Abs vs Polycarbonate Luggage: Which is the Better Choice for Travelers?

Picture this: You’re standing at the baggage carousel after a long flight, eagerly waiting for your suitcase to emerge. But when it does, it’s cracked, dented, or even worse – busted open.

An ordeal no traveler wants to experience! It’s a grim reality that all too often plays out due to choosing the wrong luggage material.

But how do you decide which luggage material to opt for when you’re bombarded with terms like ABS and polycarbonate,?

Well, that’s where I come in. As an experienced jet-setter, I’ve weathered my fair share of luggage mishaps and triumphs.

I’ve discovered that the secret to stress-free travel often lies in the quality of your suitcase.

The type of material your suitcase is made of can make all the difference between a ruined trip and a pleasant journey.

That’s why I’ve delved deep into the realm of ABS and polycarbonate luggage, unearthing their strengths and weaknesses, to guide you in your quest for the perfect travel companion.

Spoiler alert: there’s a third contender – polypropylene – that’s giving these two a run for their money.

If you’ve ever been puzzled by these materials and wondered which one would make the most reliable suitcase, this is for you.

So buckle up, and let’s embark on this journey to unravel the mysteries of luggage materials, helping you select the ideal partner for your future adventures.

Abs and Polycarbonate Luggage: An Overview

Material Characteristics

When I was looking into the different materials for luggage, I found that ABS and polycarbonate are commonly used for hardside luggage.

ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) is a lightweight and low-cost material. It has a certain degree of flexibility, contributing to its durability.

Polycarbonate, on the other hand, is a high-performance plastic material that offers a better balance between weight and durability, and it’s often considered a more premium option for luggage.

Related: Best material for hard-side luggage.

Polycarbonate is more flexible and has higher impact resistance than ABS, making it a stronger material for suitcases.

Durability and Lifespan

As a frequent traveler, I value durability and lifespan when it comes to luggage. ABS luggage is a more affordable option, but it can be prone to cracking or breaking under force.

On the other hand, polycarbonate luggage has better impact resistance and can withstand rough handling during travel, increasing its lifespan.

While both ABS and polycarbonate luggage can serve their purpose well, it’s essential to consider each material’s pros and cons to choose the right luggage for your needs.

For instance, if you’re a budget-conscious traveler, ABS luggage may be a great option.

However, if you prioritize durability and are willing to invest in higher-quality luggage, polycarbonate will be a better choice.

Pros and Cons of ABS Luggage


One of the advantages of ABS luggage is its lightweight construction.

I appreciate that this type of luggage won’t weigh me down while I am traveling.

Lighter suitcases make it easier for me to stay within weight restrictions imposed by airlines, and it’s just more convenient to handle overall.


Another perk of ABS luggage is its affordability. In comparison to polycarbonate, ABS suitcases are generally cheaper.

This is perfect for me when I’m on a tighter budget or if I need to buy multiple suitcases for my family.


Despite the benefits of ABS luggage, there are a few drawbacks worth taking into account.

One of the main issues is that ABS suitcases might not be as durable or flexible as polycarbonate options.

This means that my ABS luggage may be more prone to dents and cracks, and might not offer the longevity I would want in a suitcase.

Furthermore, ABS luggage can sometimes be a bit heavier than polycarbonate bags, which can be a disadvantage when trying to stay within airline weight limits.

The heavier weight also might make it more challenging for me to handle during my travels.

Ultimately, while ABS luggage has its benefits, it’s important for me to consider these drawbacks before making a decision on which type of luggage material to choose.

Pros and Cons of Polycarbonate Luggage

Strength and Durability

In my experience, polycarbonate luggage is known for its incredible strength and durability.

This material is made from thermoplastic polymers, which are very strong and can withstand a lot of abuse.

When compared to other materials like ABS, polycarbonate offers a clear advantage in terms of longevity and protection.

Impact Resistance

One of the key features of polycarbonate luggage that I appreciate is its impact resistance. As a frequent traveler, I know how rough luggage can be treated during handling and transport.

Thankfully, polycarbonate’s ability to absorb and distribute impacts protects my belongings and prevents any damage. This is due to the material’s unique properties, which include high heat distortion temperature and great mechanical properties like heat resistance and hardness.


However, there are some drawbacks to polycarbonate luggage.

Firstly, it tends to be more expensive than its ABS counterpart. This can be a significant consideration for budget-conscious travelers like myself.

Additionally, polycarbonate luggage is also heavier than both polypropylene and ABS.

For those who prioritize lightweight luggage for easier handling, this might be a downside.

Overall, it’s essential for travelers like me to carefully weigh the pros and cons of polycarbonate luggage and decide if it’s the best choice for our needs.

While its strength and durability are definitely valuable, the cost and weight of this material may be worth considering.

Determining the Best Option for You

Travel Frequency

If I travel frequently, I would consider a polycarbonate luggage due to its durability and scratch-resistance.

With constant use, I want a suitcase that can withstand the wear and tear of being tossed around in various forms of transportation.

Polycarbonate can better protect my belongings and maintain its appearance over time.


While thinking about budget, I should keep in mind that ABS luggage typically costs less than polycarbonate luggage.

If I’m on a tight budget or simply don’t want to invest a lot of money in a suitcase, an ABS luggage bag could be a suitable choice for me.

Personal Preferences

Ultimately, my personal preferences play a significant role in deciding between ABS and polycarbonate luggage. Here are some factors I will consider:

  • Weight: If I’m particular about the weight of my luggage, I might opt for ABS, which is generally lighter than polycarbonate.
  • Design: Samsonite Omni PC, for example, uses a micro-diamond polycarbonate material for increased scratch-resistance. This could be an important factor in maintaining the aesthetics of my luggage.
  • Environmental impact: Polycarbonate luggage is typically more eco-friendly than ABS, as it has a longer lifespan and can be recycled more easily.

By considering my travel frequency, budget, and personal preferences, I can confidently choose the luggage material that best fits my needs and lifestyle.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the key differences between ABS and polycarbonate luggage?

In my experience, ABS and polycarbonate luggage differ in several ways.

ABS luggage is generally more affordable and has good impact resistance, while polycarbonate luggage tends to be more expensive but offers better flexibility and durability.

I’ve also noticed that polycarbonate suitcases are typically lighter than ABS ones.

Which type of luggage material is more durable?

I find polycarbonate luggage to be more durable than ABS luggage.

While both materials have their strengths, polycarbonate has greater resistance to impact, which makes it a stronger suitcase overall.

I’ve had better experiences with polycarbonate luggage maintaining their shape and appearance during rough handling.

Can polycarbonate luggage crack under pressure?

While polycarbonate is a strong material, it is not entirely immune to cracking under pressure.

However, it is quite resistant to impact and has inherent flexibility, which helps protect it from cracking.

In my experience, polycarbonate luggage tends to hold up well even when subjected to rough handling.

How does ABS-polycarbonate blend compare to pure materials?

I have found that ABS-polycarbonate blends combine some of the best features of both materials.

These blends offer improved impact resistance and generally retain the lightweight properties of polycarbonate luggage.

However, the blend might not be as durable or flexible as pure polycarbonate luggage.

What benefits can I expect from polypropylene luggage?

Polypropylene luggage has some unique advantages. The material is lightweight, and I have found it to be very resistant to impact, scratches, and dents.

Also, polypropylene luggage can be quite stylish with its glossy finish. However, it may not be as durable as polycarbonate luggage over time.

Which plastic material is recommended for suitcase construction?

As a traveler, I would personally recommend polycarbonate luggage due to its durability, flexibility, and lightweight properties.

While other types of plastic materials like ABS and polypropylene have their benefits, polycarbonate luggage has proven to be the most robust choice for me.

However, your choice may depend on factors such as budget, personal preferences, and travel habits.


So here goes the grand conclusion: if you’re a laid-back, chill, and maybe only-a-holiday-per-year kind of traveler, then ABS luggage is your main squeeze.

It’s friendly on your wallet, and lightweight like a feather (well, maybe a heavy feather). Plus, it fits your ‘casual traveler’ vibe just perfectly.

But wait, what if you’re more of an Indiana Jones type?

You know, jetting off to exotic locales every other week and challenging the luggage handlers of the world with your globe-trotting?

In that case, polycarbonate luggage has got your back!

This stuff is as tough as a two-dollar steak and is basically the Superman of suitcases.

Sure, it might dent your wallet more than ABS, but when you’re stuck in a remote airport and your suitcase emerges unscathed from a 10-foot luggage drop, you’ll see it was worth every penny.

Just remember, folks, when it comes to luggage, one-size-fits-all is as realistic as unicorns.

You’ve got to keep your own travel habits, budget, and personal preferences in mind – kind of like choosing the perfect pair of shoes.

Whether you’re a once-in-a-blue-moon vacationer or a hardcore globe-trotter, the right luggage for you is out there.

So get out, explore, and keep those travel stories coming!

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Sorin Susanu
Sorin, the primary writer for this site, launched it in 2019 as a hobby and a means to refine his English. With a passion for travel ignited by a trip to Italy at age twelve, Sorin has been exploring the world and sharing his adventures ever since.