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Would you go back in the past and travel with wooden trunks?
We’ll go and guess no. Well, that is exactly what you get when your suitcase’s wheels fail.
A new storage trunk for your garage.
If you are a recurrent business traveler or wanderlust enthusiast this has happened, we know.
Even more than once for some.
It’s energy-draining, stressful and unpredictable. But you can prevent these mishaps, by choosing smart.
The basics of wheels
Mobility is the number one criteria we look for when buying luggage. Choosing the best wheels saves you from stressful situations down the road.
A suitcase with good wheels saves you time, money and pain.
Imagine how, instead of enjoying your destination, you lose time tracking down repair shops.
Wheel making industry uses two main materials: rubber and plastic.
Rubber covered plastic wheels are typical for the cheaper brands. They have a short life span, wear down fast and have high rolling resistance.
Polyurethane is a better type of resilient plastic. Polyurethane wheels have high durability, flexibility, and low rolling resistance.
Wheel fasteners are another important feature.
Screws are the fastener of preference. A screwed-in wheel is interchangeable and often comes with tools to fix it yourself.
Rivet fasteners are first to get damaged in transportation. In the case of falling off, there is no way of reattaching.
How and where wheels are attached is crucial. Wheels need to sustain rough handling. Exposed and unprotected wheels don’t last long.
Checked in luggage goes through a lot of mishandling. Partial protection keeps the wheels safe.
Spinner vs In-line?
There are two types of wheels to choose from. The spinner wheels offer 360 degrees of rotation. This makes them easy to go in any direction.
Depending on the suitcase size, there are four, six or eight spinner wheels.
Choose spinner: it’s easier on your arm and shoulder, great for crowded and narrow spaces, rolls in front, beside or behind you, requires little effort.
Avoid spinner: doesn’t perform well on uneven surfaces, there are no stoppers, and clogs with time.
In-line wheels roll in one direction only. You need to push or drag them, so there are a potential arm and shoulder pain.
These wheels are recessed into the suitcase. This keeps them protected from clogging and snapping.
Choose spinner: performs great on uneven surfaces, like cobbled streets, has stoppers, wheels have protection.
Avoid spinner: not an ideal ergonomic solution, can cause wrist pain, not practical for crowded spaces, often too noisy.
Splurge or save?
You can’t predict wheel breakage. But there is a way to prevent it.
Buying a piece of expensive luggage from a prominent brand is an investment.
Some come with a lifetime warranty too. If you are a recurrent traveler you need exceptional luggage wheels, that won’t leave you hanging down the road.
The level of choices on the market is overwhelming.
We have narrowed down the brands with the best wheels for you. Take a look at the most raved about brands, the upcoming and the classics in the luggage industry.
Luggage brands with the best wheels
A brand created by a pilot 30 years ago. A person who knew best what luggage goes through, from check in to final destination.
Travel Pro first offered lightweight, soft suitcases; constructed with ball-bearing in-line skate wheels. While great for light cabin luggage, in-line wheels need more arm strength for pulling.
They now also offer spinner wheels for their larger suitcase sizes.
The good side of Travel Pro is that they have screwed in wheels. This makes them interchangeable in case of damaging.
The small downside is you can’t use any random wheels. You have to order the wheels from their official website or purchase them at an authorized store.
Even though they offer up to lifetime warranty on specific models, wheels damage and replacement are not included.
Clients of the brand claim the wheels keep up even after four to five years of constant travel.
Replacement is simple, requires minimal tools and can be done at home.
This is an interesting combination: a high-end brand with affordable prices. Another brand with thirty-year tradition. Their vibrant color designs make them easy to recognize.
Currently only offering spinner suitcases with eight spinner wheels.
Spinner wheels are plastic, a little larger, located on the very corners.
Corners are reinforced for maximum damage resistance.
They offer easy mobility at 360 degrees rotation and weight-less rolling. Wheels are screwed in so replacement is possible.
A warranty is available with purchase but doesn’t cover wheel replacement.
Even though it seems that aesthetic design is the main focus of the brand, wheel design and quality is phenomenal.
French brand made in Paris existing for over 70 years.
It offers the best two-wheeled, in-line suitcases. Wheels are on the larger side but discretely integrated into the suitcase. Made from polyurethane, so durability is guaranteed.
Their spinners differentiate in wheel size.
The soft-shell suitcases come with four smaller ball-bearing wheels.
Hard-shelled suitcases come with an inch larger four double wheels.
Delsey offers an international warranty from two years up to a lifetime and will fix your wheels in an authorized repair center.
The brand is a leader in business travel luggage. What kind of wheels would you expect from an aluminum suitcase? Remarkable of course.
Tumi offers extraordinary design from material to wheels. Their wheels are well integrated with the design color you almost don’t notice them.
All of Tumi’s suitcases have distinguishing, massive four double spinner wheels. Similar to the suitcases, the wheels are made from the most durable material- the polyurethane.
After all, these wheels need to carry aluminum case.
A little bit more on the pricier side, but providing great design and quality.
A new American brand that quotes high, fast and strong on the charts.
With cool and neutral colored cases, come four double spinner wheels.
Away claims whisper-quiet wheels made from an abrasion-resistant material with great wear ability.
They glide effortlessly on rough or smooth surfaces. The brand has taken the world by storm in their four years of existence, so after all their claims are true.
A European leading brand for high-end suitcases. Rimowa has over 120 years of tradition and many designer collaborations.
Their suitcases are made of anodized aluminum. Understandably, they only offer hard plastic spinner wheels. Wheels are screwed into the aluminum case.
Rimowa gives a five-year warranty with every model.
What is unique for them it that they offer worldwide hotel repair services.
You have heard of the brand that makes Swiss knifes right? Well, they make suitcases too. While they offer two types of case-hard and soft, they only have spinner wheels.
A four-wheel caster system gives effortless rolling in any direction. Wheels are hard plastic, incorporated into the design seamlessly.
Reinforced screws guarantee higher damage resistance.
Victorinox has an amazing eleven-year warranty.
A brand that revolutionized the luggage concept. While serving in the Airforce, the founder came up with the idea of G-RO. After a couple of years, it became a reality.
G-RO claims to have constructed indestructible wheels. To be honest, we believe them.
With a small set of products and minimalistic design, they intrigued the world.
Are these the new roller wheels?
Their own patented GravityRoll™ wheels are designed to shift the weight to the bottom of the suitcase. They roll on any kind of surfaces, even rain, and snow. G-RO is what every frequent traveler needs.
The only downside is they are only available for preorder on their website.
The ultimate chart-buster in the luggage industry. There is no way you haven’t heard of Samsonite.
A worldwide famous brand with over a hundred years of work.
People tend to trust brands with years of tradition. Samsonite offers the best of both worlds.
If you want a durable spinner or roller, you got it here.
While their spinners are a best-seller, it’s not all they offer.
A product worth mentioning is their wheeled duffel. With two in-line, screwed in wheels, and rubber reinforced corners, this is the ultimate piece of luggage for any backpacker.
In case of wheels damage, changing is simple and affordable.
Samsonite will ship you a replacement on all their wheels, anywhere in the world.
As we already explained spinner wheels spare you most of the pressure and effort. For occasional travelers, this is the right choice.
But if you are a frequent traveler, choose to invest in the best in-line wheels.
You spare yourself from many unpleasant situations and unnecessary stressing.
Travel is no longer a luxury. For many nowadays it is part of our jobs. Today we don’t have the time to deal with broken wheels, or repairing.
But can the luggage industry keep up? The demand for the perfect piece of luggage grows every day. Does the industry deliver?
New and improved materials get introduced and implemented every year.
Young and upcoming brands took over when it comes to inventing the indestructible wheels.
Excited to see which will be the next best wheels!