Last Updated: August 31, 2023

Spinner vs. Roller Luggage – Which should you buy?

Deciding between spinner and roller luggage is not always easy.

Luggage is a big part of your trip and you need something sturdy and reliable that will last. Something you can push through the airport, but also plow through rough cobbled roads if you have to.

But what are the main differences between spinner vs roller suitcases?

Keu Differences Between Spinner & Roller Luggage

  • Spinner wheels take the load off your hands on flat surfaces
  • Spinners roll easier and faster in airports and smooth surfaces
  • Rollers are better on rougher surfaces and last longer
  • Spinners are more expensive and take more corner space

Spinners are very popular nowadays and are supposed to be easier to maneuver. Spinner luggage stands upright on four wheels, requiring less effort in rolling the luggage around.

Traditional old-school roller luggage has two wheels that is pulled by the handle in one direction.

There is no perfect type of luggage, but there are pros and cons to both spinners and rollers.

Comparing The Important Stuff

Carrying the weight

The best thing about spinner luggage is how much less weight you need to pull. Spinners stand upright and are pushed effortlessly 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  wheels (sometimes eight 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.

Stability and Maneuverability

Roller vs Spinner

Rollers are better on tough terrain

This is where it gets a little tricky.

Spinners are great on flat and smooth surfaces, but they’re not that great on rough terrain. They are more likely to get caught in cracks and bumps.

If you’re traveling where there is snow, it will be almost impossible to roll your spinner upright through the snow and rocks hidden underneath. Sure, you can tip it over onto two wheels, but it is rarely as robust as a roller.

When you encounter such uneven terrain, you will most likely have to tilt your luggage and pull it like roller luggage. This will then cause undue strain on the two wheels touching the ground and might cause some damage. A slight incline might also cause the spinner to roll off when it is standing upright.

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 varied terrain. Since the wheels are fixed, you can practically pull the roller luggage over

  • rocks
  • cracks
  • cobblestones
  • brick paths

It is less likely to get caught in cracks or crevices.

Rollers are less Maneuverable

However, because of its fixed wheels, roller luggage only moves in one direction.

It won’t be able to move sideways easily. And, since you’re also pulling the luggage behind you, you are more likely to trip other people walking behind you or get your bag caught on chairs or other obstacles when you turn a corner.

Maximizing Space

Travelpro Crew Rolling Luggage

Travelpro Crew Rolling Luggage

Spinner wheels usually stick out from the luggage, which means it is counted in the dimensions of your bag for carry on. 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 their two-wheeled counterparts.

Roller luggage has wheels that are somewhat cut into the actual luggage. They have more usable space for your items. 

Durability

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.

Price

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.

Which One Should You Buy?

Getting a spinner or a roller depends largely on where and how you travel.

City or Business Traveler

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.

All-Terrain Traveler

Rollers are great for people who travel to many different places. Rollers are more likely to survive a rugged trip. It can survive various terrain and will be easier to pull through the airport, across train platforms, up into buses, or even onto ferries.

Spinner Luggage

Samsonite Winfield 2 Spinner Luggage

Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside Luggage with Spinner Wheels, Orange, Carry-On 20-Inch

Delsey Paris Helium Aero Spinner Luggage

DELSEY Paris Helium Aero Hardside Luggage with Spinner Wheels, Plum Purple, Checked-Medium 25 Inch

American Tourister Spinner Luggage

American Tourister Moonlight Hardside Expandable Luggage with Spinner Wheels, Rose Gold, Carry-On 21-Inch

Roller Luggage

Samsonite Aspite Xlite Luggage

Samsonite Aspire Xlite Softside Expandable Luggage with Spinner Wheels, Black, Carry-On 20-Inch

Travelpro Maxlite Rollaboard Luggage 

Travelpro Maxlite 5 Softside Expandable Upright 2 Wheel Carry on Luggage, Lightweight Suitcase, Men and Women, Black, Carry On 22-Inch

Travelpro Skypro Rollaboard

Travelpro Skypro Lite 22' Expandable Rollaboard Suitcase (Navy)

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About the Author Roger Timbrook

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!

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