Best Snowboard/Ski Waxes (Reviewed)
This year, we hit the Telluride slopes to battle-test the best waxes available. After couple of weeks of testing and trying out different waxes, we have finally narrowed down to the top 6 picks for the 2020-2021 season.
Last Updated: 23th Mar, 2020
Having your snowboard/ski waxed is important to achieving the best glide when riding. Wax is what allows the board to glide over the snow surface. The base of the snowboard is designed to be slightly porous, which allows it to absorb the wax. These pores hold wax, but over time with use, the wax wears off. You may notice that eventually, along the edges of your board, the base becomes white. When you notice this start to happen, it’s time to wax.
Using the proper wax for your needs will provide you with the best results. Snowboard wax comes in a variety of types based on snow temperature and applications. Choose the type of wax that’s best for you. Rub-on wax is easier to apply but is not as durable as an iron-on wax. Cold wax versus warm wax will perform much differently depending on what the temperature is on the day you choose to ride.
In addition to providing glide, wax also helps protect the base of the snowboard. By keeping your board waxed, you protect the base from drying out over time. As the base of the snowboard dries out, it becomes scoured by snow crystals and eventually will need a base grind. If you keep up with waxing, your snowboard will stay in better shape for longer, without needing a sometimes pricy tune.
How often you choose to wax is up to you. Personally, I don’t like to ride more than a week before re-waxing my equipment. I find that this helps protect my equipment and keep it in top shape. By keeping my bases waxed, I don’t end up with dry, white edges over time. This reduces how often I need to tune my equipment and saves me time and money in the long run. My equipment is in much better shape because I take the time to wax it regularly.
Let’s take a look at some of the best Snowboard/Ski waxes out there.
Top 6 Snowboard/Ski Waxes
- ZUMWax HIGH Fluoro RUB ON Paste Wax - Pro Pick
- Hertel Ski/Snowboard Deluxe waxing kit use hot or Cold - Best Overall
- ZUMWax RUB ON Wax Ski/Snowboard (All Temperature) - Budget Pick
- Demon Hyper X Wax - Best All temp wax & Eco-Friendly
- Don't Eat Yellow Ski Snowboard Wax Kit - Best combo (Comes with Hot, Cold, Warm wax)
- ZUMWax HIGH Fluoro Ski/Snowboard Racing Wax - Best for cold temperatures (10 °F to 28 °F)
Best Rub-on waxes
1. ZUMWax HIGH Floro RUB ON Paste Wax – Pro Pick
If you’re looking for something easy to use, ZUMWax Rub-On Wax is a great product. This rub-on wax is easy to use and effective. In most cases, the wax exceeded expectations with how well it performed but did not last as long as some people hoped.
Simply apply the ZUMWax in an even layer on your base and let dry as much as possible. Once the wax is dry, use the polishing block to polish the dry wax on the base. Depending on where you apply the ZUMWax, outside as opposed to inside, you may have different results with how well the paste dries. For best results, apply inside before heading out to ride so that the wax can dry as much as possible before polishing.
Rub-on waxes are especially effective on warmer days when the snow starts to get slushy. However, since ZUMWax is a universal temperature, it will be great in any conditions that you find your board sticking in.
Though it may be easy to use and effective, rub-on wax does not last as long as a hot wax with an iron does. For best results, you should still use an iron-on wax at least once a year, depending on how many days a year you ride. ZUMWax is then a great product to use in between hot waxes to get the most glide out of your equipment.
- Temperature range:10°C to -30°C or 50°F to -22°F
- Type: Rub on liquid (Fluoro composition)
- Speed: Medium to Fast
2. Hertel Ski/Snowboard Deluxe Waxing Kit Use Hot Or Cold – Best Overall
If you’re looking for one do-it-all wax, Hertel wax is an excellent choice. This wax can be used hot or cold, depending on how much time you want to put into your tune.
This simple kit comes with the rub-on wax, plastic scraper, and buffing pad.
The Hertel wax can be applied either hot or cold. To make things simpler, skip heating up the wax with the iron and rub on the cold block of wax. Try to rub the wax on as evenly as possible for the best results and less wax waste. Once you rub the wax into the ski, use the plastic scraper to scrape off any excess wax and even out the coating of wax on your base. Finish up with the buffer pad to smooth and polish the wax on your base.
This rub-on wax will last much longer than other rub-on paste waxes. Since this is a hard wax, it is more durable and will stay on the base longer. Though this wax does last longer, it is still recommended to hot wax your equipment. Hot wax will allow the wax to penetrate into the base of your snowboard. You can make your hot wax last longer by using the Hertel rub on cold wax in between riding days.
The Hertel rub on wax is going to be your best overall choice to maintain your ski and snowboard performance between riding days.
- Temperature range: 6 °F to 52 °F
- Type: Hydrocarbon
- Speed: Medium
- Weight: 340 gms
3. ZUMWax RUB ON Wax Ski/Snowboard (All Temperature) – Budget Pick
If you’re looking for a rub-on wax to help you get a better glide that’s easy to use, ZUMWax all-temperature wax is a great budget-friendly option. This rub-on wax is easy to use and comes with everything you need to do the job.
To use simply rub the wax onto the snowboard or ski base like a chapstick. Make sure to cover the entire base evenly. Then take the cork on the cap and rub the wax into the base.
As a rub-on wax, it is not designed to be a replacement for hot waxing, but to help with the board glide and performance between getting a hot wax.
ZUMWax rub on is best used on warmer days when the snow gets slushy and sticky. Depending on conditions, you may find that you need to apply the rub-on wax again during the middle of the days. However, that’s what’s so great about the container. Everything you need to reapply fits in the tube and can be easily carried around the mountain in your pocket.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy solution to sticky snow days on the mountain, ZUMWax is a great product for you.
- Temperature range:
- Air - 10 °C to -30 °C or 50 °F to -22 °F
- Snow: 0 °C to -30 °C or 32 °F to -22 °F
- Type: Hydrocarbon
- Speed: Medium
- Weight: 70 gms
Best Snowboard Hot Wax
4. Demon Hyper X Wax – All-Temp & Eco-Friendly
When it comes to waxing your snowboard, hot wax is by far the best option. The hot wax can melt down into the pores of the snowboard base. This allows the wax to last longer before it all rubs off.
Demon Hyper X wax is an excellent all-temperature wax.
If you’re just getting into waxing your snowboard, an all-temperature wax will be the easiest to understand and use. This wax is designed to protect the base and perform well under all conditions. Also, as it’s made out of hydrocarbon material, it’s more eco-friendly in comparison to Fluoro wax.
Like many all-purpose waxes, when you start to get into the single-digit temperatures, the wax does not perform quite the same. If you typically ride on very cold days, you may want to consider investing in a cold temperature wax as well. However, Demon Hyper X wax will work well, depending on your needs.
On Amazon, this wax comes in 1-pound quantities at a great price. A 1-pound block of wax will definitely last you for numerous waxes and multiple seasons and is a worthwhile investment. Also, the effectiveness of waxes does not degrade from over time, so you can keep it in storage for as long as you want.
Another cool thing about the Demon wax is that it’s scented. Enjoy the scented wax while heating up and waxing your equipment!
- Temperature range: All temperature
- Type: Hydrocarbon
- Speed: Medium
- Weight: 480 gms
5. Don’t Eat Yellow Ski Snowboard Universal Wax – Best Combo
The Don’t Eat Yellow Snow Snowboard wax kit is an excellent option for those who want to get into waxing their own equipment. This kit comes with the basics you need to get started waxing at home.
Complete with its own storage bag, the kit comes with three different temperature waxes, plastic scraper, buffer pad, and brush. The only other thing you need to get is a snowboard iron.
Having three different temperature wax options is great for getting the most performance out of your snowboard. The closer you can wax for the snow temperature, the better glide you will get when riding.
Typically, cold waxes are much harder material than hot waxes, which allows them to hold up to the abrasive cold snow. On the contrary, warm waxes are much softer and will glide better on the wet spring snow on a warm day.
Another benefit to waxing for temperature is you end up waxing your equipment more often. In the long run, this is better for your snowboard base and will help your equipment last longer.
- Temperature range: Cold, Warm, Hot
- Type: Hydrocarbon
- Speed: Medium
- Weight: 115 gm/block
6. ZUMWax HIGH Fluoro Ski/Snowboard Racing Wax – For Cold Temp
For those looking to take their speed in cold temperatures to the next level, ZUMWax High Fluoro Racing wax is a great option and a much lower cost than most high fluoro waxes.
Fluorocarbon wax is designed to make your equipment even faster than with just regular wax. Without getting too into the science, Fluorocarbon wax repels dirt and moisture and reduces friction between the base of the snowboard and the snow surface. This allows the snowboard to glide even faster than with regular wax.
The downside to high fluoro wax is that it is much more expensive for a small block of wax and is not always as good for your snowboard base as regular wax. Fluorocarbons can also be toxic to you when heated up and breathed in. Within the past couple of years, fluorocarbon waxes have been banned in many areas due to harmful effects on the environment.
ZUMWax High Fluoro wax is sure to be fast on a slow day but is not necessary to the average rider. Fluoro waxes are best used on occasion and are not practical for regular waxing use. If you are interested in maximizing your speed, ZUMWax High Fluoro is a great budget-friendly fluorocarbon wax.
- Temperature range:
- Air: -9 °C to -30 °C or 16 °F to -22 °F
- Snow: -10 °C to -30 °C or 14 °F to -22 °F)
- Type: Fluoro
- Speed: Fast
- Weight: 100 gm/block
Buyer’s Guide To Snowboard/Ski Wax
While waxes are inexpensive, but your whole skiing/snowboarding experience depends on it. So, it’s quintessential to pick the wax based on the condition of the snow, your expectations, and your skill level.
To help you make an informed decision, we have covered various factors you need to consider while choosing a wax.
Importance of Wax
Before you go ahead and choose a wax, it’s essential to understand why you need one in the first place. Simply put, wax acts as a lubricant reducing the friction between ski/snowboard and the snow, allowing it to glide more smoothly. The wax also prevents the p-tex base from scratching and scuffing, thus prolonging the life of the ski/snowboard.
There are specific waxes available to combat various types of snow friction:
1) Dry friction: In colder temperatures (10 °F or below), the snow crystals are sharp, harder, and dryer. This prevents the skis/snowboard from gliding smoothly due to high rolling resistance. You generally find such conditions in the early season or around late December and January.
For colder conditions, hydrocarbon-based waxes are ideal. These waxes come in varying hardness, and one has to pick a wax such that it’s slightly harder than the snow crystal. If the wax is either too soft or too hard, it will result in a grippy base.
2) Wet Friction: In warmer conditions (above 10 °F), the higher moisture content creates suction between the snow and the base of the board, resulting in more friction or resistance. The solution is to use soft wax, which repels or wicks away the moisture. For such conditions, fluorocarbon-based wax is ideal as it reduces surface tension. You generally find these conditions midway through the season or on warm spring days.
3) Anti-Static Friction: Whenever a ski/snowboard runs over snow, it produces static electricity, which marginally impacts the gliding properties of the board. The electrostatic friction does not make much of a difference among recreational skiers, but in professional races, it may very well be the deciding factor.
Molybdenum (moly) or graphite is added to reduce electrostatic friction. However, moly is known to be more effective than graphite. Also, in warmer conditions, these additives effectively repel the dirt, thus preventing the board from undue damage.
The two of the most common chemicals used in wax are hydrocarbon and fluorocarbon. Each of them has their distinct properties and is designed for specific snow conditions.
Hydrocarbon or Ch Wax: These are the most common and widely used wax. It’s popular among recreational users as it’s eco-friendly, economical, and durable. Also, these waxes are easy to apply and are available in different forms like rub-on, powder, or liquid. On the downside, the wax results in average performance and is ideal for slow to medium speed skiing or snowboarding.
The wax consists of hydrocarbon and its derivatives like paraffin and microcrystalline mixed in different proportions depending on the conditions. The wax is available in various hardness from soft for warm conditions to super hard for colder conditions. It’s also quite hard, which helps to protect the base from wear and tear.
Each manufacturer has their own rating system, and color specification for CH waxes. Popular brands like Swix rates the CH waxes from one to six, where one is the hardest, and six is the softest.
Fluorocarbon or F4 Wax: Fluora based waxes are extremely hydrophobic, and wicks away moisture for fastest glide. These waxes are more expensive and are faster than hydrocarbon-based waxes. But the F4 waxes are only effective in wet snow and warm conditions. In low moisture conditions, using a high fluoro wax will result in a higher resistance, thus reducing the speed. Also, these waxes don’t last long and need to be reapplied more often. Hence, they are mainly used by professional skiers or boarders.
The F4 waxes come in three compositions based on the fluoro content: High, low, and hybrid. For casual and recreational usage, low and hybrid fluoro wax is recommended. High fluoro (HF) wax is more expensive and results in stronger gliding. Therefore, HF waxes are better left for professionals.
Graphite Wax: These waxes are mostly used as an additive and rarely used as stand-alone. It works by reducing the electrostatic friction and also repels the dust/debris off the base of the board. The graphite waxes are used primarily by high-performance skiers or snowboarders aiming for extra speed on the snow.
The waxes are tailored for specific snow and humidity conditions. So what wax you may need at the start of the season would be totally different from what you need in the midseason.
Broadly, there are two types of waxes - Universal and temperature specific.
Universal or All Temperature Wax: These waxes are designed for almost all weather conditions from -10 °F to 50 °F. These waxes are hydrocarbon-based and are quite hard, inexpensive, and provide decent gliding. They’re primarily tailored for recreational users who’re looking for a simple to use wax. The wax can be rubbed on the base, or you can use an iron to apply it.
Temperature Specific: These waxes are designed for specific weather conditions resulting in better overall performance on the snow. They come in two types - Cold and Warm based on the air temperature (NOT the snow temperature).
Cold Waxes are harder and work in range 10 °F to 28 °F while soft waxes are softer and made for 25 °F to 50 °F weather conditions. It’s worth mentioning that if you use a wrong temperature wax, the difference in performance wouldn’t be huge and is something recreational users won’t even notice.
However, you would do just fine if you use a cold temperature wax in warmer conditions. But if you use warm wax on colder conditions, the board would stick to the snow like glue and may as well damage the base of the board.
The final factor you need to consider is the application method of the wax. As mentioned above, there are two ways to apply the wax - Rub on and Hot wax.
Rub on waxes come either in a solid block form, powder or liquid and can be applied directly to the base of the board. You just need to clean the board thoroughly before applying the wax. The rub-on waxes are ideal for recreational users or anyone looking to wax the board on the go. Also, these waxes are quite cheap. The downside is that they offer average performance, and they need to be reapplied regularly.
Hot or Iron on waxes, on the other hand, are more durable and result in better performance on the snow. But one needs to additionally invest in a wax iron and couple of vices to hold down the ski or snowboard firmly. This investment does not make sense for people who snowboard or ski occasionally, and they’re better off getting the wax done in a local shop.
While for avid skiers and snowboarders, making these purchases is justified considering they can easily recoup the investment in a season or less.
Which Wax Should you Choose?
How Often You Ride
How often you ride your snowboard will depend on how much you want to invest in waxing your board. In general, I would suggest if you ride more than 20 days a season, you should look into investing in an iron and a few different temperature waxes. This will give you a better experience every time you take your board out.
If you ride between 10 and 20 days a year, then a hard rub on wax like the Hertel rub on wax would be best for your board. Less than 10 days a year, you should get your snowboard hot waxed in a shop to start the season, then can supplement with a rub-on wax like ZUMWax for the rest of the season.
How Serious You Are About Going Fast
If you want to have the best glide under any condition, I suggest waxing for temperature. Choose the wax that will perform the best under the upcoming conditions. If you just want your snowboard to be waxed but don’t care about being the fastest out there, you should still hot wax, but keep things simple with an all-temperature wax.
Let’s Wrap Things Up:
Waxing keeps your base in better condition and therefore, can go longer before full tune-ups and base grinds. It is always good to wax your ski and snowboard regularly, whether you take it into a shop and pay for the wax or invest and do it yourself at home.
If you have any questions or queries, please feel free to comment below.