Samsonite Silhouette® Luggage Review

Samsonite Silhouette Sphere in blueWhen a company refers to a product its flagship line, you know you have a winner.  The Silhouette luggage collection is Samsonite’s longest-running line, first produced in 1958 and still seriously popular today.

Today’s latest versions, the SPHERE® line, as well as the Silhouette 12 line (still available and very popular while inventory still remains) incorporate some of the most important luggage features folks are looking for today.

Quality material and construction, durable, easy to maneuver and lightweight – that pretty much sums up what Samsonite has focused on with the Silhouette luggage line.

 

Samsonite – long known for durable luggage

Samsonite is one of the largest luggage manufacturers in the world, with a longtime reputation for durability.  In fact, back in the early 1900’s, Samsonite’s original owner and founder decided to name his line of suitcases after the original biblical ‘tough guy’ – Samson.

Today, the Samsonite name continues to be synonymous with quality, durability and value.  The product reviews on Amazon are filled with loyal customers replacing decade-old bags that they loved.  I love when that happens.

 

Who seems to buy Samsonite Silhouette luggage?

Here’s the type of buyer that seems to be most happy with their Samsonite Silhouette luggage (based on reading hundreds of reviews):

–          Looking for good quality and a middle-of-the-road price

–          Tired of cheap luggage that falls apart quickly or doesn’t last

–          Likes a nice-looking bag – nothing too crazy, just good-looking luggage

–          Like to have a choice of colors, not just black

–          Give as a gift – more so than any other bag I reviewed, the Silhouette is frequently given as a graduation, Mothers/Fathers Day, Christmas,  or birthday gift.

–          Like lots of positive reviews from other purchasers

 

The Samsonite Silhouette – what’s important to know

Lightweight – Silhouette luggage is squarely in the middle of the lightweight range.  The 21” carry-on is between 8-9 lbs – not uber-light, but respectably lightweight in my opinion.  Honestly, a carry-on under 9lbs and a medium bag that weighs in at less than 12lbs can be easily handled by a person of almost any size and leaves the lion-share of the airlines weight limit for your stuff.

Samsonite Silhouette - interior packing spaceInterior Packing Space –  The Silhouette luggage has a large, roomy, no-frills interior compartment, with a few mesh zip pockets and a wetpack pocket.  Just enough, especially if you use one of the best travel aides known to modern man –  ebags packing cubes.

Ability to Carry-on (if you are considering the 21” bag) –  If you’re looking for a bag that you’ll always be able to carry on board, remember that most domestic carry-on size limits top out at  22h x 14w x 9deep, or 45 linear inches (22 + 14 + 9 = 45).  This includes the wheels and handles.  The Samsonite Silhouette SPHERE 21” bag measures 44 linear inches including wheels/handles, so you shouldn’t have an issue, except maybe on the smaller, regional commuter jets, which are always a coin-toss anyway for luggage fitting overhead.

Overall Quality:  The Samsonite Silhouette is a well-made bag.  Tough (but lightweight) materials like tri-core nylon and aluminum are used and that makes a difference.  The 3 areas you have to watch for quality on luggage is wheels, zippers and the handle.  For the price, Samsonite does a good job here.

Samsonite Silhouette Sphere- close-up of wheelsWheels – SPHERE, which is the latest Silhouette model, takes the spinner wheels to a whole new level.  They are spherical, and manuever exceptionally well.  Sometimes it’s hard to remember that you are pulling 30-40lbs of stuff – the bag rolls that smoothly.  Also, if you do ‘tip’ the bag and pull it behind you, the wheels sort of revert to ‘one-way’.

Samsonite Silhouette Sphere- close-up of handle mechanismHandles – just the right number and placed well.  There’s a padded handle on the top, and a handle on the bottom between the wheels, good for picking the bag up with 2 hands.  The telescoping handle locks in 2 positions and has a sturdy ‘feel’ to it.

How it looks –  the Silhouette is a nice-looking bag.  Sort of an updated, classic appearance.  That’s a big reason this collection appeals to travelers young and old, business or pleasure.  If super-trendy is your thing, best to look elsewhere.  The SPHERE line comes in black, blue and brown.

What are the ‘cons’? –

  • This was not a deal-killer, but some purchasers wished there was a wheel lock, so if you let go of the bag, say on a sloped parking lot, the bag won’t roll. This is not an issue specific to the Silhouette line, but to all spinner bags.
  • Sometimes the telescoping handle sticks when heavy bag contents are pressing against the mechanism in the interior compartment.  Most worked around it, but some folks found this annoying enough to return the luggage.  This is a design thing, though – I’ve heard the same complaint about virtually every luggage brand.  That’s why Briggs & Riley puts their entire handle mechanism on the outside.

 

Which size is right for your needs:

What size, how many days of ‘stuff’ can you pack, etc – here’s the low-down on the Samsonite Silhouette options:

Pack for 2-5 days:  The 20″ wide-body or 21″ spinner is what you need (caution – can be carried on most large planes, but the smaller, regional commuter jets might pose an issue)

Pack for 5-10 days, a medium-sized bag that must be checked: the Silhouette 25″ bags will get the job done

Pack for 7+ days, a large bag that (obviously) must be checked:  This is the Silhouette 29″ spinner

 

Samsonite Silhouette Warranty Info

 Samsonite provides a ‘Limited Global Warranty’ on their luggage, which is pretty much the industry standard for luggage.  In the event of materials or workmanship defects, they will repair or replace at their discretion, and at their expense (minus shipping costs).  This warranty does not cover “wear or damage caused by abuse, mishandling, accidental damage, inappropriate selection, or carelessness caused by the user.”  Neither does it cover normal wear and tear or any damage caused by the airlines, the most likely cause of damaged luggage.

 

Features:

Samsonite Silhouette Sphere- close-up of zippers

Here’s the straight laundry list of features:

  • Four, multi-directional spherical spinner wheels for easy mobility
  • Rolls upright so there is no weight on your arm or shoulder
  • Comes in 3 colors: black, brown or blue
  • Gel-infused, push-button locking handle provides a comfortable grip
  • Full featured interior includes WetPak™, mesh and modesty pockets for increased organization
  • Tri-fold removable suiter provides added protection for business attire
  • Case expands for added packing capacity
  • SamGuard™ Protection – rugged Tri-core nylon fabric features a water resistant coating
  • Hidden, tethered ID tag for added identity security
  • US wheel design patent pending

 

The Bottom Line –  Samsonite Silhouette luggage

If you are looking for luggage that is:

  1. Mid-priced (in the $200 – 280 range)
  2. Durable and designed to last
  3. Lightweight
  4. Spinner – 360-degree maneuverability

You’ve got a winner with the Samsonite Silhouette.

 

Best Place Online to buy Samsonite Silhouette luggage:

Samsonite luggage is carried in most major department stores, but online is where you’ll find the deals, with $30-70 off the price.  I price-check the Silhouette line weekly, and find both Amazon and eBags to have the identical prices.  Both have free shipping, so it’s pretty much a draw – wherever you’re most comfortable shopping.