I’ve traveled more than most people I know in the last decade and I’ve discovered several “travel hacks” and common sense rules that make getting through an airport better and easier. But if I could only give someone one piece of advice — my very best travel advice — I would tell them to invest in smart luggage.
My reasoning is simple: there isn’t one other travel accessory or item you can bring with you that can streamline your airport experience more than a smart carry-on bag. And by “smart” I mean a bag that does at least three things: charges your gadgets (so you don’t have to be that person sitting on the floor next to an outlet at someone’s feet), weighs your bag with a built-in scale (so you know you can avoid overage charges) and tracks your bag (so you can find it if it gets lost as well as pick it up quicker at baggage claim). Those features are the minimum required for entry to this list; but several smart suitcases go above and beyond in the tech department.
Since this article is part of The 3 Best Series here on DailyTekk, I forced myself to narrow down what I felt were the 3 best options in the smart luggage category. My personal experience to in-depth research informed my decisions, but I also made sure to include a few extra options this time around since several products almost made the cut but just missed out (either because they weren’t quite ready for market yet, were not quite as full featured, seemed lower-quality or maybe just lacked the right amount of panache).
Which smart carry-on or suitcase looks best to you? Let me know in the comments.
BlueSmart Smart Luggage
The BlueSmart carry-on bag is the original smart suitcase and pioneered the idea of including built-in charging, location awareness and a built-in scale in a piece of luggage. And since Bluesmart raised over $2 million on Indiegogo back in 2014, the company and it’s products have deservedly enjoyed a solid reputation as “the” smart carry-on company.
The company now offers travelers two options: the original BlueSmart One and the new Black Edition (which has a new body and wheels). Both bags let you remotely lock your suitcase from your phone, can charge your devices up to 6 times, will let you locate your suitcase anywhere in the world (using GPS technology and a global SIM card) and will let you check the weight of your suitcase anytime.
I tested a BlueSmart One bag several months ago (when DailyTekk gave one away in combination with Huckberry) and I was truly impressed with the quality and especially the thoughtfulness of the product. For instance, the easy-to-reach laptop/tablet storage on the front of the bag is incredibly handy as it feels like I’m always reaching for my devices while I’m both at the airport and on a plane. The interior storage options are simple and straightforward (no gimmicks here — and I like that) and the wheels rolled very smoothly for me.
The app, though, is almost painfully basic and I understand where it’s designers were coming from; the simpler the better when you’re busy and and rushed. Even so, I wish it had a bit more deign flair to it — but the experience is as flawless as you would expect (and dependable).
Delsey Pluggage Smart Luggage
Delsey’s smart luggage — dubbed Delsey Pluggage — is packed full of tech that makes it, perhaps, the smartest of the smart suitcases. Aside from the bare minimum smart feature set (built-in charging, a scale and location awareness), you’ll also get features like onboard detection (which will alert you when your luggage is on the plane), a lit interior for finding items in the dark and a built-in speaker (which pops up out of the top).
Additionally, the app is a bit more full-featured than others: you can get flight info and trip info (including a departure check list and a list of must-see points of interest at your destination), the weather forecast for your destination, the ability to check if your luggage is still locked and built-in fingerprint security (for the app, not for the bag).
I also happen to think that the Delsey Pluggage — despite it’s pretty awful name — is one of the best looking smart suitcases. The grey hardshell with subtle leather and metallic accents looks great for men or women.
Raden Smart Luggage
Without a doubt I think Raden has created the world’s coolest, best-looking smart luggage (there is both a carry on and a check option — or you can purchase the set). In terms of smart features you’ll get the essentials (USB charging with enough juice for 4 full charges, a built-in scale, location awareness) but overall, everything looks better than the competition (from the design of the bags to the design of the app).
The exterior of Raden’s luggage is made from ultra-durable Makralon polycarbonate material, there’s a built-in TSA-approved lock and even a waterproof zipper. The Japanese double-spinning wheels make for a smooth, 360 degree ride and there are several really cool colors to choose from to personalize your experience (honestly, many other companies those the most boring colors as options; these colors are actually either really sleek or really exiting).
Truly everything about Raden’s smart bags seem to be “next level.” There’s even free, built-in chat support if you need help of any kind. The accompanying app, which I already mentioned has a very appealing design, looks like it could give some of the best travel apps a run for their money in terms of functionality as well.
The smart luggage and smart carry-on market seems to be exploding. There are several brands offering smart suitcases now and I really found it tricky to narrow it down to a top 3. If you’re wanting to dive deeper you might also check out Trunkster, Barracuda and Rimowa. Trunkster has a smart bag that has managed to do away with zippers (the front opens almost like a garage), the Barracuda can become very compact when in storage and has a more modular approach to it’s smart features (i.e. not built-in, but accessorized) and Rimowa has a screen which can display your luggage tags (though it’s only working with Lufthansa at the time of writing which kept it out of the running even though it looks awesome).
Conclusion and Recommendations
- Affordable: You can get an entire set of Raden smart luggage for about the price of the BlueSmart Black Edition.
- Fashionable: I’ve got to go with the Raden (sleek, modern) or the BlueSmart (traditional) depending on your fashion sense.
- Sturdy: Again, Raden takes the cake in this category; just watch the video of the guy jumping on the suitcases on the site and you’ll see for yourself.
- Features: From a tech perspective the Delsey Pluggage does more than any other smart carry-on without a doubt.
- Original: If you want the smart suitcase that started it all go with the BlueSmart.
Personally I love the BlueSmart. It’s the original innovator and invented the entire category of smart luggage. In my opinion if you’re having trouble deciding, you can’t go wrong with either the BlueSmart One or Black Edition.