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Types Of Luggage Wheels: Which Is Best For You?

There’s so much to take into consideration when you’re shopping for luggage. The size and style, and material, and durability of the luggage are all important factors to think about. One aspect you won’t want to overlook, however, is the type of wheel your luggage comes with. After all, the right luggage wheels can make getting around with your baggage so much easier and less cumbersome. Honestly, you don’t even want to think about trying to slug through the airport with any substantial luggage that isn’t on wheels; you’ll be miserable by the time you get to your gate.

When shopping for luggage, you’ll find that there are two different types of wheels: in-line skate wheels and spinner wheels. Both come with their own inherent advantages and disadvantages. By educating yourself on the ins and outs of these different types of luggage wheels that luggage brands use, you can ultimately decide on which kind is best for your travel needs.

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In-Line Skate Wheels

Most suitcases including carry-on luggage that come with wheels will come with in-line skate wheels of some kind. The distinguishing characteristics of these wheels are that they’re made of a flexible polyurethane material and are recessed into the suitcase itself. Most suitcases with in-line wheels will have two or three of these wheels on one side, along with some sort of stopper that allows the bag to stand upright when not being carried.

Bags with in-line skate wheels are able to be pulled behind, so you don’t need to deal with the hassle of carrying your luggage or lugging it around on your back.


Perhaps the biggest advantage to choosing a bag with in-line skate wheels is the durability and versatility of the wheel material. In-line skate wheels are designed to glide effortlessly over many common obstacles that you’ll find while traveling, including uneven surfaces, bumpy concrete, and even grass. This makes them a great choice for serious travelers and those who often find themselves taking public transportation to and from the airport.

Furthermore, because in-line skate wheels are recessed into the suitcase itself, this increases their durability because they’re better protected from damage that can be caused during handling by airport workers. Another advantage to having wheels that are recessed into the suitcase is that with this type of design, you don’t have to worry about the dimensions of your bag being out of compliance with your airline’s requirements. Other wheel designs with wheels affixed to the ends of the suitcase can cause this problem.


Of course, having luggage with in-line skate wheels doesn’t come without some potential disadvantages. For starters, while the recessed design of in-line skate wheels does help with space constrictions and protects the wheels themselves, it’s important to realize that recessed wheels can also take away precious storage space inside your suitcase. As a result, you may need to sacrifice a little bit of room in your luggage or get more creative with the way you pack your belongings for your next trip. Fortunately, the amount of space these recessed wheels take up shouldn’t be very significant.

Furthermore, with this type of wheel, you need to essentially drag your luggage behind you—and this can take up a fair amount of space. As a result, you may have a harder time getting through crowded areas. And if you need to drag your bag behind you for a long period of time, you may find that your wrist and shoulder will begin to get sore.

Spinner Wheels

Spinner wheels are another very common type of wheel found on luggage these days. As the name would imply, a spinner wheel is attached to a suitcase and is able to move freely 360 degrees. Many suitcases outfitted with these types of wheels will have anywhere from four to eight of these attached to them, depending on the specific design of the bag itself.

The free-spinning nature of these wheels makes it possible to not only drag your luggage behind you (as would be the case with in-line skate wheels), but also makes it easy to pull your luggage alongside you or push it in front of you with minimal effort.


The biggest advantage to spinner luggage is the ease with which this baggage can be moved behind you, alongside you, or in front of you. Maneuvering this type of luggage is a lot easier and requires less overall space than luggage with other types of wheels, making it ideal for getting through tight or crowded spaces. It is also a lot easier on the wrists and shoulders than luggage with in-line skate wheels.

Because spinner wheels are not recessed, they also do not take up any additional space inside your suitcase like in-line skate wheels do.


On the other hand, because spinner wheels cannot be recessed into a suitcase, they must be attached to the outside and can, therefore, cause the dimensions of a bag to be larger than travelers may realize. This can lead to issues with baggage size requirements. For example, smaller planes have more restricted cabin space and your suitcase may become checked luggage. Furthermore, the outside attachment of the wheels make them more prone to damage, especially when luggage is handled by airport workers.

From a cost standpoint, luggage with spinner wheels also tends to be more expensive than luggage with in-line skate wheels, so this is something that needs to be taken into consideration if you are shopping for luggage on a budget.

Which Is Right For You?

Now that you have a better understanding of the differences between in-line skate wheels and spinner wheels on luggage, hopefully, you are in a better position to determine which is best suited for you. Generally, if you don’t do a lot of traveling and are looking for luggage that will get the job done without breaking the bank, then baggage with in-line wheels will work just fine.

If you do a lot of traveling or tend to be traveling through crowded areas with your luggage, then it may be worth it to shell out a little extra money for luggage with spinner wheels that will allow you to keep your luggage closer to you and be easier to maneuver. Just be sure to do your research and find quality luggage that will stand up to the test of time regardless of the type of wheel you end up choosing.

As you can see, there is a lot to keep in mind when shopping for new luggage. From bag style to wheel type and size, these little details can make a big difference. With the right luggage in-tow, you’ll have a more enjoyable travel experience.

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