Away vs. Monos: Who Has the Best Carry On Suitcases?

Summary: I’ve tried so many different suitcases during my years of travel, including two very popular brands: Away and Monos. In this post, I’m breaking down the differences of Monos vs. Away luggage and revealing which one I recommend.

Disclaimer: Some links in this post may be affiliate links which means I earn a small commission if you book or buy through them. That said, this doesn’t influence my opinion at all and I only recommend products I use and love!

In my mind, there are three tiers of luggage out there. The lowest tier are the options you can buy at stores like Target, Walmart, or even off of Amazon. Sometimes they’re brand names, but they’re usually brands that aren’t necessarily known for luggage. Away and Monos fit into what I consider to be mid-tier luggage. Suitcases that are relatively affordable, but much more durable and functional than the lower-tier.

Then, you have the luxury options. This is where Rimowa and Tumi fall. These suitcases are about as good as you can get, but they come with a steep price tag.

In this post, I’m focusing on the comparison between two of the most popular mid-tier luggage brands: Away vs. Monos. I’ve personally tried both of them and after doing so, one definitely came out on top.

I’ve broken this review up into different categories and I will name a brand winner for each category, and an overall winner at the end.

Category 1: Away vs. Monos Sizes

Both Away and Monos have several different sizes for both carry-on luggage and checked suitcases. Here’s an overview:

Away Sizing Options

Carry-on sizes: The Carry-On, The Bigger Carry-On, The Carry-On Flex, The Bigger Carry-On Flex, The Carry-On: Aluminum Edition, The Bigger Carry-On: Aluminum Edition

Checked baggage sizes: The Medium, The Large, The Trunk, The Medium Flex, The Large Flex, The Medium: Aluminum Edition, The Large: Aluminum Edition

As you can see, there are four main sizes: The Carry-On, The Bigger Carry-On, The Medium, and The Large. Then, there are variations of each including a Flex option that unzips to become wider and the Aluminum Edition which is metal instead of polycarbonate and has a different closing mechanism.

The exact measurements can be found on the website, but for carry-ons, the bigger carry-on is fine for most domestic US airlines and international long haul flights, but you may need to check it on smaller, regional airlines like Ryan Air in Europe.

Away Luggage sizing options

Monos Sizing Options

Carry-on sizes: Carry-On, Carry-On Plus, Carry-On Pro, Carry-On Pro Plus, Carry-On Hybrid, Carry-On Hybrid Plus

Checked baggage sizes: Check-In Medium, Check-In Large, Hybrid Check-In Medium, Hybrid Check-In Large, Hybrid Trunk

Again, there are two main sizes for carry-on luggage: Carry-On and Carry-On Plus. The different variations include the Pro style with a laptop pocket on the front of the suitcase and the Hybrid option which is a hybrid of aluminum and polycarbonate.

monos Luggage Sizing options

Both Away and Monos have very similar sizing options for carry-on suitcases – two sizes, one of which can be used as a carry-on on any airline, and one that’s a little bigger and might need to be checked on small, regional flights. For this reason, category 1 is a tie!

Category 1 Winner: Tie

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Category 2: Monos vs. Away Internal Storage

The internal compartments of both Away and Monos are very similar and the setup that they both have is a big reason why I love this style of suitcase so much. When you unzip the suitcase and lay it flat, one side will have a zipper storage compartment. This is where I usually put my shoes, accessories, and toiletries. My clothes go in the other side where you’ll pack them in and then lay the compression flap down, buckle the straps, and tighten them as much as possible to compress the clothes down. In my experience, this allows you to pack so much more in these suitcases.

Since both brands have almost the exact interior system, this section is almost a tie, but I’m going to be a little picky here. Away’s compression buckles are traditional buckles that feel a lot more durable than Monos’. The material that Away uses for the compression flap and mesh zipper compartment also feel higher quality to me.

While they’re both very good, I’m going to have to give this category to Away.

Category 2 Winner: Away

Away Carry-on Suitcase Interior

Monos Carry-on Suitcase Interior

Category 3: Away vs. Monos External Durability

Looking at the classic carry-on suitcases with Away vs. Monos, they are both made with Polycarbonate which is a very strong type of plastic. Both shells will be nearly unbreakable. That said, my Monos suitcase feels a bit less sturdy. It almost feels as if the polycarbonate shell is thinner and therefore, a bit more flimsy. I’ve also noticed that handle wobbles a little bit with my Monos bag, where my Away bags feel durable all around.

Now, if we also consider the Aluminum and Hybrid options from Away and Monos, respectively, that’s where we start to see a few differences. I haven’t personally tried the Monos Hybrid, but it’s made of a hybrid between aluminum and polycarbonate. They took a polycarbonate shell and added a metal frame and corner guards to make it more durable, but keep the lightweight nature of the suitcase.

I can say from experience that the Away aluminum suitcases are very heavy compared to the polycarbonate options, so the hybrid might be a good middle ground, but you’re still subject to the inferior Monos polycarbonate shell.

Therefore, this section is going to Away.

Category 3 Winner: Away

Monos limited edition colors – Lavender and yellow

Category 4: Monos vs. Away Color Options

This is where I think these two brands differ the most. Let’s take a look at the color options for Away vs. Monos classic carry-on suitcases.

Away’s options are always a bit more classic. They always have black, navy, green, grey, and a light blue available. Then, they come out with limited edition colors at least once every couple of months. This can range anywhere from beige to lavender to a funky pattern design. However, these colors don’t stick around for very often. It seems like Away is using a scarcity marketing tactic to get their customers to buy as soon as they see a new color become available.

Away Bigger Carry-on Color Options

Monos, on the other hand, has a lot of very pretty, aesthetic colors available all the time, in addition to the classic black, navy, green, etc. They’ll do limited edition colors every so often, but the standart options from Monos are much better in my opinion.

This section is going to Monos!

Category 4 Winner: Monos

Monos Carry-on Plus Color Options

Category 5: Away vs. Monos Prices

Here are the current prices for the carry-on options for both Away and Monos:

Away Prices

  • Classic Carry-On: $275
  • Classic Bigger Carry-On: $295
  • Classic Carry-On Flex: $325
  • Classic Bigger Carry-On Flex: $345
  • Carry-On Aluminum Edition: $625
  • Bigger Carry-On Aluminum Edition: $645

Monos Prices

  • Carry-On: $255
  • Carry-On Plus: $275
  • Carry-On Pro: $295
  • Carry-On Pro Plus: $315
  • Hybrid Carry-On: $325
  • Hybrid Carry-On Plus: $345

As you can see, when considering the cost of Away vs. Monos, Monos is always slightly cheaper than Away. For the two main carry-on sizes, Away is about $20 more expensive than Monos.

If we’re looking for the most cost effective option, Monos wins here!

Category 5 Winner: Monos

Monos Limited Edition color

Overall Winner: Away vs. Monos

Well, we’ve ended up in a tie haven’t we?

With Monos being the winner for both price and color, Away winning in durability and interior, and a tie for the sizing options, which one should you choose?

Personally, when considering Away vs. Monos, I’ll always choose Away. The $20 price increase for better durability and higher quality is worth it to me. If you agree, but you still want a fun color, just wait a little bit. Away is sure to come out with a limited edition color you like soon!

I currently own an Away Classic Carry-On, Classic Bigger Carry-On, and The Medium: Aluminum Edition. Frankly, I don’t recommend the Aluminum Edition. It looks SO nice, but it’s very heavy and dents easily, so I don’t think it’s worth the price increase. However, I love their classic polycarbonate option so much that I tried a Monos carry-on and decided to sell it online after a couple uses.

Of course, this is just my opinion. Monos bags are still very nice, quality pieces. You won’t go wrong with one, but I just think you might be able to do a little better with Away.

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