Fidget spinners may look the same on the outside, but the differences on the inside can completely change what they’re like. The key to how good a fidget spinner is can be found in the bearings. They come in different materials and the type of bearing used can have a big impact on the spin time of a finger spinner. We have focussed in on the main bearings that are being used in the most popular fidget spinners right now, so you can better understand your toy.
There are varying numbers of bearings in fidget spinners and the amount that are present in each one can have a direct impact on the spin-time that you can expect. Spinners with fewer bearings find it more difficult to rotate around as smoothly, hence there is more friction and they will slow down sooner. Whatever the bearing set-up in your fidget spinner, keeping it lubricated will help to deliver better spins.
However, it’s the material that the finger spinner itself is made with that will have the biggest impact on the spin time. Metal spinners can whirl around for three, four or even five minutes – especially the Torqbar – whereas you’ll be lucky to get more than a minute with a 3D-printed plastic spinner.
The bearings that are made of ceramic tended to work the best, delivering a smooth spin that wasn’t as prone to losing speed due to grit. Traditional ball bearings on the other hand came up a little short. Crucially, the design of the fidget spinners and compactness of them – particularly around the finger pads – is vital. A well-designed fidget spinner will not leave the bearings exposed.
People who choose to make their own fidget spinners – usually 3D-printed ones – tend to use skateboard bearings in their designs. They’re small enough to fit nicely into a fidget spinner, and they rotate effortlessly with limited friction.
Having a smooth bearing set-up will also promote a quiet spin. The more expensive spinners make far less noise for that reason. For example, while the Torqbar and Rotablade Stubby models aren’t cheap, they have been expertly crafted with high-quality bearings to produce consistent spins time and time again.
If you’re buying an expensive fidget spinner, then you shouldn’t end up having problems with your bearings as they will be utilizing the best materials with the optimum number of bearings spaced the right distance from each other.
What all bearings have in common is the tendency to slow down and become gritty over time as particles and dirt get into the toy. To help reduce the grittiness and extend spin time back to what it was, you should regularly clean your spinner by soaking it in water or spraying alcohol. However, ensure beforehand that it is safe to use your chosen cleaner with your spinner otherwise you may irreparably damage the bearings.
Whichever fidget spinner you go for, do take the time to see what bearings are used, so you can establish which works best for you.