Every snowboarder has experienced this at least once in their life: you come to a flat area in the slope and all of the sudden your board loses all of its speed. All of the momentum and speed you had spent the whole run building just went out the window because of a small flat area on the slope.
Top Snowboard Wax Comparison Chart
Snowboard Wax Buying Guide
How do you stop those pesky flat areas from slowing you down or stopping you altogether?
The best way is to apply a good coat of snowboard or ski wax to the bottom of your board every couple of days.
The bottom of your snowboard is like a sponge and when you wax your snowboard all of those porous areas of the snowboard get filled in with wax. As you glide down the hill, the friction will heat up the wax creating a smooth gliding surface. This is especially useful on flat, wet, or gritty terrains.
When you use a wax that is designed for the weather that you are snowboarding in you will see a big boost in your speed. There are many types of wax designed for different snowboarding condition, and it can be hard to tell what type of wax is going to be best for you to use. Take a look below to see what different features can be found in today’s ski and snowboarding waxes.
What You Need to Know
It may seem like a trivial piece of equipment maintenance, but the type of snowboard wax that you use will have a big impact on your snowboard and how it functions through the season. Here are the different types of waxes and how they are typically used.
Rub On Wax
Rub on wax is a quick fix for those who don’t want to break out the wax iron, or for those who want to boost their speed without losing an entire day. This wax is not heat activated like the iron-on wax, and it will not penetrate the porous elements on the bottom of the snowboard as good as the iron-on wax can.
Rub on wax is a great thing to have on hand if you want to make sure you are getting the most speed out of every run. It won’t replace iron on wax as far as maintenance for the p-tex on the bottom of the board.
Iron-on wax can be ironed onto the bottom of a snowboard with either a special wax iron or with a regular iron. If you use a regular iron, you can pick the inexpensive model up, and it must only be used on the snowboard wax.
You don’t want to get wax all over your clothing.
There are all types of iron on snowboard wax, and the type that you get will depend on your needs. You can get
- Temperature specific wax
- Fluorocarbon Wax
- Eco-friendly wax
- Graphite wax
There are three basic wax temperature ratings for wax:
- Warm Rated: Temps above 25* F
- Cold Rated: Temps below 25*F
- Universal Temp Wax: All temperatures above freezing (good for non-racers)
Most recreational snowboarders will never use temperature rated wax because your times are not that critical. The universal temperature wax will probably work just fine. If you are a racer or do want those extra few seconds when on a specific course then investing in temperature specific wax will help you improve your overall course time.
Most waxes are a hydrocarbon wax. Their specific function will change a bit of the makeup of the wax, but the base will remain the same. That is true for all waxes except Fluorocarbon wax.
In fluorocarbon wax, some of the hydrogen atoms are replaced by fluorine atoms. Fluorine is highly water repellent which makes it an ideal wax for using when on wet and slushy snow and terrain.
It is important to note that many people are looking for fluorocarbon free wax because of links between fluorocarbons and cancer. Fluorine, a known carcinogen, is being replaced by microcrystals and graphite in many wax variations.
It may seem strange to include scent as a feature of the wax since it has no performance value. The reality is, that when you are applying wax, the smell is going to become a huge variable for you. If you cannot stand the smell of a certain wax, you will have wasted your money purchasing it.
Likewise, if you are sensitive to perfumes and oils, you will need to make sure that you purchase an unscented wax. Many of the waxes are available in unscented versions and if you cannot tolerate perfumes this will be vital to you successfully applying your hot wax.
Many rub on waxes can contain strong smells if they are unscented the smells are usually that of chemicals. Keep this in mind when you are purchasing a rub on wax that is unscented. It may just not contain perfumes, rather than actually not having a smell.
Best Snowboard Wax Reviews
With all of the different waxes available on the market, it can be hard to tell what is going to work for your snowboard and what is going to be a waste of money. These 10 snowboard waxes made the cut above the rest for their performance, value, or ease of use.
To even the playing field for the waxes, we only reviewed all temperature waxes. Those designed for warm or cold temps were left out because they don’t have the same utility that an all temperature wax does.
Below you will find a list of the best all temperature waxes available today.
The Hertel Super Hot Sauce wax is a fairly standard hot wax that is designed to be used at all temperatures. The nice thing about this wax is that it performs well in all snow conditions. If you are switching slopes, or you ski year-round, you won’t have to switch your wax.
The melting temperature is a little high on the Hertel wax, and the directions recommend 196*. The wax seemed slow to apply and was harder to get on than other waxes that were designed for similar use. The snowboard needs to be prepped properly to get the full use of the wax – don’t skip out on your scuffing.
The nice thing about the wax is that there are 5 mini bars on one big bar. If you are a novice, you can break up the wax into smaller sections to help avoid over application of the wax. It helps conserve the wax, which goes a long way. It only took about 1/3 of an ounce to do the whole snowboard, so the wax goes far. A novice waxer should get about 10 uses out of the 5-ounce bar.
- All temperature
- Good for all snow conditions
- Slow to apply
- High melting temperature
- Must prep correctly
Demon Hyper X Wax comes in a solid 1-pound block (1.06 lbs to be exact) making it perfect for the snowboarder who is going to be using his or her board all season long. The amount of wax that you get for the price makes this wax a great buy.
The distinct scent that this wax has makes it nice to use. It does not give off that typical “melted wax” smell when applying it to the base of the snowboard. The application can be a bit tricky because this wax melts very fast. Inexperienced waxers may find that they don’t get an even coat of wax the first time because of the fast melting temperature.
Demon Hyper X is designed to work at any snow temperature which makes it nice for those who don’t want to re-wax their board every time the weather changes. If you are going to be snowboarding all year long, this wax may be a good investment for you.
- All temperature
- Large block
- Melts very fast
The Purl all temp wax is another case of reading the label before you buy as it is not a true all temperature wax. This wax does have a specific manufacturer rating of 5* to 20* f so you know that anything outside of those temperatures the wax is not going to perform at its peak.
Purl comes in a huge 1-lb block which is both a bonus and a drawback to the wax. The 1 pound of wax may last most people multiple seasons—a big bonus. The problem comes with the sheer size. It may be hard for those with smaller hands to handle. You may end up having to shave some off before applying it directly to the board.
The worst thing about this wax is how hard it becomes after you use it. Scraping it off of your snowboard and applying a new coat of wax may become an all-day effort. Keep that in mind before you set out to apply a new coat of Purl to your snowboard.
- Rated 5* to 20*F
- 1-pound block
- Includes Buffing Pad
- USA Made
- Not for Colder Temps
- Hard to scrape off
- Bulky block can be hard to handle
One Ball Jay F1 wax is an all utility wax that can be used either as a rub-on or iron-on wax. It is really useful not to have to buy two separate products if you like to have both a rub on and an iron-on wax available for the season. Since many snowboarders prefer to use iron-on wax only a few times a year, they may find that this wax meets their needs very well.
The wax goes on easily and comes off easily. It is a fast wax in all snow conditions which makes it good for the recreational snowboarder. If you are looking for a great all temperature wax, this wax is perfect for that.
- Rub-on or hot wax
- 3-5 boards
- All-temperature wax
- Small quantity
SnowDog is a great all temperature, all-terrain wax. If you are looking for something that will perform just as well in hard pack frigid conditions as it would in warmer slushier snow: this is your wax.
The temperature rating alone is enough of a reason to get this wax. There aren’t many waxes available that will boast being able to perform in -15* as well as 50*. It is a huge span of temps that this wax is going to give you performance boosts.
The biggest drawback to SnowDog wax is that it is scentless. When you apply this wax, you really get that melted wax smell. This may be a bonus for those who cannot stomach the perfumed scents in some other waxes. For those who don’t like the smell of melting wax, it isn’t the most pleasant.
- -15* to 50* rating
- Good for dry and wet snow
- USA Made
Dakine Indy Hot wax is a great all temperature wax designed for all snow conditions. The three-step application process is easy to follow and allows even novice waxers to apply a solid coat of wax to the bottom of their snowboard.
This is a fluorocarbon wax. The only reason it is listed as a negative is that the health concerns over the use of fluorocarbons are pretty significant. The wax itself is a high performing wax and will give you many smooth runs down the mountain. This may be a great beginning of the season wax or end of season wax as well because of the extra protection that the fluorocarbons provide against water.
- Good for first-time snowboarders
- Great Smell
When you first get this tube, you think that you are getting something that is going to be easy to handle and apply since it is a rub-on wax. The packaging on this wax is highly deceptive. Even though it looks like you can rub the wax on directly from the tube, you cannot. If you are getting this wax because of that, just skip it.
The performance of the wax was great, though short-lived. The max performance increase that you may notice from this wax is going to be about a half a day. Though 2-3 runs for the very experienced snowboarder may be enough to see that the wax has already run its course.
All-in-all it does what it is designed to do and gives you a quick boost for a single run or two, but it is not going to replace the higher end hot waxes.
- Designed for quick application
- Comes with cork buffer
- Hard to handle
- Not for routine maintenance
- Will only last a few runs
The nicest part about Cheese Snowboard wax is that the wax is available is a variety of scents. If you don’t like scents in your wax they even have an unscented version. They have wacky scents like beer, bubble gum, and maple-bacon. No matter your smell preference you are sure to find something pleasing.
The only problem is the perfumes can be a little strong. Some of the smells can stay in the room for multiple days at a time. You may not want your house, garage, or hotel room smelling like bubble gum for 3 days.
The waxes performance is great. It does what it says and is a truly universal temp wax. It works well on all slopes in all weather. It is perfect for the non-professional snowboarder who is looking for one wax to use through the whole season.
- Universal Temperature Wax
- Multiple scents
- USA Made
- Very strong perfume
Winkwax seems like it is designed for those who have more of the environment in mind than how their snowboard is going to perform in different conditions. The wax is rated for all temperatures and is supposed to perform in all snow conditions. The all-conditions performance makes it ideal for the snowboarder who doesn’t want to re-wax their board all the time.
The real downfall of this wax comes to the application. The directions said the melting temperature was 135*, but the wax seemed to almost boil at that temperature. You may have to fiddle with the melting point of the wax quite a while before you get it to melt at a good temperature.
The smell of the wax is awful. It is not perfumed, and the eco-friendly, non-toxic materials that they use to make the wax sure don’t smell non-toxic. I’d recommend using this wax either outside or in a well-ventilated space.
Scraping the wax proved a bit difficult as well. The wax is gooey when it comes off. Other waxes you can collect your shavings and even reuse some of them if you want to stretch your wax dollars. That just doesn’t seem possible with this wax.
While Winkwax may be good for the environment, it may not be the best product for the bottom of your snowboard.
- All temperature
- Hard to scrape off
- Bad smell
- Hard to apply
As far as rub-on wax goes it is generally used for spot treatments and on the slope adjustments when you just don’t want to break out your hot wax. This wax is a great long lasting rub on wax. It is high performance and does contain fluorocarbons. Some people love the fluoro-wax because of its performance, but many have started to move away from its use because of its link with cancer rates.
This wax should only be used outdoors. The odor when applying the wax is very strong. Any attempt to apply this wax indoors will likely result in a headache or worse.
The wax is listed as high price because you don’t get a lot of wax for the money you spend. Also, your waxing technique is going to depend on how far the wax will go. If you are inexperienced with rub-on wax, this may not be the best one to start with because the cost is so high. Make sure you understand good waxing technique before purchasing this rub on wax.
Finally, the packaging on this wax is horrible. The tin can look vintage and a fun design. But it breaks more often then it doesn’t. The applicator is part of the packaging, so when the tin breaks it is difficult to put on the snowboard.
- Long Lasting Rub-On
- All temperature
- Bad packaging
- Strong odor
Which to buy?
Most recreational snowboarders are not going to be able to tell a huge difference between one wax and another. If you are just looking to protect the bottom of your snowboard and prolong the life of your board, you can go with the cheapest wax available.
However, if you are one of the people who notice a difference, or you are looking to improve your snowboarding year round there are a few leaders in the market for all temperature snowboard waxes.
Hertel was a clear leader because of the variety of scents that they have. The smell factor can be a huge influencing aspect of whether or not a wax works for you (and whether or not you wax your board). With this brand, you are bound to find a scent (or lack of one) that works for you.
Hertel simply has great performance and is a good all temperature wax. The price of the wax cannot be beaten. If you are budget conscious and are looking for a good wax, this is your wax.
No matter which wax you choose, make sure you are applying a hot wax at least twice a year to protect the bottom of your board and make the p-tex last as long as possible. Not only will your hot wax allow you to out snowboard others on the slopes but it is going to protect your investment and prolong the life of your snowboard.