In the 90s, there were a few toy and oddity trends that, when looked back upon, actually fit into the realm of everyday carry. Sure, these items were not necessarily going to help you start a fire in a survival situation or even assist you with tightening the screws on your bike like a keychain multitool might, but the fact remains that they were pocketable items that people would carry with them literally every day. We’re talking yo-yos, Tech Decks, hacky sacks, Tamogatchis, etc. None of them were necessarily game changers in any real way, but they were all fun little pieces of gear that would help get us through the boredom of the day.
While it might be because we were kids back then and, as such, more tuned into these seemingly trivial things, we haven’t seen a trend like that emerge in quite some time. That’s not to say that there aren’t incredibly popular trinkets out there; it’s just that none have quite stricken us as cleverly unique, interesting, and age-defying. Now that we’re older, it takes far more social impact for what can be called a toy trend to catch our eye. But, there are new players in the space that have launched well beyond the high bar we’ve set. In fact, you may have already heard of them; they’re called fidget spinners.
The Science of Fidgeting
There have been some recent studies that connect idle fidgeting to better focus, especially with people who suffer from disorders like ADHD. Apparently, if you keep your hand or hands busy with a small toy or oddity, it can help keep your brain more tuned into the task at hand. The trick to it is this: giving your body something to do that is satisfying in and of itself allows your brain to better focus, retain information, and stay productive. And, truth be told, it’s a habit that people have unknowingly developed for centuries. Have you ever sat next to someone at school or the office who can’t seem to stop clicking their pen or tapping their foot? Well, then you’ve seen this practice in motion already. Even “nervous” behaviors like biting one’s nails can, in some cases, be traced to similar triggers and habits. And while that might seem like a lot of psychobabble mumbo jumbo, the studies that focus on these habits have gotten some very real and very big coverage – like in the Atlantic, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and more.
And it’s not just big publications that are giving these studies coverage. The examinations themselves are being conducted by some of the top minds in the science and medicinal worlds and are fairly wide-ranging both in the number of people involved and the volume of data developed. In fact, one of the cases that showed the benefits of fidgeting actually included data from 14,000 participants across a wide range of ages, careers, social standings, and geographical locales. And while that might not convince you (or any number of annoyed skeptics) beyond a shadow of a doubt, those numbers are hard to ignore. So, even though the results are technically mixed and/or inconclusive at the present moment, there’s no denying that there’s some clout behind the research. Which means that there might actually be something to this fidgeting-as-a-means-of-focusing.
The History of Fidget Spinners
Though it may seem like a new trend, fidget spinners actually date back to the early ’90s when a woman by the name of Catherine Hettinger, who suffered from a debilitating physical ailment, invented a toy for her daughter that would promote peace and calmness.
What Are Fidget Spinners?
As you may or may not be aware, this research has coincided with a recent boom in what’s being called ‘fidget toys’ or ‘fidget devices.’ They range from simple non-functional push-buttons to really cool multi-part gizmos – like the Fidget Cube. And while this isn’t the first time such things have gone to market (stress balls have been around for decades), the fidget toy genre has definitely taken on a life of its own. The king of all of these devices, in regards to sheer popularity, is the fidget spinner. Structurally, they all start in the same place: a centralized bearing (like the kind you might find in a skateboard wheel) with some kind of larger body – usually made of plastic or metal – that rotates around it. For the most part, that’s all there is to it. These devices do one thing and one thing only: spin. But, they still manage to be inexplicably both mesmerizing and addictive, especially when they are made well. And that’s what we’ve got here – a collection of the 10 best fidget spinners for EDC out there right now.
Made from injection-molded ABS plastic, this triple spinner promises spin times of over three minutes. And, though it’s name suggests otherwise, it actually hosts four different bearings – all of which removable and replaceable – one lightweight one in the center and the three other weighted varieties in each of the arms (for more inertial spin). And while the spinning bearings are certainly the highlight of the show (and require no oil or maintenance for continued operation), we’re quite fond of the material out of which it is made because, despite its relatively low cost, it is more impact and shatter resistant than competitors’ 3D printed offerings.
Kroma Fidget Spinner
Though very similar in appearance to the Holishouse Tri-Spinner, this one gets points for its sleeker facade. With a diameter of just over 2 3/4 inches, this fidget toy houses four high quality ceramic ball bearings for superb spin times that will help you stay focused, stay entertained, and stay spinning for hours on end. The Kroma fidget spinner is also made from an impact-resistant plastic that will keep it protected from minor falls and drops, but keeps it lightweight enough that having it as a part of your EDC gear won’t seem like an imposition at all. It’s one downside: only the center bearing is removable and replaceable. Still, for the price, it’s hard to beat what this fidget toy offers.
Gorilla Spinners Fidget Toy
Besides offering a unique format with a central ball bearing and six captured spinning metal marbles, the Gorilla Spinners Fidget Toy also has the added bonus of being handmade and quality tested right here in the USA. The central stainless steel-capped spinner is a R188 steel bearing – better than a 608 ceramic in both speed and duration of spins – which is guaranteed to spin for 120 seconds minimum. And on top of all that, it’s also perfectly centrally balanced – making it ideal for one-handed fidgeting or even trying to pull off spinning tricks. Once you’re done, you can just stash your Gorilla Spinner back inside its protective aluminum tin until it’s time to spin again.
BOKATE Crusader EDC Spinner
The Crusader benefits from a much slimmer profile, due to its “bar’ style design (as opposed to the more common tri-spinners on the market). What this means is that, while you still get the same spinning and fidgeting satisfaction from its central high performance ball bearing, you can also more easily stash it in your pocket thanks to the fact that it takes up less space than its larger counterparts. This is also the first one on our list that is made entirely made of metal (manufactured via SLA laser industrial molding technology), which means its also a bit more impact and shock resistant than some of its cheaper competition. Add this piece of gear to your EDC and you can fidget whenever the whim strikes you.
Infinity Fidget Spinner Pro i5
While bearing the same tri-tip format as other spinners on this list, the Infinity trades out the extra ball bearings in favor of a much more sleek and pleasing design. And while it lacks the potential to spin on any one of its arms, it has one of the best central bearings commercially available – an R188 – which boasts the possibility for incredibly smooth spins at up to five minutes at a time. The Infinity Pro i5 is also made from durable gold-finished solid brass, making it durable, long-lasting, and giving it the potential to acquire a gorgeous patina over time.
Aventador Fidget Spinner
The folks at Stealth Fidget Spinners are so confident in and proud of their Aventador, that they advertise it as the fidget spinner that James Bond would own. And, judging by it’s solid construction and high quality materials, they might actually be right. Made from black finished electroplated brass, this beefy fidget toy has a width of just over 2.5 inches and a total weight of 3.5 ounces – making it one of the largest offerings on our list. Still, the R188 bearing housed in the central hub allows for spin times of between 4 to 7 minutes at a time. The Aventador is also machined and built so precisely, that even when changing the spin axis, it offers no flutter whatsoever.
TEC Accessories Orbiter
While it certainly still falls within the category of “fidget spinner,” this offering from TEC Accessories is certainly the most unique in both function and form on our list. And that’s because, rather than building a body that spins around a ball bearing, this one uses a neodymium magnetized central hub – machined from lightweight and supremely tough grade 5 titanium – and a no-friction stainless steel traction ball that literally orbits around it. Weighing in at less than 2 ounces and offering functionality as both a fidget device and spinning top, this pocket-friendly EDC fidget toy is the absolute best option for anyone that wants to benefit from the science of fidgeting, but won’t be caught dead with a traditional spinner.
Radioactive Isotope .38 Spinner
Named both for its similarity in appearance to the classic ionizing radiation trefoil warning symbol and the cubic inches of material utilized in the main body of the spinner, this offering was precision CNC milled from aluminum right here in the United States. It also features a more durable powdercoat finish and is fitted with a high quality precision central ceramic bearing that will remain corrosion and rust resistant no matter how many times you spin it. And, while this one obviously falls into the realm of tri-spinners, it benefits from a much slimmer silhouette, making it both more pocket friendly and better for smaller hands – if you were thinking about getting it as a gift for either your kids or spouse. Whether you need to kill time while waiting in line at the DMV or you just want something to keep your hands busy while hanging out around the campfire, this small fidgeter will get the job done.
MD Engineering Wave3 Torqbar
Gorgeous and minimalist in its design, MD Engineering’s Torqbar, this fidget spinner is CNC milled from a piece of solid C360 brass. And while it can come in your choice of machine-finished, bead-blasted, or tumbled – and will, thusly, acquire a beautiful patina over time – the brand also offers both Kraken and Termite forced chemical patinas, so you can have a truly unique and worn finish on your fidget spinner right out of the box. Keep in mind, however, that these forced patinas – while incredibly beautiful – will have the potential to wear off through use and can discolor your skin. Still, this is one of the most well-balanced, satisfying, and brilliantly manufactured fidget spinner offerings on the market and anyone would be lucky to get their hands on one.
Vorso Polished Flat Top V1
With its unique shape and contrasting bearing and body, the Polished Flat Top V1 from Vorso isn’t just a satisfying pocket friendly everyday carry toy – it’s a gorgeous design piece. At 9 millimeters thick, each one features a mirror polished finish on the body and grips with machine-finished accents. And, at its core, this spinner revolves around a ceramic hybrid 608 bearing, which offers incredibly quick and smooth spins. As an added bonus, every single one of these fidget toys comes with a custom machined screwdriver – so you can perform general maintenance or just tighten it up – and a serialized card of authenticity – because an imitation of this near-perfect spinner just won’t do.
20 Desktop Essentials
Now that you’ve got a fidget spinner to keep you focused on the job, it’s time to spruce up the rest of your workspace with these 20 desktop essentials.