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How Heavy Is A Carry-On Suitcase


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Mellisa Pisano



When it comes to traveling, having the right luggage is essential. One of the most important considerations is the weight of your carry-on suitcase. While you want to pack everything you need for your trip, it’s crucial to stay within the weight limits imposed by airlines.


In this article, we will explore the factors that contribute to the weight of a carry-on suitcase, the standard weight limits set by airlines, the different types of carry-on suitcases and their weight range, and provide helpful tips for packing lighter.


Understanding the weight of a carry-on suitcase is vital to ensure a smooth travel experience. Overpacking and exceeding weight limits can lead to additional fees, delays, or even the need to check your bag. By optimizing the weight of your carry-on, you can save money, avoid hassle, and enjoy a stress-free journey.


So, whether you’re a frequent traveler or planning your next adventure, read on to discover useful insights and strategies to make the most of your carry-on luggage.


Factors that Contribute to the Weight of a Carry-On Suitcase

When discussing the weight of a carry-on suitcase, it’s important to consider various factors that contribute to its overall weight. These factors can vary depending on the design, materials used, and personal packing choices. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Size and Dimensions: The size and dimensions of the carry-on suitcase can impact its weight. Larger suitcases tend to be heavier, as they require more material to construct and have additional features such as extra compartments and wheels.
  • Material: The material of the suitcase plays a significant role in its weight. Common materials used for carry-on suitcases include polycarbonate, aluminum, nylon, and polyester. Each material has its own weight characteristics, with aluminum usually being the heaviest and nylon or polyester being more lightweight.
  • Frame: If your carry-on suitcase has a built-in frame, it will likely be heavier than a soft-sided suitcase. Hard-shell suitcases with a sturdy frame offer better protection for your belongings but come at the cost of added weight.
  • Wheels: Suitcases equipped with wheels make it easier to navigate through airports and other travel destinations. However, the type of wheels can affect the weight of the suitcase. Spinner wheels, which allow for 360-degree movement, tend to add more weight compared to inline skate wheels.
  • Handle: The handle system of a carry-on suitcase can also contribute to its weight. Telescopic handles made from materials like aluminum are durable but add extra weight.
  • Compartmentalization: Some carry-on suitcases have additional compartments, pockets, and dividers to help organize your belongings. While these features can be convenient, they may add weight to the overall suitcase.

It’s worth noting that personal packing choices, such as the number of clothes, shoes, and accessories you pack, can also significantly impact the weight of your carry-on suitcase. Before you start packing, consider the duration of your trip, the weather conditions at your destination, and any specific activities or events you’ll be participating in. This will help you pack efficiently and avoid unnecessary items that can add weight.


Now that we have explored the factors that contribute to the weight of a carry-on suitcase, let’s move on to understanding the standard weight limits set by airlines.


Standard Weight Limit for Carry-On Luggage

As airlines have different policies and regulations regarding carry-on luggage, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the standard weight limits to avoid any surprises or additional charges. While there is no universal weight limit for carry-on luggage, most airlines adhere to a general guideline.


The standard weight limit for carry-on luggage is typically around 7 to 10 kilograms (15 to 22 pounds). However, it’s crucial to note that this limit can vary between airlines, so it’s always recommended to check with your specific airline before your trip. Some budget airlines may have lower weight limits, while others may allow slightly higher weights for premium cabin classes.


In addition to weight restrictions, airlines may also enforce size restrictions for carry-on luggage. The dimensions of the suitcase, including length, width, and height, are measured to ensure compliance with the airline’s guidelines. These measurements can vary from airline to airline, but the most common allowance is around 56 centimeters (22 inches) in length, 36 centimeters (14 inches) in width, and 23 centimeters (9 inches) in depth.


Exceeding the weight or size limits specified by the airline may result in additional fees, forced check-in of the bag, or even denied boarding in extreme cases. It’s always wise to double-check your airline’s specific requirements and pack accordingly to avoid any last-minute surprises at the airport.


Keep in mind that while the weight limits for carry-on luggage are generally set by airlines, there may be additional weight restrictions imposed by local transportation regulations or security measures in some countries. Being aware of these restrictions can help you plan and pack accordingly for a smooth and hassle-free travel experience.


Now that we have a better understanding of the standard weight limits for carry-on luggage, let’s explore the different types of carry-on suitcases and their weight range.


Different Types of Carry-On Suitcases and their Weight Range

Carry-on suitcases come in a variety of sizes, styles, and materials, each with its own weight range. Understanding the different types can help you choose the one that best suits your needs while staying within the weight limits set by airlines.


Here are some common types of carry-on suitcases and their weight ranges:

  • Hard-Shell Suitcases: Hard-shell suitcases are known for their durability and resistance to impact. These suitcases are typically made from materials like polycarbonate, ABS, or aluminum. The weight of hard-shell carry-ons can vary depending on the size and material, ranging from around 3 to 6 kilograms (6.5 to 13 pounds).
  • Soft-Sided Suitcases: Soft-sided suitcases are often made from nylon or polyester, providing flexibility and lighter weight compared to hard-shell versions. The weight of soft-sided carry-ons can range from approximately 2.5 to 4.5 kilograms (5.5 to 10 pounds), depending on the size and additional features.
  • Spinner Suitcases: Spinner suitcases are equipped with four wheels that allow for easy maneuverability in any direction. They typically weigh slightly more than carry-ons with two wheels due to the added weight of the spinner wheels. The weight of spinner carry-ons can range from around 3 to 6 kilograms (6.5 to 13 pounds), depending on the size and materials used.
  • Cabin Backpacks: Cabin backpacks offer a hands-free travel experience and are a popular choice for those who prefer carrying their luggage on their backs. These backpacks are designed to meet size restrictions for carry-on luggage and usually weigh between 1 to 2.5 kilograms (2 to 5.5 pounds).
  • Laptop Bags: Laptop bags serve dual purposes of carrying your laptop and serving as a personal item for your essential travel belongings. These bags are lightweight and usually do not have a specific weight range limitation as they are considered personal items rather than carry-on luggage.

It’s important to note that the weight range mentioned above is approximate and can vary based on the specific brand, model, and size of the suitcase. When selecting a carry-on suitcase, it’s recommended to consider both the weight and size restrictions imposed by your airline to ensure compliance.


Now that we have explored the different types of carry-on suitcases and their weight ranges, let’s move on to some tips for packing lighter.


Tips for Packing Lighter

Packing lighter for your trip not only helps you stay within the weight limits of your carry-on suitcase but also makes your journey more convenient and less tiring. Here are some helpful tips to pack smarter and lighter:

  • Make a packing list: Before you start packing, make a list of essential items you’ll need for your trip. This helps you avoid overpacking and ensures you only pack what you truly need.
  • Choose versatile clothing: Select clothing items that can be easily mixed and matched to create different outfits. Opt for lightweight and wrinkle-resistant fabrics that take up less space in your suitcase.
  • Limit your shoes: Shoes add significant weight and take up valuable space in your suitcase. Choose a maximum of two to three pairs that are suitable for different occasions and pack them strategically to maximize space.
  • Roll your clothes: Rolling your clothes instead of folding them not only saves space but also helps prevent wrinkles. This packing technique allows you to fit more items in your suitcase while keeping them organized.
  • Use packing cubes or compression bags: Packing cubes or compression bags can compress your clothes and make them more compact. They also help keep your belongings organized and easily accessible during your trip.
  • Wear your bulkiest items: If you’re traveling with heavy or bulky items like jackets or boots, consider wearing them instead of packing them in your suitcase. This frees up space and reduces the weight of your luggage.
  • Minimize toiletries: Instead of packing full-sized toiletries, transfer them into travel-sized containers or consider using solid toiletries to reduce weight. Additionally, check if your accommodation provides basic toiletries to avoid unnecessary duplication.
  • Utilize packing hacks: Explore packing hacks like stuffing socks or small items inside your shoes to maximize space utilization. You can also use your clothing as padding for fragile items.
  • Avoid packing unnecessary items: Be mindful of items that you may not actually need during your trip. Leave behind items like excessive gadgets, bulky towels, or heavy books to minimize weight and create more room in your suitcase.

By implementing these tips, you can significantly reduce the weight of your carry-on suitcase and make your travels more enjoyable and hassle-free.


With a better understanding of packing lighter, let’s conclude our article.



Choosing the right carry-on suitcase and understanding its weight is crucial for a smooth travel experience. By considering the factors that contribute to the weight of a carry-on suitcase, you can make informed decisions about its size, material, and features. Additionally, being aware of the standard weight limits set by airlines helps you avoid additional fees and potential check-in hassles.


Different types of carry-on suitcases, such as hard-shell, soft-sided, spinner, cabin backpacks, and laptop bags, offer varying weight ranges to cater to different travel needs. It’s essential to select a suitcase that suits your preferences and complies with airline regulations.


To ensure you pack lighter, follow practical tips such as making a packing list, choosing versatile clothing, limiting your shoe selection, rolling clothes, utilizing packing cubes or compression bags, wearing bulkier items, minimizing toiletries, and avoiding packing unnecessary items.


By packing smarter and lighter, you not only comply with weight restrictions but also enjoy a stress-free journey with less physical strain and more convenience. Traveling with a well-organized and properly weighted carry-on suitcase allows you to make the most of your trip without worrying about excess baggage fees or difficulties navigating through crowded airports.


So, whether you’re embarking on a weekend getaway or a long-term adventure, remember to consider the weight of your carry-on suitcase and pack thoughtfully to optimize your travel experience. Happy travels!