There is such a huge variety of suitcase models available, with prices from as low as $50 right through to thousands of dollars; so what exactly are you paying for in the more expensive models? As with all things today where there is a fashion element, the very top end has a designer/brand premium, once you go over about $1500 RRP for a large suitcase, the prices will reflect the designer, brand, leather or materials, hand finishing or limited edition.
Similarly, at the bottom end, anything below about $180 RRP for a large suitcase will be a copy and/or make use of very inexpensive materials. Whilst copies don’t always mean horrible quality – when you're counting on moving parts and major pressure points, the copies have not been designed specifically with consideration to the parts, and will therefore break down sooner rather than later. For example, on an original design, the wheel might have been specifically chosen as its load bearing point is strengthened, an inexpensive copy will bulk purchase a similar looking wheel and attach it, so as soon as there is a full load in the suitcase, the cracks will appear (pun intended!)
So, what should you be paying for a suitcase? The answer is, the price of the suitcase you are looking for will relate to what attributes you are wanting, and how expensive those are. If you are wanting the lightest suitcase available, then you are actually needing fairly breakthrough technology and expensive materials. The hardware needs to be as light as possible, whilst offering enough strength to support a fully loaded case and stand up to the strains of baggage handling. That is far harder to achieve than a strong, heavy suitcase.
Additionally, if you are wanting any packing features, such as internal organisation, laptop compartments, expanders and so on, these will push the price up. And features such as durable double wheels, lockable handles and flexible but strong frames, built in locks and warranties will mean more dollars.
To return to our original question of does more expensive equal a better suitcase, the answer is, in most instances yes it does, and this better suitcase will last longer and offer you more. That does not mean that we think everyone should spend $500 on a new suitcase – a suitcase that expensive will suit certain travellers but not all. As a guide, a mid range suitcase from one of the major brands will cost around $299 – $399 full RRP (for a large suitcase). These suitcases will include the following;
· Quality materials and construction, perfectly suitable for the majority of casual travellers
· Considered design and quality tested
· Relatively lightweight, not the lightest available though
· 4 Spinner wheels
· Built in lock
· Lined interior
· Warranty cover
It's rare that you wouldn't find a suitcase in this bracket on sale year-round, so expect to pay about $180 for a large suitcase.
From there, if you would like additional features such as expandable, double wheels, even lighter, improved strength (for frequent flyers), longer or more inclusive warranties or internal organisation than $180 would be your starting point and prices would go upward depending on what you're after.
So just like a cheap T-shirt will shrink after one wash, a cheap suitcase could fail you quickly, and there is nothing worse than being stuck with a suitcase with 3 wobbly wheels when you're trying to do a city dash to make your flight. It is worth it to invest in decent luggage, however that doesn't mean spending $500 a piece.