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Tumi vs Samsonite: Is it worth paying a premium for luggage?

A couple stand in nature with Samsonite suitcases.
Samsonite

The friendly skies are calling, and you’ve got a new destination ahead of you. And whether it’s for work, play, or any other kind of getaway, you’ll need a way to take your stuff with you. There are several options to consider when it comes to luggage brands, a couple of which are Tumi and Samsonite. These companies offer quality pieces of luggage and drastically different price points. Each makes a lot of sense depending on your needs, so we thought we’d explore the two as you start setting your itinerary.

Tumi vs Samsonite: Who wins?

If the full exploration isn’t of interest to you and you’d simply like to know whether you should purchase luggage from Tumi or Samsonite, we feel you should go with Samsonite. Tumi is a luxury brand that makes high quality luggage, and with the luxury name comes luxury prices. Tumi’s lineup starts in the $850 price range, with models reaching upwards of $2,000. Most of Samsonite’s offerings come in at less than a quarter of these costs, yet Samsonite luggage is still known to be of high quality. It’s also one of the most recognizable names in travel. You can’t go wrong with either brand, but Samsonite brings some serious value to the overhead compartment.

Price

As previously mentioned, price is a major discrepancy when comparing Tumi luggage with Samsonite luggage. Samsonite is going to be in the right price range for most people, as it has a ton of options in the $100-$200 range. Its Voltage DLX Carry-On Spinner is a popular choice and comes in at less than $200, and it often sees price drops throughout the year. By comparison, Tumi is recognized, at least in part, because of its high prices. Many people prefer the lap of luxury. Suitcases like Tumi’s Alpha International Carry-On offer just that, but come in at a nearly $900 starting point. The value Samsonite offers here is hard to beat.

Features

Luggage needs are going to be pretty commonplace for many travelers. Both Tumi and Samsonite have unique things to offer, but they also have a lot of crossover, as will be the case with many luggage brands. Here are some of the things you can expect to find in both Tumi and Samsonite luggage:

  • TSA-approved lock panel
  • Telescoping handle
  • Side carry handle
  • Spacious compartments
  • Quality rollers
  • Built-in USB charging port

Where these brands will start to distinguish themselves from one another is when it comes to personal taste. With Tumi focused more on a luxurious user experience, you’ll find things like gold zippers and premium interior designs among its lineup of luggage.

Samsonite, however, is more focused on making quality luggage for the masses. You’ll find features such as WetPak pockets for liquids and toiletries in some Samsonite models, but for the most part features are pretty standard and won’t go far beyond what’s listed above.

Design

Sleek and minimal are two words you could use to describe both Tumi and Samsonite suitcases. Neither brand goes too far when it comes to making its luggage stand out, and each designs its luggage to look good. You’re going to find designs that will feel more customized when shopping the Tumi lineup. Its hard shell carry-ons certainly have a classy and distinguished feel to them, while its soft suitcases remain discreet yet professional.

But Samsonite shouldn’t be sold short simply because it’s looking to appeal to a broader customer base. Its luggage is designed with an incredibly modern eye, and you’ll find a full variety of colors to choose from as well.

Build Quality

You’re going to be getting a quality piece of luggage whether you decide to go with the high end offerings of Tumi or the value-packed offerings of Samsonite. While Samsonite luggage gets the job done with its durable polypropylene shell design, you’ll find many of Tumi’s hard shell suitcases made of aluminum. This is right in line with the premium nature of the brand.

Both Tumi and Samsonite suitcases are built to withstand the bumps, drops, and tosses that will accompany any suitcase not destined for the overhead compartment. At its price points Tumi can afford to throw in some additional quality across the board, but Samsonite knows its way around airport conveyor belts as well.

Warranty

Tumi promises an outstanding ownership experience with the purchase of any of its products, and its suitcases come with a 5-year warranty. With Samsonite you’ll get a little more backing of its quality, as Samsonite considers its luggage “worldproof,” and tests all of its travel equipment at fully loaded capacity using stringent quality control standards. It has a limited 5-year global warranty, a limited 3-year global warranty, and a limited global warranty on all of its products, with each kicking in for various parts of each piece of luggage.

Lots of pros, Very Few Cons

The Samsonite Voltage DLX spinner carry-on suitcase.
Samsonite

The best way to conclude a comparison between brands like Tumi and Samsonite is to say they each have their own sets of pros, yet they each also have very few cons. The goal of a piece of luggage is to get as much of your stuff to and fro without any damage, and both Tumi and Samsonite will easily live up to that standard. If you prefer a the lap of luxury or otherwise have no budget in your way, Tumi is there to accompany you in your travels. Should you simply want a piece of luggage you won’t ever have to think much about, Samsonite has a lot to choose from.

Andrew Morrisey
Andrew Morrisey is an independent writer, photographer and filmmaker. His interest in storytelling and its many mediums led…
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