If you’re looking for a new suitcase that is durable, functional, and modern, you’ve probably come across these two luggage brands: July and Monos. Both brands offer sleek, feature-packed polycarbonate suitcases, but which is better?
My first luggage was a pair of cheap spinner suitcases that I used while living abroad in Europe. They both broke within a few months. Now I’m a lot more choosy about my suitcases, and Monos and July are two of my favorite brands on the market right now. I’ve spent months digging into the details to see how they compare.
July and Monos both make great hardside luggage. Their designs look amazing, are super functional, are built to last, and compete directly in price. The difference comes down to the details. Which brand has better features and organization? Which is easier to use? Which suitcase will keep looking good after years of travel?
I’ll dive into the details on these two brands and show how they compare for real-world use. If you’re looking for the ultimate comparison between July and Monos, you’re in the right place.
July Luggage Review
July is an Aussie brand that started in 2018 with the mission of bringing better design and thinking to the travel industry. Their commitment to improving the durability and functionality of their products makes them one of the best luggage brands out there.
My favorite part of the July brand is that rather than starting with a preconceived idea of what makes the best suitcases, they began their design process by reading thousands of reviews of existing products.
From their research they looked for the most common areas of complaint people had with their luggage. They found where other suitcases were breaking and what features people needed most, and then they set out to create a suitcase to solve the problems they found in the travel market.
The design of July luggage is a direct result of their customer-focused approach. They found the areas that needed improvement and worked to fix them. That attitude also carries over to the rest of their business. July customer service, return policy, and warranty are some of the best in the travel industry. I love brands that stand behind their products with great service and support.
July Luggage Materials & Quality
July builds all of their suitcases with a high-quality German polycarbonate hard shell. This has become the gold standard material for hardside premium luggage because it is both lightweight and very durable.
Where July stands out from other luxury brands is that they add sturdy aluminum corner bumpers to their cases. These bumpers are visible on the outside of their standard suitcases, while their Carry-On Essential and Carry-On Pro have hidden internal bumpers. Corners are the most likely part of a suitcase to crack or dent, and this design adds a ton of strength in this vulnerable area.
I’ve never seen a Monos hard shell crack, but theoretically, July’s aluminum corners should make them more impact and damage-resistant. One downside is that the anodized coating on the external bumpers can scuff or scratch, showing some cosmetic wear over time.
If you’re looking for lightweight luggage, it’s worth noting that July also makes a dialed-back version of their standard carry-on. At under 4 lbs, it’s the lightest hardside carry-on in the world!
July Luggage Design & Features
Functionally, July suitcases are simple and streamlined, but they have several great features that make for easier packing and travel.
Inside you’ll find a large zippered divider on one side and July’s Y-strap compression system on the other. With this system there is a compression pad that you place over your packed clothing. Then you buckle the beefy Y-shaped strap over the top and cinch it down to compress everything and keep it securely in place. The bonus is that the compression pad has a built-in zippered pocket.
Overall, I do wish there were more pockets inside July suitcases. That’s one area where Monos definitely has the advantage.
You also get a sturdy adjustable handle with 20 different stopping points, so it’s easy to get it set to the perfect height. This is an advantage over Monos suitcase, which won’t have as much adjustability.
Aesthetically, July luggage is very minimal and understated—more so than Monos. July suitcases are simple rectangles with rounded edges and a single molded-in line around the center to break up the profile. The only other notable stylistic detail is the aluminum corner bumpers.
I personally love the simpler look of July, though style is always a personal preference.
July Luggage Pros and Cons
Overall, July luggage is really impressive. July suitcases look amazing, are durable, and are really well-designed. You’re here to know how July compares with Monos though, so we need to cover the advantages and disadvantages.
These brands are closely matched, and there aren’t any overwhelming differences. It’s all going to be in the details here. For example, July carry-on suitcases come with an ejectable battery bank to charge your phone or laptop; you don’t get that with Monos. On the other hand, Monos has really impressive testing of their products and amazing build quality.
Here are the pros and cons of July and how it measures up against Monos luggage:
- Aluminum reinforced corners are tough and impact-resistant
- July’s Carry-On Light is the lightest carry-on in the world
- The Carry-On and Carry-On Pro come with a USB battery bank (Monos doesn’t)
- Simpler styling than Monos
- July has a Trunk Luggage option (Monos doesn’t)
- 20-stop telescoping handle is more adjustable than Monos
- Fewer internal pockets than Monos
- Anodized aluminum corners tend to show scratches
- Standard carry-on is heavier than Monos
For a more in-depth look, check out our full July luggage review.
Monos Luggage Review
Monos is a modern travel brand based in Vancouver Canada. Their whole business model is built on offering the same quality and features you see in luxury suitcase brands at a lower price.
The thing that stands out most to me about Monos as a brand is their obsession over quality. They aren’t afraid to completely redesign basic components to make them better and longer lasting. Monos bags have improved handles, wheels, and shells that are more durable than other luggage options.
Beyond just designing their products to be durable, Monos goes above and beyond with their rigorous quality testing (maybe you could call it luggage torture testing). They run their wheels for twenty miles on treadmills with jarring bumps, yank repeatedly on the luggage handles, drop loaded suitcases onto concrete, and tumble them around in a machine that looks like a giant clothes dryer. Seriously, these people aren’t messing around.
What that means for you is that you get a suitcase that is designed and tested to survive everything you can throw at it.
I also love that Monos is committed to sustainability and reducing their impact. They donate 1% of their revenue to environmental non-profits, and the are certified climate neutral, with net zero carbon emissions. Not only are their products well-made, but you can also feel good about buying them.
Monos Luggage Materials & Quality
Like July, Monos luggage starts with a sleek polycarbonate shell. They don’t have the aluminum corner bumpers of July, but I’ve never seen a Monos suitcase crack or dent, even with some pretty heavy abuse.
The interior of Monos bags is made with a 100% recycled rPET fabric that is soft to the touch and stain- and water-resistant. You also get durable, snag-resistant YKK zippers all around.
Monos designed their telescoping handle to be better than anything else on the market. It’s made with aerospace-grade extruded aluminum tubing, and the upright telescoping tubes are placed at a 45-degree angle, which means they can better resist pulling and pushing forces. If you’re coming from a cheaper suitcase, you’ll be blown away at how stiff and sturdy this handle feels.
The standout element of Monos luggage build quality is the wheels. When they couldn’t find 360-degree spinning wheels on the market that met their high quality and durability requirements, Monos designed their own from the ground up, with larger wheels and stainless steel ball bearings. I’m not a huge fan of spinner wheels after destroying several on cobblestone streets in Europe, but these are some of the only ones I trust to last.
Monos Luggage Design & Features
The functional design of Monos luggage is very similar to July overall. For internal organization, you have a zippered divider on one side and a compression pad system on the other side. The compression is almost identical to July. The only difference is that there are two separate compression straps instead of a big Y-strap.
Monos does offer more interior pockets in their suitcases, which is a win in my book. The large mesh pocket and smaller hinge pocket give you more places to put things and help keep your suitcase neat and organized.
Every piece of Monos luggage, from the compact carry-on to their largest checked bag also comes with an odor-blocking laundry bag and two shoe bags. It’s awesome to see “bonus” features like this included.
If you’re looking for the most feature-packed Monos luggage, you’ll want to check out the Carry-On Pro. This sleek carry-on bag has a zippered outside pocket built into the shell. The front compartment hinges open and is loaded with small pockets and pouches for keeping essentials organized and easily accessible. The Monos Carry-On Pro even has a padded laptop sleeve with room for laptops up to 16 inches.
The style of Monos suitcases is very minimalist and modern, with just a bit more visual detailing than July. The best part is that because of the high-quality materials, Monos luggage will keep looking good after years of use.
Monos Luggage Pros and Cons
Monos luggage is well-designed and well-built, so how does it compare to the competition (in this case, July)? Overall, I’d say there are a lot of advantages in Monos’ favor, including the awesome durability. It’s not all win-win though, as there are some tradeoffs when picking Monos instead of July.
Here are the pros and cons of Monos when compared to July:
- Outstanding durability and rigorous quality testing
- 2 size options for standard and pro carry-on bags (July only has 1)
- Better external pocket in the Carry-On Pro
- More color choices than July
- Telescopic handle is less adjustable than July
- The Monos Carry-On Pro won’t fit larger laptops
- Corners aren’t reinforced
For a more in-depth look, check out our full Monos luggage review.
July vs. Monos: Which Should You Buy?
There’s a lot to like about both July and Monos, and they have a lot in common. Both brands use polycarbonate shells, designed their own spinner wheels, have excellent organization, and offer luxury-level quality at attainable prices. Most of their products compete head-to-head when it comes to features and cost.
So which is better?
You’re sure to be happy with a suitcase from either brand, but if you want the absolute best quality and durability, Monos luggage is where it’s at. Their rigorous quality testing and obsession over details is impressive. Don’t get me wrong, July cases are also very well-built, I just think Monos takes it to the next level.
If I were to recommend a single product from either of these two suitcase brands, it would be the Monos Carry-On Pro. Monos carry-on luggage is just really well-designed. With its zippered external pocket, intelligent design, and bomber construction, this carry-on bag is one of the best on the market.
There is also a July Carry-On Pro; instead of a zippered pocket, it has a removable laptop sleeve. While this is the most innovative luggage I’ve seen for carrying a laptop, it’s more expensive, less protective, and less versatile. If you want an external pocket, I’d stick with the Monos Carry-On Pro.
While Monos excels at carry-on luggage, I think it starts to make a bit more sense to consider July if you’re shopping for checked luggage. Those sturdy aluminum corner bumpers can give you some peace of mind when your luggage is being tossed around by gung-ho airline baggage handlers.
In the end, it comes down to personal preference. Monos has some of the most durable hardside suitcases out there, but If you like the more minimal, streamlined styling of July suitcases (I sure do), go for it. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed either way.
July vs. Monos FAQs
What luggage is comparable to Monos?
What luggage is comparable to July?
What is July luggage made of?
July luggage is made with a durable German polycarbonate shell and aluminum alloy corner bumpers.
Is Mono carry-on worth it?
The Monos Carry-On is durable, stylish, well-designed, and is one of the best carry-ons you can buy.
Where is July luggage made?
July luggage is manufactured in China, but the polycarbonate shells are made in Germany.