Best Synthetic Ice – What is it?
Posted by KwikRink
What is the best synthetic ice? The market is flooded with so many options for artificial ice. It’s a tough world for consumers, as you are generally needing to make a costly investment in a surface before trying it out.
The below points outline some of the things to look for in a synthetic ice product that KwikRink proudly delivers.
When you’re ready to take the leap and the best synthetic ice for your practice or home space, contact KwikRink for a free quote.
This is the starting point, as there are a lot of synthetic ice surfaces out there that put a black eye on the whole industry. There are still companies selling similar synthetic ice surfaces that we were selling in the mid-1990s!
All of these synthetic ice options will need a lubricant spray to achieve any glide. Many companies are currently selling “self-lubricating” surfaces. These are surfaces that achieve glide without any lubricant aids.
This is where it gets tricky…to what degree is the glide comparable to actual ice? Even within the “self-lubricating” category, there will be a vast array of how the glide performs. Artificial ice is generally made with a resin and a “slip agent”.
The slip agent is what makes the synthetic ice glide. The biggest difference in glide among competing companies will be what specific slip agent is used, and how much of it is used.
Cheaper synthetic ice brands tend to use less effective slip agents or use it at a much lower percentage than the best synthetic ice surfaces. The glide will be much stickier, and may even require a lubricant spray to achieve the true desired effect of real ice.
Generally speaking, with an increase in the proper slip agent, comes an increase in the glide (resin dependent). This also will cause an increase in price, as it is more costly to manufacture. The best synthetic ice has a glide in excess of 90% when compared to real ice.
The Hardness Balance
The hardness of the synthetic ice surface is imperative for durability and a natural feel. Many other surfaces are too soft or too hard to offer the feel of natural ice. These products tend to use a cheaper resin, which softens the surface of the product.
Or they use little-to-no slip agent, which hardens the surface (slip agents tend to soften synthetic ice). Durability or performance for these synthetic ice surfaces will be dramatically affected in a negative manner if not enough slip agent is used.
Skating on soft surfaces feels similar to real ice that is too soft. You will dig into the ice and feel like you are skating on a train track. This also adds friction and slows down the glide.
On the other hand, surfaces can be much too hard and dull the blades very fast. These tend to be seen in older surfaces, and surfaces with no slip agent added to the resin. We often refer to these synthetic ice surfaces as, “dead cutting boards”.
Achieving the right balance of hardness in synthetic ice leads to natural ice-like skating surfaces, that are not too hard or too soft on the blades. The best synthetic ice has the perfect hardness balance and is incredible for synthetic ice skating.
The Seamless Connection
There are two main ways that synthetic ice panels are connected. These two methods are known as the “tongue and groove” and “dovetail” connections.
The tongue and groove connection came first. In fact, this is how we connected our panels back in the late ’90s. This connection is a lot more work for the user and makes it very difficult to install and take apart.
This connection can also pose problems in larger spaces, as panels like to pull away from one another and don’t want to connect.
The dovetail connection is what we currently are using. This connection allows for fast and easy installation/tear down. The key to the KwikRink Lock-Rink dovetail assembly is that the male and female joints have a slight overbite for a snug fit.
With proper subflooring, this connection is seamless and will not trip skaters or stop pucks. The best synthetic ice surfaces are ones that are absolutely seamless!
The Best Synthetic Ice
- The best synthetic ice surfaces have glide in excess of 90% when compared to real ice
- The best synthetic ice surfaces have a natural ice-like feel – not too hard or soft
- The best synthetic ice surfaces have a seamless connection and offer the best skating experience
Searching for the best synthetic ice in today’s can leave the average consumer with a headache. At KwikRink Synthetic Ice, we invest heavily in research and development and have been manufacturing our own surfaces for 20 years. Manufacturing our own synthetic ice allows us to make the best synthetic ice on the market!
If you are ready to learn more information about KwikRink’s ice rinks or get a free quote, reach out to us. We are happy to help and are ready to give you and your family the best synthetic ice tiles around.