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Amazon Basics 20-Inch Hardside Spinner Review

A well-priced and reasonably spacious hardshell carry-on with limited organizational features and dubious long-term viability
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Amazon Basics 20-Inch Hardside Spinner Review
Credit: Jason Wanlass
Price:  $88 List
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Manufacturer:   Amazon
By Jason Wanlass ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 15, 2023
59
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 13
  • Capacity - 35% 6.0
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 6.0
  • Construction Quality - 20% 6.1
  • Design and Functionality - 20% 5.5

Our Verdict

The Amazon Basics 20-Inch Hardside Spinner is another in a long line of “acceptable but not great” carry on luggage pieces trying to capture your interest with a low price point. While it has the simple clamshell design we know and expect among hardshell bags overall, the lack of organizational extras means there's little to counterbalance its shortcomings in design and performance. It joins the ranks of “carry ons” that are actually larger than airlines' acceptable carry on dimensions — though we've found those are rarely enforced. However, for the infrequent traveler who just needs to get from A to B, there's still value in this very simple hardshell. See how the Amazon Basics 20-Inch fares next to its rivals in our best carry on luggage review.
REASONS TO BUY
Great price
Decent storage
Rugged shell
Great grab handles
Large spinner wheels
Smooth zippers
REASONS TO AVOID
Durability concerns
Rattly trolley handle
Basic interior storage
No locking system
Editor's Note: We updated this review on November 15, 2023, after retesting the most current version of this luggage.

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Bottom Line A great bargain bag perfect for shorter jaunts and basic travelAn affordable four-wheel roller with impressive storage space and numerous color optionsA host of useful features combined with a durable foundation and solid functionality make this reasonably priced softshell an easy choice to meet your carry-on needsA simple, less-expensive choice for basic travel needs to nearby destinationsA great pick for basic travelers who are looking for a somewhat stylish bargain bag that is available in a rainbow of colors
Rating Categories Amazon Basics 20-In... Samsonite Omni PC H... SwissGear Sion Soft... Travelers Club Chic... Kenneth Cole Reacti...
Capacity (35%)
6.0
8.4
7.2
5.9
5.0
Ease of Transport (25%)
6.0
5.9
6.3
5.0
5.2
Construction Quality (20%)
6.1
6.4
6.6
5.0
5.0
Design and Functionality (20%)
5.5
6.3
6.7
5.0
3.5
Specs Amazon Basics 20-In... Samsonite Omni PC H... SwissGear Sion Soft... Travelers Club Chic... Kenneth Cole Reacti...
Weight (Measured) 6.6 lb 6.8 lb 7.3 lb 6.1 lb 6.2 lb
Exterior Dimensions 22.0" x 14.8" x 10.0" 21.5" x 14.0" x 9.5" 23.0" x 14.1" x 10.0" 19.0" x 14.0" x 8.0" 21.1" x 14.6" x 8.5"
Main Compartment Volume (Measured) 36 L 39 L 40.5 L 35 L 32.5 L
Exterior Material Polycarbonate Polycarbonate Polyester ABS hardshell ABS hardshell
Number of Wheels 4 4 4 4 4
Pull Handle Heights 2 (33", 41") 5 (25", 30.5", 33", 36", 41.5") 3 (28", 34.5", 43") 2 (36", 40") 3 (30.5", 33", 41")
Opening Style Half shell Half shell Top lid Half shell Half shell
Locking System None Combination/TSA lock Zipper loop Zipper loop Zipper loop
Number of Exterior Pockets None None 2 None None

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Amazon Basics 20-inch Hardside Spinner's greatest appeal is its price. It's a very basic double-wheeled spinner that offers ample space and performs well enough to get you through light travel.

amazon basics 20-inch hardside spinner - the amazon basics spinner has the basic shiny good looks you'd...
The Amazon Basics Spinner has the basic shiny good looks you'd expect from a hardshell carry-on.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Capacity


The Amazon Basics isn't going to offer up a lot of extra features when it comes to storing your gear.


This 6.6-pound spinner still provides you with 36 liters of internal storage. This is on the lower end when directly compared against the rest of the bags on our list. However, it is still adequate real estate for most needs.


In standard form, one half of the bag is enclosed with a fabric panel while the other is home to a small accessory pocket and two crisscrossed elasticized restraint straps.


A couple of additional mesh pockets are inlaid in that same interior panel as well, although we found they yielded limited benefits due to their smaller size. In short, the Amazon Basics does, in fact, serve up the basics.

Small mesh pockets on the interior half-clam enclosure seem like...
Small mesh pockets on the interior half-clam enclosure seem like they'd be a good idea, but we found them far too small to be particularly useful.
The small accessory pocket inside the Amazon Basics Spinner is only...
The small accessory pocket inside the Amazon Basics Spinner is only large enough to hold the tiniest of items.
This bag has very modest storage features, including a few simple pockets that were sometimes too small to hold what we wanted to put in them.

Ease of Transport


The Amazon Basics isn't going to wow you with special features or a liquid-smooth ride. However, we were somewhat impressed with its large, double-wheeled spinner wheels. Generally, bags at this price point sport the same undersized, inadequate, rattly wheels. However, this bag's wheels offered significant clearance and decent maneuverability across standard flat terrain.


Reasonable haul handles make carrying the case a relatively comfortable task when dealing with spaces and distances, or loading it into cars or planes. Additionally, the top and side handles sit high on the bag and double as impromptu bumper rails, if the bag takes accidental tumbles down a flight of stairs.

After deeper consideration, we realized this bag is more protected than we first thought. Both grab handles sit higher on the case, giving them the ability to also function as bumper rails.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

The Amazon Basics is pulled by a very basic trolley handle. It offers three height settings and is a little wobbly, although our tests proved it to be sturdy enough during many weeks of tugging, yanking, and throttling. On the negative side, this bag's shell has zero protection and makes direct contact with stairs and curbs. Many hard-sided carry ons avoid this problem with a broader wheelbase, which allows the spinners themselves to act as bumper rails. The Amazon Basics wheels sit directly under the case, so the bag itself grinds against surfaces. The resulting damages are only cosmetic, but we still feel this lack of protection is not ideal.

amazon basics 20-inch hardside spinner - screech. testing how our amazon basics performs on stairs. things...
Screech. Testing how our Amazon Basics performs on stairs. Things got a little up close and uncomfortable.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

During the weeks of rolling our Amazon Basics in airports, sidewalks, and even dirt roads, we noted it has a rather smooth, steady ride. This bag certainly doesn't have the cruising ability of the premium bags on our list, but it does roll rather well. Additionally, we appreciated not having to constantly correct its flight path, as it rolls relatively straight, without pulling to one side or the other. During our more controlled tests, we saw the same results. The Amazon Basics was able to walk the line well, though it did tend to twirl.

Slow and steady. We were impressed with this bag's ability to stay the course during our rolling test. It even stayed straight during a twirl.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Construction Quality


The Amazon Basics is passably durable. Generally, bags at this price point have flimsy shells that are easily damaged. However, a recent change in the bag's construction materials has vastly improved its quality. We've tested this same bag in the past, and previous versions of Amazon Basics had shells composed of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), a weaker, inferior form of plastic. However, we were pleased to read that the current model we are testing is constructed with polycarbonate. Kudos to Amazon for making this adjustment.


Thanks to its newly designed shell, the Amazon Basics performed well during our drop and tumble tests. We dropped this bag flat onto its back from three feet in the air and then pushed it down a flight of concrete stairs a few times. Neither test produced any major damage, but we did see some scuffs.

When push came to shove, this bag stood its ground against concrete steps.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

We also found the Amazon Basics to be somewhat watertight. During our water tests, we drenched it with hose water for six minutes and then checked its interior for moisture. We were very pleased to find it mostly dry. The paper towel we placed in its storage compartment was only slightly dotted with water.

amazon basics 20-inch hardside spinner - the top corner of our moisture-detection system (paper towel) was...
The top corner of our moisture-detection system (paper towel) was the only place affected by our water test.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Design and Functionality


As previously stated, the Amazon Basics holds true to its name: it's basic. It has a standard interior, average fabrics, common construction, and middle-of-the-road performance. Few bragging rights come to mind when we consider this bag for its overall design and function.


Although there are no stand-out features worth mentioning, we can say this bag has a nice look. In fact, its corrugated exterior makes it appear a little more expensive than its true cost. And although it doesn't stand out as excellent, it also isn't bad. It's simply a very basic bag made for very uncomplicated, infrequent travel.

amazon basics 20-inch hardside spinner - the amazon basic has smooth zippers, but it lacks the ability to be...
The Amazon Basic has smooth zippers, but it lacks the ability to be locked.
Credit: Abriah Wofford


Should You Buy the Amazon Basics 20-Inch Hardside Spinner?


If you don't travel frequently and you are looking for a cheap carry on for that once-in-a-decade trip, the Amazon Basics 20-Inch Hardside Spinner performs well enough to get you where you're going. Additionally, if you're planning a family trip and are facing the daunting task of outfitting everyone with carry on luggage, this bag is an affordable option, especially for kids. However, it is far from being indestructible, so use it with care. This bag isn't designed for extensive travel, so we wouldn't recommend it to jet-setters who routinely circle the globe.

amazon basics 20-inch hardside spinner - an inexpensive option for those who just need the most basic option...
An inexpensive option for those who just need the most basic option for infrequent travel on a budget.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

What Other Carry On Luggage Should You Consider?


Hitting the pavement with the Amazon Basics carry on isn't particularly noteworthy for any reason other than price. So if you'd prefer better construction quality, please note that for a small uptick in cost, you can score a sturdier bag that will hang equally well on quick work retreats or long weekends away with friends. Check out the Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Expandable Spinner 20-Inch for a solid hardshell option, or the versatile soft-sided SwissGear Sion Softside Expandable 21-Inch that offers similar quality and functionality at a reasonable price. We also really like the Delsey Paris Helium Aero.

amazon basics 20-inch hardside spinner - we were able to fit almost all of the items from our bulky gear...
We were able to fit almost all of the items from our Bulky Gear packability test into the Amazon Basics Spinner by employing the expansion system.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Jason Wanlass