Review: How does the Autonomous Aluminum Carry-On Compare to Rimowa?

A Comparison of the Autonomous Aluminum Carry-On and the Rimowa Original Cabin Aluminum Luggage

Just before leaving on my trip to Spain I was given the opportunity to review the Aluminum Carry-On by Autonomous, and was excited to see how it compared to my boyfriend’s Rimowa Original Cabin Luggage that we’ve been traveling with for about a year. I was immediately impressed just by scrolling through the product page on, and between the many 5-star reviews and the $199 promo price tag, I thought: could this be too good to be true? I received an email notification that my Aluminum Carry-on was shipped from the warehouse in California, and it was delivered within two days. I’ve since traveled with it on one long-haul international flight and four short domestic flights, and can proudly say that the Autonomous Aluminum Carry-On is a fantastic piece of luggage.

autonomous aluminum and rimowa.jpg

Autonomous Aluminum vs. Rimowa: Similarities and Differences

I rate both suitcases and declare a winner of each of the following categories: the quality of material, finishing, locks, interior, handles, wheels, exterior strap, weight, and price.

The hard aluminum on the Autonomous Carry-On is high quality and in person it looks and feels like a premium product. It’s durable and the brushed finish gives it an understated look that is not flashy. I personally prefer when a piece of luggage looks well-traveled, and both suitcases seem dent-resistant but not entirely scratch-resistant which is understandable for any hard suitcase. Another obvious difference is the texture, with the Rimowa having long grooves on all sides, and the Autonomous having a smooth surface (which in my opinion is better if you like to put stickers on your luggage!)
Winner? Tie between Autonomous and Rimowa

The finishing on the Autonomous Carry-On in my opinion is actually superior to Rimowa, because all eight corners are flush with the rest of the suitcase and Rimowa’s are detached along the bottom which could allow for snagging or could potentially break. The smoothed corners give additional durability and also add to the stylish look.
Winner? Autonomous

Both suitcases feature two independent, TSA-approved locks and no zipper. Instead, both have a watertight rubber seal. When it comes to packing in either of these suitcases, there is no over-stuffing due to how rigid the sides are. Once each interior compartment is full, you can easily close it and snap the locks shut.
Winner? Tie

autonomous rimowa side view.jpg

The interior of the Autonomous has one side with a standard cross strap, and one side with a removable mesh partition that can be tightened to keep your belongings secure even if it’s not fully packed or if you have fragile items like camera equipment or a laptop. The Rimowa does in fact have two of these removable mesh partitions, one on each side. But the Autonomous earns points here because I was pleasantly surprised to find a bonus inflatable neck pillow tucked into the pocket of the partition when I opened it for the first time!
Winner? Tie

Autonomous rimowa interior

The top and side handles on both the Autonomous and the Rimowa feature the same spring-loaded technology that keeps the handle in place alongside the suitcase until it is in use, and both have the same level of resistance and are quite comfortable to hold. The telescopic handle pulls out smoothly for both suitcases, and each have the same options for multi-level adjustment so you can choose a height that is comfortable for you.
Winner? Tie

Both the Autonomous and the Rimowa have quiet 360-degree spinning wheels that roll smoothly, but one difference that I noticed is the Rimowa seems to have a slightly bigger dirt-repelling shield around the wheel which could potentially be better protection if you are rolling down a dirt or cobblestone road- which I wouldn’t recommend anyway. I didn’t have any problems rolling my Autonomous Carry-On around the airport or while in transit to and from hotels.
Winner? Rimowa

Exterior Strap
This has to be my favorite feature of these suitcases which I would have never figured out on my own if it wasn’t explained to me. The strap extends so you can secure anything that would otherwise be a loose article: your headphones, your duty-free purchases, etc. No more accidentally leaving behind your precious snacks or brand new toiletries! Both the Autonomous and Rimowa that I reviewed have this feature, but the new 2019 Rimowa Original Collection removed this feature so it is no longer available! For that reason the Autonomous wins this category.
Winner? Autonomous

The size of each suitcase is almost identical at 55cm x 40cm x 23cm, but according to my trusty TravelSmart luggage scale, the Rimowa weighs about one whole pound heavier at 10.6 pounds (4.8kg). The Autonomous weighs in at 9.6 pounds (4.4kg). Both suitcases seem to be heavier than the average non-aluminum carry-on, but for the durability that they provide, the added weight may be a sacrifice worth making.
Winner? Autonomous

The most important factor when it comes to deciding on a new piece of luggage is likely going to be price. The Autonomous is offered at $199 USD whereas the Rimowa is a staggering $1,150 USD. (For me personally, $1,150 is probably worth more than any of the contents that I would be packing inside it!) For the price of one Rimowa Original Cabin Luggage, you could buy one Autonomous Aluminum Carry-On for yourself and four for your friends. Or even better: you could buy one Autonomous Aluminum Carry-On for yourself and a round trip ticket to a destination you have been dreaming about!
Winner? Autonomous

Autonomous Aluminum Carry on Review

Which suitcase do I recommend?

Considering the Autonomous Aluminum Carry-On is on par with or even superior than the Rimowa Original Cabin Luggage on a number of levels, the Autonomous is the clear winner in this comparison. If you’re still not convinced, Autonomous invites you to try it out for yourself for 30 days, and if you don’t love it you can even return it for a full refund.

Carina Otero with the  Autonomous Aluminum Carry-on  in the Palacio De Cristal, Parque Del Retiro Madrid, Spain.

Carina Otero with the Autonomous Aluminum Carry-on in the Palacio De Cristal, Parque Del Retiro Madrid, Spain.

Are you shopping for luggage or have any questions about my Autonomous Aluminum Carry-On? Drop a comment below!