Quick Review: Compare between a $20 and $12 fidget spinner

I play with spinning things a lot, particularly working in an IT department, playing with things helps focus and think. Even when I am writing this blog, I fiddle with coins, pens or anything that my hands can grab a hold onto. I even programmed my Razer Ouroboros to allow me to spin the scroll wheels… These fidget spinners are great toys.

I mean, they are nothing special; they are just a piece of metal that has a skate bearing on it and I spin it liberally. I see people 3D print them, or CNC mill them. Looking up on the inter-web, there are expensive ones and there are cheap ones. What really makes them different?

This review compares a couple of metal spinners, I like the weight of metal over ABS plastic. For all the spinners, the bearing is the soul of a good spinner. I am not going to regurgitate the technicalities, you can read it all here.

These are the two spinners I bought:

LEFT: VMEI Long Spinner with Ceramic Bearings – CAD$19.99 LINK
RIGHT: Non-Branded Triangular Spinner with Stainless Steel R188 Bearings – USD$8.08 LINK

The VMEI one weights 30g, comes with a soft case, shipped in a zipper bag. The triangular one weights 61g, comes with a metal foam case, shipped in a bubble envelope. Both are well made with some kind of light weight aluminum. The triangular one has 3 bearings on each end, but I don’t think they serve any purpose other than weight, at least one of them does not spin freely. Cosmetically, the VMEI is prettier, the surface is smooth. The triangular one has brushed pattern, but more weighty.

The VMEI and triangular use screw caps to cover the bearing. Since the VMEI has shielded bearings, I cannot tell if it is ceramic bearings on inspection. The triangular is using R188 stainless bearing, and it is only shielded on one end, that means cleaning the bearings will be a lot easier. However the screw caps on the triangular is very slippery, it takes extra effort to unscrew them.

In terms of spinning performance, the VMEI is using ceramic bearing and it spins quieter and smoother. The triangular spinner is noisier and also wobbles a little and has a bit of vibration. With double the weight, the triangular one spins as long as 3 minutes 30 seconds compare to the VMEI is only just 2 minutes.

For my preference, I like the triangular one more because I like it the spin longer and more weighty. The VMEI is prettier and more unique. In reality, more expensive spinner doesn’t mean better. What it matters is the bearing being used and the construction of the spinner, because if it is not made evenly, it will wobble and not as fun.