If you’re looking at luggage, you’ve probably noticed that most of it has either single-spinner or double-spinner wheels. Single-spinner luggage features four wheels, while double-spinner luggage features eight wheels. And if you’re not entirely sure what the differences are between the two types, you’ve come to the right place!
To be perfectly honest, it took me a while to pick up on all the differences too, and I’m more than happy to share everything I’ve figured out. The good news is that the differences are mostly subtle and there are no massive differences in practice, so feel free to get whatever luggage you like!
Four-wheel luggage are suitcases with single spinner wheels. These are wheels that are capable of turning 360 degrees, meaning that the suitcase can be maneuvered in any direction. These wheels are perfect for smooth airport and hotel floors and they often make little or no sound, depending on the quality.
They’re a nightmare on cobblestone and offroad though, and this is true for both four-wheeled and eight-wheeled luggage.
Eight-wheel luggage is also known as luggage with double-spinner wheels. This type of wheel is considered the higher-quality option as it offers better stability and easier maneuvering.
The reality is that 8-wheeled luggage costs more to the manufacturer, so you usually see eight wheels only in high-quality suitcases. That’s the main reason why eight-wheeled luggage is generally better than four-wheeled luggage; it’s less about the wheels themselves and more about all the other features that are also incorporated into that luggage.
There are some differences between 4-wheel and 8-wheel luggage, but keep in mind that the differences are truly minimal. I’ve traveled with both types of suitcases loads of times, and the wheels never once crossed my mind.
This one is a bit obvious, but luggage with double-spinner wheels is innately heavier than luggage with single-spinner wheels. If the suitcase has four additional wheels attached, it’s going to end up being the heavier of the two options.
However, it’s important to note that the weight of these tiny plastic pieces is truly minimal. The weight difference is measured in grams, and it’s not even noticeable when you fully pack that suitcase. But if you’re traveling with a strict airline and you’re measuring every gram, single-spinner luggage is ultimately the lighter option.
Another thing to note is that you must also pay attention to the materials and other features of the luggage. Single-spinner wheels are usually included in cheaper suitcases since they’re more affordable to manufacture, and those suitcases are often manufactured from cheap plastic materials that aren’t very lightweight.
So, it is perfectly possible to have two pieces of luggage that are identical in size and for the double spinner to be lighter than the single spinner because of the materials.
In general, luggage with eight wheels is more stable than luggage with four wheels. This is especially noticeable if you’re rolling the suitcase over any cracks or holes because the single-spinner wheels are more likely to get caught in those.
It is important to clarify that in practice, you are unlikely to have issues with the lack of stability in spinner luggage. Even though single-spinner wheels are less stable in theory, you won’t notice this at the airport or at the hotel. Also, both types of wheels perform equally badly offroad.
Another thing to keep in mind about the stability of spinner luggage is that you can’t leave it alone on a slope. I’ve learned this the hard way, but the suitcase will roll away from you and you will have to run after it, and people will look at you funny.
If you’ve only ever owned two-wheel luggage, you’ll be impressed whether you go for 4-wheel or 8-wheel luggage. If, on the other hand, you’re considering upgrading from a single spinner to a double spinner, I’d say it’s worth it.
You’ll notice the difference in maneuverability if you travel a lot, especially if you’ve had to deal with wheels getting stuck in cracks in floors. But if you’re not a frequent traveler, I honestly don’t think you’ll notice the difference between the two types of wheels because they’re both very good.
It’s important to keep in mind that they’re both spinner wheels. Both types are capable of turning 360 degrees, meaning that your luggage can be maneuvered in any direction. Double spinner wheels perform slightly better over obstacles, but it’s such a small improvement that it can be noticed mostly by people who have spent way too many hours rolling a suitcase.
Are double spinners more durable than single spinners? Sometimes they are, and sometimes they’re not. The number of wheels doesn’t matter as much as the overall quality of wheels. So, a suitcase with four high-quality wheels can be significantly more durable than a suitcase with eight poor-quality wheels.
It’s all about the bearings and if you’re a frequent traveler you should keep in mind that quality bearings will make your suitcase last a lot longer.
Hinomoto is a Japanese manufacturer of luggage wheels, and you can usually spot their wheels in some of the best and priciest suitcases. Hinomoto makes both single and double wheels, which is just another testament to the fact that it’s more about quality and performance than quantity.
The wheels of a suitcase don’t really impact the packing space and organizational capabilities. Well, that’s not entirely true because in-line wheels take up less space than spinner wheels and therefore offer more packing space inside the suitcase.
But if we’re comparing just four vs. eight wheels, the differences are again minimal. In either case, the wheel is attached to the corner of your suitcase and it can take away from the main packing capacity.
On top of that, in-line wheels are significantly shorter than spinner wheels, which allows for a larger packing case while keeping the overall dimensions of a suitcase the same. So if you really want to get into it, the best type of luggage for packing and organization is luggage with good old in-line skate wheels.
The price of luggage isn’t really impacted by the fact whether it has four or eight wheels. The quality of the wheels is what impacts it, along with the quality and cost of all the other materials in a suitcase. Take it from me, I’ve paid more for a heavy ABS carry-on (with single spinner wheels) than for a polycarbonate Wenger suitcase with double spinner wheels.
It also depends on how lucky you are and what type of deals you are able to find. So, there really isn’t a rule about what type of luggage is more expensive, but I will say that if you look exclusively at high-quality luggage, it’s often going to include double spinner wheels and it won’t be cheap.
The best type of luggage for you is the one that is suitable for all your travel needs. That could be a 4-wheeled suitcase or an 8-wheeled suitcase because all the other features of luggage are equally important as the wheels.
Double-spinner luggage (with eight wheels) is generally considered the best in the market, and I would recommend it over single-spinner luggage. But it’s important to keep in mind that a suitcase with four wheels can be significantly better than a suitcase with eight wheels, and it all depends on the rest of the features.
So, once you’ve narrowed down the choice to a couple of pieces of luggage with similar features and built quality, go for the eight-wheeled option if you want the best luggage!
Luggage with 8 wheels will usually require more maintenance simply because there are more components that can get broken or damaged. On the other hand, luggage with 8 wheels is also more likely to last longer.
The number of wheels doesn’t matter as much for people with back problems, it’s all about the height of the wheel handle instead. Travelers who struggle with back pains should look for luggage with a height-adjustable wheel handle to ensure they can stand up straight when maneuvering their suitcases.
Double spinners are usually quieter when rolling, but it’s more important to look at the quality of the wheels. Single wheels by Hinomoto will be quieter than cheap double wheels, and neither will be quiet or smooth on cobblestone.
Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!