Tumi is well-known for its luxurious and functional suitcases, with the Alpha 3 carry-on being one of its best-selling suitcases. It’s full of features, extremely durable, and our favorite softside Tumi bag.
In this Tumi Alpha 3 22-inch carry-on review, we’ll look at everything this bag offers, like its durability, value, and much more. We’ll also find out how it ranks up against other Tumi suitcases and some similarly-priced ones from other brands.
- Extremely durable
- Really easy to move around
- Full of extra features
- Not the greatest warranty terms
The Tumi Alpha 3 22-inch carry-on offers excellent durability, with its FXT ballistic nylon case being one of the most durable ones on the market. Its wheels roll very smoothly, and it’s packed with many features. However, the suitcase costs way too much compared to what it’s offering, and Tumi’s warranty could see a lot of improvement.
Don’t get us wrong – the Alpha 3 is an excellent suitcase- in fact, it’s one of the most durable carry-ons out there. However, for half the price, you can get a similarly durable suitcase from Briggs & Riley that offers more features and comes with better warranty terms, specifically, the Briggs & Riley Baseline carry-on.
Dimensions & Weight (6/10)
The Alpha 3 carry-on measures at 22 x 14 x 9 inches (56 x 35.5 x 23 cm). It’s great to see that the suitcase’s size matches its advertised size. Most commonly, brands advertise the size of the case without its wheels and handles. This also means that Tumi’s carry-on matches the most common carry-on size restriction. We couldn’t find any complaints about customers checking the Alpha 3, so it’s safe to say that you won’t have an issue using it as a carry-on.
The internal packing space of the bag is also great at first glance. However, a few customers complained that the older models of the Alpha 3 carry-on used to have more space inside. While the older model was an extra two inches wide, the newer one is expandable, which adds two inches to its depth, so this should suffice for a week-long trip.
The Alpha 3 weighs 10.9 lbs (4.94 kg), which is quite heavy for a ballistic nylon carry-on. Our research showed that the average weight of these bags is 8.48lbs (3.85kg), which is more than 20% less than the weight of the Alpha 3 carry-on.
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Materials & Water-Resistance (13/15)
The Tumi Alpha 3 carry-on is made from the patented FXT ballistic nylon. Ballistic nylon is considered the best fabric on the market, but it’s also the heaviest. Regular nylon suitcases are a little less durable than ballistic nylon ones, while they’re a lot lighter. Going back to Tumi, its FXT ballistic nylon is said to be an improved version of regular ballistic nylon, which adds to its toughness and makes the suitcase abrasion-proof.
We couldn’t find any mention of a water-resistant coating on this suitcase, so it’s safe to assume that there is none. Our experience has taught us that ballistic nylon is water-repellant, meaning that it won’t get soaked in light rain. Though, we’re sure that your belongings will get wet if you drag the bag through heavy rain.
Every Tumi suitcase is built with durability in mind, and the Alpha 3 22-inch carry-on is no different. We didn’t find any complaints concerning the durability of any aspects of the suitcase.
The case is extremely durable because it is made from FXT ballistic nylon. The patent uses a unique weave, making the suitcase resistant to any abrasions during your travel. It also features their DuraFold construction, which covers parts of the front, back, and corners of it, thus making it resistant to any impact that could destroy it.
The wheels, zippers, and handles are the parts that usually break first on a suitcase. This isn’t true with the Tumi Alpha 3; we didn’t find any complaints about any broken wheels or flimsy handles. The zippers are made so that only the zipper puller will detach from the bag if they get stuck somewhere, making it easier to replace them.
We think that in terms of durability, the Alpha 3 carry-on is one of the best softside ones on the market.
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The Tumi Alpha 3 carry-on comes with four double spinner wheels. They’re made from rubber, which ensures that they won’t only roll smoothly but also be silent. This is confirmed by most customers, who were amazed at how easy this suitcase is to roll.
Considering that this bag is targeted toward business travelers, the spinner wheels are the best choice since they are the easiest ones to roll around the airport without needing to tilt them. That said, rollaboards are much better when traveling off the beaten path or trying to fit as many clothes as possible inside the suitcase. However, realistically, you’ll roll your suitcase on smooth surfaces (like airports and pavements) if you’re traveling for business, which is where spinner wheels excel.
The Alpha 3 also comes with many handles, including a retractable top handle, which will make rolling the bag around effortless. There are a couple of handles on the sides of the carry-on as well, which should assist you in picking it up. Thankfully, there’s a bottom handle as well; this should significantly help you lift the bag up to the overhead bins, considering that it is heavier than most other carry-ons.
Additional Features (10/10)
The Tumi Alpha 3 carry-on comes with a lot of additional features. At its price point, these are all to be expected since most other similarly-priced suitcases have them.
For starters, the bag has a TSA-approved lock. Every premium suitcase should have one because the TSA can (and will) destroy your bag’s zippers to check your belongings if the lock isn’t present. The unique thing about the Alpha 3’s lock is that it has space for two zippers, so you can lock the main compartment and front pocket, which is a great addition.
The main feature that every Tumi suitcase has is the Tumi Tracer. It’s a simple tag on the back of the bag, with a barcode and a 20-digit product number. If you’ve registered your suitcase, then Tumi will be able to track it down in case you lose it in transit.
The carry-on also comes with a USB port, which you could utilize to charge your phone on the move. You’ll need to get your own power bank, though, since the bag doesn’t come with one.
As we take a deeper look inside, the Alpha 3 has a lot of pockets; so you can divide your belongings according to their type. The front pocket can hold a 14-inch laptop, which is especially great for business travelers. The main compartment has two mesh pockets and two pencil-case pockets, alongside a pair of unique compression straps. Along with all that, there’s a built-in suiter compartment so that you can pack an extra suit with you.
The Alpha 3’s design isn’t the best one out there. However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s very elegant, and it’ll fit business travelers nicely. It would be nice if Tumi had a couple of extra color options for it, apart from the black one, though.
That said, compared to other luxury suitcases, the Alpha 3 carry-on looks the most professional and sleek while not being too dull. Once compared to other Tumi bags, the Alpha 3 is one of our favorites, but it’s not the best-looking one.
Still, Tumi managed to create a functional and beautiful suitcase at the same time, so well done to them.
The Tumi Alpha 3 is covered by Tumi’s 5-year warranty. Although Tumi is owned by Samsonite, it doesn’t feature the same warranty terms – it has slightly better ones.
The first year of the warranty covers any manufacturing defects and damage that was caused during airline handling. It also covers all shipping costs to and from Tumi’s repair centers. However, it doesn’t cover any damage that they consider was due to “abuse” from the owner. For the next four years, the bag is covered by a limited warranty covering manufacturing defects or normal wear and tear.
The issue with the warranty is that you need to have the receipt as proof of purchase to make a warranty claim. Thankfully, after the 5-year period passes, the brand will offer repairs at a discount.
At this price point, you’d expect a much better warranty. For example, the suitcases from Briggs & Riley, which cost 40% less, come with an unlimited lifetime warranty. With Tumi, you get an unlimited warranty for just one year, and after that, it’s essentially a very limited one, covering only manufacturing defects.
Even though we’ve praised the Alpha 3 carry-on so far, there’s no doubt that it’s overpriced. Tumi’s luggage is generally known for being extremely overpriced just because they have the Tumi logo on them.
There’s no denying that the Alpha 3 22-inch carry-on is a great suitcase. It has many features that you won’t find on most softside carry-ons on the market, and it’s designed for business travelers. However, brands like Briggs & Riley and Travelpro offer similar suitcases at much cheaper prices, which have similar durability and better warranty terms.
So, while there’s no issue with the Alpha 3 carry-on, and its customers love it, it’s very overpriced.
How Does the Alpha 3 Compare to Similar Suitcases?
We found two suitcases from Tumi that are very similar to the Alpha 3. These are the Tumi Merge carry-on and the Tumi Voyageur Leger carry-on.
The Voyageur Leger is the cheapest one out of the three bags, but it’s made from regular nylon instead of ballistic nylon. This also explains why it’s lighter than the other two Tumi carry-ons. However, it’s definitely the best-looking suitcase that Tumi has to offer, and it has the most internal capacity of all three suitcases.
The Merge carry-on is very similar to the Alpha 3. Both bags are made from ballistic nylon, despite the Merge being a bit lighter. It also comes with an extra two handles on the front of the bag to make it easier to pick it up.
We also compared the Alpha 3 to two suitcases from Briggs & Riley, the Briggs & Riley Baseline and the Briggs & Riley Rhapsody. The main positive with both suitcases is that they’re backed by Briggs & Riley’s warranty, which replaces the bag no matter what happens to it.
The Baseline carry-on is more similar to the Alpha 3 than the Rhapsody. That’s because both bags are made from ballistic nylon, while the Rhapsody carry-on is made from regular nylon. While that does make it much more lightweight than the other two, it’s not as durable. The Baseline basically has every feature that the Alpha 3 suitcase has, apart from the tracer.
On top of that, the Baseline is much cheaper than the Alpha 3, and the Rhapsody is half the latter’s price. So, it’s clear that some equally-great suitcases cost much less than the Alpha 3.
The Tumi Alpha 3 22-inch carry-on is a very durable suitcase that rolls around smoothly and will last you for many years. It’s built for business travelers, so you can expect it to last for tons of trips. However, despite the bag being outstanding in every aspect, Tumi’s warranty is disappointing, and its price point is very high. You’re better off buying a Briggs & Riley bag if you’re looking for a high-end suitcase that will last decades.
Overall, the Alpha 3 carry-on is a great choice for business travel, but there are more affordable choices out there that are equally good.