Hard or soft-sided suitcase?
There are typically two types of suitcases – hard and soft. Hard-sided luggage has a rigid exterior that is stiff rather than flexible. Soft-sided luggage is made of fabric and has a flexible exterior.
There's often a perception that hard-sided suitcases are more durable than soft-sided suitcases. However, our lab testing of suitcases over a number of years has proven this isn't the case. Our results show that the best suitcases for durability can be either soft or hard-sided.
The type for you will depend on your individual needs. Here are some pros and cons of each suitcase type to help you make a decision.
- Can offer greater protection to fragile items
- Tends to be more water resistant
- Increasing number of lightweight options available
- Perceived to be more stylish by some travellers
- Glossy finish of some suitcases may scratch
- Fewer expandable cases
- Non-flexible exterior can make them trickier to store
- Typically more expensive than soft-sided cases
- Flexible fabric makes them comparatively easy to store
- Many are expandable to increase suitcase capacity
- Generally lighter than hard-sided suitcases
- Often cheaper than like-for-like hard-sided suitcases
- Fabric can be less water resistant compared with hard suitcases
- Fragile items may have less protection
- Can be perceived by some travellers as less stylish