Luggage is a crucial part of your travel. You need something sturdy, reliable, and will last through many flights, train rides, and transfers through pavement, cobblestone, or dirt. While there have been many innovations when it comes to luggage design and material, a big debate surrounds the wheel: spinner or roller?
Spinners are gaining more and more popularity nowadays as it's supposed to be easier to maneuver. Spinner luggage stands upright on four wheels, requiring less effort in rolling the luggage around. The traditional roller luggage has two wheels that is pulled by the handle.
There is no perfect type of luggage, but there are pros and cons to both spinners and rollers.
The best thing about spinner luggage is how much less weight you need to deal with. Spinners stand upright and are pushed, and can even be maneuvered right beside you. This way, the luggage glides effortlessly on smooth surfaces. There is little strength or control needed as the four corners of your luggage are stabilized and mobilized by four (sometimes eight, with two on each corner) wheels. Spinners take pressure off your joints and wrists.
Rollers, on the other hand, put pressure on your joints and wrists as you pull the bag behind you. This is especially troublesome for long-haul flights where you are carrying up to 30 kilograms of weight with just one hand.
This is where it gets a little tricky.
Spinners are stable on flat surfaces, but they're not that reliable on rough terrain. Because the wheels spin, they are more likely to get caught in cracks and bumps. If you're traveling to a place with snow, it will be almost impossible to roll your spinner upright through the snow and rocks hidden underneath. When you encounter such uneven terrains, you will most likely have to tilt your luggage and pull it like a roller luggage. This will then cause undue strain on the two wheels touching the ground and will cause some damage. A slight incline will also cause the spinner to roll off.
However, spinners can move in every direction, so it will be easier to push the spinner through narrow aisles or alleys. They can move sideways and backward without much difficulty.
Rollers, on the other hand, are more reliable on different terrains. Since the wheels are fixed, you can practically pull the roller luggage over rocks, cracks, cobblestone, and brick paths. It is less likely to get caught on crevices on the floor. If you're traveling via train, it will be much easier to pull the roller over the gap between the train and the platform. However, because of its fixed wheels, roller luggage will only move one way, and that is towards where you pull it. It won't be able to move sideways and rolling it back will be difficult. Since you're also pulling the luggage behind you, you are more likely to trip other people walking behind you or get you bag caught on chairs or other obstacles when you turn a corner.
Spinner wheels usually stick out from the luggage, which means it is counted in the dimensions when you travel. This is a big deal especially for those who live out of a suitcase because you're wasting precious inches on the wheels alone. Spinners also tend to weigh a little more than its two-wheeled counterparts.
Roller luggage have wheels that are somewhat cut into the actual luggage. This means there is more usable space for your items than for the wheels themselves. Because the luggage doesn't need to stand upright, there are also roller luggage that are designed to function as duffel bags as well, adding more functionality to your luggage.
There's a difference between a spinner and a durable spinner. More things can go wrong with four (or eight) wheels than two, and wear and tear on wheels is a serious issue. Since spinner wheels stick out and spin in different directions, they are more vulnerable to breakage. There have been many traveler issues of spinner wheels breaking off especially for those who roll their luggage on varied terrains. Spinner wheels also tend to be smaller, which means more possibility of breaking off from the luggage.
Roller wheels are more durable in the sense that it doesn't do as many movements as spinner wheels. Since roller wheels are fixed and built close to the luggage, there is less stress placed on the wheels themselves. If your roller wheels are cut into the luggage, it's almost impossible for the wheels to break off from the luggage.
As with all travel essentials nowadays, you can find spinners and rollers fit for every budget. Generally, spinners from the same maker and model will be more expensive. This is because of the extra materials and parts needed to accommodate the two extra wheels on the luggage. However, there are great options right now for both spinners and rollers depending on the design, budget, and material you want.
Getting a spinner or a roller depends largely on where and how you travel.
If you're an easy-going traveler, or you're the type who often goes on business trips, spinners will be great. You can walk through miles of airport halls or office buildings without much trouble as most of the weight is taken off your burden. For as long as you will be traveling on predictable terrain, spinners will be your best bet.
Rollers are great for people who travel to many different places. Rollers are more likely to survive a rugged trip. It can survive many terrains, and will be easier to pull through the airport, across train platforms, up buses, or even onto ferries.
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!