A suitcase that can stand up to being chucked about, sat on, rolled over cobbles and zipped and unzipped zillions of times is essential as more of us head back out on holidays this year.
But which suitcase is toughest? And how much do you need to pay out for one that's going to last? We bought hard shell suitcases from Samsonite, American Tourister, Tripp and more at prices from £30 to £180 and put them through a series of tough tests to find out.
Read on for how each suitcase fared in our tough durability tests.
We put each hard shell suitcase through the following tests designed to replicate the rough and tumble it's likely to face when you take it on holidays or work trips:
Below is a list of each hard shell suitcase we tested for durability, listed in order of how durable we found them to be.
Cheapest price: £109 (cabin), £119 (medium), £139 (large)
Dimensions: 55 x 40 x 20cm (cabin), 67 x 46.5 x 29.5cm (medium), 77 x 51.5 x 29.5cm (large) (HxWxD)
Weight: 2.6kg (cabin), 3.4kg (medium), 4.2kg (large)
Colours available: Bass black, midnight navy, golden yellow, coral red, jade green, magenta, spring green, poolside blue, stone blue, lavender
Other key features: Eight rubberised 360 swivel wheels, two carry handles and one adjustable trolley handle (two height settings), TSA Lock, expandable, three-year warranty, the inside of the suitcase has one zip-up divider with a large pocket on it, one other long and thin pocket, and two sets of straps for keeping your items in place.
Our verdict: The most durable
You'll do fine buying a cheaper hard shell suitcase as none of them broke during our tests, but stumping out the extra cash for the American Tourister Soundbox will get you the most durable suitcase we tested.
Our durability tests didn't seem to phase this suitcase at all. It came through with just some light scratches around the edges and corners. There were no dents, no extra wobbly handles and no dodgy wheels. It stood up to almost everything.
The handles were just like new after our tests and didn't seem fussed by any of the strain they were put under.
The zip is thick and it opened and closed smoothly and easily, too. The lining did let in water, but so did every other suitcase we tested.
Cheapest price: £59.50 (cabin), £69.50 (medium), £95 (large)
Dimensions: 55 x 40 x 20cm (cabin), 66 x 39 x 26cm (medium), 76 x 50 x 32cm (large)
Weight: 2.7kg (cabin), 3.2kg (medium), 3.9kg (large)
Colours available: Slate, black, ocean, citron, watermelon
Other key features: Four rubberised 360 swivel wheels, two carry handles and one adjustable trolley handle (two height settings), TSA Lock, five-year warranty, has one zip-up divider inside and a single set of straps for holding your belongings in place on one side of the suitcase.
Our verdict: Proof spending less doesn't mean a weaker suitcase.
The Tripp Holiday 6 proved tough in our tests overall and didn't suffer any major damage, but the scratches and stress marks didn't look too appealing.
Although it took a nasty dent in our drop tests, it wasn't a permanent one. The dent popped back into shape after a few minutes, leaving this case with some minor stress marks and a few scrapes and scuffs.
The case didn't seem to like being sat on, though, with extra stress marks appearing in the corners.
The trolley handle still worked fine after being put under some repeated strain, but it was slightly wobblier than before.
We had no problems with the zips despite some minor water ingress.
Cheapest price: £80 (cabin), £90 (large)
Dimensions: 54.5 x 39.5 x 24cm (cabin), 74.5 x 51.5 x 31cm (large)
Weight: 2.71kg (cabin), 3.51kg (large)
Colours available: Blue, coral
Other key features: Eight rubberised 360 swivel wheels, two carry handles and one adjustable trolley handle (three height settings), expandable, 10-year warranty, interior has one zip-up divider with two medium-size pockets on it and one set of straps for holding your items in place on one side of the suitcase.
Our verdict: Decent
This expandable case didn't cope well with being sat on, and the wheels seem to be a vulnerable spot, but it handled our durability tests well overall.
Although it avoided any permanent dents, the case suffered stretch and strain marks from being sat on and on our cobbles walk the outer casing of one of the wheels snapped off. The wheel still worked fine - it just didn't look too appealing.
We had no problems with the zips, but this case did let a lot of water in in our water resistance tests.
The handles also seemed strong and durable, although the trolley handle rattled a little more afterwards.
Cheapest price: £159 (cabin), £179 (medium), £195 (large)
Dimensions: 55 x 40 x 20cm (cabin), 69 x 48 x 30cm (medium), 75 x 51 x 32cm (large)
Weight: 2.74kg (cabin), 3.6kg (medium), 4kg (large)
Colours available: Forest green, graphite, midnight blue
Other key features: Eight rubberised 360 swivel wheels, two carry handles and one adjustable trolley handle (four height settings), TSA Lock, five-year warranty, two dividers, one for each side of the case. Each has three clip-in height settings to choose from so you can ensure your items are held firmly. One of the dividers has a large zip pocket on it, too.
Our verdict: Not bad
Samsonite's Magnum Eco Spinner does away with zips and instead uses large plastic clips to lock it shut, which could be handy for avoiding getting the suitcase caught on anything while it travels.
Unfortunately this case suffered a nasty dent in one of the corners during our drop tests. It also gave in rather easily to being sat on but it didn't appear to be damaged by it.
Besides that, it only had some minor scratches. The handles held up well, too.
This was also one of the better suitcases for resisting water, possibly because of there being no fabric zip lining. It still let enough in that you'd have some soggy clothes, though.
Cheapest price: £49.99 (cabin), £59.99 (medium), £74.99 (large)
Dimensions: 55 x 35 x 20cm (cabin), 70 x 52 x 27cm (medium), 80 x 59 x 32cm (large) (HxWxD)
Weight: 2.9kg (cabin), 4.2kg (medium), 5.5kg (large)
Colours available: Black, black gloss, charcoal, rose gold, silver, grey-black gloss, navy, burgundy, cream, rose gloss, white, champagne
Other key features: Four plastic 360 swivel wheels, two carry handles and one adjustable trolley handle on top (three height settings), three-digit combination lock, five-year warranty, one zip-up divider with another large zip-up pocket on it on the inside, and there's one set of straps for holding belongings in situ.
Our verdict: Okay
Flight Knight's case took a nasty dent in our drop tests, but avoided other cosmetic damage to the body of the case. It didn't appear too scratched.
The wheels took some damage when we took this case for a walk in a cobbled street, though. They still worked afterwards, but they were more wobbly and looked badly scuffed.
We were pleased with how the handles stood up to strain, but the zips got stuck rather easily when we tried to squeeze it shut.
Cheapest price: £45 (cabin), £50 (medium), £55 (large)
Dimensions: 46.5 x 35 x 20cm (cabin), 57 x 43 x 25cm (medium), 67 x 49 x 28cm (large)
Weight: 2.6kg (cabin), 3.3kg (medium), 4kg (large)
Colours available: Black, red
Other key features: Four rubberised 360 swivel wheels, Two carry handles and one adjustable trolley handle (three height settings), five-year warranty, one zip-up divider, a large zip-up pocket and one set of straps for holding belongings inside.
Our verdict: A couple of weak spots
Argos own-brand Featherstone suitcase is one of the cheaper options we tested but still has the same basic interior as some more expensive suitcases.
Our durability tests left this case with a nasty dent in one of the corners, and a much more wobbly trolley handle that didn't enjoy being put under strain.
It held up surprisingly well to being sat on, though, and the wheels were barely damaged at all by being dragged around a cobbled street.
The zips got stuck easily when we overfilled this suitcase and tried to close it and we spotted some loose stitching on the zip lining.
This case also let in the most water of any of the hard shell suitcases we tested.
Cheapest price: £30 (cabin), £38 (medium), £45 (large), £48 (extra large)
Dimensions: 50 x 34 x 20cm (cabin), 63 x 45 x 28cm (medium), 73 x 49 x 31cm (large), 83 x 53 x 33cm (extra large)
Weight: 2.2kg (cabin), 3.4kg (medium), 4.3kg (large), 4.9kg (extra large)
Colours available: Charcoal
Other key features: Eight plastic 360 swivel wheels, two carry handles and one adjustable trolley handle (three height settings), three-digit combination lock, three-year warranty, one zip-up divider and one set of straps for holding your items in the suitcase, no interior or exterior pockets.
Our verdict: Left with unattractive stress damage
Although it avoided permanent dents in our tests, our drop tests did leave Firetrap Hard Duitcase with some unsightly white stress marks in the corners. These marks also appeared on the sides of the suitcase when we sat on it and the suitcase gave way to the weight of the researcher very easily.
The wheels took a few minor scuffs when walked across the cobbles, but still worked.
The handles didn't mind being put under strain and were still perfectly functional after testing.
We found it difficult to close the zip of this case when it was overfilled, though. It kept getting stuck.