Traveling can be overwhelming, but a great suitcase that’s high-quality and well-organized can make things a lot easier. Monos’s luggage stands out from the crowd because it is made to withstand the test of time — both in terms of design and durability. The brand’s minimalistic bags have a sleek and simple look that won’t go out of style in a season, and the hardside material is built to last.
As an analyst at the Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles Lab, I test all kinds of luggage from popular brands and travel accessories including carry-on suitcases, checked luggage, travel backpacks, travel blankets, packing cubes and much more, and I’m a frequent traveler who has been on more than 40 flights and train rides in the last year. As part of my luggage evaluations, I’ve tried and tested a few styles from Monos like the brand’s popular carry-on bag, the checked suitcase and the weekender bag.
After extensively evaluating the brand’s luggage, I’m impressed with the quality and design features and think it’s safe to say the luggage is worth the investment. Not only did the brand’s bags ace our Lab’s packing and ease of use tests, but they also resisted major damage in our drop tests and received high ratings for maneuverability and wheel performance in our luggage obstacle course. Plus, the luggage earned top marks from dozens of consumer testers, including myself, who were able to try it during our own travels.
Keep reading to learn more about different styles from Monos and about how I and my fellow GH analysts put them to the test.
Monos Luggage Overview
Monos is a Canadian luggage brand founded in 2018 that offers stylish, well-crafted luggage ideal for the traveler who doesn’t want to give up function for fashion. The carry-on bag and large checked style are fan favorites; the checked bag even earned a Good Housekeeping 2023 Family Travel Award. Both of the streamlined hardside bags are made with durable polycarbonate material and are available in a variety of bold, trendy colors and classic, neutral hues.
Monos Luggage Performance
Most of Monos’s luggage, including the carry-on and checked styles above, is made of polycarbonate, which is a hard material known for its impact resistance. When I used our drop tester to repeatedly release the suitcases at different angles from a set 3-foot height (shown here), they held up well without dents or breakage. And at the airport, the luggage made it through baggage claim and the luggage carousel without major damage.
I did note prominent scuffing on the bags after both Textiles Lab drop testing and traveling, though, and other testers experienced the same issue. When the bags underwent scratch testing in the Lab, there were also some visible grooves left behind. The material definitely marks more than other polycarbonate luggage I’ve used, but most of the surface-level scuffs can be removed with the provided cleaning sponge or by scrubbing them away with soap and water. If you’re worried about scuffing or scratches, it’s best to opt for one of the brand’s darker color options, and if you really want to go the extra mile to protect your bag from cosmetic damage, Monos also offers translucent luggage covers for all of its suitcases.
Both the carry-on and checked style are full of features that make packing for your upcoming travels more efficient.
For being so compact, the Monos Carry-On has a roomy interior, offering 39.9 L of storage space for your belongings. Most carry-on bags provide around 30 to 45 L of space. (For example, the popular Away Carry-On clocks in at 39.8 L.) The Monos Carry-On aced our packing tests, and I was blown away by how much fit inside of the suitcase. It held our Lab’s standard load of clothes, shoes and toiletries for a weekend trip with room to spare, and it comes with two shoe bags and a laundry bag to keep your dirty clothes and footwear separate.
The bag opens into two primary compartments: one is fully enclosed with a zipper, and the other utilizes a unique removable panel system with secure straps, so you’re able to fill the open space and then pull the straps to compress your belongings. You’ll also find two large zippered mesh pockets for additional breathable organization. If you want a carry-on bag but think you need more space, you can opt for one of the brand’s “plus” carry-ons, which is a little larger with a 48 L capacity. The caveat: It’s slightly heavier and may not meet all airlines’ size restrictions for carry-on luggage.
The Check-In Large Monos bag is perfect for a one to two-week trip or a great option for an over-packer. With an internal capacity of 99.2 L, which falls between the industry standard of around 90 to 110 L, it can hold more than double the amount of belongings of a carry-on bag. Just like with the carry-on bag, a laundry bag and two shoe bags are included for easy separation, and there are plenty of mesh storage pockets that allow you to better organize your things.
It opens into two large thoughtfully designed compartments. One side is fully enclosed with a zipper for extra secure storage, while the other side stands out with a set of compression straps and an additional fabric panel to cover your clothes. The fabric panel extends over the entire compartment and buckles securely into place, ensuring that your clothes stay put while you roll through the airport and finally unzip your bag.
Ease of use
GH testers who tried out Monos’s luggage on their own trips gave the hardside bags top marks for being easy to use — as did I. The carry-on and checked luggage both have a side handle that’s comfortable to grip when you’re lifting the bags into a car trunk or an overhead bin. They also both feature an adjustable telescopic handle that locks at four different heights for maximum comfort. I’m tall and found the telescopic handles extended high enough for me to pull my bags without having to hunch over, but when extended to their maximum height, the handles were a little wobbly — but still effective.
If you tend to overstuff your bag, you may experience issues with the telescopic handle lifting and lowering. Added tension from a super full suitcase can make it difficult to lock the handle into place or fully lower it.
I’ve never encountered smoother zippers on a piece of luggage than the zippers on Monos’s bags, and I’ve tried dozens of suitcases from popular brands. All of the brand’s bags zip and unzip easily, but they won’t come undone on their own during your travels since they click securely into place with the TSA-approved lock system.
When it comes to navigating the suitcases through a busy airport or crowded train platform, you don’t have to worry about whether or not the bags can handle it. The four 360-degree spinner wheels on Monos’s suitcases glide over different surfaces like tile, carpet and wood flooring and are simple to maneuver around twists and turns. GH testers and I found that even when packed to the brim, the suitcases didn’t drag behind and could be pulled with ease.
Should you buy Monos luggage?
The bottom line is this: Investing in Monos luggage is worth it if you’re looking for suitcases made from high-quality materials that have proven durable in Textiles Lab tests, full of functional features and look sleek and stylish. At $255 for the most basic Carry-On style, Monos’s luggage isn’t the most affordable out there, but it isn’t quite as expensive as some of the other luxury luggage I’ve tried, and in my experience, Monos excels compared to other brands in ease of use with impressive zippers, smooth wheels and helpful organization.
If you’re on the fence, Monos offers a limited 100-day return policy, so you have plenty of time to check out the luggage at home before committing and bringing it on a trip. Monos also offers a conditional lifetime warranty to cover damages for added peace of mind.
Monos Luggage Models to Consider
Along with the standard polycarbonate luggage in carry-on, medium checked and large checked sizes, Monos offers other styles of suitcases and bags. The brand’s hybrid collection combines the already durable polycarbonate shell with a strong aluminum frame and extra aluminum reinforcement around the corners. Suitcases in this line are pricier than the all-polycarbonate styles, but the brand claims the elevated hybrid bags are even more durable, describing them as “virtually unbreakable.”
If you love the look of hardside luggage but want the convenient front organizational features that tend to come with a softside bag, Monos also carries a “pro” version of its Carry-On and Carry-On Plus for $40 more that includes a zippered front pocket ideal for storing your travel essentials and electronics like laptops and tablets.
For shorter trips or a daily commute, you might also be interested in one of Monos’s Metro Backpacks with a removable front pouch or the Metro Weekender with tons of zippered compartments for your things.
Why trust Good Housekeeping?
Since joining the GH Institute in 2022 as a home and apparel reviews analyst, Amanda Constantine has tested and written about all kinds of luggage and travel accessories including checked luggage, kids’ suitcases, carry-ons, duffels, hardside luggage and travel blankets. Amanda also conducted luggage testing for Good Housekeeping’s 2023 Family Travel Awards and is a frequent traveler, venturing on more than 40 flights and long train rides in the last year. For this article, she analyzed the Textile Lab’s luggage testing data and used her related luggage expertise and personal experience to review Monos’s collection of luggage.
Home & Apparel Reviews Analyst
Amanda (she/her) researches and reports on products in the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Textiles, Paper & Apparel Lab, ranging from clothing and accessories to home furnishings. She holds undergraduate degrees in apparel merchandising and product development and advertising and marketing communications, as well as a master of science degree in consumer sciences from The Ohio State University. Prior to joining Good Housekeeping in 2022, Amanda was a lecturer for the fashion and retail studies program at Ohio State, where she taught fashion and textiles courses.