You’re probably here because you are looking for a high-quality suitcase for your travels and want to know: is Monos luggage worth the investment?
I’ve traveled to dozens of countries all over the world, and have tested suitcases from many of the best luggage brands out there, so believe me when I say I’ve learned a thing or two about luggage.
I own four different Monos suitcases in different sizes and models, and I’ve put them to the test on my travels. I have a lot of insight to share on Monos, and I’ve seen firsthand where their products excel, as well as when something else might be a better choice.
Monos offers a range of polycarbonate hardside suitcases ranging from compact carry-ons to large checked bags. With a sleek, minimalist design and dialed-in features, Monos luggage looks fantastic, but function and durability are more important than looks when you’re far from home.
In this Monos luggage review I’ll give you my honest feedback from my experience with their products and help you decide which one of their suitcases might be right for you.
Now, let’s get to the details.
Monos Luggage First Impressions
At first glance, the Monos suitcases I’ve tried look like pretty standard polycarbonate suitcases. The overall design aesthetic is great: modern, sleek, and minimal. I love the color choices and the streamlined, timeless style.
Monos luggage looks really good and feels both sturdy and lightweight, but it was when I started looking at the little details that I really noticed a difference from most of the other suitcases I’ve tried.
The fit and finish of these products is honestly impressive. They feel dialed in and well put together. It’s obvious that they paid a lot of attention to details both in the design and in the manufacturing.
For example, the telescopic handle feels very sturdy compared to most other luggage I’ve used. I also love that they put the button to adjust it on the bottom so that your fingers naturally push it as you pull the handle up. It slides smoothly and locks into place with a satisfying click.
The wheels are also impressively smooth-rolling and quiet. I liked them when I got my first Monos suitcase, and they’re still going strong after years of use. I’m not at all afraid to drag one of these cases across miles of cobblestone in Europe.
One thing I don’t love is the lack of external pockets on most of their suitcases. You can choose to upgrade to the Carry-On Pro to get this feature, but I wish it were standard and not something you have to pay extra for. Still, that’s pretty standard for hardside suitcases, so it isn’t a deal-breaker.
Who is Monos?
Monos is a Canadian luggage brand that is all about selling high-quality products meant to help you focus more on the travel experience. Monos luggage is streamlined, thoughtfully designed, and rigorously tested.
They are dedicated to building luxury-level suitcases and selling them at attainable prices for everyone. Their direct-to-consumer business model lets them offer high-end products at lower prices than you typically see for the same level of quality.
The design ethos of Monos bags is all about simplicity and functionality. A Monos suitcase probably won’t stand out in a crowded airport, but the minimalist, timeless design will never go out of style.
Their commitment to quality is impressive. Monos suitcases go through serious testing to ensure the wheels, shell, and components are made to last.
I also love that Monos is placing emphasis on sustainability. It’s become common for brands to talk about sustainability, but Monos seems to be taking it seriously. They are the first luggage brand to be certified climate neutral, with net zero carbon emissions. They also donate 1% of their revenue to non-profits working to protect the natural world.
I don’t know about you, but it’s important to me to support brands that are looking to make a positive impact on the world, not just make a buck. Monos is a company I can get behind.
Monos Luggage Review
For the first section of this Monos suitcase review, I’ll cover aspects that are common across the entire Monos line. Most of their different suitcases share similar construction, materials, features, and overall design.
The differences come down to size and specific features. If you want details on a specific model, scroll down to where I break down each suitcase in their lineup.
Let’s dive right in.
Every Monos suitcase starts with an aerospace-grade polycarbonate shell. This is the gold-standard material for hardside luggage because it is both tough and lightweight.
The suitcases close with a YKK reverse-coil zipper with a waterproof outer coating. Waterproof zippers are common in rain jackets and hiking backpacks, but it’s a pretty unique feature for luggage. Not only is it functional, but it also looks great and adds to the overall style.
I do wish the zippers were a bit larger though. I’ve never had serious problems with them breaking, but they do snag occasionally, and a larger zipper would give me a bit more confidence.
Monos also has a collection of “hybrid” cases that feature an aluminum frame and corner bumpers. Instead of zippers, these cases use two latches and a hinged design.
Every Monos luggage piece shares the same sleek, minimalist styling, and I really think this is one of the things that sets the Monos brand apart. These suitcases look amazing!
The polycarbonate hard shell is has a very clean, streamlined look, and the vegan leather material detailing completes the sophisticated style.
I love that Monos’ approach is to give you everything you need and nothing you don’t. This really emphasizes that minimalist look. These suitcases are packed with thoughtful details, from a TSA lock to multiple grab handles to the vegan leather luggage tag, but there’s nothing unnecessary to clutter the aesthetic.
Every Monos suitcase also comes in a great selection of colors. It’s easy to pick something unique that fits your personal style but doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb.
Take a look through their website, and you’ll see the clean, modern style across all the Monos bags. And trust me, they only look better in person.
One of the most important aspects of any suitcase is its organization system. I hate it when the inside of my suitcase just turns into a jumbled mess during a trip, and smart organization features can really help tame the chaos, especially on longer trips.
The interior organization of Monos luggage is incredibly well-thought-out. It is perfect for keeping everything neat and in place.
On one side of the clamshell opening, you have a large zippered divider that’s perfect for keeping clothing in place when you open the bag. It also works well if you’re packing for two people in one suitcase because you can divide the whole thing into two separate compartments.
On the other side, there is a large compression pad with straps to keep everything secure.
There is also another large mesh pocket on the divider, a smaller pocket in the middle, and even zippered pouches on the compression pad. I love having interior pockets to keep smaller items organized, and Monos does a great job. That said, I wouldn’t mind having even a few more small zippered pockets.
Compared to most other brands, the durability you get from a Monos suitcase is outstanding. In all my years of using Monos luggage, I’ve never yet had one crack or suffer damage beyond some scuffing on the outer shell.
Monos puts all their suitcases through rigorous quality testing, from a drop test to a telescopic handle jerk test. This is the most impressive testing I’ve seen from a luggage brand, and it gives a lot of peace of mind that Monos luggage will stand up to the abuse of travel.
Luggage can be expensive, especially if you’re shopping for higher-quality suitcases, so it’s important to know if you are getting the best value for your money.
Monos luggage is definitely not the cheapest out there. If you are on a really tight budget, you’ll probably want to check out some more affordable luggage.
When it comes to premium quality polycarbonate suitcases, though, Monos is less expensive than most other brands out there. And their quality and durability is really hard to beat.
If you want a hardside suitcase that will last a lifetime, I haven’t been able to find a product that offers better bang for your buck than Monos Luggage. For me, it hits a great sweet spot between quality, style, functionality, and price.
Warranty and Returns
Since a high-quality suitcase is a pretty significant investment, it’s worth considering the warranty it comes with to know whether you’re covered if it is ever damaged.
All Monos luggage is backed by a lifetime warranty, whether you purchase directly from them or from a third-party retailer. The warranty covers any cracks in the shell, broken zippers, or functional damage to the handles or wheels.
It doesn’t cover cosmetic damage or normal wear and tear that doesn’t affect the functionality. In my mind, that’s not a big deal, though. My main concern is that my suitcase always works, and it’s awesome that they will repair it if it breaks.
In addition to the limited lifetime warranty, Monos also offers free 100-day returns on any suitcase. If you don’t like it, send it back. No questions asked.
Monos Luggage Features
Monos is designed with simplicity in mind, and their suitcases are designed to be streamlined and easy to use. They are packed with smart features for organization and useability, but don’t go overkill with unnecessarily complicated designs.
There definitely are other suitcases out there that come with more bells and whistles. Sometimes I like using luggage that has more pockets and features, but I think Monos hits a good balance of giving you exactly what you need and nothing extra.
360-Degree Spinner Wheels
The Monos silent run wheels are some of the best spinner luggage wheels I’ve ever used. They are smooth, quiet, easy to maneuver, and very durable. Monos designed them from the ground up to be the best, toughest spinner wheels out there, and the tough ball-bearing design and oversized wheels go a long way toward making these better than anything else out there.
If you need the absolute best strength and durability for going over rough surfaces like cobblestones and unpaved paths, I think you’ll be better off with two-wheeled rolling luggage. As far as spinner wheels go, though, these are great.
The adjustable telescopic handle on all Monos luggage is sturdy and well-built, with four height settings. Some other manufacturers offer more adjustability, so I’d prefer to see that from Monos.
Instead of cast zinc tubes like most brands use, Monos builds their handles from extruded aerospace-grade aluminum. This makes them stronger, lighter, and more precise.
I also love that the handle release button is on the underside. It’s a small detail, but it is more ergonomic and intuitive to use. This also makes the suitcase look more sleek and minimal when the handle is stowed because there’s no big button sticking out on top.
Compression Pad and Straps
Most suitcases have some sort of compression system that’s meant to keep your clothes from shifting around. Typically it involves elastic straps that buckle together and can cinch down to hold everything in place.
Monos suitcases have an innovative design with a large built-in compression pad. Once you pack everything in, you can place the compression pad on top and cinch it down with the ballistic nylon straps to keep everything secure. Bonus? The compression pad also has a built-in pocket that’s perfect for smaller items.
Every Monos suitcase comes with a built-in TSA-approved combination lock that lets you secure your belongings while you travel.
It’s not foolproof protection, because thieves can still rip through the zipper, but it does add some deterrence for would-be thieves and peace of mind for you.
All Monos suitcases also come with an anti-microbial laundry bag, two shoe bags, and a vegan leather luggage tag.
Monos Luggage Review by Model
The Monos luggage lineup is divided into two collections: Classic and Hybrid. Within each collection, there is a full range of sizes to choose from, from compact carry-ons to massive checked cases.
The different suitcase sizes in the Monos lineup are designed to nest perfectly inside each other. This is great for packing your luggage away when you get home from your trip so they take up as little space as possible.
The Classic Collection suitcases are the most popular Monos luggage option. These Monos suitcases are hardshell designs with tough (yet lightweight) polycarbonate shells and zippered closures.
The Monos carry-on luggage in the classic collection are especially good. They are durable, well-designed, and fairly lightweight. If I were to recommend one of their models to anyone, it would be the Carry-On Pro, which combines the durability and quality of their classic hardshell suitcases with a super convenient external pocket.
|Carry-On Pro Plus
|22″ × 14″ × 9″
|22″ × 14″ × 9″
|23″ × 15″ × 9.5″
|23″ × 15″ × 9.5″
|26.5″ × 18.5″ × 10.5″
|30″ × 21″ × 11″
The Monos Carry-On is a fairly simple hard side suitcase that’s sized to fit overhead bins on most flights around the world, but it has the durable construction and thoughtful details that set Monos apart from other luggage brands.
This Monos carry-on bag is lightweight, simple, and just feels well-designed and well-built.
One thing to note is that it doesn’t have any sort of external pocket (like most hardside carry-on luggage). You’ll have to upgrade to the Pro model to get that feature.
Monos Carry-On Pro
The Carry-On Pro is the upgraded version of the standard Monos Carry-On. It is the same size with the same lightweight shell, smooth-rolling wheels, and interior organization.
The difference is that the Carry-On Pro has a zippered external pocket. For me, this external pocket is a game-changer. I love being able to keep my laptop, passport, electronics, and other essential items within easy access while I travel, and most hardside carry-on luggage doesn’t have exterior pockets to make that possible.
The front pocket on the Monos Pro zips open to give you easy access to a padded laptop sleeve and several interior pockets for keeping small items organized.
It is super convenient to be able to get to smaller items that you use a lot without needing to open and dig through the whole suitcase.
Monos Carry-On Plus
The Monos Carry-On Plus is identical to the normal carry-on, just a little bigger. This bigger carry-on is perfect for anyone who wants more room than you get with a standard carry-on.
It’s designed to fit in the overhead bins for most flights within the US, but on some smaller planes you may need to check it. It’s definitely worth checking carry-on size restrictions for different airlines.
Monos Carry-On Pro Plus
As you may have guessed from the name, the Monos Carry-On Pro Plus combines the larger size of the Carry-On Plus and the external pocket from the Carry-On Pro.
Monos Check-In Medium
The Monos Check-In Medium is Monos’ signature checked bag. It is roomy enough for longer trips without being overly bulky and cumbersome.
Monos Check-In Large
The Monos Check-In Large has the same design as the Check-In Medium bag, just with more space. I love this case for extended trips. It has a ton of space inside!
If you’re packing for a family, or just need a lot of room on your trip, this large suitcase is the one for you.
The Monos Hybrid Collection combines the signature polycarbonate hardshell with a tough aluminum frame and corner bumpers. This makes these suitcases tougher and more durable, though they’re also a bit heavier.
While the aluminum corner bumpers definitely make the hybrid luggage stronger, I’ve never once had a crack or dent in a classic Monos bag, so I don’t know if the improved durability is really that necessary.
Another difference is the closure. Where the classic suitcases use a waterproof zipper, the hybrid Monos luggage has a hinged design, with two beefy aluminum clasps that can be locked for extra security.
This design is probably more resistant to damage than zippers, which can snag, I’ve found it to be more difficult to use. Once you unlatch the clasps, it’s hard to get your fingers between the two sides of the lid to pull it open.
The hybrid suitcases are also significantly more expensive than the classic ones, which solidifies my opinion that they aren’t really worth it.
Another thing to be aware of is that there’s no Carry-On Pro suitcase in the hybrid collection. In my mind, an external pocket is almost a necessity, and since the Classic Carry-On Pro is less expensive than the Hybrid Carry-On, I don’t see much reason to go with the hybrid.
Monos Luggage Specs:
|Hybrid Carry-On Plus
|Hybrid Check-In Medium
|Hybrid Check-In Large
|22″ × 14″ × 9″
|23″ × 15″ × 9.5″
|26.5″ × 18.5″ × 10.5″
|30″ × 21″ × 11″
|29.9” x 15.7” x 14.3”
The Monos Hybrid Carry-On has the exact same exterior dimensions as the hybrid carry-on. It has the same smooth-rolling spinner wheels, sturdy handle, and interior organization.
The aluminum frame and corner bumpers make it stronger, but it’s also almost two pounds heavier. It also has a slightly smaller storage capacity (I’m not quite sure why that is, but it must have something to do with the beefier construction).
I really think the Monos Carry-On Pro is a much better choice for your money.
Hybrid Carry-On Plus
Just like it sounds, the Monos Hybrid Carry-On Plus is just a larger version of the smaller Hybrid Carry-On. It does have a lot of space for a carry-on, but it has less room than the Classic Carry-On Plus.
Hybrid Check-In Medium
When you get to the check-in bags, I think the Hybrid cases start to make a little more sense. The Hybrid Monos Check-In Medium is still heavier and more expensive than the classic version, but the beefed-up construction can add some peace of mind that your belongings will be protected from the rough use of airline baggage handlers.
Still, the classic checked bags are plenty strong, and I’ve never had an issue with one breaking. I wouldn’t get the hybrid unless you really like the extra security of the aluminum frame and locking latches (and are willing to pay more for it).
Hybrid Check-In Large
No surprises here! The Monos Hybrid Check-In Large is just the bigger version of their hybrid checked suitcase. It’s big, heavy, and strong.
The Monos Hybrid Trunk is really the only hybrid Monos Luggage I personally would buy and use. The other hybrid suitcases are more expensive, heavier, and harder to use than their classic counterparts, but if you specifically want trunk luggage, this is a fantastic choice.
Trunk luggage is longer and deeper than a standard suitcase, which makes it easy to pack bulky items or for longer trips. You’ll pay a premium price, but it’s great if you need an ultra-protective big trunk-style case.
Monos doesn’t just make luggage; they also offer a wide array of accessories that complement their suitcases perfectly. Here are a few of my top picks to get you fully outfitted for travel.
Monos Compressible Packing Cubes
It’s easy for the main compartment of your suitcase to become a disorganized, jumbled mess. These packing cubes are fantastic for organizing all your essentials in your bag. You can also use one to keep dirty clothes separate from everything else.
Built of a lightweight fabric, these packing cubes have a mesh front panel that lets you easily see what’s inside.
They come in an array of sizes to fit everything from socks to shirts. You can purchase either a four-pack or a six-pack.
Monos Luggage Cover
We all know that checked luggage isn’t necessarily treated with care, and scuffs, scratches, and dirt are part of the bargain.
If you want to keep your suitcase looking as good as the day you got it, this luggage cover is perfectly designed to fit your suitcase and protect it from the abuse of travel.
While they do sell a carry-on size, I personally would only get a luggage cover for a checked bag. I don’t think it’s necessary for a carry-on that you’ll just be putting in the overhead bin, and I prefer to be able to access my belongings easily.
Monos Toiletry Case
Everyone needs a toiletry bag while traveling. For a while, I’ve used an ultra-simple zippered pouch. It worked and held everything I needed, but it also doesn’t keep things very organized.
The Monos Toiletry Case is simple and streamlined, but it offers great internal separation to keep everything neat. It comes in a small or large size, so you can get one that fits your needs.
Monos Metro Sling
I typically like to travel with a carry-on suitcase and some sort of smaller bag that I can carry on my body for smaller valuables like my phone, passport, and wallet.
The Monos Metro Sling fits the bill perfectly. It is compact, simple, and easy to use. I love that it has a hidden back pocket across the length of the entire bag to keep valuables secure but still easily accessible.
Monos Luggage Alternatives
While Monos suitcases are great, it’s definitely worth scoping out the competition to see what is really the best luggage for you.
There are a few other luxury luggage brands that often come up in conversations about Monos. These include Away, July, and Beis. I’ve used products from all these brands, and have a lot of insight into the similarities and differences between them.
Here is a quick comparison between Monos and each of these alternatives.
Monos vs Away
Away is one of the most popular luggage brands out there right now. Their marketing is really good, and they get a lot of attention on social media. If you want to learn more about this brand, you can read our full Away luggage review.
Away suitcases are beautiful and well-built, but I think Monos has a lot of advantages.
Away suitcases are more likely to crack, while I’ve never broken my Monos cases after years of use. They both use a similar polycarbonate hard shell, but something about Monos’ design makes them stronger.
While both brands offer great organization with their cases, I think Monos has an edge here. Especially with their Carry-On Pro, which has a ton of organizing dividers in the front pocket.
Away is also just a bit more expensive than Monos across their product line. You can expect to spend about $20 extra for an equivalent model from Away.
One thing Away offers that you don’t get from Monos is expandable luggage. They have a line of “flex” suitcases with a wrap-around zipper that lets you add about two inches of depth. You do have to pay even more for that feature though.
Monos vs July
July is an Australian-based manufacturer that started their suitcase design process by reading thousands of reviews for other products to learn about the most common luggage complaints. They then set out to make luggage that solves those problems.
There are a lot of similarities between Monos and July. Both make suitcases with a tough polycarbonate shell. Both have a wide range of sizes and luggage with or without external pockets. Both have awesome interior organization and storage.
One thing I love about July is that most of their suitcases have full aluminum corner bumpers for extra strength. Again, I’ve never had my Monos cases dent or crack, but those aluminum corners from July really feel bomber.
Both brands are quite similar in terms of price point. While the July Carry-on is a bit more expensive than the Monos Carry-On, July’s Carry-On Essential (which doesn’t have the aluminum corner bumpers) competes head-to-head with Monos.
If you want a carry-on with an external pocket, the Monos Carry-On Pro is the winner in my book with it’s super functional design.
Ultimately, these brands have so many similarities, that I think it comes down primarily to aesthetics, as there are some definite style differences.
Monos vs Beis
Beis is a boutique luggage company that sells high-quality polycarbonate luggage that has a lot of similarities to Monos suitcases.
Price is going to be the immediate difference here. Beis suitcases are always a bit less than comparable Monos products, but I do think there’s a trade-off in functionality, quality, and style.
Personally, I just don’t really like the look of Beis luggage as much as Monos’ clean, minimal design, so I’ll throw that out there.
Beis luggage also just doesn’t feel quite as tough and durable to me. It’s hard to compete with Monos on that front.
If you’re looking to save some money, I think Beis delivers a lot of bang for your buck with their high-value suitcases. Monos has better overall quality, design, and performance.
Beis is also definitely marketed more toward women, so if you’re looking for the best men’s luggage, you might be more drawn to Monos.
Monos Luggage FAQs
Is a Monos suitcase worth it?
Monos suitcases are some of the best in the business, and are definitely worth the investment.
Is Monos a reputable company?
Monos is a highly reputable luggage brand that stands behind their products with a solid warranty.
What is the best Monos luggage alternative?
July is a great alternative to Monos. They have sleek, durable suitcases at a similar price.
Is Away better than Monos?
In my opinion, Monos is better than Away. It’s less expensive, more durable, and has great features.
Is Monos a Japanese Company?
Monos is a Canadian brand that builds high-quality luggage and other travel gear.