Some say that Briggs & Riley makes the best luggage out there, especially for pilots, airline crews, and frequent travelers. But is that really true? Isn’t Travelpro, Tumi, or Samsonite a better choice?
In this article, we’ll find out whether it’s really worth it to invest in a Briggs & Riley suitcase. We’ll discover what’s the durability of their suitcases like, whether their ‘no matter what’ lifetime warranty is any good, what features they come with, and a lot more. We’ll also compare them with similar alternatives from other brands and find out which one is better.
On CleverJourney’s Best Luggage Brands, Briggs & Riley gained 81 out of 100 points, which is currently the best result. Travelpro and Tumi shared the 3rd/4th place with 75 points, and Samsonite ranked 6th with 71 pints
Down below, you can see how we came up with 81 points. Based on our research, we rated them in 8 different categories. The “Reviews”, “Airline Compatibility”, “Weight”, and “Price” categories are purely based on data, where we compared almost 400 suitcases from 31 different luggage brands. The other ones are based on our own research and opinion. We’ll go into more detail on each further down into the review.
- Durable. Out of all the luggage brands we’ve looked at, Briggs & Riley (and Tumi) make the most durable suitcases. With Briggs & Riley, you can count on your suitcase lasting at least 10-20 years, even when used frequently. Most of their softside suitcases are made from high-quality ballistic nylon, while the hardside ones are usually made from layers of pure polycarbonate.
- An unlimited lifetime warranty. Briggs & Riley offers the best luggage warranty out there. It’s pretty simple – they’ll cover any physical defects for a lifetime, regardless of the cause, and with no hidden rocks in the policy. For context, lifetime warranties from other brands usually cover only manufacturing defects.
- Great Value. Despite its high prices, Briggs & Riley actually isn’t overpriced. They offer the most value at this price point because of their “no-matter-what” lifetime warranty. When you think about it, $400-$700 for a suitcase that will last a few decades is actually a pretty good deal.
- Innovative Features. From packing features to high-quality zippers and innovations in the retractable handle to having the first hardside suitcase with a front pocket, Briggs & Riley and innovation go together hand in hand.
- Expensive. Unfortunately, some people just can’t afford to spend several hundred bucks on a single suitcase, even if it is a good deal in the long run. If you’re that person, you can get a suitcase from Travelpro or Ricardo Beverly Hills at roughly half the price (often, even less). Currently, they’re the best brands in the middle class that make cheap, but durable bags.
- Modest looks. Briggs & Riley’s minimalistic, down-to-earth looks might not be for everyone. If you’re looking for better-looking alternatives for frequent travel, Tumi would be a solid choice, although overpriced.
We’ve reviewed 15 different luggage brands on Clever Journey, and no other brand has gotten a higher rating than Briggs & Riley.
In the high-end price range, similar options are Tumi and Rimowa. However, these brands offer only limited 5-year warranties, while Briggs & Riley covers any physical defects for a lifetime. Briggs & Riley is also much cheaper and provides the same durability and better features. Because of this, Briggs & Riley is the best option in the premium price range.
Although Briggs & Riley is costly, in the long run, they’re the best deal for business travelers and people who travel five or more times per year.
Top-Rated Briggs & Riley Suitcases
Best Softside (2 wheels): Baseline
Best Softside (4 wheels): Baseline
Best Hardside: Sympatico
Best Checked: Transcend
Best Affordable: Rhapsody
Best Underseater: Baseline
Key Facts About Briggs & Riley
Briggs & Riley Travelware was founded in 1993, in New York by Richard Costa. Right from the get-go, the company was focused on revolutionizing the luggage market. They did that with their famous ‘Simple as that’ lifetime warranty, which covered even airline damage.
A few years later, it was successful enough to be purchased by U.S. Luggage LLC, which is still its parent company. Aside from Briggs & Riley, U.S. Luggage LLC also owns Solo New York – a company that makes bags and tablet cases in the medium price range.
Their closest competitors are Tumi, Bric’s, Rimowa, and Victorinox. Compared to Tumi and Rimowa, Briggs & Riley’s sales numbers are at least ten times smaller. Right now, they’re still in ‘the hidden gem’ phase.
During the last three decades, they’ve expanded their selection quite a bit. Nowadays, Briggs & Rily offers high-end suitcases, backpacks, duffle bags, toiletry items, and other premium travel accessories.
Briggs & Riley is really focusing only on two things: Their luggage has to be durable and practical. And to meet the necessary quality standards, their bags have to be made from the best possible materials. They use 1680D ballistic nylon for fabric luggage and polycarbonate for hardside luggage. Both materials are considered the most durable options on the market (apart from aluminum for hardside luggage, but it comes at the cost of weight).
Some say that Tumi’s fabric luggage is more durable than Briggs & Riley’s because it uses the patented FXT Ballistic Nylon instead of the regular one. However, we haven’t found any real studies that prove that FXT is actually better. It’s weaved in a different pattern and has a protective layer, which supposedly makes it stronger. Still, because of the lack of supporting studies, it’s best to assume Tumi’s outer fabric is as durable as Briggs & Riley’s.
All of its other elements, such as zippers, wheels, locks, and handles are also really durable. Because they’re backed up by a lifetime warranty, it’s in Briggs & Riley’s best interest to make them as durable as they can, so fewer repairs need to be made. For example, they use self-repairing YKK zippers, which is the industry-leading brand on zippers, and their carry-ons have reinforced corners and skid plates. That said, when compared to Tumi, their hardware is a bit less durable, but only slightly.
On average, Briggs & Riley’s customers have reviewed their luggage at 4.65 stars out of 5, which is a fairly high result. We compared 31 different luggage brands and Briggs & Riley placed 10th in customer reviews. From all premium luggage brands, this is the highest result. We’ve noticed that as the product price rises, the average reviews decrease because people expect everything to be perfect. Tumi and Rimowa both scored much lower than Briggs & Riley.
From all the reviews that we researched, people almost never complained about quality issues. Instead, most commonly the negative reviews talked about minor design flaws, a lack of packing space, and incorrect or late deliveries. We also noticed that a lot of people are repeat customers, who have been loyal to Briggs & Riley for decades. As opposed to Rimowa and Tumi, the repeat customers didn’t complain about how the company is downgrading over time with worse warranty terms and less-durable elements. They’re still praising how good Briggs & Riley is.
Briggs & Riley mainly focuses on making their bags simpler, rather than adding new stuff just to get ahead of their competitors. Here’s a quote from their site that explains just that:
In fact, we have multiple patents designed to make travel, well, easier. It’s innovative thinking like this – never for innovation’s sake – that sets Briggs & Riley apart.
Patented CX Compression-Expansion System
We’re huge fans of their CX compression system, which replaces the need for expansion zippers and compression cubes. After this innovation, Rimowa and Tumi have also started using similar systems. Essentially, it works with the help of two interior clips. When you open the suitcase and unclip both clips, the bag extends in width. You’re free to pack all your stuff in there, and when you finally finish packing, just close the main compartment and push the top part of it down. The clips will lock in place, like zip ties, and hold all your stuff firmly compressed.
The YKK zippers are known to be one of the strongest zippers out there. They’re made in Japan and are especially popular among high-end travel products. They’re also pretty expensive, so you can understand why Briggs & Riley is priced so highly.
Built-In Suiter Compartments
In the Briggs & Riley Baseline and Sympatico models, you’ll find built-in suiter compartments. These are especially handy for business travelers who need to keep their suits, shirts, and dresses wrinkle-free. Essentially, the system works by hanging your suit on a hanger, attaching the hanger to the handle clip, and then carefully folding the suit around a padded foam roll.
I’ve noticed that these systems usually result in some wrinkles, but nothing that is seen from a far distance. I’d say that they remove around 80% of the wrinkles compared to folding the suit normally.
Handle Attached Outside for More Space
On the Briggs & Riley Baseline, the retractable handle is attached from the outside instead of keeping it inside the main compartment. This system is better because it results in a flat and rectangular main compartment, which is easier to pack into and results in fewer wrinkles.
Replaceable Zipper Heads
I’m sure you’re familiar with broken-off zipper heads. It doesn’t completely ruin the whole zipper, but it’s annoying nevertheless. If this happens to Briggs & Riley’s bags, you can get zipper head replacements easily and change them in seconds. You won’t even have to send the bag to a repair center.
Airline Compatibility (9/10)
All Briggs & Riley carry-ons are below 22 x 14 x 9 inches (56 x 36 x 23 cm), which is the most common size requirement for airlines operating in North America. They might be a bit too wide for a few European airlines, which have a depth restriction of 8 inches, but this shouldn’t really be an issue most of the time.
For checked luggage, the most important size restriction is 62 linear inches (157 cm), which is the sum of height, width, and depth. We only found a single Briggs & Riley bag advertised as checked-large that was over this limit, the Briggs & Riley Torq, which is 63.1 linear inches (160 cm) in size. That said, it’s only 1 inch over the limit, which means that most of the time, you shouldn’t have any issues with oversized luggage.
Briggs & Riley makes pretty heavy luggage. That’s because it’s built from thicker, more durable materials, and they offer more built-in features than other brands. Out of all the 31 brands that we collected data on, Rimowa scored #27 in luggage weight. From all the high-end, durable brands, it’s still a fairly good result, because Tumi, Rimowa, and Away all scored lower.
So if you’re planning on flying with budget airlines where the weight restrictions are stricter, you should probably get something more lightweight. However, in the US, usually the weight restrictions for hand and checked luggage are pretty loose, so for domestic US flights, it’s still a really good option.
Briggs & Riley offers the best warranty terms for luggage on the market. They offer a simple ‘no matter what’ lifetime warranty for all of their suitcases. You don’t need proof of purchase for the warranty to be valid, and the warranty is transferable to others.
Their warranty covers airline and transfer damage, accidents, damage from wear and tear, manufacturing defects, and any other physical defects that affect the performance of the bag. It doesn’t cover cosmetic damage and cleaning, lost or stolen bags, or damaged/lost contents.
Briggs & Riley’s warranty is valid for a lifetime. The client has to cover the shipping costs to the repair center, and Briggs & Riley will cover the return shipping costs. They also offer self-repair kits for the zippers, wheels, handles, and corner guards, which are free of charge but have a $10 handling fee. This means that for minor repairs, you don’t even have to ship the bag to the repair center.
The only warranty that’s somewhat similar to this one is from Travelpro. On the Platinum Elite model, you get a ‘Worry-Free Lifetime Warranty,’ which covers airline damages and manufacturing defects for a lifetime. That said, their warranty terms are quite poorly worded compared to Briggs & Riley, which leaves some room for speculation.
Briggs & Riley’s bags are all made in the same minimalistic, down-to-earth style. Their customers like it, and so do we. The minimalistic looks fit in perfectly for business travelers. We especially like the Briggs & Riley Sympatico, which looks sleek and professional. It’s offered in many unique colors, like onyx, bronze, fire, or matte navy, which will definitely pop out between all the similar bags on the conveyor belts.
Nevertheless, we’d still like to see some more color and selection. Compared to Tumi or Rimowa, Briggs & Riley could do better design-wise, which is why we’ve only given them only 6 points out of 10.
Although Briggs & Riley is one of the most expensive brands on the market, they aren’t overpriced. Actually, they’re valued quite reasonably given what you get in return. On average, their luggage costs 631$, which is pretty much but other premium brands like Tumi and Rimowa charge 60-90% more.
When you buy a suitcase from Briggs & Riley, you know that you’ll be using it for at least 10-20 years. There aren’t any shady warranty policies or hidden rocks. In fact, countless people have been using their bags for decades, and they have nothing bad to say about them.
Compared to Rimowa or Tumi, Briggs & Riley provides the best value. Although both of their competitors are similarly well made, they don’t offer lifetime warranties. And if you’re planning on using the suitcase for more than five years, a lifetime warranty will be quite useful down the road.
How Does Briggs & Riley Compare to Other Luggage Brands?
Briggs & Riley is, in our opinion, the best luggage brand on the market. On our best luggage brands yearly ranking, they continuously take the first spot because their luggage is extremely durable, well-reviewed, and not too expensive when used long-term.
Other similar brands in the high-end price range are Rimowa and Tumi. Although their bags are slightly more durable, they are backed up only by 5-year limited warranties, which doesn’t compare to Briggs & Riley’s lifetime one. Brigg & Riley also offers better features, their luggage is lighter, much better-reviewed, and also costs much less.
If, however, you’re looking for something that’s a bit cheaper, then you could also consider getting something from Samsonite or Travelpro. In the long run, Briggs & Riley ends up being cheaper when used frequently, but it has a high initial cost. Briggs & Riley has better features than both of them, it’s much more durable, and also is sized to fit most airline requirements, so you won’t have to pay oversized baggage fees. That said, luggage from Samsonite and Travelpro is much cheaper, lighter, and some models also look better. The only model that stands somewhat close to Briggs & Riley bags is the Travelpro Platinum Elite, which is also a really solid choice.
Individual Briggs & Riley Suitcase Reviews
Best Softside Carry-On (Rolling): Briggs & Riley Baseline 2-Wheeled Carry-On
|- 22 x 14 x 9 in (56 x 36 x 23 cm)|
|- 8.9 lbs (4.0 kg)|
|- 1680D ballistic nylon|
|- Editors rating: 4.9|
The Briggs & Riley Baseline 2-wheeled carry-on is currently the best-rated carry-on on our site. It’s incredibly durable, has received stellar customer reviews, and offers great value, considering the price it’s retailing at. Its design isn’t anything to write home about, but the colors that it comes in (black, olive, navy) are really sleek, albeit a bit generic.
Because it has only two wheels, the main compartment contains almost four liters more than the spinner version. The wheels are also less likely to break under stress, as they’re integrated into the frame. The handles are incredibly sturdy, so you should have no issues carrying it or rolling it around. It’s also made from ballistic nylon, which is the most durable luggage fabric. On the outside, it’s fitted with a large front pocket for tablets, books, and other gadgets and two smaller pockets for organization. Although it doesn’t have spinner wheels, people have said that they’re happy with the way the bag handles. The weight is appropriately distributed, and it doesn’t tip over when packed full.
The interior is quite roomy because the retractable handle is mounted outside of the main compartment. Inside, you’ll find a suiter compartment, compression straps, and several smaller pockets for organization. It also features the CX compression system, which we talked about earlier (compresses the main compartment with two integrated clips).
The Baseline isn’t a new model. In fact, people have used the previous versions of the Baseline for 10+ years, and the bag still looks as good as new. When they had minor issues with zippers, handles, or wheels, they were quickly replaced, free of charge (excluding shipping). So if you got enough to spend, the Baseline 2-wheeled model would probably be the best carry-on that you can get. The only one that comes close is the Travelpro Platinum Elite or the Tumi Alpha 3.
Best Softside Carry-On (Spinner): Briggs & Riley Baseline 4-Wheeled Carry-On
|- 22 x 14 x 9 in (56 x 36 x 23 cm)|
|- 9.3 lbs (4.2 kg)|
|- 1680D ballistic nylon|
|- Editors rating: 4.9|
If you prefer spinner wheels, your best bet is to get the Briggs & Riley Baseline 4-wheeled spinner. In features and specifications, it’s very similar to the 2-wheeled version with some minor differences. The main compartment fits 3.6 l less than the 2-wheeled version to meet the carry-on size restrictions. It’s also slightly more expensive, and some people reported that the spinner version tends to tip over when packed full.
Because of these reasons, it hasn’t received as good customer ratings as the 2-wheeled version. But other than that, it’s basically identical to the 2-wheeled version, just easier to move around. We adore spinner wheels, so including this one is a must. That being said, between the two models, the 2-wheeled one is better in terms of capacity, while this one is better in terms of maneuverability.
Best Hardside Carry-On: Briggs & Riley Sympatico Carry-On
|- 21 x 14 x 9 in (54 x 36 x 23 cm)|
|- 8.6 lbs (3.9 kg)|
|- Editors rating: 4.8|
The Briggs & Riley Sympatico 4-wheeled spinner is basically a hardside version of the Baseline. The features, specifications, and price are very similar to the Baseline, with only slight variations. It’s been around for a bit more than a year, but it’s managed to become one of the best hardside suitcases in the process. Its design is pretty nice, considering that it’s a professional suitcase, and it comes in two colors – black and plum.
The outer frame is made from high-quality polycarbonate, which is the most durable hardside plastic for luggage on the market. It’s pretty flexible but will return to the original form once released, and it’s fitted with four Hinomoto spinner wheels, which are positioned widely so that the bag is less likely to tip when packed full. The main compartment is protected with a TSA-approved combination lock instead of their fabric models, which is nice.
The interior is quite roomy (1.3 liters more than the Baseline 4-wheeled carry-on) and is split into 70/30, with the suiter garment folder occupying 30% of the total space. It’s also fitted with the CX expansion system, which provides 22% more space when extended.
As with all Briggs & Riley suitcases, this one is also protected by their lifetime warranty. So if at any point down the line you get any cracks in the hard case (which are actually really, really common in hardside luggage) or manage to snap a wheel off, you’ll get your bag fixed or get a replacement for free. The lifetime warranty is especially useful because hardside suitcases are more likely to break eventually.
So if you’re a business traveler who’s looking for a classy and reliable hardside suitcase, the Sympatico will be an excellent choice when it comes to hardside luggage.
Best-Looking Hardside Carry-On: Briggs & Riley Torq Hardside Carry-On
|- 21 x 14 x 9 in (54 x 36 x 23 cm)|
|- 6.9 lbs (3.1 kg)|
|- Editors rating: 4.8|
The Briggs & Riley Torq carry-on is easily the most beautiful suitcase that Briggs & Riley offers. The design looks really beautiful, and it comes in three different colors – olive green, black, and silver.
It’s made from top-quality polycarbonate, which is known as Makrolon polycarbonate. Three layers of that will keep all your belongings safe and sound. The bag comes with four double spinner wheels and a retractable handle, all of which are very durable. However, despite the zippers being YKK zippers, some customers stated that they were broken after the first trip. Thankfully, Briggs & Riley’s warranty will cover that. There’s also a TSA-approved lock on the top part of the suitcase, which is necessary when you’re paying more than $100 on luggage, let alone paying over $400
The interior of the suitcase is precisely what you’d expect from a high-end suitcase. There’s a large main compartment that has enough space for almost a week-trip, and a zippered mesh pocket where you could keep any excess clothing you want. There’s also a suiter, which is a necessity in business suitcases. This suitcase, however, is known for having a front pocket, where you could store your laptop. Along with that comes a USB port, where you could charge your phone or laptop.
Overall, the Torq carry-on is the best-looking suitcase we’ve seen by Briggs & Riley, and it’s also cheaper than most other Briggs & Riley luggage.
Best Checked Suitcase: Briggs & Riley Transcend 29-Inch Large Checked
|- 29 x 21 x 12 in (74 x 53 x 30 cm)|
|- 11.7 lbs (5.3 kg)|
|- Two tone nylon|
|- Editors rating: 4.8|
The Briggs & Riley Transcend large checked suitcase is an excellent option for those who want a more spacious suitcase. It’s offered in two minimalistic color options – gray and olive green.
The Transcend is made of two-tone nylon, which is extremely durable. It also adds water-resistant properties along with abrasion resistance and dirt resistance. In other words, this is the epitome of softside luggage. Apart from that, the bag has eight spinner wheels (four pairs of spinner wheels) and a retractable handle. Many customers love this suitcase because of how durable its external parts are.
The interior is excellent. Just like every other Briggs & Riley suitcase, inside, you’ll find the main compartment with lots of space to fit your clothes in, as well as two large mesh pockets where you’ll be able to fit smaller types of clothing or shoes and toiletries.
Best Affordable Carry-On: Briggs & Riley Rhapsody Softside Carry-On
|- 22 x 14 x 9 in (56 x 36 x 23 cm)|
|- 6.3 lbs (2.9 kg)|
|- Editors rating: 4.7|
The Briggs & Riley Rhapsody carry-on is well-built and affordable. It’s very simplistic when it comes to its design, and it comes in three different colors – blue, black, and plum. This might not be the best for those of you who want a bit more character on your luggage, but it’s common to see bland designs in business suitcases like this one.
The Rhapsody is made from micro-weave nylon, which is very durable. Just like most Briggs & Riley softside carry-ons, this one is made to last, so being made of the most durable materials was a must. On the outside, you’ll find a top handle, a retractable handle, and four double spinner wheels. None of the reviews we found mentioned anything about them being less durable than expected, so that’s great to know.
On the inside, the bag has several compartments. The main compartment is spacious, and it’s accompanied by a large pocket where you could fit any other essentials or toiletries. Along with these, there are two front pockets, where you could keep your documents and/or laptop, as well as a wrinkle-free back pocket. So, there’s plenty of space for your clothing, despite some customers mentioning that the bag is too small.
Overall, the Briggs & Riley Rhapsody softside carry-on is an excellent choice. Another more affordable choice would be the Samsonite Solyte DLX 20-inch carry-on.
Best Underseater: Briggs & Riley Baseline Softside Underseater
|- 15.5 x 15.5 x 10 in (40 x 40 x 26 cm)|
|- 7.5 lbs (3.4 kg)|
|- Ballistic nylon|
|- Editors rating: 4.7|
The Briggs & Riley Baseline underseater is the best underseater on the market. We’ve seen reviews from people who have had it for decades because of Briggs & Riley’s outstanding warranty. It comes in two colors – black and olive green.
The bag is really similar to the two Baseline carry-ons we mentioned above. They have the same double spinner silent wheels and retractable handle. All three bags are made from ballistic nylon, which is the most durable material for softside luggage.
The interior of this one is very spacious. You can easily fit enough clothes for a weekend trip, along with your laptop and any chargers or accessories you need. The front pocket can also fit an Ipad or any other tablet, so you can still stay connected while you’re on your trip.