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Having a good and reliable travel suitcase is very important whether you are going on a business trip, vacation, or home to visit your parents. You could be carrying fragile and sensitive items that you’d like to arrive in one piece.
For some peace of mind, you’ll need to compare polypropylene vs polycarbonate vs ABS luggage to find the right one that will best fit your needs. Make it the one that not only fits all your items but also one that will ensure their safety even under rigorous conditions.
Whether you are traveling domestically or internationally, there are several guidelines that you always have to adhere to at the airport. The size and weight of your luggage are the top two that you should pay close attention to unless you don’t mind paying a huge additional fee.
Having the right polycarbonate, polypropylene, or ABS luggage for your needs will go a long way in ensuring your checked suitcase is of the right weight.
Since you don’t need a collection of suitcases at home, take your time to find the right fit. Here are some of our top picks in each category.
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So, Polypropylene vs Polycarbonate vs ABS luggage: What’s the best material?
- Polypropylene vs Polycarbonate vs ABS Luggage
- Polycarbonate Luggage
- Polypropylene Luggage
- ABS Luggage
- Polypropylene vs Polycarbonate Luggage
- Polycarbonate vs ABS Luggage
- Polypropylene vs ABS Luggage
- Amazon Basics 21” Hardside Spinner Luggage
- Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Luggage
- DELSEY Paris Chatelet 24” Hardside Luggage
- Samsonite Freeform Hardside Expandable Luggage
- Traveler’s Choice Pagosa Expandable Luggage
- Coolife Luggage Expandable
- Kono Carry-on Suitcase
- Factors to Consider When Shopping for Luggage
Polypropylene vs Polycarbonate vs ABS Luggage
Let’s take a more detailed look at the differences between these hard-side luggage materials used in making travel suitcases.
Most major brands offer polycarbonate luggage options in their catalogs. These are travel suitcases made of thermoplastic polymers that contain carbonate groups in their chemical structures. Polycarbonate materials are quite easy to work with, mold, and thermoformed into different types of products, including hard-side luggage material and bulletproof glass.
Pros of Polycarbonate Luggage
- They are very strong
- Durable, and can withstand any abuse
Cons of Polycarbonate Luggage
- Very expensive
- Heavier than polypropylene and ABS Luggage
Polypropylene luggage is made from thermoplastic polymers through the chain-growth polymerization of mono polymers.
They lie between polycarbonate plastic and ABS luggage, which gives them the best of both sides. They are more durable than ABS and lighter than polycarbonate luggage.
Polypropylene Luggage Pros
- Temperature and chemical-resistant
- Lightest (even lighter than aluminum luggage)
- Good for frequent use
Polypropylene Luggage Cons
- Less durable than polycarbonate luggage
- Susceptible to UV degradation
ABS plastic luggage is made of a thermoplastic known as ABS (acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene). This is a cheap hard material, which makes it popular among cheaper hard-side luggage.
ABS Luggage Pros
- Best price,
- Pliable and Flexible
- Very Light Weight
ABS Luggage Cons
- Not durable
- Less strong than other luggage materials
For you to come to a more informed decision on the travel suitcase to invest in, comparing the different types of travel luggage in the market is a key component.
Since your carry-on will be safe with you most of the time, below you will find a comparison of the three main types of checked traveling luggage.
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Polypropylene vs Polycarbonate Luggage
The main difference between polypropylene and polycarbonate luggage is the heaviness of the material used in manufacturing polycarbonate bags. This makes them a lot heavier than polypropylene suitcases.
This thick material makes the suitcases more durable and increases their resistance to impact and scratches. It also makes polycarbonate bags a lot more expensive than their counterparts’ polypropylene bags.
On the other hand, polypropylene luggage is more lightweight and affordable as compared to polycarbonate suitcases.
Polycarbonate vs ABS Luggage
A key difference between polycarbonate luggage and ABS luggage is their flexibility. Polycarbonate bags also have a higher impact resistance than ABS suitcases.
In terms of pricing, the ABS bags are more affordable, but they lose the race when it comes to usage and durability. These abs bags will serve you well – albeit for a shorter period if you are not a frequent traveler.
Though they are not as strong or durable as polycarbonate luggage, there are some blends or ABS luggage that can serve well – especially if you use them with care and without abuse.
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Polypropylene vs ABS Luggage
ABS (5500 psi) has a higher tensile strength than polypropylene (4000 psi), making it stronger and harder.
However, this doesn’t convert to more durable luggage. This is because the rigidness of ABS makes it more prone to cracks, thus decreasing its lifespan.
This makes flexibility the major difference between polypropylene and ABS luggage. Flexibility means more resistance to impact and cracks, which then translates into longer durability. Investing in a flexible travel suitcase will save you money in the long run.
Now that you are well informed on both the pros and cons of the several types of travel luggage and the main comparisons among them. Let’s take a look at some examples of travel suitcases that you can find in the market.
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The Amazon Basics Hardside Spinner Luggage is a polycarbonate that has some great features that help make your travel less stressful. It’s equipped with a built-in TSA lock that makes it easier for airport security inspection saving you some time.
It has a protective hard shell that’s both durable and flexible, ensuring your goods are safe and sound. The 4 double spinning wheels will ease your movements through the airport and at your destination.
This suitcase can expand by another 15% of its packing capacity. This will give you more room to squeeze in those books you want to take on vacation or even your portable safe to secure your phones, money, and credit cards.
For added security, it has a three-digit code lock that you can set with ease. There are zippered interior pockets where you can securely pack small items.
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This Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Luggage is made from a micro-diamond polycarbonate that makes it extremely scratch-resistant. The casing will keep your suitcase looking as good as new, even on your 50th trip.
This Polycarbonate luggage meets most domestic weight travel restrictions at packing dimensions of 19” x14.4” x 9.5” and only 6.81 pounds.
Samsonite products undergo rigorous testing to ensure that you get your money’s worth, and they also offer a 10-year limited warranty- you can only get a replacement if the workmanship or materials are defective.
It comes with TSA locks that are mounted on the side to deter thieves and allow easy access for inspection at the airport.
Got some extra items to pack? Don’t worry. This baby can expand to accommodate additional items and even have compression belts to keep your clothes neatly pressed.
The handle has a push button to extend it when in use and retract it when you aren’t using it. This keeps everything neat on your flight or in the cab on your drive to the hotel.
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This 24-inch DELSEY Paris Chatelet Hardside Luggage is made of 100% polycarbonate to ensure maximum resilience to cracking and increase durability. It also has some stylish faux leather accents added to its design that make it stand out from the rest.
It comes with a 3-dial lock that’s recessed for more security and is TSA-approved. It’s the perfect suitcase for long business trips or vacations and has a recessed one-button locking handle that increases maneuverability while you’re on the move.
The interior has web straps that keep your items secure and wrinkle-free in the two large compartments of the suitcase. To top it up, it has detachable bags for your laundry and shoes and a hanger for your shirts.
This travel suitcase has 4 spinner wheels that offer multidirectional rolling and a stable base for your luggage. The two front wheels have a great braking system that keeps your suitcase from rolling away while in use.
Lost your DELSEY Paris Chatelet Hardside Luggage? No worries, it comes with a tracking device that will enable you to locate it in minutes. Like all the Chatelet models, it has a 10-year limited warranty.
Great for light traveling, the Samsonite Freeform Hardside Expandable Luggage has packing dimensions of 19.5” x 14.5” x 10.0” and weighs 6.5 pounds.
Though it’s light, it has an ultra-strong shell that can withstand the rigorous movements of traveling domestically or abroad.
The four multi-directional wheels not only provide ease of movement but also relieve any strain on your arm or shoulder by rolling while upright.
It’s got room for expansion to maximize space fully, and compression straps to keep your clothes neatly pressed–you can land and head straight into a meeting with a shirt with no creases.
Their handles have push-button locking mechanisms that keep your suitcase neat when you aren’t using it. They also come in an array of colors that you can choose to match your style.
It has a 10-year limited warranty against defective workmanship and materials. Destruction from abuse, falling, or scratches isn’t covered under the warranty–though the rigorous testing it’s put through ensures that you get the best product for your money.
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Built with an indestructible polypropylene hard shell, the Traveler’s Choice Pagosa Expandable Luggage is another great travel companion for your next business trip or vacation. The hard shell makes it water, scratch, and abrasion-resistant, making it very durable.
This 26” medium-sized travel suitcase weighs 8.24 pounds and has interior dimensions of 23.5” x 16.5” x 10.5”. The large compartment inside has a compression strap that will keep your clothes neat and in place. There are also zippered (self-mending zips) pockets for storing your small personal items.
It also has an expansion gusset that adds up to 2 inches of packing space. This will come in handy when you are trying to debate what to take with you and what to leave behind.
Starting off your trip on a positive note is a great motivator, and leaving something you were sure you needed isn’t the best first step to a great holiday.
The 360° wheels improve the maneuverability of your polypropylene luggage drastically. You will be able to move with ease through crowds without having to keep apologizing or straining your arms from lack of control.
With its multi-stage telescoping handle, it offers ease of use by people of different heights. It also comes with side and top carry handles made of rubber for easy lifting and carrying.
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These suitcases are made from a hybrid of polycarbonate and ABS materials for toughness and durability. It’s taken through some serious testing and adheres to high-quality control standards to produce a great product that can withstand all sorts of rough handling.
Coolife Expandable Luggage comes in three different sizes 20”, 24”, and 28”, and with a 2-year warranty. Only the 28” luggage has an additional expandable space of 15% of the useable space.
This baby comes with multi-use interior pockets for organizing your belongings. It also has a fully lined interior that helps make packing your clothes a breeze.
Last but not least, it has spinner wheels for ease of movement and a 3-level telescoping adjustable handle made of pure aluminum that’s great for maneuvering.
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If you are looking for stylish ABS luggage, the Kono carry-on suitcase is a superb choice. It comes in several colors, new designs, and exquisite hardware to give it a stylish new look.
Its high-quality shell is both light and waterproof and is fairly durable – especially since you don’t have to check it if you don’t want to. It’s lightweight and helps you avoid unnecessary extra charges when you are t the airport. It weighs a mere 4.4 pounds and is 20” long.
Easy movement courtesy of the 3-level telescoping handle with a comfortable grip and 360° wheels that give you a smooth ride even on rough roads. It rolls upright, making it less stressful on your arms when you are moving.
It has a 3-digit lock that will keep your luggage secure and a 3-level adjustable handle for ease of use by both grownups and kids.
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Factors to Consider When Shopping for Luggage
With all the different types and brands of travel suitcases on the market, you must find one that perfectly suits your needs before you “add to your cart.”
I have compiled a shortlist of factors that you should consider when you’re choosing a suitable suitcase for your travels. Let’s go check them out!
The first thing you should consider is the size of the luggage. This will depend on the amount of luggage and your destination; if you are going on a business trip you might not need as much space as when you’d be going on vacation.
Whether you opt for polypropylene, polycarbonate, or ABS luggage, they all come in different sizes. So you don’t have to compromise on the size of luggage you want.
The most durable luggage for travel is polycarbonate. It’s heavier-duty plastic and made of a sturdy material that is resistant to scratches and falls.
Airport luggage handlers aren’t always gentle when moving traveling bags; if you have something fragile, a polycarbonate suitcase might be the way to go.
It’s closely followed by polypropylene luggage, which is designed to be chemical and temperature-resistant. Minor falls and overzealous baggage handlers won’t damage your luggage, though the effects will become visible over time.
ABS luggage is the least durable due to its light material. If you want to invest in one that’s a bit strong; there are some ABS blends in the market that you could check out.
Polycarbonate luggage is the heaviest of them all due to the sturdy and strong plastic material used in its manufacturing. Heavy materials mean that anything you pack in this luggage will be safe and secure no matter how it’s handled at the airport.
ABS comes in second in weight. It’s a great option if you are looking for something light that you don’t plan on using often.
Polypropylene plastic is the lightest suitcase on the market. It’s made of a thermoplastic polymer that’s quite strong but lightweight material – making a polypropylene suitcase even lighter than aluminum suitcases.
The next thing to consider is the price. The price of a travel suitcase will vary depending on the size, color, materials, brand, and features.
The most affordable one of the three is the ABS suitcase, made from cheaper material; they are great for a person who doesn’t travel a lot and is looking for a low price tag.
Polypropylene and Polycarbonate suitcases are more moderately priced and can last for a long time, but this can save you money in the long run.
Some of the features and add-ons that might make two suitcases of the same size and from the same brand vary include wheels and easy locks.
Design differences between ABS, polypropylene, and polycarbonate luggage are another important factor to consider.
This includes subtle differences such as TSA locks, extra-thick materials, expansion zippers, and multidirectional wheels. Though they can all be used for carrying your traveling products, designers add these features to make them more convenient.
With the information provided here, you are now in a much better position to discern the best luggage for travel between abs, polypropylene, or polycarbonate travel luggage.
However, you should keep in mind that what works for one person might not be what works for you. You can even make use of the resources below to help you make a better decision on which type of travel luggage to go for.
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- About the Author
- Latest Posts
Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he’d heard.
Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he’s learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.
He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time.