Updated: June 5, 2015

Samsonite Spinner Luggage Review

samsonite spinner luggage Is Samsonite Spinner Luggage Still the Most Popular?
It seems Samsonite luggage has been around for ever. A few years ago, the Samsonite company revolutionized luggage through the introduction of the spinner wheel system to their higher end models. The company's reputation suggests durability and strength, two important qualities for any traveler as far as their luggage is concerned. Today's traveler has even more to worry about; people like to travel in style, they need good maneuverability at airports and down streets, and they also have to worry about increased size restrictions during air travel. When Samsonite spinner luggage first came out, it was unique to the company. Four wheels which could each rotate 360 degrees was a system destined to make travel more convenient, and judging by the number of companies who quickly added the innovation to their own lines, it certainly had its appeal around the industry and to customers. We opted for 2 different spinner luggage models (Samsonite and Atlantic) about a year ago when replacing 2 aged bags with broken handles - many trips later, we've put together our thoughts. How does Samsonite spinner luggage perform now that there is competition? Are pieces of spinner luggage easier to move than standard rollers? How do the other features of Samsonite luggage stand up?

samsonite spinner


Samsonite spinner luggage vs Standard roller bags

It's probably best to first examine the big selling point of Samsonite's spinner luggage, the wheel system itself. On an intuitive level, this innovation seems to be an important one. The rotating wheels require almost no effort to pull (you don't need to lift) and spinner luggage seems to have a lot more maneuverability than standard roller pieces. As noted on ConsumerSearch, the extra wheels don't cut into the durability of the product either; Samsonite spinner luggage can be put through the wash many times and the wheels remain intact. The wheels are also negligible when it comes to weight; if you have a Samsonite Padma as your carry on luggage, you won't be forced to check it due to an extra two wheels and their weight. However, actual customer reviews on the spinner system are mixed. Consumer Reports writes that four of their six testers actually preferred two wheels to four in their luggage. On the other side of things, buyers rating luggage over at luggageonline.com rave about the four wheel model, with Samsonite spinner luggage getting the top ratings across their entire line. Our experience? Most of the time you are pulling your suitcase behind you , with 2 wheels off the ground, and it really doesn't matter whether there are 2 or 4 wheels - it just rolls behind you smoothly. I really notice the spinner wheels in 2 situations - one good, one bad.
Check out this video first that shows how the wheels move:



As you can see, there is a "forward" direction that each wheels wants to go in -- when you push the bag the other direction, the wheels spin to orient themselves in the "right" direction. This is the cause of the "problem" I point out below. But first the good stuff. Where I like the spinner style best is in narrow airplane aisles. When you drag your standard roller luggage behind you, it is almost exactly the width of the aisle and you find yourself constantly banging against the edges of the seats along the aisle. Spinner luggage lets you turn the bag sideways, and then just push it by the handle along the aisle out in front of you, with all 4 wheels on the ground - it rolls like a dream, and you can see where you are going, and it doesn't bang into anything. That's the good feature. The one bad thing I've come across, and it almost always occurs when you walk into an elevator, stop, and then try to push the bag back out in front of you when you exit, is that many times the wheels are not quite straight, and the bag just kind of locks up for a second as you think you are pushing it straight out. You have to then kind of jiggle it back and forth to get all the wheels to line up, and then it rolls out as normal. I've probably gone through this “lockup” a dozen times or more. Is it a big complaint? No. Would I buy standard 2 wheel rollers vs. 4 wheel spinners in the future? No. I'm sticking with spinner style wheels on my future luggage purchases. Overall, our Samsonite spinner has happily accompanied us on many journeys without a hiccup.

Other Features of Samsonite Spinner Luggage

So I give a definite edge to spinner style luggage over standard roller luggage. But since everyone is copying Samsonite these days, the spinner feature just isn't enough. How does Samsonite luggage stand up in terms of durability, quality, and appearance? Well, to take the easiest criteria first, appearance is largely a matter of taste. Samsonite offers a wide range of styles in addition to size of bags, most coming in three or more colors. Our particular bag is called the Samsonite X'ion. It has sort of a clamshell design, with rounded edges on the front, giving it a distinctive look and making it easy to spot on baggage conveyor belts. Standard amount of storage for its size -- there really is a fixed amount that any bag can hold given a fixed set of dimensions, so most bags are more or less the same in this regard. It is expandable up to 2" with zippers, but it can be a real tight squeeze trying to get into an overhead bin when expanded, so we only use that option when checking this bag (I've found that to be a problem with most expandable bags). In terms of durabilty, over the first year and almost a dozen trips, the Samsonite X'ion still looks more or less new -- a few scrapes, some dirt, but zippers, wheels, interior, and exterior all holding up well. One particular Samsonite model, the Sahora Brights series, has been noted in ConsumerSearch and Popular Mechanics as being prone to denting and permanent marking. But at $100-$200, most of these carry-on Samsonite spinner bags are a pretty good value (Samsonite XSpace, X'ion, Solana, Silhouette). On eBags.com, Samsonite luggage rates 8.7 out of 10 overall from their many, many customers. If you are concerned about durability, consider looking into one of the Samsonite Silhouette Hardside Spinners - they're over $200 for the 26" size and the ABS/Polycarbonate construction makes them impervious to rips, tears, dents, and dings.

The Convenience of Buying Samsonite Spinner Luggage Sets

Frequent travelers will need more than one piece of luggage for all of their trips and what they have to transport, and in that case it is best to buy luggage in a set. Often, a luggage set such as the Samsonite Winfield 3 Piece Spinner Set can cost significantly less than buying each piece individually. Most people also prefer to have somewhat matching and coordinated luggage instead of a bunch of piecemeal bags that look like they came from a garage sale. The whole line of Samsonite luggage sets is here.

We can't say based on our research that Samsonite spinner luggage is still the most popular form of four wheeled baggage out there. Other companies have copied the idea of the spinner system and added their own claims of durability to their lines, and consumer sites have noted the differences. However, Samsonite does continue to make a high quality product that works well for most travelers. We're happy with our Samsonite bag -- it does what luggage should do, which is: hold your stuff, look decent, be easily portable, and hold up to the wear and tear thrown at it by baggage handlers and baggage carousels. If you're not set on Samsonite, you can browse all the best-selling spinner luggage here.