Amazon Basics 30" Hardside Spinner Review
Cons: Low-grade materials, poor craftsmanship, sticky zipper
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Amazon Basics 30" Hardside Spinner
$79.38 at Amazon
|$279 List||$289 List|
Check Price at REI
$239.88 at Amazon
|Pros||Inexpensive, rolls easily, large capacity||Smooth ride, sensible features, excellent organization, great style||Durable construction, large capacity, rolls with ease across mixed terrain||Cavernous main compartment, scratch- and water-resistant, easy-roll spinners||Ultra-lightweight, large wheels, useful organizational features|
|Cons||Low-grade materials, poor craftsmanship, sticky zipper||Zippers could be smoother, low clearance||Limited interior organizational features, easy to overpack||Tough to transport on mixed terrain, easy to overpack, limited organizational features||Small storage capacity, jiggly awkward handle, dubious longevity|
|Bottom Line||A low priced expandable suitcase with enormous storage capacity but dubious durability||A durable, stylish, and high-value suitcase suited for all types of travel||The perfect all-terrain rolling duffel with substantial storage capacity and useful organizational extras||An oversized yet lightweight mega-bag with spinner-tight roll and control over smooth surfaces and surprisingly tough exterior construction||An ultra-lightweight roller duffel great for road tripping but less useful for airline travel|
|Rating Categories||Amazon Basics 30" H...||Timbuk2 Copilot||REI Co-op Big Haul...||Samsonite Omni PC H...||Osprey Ozone 75L Wh...|
|Storage & Organization (25%)|
|Ease of Transport (25%)|
|Specs||Amazon Basics 30" H...||Timbuk2 Copilot||REI Co-op Big Haul...||Samsonite Omni PC H...||Osprey Ozone 75L Wh...|
|Measured Weight||11.6 lbs||9.4 lbs||9.6 lbs||10.3 lbs||5.2 lbs|
|Liters per pound||10.9||8.5||11.1||14.1||14.4|
|Construction||Clamshell, hard-sided||Clamshell plus topside u-shaped zip access, softshell||Zip open, duffel||Clamshell, hard-sided||Zip open, duffel|
|Measured Packed Dimensions||30.75" x 21" x 12||26.5" x 14.5" x 13"||33.75" x 16.25" x 14"||30.5" x 20.5" x 13"||26.5" x 17" x 12"|
|Number of Wheels||4||2||2||4||2|
|Number of Large Interior Compartments||2||2||1||2||1|
|Interior Storage Features||One-half clam with elastic restraint straps, one-half large zip enclosure with 2 zip mesh pockets, hanging zip accessory pocket||2 mesh clam panels with 2 organizational pockets||2 mesh organizational pockets on inside of opening panel (one with key hook), 2 internal compression straps||Elastic restraint straps in one-half clam, zip enclosure over opposite half; hanging zipper accessory pocket||Compression panels with 2 straps|
|Number of Exterior Pockets||None||1 pocket on top, 1 large sleeve||1 side exterior zip pocket. 1 small top zip pocket with piggy-bag strap attachment, plus daisy-chain gear loops||None||1 liquid pocket, 1 media-sized slide pocket, 1 small top containing tuckaway carry-on strap|
|Compression System||2 elastic straps for restraint but no functional compression||No||2 external and 2 internal compression straps (4 in total)||2 elastic straps for restraint but no functional compression||2 external compression straps, 1 internal panel set|
|Handle Height from Ground||Low: 36.75"
|Built-In Lock||No||No||No||Yes, TSA Approved||No|
|Main Exterior Material||Extra-thick ABS, hard shell||Nylon and polyester||Recycled 400-denier nylon/recycled 1,680-denier nylon (bluesign®-approved)||Polycarbonate||210-denier nylon honeycomb plus 450-denier packcloth|
|Unique Features||150D-polyester zippered clamshell enclosure, 3 organizational pockets||Liquids pocket and padded front pocket to fit 13" laptop; skateboard wheels||Oversized wheels, rugged chassis, full-length bumpers, 2 internal and 2 external compression straps, stopper-stand, carry-on piggyback clip, 6 haul handle options, daisy chain lash points, water-resistant||Built-in TSA-approved lock; large packing capacity; impressive water resistance, expandable, anti-scratch exterior||Ultralight, large, treaded wheels, exterior slide document pocket, carry-on tuckaway strap|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Amazon Basics 30" Hardside Spinner is as simple and straightforward a four-wheel suitcase as you could imagine, at one of the lowest price points we've seen in the category. But like many inexpensive items, this low-cost bag comes paired with an equally low set of expectations. While we were surprised by its decent performance, we would not count on the case for its reliability long term. But if your needs are short, simple, and/or infrequent, it's got all the basics to navigate in the short term.
Storage & Organization
At 127L with an expandable zipper option, this clam-shaped suitcase is massive and well-suited to a long journey or a big move. We tested the 30-inch case. It also comes in a 21 and 26-inch option.
The main compartment is large and ready to accommodate any mountain of clothing or gear you can toss at it, including bulkier items. One-half of the clamshell is restrained by a full-sized zip panel featuring a set of mesh zip pockets for interior organization. A small hanging zippered accessory pocket marks the split. While the restraint straps that sit on the other half of the clam serve little value in terms of compression, they do ensure items are held in place well enough to keep things from popping out at you upon arrival or inspection. And if your shopping habits run hot, rest assured the bag is ready. Just unzip the expandable fold of fabric around the middle of the suitcase and gain 15% more packing room for your effort.
Ease of Transport
This case surprised us with how smoothly it moved over hard surfaces. With four 360-degree spinners, each built of a rubberized outer layer covering two wheels that connect on a single axis, the Amazon Basics Hardsided Spinner glides reasonably well alongside you when covering distance at the airport or maneuvering furniture in a hotel lobby. That said, it does tend to move away from the body at around 45 degrees when fully loaded and on the move, a strange performance result that seems to be tied to internal weight redistribution once in motion and discovered in several of the hard-cased spinners we tested.
Like all other spinners in our test group, technical terrain doles out some trouble in transport. Cobblestones and light gravel slowed us down just a bit in testing. For average use, you ought to have no problem. But when presented with aggressively irregular pathways featuring rocks, grass, mud, potholes, or foliage, the case struggled alongside all of its spinner companions. If off-road adventures fill your calendar, we'd point you toward a two-wheeled bag as a better choice. But if such needs are few and far between, with a bit of added muscle and a concentrated drag, you'll still land on target with this case. Plus, the spacious 2.75 inches of clearance will help protect the bottom of the bag from bang-ups with direct obstacles.
The telescoping pull handle is of average appearance and performance, with its single-button operation serving us well enough around town. The addition of two well-placed haul handles at the top and side of the bag provides good grab-and-grip options when loading up a car trunk or settling in on the shuttle bus at the airport. However, they appear notably weak in design and leave us questioning how long they'll serve before breaking, particularly if the bag is packed to full capacity.
The other thing to keep in mind with the expandable Amazon Hardside Spinner is that the smooth-rolling performance can work against you should you neglect to keep the bag underhand at all times. As with all spinners in the group, there's no built-in stopper to brake the bag. So even at partial weight, it's apt to roll off down an incline or across smooth surfaces on its own accord. Fully weighted, it's got the momentum of a bowling ball, slow and steady with increased speed the farther away it moves. But for most, this minor inconvenience is easy enough to disregard in the face of the significant value it delivers otherwise.
Where this low-priced case scores positive points in transport, it disappoints when evaluated for quality of construction. And even though the materials and features held up during initial testing without notable failure, the combination of visual inspection and negative past client reviews gives us pause and leaves us questioning how well it is likely to perform over the long — or even short — term.
At first look, all the critical parts are in order though they are not individually or collectively impressive. The unassuming ABS outer hard shell withstood toss and stair testing with flying colors and showed no cracking and only minimal scratching and scuffing for the effort. Similarly, the 150D-polyester interior liner held up to several packings at full weight without suffering. Even the zipper and pulls are far more substantial in size than what we saw in some other cases within the test group. And although certainly not impervious to water — we did have pooling inside the main compartment with testing, just as we did with almost every other bag in the test group — the hard-shell exterior stood up against shower-like conditions equivalent to others in the category.
All in all, testing gives the impression that there may be more life to this bag than the price indicates. But with inspection, it seems equally chock-full of vulnerabilities. To start, the four wheels function remarkably well on flat urban terrain, similar to other high-quality cases, even if they jiggle a bit in their housings. We attribute this smoother-than-average ride to the double "tire" construction of each spinner and their rubberized outer surface. But the cheap, unprotected plastic wheel housings and caster attachments don't breed much confidence. And without a doubt, any wheel popping off while walking down the street or coming off the luggage carrousel is sure to put a real damper on even the best-laid travel plans.
The aluminum pull handle is average in appearance but slides well between positions and doesn't flex even when the bag is fully loaded, although it does jiggle a good deal within the housing. Still, the quality is much of what you'd expect from a budget suitcase, and, after reading numerous reports of failure, we are left wondering how many trips we'd log before having to address a similar concern. Still, we didn't have any issues during our testing period.
Likewise, the two rubberized loading handles are comfortable in hand and well placed for use, even if they appear weak and unlikely to hold the weight of a full bag. A simple plastic fitting affixes each into the top or side of the case without much give, leaving the impression that both are flimsy and easily breakable. With a bag sized to easily accommodate more than 50 pounds, it seems likely you'd be stretching all features to max capacity soon enough.
Yes, there's more to this bag than meets the initial eye. And at such a low price, the value is there for anyone straddling the line between a tight budget and the need for a big, easy-to-roll city bag. But cheap craftsmanship and a slew of user reviews noting wheel failure, exterior cracking, and fabric disintegration — among several other failing design features — leave us unconvinced this is a suitcase truly game for any long haul. If you are roaming beyond the smooth hallways of airports and hotel rooms, we would suggest dialing up your spending to ensure your case has the longevity to serve.
At 11.6 pounds, this suitcase is far from featherlight. But given its expandable 127L capacity, there's no question it's set up to swallow any heap of clothing and gear you may need to move from home to hideaway.
Easy-rolling spinners make this an easy bag to travel with, and exterior haul handles will aid you in loading trunks and baggage carts. No question, there are lighter cases out there, but few among them offer the same amount of storage at such an extraordinarily low price point.
What comes to mind when you say roller suitcase? This is probably it: simple, generic, and just a touch little less shiny than some similarly boxy spinner options out there.
While the old luggage staples of black and navy won't ever go out of style, this suitcase is unlikely to last well into your world-traveling future. So why not give a bright orange or sea blue a go? You'll draw eyes cruising through the airport to check-in and then spot your bag easily coming off the carousel when you land.
Despite questions of longevity due to its lower-quality materials and craftsmanship overall, this low-priced suitcase offers all the volume you'll need to pack a complete all-season wardrobe for any long-distance move or future urban getaway. If you don't plan to ride hard or to push any of the bag's features to their max, this inexpensive yet surprisingly durable beast of a case should carry you through at least a few trips without problems.
The four-wheeled Amazon Basics 30" Hardsided Spinner is just what most deal-seekers are looking for. It's got a variety of key features to support a big haul journey once or twice a year, all at a price that won't cut deeply into your precious travel budget. With solid urban maneuverability, unexpected out-of-the-box durability, and helpful organizational extras, it's a great option when price outweighs function over the long term.
— Myrha Colt
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