Need help on how to decide whether to buy a Rollaboard® or a Spinner suitcase? Below, we unpack the pros and cons of 2-wheeled vs. 4-wheeled luggage to help you choose the best luggage for your needs.
There are a lot of options when you’re shopping for a new suitcase. Obviously, you want to know that your luggage is going to handle the punishment bags take, from maxing out packing space to baggage carousel pileups. Then, there is size, shape, color, material… all important considerations. But once you’ve stripped away aesthetics and decided how big of a suitcase you need, there is another crucial quandary: How well is that luggage going to help you and your stuff get where you’re headed?
Decades ago, travelers lugged their wares in cumbersome trunks and shoulder-breaking suitcases. Then, commercial airline pilot and founder of Travelpro®, Bob Plath, created the original Rollaboard® luggage. Bob intended for the 2-wheeled bags to help his fellow crewmembers travel more easily, but when passengers schlepping their cumbersome old suitcases saw the wheeled luggage roll by, demand exploded. Since then, the Rollaboard® has come a long way and wheeled luggage has easily become the most important piece of travel gear most travelers own. Today, 4-wheeled bags, also called spinner luggage, have surpassed two-wheel bags in popularity among leisure travelers. Spinner luggage is great for a lot of reasons, and Travelpro® spinners are among the best sold, highest-rated luggage on the market.
You don’t have to be an airline pilot to carry a Rollaboard® or to understand its benefits, but whether it–or a spinner–is the right bag for you is where the decision gets personal. Comfort, utility, packing needs and travel style are some of the more important factors when weighing a 2-wheeled suitcase against a 4-wheeled bag. Ultimately, how your suitcase should roll depends on how you roll.
First, let’s address a common misconception: Spinners were created after Rollaboard® luggage, so doesn’t this mean they are better or more advanced? Simply put, no. Both types of rolling luggage have pros. The technology or innovation involved will be more about the manufacturer and the collection than whether the bag has two or four wheels. It’s true that spinner luggage hit the market years after our original Rollaboard® luggage was invented, but both 2- and 4-wheeled bags serve their own unique purpose–which is why we continue making many types of Rollaboard® luggage today. While there are other differences, Travelpro® Rollaboard luggage is built with the same practical features and innovative technologies as its comparable spinner luggage.
Two-wheeled suitcases are pulled behind you at an angle, rather than rolled next to you, like their four-wheeled spinner counterparts. While pulling a 2-wheeled bag, your arm is most naturally positioned down at your side with your hand holding the extension handle facing backward.
Spinners, on the other hand, are pushed and steered with your arm bent approximately 90 degrees in front of you. While you can pull a spinner, they are designed to be pushed, which some travelers prefer. Pushing vs. pulling uses the muscles in your shoulders and back much differently, but smooth-rolling wheels should make either a comfortable experience. With Rollaboards, companion bags can be stacked or attached to them. Stacking additional luggage on your Rollaboard® or spinner is done exactly the same way. The stacking strap on your smaller bag fits around the extension handle of your rolling bag to secure it in place.
You can also attach travel totes and other smaller luggage to your 2-wheeled bag using a J-hook fastened to the top handle of the Rollaboard®. You’ve probably seen airline crewmembers with this setup. Rollaboard® suitcases with travel totes and travel coolers hanging off the front are practically part of their uniform.
When it’s time to roll, speed is the name of the game with Rollaboard® luggage. In a two-wheel design, the wheels tend to be larger than the wheels on 4-wheel models, so they roll forward in a straight line better than 4-wheeled bags, thanks to the sheer physics of their size.
If speed is your highest priority, choose a 2-wheeled bag. Whether you are pulling your luggage through airport or train terminals, city streets or massive parking lots, a Rollaboard® is definitely the best option for helping you get from point A to point B as fast as possible. Spinner suitcases are more about agility. Having wheels on every corner gives you 360 degrees of motion, which makes them great for zig-zagging through crowds and turnstiles at check-in and security. We take this even further with our Platinum® Elite, Crew™ Versapack™ and Travel+Leisure which feature our PrecisionGlide™ system with eight MagnaTrac® self-aligning spinner wheels guided by an adjustable PowerScope extension handle with patented Contour Grip.
When it comes to overhead bins, two-wheeled bags are generally a better fit because the wheels tend to be recessed and are nearly flush with the profile of the luggage case, but this also depends on the luggage manufacturer. Travelpro® luggage is carefully designed to adhere to airline size requirements for the bag’s individual use, i.e. underseat luggage that truly fits under an airline seat, carry-on bags that fit in overhead bins, etc. If there is any uncertainty, be sure to check that the specifications of the luggage you choose match the airline’s requirements and your expectations. No one wants their carry-on or personal item taken away from them onboard because it doesn’t fit where it’s supposed to go. It’s also worth mentioning that because the recessed wheels of a 2-wheeled bag don’t protrude as much as 4-wheel spinner models, Rollaboard® wheels are less susceptible to damage by baggage handlers and general wear and tear. That said, Travelpro® is well-known for the durability of our luggage from top to bottom, and that includes both Rollaboards and spinners, along with all of our non-rolling companion luggage.
In the end, the luggage best suited is a matter of sheer personal preference, so it’s good to understand your options. Your luggage will be your constant travel companion for the long haul, so choose what meets your travel needs. The right bag should make every trip easier and more enjoyable.
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