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Consumer Reports article on luggage

Just an FYI for some of you luggage experts, the most current issue of Consumer Reports has an article and ratings for luggage that's pretty interesting. It includes discussion on the value of warranties and other details. I'm a fan of their independent reporting on most products. Only disappointment is they don't address the sizing of carryon luggage, something that they identified as an issue and reported on in the past. I dont know if you can access this online at consumerreports.org without being a member.

Posted by
787 posts

For those with the print version it's in the Feb 2020 issue. Thanx for pointing it out. Just received our copy and had not had a chance to read.

And no you need to pay for a subscription to the online version (I believe even print subscribers have to pay extra). But most public libraries have the magazine.

We've been subscribers for many years in large part because they take zero advertising dollars so you can have faith that the reviews aren't motivated by profits - even if you don't always agree with their conclusions or methods.

Posted by
13063 posts

For those who cannot acces the online article, I will report that the top-rated brands for carry-on is Briggs & Riley at 92, followed closely by Away, Eagle Creek, and eBay's at 91. ( I thought ebags was an entail store, not a brand).

Rick Steves' carry-on is #11 with 87 points, behind LL Beam, Eddie Bauer, and others, but ahead of Victorinox.

Posted by
91 posts

I found it of interest to read that the online article is based on a reader survey. I have not yet received the Feb 2020 magazine, so can't comment on that, but look forward to reading it. The ratings kindly provided by Lola match the online article. (RS luggage (87 points) was rated in the top category for stowability.) The other categories were: ease of carrying; wheel-ability, ease of packing, durability.

Here is the note at the bottom of the rating list, for those who are interested...

"Ratings are based on our Fall 2018 survey from 12,626 CR members’ responses to carry-on suitcase satisfaction questions. The Reader Score represents overall satisfaction with the carry-on suitcase and is not exclusively determined by factors under the survey results. A reader score of 100 would mean all respondents are completely satisfied; 80, that respondents are “very satisfied”, and 60, that respondents are “somewhat satisfied” on average. Differences of less than 4 points are not meaningful. Each rating category under Survey Results reflects average scores on a scale from “completely dissatisfied” to “completely satisfied.” Ratings are based on CR members who may not be representative of the general US population."

Posted by
1179 posts

While this may give an overall feel toward the manufacturers, it doesn’t address each bag. The reality is that different bags perform differently within a brand. Buying a specific bag from a top rated manufacturer doesn’t guarantee that bag is good (though it raises the chances).
The survey also eliminates some of the smaller bag companies and overseas manufacturers due to lack of availability.

In short, this is more of a popularity contest than a true rating of the best bag. Indeed, this contest is among Consumer Reports readers Vs active travelers so there may be biases in there. I’ll also note that different types of travelers will prefer different brands. A person that does adventure travel will prefer different brands than a business traveler. So there is another bias.

I personally would look for recommendations from people that travel like you do. You’ll get more accurate results.

Lola,
Ebags is indeed an online retailer. However, ebags does have its own line of products as well. Kind of like Wal-Mart, Sears, and other stores. WalMart sells all kinds of products from different companies - then, sells its own branded products as well.

I buy luggage based more on my personal criteria than Consumer Reports. CR can be helpful though. One can easily get overwhelmed with too much info.. Much of it is repetitious. Luggage is relatively simple to buy compared to a bed mattress or car. Ironically, I spend a lot more time picking out luggage than a car.

Posted by
11243 posts

I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Samsonite owns the following luggage brands and retailers:

Samsonite

American Tourister

Tumi

Lipault

Hartmann

High Sierra

Ebags

among others.

Posted by
8396 posts

Would belief in a company’s publicity and positioning of itself as a manufacturer of high-end products lead to personal bias. The company says it’s the best, I paid a lot, therefore I’ll ignore the negatives about the luggage I purchased because I’m supposed to love it. Could this lead to higher scores! I have Away in mind.

Posted by
4455 posts

I agree with Cindy H that there can be a lot of bias in these methods of determining the ratings for the brands and especially for individual models.

Trying out each of the options in person at stores can quickly eliminate ones based on a person’s own needs. An article such as the CR summary may still give you a starting point, but pick the one that meets your personal needs - size, weight, layout, quality of zippers, etc.