The pros and cons of spinners vs. rolling wheels on luggage

Wheels on luggage are a godsend. You can roll them beside or behind you instead of carrying them from your car to the airport check-in. And if a carry-on has wheels, you don't have to lug it through the airport and down the jetway. When purchasing luggage, there are two types of wheels from which you can choose: spinners and rollers.

What's the difference?

Rollers are the traditional type of wheels. Akin to inline skate wheels, they only move forward or backward. Spinners are newer to the market and each wheel on the piece of luggage can move independently 360 degrees. Rollers are usually somewhat recessed, whereas spinners protrude more. So what are the pros and cons of each?

Pros of spinners

There are several pros when it comes to spinners. Because each wheel can turn 360 degrees, a piece of luggage with spinners is easy to navigate, especially when in a crowd or in tight places. For example, carry-on spinners are easier to use on escalators than carry-ons with wheels. Carry-ons and laptop bags are the two most popular types of bags with spinners, which is a sign that executives who are frequent fliers prefer spinners. Many frequent fliers note how easy a spinner carry-on glides down airplane aisles. You can push or pull luggage with spinners, increasing maneuverability. That makes it easier on your arms and back, which is an important consideration for the elderly and those with mobility issues.

Cons of spinners

Even though there are many checkmarks in the pro column for spinner luggage, there are some cons. In fact, wheels that can move 360 degrees are a pro and a con. Spinners don't fare as well on sloped services; they can easily roll away from you. That's the No. 1 complaint consumers have. Spinner wheels also protrude more than rollers. What's the harm in that? Spinners are more likely to break off when tossed about by baggage handlers. However, should yours get broken, replacement wheels are available.

Pros of rollers

Compared to spinners, the wheels on rollers are less likely to break off because they are more recessed. Rollers weigh less than spinners, so it's easier to find lightweight luggage with rollers than with spinners, although lightweight spinners are available on the market. Rollers have been around for years, so pieces with rollers are less expensive than those with spinners, which are relatively new to the market. Anything that's new to the market costs a bit more; just remember how much the first microwaves cost!

Cons of rollers

The major con of a suitcase with rollers is that the wheels only go forward and backward. If you need to make an abrupt change in direction, you have to pick up the luggage, and maneuvering down an airplane aisle can get tricky.

After packing your clothes and sleepwear in a suitcase, will you be rolling along or taking the luggage for a spin? The choice is yours. Weigh the pros and cons of each before making your decision, then let Sears help you get on your way.

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