Because I thought I could
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Wash DC Metro
Bikes: November, Trek OCLV, Bianchi Castro Valley commuter
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Best one is the one you and your wife actually use
I have a fluid trainer (Performance, has the bar-mounted control, picked up a few years ago on sale). Works fine, and it is quiet enough that the family can watch TV while I pedal away in back of them (our big screen front projection unit helps here, but it's fine with a smaller screen when I've set it up for my wife to use). My most important accessories are the things that let me stay on the bike while riding: TV remote and cordless phone. A fan, water, and a towel also come in handy.
If you're going to be swapping bikes, a trainer that is easy to mount/unmount the bike (the performance model I have isn't) is going to be a plus. If your wife is going to use it when you are not around, it is essential that she be comfortable with the mounting her bike and setting the resistance for her own safety and enjoyment. And use old tires from last season you don't want to use on a long road ride - the trainer will wear them out.
I'd shop around and see what they have in fluid or magnetic trainers and decide based on noise and ease of use. Then watch for a sale in the spring for the fancy schamntzy model and sell the old one on craigslist. Or buy a good one now. I can't recommend a specific model, there are probably other threads here and in the road biking forum with suggestions.