Best Hand Spinner Bearings: Which to Buy and What to Know
Looking for the best hand spinner bearings? Check out our guide to the best bearings and how to make your spinner spin the longest.
hand spinners have become nothing short of a phenomenon. They have single handed caused glee for skateboard bearing manufacturers — who now automagically create hand spinner bearings too — and kickstarted a boom in bedroom businesses and schoolyard entrepreneurialism.
Don’t miss: 48 Best hand spinner / Hand Spinner Toys to Buy or DIY
But all the zillions of hand spinner designs out there in the world aren’t worth a thing if they don’t have a decent center bearing enabling a silky smooth spin. There are many options and considerations and, as ever, many price points.
Luckily, it’s not too complicated.
The Best hand spinner Bearings: What to Know & Which to Buy
A deconstructed metal hand spinner bearing, with shield, inner and outer rings with steel ball bearings between, and plastic cage resting on top. Different size hand spinner bearings
For the most part, 608 is the “size” used for hand spinner bearings. The actual dimensions of a 608 bearing is 22mm total diameter, 8mm bore and 7mm width. The vast majority of plastic hand spinners out there to buy — or 3D print yourself — accommodate 608 hand spinner bearings.
However, there is another size. One that arguably offers a better spin — the R188.
At 12.7mm in diameter and with a bore of 6.35mm, these smaller hand spinner bearings are widely touted as being the best option if long spins are your aim.
The reasoning being that by being smaller in diameter, more mass is available outside the spinning center to contribute to the spin.
Take note though — if you’re planning on assembling your own hand spinner using R188 bearings and adding caps, the width of these smaller bearings can differ.
We’ve encountered some at 4.7mm wide, others at 3.1mm. So take this into account and ensure your cap accommodates these dimensions. Last thing you’d want is a loose fit and a wobbling spinner or a tight fit that grinds.
Different size hand spinner bearings: adapting R188 to fit 608-sized holes
So we’ve established that the vast majority of hand spinners out there use 608 bearings. And that R188s are considered the better choice for long spins. How do we go about smashing those two together to blow the hand spinnersphere wide open?
It’s simple, and dull — but effective. All you need is an adapter.
In essence, a hand spinner bearings adapter (sometimes referred to as a core) is a 608 shaped disc of metal or plastic with a R188 sized hole in the middle. Slot a R188 bearing into the hole, and place the whole thing into your 608 accommodating hand spinner, and you’re good to go.
Interestingly, considering the huge demand for hand spinners, there are very few websites that offer them. You may need to dig around online to find one (or if you have access, design and 3D print your own).
Types of hand spinner bearings
Your average hand spinner bearings come in three variations: all-metal, hybrid and full-ceramic.
A metal hand spinner bearing, with shield removed What is a hand spinner bearing?
Originally created for skateboards, inline skates and similar wheeled hobbies, bearings are the small (often) metal rings that conect the wheel and axle. But thanks to the breakaway success of hand spinners these small lumps of metal also serve as hand spinner bearings.
A bearing consists of a larger and smaller ring, and sandwiched between these are a bunch of ball-bearings. These ball-bearings lie within a groove (known as the racer), and are held at regular intervals around the ring by a separator (or “cage”).
All of the above-mentioned parts are universal. Some differentiation lies in the type of shielding (or lack thereof) on the bearing.
Open hand spinner bearings have no shielding, meaning the ball-bearings within are completely exposed. This is both good and bad. Good because there’s nothing potentially in contact with the moving parts causing friction and slowing things down. And bad because it leaves the ball-bearings exposed to dirt, grit or other spin obstructing debris.
Shielded bearings feature just that — a shield. Often made from rubber, this protects the inside of the bearing from dirt. But handily, can be removed. Some hand spinner bearings feature non-removable shields. These can be identified by the “ZZ” in their description or name.
Non-removable shields are non-contact, but completely enclose the ball-bearings within. Ideal for no-maintenance operation — since you’ll never get it clogged with dirt — the compromise is that these are probably all-metal and greased, which means you cannot access the ball-bearings to strip it away and improve your spins.
Inside all hand spinner bearings, the ball-bearings are free to roll along the race track between the rings, meaning these rings can smoothly spin independently from each other. This action is what gets a skateboard rolling, and our hand spinners a-spinnin’.
Washing the lubricant from an all-metal bearing in acetone.
If you’ve just bought a lubricated bearing and want to strip away the grease, the process is simple. All you need is a strong solvent of some kind — this could be something as household as rubbing alcohol.
Acetone from a hardware store would do the trick but, as with any solvent and chemical, it’s best to take appropriate caution. Wear protective gear and avoid making contact with your skin.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that some solvents can melt plastics parts — such as your bearing’s cage — so disassemble your bearing as necessary before dipping in the solvent. That, or check your solvents chemical properties and compatibility with plastics.
Firstly, remove the shield if the bearing has one. You can use a screwdriver or similar pointy object to pry it off.
Next, submerge the de-shielded bearing in your solvent and give it a bit of a wash, working the solvent into and around the ball-bearings. Give it a few spins to be sure.
To dry the bearing after these cleaning steps, remove it from the solvent which — by its very nature — will evaporate rapidly with little effort on your part. Running the air from a hairdryer over the bearing a few times should be enough to be sure any liquid inside is completely gone.
Re-shield (and re-cage, if removed) if it had one that you’d like to keep, and enjoy oil-free long spin times.
For those with all-metal and hybrid hand spinner bearings, it’s possible rust will form over time on the metal parts. A long soak in household vinegar should strip it away. After this, go through the oil-removing steps above to prep the now rust-free bearing for your spinner again.
Which hand spinner bearing is right for me?
Each of the three types have their pros and cons. It’s just a case of applying those to your situation.
On a tight budget and unfussy about the longest spin time? All-metal with the oil stripped away sounds like the best bet. Money no object? Drop some dollars on a full ceramic for instant minutes-long spins. Looking for a bearing to nurture into a lean mean spinning machine? Go hybrid, de-lubricate it and break it in.
The best hand spinner bearings at Amazon
Here are some of the top rated and top selling hand spinner bearings (of the two sizes and three types mentioned above) at Amazon:
Best hand spinner Bearings #1: Infinite Spin R188 Hybrid Ceramic Bearing
Three different styles of hand spinner bearings: Left, all-metal; middle, hybrid; right, full ceramic Types of hand spinner bearings: All-metal
All-metal bearings — typically produced from various flavors of steel such as high-carbon, stainless and chrome steel — means both the inner and outer rings plus ball-bearings are constructed from the metal.
For the most part these are produced by manufacturers with the intent of being fitted to a ‘board or similar sports good. To work well in that scenario and the loads it puts the bearings under, they require grease, and so come packaged pre-greased.
This is not required for hand spinner bearings, nor ideal for long spins. To get the most from all-metal hand spinner bearings, you’ll need to strip away the grease (more on this below).
Most all-metal bearings won’t offer excellent spins out-of-the-box but are consistently the cheapest. With a little aftercare, it is possible to get all-metal bearings spinning for a long time.
Can easily be prepared to spin longer
Shortest spin times
Can rust when exposed to moisture
Types of hand spinner bearings: Hybrid
Hybrid, or hybrid-ceramic as they are commonly known, differ from all-metal bearings. Instead of metal ball-bearings, hybrids use ceramic balls.
The material advantages of ceramic are that it is highly heat and chemical- resistant. You could argue that these are of little benefit to hand spinner bearings since it will never be under such extreme conditions to matter.
However for hand spinners, the advantage of hybrid bearings comes in the potential spin they offer. They benefit from an exaggerated “break-in”, meaning the longer you use them the better the ceramic ball-bearings inside will burnish the metal racer and create their own characteristically worn path.
Like with all-metal bearings, hybrid bearings often come pre-greased, so will require cleaning for better spin times.
Long spin time
Gets better with use
Types of hand spinner bearings: Full Ceramic
As you can guess from their name, full ceramic bearings are just that — full of ceramic. The outer and inner rings, plus ball-bearings themselves are made from any combination of a handful of ceramic compositions.
You will commonly see zirconium dioxide and silicon nitride used in full-ceramic bearings. You can easily distinguish between the two: zirconium dioxide is white, silicon nitride is black.
But what advantages do ceramic hand spinner bearings offer? Well, firstly they’ll relieve you of your money more effectively. Full-ceramic bearings are expensive in comparison to steel or hybrids.
For your cash though, ceramic hand spinner bearings are capable of faster and longer spins out of the box. They are more likely to come without lubrication too (though not always), so there’s the benefit of convenience.
Longest out-of-the-box spin time
In our opinion – looks the best
Most are open design — picks up dirt and grit easily
hand spinner Bearing Maintenance
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