While you can buy the most expensive, coolest, unique fidget spinner you can find online, you won’t impress anyone if it only spins for a few seconds. I mean, yeah sure it looks cool but let’s face it, there’s nothing more satisfying than something that spins for several minutes. In this guide I will cover the best bearings for fidget spinners, using any of these will make it your toy spinner better, that’s a guarantee.
I will also go over what you can do with your bearings to improve their speed and how to maintain them properly. If you’re even ridden a skateboard, you know how important clean bearings are.
Best Bearings For Your Fidget Spinner
The history behind this smart invention
Believe it or not but a ball bearing is actually not a new invention, they’ve existed for centuries. Yes, even the the ancient Greeks ball bearings, even though they look a lot different back then. We can never know for sure who was the first design the concept, we do know who filed for the first patent though. His name Philip Vaughan, a Welsh ironmaster and inventor, he described that placing an iron ball between a wheel and an axle would greatly reduce friction. Without him, we wouldn’t have these awesome toys.
How a ball bearing works
The concept behind a ball bearing is rather simple, I won’t cover it too deeply, if you’re interested in that check out the wikipedia page. The gist of it all is that you have a set of balls, surrounded by an inner and outer shell. Inside each shell you’ll find a small groove that ensures the bearing won’t just fall out. Since every part can move freely, there’s a minimal amount of friction. The lower the friction, the longer spin times you’ll get. Struggling from slow bearings? Keep reading as I’ll go through some tips and trick to ensure the best spin times.
Ceramic vs steel
There are mainly two types of ball bearings you can buy, ceramic ones and stainless steel ones. If you care about durability and lengthy spin times, a ceramic ball bearing is the way to go. But wouldn’t everyone be using ceramics if they are the best? Yes, they would… However there’s a slight disadvantages to these bearings and that’s their price. To get a high quality set of ceramics, you’re looking at a cost of $50 or so.Most popular being the Bones one, costing just over $60.
They spin better because the ceramic material produces a lot less friction compared to metal on metal. However, most ceramics bearings you’ll find online aren’t actually fully ceramic, but rather a hybrid. They keep the outer shells in metal and replaces the steel balls with ceramic ones.
Steel bearings on the other hand are much cheaper and better if you’re on a budget. They can still spin for up to 5 minutes with some tweaking, you also won’t break the bank if you accidentally drop them into a pile of dirt. Just buy a replacement and you’re good to go.
As a last piece of advice, do not buy bearings that have metal shields on them as these are much harder to remove than regular plastic shields.
How to reduce friction and get better spin times
Like I mentioned above, they key to having the longest spinning toy is to reduce friction as much as possible. People all over the world have done various of tests regarding this subject:
If you follow these steps you will most likely increase the spin time, if not, your bearing is probably damaged. First of all, those little colorful plastic shields you see in most bearings, they’re no good so pop them off immediately. They rub against balls just a tiny bit, which could reduce spin time by as much as 5 seconds.
Remove the great and dirt
That was the easy part, now comes the cleaning. In order to get started, you’ll need the following ingredients (all can be bought from Amazon cheaply):
- Rubbing alcohol, acetone, mineral spirits or citrus cleaner
Start by spraying the balls with some WD40, ensure that the balls get totally covered with the liquid. Let it sit for a minute or two and see if it made any difference in spin time. The WD40 has two roles, it acts as a lubricant but also removes it (which is what we want). Chances are you will not get any major improvements after the WD40, so head over to the next step.
Ideally, we don’t really want a lubricant on the bearings as this creates drag and friction. To remove the WD40 we take some paint thinner, this could be rubbing alcohol, acetone, mineral spirits or even citrus cleaner. Personally I’ve found best results with paint thinner so I recommend you do the same, just make sure you use it in a well ventilated area. Fill a small bowl with some thinner and place your bearing inside, make sure to spin your bearings around to ensure the liquid gets to all the grease.
Afterwards you should rinse them off with some hot water. Just make sure to dry them properly, otherwise the balls will eventually rust.
Last but not least, weight matters
Some fidgeteers have also reported that using a heavier hand spinner will increase the spin time. One user reported he went from 10 seconds to 30 seconds by simply adding heavier or more nuts to his spinner.