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Spinner vs roller luggage and bags: Which is best for your next travel adventure?

Man walking with a rolling luggage in the city.
Photo by Oleksandr Baiev on Unsplash

There are a plethora of luggage brands out there, so many that it can be overwhelming to decide which is the best luggage for the traveler in you. There are several factors to take into consideration when choosing a suitcase that’s right for you, but one of the most important ones is: Spinner or roller? This may be a no-brainer for some and a pressing issue for others, so we’re here to give you the facts. Spinner luggage versus roller luggage, the challenge is on!

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Spinner Luggage Pros & Cons

The term ‘spinner luggage’ is floating around more and more these days, but what exactly is a spinner? Spinner luggage is a suitcase that stands upright on four wheels. Having four wheels is supposed to require less exertion when rolling it around. Spinners roll right beside you, giving you maximum control over how stable it is and where it maneuvers (aka so you don’t roll over any toes). It basically glides, making it a stress-free experience when you have to roll them through tight spots. They can even move sideways and backward. Although a heavy spinner can still be rough to lug around, overall, spinners take pressure off the wrists and back.

Spinners are excellent on flat surfaces but are less sexy on rugged surfaces. Since the wheels spin around, they can easily get caught in bumps, cracks, and really anything not super flat. For example, you’d never roll your spinner around upright over cobblestones or rocks, they’d likely break off. And, if you pull a spinner at a slight incline, then you’re likely to cause damage.

If you’re a traveler who barely meets the weight and size requirements for luggage on airlines, you may want to rethink purchasing a spinner. Though small, spinner wheels commonly stick out from the suitcase (read as: more vulnerable to breakage), which means precious inches are attributed to the wheels alone. Small wheels that stick out makes them easier to break. Spinners also usually weigh a bit more than their two-wheeled rivals.

Roller Luggage Pros & Cons

A piece of roller luggage is one that has two wheels and is pulled at a 45-degree angle. This means that rollers also put pressure on your wrists and can cause backaches depending on how heavy the bag is that you’re pulling with one arm.

Rollers are more reliable on rough terrain, though. In fact, you can roll them over rocks, cracks, cobblestone, the works, and they’re less likely to get stuck or damaged. The wheels on rollers are more durable because they don’t allow for as many movements as a spinner. Since most roller wheels are cut into the luggage, less stress is placed on them, and it would be very rare for them to break off.

However, because of its inflexible wheels, rollers only move in the direction you pull them. They don’t roll sideways and rolling the suitcase backward rarely works without a disaster on the horizon. Since the luggage is also behind you and not within your line of vision, you are more likely to get your bag caught on something when turning a corner, run over people, or trip people as you can’t monitor its every move. The good news is you won’t have to worry about it rolling away when on a shuttle or tram!

Which Luggage Model is Best for You?

That’s the million-dollar question, right? Well, we don’t have an answer to that high ticketed question because it depends on the type of traveler you are. There are plenty of cheap luggage deals to be found if you’re constantly traveling for work or taking short weekend vacations. If you are more of a globetrotter and will be in all types of situations, then a roller will probably withstand your adventures better.

A Few of Our Favorite Luggage Pieces

Monos Check-In Large

monos check in large luggage against a gray background.

The Monos Check-In Large aerospace-grade suitcase has whisper-quiet 360-degree spinner wheels. The suitcase is outfitted with a water-resistant German polycarbonate hard shell and a built-in TSA-approved combination lock. The handle has four height settings to avoid backaches. It is the perfect luggage for a 2 to 3-week trip.

It weighs in at 10.58 pounds and measures 30 x 21 x 11 inches (including wheels). As a bonus, all other Monos suitcases can fit inside when storing. To avoid any dirt stains or scratches, Monos saves the day with their translucent luggage covers. They’re easy to use and an absolute must when traveling!

Read More: How to Pack Like a Pro

Delsey Secritime Zip XL

Delsey Secritime Zip XL on a white background.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Delsey’s Securetime Zip is so easy to maneuver thanks to its double spinner wheels, soft-touch top, and side carry handles. The interior is expandable for maximum flexibility and has a removable and washable lining.

It weighs in at 10.4 pounds. and measures 30.5 x 19 x 12.5 inches.

Monos Carry-On

monos carry on luggage against a gray background.
The Monos Carry-On aerospace-grade suitcase has whisper-quiet 360° spinner wheels. The suitcase is outfitted with a water-resistant German polycarbonate hard shell and a built-in TSA-approved combination lock. The handle has four height settings to avoid backaches. It is the perfect luggage for a 2 to 5-day trip.

It weighs in at 7 pounds and measures 22 x 14 x 9 inches (including wheels). This carry-on size is designed to fit in the overhead bin of almost any flight. Keep your clothes neatly organized with the Monos compressible packing cubes. The well-structured cubes also have a mesh top panel that easily allows you to see what’s inside without unpacking.

Read More: Best Packing Cubes

Arlo Skye Zipper Carry-On Max with Front Pocket

Arlo Skye Zipper Carry-On Max with Front Pocket against a white background.
Arlo Skye’s Zipper Carry-On Max is perfectly sized to fit in the overheads of airlines. Its impact-resistant polycarbonate exterior and 360-degree whisper-quiet spinner wheels make this piece a breeze to travel with. The suitcase features an anti-microbial lining that is infused with natural silver fibers to neutralize odor-causing bacteria and prevent germ growth, an integrated TSA-approved combination lock, and a removable charger. The hard-side front pocket was designed for quick access to your laptop or passport and to protect your precious belongings.

It weighs in at 8 pounds and measures 23 x 15 x 10.3 inches. The Zipper Carry-On Max comes with a leather name tag, two shoe bags, one laundry bag, and a cotton storage cover.

Editors' Recommendations

Latifah Al-Hazza
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Latifah is an Emmy Award-Winning travel journalist and documentary filmmaker, as well as the Cofounder of Femscape Sojourns…
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