All about fidget toys – an in-depth guide

fidget toys

A word before you start reading: please consider this post a work in progress. I initially wrote it following my own research and opinions, but I’m dedicated to updating it to reflect the community’s views. If I made a mistake and misinterpreted your favorite hobby/toy, please let me know in the comments!

The purpose of this post is to familiarize yourself with fidget toys, so I wrote a few words about the many types and categories of fidget toys that you can find right now. Hopefully, by the time you reach the other end of this page you will have gained a general overview of this emerging industry. I realize going into this that I’m not going to be able to list all fidget toys – or even all the types of fidget toys you can buy – but if you know of one that I missed, just drop a comment and I’ll be quick to investigate. That being said, enjoy this guide!

Before I start, let me tell you about what you’re going to read: first off, I grouped each fidget toy into a category wherever this could be done. This doesn’t mean that all the toys in a category are alike, there’s incredible diversity from one model to another, but to showcase that diversity I would literally have to list all the products I ever came across, and that would take hours to read.

Second, you’ll see that I score each category of spinners in three aspects: Price, Fidgetness and Repeatability. The score you see there is out of 5 points, and it’s not meant to describe any single product, but the whole category. Here’s what each of these mean:

Price – self explanatory, this refers to the price of a product type. The higher the Price score, the higher the product type’s average price.
Fidgetness – in my mind, a fidget toy can be used during class or during a meeting, and while providing stress relief it shouldn’t take your focus away from what you’re doing. A product type will score high here if it achieves this.
Portability – how easy is it to carry this product type around?  High scores mean it’s so easy you forget about it, low scores mean you need extra special care when you’re the move.
Repeatability – I often get bored of fidget after playing around with them for a while. The ones that stand the test of time will score high here, while one hit wonders will score low.

Thanks for sticking with me for this introduction – I won’t delay it any further, so here is a huge list of fidget toys:

Spinners

In my most recent post I launched EDC Toys’ first contest, in which I asked you to name your favorite EDC Toys, in an effort to have the content here match your preferences. Before posting that article I had a feeling that spinners would be the most popular, but I didn’t imagine they’d be so much more popular than anything else. It’s only natural, then, that we start off our list with fidget spinners.

Price: 7/10
Fidgetness: 9/10
Portability: 9/10
Repeatability: 8/10

The spinners score high-ish in price, because while you can find some for just a couple of bucks, a great spinner (like the ones you’ll see featured just below these paragraphs) will set you back anywhere from $50 to $400. They score high in everything else, too – you can easily carry your spinner around with you, and spinning it for the first time is just as good as the thousandth time. Since you can play with most spinners without even looking at them, they score high in Fidgetness too.

Featured spinners

First up, the Vorso Flat Top. This ceramic model will set you back £160.00 (around $200), but cheaper models are available for £120.00 ($150).

vorso spinner edc fidget toys

The Rotablade Stubby is a cheap, yet quality spinner sold by Rotablade for £37.00 (around $50):

stubby fidget toys

Spinetic spinners are also a popular option for spinner fans, and this Spinetic Spinners X model goes for just $34.99. It’s out of stock now, as well as every other time I looked at the listing. Do your research now, and if you see it in stock don’t hesitate too long:

spinetic x fidget toys

WeFidget spinners (much like all WeFidget toys) are also quite popular, and from user reviews they’re also made with quality in mind. This one is listed at $150, but currently on sale for just $50:

Sale
WeFidget's Premium Metal Fidget Spinners, EDC Spinners, Table Top Design, Relieve your Stress, Anxiety, ADHD, and Boredom! (Copper)
  • Table Top Functionality! We listened to our customers and developed a design that allows for Table top spinning.
  • Premium ball bearings for smoother and longer spin duration.
  • Designed by Fidgeters for Fidgeters! We made sure that our EDC Spinner felt satisfying, as well as provide a smooth functional spin. Giving you the satisfaction you're looking for in a Fidget EDC Spinner! Relieve your Stress, Anxiety, ADHD, Autism. Helps you stay focused!
  • Removable Finger Buttons Included for all Fidget Spinners. (Will vary depending on the model you purchase). Designed for finger comfort and optimal spinning.
  • 100% Satisfaction GUARANTEED! If you're not 100% happy with the fidget toy, let us know! We will do everything in our power to fix the issue.

 

Spin tops

I’d have included spin tops in the Spinners category, but I think they’re just different enough to deserve their own place in the sun. After all, everyone has owned or played with a spin top at one point in their lives.

Price: 4/10
Fidgetness: 6/10
Portability: 8/10
Repeatability: 9/10

Spin tops are a lot like spinners, with a couple of notable exceptions: they’re generally cheaper, or at least the industry that hand-crafts them isn’t as wide spread, so we’re not seeing as many unique products. They’re harder to play with, as they need visual contact most of the time. They’re relatively easy to carry around, and have high repeatability – so you won’t get easily bored of them.

Featured spin tops

Foreverspin spin tops are a fan favorite, and one I want to start with. I made my case that they’re generally cheaper than spinners, so here’s proof: a stainless steel spin top will set you back no more than $38, and there’s a wide variety of spin tops made from varying materials. Top notch quality, right here:

foreverspin fidget toys

Other spinners can be ordered online all over the internet. The vary in quality and shape, but their main purpose remains the same. Here are a couple other spin tops I found:

KINGZER Top Totem Accurate Cobb Spinning Top Silver
  • It is perfect balanced spinning top with high quality material and excellent processing
  • You will get 1pc x Spinning Top Totem, 1pc x Dice and 1pc x Embroidered KINGZER Brand Carrying bag
  • It is your Smart Choice with Real Tops
  • Buy from HappyShopping1 with KINGZER brand, you will get happy and keep always number one
  • Fast delivery from Amazon warehouse, Avoid the cheap and low quality junk
Sale
Originial TEDCO Gyroscope Twin Pak
  • Original TEDCO Gyroscope
  • Recommended Age 6 thru adult
  • Toy
  • Tedco
Sale
ForeverSpin Titanium Spinning Top - World Famous Spinning Tops
  • TIMELESS ART - Your spinning top will forever remain a timeless, elegant piece of art that will be loved by you and your children's children
  • PRECISION-MACHINED - Every top is checked for perfection. Tops are precision-machined using only the purest metals and alloys from around the world. Only the finest tops receive the ForeverSpinTM seal
  • BOOST CREATIVITY & FOCUS - According to recent studies, fiddling with items at your desk can aid in thought process and improve productivity!
  • CHALLENGE YOURSELF - We all love to challenge ourselves. Beat your own spin times or, better yet, compete with your friends for pizza or drinks
  • THE PERFECT SIZE - Dimensions expertly calculated to allow for minimal friction and stress on the tops' tips while still allowing handling with hands of all sizes. 1.4 tall" x 1.125" diameter. 0.6oz.

 

Rubik’s cubes

Everyone knows Rubik’s cubes! The first time I played around with one was a little over 20 years ago, and the first time I solved one was also… last year. But my personal prowess with these cubes aside, they’re awesome fidget toys and I’ve rarely left on a trip without one.

Price: 3/10
Fidgetness: 6/10
Portability: 6/10
Repeatability: 10/10

Price-wise, Rubik’s cubes are awesome! The best of them doesn’t come close to putting a hole in your wallet, so they score great for Price. One drawback is that you can’t absentmindedly fidget with them during a meeting, unless you’re that good. They’re relatively easy to carry around, although you can’t just throw one in your pocket. As for repeatability, I’ve known people who have been solving Rubik’s cubes for decades, and they’re still going strong.

Featured Rubik’s Cubes

I’ve got a tiny collection of Rubik’s cubes at home, and I’m always looking to try a new one, as long as the missus doesn’t complain about it. Here are a couple I saved in my research these past few days:

Sale
YJ Yulong Smooth Stickerless Speed Cube Puzzle, 56mm
  • Fast turning and light cube
  • Very smooth out of the box
  • Great corner cutting and fast speed
  • Tension adjustable, difficult to pop, good control of the cube
  • New product of YJ Moyu series product on December,2013
Sale
MoYu MOLPB YJ Lingpo 2 X 2 Speed Cube Puzzle Smooth Black Puzzle
  • Cube Size: 50mm50mm50mm
  • Package Size: 5.4cm5.4cm5.4cm
  • Cube net weight: 72G
  • Designed for speed solving
  • Toy
Sale
MoYu YJ Aolong 3 x 3 x 3 Black Speed Cube Puzzle
  • YJ Moyu Aolong 3x3x3 Speed Cube Puzzle . Black
  • One of the most important 3x3 speed cube of MoYu brand .Five inner circles design
  • Cube Size: 57 x 57 x 57 mm
  • Toy
  • Dayan Cube

Fidget cube

And now for the one-man-show category, the Fidget Cube!

original fidget cube

Price: 6/10
Fidgetness: 10/10
Portability: 8/10
Repeatability: 9/10

An all-around awesome toy, the Fidget Cube revolutionized this industry and for many – myself included- it was the first product they’ve seen that was deliberately aimed at fidgeters. Its official website is still the Fidget Cube Kickstarter page, where you can place a pre-order right now. Fair warning though, Antsy Labs promise a lot and deliver… not quite a lot. I’ve been a backer since September, expecting the shipment since December, and as of writing this (February 9th) the latest shipping date I received via email has been exceeded – so don’t get your hopes up, chances are you’ll be waiting for the official Cube for a while, at least until manufacturers get their act together.

Until then, there are tons of clones to choose from! I put together a list of the best 63 Fidget Cube clones – and what they lack in quality (which they do, compared to the real deal), they make up in availability. Which they have, unlike the original. Here are just a few of the clones that caught my eye:

Pens

Let’s face it, the first fidget toy we all had was a pen. During my decades as a student, I’ve had one fidget toy with me at all times: a simple pen. I think I took apart pens and put them back together thousands of times, mostly with all their parts intact. Mostly.

Price: 1/10
Fidgetness: 9/10
Portability: 10/10
Repeatability: 5/10

I think this is the cheapest category yet, because one fidget pen costs about as much as a… cheap pen. Now, you can fidget with a thousand-dollar hand crafted pen, if you want to, but I won’t take those into account in the Price calculation for this post. Pens score very high in Portability, because you can always have one on you, but since you relatively quickly get bored of clicking your pen (you, or most likely someone around you tired of your clicking), Repeatability isn’t that high. Fidgetness is really high because we all know hoooow satisfying it is to click and dismantle your pen.

Featured pens

I’m only going to feature two products here: the past and present, and the future. First, the past and present – a simple pen that everyone owned at one point or another, the Pilot G2.

Pilot G2 Retractable Premium Gel Ink Roller Ball Pens, Bold Point, 4-Pack, Blue Ink (31084)
  • G2 writes longer than the average of the top branded gel ink pens.**
  • **Independent third party ISO testing. Average of G2 write out (all point sizes) compared to the average of the top branded gel ink pens tested (all point sizes). Data on file with Pilot Corporation of America.
  • Contoured rubber grip for writing comfort
  • Pack of 4 bold point pens with blue ink
  • Dynamic Gel Ink Formula that's smooth writing and smear-proof - Retractable and refillable - Pilot G2 refill model #77290 sold separately

The second is literally a pen made for fidgeting. The Polar Pen is made of… well, just look at it:

polar pen fidget toys

I’m having trouble just getting past this section without ordering it. The Polar Pen is literally covered with magnets that interact with each other in an oh-so-satisfying way. Just visit their site, you’ll see what I mean.

Multi tools / knives

I’ve thought about including this category when talking about fidget toys. In the end, I decided for it because I saw how many of you carry knives, even as your EDC, and from the models I’ve seen, some of these are irresistibly fidgety.

Price: 5/10
Fidgetness: 4/10
Portability: 7/10
Repeatability: 6/10

You can see from these scores that I was stretching it just a bit with this category. But the advantage that these knives and multi-tools have is the fact that they’re always ready for some light fidgeting, but they can sometimes become incredibly helpful – so there’s that.

Featured knives / multi-tools

There’s a whole bunch of knives that are just perfect to mess around with – I chose a couple of the more relevant to showcase here. First off, this knife that I think is just perfect for fidgeters – the Spyderco Dog Tag:

Spyderco C188ALTIP Titanium Dog Tag Folding Knife, Blue/Green, 1.23-Inch
  • Made using the highest quality materials
  • Tested for quality and durability
  • The most trusted name in you cutlery needs

This Kershaw knife is also among those that I’d just love to mess around with:

Kershaw Knives 1660SWBLKX Leek - Black With Stone Wash Clam
  • Speed Safe assisted opening
  • Liner lock design
  • Reversible pocket clip

And who could forget the “classic” multi-tool:

Puzzles

Time now for one of my “I was playing with fidget toys and not even realizing it” stories. A couple of years back I got a cool birthday gift: a pack of a dozen or so small metal objects, each of them a puzzle with different rules and different purposes. Bent pieces of metal that you either had to put together or take apart, and many of them so satisfying to play with. I carried at least four of these tiny puzzles around with me for months, before they were finally misplaced or became too used.

Price: 4/10
Fidgetness: 4/10
Portability: 8/10
Repeatability: 5/10

Most of these puzzles go for just a couple of bucks, but there are some available for more, so they score a bit higher in Price. They’re not made for fidgeting like some of the other products I’ve covered so far, so they score the same for Fidgetness as well. Because they’re easy to carry around they score an 8 out of 10 in Portability, but you’ll inevitably get bored of them sooner or later, so I gave them a generous 5 out of 10 for Repeatability.

Featured puzzles

There are few puzzles that well known by fidgeters to make awesome toys, so I had to go with my gut when choosing the featured puzzles. Rest assured, all of them will keep your hands busy:

Metal Wire Puzzles,IQ Toys Brain Teaser Metal Wire Puzzles (8-Pack) Educational Toy Gift for Kids and Adults
  • Good for creative thinking and improve both your IQ & EQ,anyone can pick it up and play. It looks really nice
  • 8 different shapes; Made of metal.
  • Only for children over 6 years of age to play;Contains small parts, do not put into the mouth;
  • Intelligence game toy,Perfect for kids.
  • if you're just looking for a simple brain teaser to entertain briefly, or a conversation piece, then you'll probably enjoy this.
Sale
Wooden Puzzle Adult Snake Cube Handmade Gifts India
  • Handmade Snake cube Puzzle
  • Two different colors wooden blocks connecting with elastic string
  • Size: 2.5x2.5x2.5 inches
  • Weight: 180 grams
  • Handmade in India
Areaware Cubebot Micro (White)
  • Designed by David Weeks for Areaware
  • Crafted in Beech wood, Cubebot is an eco-friendly plaything
  • Available in 3 sizes: Micro (4.25" tall), Small (6.75" tall), Medium (9.5" tall)
  • A puzzle, action figure, robot and transformer - all in one!
  • Recommended for Ages 3 and up

 

Jewelry / fidget rings

A couple of months ago I got my first fidget spinner – I was so happy about it, I showed it to all my friends. And one group of them is alone in being unimpressed with my fidget toy: married people. Most of my married buddies fidget with their wedding rings all day long, so they have little need for other fidget toys.

Price: 4/10
Fidgetness: 5/10
Portability: 10/10
Repeatability: 7/10

Rings designed with fidgeting in mind aren’t that expensive, so that’s why under Price jewelry scores 4 out of 10. Again, they’re not designed with fidgeting in mind but they do give your brain a good workout, so they have an average score for Fidgetness. Portability goes without saying, a perfect 10, while Repeatability scores 7 out of 10 – just enough to get you by when you need it.

Featured Fidget Rings

Here are a couple of fidget rings I found online:

Men's Stainless Steel Black IP Spinner Ring, Size 12
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Imported
  • Spinner ring
  • Black IP stainless steel

There’s also a company called Fidget Rings which sells, well you can guess what they sell:

fidget ring fidget toys

Stress relief toys

Stress relief toys are the original fidget toys in my mind. They’re literally designed for you to

Price: 3/10
Fidgetness: 10/10
Portability: 8/10
Repeatability: 8/10

Stress relief toys are inexpensive, they’re really fidgety, quite portable and have high repeatability value. All in all, they’re perfect fidget toys, even though there are some better alternatives out there.

Featured stress relief toys

Mesh-and-Marble Fidget Toy (8-pack) - Stress/Anxiety Relief for Adults and Kids - BPA Free
  • Made with high-quality, BPA-free plastic and premium marbles (meeting all toy safety standards), our fidget toys are strong, durable and safe for kids and adults alike
  • Fidget toys are great for all children and adults, but especially those with extra energy, ADD/ADHD, OCD, autism, or high stress / anxiety levels. These toys help promote a sense of calm, reduce stress / anxiety and can increase focus / attention
  • Similar or better quality when compared to other leading manufacturers, but at a better value. Great addition to a collection of fidget toys/items, including sensory / squishy balls, tangle toys, rings, jewelry, necklaces, twiddle toys and desk toys
  • Loved by teachers, parents and therapists, these toys are great for use in the classroom, car, plane, office, doctor's office or wherever else fidgeting occurs. Keep your hands busy!
  • Approximately 3.5" long each with one marble inside. 8 fidget toys per pack - 2 each of red, yellow, green and blue. Fully machine washable (air dry)
MINI ROLLER THE ULTIMATE HAND FIDGET 3 PACK NEW DESIGN IMPROVED MOTION
  • Instantly calming dual pieces rotate between fingers
  • Perfect for ADHD / Autism fidgeting
  • Includes 3 fidgets so use one at the office, the car, home, etc.
  • Roughly the size of a quarter so easily hidden
  • Ages over 3 due to size and choking hazard
Tytan Magnetic Space Putty Slime Stress Reliever Infused with Iron Fun Toy, Black
  • HOURS OF FUN WITH THIS MESMERIZING THERAPEUTIC PUTTY! What's our secret ingredient? Well, we have to tell you! We have expertly infused countless, tiny iron particles to our amazing Magnetic Space Putty, providing it with unparalleled, hard-to-believe silly putty magnetic slime properties! This stuff is a lot cooler and creepier than you can even imagine! Try this super magnetic putty out for yourself and marvel at just how easily you can mold the shape of our moldable toy putty!
  • MAGNETIC ATTRACTION Place any magnet close to the magnificent space putty and take note of the toy putty's instant gravitation and shape-shift, thanks to iron's natural, attraction to magnets! This magnetic putty novelty toy is the best way to initiate kids into basic science concepts, by offering them an interactive experiential learning experience. Kids and adults can't get enough of watching the rare earth neodymium magnet getting digested by a blob of writhing black goo!
  • WATCH YOUR GLOB HUNT AND SWALLOW WHOLE MAGNETS! Reach for any small or tiny magnet and watch as Space Putty swallows it up, like a black hole! Spend time practicing focus and help kids develop fine motor skills and expand their understanding of the natural world, as they will look on at their brand new putty, puzzled, trying to decipher just what happened to the magnet they were moments ago seeing!
  • STRESS RELIEF FOR ALL AGES This magnetic silly putty is a perfect stress relief gift. Try this super magnetic putty out and marvel at just how easily you can mold the shape of our moldable toy putty! It's perfect for science-loving kids, or for any adult that loves intelligent play! Use the magnet to do the "snake charmer" trick. Or leave the magnet on your ball of putty and watch it completely engulf the magnet in minutes! What can you do with it? The possibilities are endless!
  • 1 YEAR MONEY-BACK GUARANTEE! Each Magnetic Space Putty comes in an adorable tin box, ready for gift giving! We are sure you are going to love playing with your new magnetic slime novelty toy, however, should you be unhappy with your purchase, you are free to return it and receive a hassle-free refund within 1 year!!. Purchase Now The Best Magnetic Putty and Silly Putty On Amazon!

 

Begleri

I’m saving Begleri for last because they’re the latest fidget toy I’ve discovered. Begleri are, to put it simply, a piece of rope with two weights at each end, and you play with them by swinging the rope. I tried to do this and successfully mangled my hands, so maybe I’m not the best guy to give begleri advice.

Price: 1/10
Fidgetness: 8/10
Portability: 7/10
Repeatability: 8/10

The good news is that they’re cheap. How much can a piece of string and two weights cost? They’re very fidgety, quite portable (although many models don’t fit in your pocket), and you can play with them again and again and they won’t lose their charm.

Featured Begleri

J. L. Lawson & Co. offers these awesome begleri for $45. They’re the only one I’ll feature in this category, since most begleri are DIY toys made at home from various objects that you can find at home. If you want to buy a ready-made one, here’s a great example:

begleri fidget toys


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