Fidget spinners were designed to help kids with ADHD channel their nervous energy. They were used as therapeutic tools for years, despite inconclusive evidence of their effectiveness, until exploding into the hottest toy fad since Pokémon GO. Kids love spinning and collecting them, and there is even an active fidget spinner trick community sharing videos on YouTube. For adults, the rotating the low-friction spinners can be relaxing, and spinning can supplant a range of more distracting nervous ticks in the same way a stress ball might. And while it may seem like one fidget spinner is the same as any other, their massive popularity means there are tons of companies manufacturing them in every shape, size, color, and material (from plastic to titanium). It’s easy to spend a few bucks on one that won’t last or much more on something that may not be worth the upcharge.
Most of the spinners available online are, to put it politely, crap: cheap, lightweight, loud, and not very durable. However, we were able to find some options that have garnered tons of positive reviews on Amazon. They’re built well out of solid materials, spin smoothly and quietly for at least a couple of minutes (depending on the skill level of the spinner), and cost anywhere from ten bucks to hundreds (seriously). Whether you’re in the market for a spinner for yourself or your kid, these are the ones to consider.
The Anti-Anxiety 360 showcases the classic three-pronged design ⏤ by far the most popular spinner shape. In addition to the high-speed center bearing, users can also give it a whirl by holding the individual balancers, which spin independently and produce a different sensation. The manufacturer claims a spin time of one to three minutes. These mid-priced fidgeters run around $14 and come in brushed chrome and gold finishes, but we suspect kids will be drawn to the glow in the dark option.
The people at Antsy Labs do a lot of things well, but estimating clearly isn’t one of them. The Denver-based company launched a Kickstarter campaign for the Fidget Cube in 2016 with the goal of raising $15,000. It raised over $6.4 million, or approximately 431 times the original goal.
So what about the Fidget Cube made it such a crowdfunding blockbuster? Well, it’s not a traditional fidget spinner, per se, though one side does spin round and round. The other five have other fidgety mechanisms: a button to click, switches to flip back and forth, a joystick to toggle, a dimple to touch, and an array of five pegs that are oddly satisfying to play with. The Fidget Cube comes in eight different colors and, at a price of just ten bucks, it makes for a pretty affordable desk toy.
The first thing to notice about this spinner is its unique shape. Instead of one centrally located pivot point, it has two. That means the center of gravity changes constantly as you spin it, producing motions that feel more random than the smooth, but to some uninteresting, spinning of a typical, symmetrical spinner. The central pivot point has ten R188 stainless steel ball bearings that provide a smooth, quiet spinning experience. If standard spinners are as entertaining as they once were, this one is a great way to mix things up.
The matte black finish of this metal spinner reminds us of the Batmobile from Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies: vaguely militaristic, aggressively masculine, and sleek without being shiny. The steel ball bearings in the center come lubricated with a specialized oil that the company claims helps this fidget spinner spin faster and longer and reduces the chance of corrosion and issues with the bearings. And speaking of bearings, this spinner comes with both “therapeutic” “performance” bearings that you can swap out. The former is meant to be louder and produce shorter spins while the latter is designed for longer, quieter spins.
The big draw here is the crazy finish on this spinner, a shiny rainbow effect that looks cool when it’s not moving and mesmerizingly trippy as it spins round and round. It’s two and a half-inch frame is made from stainless steel and weighs just over three ounces, enough to feel solid in the hand and satisfying to tilt back and forth while it spins. It comes in a round tin with a clear top that shows off its colors even when not in use.
At first glance, this fidget spinner looks pretty standard. All five of its finishes are pretty plain, and its shape and size are standard. Press down on one of the balancers, however, and the three LEDs in each balancer light up. Press down again to cycle through the five different patterns the lights, which can emit red, green or blue light. Experimenting with what those lights look like while spinning adds an extra layer of fun to this fidget spinner, another wrinkle that can entertain kids who’ve become jaded with normal spinners. This spinner comes complete with a triangular carrying case and extra battery.
The gold standard of fidget spinners, Torqbar is one of the early models that helped fuel the craze. It was designed by an IT guy in Seattle and is made using a special computer-controlled mill; it’s available in heavy brass, aluminum, copper, or titanium. Its price means it’s a better fit for adults than for kids. Torqbars start around $150 (though there seem to be a lot of discounts available) and top out at $440. That is not a misprint ⏤ hundreds of dollars for a toy that does nothing but spin. Still, if you’ve got some cash to burn and want the best of the best, this is the spinner to get. There’s also a few different leather cases on Torqbar’s website for protection in transit.