Looking for the best fidget spinner bearings? Check out our guide to the best bearings and how to make your spinner spin the longest.
Fidget spinners have become nothing short of a phenomenon. They have single handed caused glee for skateboard bearing manufacturers — who now automagically create fidget spinner bearings too — and kickstarted a boom in bedroom businesses and schoolyard entrepreneurialism.
But all the zillions of fidget 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.
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 fidget spinners these small lumps of metal also serve as fidget 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 fidget 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 fidget 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 fidget 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 fidget spinners a-spinnin’.
For the most part, 608 is the “size” used for fidget spinner bearings. The actual dimensions of a 608 bearing is 22mm total diameter, 8mm bore and 7mm width. The vast majority of plastic fidget spinners out there to buy — or 3D print yourself — accommodate 608 fidget 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 fidget 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 fidget 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.
So we’ve established that the vast majority of fidget 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 fidget spinnersphere wide open?
It’s simple, and dull — but effective. All you need is an adapter.
In essence, a fidget 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 fidget spinner, and you’re good to go.
Interestingly, considering the huge demand for fidget 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).
For All3DP, the fidget spinner craze started with 3D printing. We’ve covered the styles and means to 3D print your own from the get go, and this culminated recently in a collaboration with Berlin-based company BigRep. Together we created quite possibly the world’s biggest fidget spinner bearing (and spinner itself), which was printed in one go on a BigRep One 3D printer.
It’s big, orange, and really quite fascinating. You can read the full story here.
Your average fidget spinner bearings come in three variations: all-metal, hybrid and full-ceramic.
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 fidget spinner bearings, nor ideal for long spins. To get the most from all-metal fidget 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.
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 fidget spinner bearings since it will never be under such extreme conditions to matter.
However for fidget 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.
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 fidget 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 fidget 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.
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 fidget 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.
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.
Here are some of the top rated and top selling fidget spinner bearings (of the two sizes and three types mentioned above) at Amazon:
On paper, this should perform the best of all the fidget spinner bearings we’ve listed. It’s hybrid ceramic, which should mean long spins that get longer with use, plus it’s a teeny tiny R188, putting more mass outside the spinner center.
Type: Hybrid ceramic
Of all the fidget spinner bearings we’ve covered, VXB’s appear most frequently on the list, so they must be doing something right. This design is double-shielded (signified by the ZZ in the name).
Specifically marketed for fidget spinners, this diddy bearing is an all-metal design that is used in nousts’ SPIN ME Copper Fidget Spinner.
Claimed to offer up to 5-minute long spins, this fidget spinner bearing could be one of the best. Constructed from stainless steel, it comes with a steel cap for friction free spinning, too.
The skaters’ favorite, and fast becoming a go-to for fidget spinner aficionados. They come lubed, but strip that away and this all-metal fidget spinner bearing should achieve long spin times.
This all-metal bearing makes use of durable carbon steel. Double-shielded (both sides), it also comes pre-lubed, so break out the rubbing alcohol to maximize its potential.
Another popular all-metal bearing, these Yellow Jackets feature a steel race and chromed steel ball-bearings. As with most all-metal bearings, they are pre-lubricated.
In line with the “more ceramic = higher price” sliding scale, these hybrid bearings from NEAL are on the pricey side. But, for the dollars dropped you get a tin of 8 with silicon nitride ball-bearings.
Type of fidget spinner bearing: Hybrid ceramic
A bit on the pricey side (though you get 8 in a pack), these hybrid bearings from popular manufacturer Bones Bearings use Coorstek manufactured “Cerbec” silicon nitride ball-bearings. They’ll require de-lubing for silky long spins.
Type of fidget spinner bearing: Hybrid ceramic
On the user-friendly end of the scale, VXB’s full ceramic is packaged as a single, lonesome bearing. Which is perfect for the center-only requirements of a fidget spinner bearing. No lubrication, and therefore, no fuss.
Type of fidget spinner bearing: Full ceramic
Amphetamine claim high-precision tooling on these zirconium dioxide bearings. The Ceramix Silver bearings are also oil-free — another example of the out-of-the-box convenience of full-ceramic fidget spinner bearings.
Type of fidget spinner bearing: Full ceramic
A handy four-bearing set that includes three basic steel bearings — for use as counterweights — plus one super smooth ceramic fidget spinner bearing for use in the center. There’s the option to splurge on vibrant colors to match your spinner, too.
Type: Ceramic (plus a few all-metals for weight)
A simple, no frills but super spinning 10 pack of ceramic fidget spinner bearings. Unlike bearings for skateboarding that people then use in spinners, these silicon nitride ball-bearings are lubrication free.
License: The text of "Best Fidget Spinner Bearings: What to Know & Which to Buy" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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