Rimowa is known as the brand that makes the best aluminum luggage. However, their luggage is extremely expensive – you can easily expect to pay over 1000$ for a single suitcase. Away is a newer luggage brand that sells aluminum suitcases for less than half of that. So naturally, you might be inclined to get the cheaper one from Away instead. But is it really a good idea?
In this article, we’ll compare Away with Rimowa to find out which brand is a better choice in the long term. We’ll compare their average luggage weight, durability, warranty, features, prices, and more.
A Brief Summary of Away
Away is a somewhat new luggage brand, established only in 2015. They make minimalist hardside suitcases in the lower end of premium luggage. They first became successful by offering smart suitcases with built-in power banks. When the rules for smart luggage changed, they made their batteries removable, and now their luggage complies with the regulations of FAA, TSA, and IATA. Nowadays, a lot of suitcases come with power banks, so it isn’t really their main selling point anymore. However, they’re still really popular because they make good-looking, durable luggage with excellent warranty terms.
A Brief Summary of Rimowa
Rimowa started out in Germany in 1898, but in 2016, they were bought by Louis Vuitton, so now they’re based in France. After WW2, when commercial air travel took off, so did Rimowa by offering durable aluminum suitcases with distinct parallel grooves. Nowadays, Rimowa sells aluminum and plastic hardside luggage, backpacks, totes, and other travel accessories. Rimowa can definitely be considered a luxury luggage brand, and when we compared the suitcase prices for 32 different luggage brands, Rimowa ended up as the most expensive.
Key Differences Between Away and Rimowa Luggage
Does Rimowa Make Lighter Luggage Than Away?
On average, Rimowa suitcases are 5% lighter than the ones from Away Travels. However, both of these brands are incredibly heavy when compared to other ones. We collected data on 32 different luggage brands, and Away took the #31st place in the average luggage weight and Rimowa #29. However, it should be noted that both of them are so heavy because they make really durable luggage from thicker premium materials. They also only make hardside luggage, which is 22% heavier than softside luggage on average, which explains why they ranked below other brands that also manufacture softside bags.
Are Rimowa Suitcases More Durable Than Away?
Rimowa suitcases are indeed more durable than similar ones from Away, but only marginally. Rimowa has literally had half a century to perfect their aluminum luggage, while Away is a completely new luggage brand.
Rimowa makes their luggage from aluminum and polycarbonate, which is the most durable plastic used in luggage. Away uses the same materials, but one of their carry-ons also features a nylon fabric sleeve. Ballistic nylon is more durable than regular nylon, but because the fabric is only used in a place that doesn’t usually get much abuse (0n the laptop pocket), it doesn’t really matter. So, in reality, both of these brands use pretty much identical, best-in-class materials.
However, when it comes to all the smaller little elements, Rimowa does a slightly better job. Take, for instance, the side handles – on Away, they’re built from plastic, but on Rimowa, they’re a combination of metal and leather. The same goes for the latches, zippers, and wheels – on Rimowa, they’re slightly more rigid.
Which Brand Is Better at Staying Within the Airline Size Restrictions?
Rimowa and Away both do a really good job at sizing their luggage to be just within the most common size requirements for hand and checked luggage. All of their suitcases that are advertised as “checked large” are just below 62 linear inches (height + width + depth), which is the most common size restriction for checked luggage.
It’s also worth noting that Rimowa’s carry-ons are sized for the size restrictions on European airlines and Away’s for ones operating in North America. In Europe, the most common size restriction is 55 x 40 x 20 cm (21.7 x 15.7 x 7.9 inches), and Rimowa’s carry-ons are pretty much right within this size limit because originally, they’re from Germany. In North America, the most common one is 22 x 14 x 9 inches (56 x 36 x 23 cm), so Away’s carry-ons are slightly under it since they’re based in the US.
Which Brand Has Better Reviews – Away or Rimowa?
On average, Away has received 4.9 out of 5 stars for their luggage and Rimowa only 4.3. We gathered customer review data for 32 different luggage brands, and Away took the #1 place and Rimowa #27.
So obviously, people are much more satisfied with Away luggage than they are with Rimowa. Most negative reviews about Rimowa are about their warranty, customer service, minor design flaws, and expensive prices. For such expensive products, people usually want everything to be perfect, so they’re much more likely to leave negative reviews. Rimowa’s luggage is excellent in terms of durability and features, but it isn’t perfect in other aspects.
Do Away Suitcases Come With Better Features?
Although Away luggage costs much less, it usually comes with better features than Rimowa. Rimowa’s suitcases are somewhat minimalistic, and they come only with essential features. Down below, we’ll cover the most important features of each brand.
Away Suitcase Features
- Retractable power banks. Their aluminum models come with a removable power bank hidden underneath the retractable handle. With a push of a button, it fully comes out, and it’s 10 000 mAh in capacity, so it’s TSA-compatible.
- Expandable zippers. They also feature a model called “flex”, which is identical to their classic models, only has an expandable zipper, and costs a bit more.
- TSA-approved combination locks. All of Away’s suitcases have TSA-approved combination locks. So if they need to be checked in, the TSA agents can get inside with special keys without breaking the lock.
- Laptop pockets. One of their models, the “the carry-on with pocket,” also has a nylon sleeve that fits laptops up to 15.6 inches.
- Slow-release handles. The aluminum model has slow-release handles on top and side. After letting them go, they’ll slowly move back into place without hitting the bag and making a noise.
- Laundry bags. All of their bags have hidden water-resistant laundry bags, where you can keep your dirty clothes or wet swimwear.
- Tie-down panels. All Away suitcases have tie-down panels on the interior, which helps with keeping everything in place. They also have a lot of pockets for organizing all the smaller items.
- Leather luggage tags. All of their suitcases have leather luggage tags attached to the exterior.
- Double spinner wheels. Away luggage also comes with pretty good double spinner wheels. They’re coated with rubber, so they roll really smoothly and quietly.
- Customization options. For 10$, you can print your initials in three letters max on your luggage tag. For 50$ more, you can also print that on the hard shell so it becomes easily recognizable. You can do this on all of their suitcases, but keep in mind that once you do that, you won’t be able to return them anymore.
Rimowa Suitcase Features
- TSA-approved locks. All Rimowa’s suitcases have TSA-approved combination locks. On their aluminum luggage, the locks are made from metal as well to be extra durable.
- Flex-divider tie-down panels. Similar to Away, Rimowa bags also have tie-down panels on the interior.
- Double spinner wheels. Rimowa’s suitcases have really good double spinner wheels, which are built to be extra durable. They also roll really quietly due to the rubber coating.
- Leather luggage tags. Rimowa’s bags also have complimentary leather luggage tags.
- Laptop pockets. The “Essential” carry-on is also sold with a laptop pocket, which is very similar to Away’s “carry-on with a pocket”.
Which Brand Offers More Value?
On average, Rimowa luggage is 189% more expensive than Away. Essentially, for a single Rimowa suitcase, you could get three Away bags. The price differences are extremely high, especially when you take into account that their luggage is very similar. We definitely think that Away offers much more value than Rimowa.
Over the last few decades, Rimowa has turned from a practical brand for frequent travelers into a luxury brand. Their luggage is still superb in quality, features, and other aspects, but it’s much too overpriced. Another option would be to get a bag from Tumi, which is a bit cheaper than Rimowa but compared to Away, they’re still way too overpriced.
Away luggage is still in the early stages of a company. Because they rely on new investments and they need to satisfy their current investors, they need to continue growing. And they can only do that while providing superb quality/features/warranty while keeping the prices somewhat low. Long-term, we expect their prices to rise by at least 30-100%, but right now, they’re still a somewhat “hidden gem”.
Away Warranty Terms vs Rimowa
Away has much better warranty terms than Rimowa. In fact, Away Travel has one of the best warranties among all luggage brands.
All suitcases made by Away are covered by the same limited lifetime warranty. Usually, limited warranties cover only manufacturing defects, but Away covers most defects that alter the usability of their suitcases, regardless of the cause. They’ll cover broken zippers, handles, wheels, cracks in the hard shell, and tears in the fabric pocket. Though, they won’t cover cosmetic damage and minor issues. Furthermore, all shipping costs to and from their repair centers are also covered by them. This warranty is almost as good as Briggs & Riley, which offers the best warranty terms from all luggage brands.
Rimowa, on the other hand, covers only manufacturing defects and only for five years. They won’t cover issues from transportation damage, misuse, accidents, and normal wear and tear. You’ll also have to cover the shipping costs to their repair centers – they’ll only cover the return shipping costs. For such an expensive brand, you’d expect an unlimited lifetime warranty, so the warranty terms of Rimowa are frankly disappointing.
Conclusion: Should You Get a Suitcase From Away or Rimowa?
If you’ve read this far, then you can probably tell that Away luggage is a much better choice than Rimowa. Their luggage costs almost 1/3rd of Rimowa, but it’s really similar in most aspects and sometimes even better. It’s built from the same premium materials, it comes with better features, and it has much more reliable warranty terms.
That said, Rimowa luggage isn’t bad either – it’s just overpriced. On average, their luggage is 5% lighter than Away luggage, and all the hardware elements, such as zippers, handles, wheels, and so on, are slightly more durable. With Rimowa, you’re also getting a “suitcase icon”. Their distinct, parallel-grooved suitcases have become a fashion statement for adventure travel.
However, you might want to go with another brand instead – Briggs & Riley. They make extremely durable suitcases in the high price range, but they’re not that much more expensive than Away. To be precise, their luggage is 48% more expensive than Away, but it’s more durable, has better features, is lighter, and comes with a better warranty. They also hold their price better because their warranty terms transfer from owner to owner, unlike with Away. Specifically, the Briggs & Riley Sympatico is a really good choice.
Best Suitcases From Away and Rimowa
Best Hardside Plastic Suitcase From Away: The Carry-On With Pocket
|- 21.7 x 13.7 x 9 in (55 x 35 x 23 cm)|
|- 7.7 lbs (3.50 kg)|
|- Polycarbonate, Nylon|
|- Editors rating: 4.6|
The Away Carry-on with pocket is essentially identical to their regular carry-on, just with an exterior pocket. Although it’s 50$ more expensive, we think it’s worth it because the exterior pocket is really useful when going through security. You can put your laptop and power bank there, so you won’t need to open the main compartment when going through security. In addition to that, it also fits passports and boarding passes.
It’s sized at 21.7 x 13.7 x 9 in (55 x 35 x 23 cm), which means that it will fit most airlines, especially ones operating within the US. In weight, it’s 7.7 lbs (3.50 kg), which means that it’s 11% above the average weight for similarly sized plastic carry-ons. So if you’re planning on flying with budget airlines that have strict hand luggage restrictions, you might want to choose something lighter instead.
It’s built from polycarbonate, which is the most durable plastic used in hardside luggage. It is pretty flexible but not as flexible as other polycarbonate bags because they’ve used a slightly thicker material to improve its durability. The exterior pocket is made from nylon, which is also a pretty durable fabric but not the most durable one.
The Away carry-on is fitted with quite a few features that make it great for leisure and business travelers. From the exterior, it’s equipped with a retractable handle on top, side and top carry handles, four double spinner wheels, a luggage tag, and a TSA-approved combination lock. The interior is pretty spacious and well-organized. One side is separated with an unzippable fabric sheet, and the other one is kept in place with tie-down panels. You’ll also find a large zippered pocket and a laundry bag for keeping your dirty clothes.
It’s a really great high-end carry-on offered at somewhat affordable prices. If taken care of, it could easily withstand over 10 years of frequent travel.
Best Hardside Plastic Suitcase From Rimowa: Essential
|- 21.65 x 15.35 x 9.06 in (55 x 39 x 23 cm)|
|- 7.05 lbs (3.20 kg)|
|- Editors rating: 4.5|
The Rimowa Essential is Rimowa’s first plastic hardside suitcase. Although it is really expensive, it’s one of the best plastic carry-ons that you can find.
It’s sized at 21.65 x 15.35 x 9.06 inches (55 x 39 x 23 cm), which means that it’s perfectly sized for most European airlines, which have a size restriction of 55 x 40 x 25 cm. It’s a bit too wide for cheaper airlines, which have a depth limit of 20 cm. It’s also pretty lightweight – at least for Rimowa. It’s pretty much right on spot in weight with the average weight for similarly-sized plastic suitcases, but it’s 0.65 lbs lighter than the Away carry-on with a pocket.
The Essential is built from pure polycarbonate. Although it isn’t as durable as aluminum, when taken care of, it should last just as long. Its handles, zippers, and wheels are built to be a bit more durable than the ones on Away.
From the exterior, it’s fitted with a TSA-approved lock, and when you open it up, it’s split into two equal parts. Both of them are separated with Rimowa’s flex-dividers, and on top, they’re also fitted with zippered pockets for organizing all the smaller items.
But its main strength is its design. Rimowa is offering it in 11 unique color options, which all are slightly different from the most commonly used colors. There are some color options for business travelers and some vibrant ones for people who travel on vacations. All elements of the suitcase are painted in this same color, so overall, it looks really beautiful.
That said, it’s incredibly expensive for a plastic carry-on, so it’s definitely a splurge rather than a smart purchase.
Best Hardside Aluminum Suitcase From Away: The Aluminum Carry-on
|- 21.5 x 13.5 x 9 in (55 x 34 x 23 cm)|
|- 10.7 lbs (4.85 kg)|
|- Editors rating: 4.8|
Although the Away Aluminum carry-on might seem really expensive, for an aluminum suitcase, that’s really cheap. In fact, it’s one of the cheapest aluminum suitcases that’s made by a reliable brand. Of course, you can find quite a few aluminum carry-ons on Amazon priced between 250-400$, but they’re all made by unknown brands. Compared to Rimowa’s aluminum cases, it’s roughly one-half of their price.
Its main shell is made from aluminum and other elements from leather, metal, and polycarbonate. It’s durable enough to withstand nearly anything, and it’s more than suitable enough for frequent travel. Plus, if anything breaks, the wheels, handles, latches, and the hard shell are all covered by Away’s lifetime warranty, regardless of the cause.
In size, it’s just below 22 x 14 x 9 inches, which is the most common carry-on size requirement in North America, so you shouldn’t have issues with it being oversized. It weighs 10.7 lbs (4.85 kg), which definitely is on the heavier side – it’s 0.65 lbs over the average weight for aluminum carry-ons among all luggage brands. So it won’t be great for people with back problems because you’ll need to lift it up to the overhead compartments on airplanes.
The aluminum carry-on is the only suitcase from Away that still has the power bank – on other models, it’s removed. It’s 10000 mAh and removable, so it complies with the TSA requirements. Instead of a zipper, the aluminum version utilizes metal hinges and two latches with TSA-approved locks. The interior is split into two equal parts, and both sides are held in place with tie-down panels. It also has several pockets in inside as well as a water-resistant bag for dirty laundry, so it provides a lot of opportunities for staying organized during your trips.
We think that for the price that it’s retailing at, the Away aluminum carry-on is currently the best aluminum carry-on that your money can buy. The ones from Rimowa are slightly better, but they’re extremely overpriced.
Best Hardside Aluminum Suitcase From Rimowa: Classic
|- 21.7 x 15.7 x 7.9 in (55 x 40 x 20 cm)|
|- 9.7 lbs (4.4 kg)|
|- Editors rating: 4.8|
The Rimowa Classic is the best aluminum suitcase that you can currently get, but it’s very overpriced. It’s more durable than the Away aluminum carry-on, but it’s backed up by a 5-year limited warranty which covers only manufacturing defects. When you take into account Away’s lifetime warranty that covers defects regardless of their cause, the Rimowa Classic pales in comparison.
In terms of features, it has two TSA-approved combination locks for accessing the main compartment. It also comes with Rimowa’s extra-durable double spinner wheels, which last a really long time and roll really smoothly. Its interior is split into two equal parts, and both are held in place with Rimowa’s flex-divider tie-down panels.
The Rimowa Classic is sized at 21.7 x 15.7 x 7.9 inches (55 x 40 x 20 cm), so it’s perfect for European airlines. It might be a bit too wide to be used on North American Airlines, where the carry-on width limit is usually 14 inches instead of 15.7 (40 cm). In weight, it’s 9.7 lbs (4.4 kg), which is somewhat lightweight for an aluminum carry-on. It’s 1 lb lighter than the Away aluminum carry-on, so you’ll have a bit more room left for packing your items.
It’s made from 100% aluminum, and its handles and latches are made from metal in combination with full-grain leather. People usually own Rimowa suitcases for several decades, so if you are using it extra-frequently, then you might even want to consider getting the Rimowa Classic instead.