Although Tumi is better-known for their softside luggage, they also offer aluminum hardside suitcases that directly compete with the ones from Rimowa. Although each brand has its pros and cons, we think that Tumi is a slightly better choice than Rimowa.
Down below, we’ll compare Rimowa with Tumi to find out in what aspects each brand is better. We’ll compare the durability of their luggage, the choice of materials, their weight and size compatibility with major airlines, and find out which are the best suitcase models from both of them.
A Brief Summary of Rimowa
Rimowa is one of the oldest luggage brands, even older than Samsonite – it was founded in 1898, in Germany. They’re best known for making iconic aluminum luggage with distinct parallel grooves, which they pioneered in 1950. Throughout the years, the company has stayed in the hands of its original owners in Germany. But in 2016, they were acquired by the French giant LVMH (Louis Vuitton), which currently is the second-largest luggage manufacturer by sales, right after Samsonite.
Today, Rimowa is mostly known for its aluminum and polycarbonate hardside luggage. However, since its merger with Louis Vuitton, it’s been branching into other products as well, such as backpacks, totes, slings, phone cases, and other travel accessories.
A Brief Summary of Tumi
Tumi is a luggage brand with a long history, established in 1975 in the United States. They became popular by making extremely durable ballistic nylon suitcases offered in dark colors to cater to business class travelers and airline crews. In 2004, they got acquired by Doughty Hanson & Co., which resulted in more affordable prices, but their suitcases became slightly less durable and they stopped offering their iconic lifetime warranty on new bags. In 2016, Samsonite acquired Tumi, and right now, it’s one of their best-performing brands, accounting for roughly 20% of their sales worldwide.
Although Tumi mainly specializes in softside luggage, it also offers quite a few hardside models, including aluminum luggage. Their aluminum suitcases are really similar to Rimowa, only a bit cheaper. In addition to luggage, they also offer backpacks, totes, duffels, and various other travel accessories.
Key Differences Between Rimowa and Tumi
Does Rimowa Make Lighter Luggage Than Tumi?
Rimowa’s suitcases on average are slightly lighter than Tumi’s, although not by much. In fact, both of these brands make really heavy suitcases. We gathered data on 31 different luggage brands, and when comparing the average weight of each brand, Rimowa ranked 29th and Tumi took the last (31st) place. For context, Tumi’s suitcases on average weigh 2x more than the lightest luggage brand Lipault (which also recently got acquired by Samsonite)
Both of them are so heavy because they use premium materials, which are more durable but weigh much more. They also have more packing features than regular suitcases, and their wheels, handles, and zippers are built to be more durable, which all adds up to the total weight. So if you’re planning on traveling with airlines that have tight hand luggage weight requirements, Rimowa and Tumi won’t be ideal. However, they’re great for checked luggage, which needs to be much more durable to withstand rough luggage handling conditions, and which has much looser weight requirements – usually 50 or 70 lbs per bag.
The weight differences between Tumi and Rimowa are somewhat minimal in carry-on and underseat luggage. However, on average, Tumi’s checked luggage is much heavier than Rimowa’s. For context, Tumi’s heaviest suitcase (that can be used for air travel) is the Alpha 3 Extended Trip, which weighs 17.9 lbs (8.11 kg). For Rimowa, it’s the Rimowa Original Check-In L, which weighs 13.7 lbs (6.2 kg). To make matters worse, the Alpha 3 is softside and the Rimowa Original is made from aluminum. Usually, hardside suitcases are heavier than softside ones, but it isn’t necessarily true with Tumi.
Are Rimowa Suitcases More Durable Than Tumi?
Both Rimowa and Tumi make extremely durable suitcases, so it’s really hard to compare them in durability. Essentially, both of these brands make some of the most durable suitcases out there, along with Briggs & Riley.
Rimowa has always used aluminum as their main choice of material, which is the most durable option for hardside luggage. That’s because aluminum is much more resistant to cracks than any plastic or other composite used in hardside luggage. Instead of breaking, it usually just bends. However, since 2000, Rimowa has also started selling some plastic hardside suitcases, which are made from polycarbonate. Although it isn’t as durable as aluminum, it’s currently the strongest hardside plastic used in luggage. Because it’s so flexible, it’s also very unlikely to develop cracks. For its backpacks, slings, and totes, Rimowa mainly uses canvas and full-grain leather, which both are some of the strongest fabrics used in luggage.
As their main choice of material for softside luggage, Tumi uses ballistic nylon. Although canvas and leather are theoretically stronger, they’re rarely used in suitcases because they’re less resistant to abrasions, they aren’t good at resisting water, and they’re very heavy, which is why they’re more commonly used in backpacks, duffels, and totes. For softside suitcases specifically, ballistic nylon is considered the strongest fabric. For their hardside bags, Tumi uses aluminum, polycarbonate, and Tegris – a unique material from Tumi made of 100% polypropylene. It’s made into yarns and then weaved into a composite, which makes it as durable as polycarbonate, only lighter.
When comparing all the hardware elements, such as wheels, zippers, handles, and locks, both brands do a really good job, even though Rimowa is slightly better. They use slightly better materials for their hardware. For example, on the Tumi 19-degree aluminum suitcase, the latches are made from plastic, but on the Rimowa Original, they’re metal.
It’s also worth noting that we didn’t find many reviews from customers who complained about durability issues from either of these brands, which speaks for their durability.
Which Brand Is Better at Staying Within the Airline Size Restrictions?
Both Rimowa and Tumi suitcases are sized to fit the airline restrictions for carry-on and checked luggage. Having said that, Rimowa suitcases are slightly better at staying within the size restrictions.
For carry-on luggage, the most common size restriction for airlines operating within the United States is 22 x 14 x 9 inches (56 x 36 x 23 cm). For airlines originating from Europe, the most common one is 21.5 x 15.5 x 9 inches (55 x 40 x 23), which means that they usually allow slightly wider carry-ons. Essentially, Tumi has optimized their carry-ons to stay just within the carry-on size restrictions for American flights, and Rimowa for European ones. Most Tumi carry-ons are sized exactly at 22 x 14 x 9 inches with wheels and handles included and Rimowa at 21.7 x 15.8 x 7.9 inches.
For checked luggage, the most important size limit, which almost all airlines follow, is 62 linear inches (157.5 cm), which is the sum of height, width, and depth. We didn’t find any Rimowa suitcase advertised as checked large, that would be over this limit. In fact, usually, they’re 0.5 inches below or spot on at 62 linear inches. For Tumi, the situation is very similar. We found only one suitcase from Tumi advertised as checked large, which was over 62 linear inches – the Tumi Alpha 3 Extended Trip, which is 4 inches over the limit.
Which Brand Has Better Reviews – Rimowa or Tumi?
We compiled data on all suitcases sold by Tumi and Rimowa on Amazon to find out which brand had better reviews. On average, Rimowa’s suitcases are rated at 4.30 stars out of 5, and Tumi’s 4.29, so they’re nearly identical.
For context, we gathered data on 31 different luggage brands, and out of all of them, Rimowa took the 28th place and Tumi 29th in customer reviews. Although this may seem like a really bad result for both brands, this doesn’t necessarily correlate to whether they sell good products or not. Usually, lower-priced suitcases get much better reviews, because people have lower expectations for them. In the high-end class, people are usually much more critical, because for prices that high, they expect everything to be perfect.
Most of the critical reviews for Tumi and Rimowa were for products sent in the wrong color, customer service issues, small packing capacity, or saying that the newer versions aren’t as good as they were 10-20 years ago. Reviews that mentioned durability issues were very rare for both brands, which is somewhat uncommon when compared to other luggage brands, like Samsonite or Delsey.
Do Tumi Suitcases Come With Better Features?
When it comes to features, Tumi is definitely doing a better job than Rimowa, even though their suitcases cost less.
Suitcases from Rimowa are very minimalistic, and they come with only the most essential features, such as TSA-approved combination locks, double spinner wheels, and included luggage tags. They also have some smart packing features, like the adjustable flex-divider, which keeps everything in place, and several pockets for organizing all the smaller items.
Tumi, on the other hand, has everything that Rimowa offers (except the flex-divider), and a lot more. Most of their suitcases come with expandable zippers, which let you increase the total capacity by 10-20%. Even on the Aluminum version, which doesn’t have a zipper, they’ve added a latch system that also lets you expand it by several inches. In addition to that, they also have USB ports for charging your phone with a power bank, and their zippers feature their Omega closure system, which is more secure, and has easily replaceable zipper heads in case they get stuck on the luggage conveyor belts.
In terms of packing features, Tumi includes an antimicrobial lining on most of their models, which helps reduce the odor of dirty laundry. They also offer quite a few pockets for organizing all the smaller items, and most of their suitcases come with built-in suiter compartments, which reduce wrinkles in your suits.
Another important feature that comes with all Tumi suitcases is their tracer system. In addition to a regular luggage tag that comes with all of their bags, they also have a unique 20-digit number built-in on the exterior of the suitcase. If it gets lost, the airlines can contact Tumi, and through this number, Tumi will be able to identify that it belongs to you and get in touch with you.
Which Brand Offers More Value?
When taking everything into account, we think that Tumi offers much more value than Rimowa. Their bags are very similar in durability, they’re built from similar materials, and they have nearly identical warranty terms. Only they cost less and come with much better features.
We compared their prices in detail, and our data revealed that on average, Tumi suitcases cost 15% less than Rimowa. The average price of a Rimowa suitcase is 1131$ and for Tumi it’s 955$. Just keep in mind that both of these brands are insanely expensive, and in our opinion, overpriced. For 300-500$ less, you can get a suitcase from Briggs & Riley with identical durability and features, and much better warranty terms.
We consider Rimowa and Tumi to be luxury brands, where you’re paying more for having the brand logo stamped on there, although Tumi is definitely leaning towards practicality a bit more. This is extremely evident with Rimowa, which recently was bought by the king of luxury brands – Luis Vuitton. Since then, they’ve introduced all kinds of luxury items, like 125$ phone cases, 80$ cases for AirPods, and 1720$ protective cases for wine bottles.
Rimowa Warranty Terms vs Tumi
At these prices, we’d expect unconditional lifetime warranties from Rimowa and Tumi. Unfortunately, both of them offer only 5-year warranties, which is the period that you usually get for any medium-class suitcase from Samsonite, Travelpro, or Delsey. However, when compared side by side, Tumi has much better warranty terms than Rimowa.
Rimowa offers a very limited warranty. If you forget to register it online, then it’s not even valid only for 5 years – you’ll only get a 2-year warranty. This warranty covers only manufacturing defects (anything caused by improper manufacturing). Furthermore, defects from normal wear and tear, transportation damage, or accidents aren’t covered. On the plus side, if they deem that the warranty is valid, they’ll cover all shipping costs to and from the repair centers.
Tumi offers an unconditional warranty for the first year and a limited one (still better than Rimowa) for the next 4 years. During the first year, they’ll cover manufacturing defects, normal wear and tear, and transportation damage. They’ll also cover all shipping costs. During the next 4 years, they won’t cover transportation damage and you’ll have to pay for shipping to the repair centers out of your own pocket. It’s still better than Rimowa because normal wear and tear is covered, such as worn-down wheels that aren’t usable anymore, cracks in the hard shell or the retractable handle, and similar defects.
Both of these brands used to offer unconditional lifetime warranties. However, during the last two decades, both of them have been bought by huge companies (Samsonite and Louis Vuitton), and unfortunately, their lifetime warranties have been slashed to decrease costs and (probably) increase revenue from planned obsolescence.
Conclusion: Should You Get a Suitcase From Rimowa or Tumi?
There are certain advantages and disadvantages to choosing a suitcase between Rimowa and Tumi. Personally, we’d be leaning towards Tumi, but Rimowa also has its pros.
In terms of durability, the materials used, and customer reviews, both brands are nearly identical. They both make some of the most durable suitcases that you can get, and they only use the best materials in manufacturing them.
However, the thing that makes Tumi better (in our opinion), is that their suitcases cost 15% less on average, they come with much more useful features, and their warranty terms are also better. During the first year, you even get an unconditional warranty, which covers almost any defect.
The only downside to Tumi is that their suitcases are very heavy – much heavier than Rimowa. Even Rimowa wouldn’t by no means be considered lightweight – but Tumi is even heavier. Another con for Tumi is that their carry-ons aren’t specifically optimized for European airline restrictions, unlike Rimowa. Instead, they’re optimized for American ones, so if you’re mostly flying in Europe, Rimowa might be a better choice. And lastly, Rimowa has a much more distinct and recognizable brand, which could be the deciding factor for many.
Having said that, we think that there’s an even better choice for luggage in the premium price range – Briggs & Riley. For example, the Briggs and Riley Baseline carry-on costs roughly half of what you’d pay for Tumi or Rimowa, it’s just as durable, it comes with the same or better features, it’s lighter, and it has an unconditional lifetime warranty. Although they don’t offer aluminum suitcases, they do offer some hardside models as well, such as the Briggs & Riley Sympatico.
Best Suitcases From Rimowa and Tumi
Best 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 best aluminum collection from Rimowa is the “classic” one, although the “original” collection is nearly identical, only a bit heavier. The Rimowa Classic carry-on is an excellent option for frequent travelers who are looking for something that will last them for over a decade.
Its hard shell is built from 100% aluminum, with polycarbonate wheels, full-grain leather handles, and a polyester interior. It’s probably the most durable aluminum suitcase that you’ll find because Rimowa has literally been refining its details for decades. Even all of the smaller hardware elements, like its latches, TSA-approved locks, and the attachments for the handles are made from metal, which improves its durability. They’ve used plastic only for elements that aren’t vital to its longevity, such as the parts around the spinner wheels and the retractable handle.
It’s 21.7 x 15.7 x 7.9 inches (55 x 40 x 20 cm) in size, which means that it’s perfectly sized for European airlines, but it might be too wide for some airlines operating in the United States, where the width needs to be under 14 inches. Just like most aluminum suitcases, it’s pretty heavy in weight, weighing 9.7 lbs (4.4 kg). However, compared to the average weight of similar aluminum suitcases, it actually weighs 0.35 lbs under the average weight, which means that it actually isn’t that heavy.
In terms of features, it’s equipped with four double spinner wheels, two TSA-approved combination locks, a top and side handle, and a retractable handle on top. It opens up in two equal parts and they’re divided with Rimowa’s unique flex-divider, which is essentially a fabric divider with which you can hold all of your clothing in place. The flex-divider also has two built-in pockets for organizing all the smaller items.
The Rimowa Classic is basically an indestructible suitcase. The only downside is that it’s very expensive, costing over 1000$.
Best Aluminum Suitcase From Tumi: 19 Degree Aluminum Continental
|- 22. x 16 x 9 in (56 x 40.5 x 23 cm)|
|- 11.8 lbs (5.35 kg)|
|- Editors rating: 4.7|
The Tumi 19 Degree Aluminum is a really solid alternative to the Rimowa Classic and Original aluminum collections. It’s slightly cheaper, it comes with better features, and it’s backed up by a better warranty.
Tumi has also used pure aluminum for the hard shell of this suitcase. Having said that, the other elements aren’t made from as durable materials as on the Rimowa Classic. For example, for the handles, they’ve used hard plastic instead of full-grain leather. Also, the TSA-approved lock, the latches, and a few other elements are made from hard plastics instead of metal.
In dimensions, the continental version is 22. x 16 x 9 inches (56 x 40.5 x 23 cm) in size. This means that it’s perfect for domestic flights with a bit looser restrictions, but it’s also available in an international version, which is a bit more narrow – 14 inches in width. It weighs 11.8 lbs (5.35 kg), which definitely is on the heavier side. In fact, it’s 1.75 lbs over the average weight of similarly-sized aluminum suitcases.
In features, it’s slightly better than the Rimowa Classic carry-on. On the inside, it has a full fabric divider, which is a bit better than Rimowa’s flex-divider. It also has a suit hanger, which means that your suits will get fewer wrinkles. You’ll also find the Tumi tracer built in the main frame, which essentially is a 20-digit code that anyone can use to get in touch with Tumi in case it gets lost.
The 19 Degree Aluminum is a perfect option if you’re looking for something extra-durable, and you’re planning on mostly flying on domestic flights with looser hand luggage restrictions. It’s more than durable enough to withstand frequent travel and it has all the features that a business traveler might need. The only downside is that it’s pretty heavy.
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|
Recently, Rimowa started offering plastic suitcases under the name of “Essential”, which are very similar to their “classic” collection, only much lighter. The main difference is that the Essential collection is offered in much more color options compared to the aluminum version – not only professional but also bright and colorful ones.
The Rimowa Essential is offered in four different sizes – underseat, cabin, checked M, and checked L. The carry-on version is 21.65 x 15.35 x 9.06 inches (55 x 39 x 23 cm) in size, which is perfect for European airlines, but not American ones because it’s a bit too wide. It weighs 7.05 lbs (3.20 kg), which is only 0.1 lbs heavier than the average weight of similar plastic suitcases of this size.
Its hard shell is built from polycarbonate, which is the most durable plastic used in hardside luggage. Obviously, it isn’t as durable as aluminum, but if you take good care of it, it can last decades. Polycarbonate in itself is a quite flexible material, and because of its flexibility, it’s much less likely to develop cracks compared to other plastics. Another difference from the Aluminum version is that the handles are made from plastic, not full-grain leather.
In terms of features, it’s almost identical to the Rimowa Classic Aluminum model. The only difference is that instead of a latch opening system with two TSA-approved locks, it has a zipper and a single TSA-approved combination lock. All the other elements on the interior and exterior are pretty much identical.
Overall, it’s a really solid hardside suitcase. However, compared to other hardside plastic suitcases, it’s much more expensive – you can find similarly durable suitcases from other brands with better features and warranty terms for much less, such as the Briggs & Riley Sympatico.
Best Hardside (Plastic) Suitcase From Tumi: Latitude
|- 22 x 14 x 9 in (55.9 x 35.6 x 22.9 cm)|
|- 6.22 lbs (2.82 kg)|
|- Editors rating: 4.6|
The Tumi Latitude is one of the best hardside (plastic) suitcases that you’ll find. Although it’s really expensive, it’s built from top-of-the-line materials, it comes with a bunch of useful features, and it’s very light.
The carry-on version is sized at 22 x 14 x 9 inches (55.9 x 35.6 x 22.9 cm), which is the perfect size for most airlines operating in the United States. That said, it might be a bit too large in depth for some European airlines with tighter restrictions, who require carry-ons to be no more than 8 inches in depth. It’s also really lightweight, weighing only 6.22 lbs (2.82 kg), which is 0.7 lbs below the average weight of similar plastic hardside suitcases.
The Tumi Latitude is so light because it’s made from SRPP Ballistic, which is a material patented by Tumi. Actually, it’s 100% polypropylene – it’s just made into yarns and then weaved into a composite to increase its strength. It’s a nearly identical material to their other patented hardside composite, called Tegris. In strength, it’s just as strong as polycarbonate, which is the most durable plastic used in luggage, only it’s lighter.
From the exterior, it’s fitted with four double spinner wheels, top and side handles, a retractable handle on top, a luggage tag, and an integrated TSA-approved lock. On the backside, at the bottom, you’ll also find the Tumi tracer code, which helps with lost luggage.
When you open the bag up, it’s split into two equal parts. The first half is separated with a fabric sheet, and it contains a zippered mesh pocket and a hanger bracket for hanging suits. The second one also has another smaller pocket, but instead of a fabric sheet, it has an adjustable divider, which keeps your clothes in place.
The Tumi Latitude is a really great choice for frequent travelers, who need something durable, lightweight, and within the airline size restrictions.
Best Softside Suitcase From Tumi: Alpha 3
|- 22 x 14 x 9 in (55.9 x 35.6 x 22.9 cm)|
|- 10.07 lbs (4.56 kg)|
|- Ballistic nylon|
|- Editors rating: 4.7|
The Tumi Alpha 3 could be one of the best softside carry-ons out there. It’s extremely durable, it’s equipped with every feature that you could think of, and it comes with a good warranty. The only downside is that it’s very heavy and very expensive.
With wheels and handles included, it measures 22 x 14 x 9 inches (55.9 x 35.6 x 22.9 cm), which is just the right size for airlines operating in the United States. It weighs 10.07 lbs (4.56 kg), which means that it’s one of the heaviest softside carry-ons out there. In fact, it weighs 3.5 lbs or 53% over the average weight of softside carry-on suitcases. This means that it’s too heavy to be used on airlines with strict weight requirements for hand luggage.
It’s built from Ballistic Nylon, which is the most durable fabric used in softside suitcases. It also has two plastic rails integrated into the main frame for additional protection. The Alpha 3 is fitted with the Tumi Omni Omega zippers, which are more durable, and in case the zipper head gets stuck on the conveyor belts, they detach easily without ruining the whole zipper and can be easily replaced.
From the exterior, it’s fitted with four double spinner wheels, top, bottom, and side handles, a retractable handle on top, and a TSA-approved combination lock. It also has the Tumi tracer integrated into the frame to find the suitcase if it gets lost. There are also two additional pockets in the front and another zipper for accessing the main compartment without fully opening the bag. By the way, both zippers are secured with the TSA lock, so nobody will be able to get inside except the TSA agents. And lastly, it also has a luggage tag and a USB charging port mounted to the side.
The interior is no less advanced. It opens up in a split-book style, with two equal sides. One side is meant for storing all of your clothing. It has adjustable panels for keeping everything in place and two pockets for organizing all the smaller items. The second one, which is accessible from the exterior, is separated by a fabric layer, which is unzippable and has another mesh pocket built in it. On the inside, it has a hanger bracket and a removable suit garment sleeve, which helps with reducing the wrinkles on suits.
The Tumi Alpha 3 carry-on is perfect for business travelers and flight crews who often fly on short overnight trips because it provides plenty of features for organizing everything and it’s incredibly durable. However, you might also want to check out the Briggs and Riley Baseline carry-on, which is lighter, cheaper, offers a similar amount of features, is just as durable, and comes with a much better warranty.
Full review: Tumi Alpha 3 22-Inch Carry-On Review