Fidget Spinners Explained Plus 13 of the Best

Unless you're the Queen’s Guard, chances are good that you fidget. How else could this craze be global if not for how normal fidgeting is? Almost everyone fidgets, even if just a bit. Whatever the case, 2017 is definitely the year of the fidget spinner!

What are Fidget Spinners and How to Use a Fidget Spinner?

A mechanical finger toy resembling a small propeller that is flicked into slow or fast spins rotating around a central bearing. The user or fidgeter plays with it by starting, stopping, or interrupting the spin, typically held between the thumb and forefinger, but often spun on a desk – that's how to spin a fidget spinner. It's a very basic device, but also very engaging.

Boredom, issues with attention, anxiety, and other uncomfortable situations can feel more tolerable with a decent spinner in hand. Quite literally, it’s a coping mechanism. Plus, they're fun and safe for almost anyone, no matter the situation.

Right now, they are so popular that the quality is sometimes a crapshoot. Many manufacturers are making them with no real appreciation for what makes a good spinner. And the small, high-end manufacturers are rarely in stock with their small handmade batches.

After testing dozens, we put together this list of 13 of the best spinners you can actually get. In stock and notable quality.

13 Best Fidget Spinners

Crimson Shuriken by Spinnables

The Crimson Spinnable Shuriken is an exotic and tough looking tri-spinner that spins smoothly and has little wobble. The shuriken is a "ninja throwing star" and this shape it has good stability for transitions while flipping mid-spin. It uses high-quality steel bearings which keep the cost low. Ideal for guys with big mitts.

Raging Tri-Spinner

Quite possibly the most popular design for fidget spinners, this Raging Fidget Spinner weighs 1.6 ounces and has the design that's good in hand sizes from a toddler to an adult man. And it uses a sturdy and hard plastic that protects the high-quality Si3N4 ceramic bearings.

WeFidget The Bar

This is the next popular design for fidget spinners after the tri-spinner and the quad fidget spinner: the mini fidget spinner. WeFidget's "The Bar" is a perfect sized for stealth fidgeting. So small, it's spinning hum is barely noticeable. It’s small, but still big enough for a tactile feel to the spin.

Nubarko Titanium Tri-Spinner

The NUBARKO Titanium metal Tri-Spinner is a sleek, and classy spinner. With circular patterns cutout around the titanium TC4 body, this spinner has cool visual effects while spinning. And with its conical, brass center core caps, this spinner feels great in the hand without excess vibration and noise.

Buylen UFO

The spinner for the cyborg. The Buylen Tri-Spinner UFO is a really interesting design that screams sci-fi! The UFO is solid fidget spinner for the money. The Buylen UFO weighs 89 grams. It’s size is probably more appropriate for adults or big kids. Spin times vary, but can exceed three minutes.

Fidgeteer Tri-Spinner

Another classic design for a hand spinner, but from popular seller known for quality spinners at an affordable price. A good and sturdy, plastic spinner that has surprisingly fast and long spin times clocked over five minutes. The raised finger caps make the spinning feel more secure. The Fidgeteer has a medium level frequency to its vibration. Not as quiet as some, but it's a pleasant and soothing buzz.

9 Bearing Spinner

This is one original fidget spinner! The LinkS Super Cool 9 gear-based quad spinner is a busy little spinner that captivates on many levels. It’s precision-machined gears spin in conjunction with the center core bearing. Ideal for those with a curious mind. A quality spinner that will have heads spinning when other fidgeters see yours.

Starrs Teardrop

The Starrs Teardrop Tri Spinner with an open-blade design is a sexy, long-spinning fidget spinner great for warping videos. A smart distribution of weight at only 110 grams, this spinner has some muscle to its spins. Sturdy and lightweight. The spins are smooth and consistent, even with R188 SS bearings.

BonvieTech Quad Spinner

The BonvieTech Fidget Spinner may look like a ceramic fidget spinner, but it’s really just white plastic. This quad spinner shaped like a block-text "X" and has four colored 608-2RS bearings for further fidgeting uses. This is a really good looking spinner with comfort, options for fidgeting, and style as its strong suits. Over 3 minute-long spins.

DragonSpinners The Dragon D8 Quad

The New 2017 Dragon Spinner D8 Quad is a metal spinner that uses R188 bearings and a wide core caps. The size of the caps make for a firm hold while getting a fast spin. This spinner is a bit heft at 3.2 ounces. It’s got a hard, ridged frame. Better suited for adults or big kids.

MyDeal 5 Blade Spinner

The Mydeal EDT Fidget Spinners is one of the most refreshing and new designs on Amazon recently. It’s an open-blade design with long and smooth spin times. The design keeps the weight light and the zinc alloy give it a nice tooth to the surface for a secure handling.

SEAAN Square Fingertip Gyro

The Square Fingertip Gyro is a stunning and unique spinner. It’s square, with four square corners, and it also has a removable for spinning around the finger. It’s a conversation piece, for sure. Perfectly flickable, and a smooth spin. Spin times are above average.

Nomad Pro Q1

This copper tribar fidget spinner is well made with a generous sized core for sturdy spinning. This is got some serious speed and smoothness to the spin with it's R188 stainless steel bearings. It's copper, so it should be maintained to keep its luster, or you can let it age for a rustic look from a patina.

Why Use a Fidget Spinner?

Setting aside for a moment the claims of many of its users and many of the retailers, fidget spinners are just plain fun. All beginning with a flick! The fast spins, the feeling of the spinner cutting through the air, the whirring white noise of the bearing, and the vibrations of the spin. It’s an amazing feeling!

Plus, they’re totally unisex and for all ages – anyone could give fidget spinners a whirl, so to speak. And since fidgeting is what we all do when click our computer’s mouse unnecessarily, when we spin our keyring around our finger, and especially when we are checking our phone when we know there are no new messages… we are already old hat with fidgeting with an object. Rarely is it this fun!

If you are wondering what these things can do for you in a real-world situation, imagine for a moment.. Maybe you could finally get through that long meeting without biting your nails all the way down to the cuticle. Or maybe you’ll finally be able to sit through that professor’s monotonous lecture without clicking your pen until the spring breaks. Is mom nagging you? Try a spinner instead of gritting your teeth. Is traffic slow? Spin those antsy feelings away.

Fidget spinners allow you to keep your mind focused and your nervous energy contained. You can stay in the moment and passively spin, or you can distract yourself with more active play. They require no special abilities or disabilities to benefit from their functions. All you need is a properly working hand. Just hand one to a toddler and they will show you how to use a fidget spinner.

Who and What are Fidget Spinners for?

Fidget spinners are one of the first products in a long time that can be equally enjoyed by virtually anyone. Young and old. Boy or girl. And since they can be purchased for just a couple bucks, virtually no one is excluded from the party!

That said, fidget spinners are marketed to and used by many people struggling with challenges like anxiety, autism, attention disorders, restlessness, or just simple boredom. There is something engaging, relaxing and equally exciting about playing with a spinner. In general, keeping your hands busy keeps your mind from wandering. Based on countless testimonials online, the fidget spinner offers a way to keep the restlessness to a minimum. The spinner is turning into a mechanism to help people cope with the world. It’s a lofty claim, but one that makes sense when you actually use the device.

Anatomy of a Fidget Spinner

No matter the style of your spinner, they all pretty much have the same body parts.

Blades:

The arms, paddles, or points that spin around the core.

Core:

This circular opening houses the press-fit bearing.

Counterweights:

There is no standardization with counterweights because it’s a functional design element that can be approached any number of ways. They’re at the ends of blades.

Finger pads/core caps/buttons:

The caps of the core held by the thumb and forefinger. These caps are removable and replaceable. Some caps are flat and others are concave. The best fidget spinner finger pads are usually concave and of a large enough diameter that allows for a tight grip while spinning.

Bearings:

this is one of the most important aspects of the performance of the spinner itself. Spinners use skateboard bearings made of either stainless steel, ceramic, or a hybrid of both. For those concerned with performance, ceramic is king.

The Best Materials for Fidget Spinners:

Spinners come in virtually all kinds of materials that you can fashion into a consistent shape that can withstand the spin. You can find fidget spinners in these materials:

Plastic:

Many of the fidget spinners out there are made of a sturdy plastic called POM (Polyoxymethylene), which is a so-called engineering plastic.

Wood:

There are a lot of really cool fidget spinners made from wood out there and they don’t cost as much as you’d think. Many of them are from intrepid DIYers that have a passion for this new fad.

3D Printed:

These days, just about anything is being 3D printed. There are templates and tons of information out there in the 3D printing community to get you going. Check out our DIY 3D print fidget spinner guide for more information.

Metal:

Stainless steel, bronze, copper, brass, silver, titanium, to even a gold fidget spinner exists. Be careful of fakes. Metal fidgt spinners don’t imply quality, though many of the most expensive spinners are metal.

Different Types, Styles, and Designs of Fidget Spinners

There are now a dizzying amount of fidget spinners. Luckily, most can be categorized by shapes. After the basic shapes are categorized, then it just comes down to design, craftsmanship, materials, bearings, and ornamentation. The easiest way to find the type of spinner you want is to know the types of ways to search for one.

Bar/dual bar:

Simple, understated. This is the more discreet shape for the regular spinners. It can be called a dual par, meaning it has two ends, or just a bar or single bar, because both ends are in line with no offshoots. These spinners appear a lot in EDCs due to their simplified profiles.

Tri-spinner:

Spinners based on a triangular shape, no matter the way the shape that holds the counterweights. These spinners have longer and faster spin times than the bar spinners. These shapes exist in both the high-end world of spinners and the toy realm, but most of the cheaper toy spinners are tri-spinners.

Quad-bar spinner:

The quad spinner is typically a bulkier spinner as it’s based on a square footprint, but some quad spinners are paired down to decrease their overall prifle. These spinners come in a variety dseigns and materials, just like tri-spinners.

Five-sided:

Once you get past quad spinners, most of the spinners that have multiple sides are going to be more unique. These five-sided spinners can take the shape of a pentagon or star. More rare than common, five-sided spinners still spin smoothly and for long periods, provided the bearings and counterweights are right.

Open-blade:

This is a relatively new style of fidget spinner and they look and feel great to spin. Typically made of metal, open-blade designs have hollowed out blades and they look almost flower like, or like a pinwheel when spinning.

Shurikens:

Based on a “ninja throwing star”, the shuriken fidget spinners come in various exotic, Asian-inspired shapes with various blade-counts (the same as a regular spinner). Spinnables.com specializes in shuriken spinners, and most of them don’t have finger pads – you spin them around your finger like a keyring. And although they appear like weapons, they are not sharp enough to hurt while spinning. Of course, care should be taken for these to not get launched. Not ideal for young kids. But a must-have for those obsessed with spinners.

Ring Spinners:

The ring spinner is a fairly ingenious idea, although most rings already operate this way. Using your thumb to fiddle with your ring is something people do unconsciously. Now with this emerging industry, you can go out on the town with a wearable fidget toy in lieu of carrying one extra thing. These are for fidgeters that would rather not broadcast their fidgeting mechanism to the world. Stealth fidgeting!

Wheel Fidget Spinner:

The wheel fidget spinner is unique in that it is a wheel and there aren’t any bars to flick. It’s really a wheel and a hub that you hold. There are tricks that you can do with a wheel spinner that you just can't accomplish with other spinners, like spinning and releasing on a flat surface. The spinner will continue rolling forward. With wheel spinners, there is a slight trade-off for flickability and getting fast and long spin times.

Mini Fidget Spinners:

Another popular type for the EDC crowd. The mini spinners are for those that prefer a little discretion with their fidgeting. Maybe these are poker players, or just generally more reserved. The mini spinners are of course lighter and easier to flick, but they don’t spin for as long. They still have their own following.

Who Invented the Fidget Spinner?

The fidget spinner design as we know it came from the Torqbar, the product that started it all – not the Catherine Hettinger myth. The owner of Torqbar, Scott McCoskery, made his most-popular design three years ago for himself as he told NPR. And when he began posting pictures online in the EDC community, "he got flooded with requests, so he started selling what he called the Torqbar". The Torqbar is still sold (for $100+) but acquiring one is extremely hard due to their small batch sizes, their popularity, originality, and the respect this manufacturer has.

What is EDC?

Every Day Carry is a community of hobbyists and makers of things that showcase their interests through images of various hardware they carry every day – keys to fancy cars, tactical gear, watches, etc. -- all laid out in a nice picture. Every Day Carry is the term for documenting those cool objects that some people have. EDC is all about taste, not just a pocket dump! So when images of these new toys starting appearing in EDC, people began to take notice of that cool object. The interest went viral, and so the fidget spinner was born.

Anatomy of a fidget spinner

Anatomy of a fidget spinner infographic