Hard Suitcases vs. Soft Suitcases

PHL Airport parking

Over the past several years, hard shell suitcases have become a popular choice amongst travelers, but is the latest fad worth a try over traditional soft suitcases? Here, our PHL Airport parking company explores the pros and cons of each luggage type:


If you’re a frequent traveler or if you’re someone who takes a trip overseas every once in awhile, you’re probably looking for durability in a suitcase. Hard shell suitcases are usually made from polycarbonate, which gives them a rigid structure that can handle being tossed around during transport. Soft suitcases, on the other hand, are made from a soft fabric-like material and don’t offer the same stability.


Have you ever gotten done packing, but needed to stuff a few extra things into your suitcase? The rigid structure of a hard shell suitcase means that it can only hold what you can fit inside. Because of the flexibility of a soft suitcase, however, you can “stretch” it to fit all of your belongings. This can come in handy if you pick up souvenirs while on your trip.

In addition to packing flexibility, soft suitcases can be considered “pliable” up to a certain point, which can help when you’re trying to fit it into the trunk of a car or into an overhead bin on an airplane. A hard shell suitcase can’t be molded to fit into a specific space.

Wear & Tear

When it comes to wear and tear, an argument can be made for both types of suitcases. While our PHL Airport parking company knows hard shell suitcase material offers rigidity, it can also be susceptible to cracks, dents, and holes if it’s not handled with care. However, a soft suitcase may be susceptible to rips or tears (depending on the material it’s made from) if it’s not handled with care either.


If you often travel with fragile belongings, a hard shell suitcase can offer better protection than a soft suitcase. Its sturdy structure can be a barrier between your belongings and things like weather, weight, sharp objects, and more. While a soft suitcase may be made from a durable fabric, it doesn’t offer the same protection.

Wheel Considerations

Another popular luggage feature is suitcases that have four wheels instead of two. With four wheels, the suitcase can be maneuvered while it’s standing upright, which can take up less space and eliminate the need to pull your suitcase behind you. However, because these four wheels often protrude out from your luggage by several inches, they can be easily damaged if not handled properly. They also add to the overall size of the suitcase, which may be something to consider if you’re trying to stay within carry-on regulation sizes.

Do you usually travel with a hard or soft suitcase? What do you like and not like about it? We’d love to know!