You have to go back quite a ways in luggage history to find suitcases that do not have wheels. Once reserved for larger suitcases to help manage the weight, now almost all carry-ons and larger suitcases use wheels.
And what’s true in luggage is true in life: what goes around, comes around. Especially in luggage wheels. Not all luggage wheels are created equal, so here’s what to look for when you’re buying your next set of rolling or spinning luggage:
First, we divide our luggage into two types: Rollaboard® luggage and Spinners.
While generally referred to as “upright suitcases” or “rolling suitcases,” we use the term Rollaboard luggage — since we invented the bag in the first place — and define this class as upright luggage that has only two wheels.
These two in-line wheels are much like those on rollerblades and are larger in diameter than those found on spinners. They are built into the bag and do not protrude completely from the base of the luggage.
This offers crash guard protection so the wheels last longer and function better. Typically, the higher-end luggage wheels contain sealed ball bearings so grit and grime cannot affect the wheel’s ability to roll smoothly. Because of their larger circumference, they maneuver better on carpeted areas and rougher terrain, like streets and brick roads.
SpinnersSpinners are the next class of wheeled bag, and their wheels are placed in each corner of the case. They’re different from wheels on Rollaboard luggage in that they rotate 360 degrees, allowing you to push it alongside you as you walk through an airport or pull it behind you. You can make sharp turns, and the wheel mechanism will turn with you.
There are two classes of Spinners — 4-wheel and 8-wheel. Four-wheel Spinners have one wheel at each corner and eight-wheel Spinners have two positioned at each corner.
In both types, the bearings are not in the actual wheel but in the neck of the entire wheel assembly. This is what allows them to spin freely. They are smaller in diameter, and therefore less efficient in going over grooves in sidewalks or crossing elevator thresholds. (But you can always tip the bag and maneuver it like Rollaboard luggage to get over the rough spots.)
What we’re especially proud of in our own Spinner wheels is an innovation called MagnaTrac™. Most Spinner luggage drifts or pulls, putting a strain on your shoulder, arm, wrist, and hand, as you fight to keep it in line. MagnaTrac wheels have magnets built into the wheel’s neck, so that the wheels automatically align as the bag is pushed along beside you. This patented technology keeps the bag moving straight and it doesn’t fight you. This means you’re not working as hard to move your bag through an airport or hotel lobby, and your trip will be that much easier.
Do you have any questions about wheeled bags? Which ones do you prefer? Ask your questions, or leave a comment, in the comments section below, or on our Facebook page.