Best Smart Luggage 2017

You might have heard the buzz around smart suitcases, or seen them advertised, and wondered what the big deal is. What do they do exactly? Are they worth the splurge?

These are our picks for the best smart luggage 2017 has to offer:

  1. Raden Smart Luggage
  2. Away Luggage
  3. Bluesmart Smart Suitcases
  4. Trunkster Luggage
  5. Samsonite Geotrakr Suitcase
  6. Ready Travel

Best Smart Luggage 2017: Quick Comparisons

Don’t have time for the detailed reviews and pros and cons of each case? Get a quick overview with this comparison chart:

Luggage Brand Weight (carry-on)Location TrackingSelf WeighingPower BankSelf Locking 
Raden8.4 lbsLimitedYesYesNo
Away7 lbsNoNoYesNo
Bluesmart9.4 lbsYesYesYesYes
Trunkster10.3 lbsYesYesYesNo
Samsonite9 lbsYesNoNoNo
Ready Travel8.3 lbsLimitedYesYesNo

Best Smart Luggage 2017

Raden bags - best smart luggage 2017

1. Raden Smart Luggage Review

In addition to being one of the pioneers of smart luggage, Raden’s cases are, in my opinion, the most attractive out there.

Their beautiful, minimalist cases showcase Raden’s commitment to great design. They utilize sleek Makrolon polycarbonate, which has the advantage of being thin and lightweight without sacrificing strength. Check out their impressive demonstration video here.

Raden offers their cases in a rainbow of colors and matte or gloss finishes, putting them miles ahead of the competition, and making them the obvious choice for the style conscious. The downside is that the colorful finish is scuffed and scraped easily in transit, so you may need a luggage cover to keep your suitcase looking nice. I speak from personal experience on this–it’s a little disappointing to have your new luggage scuffed up after just one flight. Ultimately, this isn’t a huge concern for me; I’d always planned to plaster my Raden suitcase with stickers; clearly I just need to do so a little faster.

Raden suitcases - best smart luggage 2017Raden cases are available in two sizes, the A22 Carry, and the A28 Check.

Both cases offer:

  • 7,800mAh power bank
  • Weight-sensing handle
  • Integrated app, with limited location tracking
  • Silent spinner wheels
  • Polycarbonate construction
  • Integrated TSA lock
  • Waterproof zipper closure

More about these features:

Raden’s “Smart” features are pretty standard for smart luggage. The battery is straightforward, allowing you to charge your mobile devices via USB cord. You’ll need to charge the power bank before (or during your trip) using the included USB cord, or it can be removed completely if you don’t want to take it along. Because it’s easily accessible and removable, Raden’s tech will also be easier to potentially upgrade in the future.

The weight sensing handle works well in my experience, but it cannot be used without the accompanying mobile app. You must download the app (available for iOS and Android) to your phone and sync with your suitcase to check your bag’s weight.

Raden advertises location tracking, yet the actual functionality is a little more complicated. The Bluetooth tracking will find your suitcase if it’s within 30 feet of you, but any further and you’ll need to rely on “crowd GPS”– that is, other Raden owners with the app installed on their mobile device. This seems like a stretch even for a more ubiquitous brand. If you’re concerned about losing your bag, go with a brand that offers GPS based tracking, like Bluesmart.

The bag’s non-tech features are also worth mentioning. Even Raden’s larger suitcase is surprisingly lightweight at 13 pounds, and  and the spinner wheels are smooth and easy to maneuver. The integrated TSA lock is a nice feature as well, with an easy to set combination lock that attaches to the zipper pulls and prevents unauthorized access to your bag.

One small concern is the 5 year warranty. Competitor Away offers a lifetime warranty, and I’d hope that a case in this price range would last far beyond 5 years. Still, Raden’s bags are some of the best smart luggage 2017 has to offer.

ProsCons
Stylish designLimited location tracking
Power bankFinish is easily scuffed and scraped
Weight sensing handleOnly 5 year warranty
Lightweight and durable materials
TSA lock

Away bags - best smart luggage 2017

2. Away Bags Review

Despite having pared down features, Away has become a big contender in the smart luggage market. They’ve promoted themselves heavily among influencers, and Away’s modern design has drawn quite a bit of acclaim.

Away doesn’t state what materials their luggage shells are made of, but they boast “unbreakable”, scratch resistant construction. While my bag did accumulate some scuffs and scrapes, it came through its first flight looking better than the Raden. Their prices are slightly lower than some of the brands featured here, which they claim is made possible by selling direct to consumers–that is, you won’t see Away bags in your local luggage shop anytime soon.

The suitcases are available in a variety of muted hues– a far cry from the rainbow offered by Raden, but where Away really shines is the range of sizes.

Away suitcases - best smart luggage 2017There’s a Carry-On, “Bigger” Carry-On, Medium, and Large size case. This flexibility of choice is great for tailoring your luggage to lifestyle (over-packers like myself can go straight for the larger sizes!), as well as accommodating varying airline carry-on restrictions.

All cases offer:

  • Integrated TSA locks
  • Hinamoto spinner wheels
  • “Unbreakable”, scratch resistant construction

More on these features:

As you can see, Away’s smart luggage features are really just a power bank, and that power bank is only available in the carry-on sizes. While you will probably spend more time with your carry-on bag than a checked bag, I sometimes pack only a checked bag, and found it useful to have a power bank on my large Raden bag.

Away’s battery functions the same as Raden’s. You’ll need to charge it before your trip, and it is removable, allowing for potential upgrades in the future. One more note on power banks: while the batteries used by smart luggage manufacturers are all TSA approved, some travelers have reported issues with poorly trained TSA agents giving their bags with power banks extra scrutiny. This shouldn’t be an issue as they become more common, but you should absolutely look for a bag with a removable battery.

As useful as a power bank might be, I’d love to see them expand into additional smart functionality in 2017. Still, if you’re attracted to the style of the case, and appeal of mobile charging, an Away carry-on bag may still be a great choice for you. Your carry-on is less likely to exceed the weight limit (or be weighed by airlines to begin with), and since it mostly stays within close proximity, you’re less likely to need location services.

If you’re on the fence about Away, scroll down to the bottom of this article to see how you can easily upgrade any suitcase with smart features.

The non-tech features contribute to Away’s status as a solid case. The handy integrated TSA lock functions the same as Raden’s, locking onto the zipper pulls. Premium Japanese Hinamoto spinner wheels guarantee smooth sailing, and your shell, zipper, handle, and wheels are all covered by a lifetime warranty. Away’s luggage also compares favorably when it comes to weight, coming in as the lightest of the bunch.

While it’s nice to know that you’re covered if something breaks, the insubstantial feeling handle did give me a little pause. I frequently set a backpack on top of my carry-on, leaning against the handle, and the handle just felt like it bent and twisted to much to support the heavy backpack. I know I’m not the only one who does this, but I have to concede that it’s probably not part of the manufacturer design–and that bag functions just fine when you don’t ask it to support this extra weight.

Overall, Away’s quality and warranty set them apart as some of the best smart luggage 2017 has to offer.

ProsCons
Modern designNo location tracking tech
Power bankNo weight sensing tech
TSA lockZipper not waterproof
Lightweight and durable constructionPower bank only available in carry-ons
Range of sizes
Lifetime warranty

 

Bluesmart luggage - best smart luggage 2017

3. Bluesmart Review

Bluesmart is easily the smartest suitcase of 2017! With a wealth of features, and a solid design aesthetic, they’re a major contender — but they only make carry-on luggage.

Bluesmart - best smart luggage 2017Cases are available in black only, and constructed of durable polycarbonite or Makrolon, with nylon front compartments.

Those compartments are one thing that sets Bluesmart apart from the competition. The padded front compartments easily open to allow for quick access to your laptop, iPad or other small items– without the hassle of unzipping your suitcase. This is especially helpful when you’re required to remove your laptop in TSA lines.

Bluesmart sells two versions of their smart carry-on: the Bluesmart One, and the Black Edition.

bluesmart bag - best smart luggage 2017Both bags offer:

  • 10,400 mAh power bank
  • Self weighing handle
  • GPS tracking
  • Integrated app
  • TSA lock with remote locking capability
  • Water resistant shell
  • Durable construction

More on these features:

Bluesmart is the clear winner when it comes to the number of smart features. Their bags include an integrated app, powerful battery for charging mobile devices, self weighing capability, 3G cellular data & GPS tracking, and remote locking capability. As with Raden, the app (available for both iOS and Android) is necessary for weighing, location, and you can use it for remote locking as well. Unlike Raden, the GPS tracking allows you to find your bag anywhere in the world.

The battery and other tech are not removable, which limits the easy upgrade and repair possibilities for the bag, as well as creating potential problems with the TSA (read one traveler’s experience here).

Remote locking is a feature unique to Bluesmart. You can lock or unlock the bag from the app, and your bag will automatically lock when it leaves your side!

Bluesmart doesn’t skimp on the construction, either. Both bags have the same smart features, but the Bluesmart One utilizes durable polycarbonate, while the Black Edition features Class A Makrolon for the shell, and reinforced nylon for the front compartment. The Black Edition also includes upgraded wheels, and a sleeker, more fashion conscious design.

A couple areas where Bluesmart falls short? Both bags are 9.4 pounds, one of the heavier offerings here, despite being standard carry-on size. They also offer a disappointingly short 2 year warranty on their bags.

ProsCons
Self weighingShort 2 year warranty
Power bankPower bank not removable
Integrated TSA lock with remote lockingOnly available as a carry-on bag
GPS location trackingNo color choices
Durable constructionSlightly heavier than other options
Integrated app

 

trunkster - best smart luggage 2017

4. Trunkster Review

Trunkster’s unique suitcase design started as a phenomenally successful Kickstarter project, and is now available through their website (link includes $20 discount). They aim to revolutionize luggage with a zipper-free rolltop design, and smart features.

Currently, Trunkster offers just one case; a carry-on, available only in black, made from scratch and impact-resistant polypropylene.

trunkster - best smart luggage 2017

The case offers:

  • 10,400 mAH power bank
  • Built in digital scale
  • GSM location tracking
  • Durable construction
  • Easy access rolltop opening
  • Water resistant shell
  • Full-width handle that doesn’t interfere with packing space

More on these features:

Trunkster’s smart features are comparable to others on this list, with a powerful battery for mobile charging, digital scale and location tracking.

Their power bank is not only removable, but also easily upgraded. Trunkster says you can switch out their battery “with any USB compatible power bank.” This is great, consumer friendly design, and I’d love to see more of it from other brands!

However, the scale and tracking function a little differently than others. The built in digital scale does not require an app to check the weight; it’s fully autonomous–just check the display on your suitcase to see how much it weighs! Location tracking relies on GSM service. You’ll receive a year of free tracking with purchase of the luggage, but after that, you’ll need to pay for the service.

Trunkster’s unique design also sets it apart from the competition. The zipperless rolltop entry allows for easy access to your items, but does not include a built in lock, disappointing for luggage at this price point. Also, in contrast to every other case on this list, the interior is simply a large open space, with no organization, making packing cubes a necessity for most. This may be appealing to minimalists, though I appreciate a small amount of built in organization in a suitcase.

The interior is at least more roomy due to the full width handle that retracts back into the sides of the case, rather than taking away from packing space. Finally, Trunkster is a little on the heavy side at 10.3 pounds.

ProsCons
GSM location trackingYou must pay for tracking service after 1 year
Easy access rolltop designNo organization inside case
Power bankSlightly heavier than other options
Self weighingNo color choices
Durable constructionOnly available as a carry-on bag
No warranty information

 

samsonite - best smart luggage 2017

5. Samsonite Geotrakr Review

Luggage giant Samsonite has released their first smart luggage offering, albeit with a bafflingly basic aesthetic for a brand that’s capable of great design when it comes to so many of their other cases.

The Geotrakr line is the only non-hardshell offering on the list, featuring fairly standard materials, including black nylon fabric, aluminum handles, and spinner wheels.

samsonite - best smart luggage 2017

It’s available in 3 sizes, the 21′ Spinner Carry-on, 25″ Spinner, and 29″ Spinner.

The cases offer:

  • Bluetooth/ GSM location tracking, with one year of free service included
  • Integrated app
  • Multi-directional spinner wheels
  • Ballistic nylon fabric
  • ….that’s all, folks

 More on these features:

Samsonite’s smart luggage offering feels like a token effort. That port and cord in the photo above that looks like a power bank? Turns out it’s just so you can charge the location tracker. Yep, NO power bank for your mobile devices. Why??

The location tech in their Geotrakr cases isn’t proprietary, rather it’s a collaboration with LugLoc luggage location trackers, something you can easily add to any suitcase yourself. (See more on adding features to your luggage at the bottom of this post). Their Bluetooth/ GSM tracking isn’t as comprehensive as GPS, but will still go a long way towards locating your bag. The LugLoc device is removable.

What’s almost as disappointing as the lack of smart features is the design. Plain black nylon, with nothing to distinguish it from every other cheap suitcase. Samsonite can do better (and regularly does), so I can’t help but feel that this is a half-hearted attempt to take advantage of the emerging smart luggage market.

I left some sketchy, poor quality offerings off of this list of the best smart luggage of 2017, but included Samsonite because they’re a major player. However, this is the only case that I’d recommend against. Hopefully Samsonite will put in a serious effort in the future.

ProsCons
Bluetooth/ GSM location trackingYou must pay for tracking service after 1 year
Durable ballistic nylonLackluster design, and no color choices
Limited 10 year warranty doesn't cover much.
No integrated TSA lock
No power bank
No weight sensing tech

 

6. One to Watch: Ready Travel

Ready Travel’s smart suitcase is currently in the funding stages of their Indiegogo campaign, so we haven’t had a chance to test it out yet. However, they’re touting some interesting features, and it’s a brand to watch in 2017.

Right now they’re just focusing on carry-on bags, and they’ll be shipping to their backers in June–presumably coming onto the larger market soon after.

The case offers:

  • Power bank
  • Self weighing handle
  • Proximity based location tracking
  • Scratch & water resistant
  • Cup holder
  • Built in strap
  • TSA locks
  • Strong aluminum frame & handle
  • Optional customization with wrap stickers

More on these features:

We can’t offer a full review since the cases aren’t available yet, but they offer some promising features.

It’s nice to see a battery, self weighing handle and proximity tracking all offered on a carry-on, and some of the additional features like the build in leather strap to secure items to the top of your case could come in handy. The cup holder, on the other hand, seems gimmicky and prone to breakage.

Their Indiegogo campaign ends soon, so chances are it will be over by the time you’re reading this. However, we’ll keep this post updated as the luggage comes onto the market!

 

So What’s the Best Smart Luggage of 2017?

Good luggage can make or break your trip, but once you move beyond basic quality issues, the best luggage features are a matter of personal taste and lifestyle. What makes me deliriously happy with a suitcase may leave you yawning.

That said, Raden is my pick for the best smart luggage of 2017. They have a good balance of smart features and attractive design. In addition, they’re the only contender to offer a power bank in their large cases, a feature which has come in handy for me. Away and Bluesmart are my runners-up, still good choices for a carry-on suitcase.

How to Turn Your Existing Luggage Into Smart Luggage

Love the luggage you already have, or just don’t have the budget for a smart suitcase? Plenty of the features of smart luggage are easy to add to your existing case:

Weight Checking

There’s a huge variety of portable luggage scales out there. Most are small enough that they won’t take up much space in your suitcase, and they function in much the same way self weighing handles do. Simply hook onto the top of your bag, then lift up your bag using the scale to see the bag’s weight.

If you’re a chronic over-packer like me, this can save you serious dough on baggage fees by giving you forewarning that items need to be left at home, or re-arranged among bags. A scale is also more handy in some ways because it’s not tied to any one bag. Weigh your entire family’s bags with one device, then toss the scale in your checked bag.

Power Bank

Ok, so I don’t actually recommend drilling holes and trying to integrate a power bank into your suitcase, but you can buy a dedicated power bank to keep in your suitcase.

While you want something compact for everyday carrying in a purse or pocket, you can easily go with a larger, more powerful battery to keep in your luggage. Yes, you won’t have those handy exterior ports on your suitcase, but the battery itself will be basically the same thing that ships inside all of these fancy suitcases.

Location Tracking

This is the most complex to implement, with most solutions offering tracking via cellular or Bluetooth. GPS systems are available, but generally require purchasing a subscription.

In addition, keep in mind that tracking devices may need to be charged regularly. This means that your tracking device could potentially run out of juice on a long haul flight, defeating the purpose of having a tracking device once you arrive.

Tile offers the simplest and most popular devices, with Bluetooth tracking that takes advantage of their user network once your item is out of your phone’s range. The battery lasts for one year, then you’ll need to replace the tracker.

What is a Smart Suitcase Anyway?

best smart luggage 2017

Smart Luggage is really any suitcase that has integrated technology.

That built in tech could be just one thing, or many. The field, and available features are growing and changing as you read this, but some common examples of this technology include: Phone App Integration, GPS or Bluetooth Location Tracking, Built-in Scale for self-weighing, Remote Digital Locks, and a Power Bank for your mobile devices.

The Future of Smart Luggage

The cases We’ve covered are currently the top players in smart luggage for 2017. However, with the growing popularity of smart luggage, it’s only a matter of time before major brands start to incorporate tech into their products in a meaningful way.

Delsey has a smart suitcase in the works, and is currently asking for input on features their customers would to be included. Along with some of the tech you’ve seen above, they’re considering features like Fingerprint ID, Interior Lighting & Speakers, and On-board Notifications, so you know if your luggage made it on the plane.

Another cool example is Rimowa, who are pioneering a really neat integrated digital luggage tag. Others won’t be far behind. Look for plenty of innovation and competition in the smart luggage market in 2017, the sky’s the limit! (pun intended). I’ll be updating this article to include new players as they come on the scene.

Best Smart Luggage 2017 Infographic

Enjoyed this article? Share our “Should You Buy Smart Luggage” infographic.

Best Smart Luggage 2017

  1. Raden Smart Luggage
  2. Away Luggage
  3. Bluesmart Smart Suitcases
  4. Trunkster Luggage
  5. Samsonite Geotrakr Suitcase
  6. Ready Travel
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