Choosing your First Spinning Wheel

Spinning Daily recently posted an article by Carol Leonard that discusses what to look for when purchasing your first spinning wheel. I love this article. And I thought it would be helpful for you to see how the SpinOlution product line fits into their thorough Q & A.


Do you have any physical issues that might make a difference? Something as simple as being tall or short might mean that you would prefer a wheel with a higher or lower orifice/flyer.
— Carol Leonard

When Mike Pauly first invented SpinOlution, one of the biggest requests of the spinning industry was for a wheel that was pain-free to spin. Mike used multiple bearing systems in every moving part of the wheels for a "liquid gold" spinning feel. The treadles have a gentle rocking motion - like a glider rocking chair. When you sit at a SpinOlution, you will naturally sit with your legs a little wider apart than at other spinning wheels, which reduces muscle tension.

SpinOlution wheels are designed to be ergonomic production machines. I have spent many 8-hour days at my wheels during my high-production season. For 10 years I was on a different brand of wheel. I am familiar with the aches and pains of sitting at a wheel that is not ergonomic. But I have never felt aches or pain after spinning 8 hours on a SpinOlution. 

Now to the second point of Carol's first question. Orifice height. Personally, I find that orifice height and chair height are like peas and carrots. In order for your orifice height to feel comfortable, you also need to be in an appropriate spinning chair. For wheels with a lower orifice, a lower chair solves the issue. I know many spinners who sit in camping chairs while spinning on their SpinOlution Pollywog and love it. Many spinners love sitting on a cushy couch when spinning on a SpinOlution Hopper. So keep that in mind when you test drive. If an orifice feels too high or low, ask if there is another chair for you to sit in and try again. 

SpinOlution Wheel Orifice Heights

  • Pollywog Basic - 19.25 inches
  • Pollywog + Accelerator - 25 inches 
  • MACH III - 27 inches
  • Echo - 25 inches
  • Hopper - 21 inches
  • King Bee - 26.5 inches
  • Queen Bee - 26.5 inches
  • Worker Bee - 26.5 inches
  • Firefly - VARIES. Since you can kickstand the wheel on the floor, or place it on a table, or folding chair - you decide what height the orifice is at for spinning. 

How portable do you want your wheel to be? This is one of the big questions these days, as so many of us travel to workshops and shows.
— Carol Leonard

Absolutely. Portability is one of the biggest requests that the market had when Mike started SpinOlution. So here's a basic run-down of each wheel's portability. 

Ruru Mori of Japan test driving the Hopper Spinning Wheel. Photo by Ashley Martineau. 

Ruru Mori of Japan test driving the Hopper Spinning Wheel. Photo by Ashley Martineau. 

  • Pollywog - 100% Portable @ 8-9 pounds. Carry the wheel by the lazy kate "handle" and take it anywhere. You can also get a craft supply rolling cart to pack the wheel in and roll it around wherever you're going. 
  • Firefly - 100% Portable @ 13-14 pounds. Carry the wheel by the carrying handle. Just make sure your head is screwed securely into the base. This is my preferred wheel for travel because it is so compact. It also fits beautifully in a craft supply rolling cart. 
  • Queen Bee - 100% Portable @ 13-14 pounds + FOLDABLE. This wheel fits in a carry on luggage case and many spinners take it with them on flights so they can spin in the airport on layovers. If portability is determined by TSA - then the Queen Bee is one of the most portable wheels on the market. There is a handle in the back you can carry it with after it's folded. 
  • King Bee - 100% Portable @ 13-14 pounds + FOLDABLE. This wheel fits in a carry on luggage case and many spinners take it with them on flights so they can spin in the airport on layovers. If portability is determined by TSA - then the King Bee is one of the most portable wheels on the market. There is a handle in the back you can carry it with after it's folded. 
  • Worker Bee - TBD
  • Hopper - 90% Portable @ 12-14 pounds. The reason I marked this down to 90% is because it is awkward to carry by the handle. It's the same reason I didn't use one of those carseat baby buckets for when my kids were little. It's a lot of weight to be carried in one hand on one side of your body. It makes my shoulder hurt if I'm carrying it for too long. When I am walking thru a large vending event with the Hopper - I often have to switch which hand is carrying it if I have a long way to walk. This is why I consider it to be "less portable". The shape is just bulkier than the other portable wheels. If you're walking a long distance with it, you'll feel it in your shoulders as you'll need to hold it away from your body to keep it from bumping your side as you walk. 
  • Echo - 90% Portable @ 14-15 pounds. The reason the Echo is less portable than the other wheels above is because the handle is lower down on the neck and requires you to carry it in a specific way which limits hand movement and it's difficult to switch the wheel from hand-to-hand if you're walking a long distance. You'll have to set the wheel down, turn it around, and switch it to the other hand. Whereas with the Firefly you can switch from hand-to-hand while you're walking. It's also a taller wheel, with more mass. If you're walking a long distance with it, you'll feel it in your shoulders as you'll need to hold it away from your body to keep it from bumping your side as you walk. 
  • MACH III - 75% Portable @ 25 pounds. If you purchase the straps & wheels kit for the MACH, you'll be able to roll the wheel behind you like a large piece of luggage. So technically, it is portable. But what would you rather do - roll your biggest suitcase around an event, or roll a carry on? I prefer carry on size for bringing to shows and events. But there are many spinners who adore their MACH and bring it everywhere. Technically it is portable. It's just not my personal first choice. 

Do you want your flyer to be on the left or right of the wheel, or would an upright work better for you?
— Carol Leonard
Lizette Hopkins of SpinGlitz with two customers test driving SpinOlution wheels for the first time. Photo by Ashley Martineau.

Lizette Hopkins of SpinGlitz with two customers test driving SpinOlution wheels for the first time. Photo by Ashley Martineau.

This question doesn't apply to the SpinOlution brand as much because all of our wheels are upright in style. This is because we prioritized portability in our designs (many wheels with left / right flyers are awkward to bring places) as that was more important to our customer base.

I hope this helps you when you're looking into your first wheel to purchase! Look at our Dealer Map to find your local dealer, or check out our SpinOlution Facebook Group and browse thru gently used wheels for sale by other customers if you're shopping on a budget. 

Happy Spinning!

Ashley Martineau