2-wheel Rolling or 4-wheel Spinner Luggage

luggage with plane behindOne of the decisions you’ll need to make when buying luggage today is: should I buy 2-wheel(rolling) or 4-wheel(spinner) luggage?  There’s no right answer, only personal preference.

Spinner luggage has 4 wheels that ‘spin’ in all directions, making them very easy to roll on most surfaces.  Rolling luggage has 2 wheels that you tip back and roll behind you.  Rolling bags, when introduced 20 years, all but revolutionized the luggage industry.

Here are some of the pros and cons of both:

 2-wheel Rolling Luggage:

  • 2-wheelers  tip back and roll, which is necessary on surfaces that aren’t completely flat (like the airport terminal).  If you will be taking luggage on carpeted or uneven surfaces a lot, take heed.
  • The wheels are mostly recessed into the body of the bag, which protect them more and give a little extra length, important for carry-ons that need to fit in the overhead bin.
  • 2-wheelers will need to be packed more thoughtfully.  Many will tip when standing if the bag contents are unevenly packed, which can be really annoying.

4-wheel Spinner Luggage:

  • On flat surfaces, spinners can’t be beat for easy maneuvering.   It amazes me how little effort it takes to guide a fully-packed back along.  The best is being able to turn the bag sideways and roll it down the aisle of the airplane to your seat.
  • Spinners do roll away from you, though.  Just like a runaway shopping cart in the parking lot of a grocery store, you have to make sure your spinner bag is anchored on surfaces that aren’t flat, like in line on a jetway waiting to board.
  • For larger (and presumably heavier) bags, the weight starts to cut down the ability of the bag to just glide along, especially on thickly carpeted surfaces.
  • It’s sometimes harder with spinners to roll them across doorjams, on and off elevators or escalators.
  • The 4 wheels on a spinner are mounted on the outside of the bag, so can be an issue when using the overhead bins

Note for ALL wheeled luggage:  make sure the wheels are a good quality material.  They take a beating and along with the handles and zippers, are the parts of luggage most likely to give you trouble.

Make sure luggage wheels are inline skate construction and are made of polyurethane, which is a thick, bouncy sort of material that absorbs shock well.  Plastic wheels will break and rubber gives too much resistance when rolling.  Make sure the wheels are fastened with screws rather than rivets.  While the rivets may appear securely fastened, when they loosen and fall out (which they will), they’re not easily replaced, unlike screws which are easy to repair.

Full Review