best budget carry-ons

Best Budget Carry-Ons

A good carry-on luggage can make all of your travels much more easier, and allow you to quickly and painlessly get through airports and airplanes. What we consider to be a good carry-on is the one that is durable, functional enough that you can easily pack and access your belongings, and one that is easy to store in an overhead compartment or under the seat. Budget carry-ons are capable of delivering all of these qualities despite their low price. We've chosen five pieces of carry-on luggage that we think are the best choice for a limited budget. 

Learn More Below
  • Travelpro Maxlite3 Carry-On
  • Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds Carry-On
  • Samsonite Wheeled Underseater
  • Rockland Melbourne Expandable Carry-On
  • Travelon Wheeled Underseater Carry-On

Travelpro Maxlite3 Carry-On

It's well made, reinforced by a honeycomb frame, functional, and won't break the bank. Travelpro Maxlite3 Carry-On offers great durability and versatility to its users, especially those who travel frequently and need a carry-on that can keep pace. It's reinforced in all right places, and has enough compartments to meet anyone's organizational requirements. You can't go wrong with Travelpro Maxlite3 Carry-On. 


Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds Carry-On

Like its larger counterpart, Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds carry-on is a hard-body luggage that sports durable ABS exterior that is also reinforced on the corners and comes with skid guards. This alone should be enough for it to survive just about any kind of torture. It comes with four wheels which makes it effortless to maneuver around an airport, features a very simple interior design. This carry-on currently offers the best value for the money. 

Samsonite Wheeled Underseater

This carry-on represents all you would expect from a big name brand such as Samsonite. It's versatile, comes in two sizes, and is functional enough for any kind of application. It's a soft carry-on, and it doesn't feature any kind of additional protection, however it is very light and easy to carry around. There are just enough compartments on the inside as well as outside, and if you don't need some of the interior ones, you can easily remove them. Both the large and small versions of this carry-on can fit in overhead compartments and under most seats (large one may be too big for some airplanes). 

Rockland Melbourne Expandable Carry-On

One of the best features of this carry-on is its ability to expand. By unzipping the secondary zipper, you will gain several extra inches of depth. It's made of 100% ABS that is durable, and will survive frequent airport handling. The interior layout is simple, although not to functional for a carry-on especially if you plan on taking or adding things to it while traveling. Quality control is a slight issue with this model as there are known cases of customers receiving products with inconsistent dimension.

Travelon Wheeled Underseater Carry-On

Travelon Wheeled Underseater Carry-On is a very versatile and functional soft-body carry-on you can fit under the seat in an airplane. It's a compact package, but there is plenty of room both inside and outside that you can use to pack your belongings. The layout is very space efficient, and makes Travelon Wheeled Underseater Carry-On easily accessible during your travels. The material its built from is very durable, and doesn't damage easily. 

best budget carry-on

What is The Best Budget Carry-On Luggage?

With a limited budget, it may appear that your options for a quality made carry-on that offers enough versatility and is easy to carry around, may be limited. However that is not the case. There are numerous options out there that won't empty your wallet, while delivering a great performance. It just depends on what kind of luggage you prefer. We have found five carry-ons that we thing represent the best of the budget class, and include every popular type of carry-ons. 

Interior and Exterior Design 

We can divide our five picks into two categories when it comes to interior/exterior design. Soft-body models include Travelpro Maxlite3 carry-on, Samsonite Wheeled Underseater, and Travelon Wheeled Underseater. On the other side we have the hard-body models in form of Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds and Rockland Melbourne Expandable Carry-On. The latter two are pretty much the same when it comes to exterior and interior design, while they mainly differ by features they offer and their build quality. We feel that their interior layout is not the best choice to be used in a carry-on piece and is more suitable for suitcases, however they have their advantages. 

It is our opinion that Travelpro Maxlite3 offers the best exterior and interior design in this price range. It features reinforced components where it matters, and has a great and functional layout. Samsonite Wheeled Underseater comes in as second, while the Travelon Wheeled Underseater takes the third place. 

Functionality and Ease of Use 

Travelpro Maxlite3 scores highest in this category as well with its versatile design, and the fact that you can easily access any of the compartments. Travelon and Samsonite take the second and third place, while Kenneth Core Out of Bounds and Rockland Melbourne come in last. 

Value for the Money

Our value for the money choice goes to Kenneth Cole Out of Bounds. Even though we don't like the layout too much, it's clear that at this price, this piece of luggage is a bargain. It offers features such as corner guards and skid guards, which is really hard to find elsewhere at this price. 


If you can stretch your budget closer to $100, we strongly suggest you choose Travelpro Maxlite3 carry-on. It offers the best build quality, versatility, and layout. You would have to look hard to find a flaw in this carry-on. It's a great piece of luggage for anyone, but especially frequent fliers. For more stricter budgets, we think that Kenneth Cole Out of Bounds carry-on delivers most value for the money.