Kenneth Cole is best known for making fashionable apparel, but they also make watches, shoes, suitcases, and other accessories. In this review, we’ll be specifically looking at their luggage, to find out whether they’re a better choice than other, more popular brands, like Samsonite, Delsey, or American Tourister.
We’ll look at how durable their luggage is, what materials it’s made from, what features it comes with, their warranty terms, and more. By the end of this review, you should generally understand whether Kenneth Cole’s suitcases are right for you.
On Clever Journey’s best luggage brands, Kenneth Cole scored 72 points, which is a really high score. They scored even higher than Samsonite (71 points) and American Tourister (69 points).
You can see how we calculated this score by looking at the above graph. We calculated the score for certain categories (reviews, airline compatibility, weight, and price) by gathering data about popular suitcases from 31 different luggage brands and plugging it all into various formulas. For other ones (quality, features, warranty, and design), we assigned the scores by looking at whatever information we could find online and our own experience, so they might be more subjective.
- Well-reviewed. Overall, Kenneth Cole’s customers are really satisfied with their purchases, and negative reviews are fairly uncommon.
- Affordable. On average, a Kenneth Cole suitcase costs 131$, which is really affordable by luggage standards.
- Compatible with most airline size restrictions. Although some of their carry-ons are oversized, most are within the carry-on size restrictions, and so is their checked luggage.
- Somewhat lightweight. Although Kenneth Cole isn’t the most lightweight luggage brand out there, their hardside suitcases usually weigh below what a similarly-sized suitcase weighs on average.
- Good-looking. Kenneth Cole definitely makes luggage that stands out. Although most of their designs are geared toward women, you’ll also find various color options that will also look really good on men.
- Mediocre warranty. Although their suitcases come with a 10-year or even a lifetime limited warranty, their warranty terms are really vague. The good news is that judging from most customer reviews, their support team is pretty responsive, and usually helps with major problems.
- Made from somewhat fragile materials. Their hard shell bags are usually built from ABS and softside ones from polyester. Both of these materials are the cheapest ones and the least durable used in luggage. That said, only a few customers complained about durability issues.
- Doesn’t come with too many smart features. None of their hardside bags have TSA-approved locks, USB chargers, TSA-approved toiletry pouches, or other smart packing features. They’re equipped only with the essentials.
There’s a reason why Kenneth Cole’s luggage is so popular. It’s really affordable, it’s good-looking, and it comes with all the essential features that you’d need. They gained 72 points on our luggage brand leaderboard, which is a fairly high score. They scored so high because their luggage is perfectly sized to fit most airline requirements, it’s really well-reviewed, and it’s also somewhat durable.
That said, Kenneth Cole has some drawbacks as well. Most importantly, their luggage is built from cheap materials, so it isn’t able to withstand frequent traveling. In addition to that, they also have a pretty weak warranty policy.
Overall, we think that Kenneth Cole is a really good choice if you’re looking for something affordable and good-looking. Their suitcases are generally strong enough to last about 3-10 years, depending on how often you travel. But we wouldn’t recommend them if you’ll be traveling once every month or more frequently. In the long run, getting a suitcase from Travelpro, Ricardo Beverly Hills, Delsey, or Samsonite would end up cheaper when used frequently, because Kenneth Cole’s bags are more likely to break.
Top-Rated Kenneth Cole Suitcases
Best overall: Renegade
Most Popular: Out of Bounds
Best softside: Chelsea
Best-looking: Madison Square
Most affordable: Diamond Tower
Key Facts About Kenneth Cole
Kenneth Cole was established in 1982 in the USA, New York, by Kenneth Cole and Sam Edelman. They started out by selling shoes, but soon also branched into apparel, luggage, and various fashion accessories.
At the start, they had a large selection of retail stores. But over time, their retail sales have dwindled, and since 2017, they’ve closed all of their retail stores to only focus on e-commerce. Now you can buy them on Amazon, their own website, Kohls, Nordstrom, Walmart, and other major websites. Since they’ve started focusing only on e-commerce, they’re becoming more popular by the year, because their luggage is actually pretty good.
Kenneth Cole is also a company with a somewhat responsible background. Since 2007, they aren’t using furs in their products. They also participate in California Supply Chains Act and UK Modern Slavery Act, to ensure that their supply chain has fair working conditions.
Kenneth Cole’s suitcases are fairly durable, but they won’t withstand frequent travel. That’s because their luggage is built from somewhat cheap materials. Their hardside bags are made from ABS, which is the most “rigid” plastic used in luggage but is also most likely to crack under pressure.
Their fabric bags are a bit sturdier – even though they’re made from polyester, which is the least durable fabric used in luggage, they’re well-stitched and have various protective elements. The hard shell variations also have protective elements, like reinforced corners and wheel attachment points, but they don’t do much difference because the bag itself can crack anyway.
Overall, their luggage is durable enough for most people, who only travel for leisure, but it’s likely to break when used frequently.
Some customers complained about cracks in the hard shell, wheels and handles breaking off, seams coming apart, dented corners, and other durability issues. That said, most customers actually didn’t experience any issues, and the large majority of the said that Kenneth Cole’s bags feel really rigid and well made. In reality, it’s somewhere in the middle – you have to be pretty careful with Kenneth Cole’s bags if you want them to last.
On average, Kenneth Cole’s suitcases are rated at 4.62 stars out of 5, which is a pretty good result. From all the 31 luggage brands that we collected data on, Kenneth Cole scored #13 in customer reviews, beating Delsey and Traveler’s Choice, and being only slightly behind Samsonite.
Overall, most of their customers are satisfied with their purchases, and they become long-term customers. Usually, people say that their luggage looks even better in real life, it feels really lightweight, and it feels rigid and well made. That said, take it with a grain of salt, because Kenneth Cole’s suitcases are built from somewhat cheap materials, which aren’t that durable long-term.
Although you do get some features, most of Kenneth Cole’s suitcases are pretty basic. They usually come with essential packing features, and not much more.
Expandable Zippers on Most Models
Almost all of Kenneth Cole’s suitcases have expandable zippers. By unzipping them, the suitcase expands by 1-2 inches, which gives you some additional packing space. This is especially useful for return trips when you’ve bought more stuff to take back home.
Water-Resistant Pockets for Wet Items and Dirty Laundry
The Kenneth Cole Chelsea softside carry-on, comes with a water-resistant pocket on the interior. Although it isn’t 100% waterproof, it’s water-resistant enough to store wet swimwear or spillable toiletries, like shampoo. You could also store some of your dirty laundry there, because it’s also odor-resistant, so the rest of your clothes won’t develop bad smells.
Double Spinner Wheels
Almost all of Kenneth Cole’s suitcases, such as the Kenneth Cole Renegade carry-on, come with double spinner wheels with rubber coating. They’re better than typical, single-wheel spinners because they roll smoother and turn more effortlessly. Spinner wheels are in general better on smooth surfaces, because you don’t need to pull the bag behind you on two wheels.
Tie-Down Panels for Keeping Clothing in Place
Usually, suitcases in this price range have typical tie-down elastic straps to keep the clothing from moving around. The suitcases from Kenneth Cole mostly come with tie-down panels, which are better because they do a better job at keeping everything in place and they’re easier to use. Plus, they also give more room to add extra pockets for packing all the smaller items.
Shoe Pockets and Other Compartments for Organizing Your Clothing
The Kenneth Cole Renegade and Madison Square carry-ons also have built-in elastic shoe pockets on the interior, which make it easier to travel with an extra pair of shoes. They essentially separate your shoes from making the rest of your clothing dirty.
All of Kenneth Cole’s bags offer a wide variety of pockets for organizing all the smaller items, like toiletries and electronics. Usually, you get 2-4 mesh pockets on the interior and 2 more on the exterior on their softside models.
Airline Compatibility (8/10)
Kenneth Cole does a pretty good job at making their suitcase size compliant with most airlines.
The most common carry-on size restriction that you should worry about is 22 x 14 x 9 inches, and most Kenneth Cole’s carry-ons are below this, except the Reaction Renegade. Anyway, being just 1-inch over the limit usually doesn’t cause any issues, so you should be good.
For checked luggage, the only size requirement is 62 linear inches, which means the sum of the height, depth, and width. If you’re getting a medium-checked suitcase, this won’t be an issue, but most large checked bags (28-30 inches) from other manufacturers are over this limit. Almost all of Kenneth Cole’s checked-large bags are within 62 linear inches, like the Reaction Chelsea 28-inch checked suitcase, which measures 58 linear inches.
Overall, Kenneth Cole’s suitcases are somewhat lightweight. We collected data on their most popular suitcases and compared them to 31 other luggage brands, and Kenneth Cole scored 12th place among all of them. On average, their suitcases are lighter than Swiss Gear, Amazon Basics, and American Tourister, and they’re just behind Samsonite.
However, some of their models are heavier than others. Their heaviest one is the Kenneth Cole Reaction Renegade (7.85 lbs / 3.6 kg), which weighs roughly 10% more than the average weight of similarly-sized hardside carry-ons. And their lightest model is the Reaction Out of Bounds, which weighs 6.25 lbs (2.83 kg), or 12% below the average weight of similarly-sized hardside carry-ons.
They’re so light mainly because they usually aren’t oversized, they aren’t overpacked with too many features, and most of them are built from ABS, which is the lightest plastic used in luggage.
Although Kenneth Cole’s warranty terms are extremely vague, customer reports indicate that they’re quite forthcoming, and repair obvious defects or send free replacements in case of any problems. We searched for their warranty terms, and unlike all major luggage brands – they don’t lay out any clear warranty terms.
On Amazon, most of their suitcases come with a 10-year limited warranty, but we couldn’t find any mention of this on their own website, except in some product images. Limited warranties usually only cover minor manufacturing defects, where you can clearly see that the suitcase was improperly manufactured, such as loose stitching, wobbly handles, missing screws, etc. They don’t cover accidents, misuse, cosmetic damage, normal wear and tear, and any damage by third parties, like airlines.
The only thing that their website states is that if you receive a product with a defect, you should call their customer service number at 1-800-536-2653 (USA), or write to [email protected], with detailed images of the defect. People who have contacted them usually report that their support is quite friendly and helpful.
That said, they do have a very clear return policy. Within 30 days of receiving your bag, you can return it if it’s still in pristine condition and with all the tags still on – they’ll only deduct the shipping costs from the total refund amount.
In terms of design, Kenneth Cole does a really good job – they offer enough colors and styles for every taste; business and leisure, men and women. That said, they definitely do have more color varieties for women. They’re also definitely going for a luxury vibe, instead of the typical, professional black style that most suitcases come in.
It’s actually one of the main reasons why Kenneth Cole luggage is so popular. Most other manufacturers mostly focus on practicality and usefulness, while Kenneth Cole clearly puts the strongest emphasis on the design. A lot of customers have mentioned this as the main reason why they went with Kenneth Cole, instead of Samsonite, Travelpro, or other brands.
Although Kenneth Cole isn’t the cheapest luggage brand, their luggage is seriously affordable. On average, you can expect to pay 131$ for one of their bags, although they range between 90-160$. From all 31 luggage brands we collected data on, Kenneth Cole ranked 10th in terms of price, which means that they’re definitely leaning towards the affordable end of the spectrum. On average, you can expect to pay roughly 30% less than what a similar suitcase from Samsonite would cost.
However, cheap price doesn’t always mean that the suitcase offers great value. If you manage to buy a Kenneth Cole suitcase for less than 130$, then we’d say that you’re getting great value for your money. Anything over that becomes a mediocre deal, because their suitcases aren’t built to withstand frequent travel, they’re built from somewhat cheap materials, their warranty terms aren’t perfect, and they come with pretty limited features. Over 130$, you can get more value by purchasing something from Samsonite, Ricardo Beverly Hills, Delsey, or Travelpro, which is likely to last much longer.
How Does Kenneth Cole Compare to Other Luggage Brands?
In the affordable price range, we think that Kenneth Cole’s suitcases are currently the best choice to buy. Their suitcases are fairly good from all aspects – they’re affordable, good-looking, durable enough, lightweight, and sized perfectly to fit most airline size requirements. That said, they’re only slightly better than It Luggage and American Tourister.
It luggage bags are also worthwhile, because they’re much lighter, and cost even less while maintaining similar levels of quality and features. They’re also fairly well-reviewed by their customers. The only downside is that their bags aren’t as well-designed as Kenneth Cole, and some of their carry-ons and checked bags are over the size limits for a lot of airlines.
If you’re looking for something more durable than Kenneth Cole, but still affordable, then another great option is American Tourister. It’s a very popular luggage brand, and you’ll find it in most retail luggage stores because they’re owned by Samsonite. They’re a bit more durable, a bit better reviewed, and they come with a much better warranty terms – all while costing very similarly. The only downsides to American Tourister are that a lot of their bags are over the airline size limits, you couldn’t call them lightweight, and they come with slightly fewer features.
That said, we think that Kenneth Cole suitcases are only good for infrequent leisure travel. If you’re planning on traveling more, we’d recommend adding 60$ more to your budget and getting a suitcase from Samsonite. That’s because their luggage is built from much more durable materials, so it’s more likely to last longer, and it also comes with better warranty terms. In addition to that, you’ll also get better features, like TSA-approved locks, wet pockets, USB charging ports, and more.
Individual Kenneth Cole Reaction Suitcase Reviews
Best Overall: Renegade 20-Inch Carry-On
|- 23.5 x 17 x 10 in (60 x 43 x 25 cm)|
|- 7.85 lbs (3.6 kg)|
|- Editors rating: 4.5|
The Kenneth Cole Reaction Renegade is a really great option if you’re looking for an affordable hardside carry-on. It’s the largest and most spacious carry-on that Kenneth Cole offers, so it’s great for people who live in the US, where the size restrictions for carry-ons are slightly looser and less-enforced. You’ll be able to easily pack for 5-14 day vacations in there, depending on your packing habits.
It weighs 7.85 lbs (3.6 kg), which means that it’s also one of the heaviest carry-ons that Kenneth Cole offers. That said, it still isn’t too heavy – it’s only 10% heavier than similarly sized hardside carry-ons. It’s on the heavier side because it’s slightly bigger than all other Kenneth Cole carry-ons, and because it’s also built a bit beefier. It comes with protective corner guards, a back skid plate, and a thicker, more durable retractable handle, which means that it will also most likely last a bit longer compared to other of their models.
The Kenneth Cole Renegate is fitted with four smooth-rolling spinner wheels, which most customers didn’t experience any issues with. Even on the checked models, rarely did people rarely complained about defective spinner wheels, which is refreshing to see, since this is a big problem with affordable suitcases. It also has top, side, and bottom handles, which means that you’ll be able to easily lift it up to the upper storage on planes.
The interior is fairly advanced for a Kenneth Cole suitcase. It’s split into two equal parts and it also has an expandable zipper, which lets you expand the whole inner compartment to get additional 5-10l of packing space. The left half of the interior is completely sealed off with a fabric sheet and it also has a smaller zippered pockets and an elastic shoe pocket. The right one has a floating panel, which holds all of your clothes in place and a large zippered mesh pocket.
Considering that the Kenneth Cole Reaction Renegade suitcase is pretty spacious and offers a wide variety of packing features to keep your clothing organized, it’s definitely a great option for people who like to bring a lot of clothing on their vacations.
Full Review: Kenneth Cole Reaction Renegade 20-Inch Carry-On Review
Most Popular: Out of Bounds 20-Inch Carry-On
|- 21.75 x 14 x 8.5 in (55 x 36 x 22 cm)|
|- 6.25 lbs (2.8 kg)|
|- Editors rating: 4.5|
The Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds is the most popular suitcase model from Kenneth Cole – in fact, it’s one of the most popular carry-ons on Amazon. It’s essentially a more affordable, dumbed down version of the Renegade carry-on.
In size, it’s 21.75 x 14 x 8.5 inches (55 x 36 x 22 cm), which means that it will fit the size requirements for most airlines – even budget ones that have stricter weight requirements. It also weighs 1.5 lbs (0.7 kg) less than the renegade carry-on. In fact, it weighs 12% below the average weight of hardside carry-ons, so if you’re looking for something lightweight and within the size requirements for most airlines, then the Out of Bounds is a really good choice.
It’s made from pure ABS, and similar to the Renegade, it also has some protection elements, like corner guards, and side stand up pegs. That said, it definitely isn’t as durable as the Renegade, which is a lot beefier and more robust. It’s good enough for infrequent leisure travel, and not much more, because after some use, customers have reported broken wheels, faulty zippers, loose stitching, and cracks in the hard shell.
Because this model is so affordable, it comes only with the most essential features. It has an expandable zipper, but no TSA-approved locks. Instead of double spinner wheels, it has basic single-wheel spinners. There isn’t a bottom grab handle, like there is with the Renegade. And the interior, is very simple too – it’s split into two parts, and one side is protected with x-shaped tie-down straps and the other one with a fabric divider with a built-in pocket for organizing all the smaller items.
Overall, it’s a really simple set up, but you can’t really expect much for a suitcase that costs so little. Most of its reviews are positive, it’s really good-looking, available in 17 different colors, and it’s super affordable, so we understand why the Kenneth Cole Out of Bounds is so popular. It’s a really good choice if you’re looking for an affordable suitcase.
Full Review: Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds 28-Inch Checked Luggage Review
Best Softside: Chelsea 20-Inch Carry-On
|- 22 x 14 x 9 in (56 x 36 x 23 cm)|
|- 6.35 lbs (2.9 kg)|
|- Editors rating: 4.4|
The Kenneth Cole Chelsea is a really good and affordable softside carry-on. It provides plenty of pockets and compartments for organizing your clothing, it looks good, it’s lightweight, and it fits most overhead compartments on airplanes.
It weighs just 6.35 lbs (2.9 kg), which is just below the average weight of similarly-sized softside carry-ons (6.55 lbs). This means that it’s great if you’re planning on using it on international trips, where you need to bring more stuff and still stay within the weight requirements for hand luggage. If you run out of space, it also has an expandable zipper, which allows you to expand it by additional 2 inches and pack even more stuff inside. That said, with the expandable zipper open, the depth will increase to 11 inches, which puts it above most airline size requirements, but not all.
All over the bag, you’ll find plenty of pockets and compartments. On the exterior, it has two separate pockets for storing all the smaller quick-grab items. In the interior, you’ll find two zippered pockets, and one water-resistant pocket, which is great for storing slightly damp swimwear and dirty clothing, to separate their odors from contaminating your clean clothing. The interior is also quite roomy, so you’ll be able to use packing cubes, if you want to stay more organized.
On the bottom, it’s equipped with four double spinner wheels. They’re coated with rubber, so that they roll even smoother and quieter. In addition to the top and side handles, it also has a bottom grab handle, which means that it’s easier to lift up because you can easily use both of your hands.
Overall, the Kenneth Cole chelsea is a really solid option if you’re looking for an affordable carry-on. It should last you even longer than most Kenneth Cole’s hardside bags because it can’t crack, and rips in the fabric are usually very unlikely.
Best-Looking: Madison Square 20-Inch Carry-On
|- 22 x 14 x 11 in (56 x 36 x 25 cm)|
|- 6.5 lbs (2.95 kg)|
|- Editors rating: 4.4|
The Kenneth Cole Madison Square is very similar to the Reaction Renegade model, except that it looks a bit better, costs a bit less, and is also more lightweight. In addition to that, it’s also sized at 22 x 14 x 11 inches (56 x 36 x 25 cm), which means that it’s perfectly shaped to fit most airline carry-on size restrictions.
It weighs only 6.5 lbs (2.95 kg), which is very lightweight for a hardside carry-on. In fact, it weighs 9% less than what a hardside carry-on weighs on average. This means that it’s perfect for people with back problems, because it will be slightly easier to lift up to the overhead compartments. Plus, it also has a bottom grab handle, which will make the job even easier. It’s more lightweight than the Renegade because it doesn’t have corner guards, skid plates, and side pegs to keep it level when placed horizontally. This means that it might be a bit less durable, but it should still be durable enough to withstand light traveling for leisure.
It doesn’t come with many extras, but it does have four double spinner wheels with rubber coating and an expandable zipper, which lets you increase the total packing capacity. The interior is pretty much identical to the renegade – it has the same 3 pockets for organizing smaller items, a shoe elastic pocket, and a tie-down panel for keeping everything in place.
The Madison Square brings the best of both worlds from Renegade and Out of Bounds. It offers just as many features as the Renegade at a lower cost, while still being just as lightweight as the Out of Bounds and being sized perfectly to fit most overhead compartments on airplanes.
Most Affordable: Diamond Tower 20-Inch Carry-On
|- 22 x 14 x 9 in (56 x 36 x 23 cm)|
|- 6.5 lbs (2.95 kg)|
|- Editors rating: 4.3|
The Kenneth Cole Diamond Tower is the most affordable suitcase made by Kenneth Cole, and it’s actually pretty good. It has all the essentials you’d need, it’s good looking, it’s lightweight, and best if all – really affordable.
It’s built from 100% abs, so you won’t be able to travel with it frequently because it might develop cracks over time. This seemed to be an issue for some people, but not a lot. Anyway, we wouldn’t recommend getting this suitcase for checking-in because it might break prematurely. We’d only recommend using it for hand luggage, where you decide under how much stress and pressure it will be put under. It has four corner guards, but they won’t keep your suitcase protected if it’s thrown around while baggage handling.
In terms of features, it’s got everything that a typical suitcase from Kenneth Cole would come with – expandable zipper, double, rubber-coated spinner wheels, and various pockets inside for organizing all of your gear. Because it’s split into two parts, there isn’t too much room on each side, so there’s no need to use packing cubes – you can stay pretty organized without them.
The Diamond Tower is also shaped perfectly to fit the carry-on size requirements for most airlines, so you’ll never need to check your bag at the gate. It’s also pretty lightweight, weighing only 6.5 lbs (2.95 kg), so you’ll be able to maximize your carry-on weight allowance.