Roller vs Spinner Wheels
In the beginning, there were no wheels. Then, roller wheels were invented and travelers had a much easier time hauling their luggage around. Next, someone invented the spinner wheels for luggage and now you have another choice to make.
And, as you would expect with luggage, everyone has a different opinion as to which type of wheel is best. You’ll need to decide for yourself.
You might see roller wheels called in-line wheels. Whatever you call them, rolling luggage has two wheels on one side of the bottom of the bag. Most people use rolling luggage by standing in front of the luggage, then tipping it so that only the two wheels are in contact with the ground, and the bag rolls behind them.
Some roller wheels are incorporated into the body of the bag. Some people like this because the wheels are more protected and the bag has smaller measurements, often handy in carry-on luggage. Some people don’t like that positioning because the wheels do take up room in the body of the bag, meaning it will hold less.
Some people think that holding the handle to push or pull on a heavy rolling bag is hard on their shoulders and back. Other people like roller wheels because they’re fairly easy to manage on uneven ground and rough surfaces such as city streets. Also, roller bags have a brake - when you set the bag upright, the non-wheeled side of the bag comes into contact with the ground and it’s not prone to leave without you.
Luggage in this category, often called Spinners, have four wheels; one on each corner of the bottom of the bag. They aren’t incorporated into the body of the bag. The wheels actually spin rather than rolling inline, and that provides 360-degree maneuverability.
Spinners can be directed from the side (as you see in the photo above), and pulled or pushed from the front or back. It’s not necessary to tip the bag, so it travels upright.
Some people love Spinners because they make it so easy to weave in and out of foot traffic in an airport terminal. Another advantage is that it takes very little effort to steer a Spinner, so sore muscles become a thing of the past.
Some people don’t like Spinners because they think the exposed wheels are more subject to baggage-handler abuse and harder to quickly place in an overhead compartment. Some people don’t like Spinners because they are slightly prone to tipping over, which you can avoid by packing heavier items at the bottom of the bag.
Spinners don’t have a natural brake as roller bags do. So, if you’re taking the bus from one terminal to another and you’re not paying attention, your Spinner could start ricocheting around the interior of the bus. Some Spinners are equipped with brakes, but that’s not a standard feature.
Just like the softsided/hardsided controversy, there will undoubtedly always be people who wouldn’t use a roller bag and others who hate Spinners. Luckily, both of those groups have a choice.