I recently learned about a hot new toy: the spinner fidget toy. You hold it between thumb and finger (or put it down on a table), and you spin it. All it does is spin, but it's remarkably soothing and intriguing, and for some people it may work well as a fidget, to give hands something to do without distracting you.
There are dozens of shapes and colors and materials and brands. Even when I narrowed it down to the particular three-lobed shape that I want, and the particular colors (black or blue), and looking only at the ones that were available via Amazon Prime and had at least a few reviews, there were still many options. So I ordered eight of them, to compare and contrast and see which ones I liked best.
(I mention Amazon Prime because a spinner that's not available via Prime may take a month to be delivered to the US, usually from China.)
And it turned out that, to my inexperienced eye and hand, there's very little difference among them. Two of the ones I ordered appear to be identical (even down to the packaging), despite having different brand names. But even though the others aren't quite exactly the same, they all look and feel and sound pretty similar to me.
I had assumed that the metal-bodied spinners would have a more pleasing heft than the plastic-bodied ones, but as it turns out, there's very little weight difference; about 5g difference between the heaviest of the plastic-bodies and the metal-bodies. I suspect that most of each spinner's weight comes from the weights in the three lobes, and relatively little from the body material. (But all the metal ones I bought are aluminum; I haven't yet tried any of the really fancy super-expensive high-end spinners made from heavier metals.)
I do like the concave finger pads a little more than the flat ones, but other than that all the spinners feel pretty similar to me. In particular, I can't tell the difference by feel between the hybrid ceramic and the steel bearings, though I gather that hybrid ceramic tend to be better for longer spin times. (But in my sample, the metal-bodied spinners do by far the longest spins, even though they have steel bearings.)
Here's a table comparing the ones I bought. You can sort the table by clicking a column heading. But really, the core point here is that they all seem pretty similar to me.
(I realize that this table would be better with photos, but taking all those photos and adding them to this page seemed like a pain. You can see a photo of each spinner by following the link to its Amazon page.)
|YRTL||Black||$10||Plastic (ABS)||Hybrid ceramic||Flat||2:05||52.1g||May be identical to RunRRIn.|
|RunRRIn||Black||$9||Resin||Hybrid ceramic||Flat||2:05||53.1g||May be identical to YRTL.|
|Atesson||Black||$12||Aluminum||Steel||Concave||4:48||60.7g||Very similar to Meisus. Spinning on the table is noticeably louder than others, but also lasts much longer than others.|
|Meisus||Black||$12||Aluminum alloy||Steel||Concave||3:12||60.4g||Very similar to Atesson.|
|AOSKA||Blue||$11||Plastic||Steel?||Concave||1:42||55.2g||Lovely blue color, but looks a little more plasticky than the black plastic ones.|
|LeshionLife||Grey/ green||$16||Plastic||Hybrid ceramic||Flat||2:41||49.8g||Glows in the dark! In light, it's an unappealing grey; in dark, it's standard glow-in-the-dark green.|
|ZTANPS||Black/ brass||$20||Plastic/ brass(?)||?||Concave||3:11||33.4g||Totally different shape: five-spoked wheel. Even quieter than the others.|
|TILO||Blue||$17||Aluminum Alloy||Hybrid ceramic?||Concave||2:53||59.1g||Not as rich a blue as I was expecting. May need internal adjustment.|
|Hundromi||Rainbow||$22||Titanium alloy||Hybrid ceramic||Concave||6:25||88.1g||Narrower and much heavier than the others.|
|Cshidworld||Blue||$18||Aluminum?||Hybrid ceramic?||Concave||1:04||25.9g||Small, light; slightly different shape. Slight metallic scraping sound as it spins.|
|Broloyalty||Blue + lights!||$19||Aluminum alloy||?||Concave||1:15||36.4g||2-lobe spinner. Lights up for 15s when struck!|
Notes on that table:
- The brand name as given on Amazon. For all I know, some of them may be the same company under different names.
- Prices on Amazon as of 5 May 2017, rounded to the nearest dollar.
- Body material, as given on the Amazon page. The YRTL spinner page seems to indicate that it's ABS, and the RunRRIn page seems to indicate that it's a resin that's better than just ordinary plastic; but the two look and feel the same to me.
- Here too I'm going by what the Amazon page says. I gather that people who know what they're doing can change the bearings, but I'm using the ones that came installed.
- The finger pads that cover the center circle where the bearings are. I imagine there's a better term for these, but I'm not sure what.
- Spin time methodology
- Average of times for 3 spins, on a table, struck by finger (trying to be consistent in force of strike), timed with a stopwatch app. There are many variables I didn't control for; for example, in some cases spin time seemed to vary depending on which way up the spinner was. I imagine that someone more knowledgeable than I could adjust most of these to improve spin times. (Times are in minutes and seconds.)
- As measured on an unreliable little kitchen scale.
- This isn't at all comparable to the others; I couldn't resist the elegant wheel shape. It's much lighter than the others, and it feels a little flimsy, and when I'm spinning it in my hand it doesn't seem like it's going to spin for a long time; but it turns out that it's one of the longest spinners. But also less satisfying to fidget with than the others.
- The last four listed here hadn't arrived yet when I first published this page. I updated the page on 10 May 2017 to add those four.
One more note if you're going to order any of these: When you're on a given spinner's page, don't order from Amazon's “other sellers”; customer reviews and seller comments seem to indicate that if you do, you may end up with something totally unlike the pictured/specified item, and it may take a long time to get to you.