The luggage is one of the things that people have strong opinions about. One of the most controversial topics in the luggage world is whether or not to buy a spinner suitcase.

What are spinner suitcases?

A spinner suitcase is an upright bag with four wheels, unlike a roller suitcase which only has two wheels. Spinner suitcases are usually hard-sided, while roller bags are usually soft-sided.

Many bag manufacturers have switched from two wheels to four wheels for their bags in the last few years. What are the pros and cons of carrying things?

The pros of spinner suitcases

Spinner suitcases have several advantages over roller luggage.

  • Spinner suitcases are much more flexible, in the sense that you can roll them next to or in front of you, which isn’t so practical with roller luggage
  • Spinner suitcases are more maneuverable, and can be rolled sideways into tighter spaces; this is great whether you’re walking down an airplane aisle, or are rolling a bag through an automated immigration kiosk or through a train turnstile
  • On flat and even surfaces, spinner suitcases are arguably easier to roll, as there’s less friction, and less pressure on your arm and shoulder
  • Spinner suitcases are often hard-sided, which some prefer, as it’s potentially more durable, and protects the items in your bag
Rimowa spinner carry-on

The cons of spinner suitcases

There are a lot of drawbacks to spinner suitcases.

  • Spinner suitcases typically have external wheels, which doesn’t help with maximizing space, as they stick out; when you put your carry-on bag in a sizer, the wheel space counts toward the limit
  • Spinner suitcases are great on flat and even surfaces, but the second you deal with an incline, or you’re inside something that’s moving (a train, subway, etc.), or you have an uneven surface, they can become a burden
  • Not all bags are equally durable, and sometimes wheels break; you’re more likely to have issues if you have four wheels rather than two wheels
  • Spinner suitcases are more likely to be hard-sided, which doesn’t maximize space, and doesn’t allow you to expand your bag in the event that you’re carrying more than usual
Briggs & Riley two wheel carry-on

I’m in the anti-spinner luggage camp

This is a topic that splits my household. He only has spinner bags with four wheels for carry-ons and checked bags. I'm too practical according to him. I only have roller bags with two wheels for carry-ons. Ford isn't practical enough according to me.

Is my bag better than Ford's Rimowa? I find Rimowa bags easy to scratch up. I don't think the bags look great, but they're durable and I've been happy with that since I switched from Tumi.

When we travel together, I tend to have less issues with my bag than Ford does. I find that my bag provides a more seamless experience when we are not on a smooth surface.

Some people feel that a two wheeled bag is heavier than a spinner bag, and that's why they prefer a two wheeled bag. I hung my backpack off the back of my carry-on with a clip. The bag feels weightless when I carry it behind me.

It is impractical to hang a second bag off a spinner bag as it is with a roller bag. It's possible to place something on top.

My typical carry-on setup

My system is not better than anyone else's. I have been using two wheeled roller bags for as long as I can remember and I refuse to change. The luggage industry is moving in the direction of spinner suitcases. I can't get behind the idea.

Bottom line

People think that two wheel roller luggage is better than four wheel spinner luggage. There are pros and cons to carrying things around. I'm stuck in my way with roller luggage. The bags perform better with complicated surfaces and I like how I can clip something to the side of the bag to maximize how much I can carry.

Do you like spinner luggage or roller luggage?