While both wings can influence your type, one wing will generally be preferred over the other.
The wings are the types on either side of your Enneagram type as seen on the Enneagram symbol. Your preferred wing is the wing type that most influences your Enneagram type. It doesn't indicate your second strongest type but simply a variation of your primary type.
For example, if your primary type is 1 and your preferred wing is 2 then you would be a type 1 wing 2 (abbreviated 1w2). While you would still be considered a type 1, 1w2 implies that type 2 tendencies are mixed in with your type as well. This contrasts with someone who is 1w9 and has some type 9 tendencies mixed in with the type 1. You both approach life primarily from type 1 but there are some differences coming from the preferred wing influence.
The wings produce four variations of type
Having one preferred wing or the other produces two variations of type (e.g., type 1 would be either 1w9 or 1w2).
If you use both wings equally it can be said that you have balanced wings (e.g., type 1 with balanced wings would identify with type 9 and 2 equally).
If you don't identify with either wing then you would just be a basic type (e.g., type 1 with no wings). You simply ignore the wings in this case.
How to determine your wing
The most common approach to find your wing is to compare the two wing types to determine which you prefer most.
Enneagram type tests that produce scores for all nine types can be used for this approach. While the top score is your likely primary or basic type, the higher of the two wing type scores is your preferred or dominant wing.
People sometimes get confused using this approach when they mistakenly think that the second highest scoring type is their wing. It's only the scores of the two wing types that you should be looking at (e.g., types 9 and 2 if your primary type is 1).
Other Enneagram tests don't list scores for all nine types but just your likely type and wing. With this type of test the results are more to the point but don't offer alternative types for you to explore in case the results don't fit you well.
A third option is available on this website if you already know your primary or basic type: a test to compare the two wing types of your type. This test doesn't waste your time trying to determine your primary or basic type.
Which type of wing test would like to take?