Two or four wheels is your first choice to make when shopping for a new suitcase. Four-wheeled cases are often referred to as spinner suitcases and usually have four small wheels. Two-wheeled cases are often referred to as upright suitcases and tend to have larger wheels. The size of the wheels can vary from case to case.
While the best suitcases can cope with being pulled along different types of ground, four-wheeled spinner suitcases are typically easier to manoeuvre over smooth floors, such as those at the airport. Two-wheeled cases with larger wheels are typically easier to pull across rougher ground, and up and down kerbs.
Wheels tend to be made from rubber or plastic. You may find hollow plastic wheels to be noisy when pulling on rough ground.
If you're flying to your destination, be aware that the airline will impose baggage restrictions on the size of hold luggage. This is an important factor when choosing and packing your suitcase.
Larger suitcases can be appealing to families but be sure to check the airline's luggage restrictions before you travel to avoid excess luggage charges.
Suitcases with expandable compartments are a good option for travellers who switch between shorter and longer, winter and summer holidays, when the amount of baggage you take may vary.
There are no standard measurements used to classify medium and large suitcases. If you're after a slightly smaller or larger case than those in our guide you can expect durability results of large and medium suitcases within the same range to be similar, but ease-of-use ratings are more susceptible to change.
We would, however, expect less variance in ease-of-use if downsizing from a large case to a medium-sized version within the same suitcase range, as opposed to going up in size.
Trolley handles can be fixed height or adjustable. Choosing a suitcase with an adjustable handle means you can set the trolley handle to a height that best suits you.
Suitcase trolley handles vary between luggage. Most are plastic, but some are padded or ergonomically-shaped with the aim of increasing pulling comfort.
Most handles retract into the suitcase when not in use. When buying luggage, open the suitcase to see how much internal space the handle takes up and whether this affects the useable packaging space.
To find the best suitcase for you we recommend you try before you buy. Head out to the high street to try out some of our first-hand. Trolley handle heights and grips will vary, so choose one that suits your body frame.
See how easy it is to lift the suitcase using both the top and side handles, ideally with some weight in the case. If it’s going in the car boot, then think about size, especially when travelling with more than one case.
Our Best Buy luggage is a mix of two and four-wheeled suitcases. Generally four-wheeled cases are easier to pull on smooth floors, while two-wheeled suitcases fared better in our tests on rougher ground. Bear this in mind when trying out a case on a shiny department store floor.