If you love skiing or snowboarding, you’ll know that you must regularly wax your snowboard. Waxing helps to keep it fresh and increases its longevity. But if you decide to do it yourself, which is the best waxing iron for snowboards and skis in the market?
Why A Waxing Iron For Your Skis And Snowboard Is So Important
Snowboarders and skiers must wax their equipment before hitting the slopes. The reason has to do with how snow and icepack interact with the underside of skis and snowboards while in use. As you glide over the pow, you create pockets of water and friction. These pockets can slow down your slide and make your skis and snowboard feel sluggish.
Waxing your skis and snowboard smooths out the material. It hydrates the base, protects it and makes it slide more freely. It’s a vital step that speeds up your descent and makes your equipment last longer.
While you could take your skis or snowboard to a shop for waxing, many people who regularly take to the slopes use a waxing iron for use at home. A waxing iron is a specialist piece of kit that you can use to apply wax uniformly to the base of skis and snowboards. Over time, it could save you money and allows you to wax your gear wherever you happen to be.
How Often Do You Need To Use A Waxing Iron?
What surprised most skiers is to discover how frequently they need to wax their gear. Experts recommend that you wax once every three days of riding. So, throughout a week-long trip to the Alps, you’ll want to perform at least two waxing sessions.
How often you need to wax depends heavily on the type of conditions in which you ride and the kind of base you have on your board.
Boards have two kinds of bases: sintered and extruded.
Manufacturers developed extruded-style bases. This is because of the desire of skiers and snowboarders to avoid the hassle of waxing. Extruded boards use a manufacturing process that simulates the effect of wax. This makes descents faster. A waxed extruded base will skim over the snow more swiftly than if unwaxed, but the difference is not huge.
A sintered base is more porous than an extruded base and has a higher coefficient of drag when unwaxed. Sintering creates tiny pores that hold onto wax and make it more effective. A waxed sintered board slides over snow better than a waxed extruded counterpart. You’ll need to use a waxing iron on both regularly to get the best performance.
What Makes A Great Waxing Iron?
If you’re not clued up on the intricacies of waxing irons, fear not. It’s not as hard as you think to differentiate an excellent waxing iron from a merely good one.
First, look for an iron with a smooth, substantial base. The better the metal at the bottom of the device, the easier it will be for you to spread the wax out over your gear. High-quality ski irons use heavy bottom plates for even spreading and better temperature control. Large chunks of metal tend to hold onto heat better than smaller ones.
Second, look for ski irons that come with high-quality bags. Often, you’ll need to transport your waxing irons overseas. You will also need something that will keep them secure in transit.
Third, invest in a ski iron that is compatible with all kinds of waxes. You might change your skis in the future – and that might require a new type of wax. Most ski irons have temperature control systems. It will let you adjust the temperature on the fly, and you can melt the hardest waxes or avoid smoking the softest.
Finally, high-quality waxing iron manufacturers offer warranties with their products. Ski irons need to work reliably, especially if you plan on traveling with them to the slopes.
How To Choose A Waxing Iron For You
There are many excellent waxing irons on the market (as you’ll see below), but how do you choose the right one for you?
If you’re new to the world of ski and snowboard waxing, you’ll want to choose a product that provides adequate instructions and support. While there are helpful online videos that show you how to wax, it’s useful to have instructions specific to your device.
You’ll also want to look for a waxing iron with a broad base. A thick, high-quality metal base makes it easier to spread the wax evenly. This gives you better temperature control. As discussed above, the thicker the bottom, the better the iron will hold onto heat.
So, now that we’ve talked about the importance of waxing irons and how to choose one, let’s take a look at some of the best products on the market.
Grayne’s Premium Dula Voltage ski and snowboard wax iron offers high-quality construction. This combines with an assortment of ergonomic features in this product.
- Ample temperature range adjustability: 70 C to 190 C.
- Lets you adjust the temperature for a wide range of waxes
- The easy-grip handle provides exceptional control and stability
- Table-safe iron plate design – keeps the iron off your table or ironing board while in use
- Cord storage built into the design, improving transportability
- Temperature increases rapidly to the setting you choose, usually within a minute
- A large plate which retains its warmth consistently during use
- Excellent control over temperature settings to achieve the perfect heat for the wax
- Comes with a three-year warranty
- Dual voltage settings for traveling abroad
- High compatibility with local electricity sockets
- A notch on the handle for keeping wires out of the way while in storage.
- Easy-to-access temperature dial at the center of the unit for adjustments on the fly
- The robust interface between the metal plate and the handle body. this provides exceptional control and stability when applying wax
- Slightly curved face prevents the entire surface from applying pressure
- The curved face requires users to make more passes and apply wax back and forth instead of side to side
- Temperature settings may not be a reflection of the actual temperature of the device. Users may have to set temperatures 30 degrees higher on the dial to achieve the heat that they want.
- May not warm up enough to melt and apply some waxes in some cases.
The Toko Digital Waxing Iron is one of the most impressive irons on the market, offering a host of benefits with few downsides.
- Compact chassis makes the iron easy to turn and apply wax in different orientations
- Moderate temperature range for heating wax, running from 100 C to 160 C (212 F to 320 F), encompassing the majority of waxes
- Handy black dial at the center of the device for adjusting the temperatures
- Display on the end of the iron handle showing the current temperature of the base place (for instance, 150 C)
- Heavy-duty base plate made from precision-engineered aluminum.
- Half-inch thick base plate with an application area of four by six inches. Capable of receiving and applying 1200 watts of heat energy
- Comes with a robust nylon travel case, making it an excellent option for those who want to use their irons while traveling
- Pressure-cast aluminum base with grooves that make it easy to spread the wax over skis evenly
- Continuous temperature feedback from the onboard display allows users to calibrate heat for the wax finely.
- Swivel cord provides support for standing the iron on its end while in use
- Even temperature distribution over the surface of the plate, eliminating the need to apply uneven pressure to compensate.
- Affordable pricing
- Unusual temperature setting mechanism – may not be instantly clear to people who aren’t used to using wax irons
- The iron does not come with an iron rest – you have to rely on the somewhat precarious cord system
- The surface does not have any dimples. It uses grooves instead. Some users may prefer dimples.
Wintersteigher’s Waxing Iron is small and portable, but does this detract too much from the performance?
- A high degree of temperature adjustability for different wax melting temperatures
- Relatively lightweight, making it an excellent travel companion
- The durable construction of the handle and body
- Integrated design that provides longevity and provides reasonable control when applying wax
- Accurate, incremental heat dial which provides users with the desired temperature
- Reliable performance. Will continue to perform well for many years.
- Relatively small iron: measures just 3.24 inches by 5.4 inches
- The small size of the iron means more strokes over skis and snowboards when applying wax
- The supplied power cords are only compatible with sockets in North America. If you want to travel to Europe or the rest of the world, you’ll need an adapter.
- Small iron means that the device can struggle to retain its heat.
- Lack of heat retention makes it challenging to spread the wax evenly. This slows down the movement of the iron over the surface of skis
- Sometimes tricky to stand up while in use
- Short cord requires you to be standing near to a power outlet while applying wax
- The temperature of the iron can be uneven from one side to another
Swix, a Norwegian brand, has been making ski gear and accessories for a long time. Its digital ski iron offers an impressive temperature range but some units don’t have a flat bottom.
- Commercial-grade waxing iron, suitable for everyday use in ski and snowboard shops
- Exceptionally thick, 18mm base for heat retention and even heat distribution
- Compatible with both skis and snowboards
- Made by one of the best ski brands in the world, famous for the reliability and durability of its products
- Relatively broad temperature range, running from 80 C to 170 C (176 F to 338 F)
- Holds temperature well across the range
- Provides excellent control of the temperature setting
- Good for cross-country skis
- A step up from older, economy irons
- Comes with a complete set of instructions on how to set up and use the iron
- Uses a one-sided angle to make it easier to maintain a constant speed while melting the wax
- Ergonomic body design for better control and handling
- Large plate: four inches by six inches
- Works well over an extensive range of different temperatures for a variety of waxes
- Issues with the flatness of the iron. The edges of the ironing surface are turned down relative to the center. That means the iron applies pressure in a ring shape
- The large base plate might be too cumbersome and unwieldy for some users
Dakine wanted to create a small, affordable waxing iron for people new to waxing their skis and snowboards. The iron provides rapid temperature adjustment but at the cost of a small base.
- Distinctive beveled edge on the sides of the iron to remove the square edge and make ironing easier
- Easy-to-use iron
- Rapid temperature adjustment: the base of the iron heats up and cools down quickly according to user input.
- Easy to set up out of the box and start using
- Works with Dakine’s range of hot waxes
- Flatter base than a regular home steam iron for more even distribution of the wax
- Cheaper construction than many of the other irons in this review
- Some users may not like the bright green color
- The temperature control dial can feel tacky
- The iron can feel wobbly when stood up on end while in use
- The two-year warranty might not be sufficient for some
- The small base plate may lose temperature rapidly
While there are many impressive waxing irons on the market, the Toko Digital Ski Wax Snowboard Waxing Iron is the clear winner in our opinion. The reason for this is the quality construction of the iron unit itself. Toko manages to combine a thick base plate with a smooth finish and plenty of grooves to make spreading wax over boards easier. It’s the sort of iron that you can imagine taking with you on multiple ski trips.
The Toko also fulfills all the criteria that make for a great waxing iron product that we discussed earlier. It has a large, smooth, and thick base with an even surface. It comes with a handy bag for transporting around the world and its compatible with a wide range of waxes. Added to that are the quality of construction and the helpful temperature dial on the front. You don’t need to guess when it is warmed up – it just tells you. While it will have some drawbacks for people who prefer dimples on the base of their irons, the groove system works well.
So, there you have it: five quality waxing irons and a clear winner: The Toko Digital.