Chances are good that you’ve recently seen someone – anyone from a child to an adult — spinning some strange object in their hand. It looked like a little propeller spinning in between their fingers…
They’re called fidget spinners.
For those who haven’t seen one, especially in action, they are really intriguing. Fidget spinners are handheld objects commonly made of plastic that usually have two or three bars and a central axis that is typically held between the middle finger and thumb. The bars are sent into a rotational motion when flicked, due to ball bearing seated in the middle of the axis.
Fidget spinners come in many different styles and colors and can range from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars. They can be found anywhere, from broken and discarded in a children’s park to rotating in the hands of a CEO looking like some exotic gadget.
In this article, we will be explaining everything you need to know to understand this new craze, what fidget spinners are, how they work, how to find the right one for you (and even more).
For people who fidget, like clicking pens, tapping feet, biting nails, or any number of (sometimes annoying) little habits, these “toys” serve a purpose by allowing them to channel nervous energy into a fun, safe, and inexpensive activity. Apparently, fidgeters find relief and comfort from these little doodads. Even people not considered fidgeters are reporting hand spinners as pleasurable.
Also known as hand spinners, they serve a similar function as traditional Chinese stress balls. They are reportedly of help to individuals that have trouble focusing, maybe from ADHD or even Autism. The act of flicking, the vibration, and the motion it creates from spinning are said to have therapeutic benefits that can help concentration.
Spinners may’ve originated as an offshoot of the wildly popular fidget cube, which is a tiny cube with buttons and switches designed for fidgeters. The fidget cube had a big kickstarter campaign and, after being cloned and counterfeited, left the door wide open for other products to follow in its wake. Effectively, the fidget cube popularized the notion that fidgeters are a niche market that was not being catered to. That sure isn’t the case anymore!
Spinners are manually operated mechanical toys that don’t require batteries to spin, although many of them now come equipped with LED lights. Each spinner one has a central axis that contains ball bearings (more on the bearings later).
To make a spinner work (spin), it only takes a flick of a finger. Most of the time, the spinner is kept in the hand, usually positioned in between the thumb and middle fingers. The flick is normally done with the index finger, but it can be spun with the opposing hand or however you want. It can spin forward or backward. Sometimes the spinner isn’t even in the hand of the user. Some people prefer the spinner on a table or desk, being spun using two hands – one to hold it in place and the other to get it spinning — which makes for faster and even longer rotation times.
Spin times might not mean that much to you, but to some hardcore spinner enthusiasts, spin times are paramount. These people take pride in using the best quality bearings, most appropriate metals, and maintaining them for properly balanced spinning for extended intervals.
This may seem inconsequential, but when you get a spinner, you’d be surprised how quickly you want it to go faster and longer.
Granted, some people rather sit there and flick their spinner, and are satisfied just watching it spin, but the enthusiasts (and some people that just want to get their money’s worth) are constantly trying to push the limits of how long heir spinner can go for.
The average five-dollar tri fidget spinner might spin for about a minute or even two if you’re lucky. Apparently, the longest spinning times have been clocked upwards of ten minutes and came from Rotablade, a high-end manufacturer.
But don’t think that the high-end of the market is the only way to get long and fast spin times. There is video evidence of ten-dollar spinners clocking in some long spin times. The only issue really is that it’s more of a gamble, albeit a cheap gamble, to go with some random seller in some large internet marketplace.
If you are interested in the best possible spinning, with attentive manufacturers and a hungry community looking to buy up any second hand spinners, you would look to companies like Rotablade, Zerofeud, or Torqbar. These manufacturers are really serious about making high-quality spinners.