wheeled suitcase for you?

Best Small Suitcase With Wheels: Comparison Chart

This comparison table is a quick reference guide to the key features and benefits of each of the small suitcases on wheels listed in this article.

Name

Type

Size

Weight

Key features

Hardside spinner

22 x 15 x 9.5 inches / 56 x 38 x 24 cm

6.81lbs / 3kg

  • Scratch-resistant
  • Expandable
  • 10-year warranty

Hardside spinner

22 x 15 x 9.5 inches / 56 x 38 x 24 cm

8.2lbs / 3.7kg

  • Smooth & stylish 
  • 44 liter capacity 
  • 10-year warranty

Hardside spinner

14.9 x 10 x 21.6 inches 37 x 25.4 x 54.8 cm

7.34lbs / 3.3kg

  • Great value 
  • Scratch resistant
  • Lined interior

Softside spinner

25.8 x 15.4 x 10.5 inches / 65.5 x 39 x 26.6 cm

6.74lbs / 3kg

  • Water and stain resistant 
  • 360° spinners
  • 2" expansion

Softside spinner

23 x 14.2 x 11 inches / 58.4 x 36 x 28 cm 

7.1lbs / 3.2kg

  • 360° spinners
  • 10-year warranty
  • Lightweight

Softside spinner

23 x 14.5 x 9 inches / 58.4 x 37 x 23 cm

5.4lbs / 2.4kg

  • 52-liter capacity
  • Lightweight
  • Stain and water resistant

Softside spinner

22.5 x 14.5 x 9 inches / 57 x 37 x 22.8 cm

7.2lbs / 3.2kg

  • Rugged
  • Padded tablet sleeve
  • Corner and wheel guards

Softside roller

20.1 x 14.2 x 9 inches / 51 x 36 x 22.8 cm

7lbs / 3.1kg

  • Rugged
  • Modern
  • Removable wheels

Softside underseater

17.5 x 14 x 9.25 inches / 44.4 x 35.5 x 23.4 cm

5.9lbs / 2.6kg

  • Lightweight
  • Underseat
  • Height adjustable

Softside underseater

18 x 14 x 8 inches / 45.7 x 35.5 x 20 cm

7lbs / 3.1kg

  • Underseat
  • Inline skate wheels

Type

Hardside spinner

Size

22 x 15 x 9.5 inches / 56 x 38 x 24 cm

Weight

6.81lbs / 3kg

Key features

  • Scratch-resistant
  • Expandable
  • 10-year warranty

Type

Hardside spinner

Size

22 x 15 x 9.5 inches / 56 x 38 x 24 cm

Weight

8.2lbs / 3.7kg

Key features

  • Smooth & stylish 
  • 44 liter capacity 
  • 10-year warranty

Type

Hardside spinner

Size

14.9 x 10 x 21.6 inches 37 x 25.4 x 54.8 cm

Weight

7.34lbs / 3.3kg

Key features

  • Great value 
  • Scratch resistant
  • Lined interior

Type

Softside spinner

Size

25.8 x 15.4 x 10.5 inches / 65.5 x 39 x 26.6 cm

Weight

6.74lbs / 3kg

Key features

  • Water and stain resistant 
  • 360° spinners
  • 2" expansion

Type

Softside spinner

Size

23 x 14.2 x 11 inches / 58.4 x 36 x 28 cm 

Weight

7.1lbs / 3.2kg

Key features

  • 360° spinners
  • 10-year warranty
  • Lightweight

Type

Softside spinner

Size

23 x 14.5 x 9 inches / 58.4 x 37 x 23 cm

Weight

5.4lbs / 2.4kg

Key features

  • 52-liter capacity
  • Lightweight
  • Stain and water resistant

Type

Softside spinner

Size

22.5 x 14.5 x 9 inches / 57 x 37 x 22.8 cm

Weight

7.2lbs / 3.2kg

Key features

  • Rugged
  • Padded tablet sleeve
  • Corner and wheel guards

Type

Softside roller

Size

20.1 x 14.2 x 9 inches / 51 x 36 x 22.8 cm

Weight

7lbs / 3.1kg

Key features

  • Rugged
  • Modern
  • Removable wheels

Type

Softside underseater

Size

17.5 x 14 x 9.25 inches / 44.4 x 35.5 x 23.4 cm

Weight

5.9lbs / 2.6kg

Key features

  • Lightweight
  • Underseat
  • Height adjustable

Type

Softside underseater

Size

18 x 14 x 8 inches / 45.7 x 35.5 x 20 cm

Weight

7lbs / 3.1kg

Key features

  • Underseat
  • Inline skate wheels

HAND LUGGAGE WITH WHEELS OR WITHOUT? two wheels or four?

Like it or not, when choosing travel luggage and cabin bags, one of your first considerations will be whether to go with rolling luggage. The answer may seem obvious, but there are reasons for and against.

Arguments in favor of getting wheels

  • If you have a bad back, a carry-on luggage backpack is only going to exacerbate the problem even if you pick one with an amazing suspension system – so wheels it is.
  • So much more manoeuvrable! Airports are vast, and if you’re running to catch a connecting flight you may like sprinting unencumbered by a pack or a suitcase with no wheels.
  • You'll be able to get a larger and heavier bag, since you can wheel it around rather than carry it.
  • If you’re a business or luxury traveller, you'll want something sleek and stylish, perhaps a designer ladies cabin bag or luxury luggage that is as sturdy and practical as it is beautiful. Since these may not be the lightest, wheels would be helpful.

Arguments against wheels

Even the flimsiest wheeled cabin luggage will be heavier than a backpack, adding extra weight when you lift it into the overhead bin or tipping the scales and forcing you to pay overweight charges.

  • Additionally, wheels cut into your external hand baggage allowance size. You may lose an inch or two to the wheels and if you’re only packing in a carry-on (something I highly recommend), every inch counts. 
  • Cobblestone streets. Stairs. Crowds. All enemies of wheelie bags, everywhere!
  • Few small wheeled cabin bags  are designed for rough terrain, forcing you to pick the bag up by the side handle (and if you purchased it to alleviate back problems, you’d probably be better off with a well-made backpack). Plus, the wheels make noise on uneven ground – just try sneaking out of a Tuscan village at dawn without making any noise. And then there's that  quaint B&B in Scotland with three flights of narrow stairs and no elevators. In a crowd, pulling a suitcase behind you may result in tripping fellow travellers and locals.
  • Wheels break, usually as you're running to catch a tight connecting flight. Ask me about the time I squeaked through Zurich airport and had to spend over $200 buying a roller I didn’t want and shifting the entire contents of my bag on the floor of the shop….
  • Many airlines take away your carry-on at boarding, if the plane is full. There's a consensus out there that wheelies are the first to be chosen...

Whatever the reasons, in the end, the Great Wheel Debate comes down to personal preference. You like them, or you hate 'em. 

Two wheels or four? Which makes the best wheeled luggage?

If you do like wheels, your next hurdle is deciding how many wheels you’d like: the standard 2-wheel cabin luggage you’re probably accustomed to, or the more modern 4-wheel carry on suitcases, also known as “spinners.”

Spinners have become incredibly popular because they’re comfortable to move, stand upright without any help, and you can easily pile baggage on top of a larger spinner (such as your handbag or personal item) without fear of it tipping. Plus, 4-wheel hand luggage suitcases can negotiate narrow corners with ease (keeping you out everyone's way in crowds). Most are hard-sided, which helps protect against rain and rough handling. They’re also “in” right now, so if you care about looking up-to-date, then a spinner is a good pick.

So why would you ever want standard two wheel carry-on luggage?

Well, more wheels mean more chances of one breaking. Plus, if you’re on a slight incline and let go of your bag, your spinner carry on luggage may start...spinning...away from you. Because two-wheeled baggage has been the norm for decades, even the most popular luggage brands still offer great two-wheelers. I just spent a month in Eastern Europe with a two-wheeled bag, and although the telescopic handle just broke (unrelated to the number of wheels), it served me well on the journey and could have continued doing so for years.

Choosing the best small roller bags with wheels

If you're convinced wheeled luggage is the way to go (I certainly am!) here are some of the key factors you should consider when choosing among the many large or small wheeled suitcases.

Carry-on or hold luggage?

Do you want the smallest carry on luggage with wheels, or are you considering checking in some luggage?

This is probably the first thing to consider before choosing between small suitcases. The cases listed here are 20- or 21-inch carry-ons, but most come in other sizes too. Click the link for each to see the available options.

Hard or soft sides?

I've included a range of small wheel suitcase options with both hard and soft sides. A hardside case is usually tougher and heavier, while soft sides can make luggage lighter and more flexible. Many small roller cases have soft sides, but either way it's a personal choice.

Dimensions

If you’re planning to use the bag as a small carry on with wheels, then measurements are key. Check your airline requirements before buying, as each sets their own exact limits. Don’t forget that buying the smallest suitcase on wheels means you'll also have less place to pack! An alternative would be to take along a personal item: find out more about these by clicking here.

Weight

How much does the small case on wheels weigh? Apart from airline restrictions, remember you'll have to lug it around. Just how often will you have to lift it? In and out of the trunk, onto the scales at the airport, up into the luggage compartment, off the carrousel at the baggage claim and, worst offender of all, at your destination, through public transport all the way into your room.

Wheels

See the section below for information on the differences between rolling and spinning wheeled luggage.

What’s the difference between small roller luggage and spinner luggage?

The basic difference between small rolling suitcases and spinners is the number of wheels. A small rolling bag will have two wheels for pulling it around the airport, while a spinner has four. One of these options will probably suit you better than the other.

The pros and cons of a rolling case

Let's look at the benefits of a small roller suitcase with two wheels:

  • It may have more inside space, as the wheels are tucked into the design. 
  • It may also be easier to control than a spinner. 
  • The wheels on a small roller bag are usually more sturdy as there’s less movement. 
  • They also tend to be fitted more closely, reducing stress on them.

Having only two wheels also means there's less of a chance of losing or breaking a wheel – fewer wheels mean fewer chances of breakage.

The pros and cons of a spinner case

By contrast, a spinner gives you a smoother ride.

  • It allows you to move around the airport terminal smoothly, as four multi-directional wheels improve manoeuvrability. This means you need to pull it less, reducing muscle and joint strain. 
  • It stands up easily on its own.
  • Going around corners with a spinner is easier – fewer chances to trip anyone up.
  • That said, spinner luggage may be less sturdy and more likely to suffer damage, since the wheels move in different directions. 
  • A spinner will be more wobbly on an uneven surface.
  • On a hill, it will also tend to "spin" away downhill...
  • Also, a spinner’s wheels will count as part of its dimensions.

Well, then, which type of small travel suitcase with wheels is best? Roller or spinner?

In a nutshell, small rolling bags are not quite as easy to manoeuvre as spinner cases, but they are easier to control. You can rely on them to roll over all sorts of surfaces, but there is more risk of resulting stress to your joints and muscles when using this type. I can vouch for this on uneven pavement or cobblestones. A spinner on these surfaces is almost impossible to move along.

Think about the  type of trips you take. If you mostly travel for business or city breaks, you'll spend time in airports and a spinner will be great on those smooth shiny floors.

If you're taking longer trips to different destinations, then a roller will be sturdier and last longer.

Best Small Suitcases with Wheels reviews 

Below I'll look more closely at some of the more popular luggage roller bags.

Samsonite Omni 20-inch spinner wheeled luggage

The Samsonite Omni range comes in various sizes, and the 20-inch version is ideal for use as a carry-on. It comes in 13 colors, and can also be bought as a bigger case or even as part of a set. 

This small spinner carry on luggage is expandable, and is one of the most popular small hardside suitcase products on the market.

From a leading luggage brand, the 20-inch Samsonite Omni has a scratch-resistant outer (micro-diamond textured polycarbonate), TSA locks for added security and four oversized spinner wheels. A 10-year limited warranty applies for peace of mind.

Make sure you check dimensions if you use the expandable feature because at its largest, you may be over the limit allowed by your airline (the same goes for all of these suitcases, by the way).

Pros
✅  Hardside case with scratch-resistant outer shell
✅  Expandable for extra space
✅  10-year limited warranty

Cons
❌  Bulkier than some

Click here to see this small suitcase on Amazon

American Tourister Moonlight 21-inch spinner case

This small hardside luggage from American Tourister is available in a range of stylish patterns and colors. This is also suitable for use as a small carry on suitcase with wheels, and also comes with 10-year warranty back-up.

With a 44-liter capacity, you can fit plenty into this compact case. It also has cross straps, a mesh divider and a modesty pocket inside to keep your things tidy and organised. The push button handle tucks into it nicely when not in use.

Pros
✅  Stylish case with smooth finish
✅  44 liter capacity with expansion 
✅  10-year manufacturer warranty

Cons
❌  Heavier than other options

Click here to view this 4 wheel suitcase on Amazon

Amazon Basics 21-inch carry-on spinner

If you’re looking for cheap suitcases with wheels, then this one by Amazon’s own Basics brand is a good bet. It has an extra tough, scratch resistant shell and a fully lined interior. It is also expandable, with a 39 liter capacity.

This small rolling carry on luggage is available as a small black suitcase, or comes in orange or two shades of blue. Double spinner wheels ensure smooth rolling, while 3 kipped inside pockets help you stay organized. 

Pros
✅  Great value for money
✅  Tough, scratch-resistant shell
✅  Lined interior with zipped pockets

Cons
❌  Not a top luggage brand

Click here to view these cheap suitcases on Amazon

Travelpro Maxlite5 21-inch spinner case

If you’d rather your small luggage with wheels has soft sides, then try this one from Travelpro. It also comes in a range of sizes and colors, or these cases can be bought as a set. Travelpro say it meets the carry on size restrictions for most US airlines. 

A water and stain resistant coating should keep to looking good for a long time, while 360 degree spinners make it simple to move around. It can expand by 2 inches to add capacity, and has various straps and pockets for easy organisation.

Pros
✅  Softside water and stain resistant case
✅  Smooth, sturdy 360 spinner wheels
✅  2-inch expansion adds capacity

Cons
❌  Plainer design

Click here to see this travel suitcase on Amazon

American Tourister 4 Kix 21-inch spinner carry-on

Another hot pick from American Tourister comes in the form of the 4 Kix 21-inch case. This is also a softside option. It’s a lightweight suitcase with wheels and handle, and is available in some attractive colors and other sizes.

There are multi-directional 360 degree spinner wheels and a push-button locking handle that tucks away neatly. This also has a 10-year warranty and is ideal for those seeking a small 4 wheel suitcase for carry-on use.

Pros
✅  Lightweight softside case
✅  Multi-directional 360 spinner wheels
✅  10-year American Tourister warranty

Cons
❌  Not the most robust choice

Click here to see this wheeled bag on Amazon

Travelpro Maxlite5 22-inch upright rolling suitcase

Looking for two-wheeled luggage? This small roller bag from Travelpro is a solid choice. It features a durable, stain- and water-resistant outer and offers an impressive 52-liter capacity when expanded by up to 2 inches.

Two high performance wheels are designed to provide easy rolling, yet this case can also stand upright when required.

It comes in a range of colors.

There is also a mini rolling suitcase, a slightly smaller 20 inch model, as well as bigger 26 inch version.

Pros
✅  Ultra lightweight upright case 
✅  Stain and water resistant outer
✅  Spacious 52 liter capacity

Cons
❌  Not the cheapest softside case

Click here to see these rolling bags

Travelpro Bold 22-inch roller case

Here's another option from Travelpro, which has developed considerable expertise in rolling carry-ons. This one is more rugged looking than the Maxlite, so it’s ideal for those who prefer a case that looks a bit more like a backpack.

The case has a water- and stain-repellent coating and there are protective guards fitted to the wheels and corners for added durability. There is also an exterior padded tablet sleeve, an interior mesh pocket and compression straps.

Pros
✅  Rugged, rolling carry on
✅  Protective wheel and corner guards
✅  Padded tablet sleeve 

Cons
❌  Not ideal for business travel

Click here to view this small roller carry on bag

Timbuk2 Co-pilot 20 inch rolling small bag

The Timbuk2 Co-pilot is actually available as a small wheeled bag in 20 or 22 inches. Timbuk2 says the smallest is ideal as an international carry-on, while the larger may be accepted on domestic flights within the US.

Two skateboard wheels make rolling easy and are also removable when required. A padded front pocket can store a tablet or laptop, and there is an expanding top compartment for separate storage of toiletries or shoes.

Pros
✅  Stylish, modern rolling suitcase
✅  Removable skateboard wheels
✅  Rugged case that’s built to last

Cons
❌  Lifetime warranty at manufacturer’s discretion

Click here to see these small rolling travel bags

Samsonite Solyte DLX Softside Upright Underseater

This Samsonite underseater is a great choice for those who travel really, really light. It has the most modest dimensions of all the small travel bags with wheels I've listed here, and is designed to slide under your airplane seat for easy access.

This suitcase can stand upright, but has two inline skate wheels for easy rolling when required. This one comes with a 10-year warranty, and the handle height can be adjusted to ensure stress-free manoeuvring.

Pros
✅  Slides under most airline seats
✅  Ultra compact and lightweight
✅  8 height settings

Cons
❌  Not as roomy as most

Click here to see this underseat mini rolling luggage

American Tourister 4 Kix underseater

Our final option among small rolling luggage bags is another underseat case from American Tourister. It comes in some gorgeous shades, and features a stylish color pop interior with a blouse pocket and cross straps.

This small wheeled carry on luggage features inline wheels for easy rolling and sturdy, soft grip zip pulls. With its compact dimensions, this is a top small wheeled carry on for shorter leisure or business trips.

Pros
✅  Compact under seat case 
✅  4 stylish colors
✅  Airflow inline wheels

Cons
❌  Too small for some

Click here to view this underseat wheeled travel luggage

I hope you’ve enjoyed this guide to the best spinner and roller travel bags and that you'll find your ideal wheeled suitcase here.

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