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What's Your Preference? Spinner Luggage or Traditional Wheeled?

I think I've seen this debated before but can't seem to find it... I use my traditional 'in-line skate' wheeled luggage when traveling to Europe since I remember reading that the spinner luggage doesn't do well on the cobblestoned streets. I recently purchased a spinner carryon set (Samantha Brown's) to use when traveling domestically. I like it but have found that some airports are now carpeted when walking to the gate, making the spinner not as easy to manuever as I would like. Anyone else have this issue? Maybe my spinner set is not as well-made.

What do you like to take to Europe? Do you have one set for Europe, one for the US?

Posted by Mary
Sunnyside, New York, United States
408 posts

I usually use an inline wheel, I like the extra space it gives me over the spinner. My husband prefers the spinners. I don't remember him having a lot of problems maneuvering it. He uses a Samsonite.


Posted by Kathi
34 posts

I use a Rimowa spinner the Salsa Hybrid Deluxe and it works great on floor or carpet in all three sizes I have (21", 26" & 29").


Posted by KC
San Leandro, CA, USA
509 posts

My guess is the the larger, more robust and better secured wheels of a traditional in-line skate wheel type of luggage will hold up better long term. Spinners require less effort in that you don't necessarily need to hold it up when pulling/pushing, instead it can be pushed while upright. This makes i easier to get through narrow places such as the aisles of an airplane. But it's also because of this feature that spinners will slide on any surface that isn't flat. With traditional wheeled luggage because there are only two wheels both of which are fixed, you only need turn it sideways to keep it from rolling down a slope.

Posted by Charlie
Honolulu/Seattle, HI/WA, USA
2613 posts

I have taken 13 RS tours all with a RS 21/22" carry-on with in-line wheels which has been replaced once. I have drug that suitcase over all types of surfaces and have never had a problem. I have seen numerous folks in Europe trying to pull a spinner wheeled suitcase over rough surfaces will poor results including some who have just picked up the suitcase and carried it.

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
18344 posts

It is simple engineering. The greater the diameter of the wheel, the easier it will roll over rough surfaces -- broken concrete, cobblestones, etc. I have seen more than one spinner topple over when one of the leading wheels hits a big cracks or falls into a hole. However, the choice of large two wheel rolling bags is becoming less and less. So baby what you have. I would like to replace my two wheel bag but have not found any good choices so it is more duct tape.

Posted by KC
San Leandro, CA, USA
509 posts

I am reminded of the older cell phones with actual numeric key pad (10+ years ago), before smart phones became the norm. You could drop them, step on them, and they wouldn't break, I've even dropped them in water and pulled them out and they still work. While smart phones have tons more features, you have to baby them or risk breaking the screens.

Posted by TC
2926 posts

We use the traditional wheeled bags in both the U.S. and Europe for two simply reasons. Physical inspections of all the spinner bags we've seen indicate that those wheels and the mechanisms on them are just not as substantial as the traditional wheeled bags. Also, the traditional bag wheels do not extend as far at the traditional ones.

Posted by MsOzone
Aurora, Colorado
22 posts

I like two traditional wheels for Europe, especially on cobbled/tiled streets. The spinners tend to get caught up in any damn crack they can find and just aren't as stable/ easy to wrangle. The only place I think that 4 wheels really have an advantage is on concrete or marble (not a real RS selling point :) ).

Posted by kjmoller
Atlanta, GA
77 posts

I posted a similar question in January and got similar responses. You can find it if to put "Wheels/Spinners" in the search box.

I wound up purchasing two TravelPro Marquis 22" carry-on bags from I concluded that, since we (ages 72 & 73) always check bags, the debate over European airline carry-on sizes was not a priority. The bags worked great on a two week, multi-city trip from Atlanta to Colorado, Utah, Nevada and Wyomong in January - Italy in September is the next test but I'm sure they'll work well.

Posted by Edgar
Medford, OR, USA
4391 posts

My carry-on is the RS Classic, no wheels, but my gear bag is a LL Bean Rolling Adventure Duffle with inline skate type wheels. I've hauled the Rolling Duffle with 15 to 20+ kg loads over European cobbles and it takes the hammering. (I carry the bag up/down stairs to avoid testing the wheels.) I don't use spinners, but having looking at spinner wheel systems the just don't look robust and wouldn't want to test them on cobbles and stairs.

Posted by Denise
Pleasanton, CA, United States
15 posts

I tried a spinner for my European trip last year. It was a pain to manage on public transit, especially if I didn't get a seat: Not only did I have to keep from losing my balance, I had to keep the spinner from rolling away. So my criterion for using the spinner is whether or not I'll be riding public transit with it, not Europe vs. US.

Posted by Bets
Deep in the hills of southern Indiana
5584 posts

It just depends on your travel style. If you are getting door-to-door transportation everywhere and rolling your bag around smooth airport floors, then you can use a spinner. If you'll be walking on a sreet with it, you'll want 2-wheels. Most people who post here are 2-wheel or backpack people.