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Guide to buying a toy gyroscope

It may not be obvious what the best gyroscope is for your needs. This is a simple guide to navigate you through a few decisions to make before deciding on which gyroscope to buy.

Age group

The first starting point is to focus on the person's age that you're buying for. If it's child under 3 years old, there are no gyroscopes on the market that are suitable and although two or three-year-olds will pay interest in toy gyroscopes, the small parts that are included will be a choking hazard and some of the edges of the gyroscope means that it's not safe for them to play with. Depending on the toy gyroscope the minimum age or the recommended age is usually 3 to 7 years old. A 4 or 5-year-old has ability to play with a gyroscope (physical dexterity and mental ability) , although many will lose patience with threading the string through the axle to start the gyroscope. One option would be to provide assistance while starting the gyroscope or the other option is to select a gyroscope that has a zip cord.

A zip cord is a simple plastic pull cord that is inserted into the side of the gyroscope and once pulled quickly spins the gyroscope up. This makes it quick to start the gyroscope and also a lot easier. It is not as fiddley as using string. Zip cords are particularly useful for younger children.

There are a good number of low-cost toy gyroscopes and if the child is below 14 years old, one of these lower cost gyroscopes is probably ideal. They are fairly robust and even if they get broken, then at least they weren't that expensive.

If you are buying for an older child or adult, you're probably considering a more precisely engineered gyroscope, that can do a lot more things and will hold their attention longer. These are more expensive and require the care that an older child or adult will give. The super gyroscope, for example is for 14+.


There are three groups of gyroscopes in terms of pricing. Firstly, the under £10 category of which there are a number of options. Secondly, a £10 to £20 range which provide a much nicer toy gyroscope. Finally, there's a under £100 option. This is for adults or older children that have a keen interest in gyroscopes or love precision engineering.

Classic Design

Having a classic design may or may not be important to you. The gyroscope that most people think about when they think about gyroscopes is the Tedco original gyroscope. This has been mass produced for over 100 years now. It is the stereotypical toy gyroscope and the design has remained roughly the same throughout its production. It is not amazingly precise and some more modern designs have extra features. If you want a technically better gyroscope then choose a different one, but it may be the look of this gyroscope that appeals to you. After all it has been made for over 100 years and loved by millions.

Starting options

There are three different ways that a gyroscope can be started. The original and classic way of starting a gyroscope is by threading string through the axle, winding the string onto the axle and then pulling the string hard to start the gyroscope. However, some toy gyroscopes also have a zip cord. This allows you to insert a plastic part into the gyroscope and then pull on it quickly to start the gyroscope. This is useful for younger children that may not have the patience to start a gyroscope with string.

The third option is an electric motor. The cheaper toy gyroscopes don't have this option but the super gyroscope can only be started with this option. It enables quick starting and higher rotational speeds.

Robustness Vs precision

Finally, the last two factors are robustness and precision. They're directly related to one another as the most precise gyroscopes are also the more delicate. The super gyroscope has precision ball bearings that allow it to run smoothly and for longer. However, a reasonable size drop can damage the bearings and a much larger drop onto a harder surface, say from waist height onto a hard floor can mean the shaft is bent beyond repair which means that the carefully dynamically balanced disk has been ruined. Equally, the more robust toy gyroscopes are not particularly precise to start with. E.g. they are not balanced and you can see some wobble of the disk.

Compare Gyroscopes

GyroscopePhotoSpin time
to stop*
Typical RPMDisk
Disk Diameter
Disk materialStringPull cordElectric
Bearings SmoothnessKey Feature
Mini gyroscope 3m 50s
500066.1g52.5Metal + Plastic Plain ★★★Small. Low cost
Tedco Original Gyroscope 2m 30s
700047.7g57Cast Metal Plainclassic 100 year old design
Deluxe Gyroscope 3m 40s
500082.1g64Metal + Plastic Hidden single ball★★★Good all rounder
Light Up Gyroscope Not tested
Not testedNot weighed68.6Metal + Plastic Plain★★★Lights up!
Cyclone Gyro Not tested
Not testedNot weighed64Metal + Plastic Plain★★★Best toy gyro?
Super Precision Gyroscope upto 20m
12,000+112g53Brass Precision Ball Race ★★★★★Precision, fast, well engineered
Brass Lecture Gyroscope over 20m
1238g100Brass Drill* Precision Ball Race ★★★★★Size. Classic design.
* Drill optional