If you’re planning on purchasing a suitcase, but you don’t know heavy it should be, we got you covered! In this article, we reveal the results from our own research, where we calculated the average weight of an empty suitcase in different size categories. This is helpful because, when shopping for a suitcase, you should know on average how much it should weigh, so you know if you’re getting a good deal or not.
How Much Does an Empty Suitcase Weigh?
The average weight of an empty suitcase is about 9 pounds (4.1 kg.) To determine the average weight of an empty suitcase, we compared the weight of ten popular suitcases in each luggage category: carry-on, medium checked, and large checked. We included both hardside and softside bags. This is the average weight, so you should aim to purchase something lighter if you’re looking for a lightweight suitcase.
The Average Weight of Carry-On Luggage (On The Largest Side: 20-21 Inches)
The average weight for an empty carry-on is 7.9 pounds (3.6 kg.) From 20-21 inches, the most popular options weighed between 6.3 to 10.2 pounds.
The Average Weight of Medium Checked Luggage (On The Largest Side: 24-25 Inches)
The average weight for an empty medium-sized checked suitcase is 9 pounds (4.1 kg.) From 24-25 inches, the most popular options weighed between 6.9 to 12.6 pounds.
The Average Weight of Large Checked Luggage (On The Largest Side: 28-29 Inches)
The average weight for an empty, large-sized checked suitcase is 11.9 pounds (5.4 kg.) From 28-29 inches, the most popular options weighed between 7.8 to 17.3 pounds.
Read Next: The Ultimate Luggage Size Guide
Hardside vs Softside Luggage: Which One Is Lighter?
When comparing hard suitcases with soft ones, we saw a clear correlation between the total weight of the bag. On average, hardside suitcases weighed two to five pounds more, than their softside alternatives. However, we do have to note, that some hardside suitcases were not that heavy at all.
The ones made from ABS materials were the lightest, in contrast to their alternatives that are made from polycarbonate. Also, some options made from PET materials were pretty light. If you’re looking for the most lightweight option, you should look for a fabric suitcase as they’re always lighter.
Is Lightweight Luggage Worth It?
In my opinion, yes. Especially, if you’re living in Europe and tend to fly with budget airlines. It’s a deadly match if you’re equipped with a heavy suitcase, as European budget airlines have really strict luggage weight restrictions. It’s an excellent way for them to compensate for the low profits from tickets by additional fees for checked and hand luggage.
Some budget airlines have their weight restrictions for hand luggage placed at fifteen pounds. If your carry-on weighs ten pounds, you’re pretty much doomed. We’ve seen some lightweight luggage starting at just four pounds, which is just ridiculous compared to the alternatives weighing twice as much. It luggage, Lucas, Skyway luggage, and Travelpro are all known for making really lightweight suitcases.
Here’s how much usually lightweight luggage weighs:
- 20-22 inches: 4-7 pounds
- 24-26 inches: 5-8 pounds
- 28-30 inches: 5-10 pounds
Editors tip: If you’re looking for a new suitcase, we recommend choosing a well-known brand that suits your needs. There are so many brands to choose from and each has its own unique characteristics, like lifetime warranty, durability, design, weight, and so on. Here’s a comparison of the 16 most popular luggage brands that will help you compare the most popular brands and help you choose the right one.
Is Lightweight Luggage Durable?
It really depends on the price and the brand. What we’ve seen is that you usually get what you’re paying. In other words, don’t expect to buy an “Ultralight super-professional suitcase” for $50 and expect it to last. There’s an exception with It luggage though, as we’ve read that they’re pretty durable despite the low prices. If you’re purchasing a lightweight suitcase above $70 and from a well-known brand, usually you’ll get a durable one. Just be sure to look at the reviews before buying. You want to find something that had hundreds of reviews and most of them positive.
Most lightweight fabric suitcases are made from durable rip-stop polyester material, with the frame made either from aluminum or fiberglass. Usually, they feel pretty fragile upon picking up, but the good ones will last. Here’s a piece of advice: Always pack lightweight fabric suitcases full, otherwise, the inner frame could get bent. On the other hand, if you’re looking at purchasing a hard shell lightweight suitcase, always go for the polycarbonate frame, as opposed to ABS. The latter is much more fragile and cheaper to manufacture.
Read Next: Best Zipperless Suitcases in 2020 Compared
Tips for Lightening up Your Luggage
We want to help you avoid unnecessary fees when it comes to traveling. We know how easy it is to surpass weight restrictions when it comes to packing. If you want to know how to avoid going over the weight limit, these tips might help you.
- Only pack the necessities, you can always stop in a store at your destination or find items at the airport that you might need.
- If you want to bring back souvenirs from your trip but don’t have space, you can always ship them back home.
- Choose lighter but durable suitcases.
- Try to wear your heaviest pieces of clothing rather than packing them.
- Buy a luggage scale so you won’t be surprised at the airport.
- Put your heavier items in your carry-on.
- While you pay extra for each extra bag that you check, it might end up cheaper for you to bring two bags rather than pay an overweight fee.
- Joining a frequent flyer program will likely come with the benefit of baggage fee discounts or waivers.
- You will be able to fit more items if you use a backpack as your carry-on.
- Make a suitcase itinerary so that you know exactly what to pack in your luggage.
Airline Weight Restrictions for Carry-On Luggage
Here’s what the weight restrictions usually look like for carry-on luggage. If you need to find any other airlines, here’s a post by Skyscanner that shows just that. Some restrictions might be inaccurate if a company changes its policies, but we try to update this list as often as possible.
- American Airlines: 40 pounds (18 kg)
- Air Asia: 15 pounds (7 kg)
- Air Canada: 22 pounds (10 kg)
- Air France: 26 pounds (12 kg)
- British Airways: 50 pounds (23 kg)
- Delta Air Lines: No weight restrictions.
- EasyJet: No weight restrictions.
- KLM: 26 pounds (12 kg)
- Lufthansa: 17 pounds (8 kg)
- Norwegian Airlines: 22 pounds (10 kg)
- Ryanair: 22 pounds (10 kg)
- Southwest Airlines: No weight restrictions.
- Turkish Airlines: 17 pounds (8 kg)
- United Airlines: No weight restrictions.
- Virgin: 22 pounds (10 kg)
- Wizz Air: 22 pounds (10 kg)
Airline Weight Restrictions for Checked Luggage
Here’s a list of the weight restrictions for checked luggage for the most popular airlines. If you can’t find a specific airline, you should check the airline companies’ website. Some restrictions might be inaccurate if a company changes its policies, but we try to update this list as often as possible.
- American Airlines: 50 pounds (23 kg)
- Air Asia: 70 pounds (32 kg)
- Air Canada: 50 pounds (23 kg)
- Air France: 50 pounds (23 kg)
- British Airways: 50 pounds (23 kg)
- Delta Air Lines: 50 pounds (23 kg)
- EasyJet: 44 pounds (20 kg)
- KLM: 50 pounds (23 kg)
- Lufthansa: 50 pounds (23 kg)
- Norwegian Airlines: 70 pounds (32 kg)
- Ryanair: 44 pounds (20 kg)
- Southwest Airlines: 50 pounds (23 kg)
- Turkish Airlines: 44 pounds (20 kg)
- United Airlines: 50 pounds (23 kg)
- Virgin: 50 pounds (23 kg)
- Wizz Air: 70 pounds (32 kg)
To Sum Up
It’s important to find out how much your luggage weighs. We recommend weighing your luggage at home before you head out so that you know you’re within weight limits. Hardside luggage will likely always weigh a bit more than their softside counterparts. While hardside suitcases are usually the go-to for durable luggage, there are some high-end, softside options that are just as long-lasting. If you’re weighing the benefits of investing in lightweight luggage, we always recommend choosing a well-known brand that’s at least $70 or more. It might also help you to make an itinerary for your luggage so that you know exactly what you will be putting in your luggage.
While we have provided a list of airlines and their weight restrictions, it’s always important for you to check with the airline before your trip. We recommend calling the airline if you’re close to reaching the weight limit to ensure that the information you have is correct. It’s better to play it safe than to end up sorry.
One way that you can avoid extra fees is by trying to lighten up your luggage. Besides avoiding the heavier suitcase options when it comes to luggage, you can also wear some extra layers of clothing, fill your carry-on to the brim, and other options we’ve listed above. If you do choose to pack your carry-on with as many items as you can, you might want to consider choosing an airline that doesn’t have any weight restrictions for carry-ons. Delta Air Lines, EasyJet, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines are the best choices if you decide to go this route.
Taking the added stress of fees and weight limits off of your mind will help you to have a better experience. We hope that these suggestions will help you to have a fantastic, stress-free trip.