Looking to take your backyard ice rink to the next level during the off season? Synthetic ice can help you do exactly that. Or, maybe you’re looking to build a basement ice rink using synthetic ice.
One of the biggest downsides to synthetic ice is, it’s nowhere close to the real thing. Before we talk about some of the best synthetic ice options, or what synthetic ice for outdoor use, we’ve got to set your expectations.
Is synthetic ice as good as real ice?
Absolutely not. There is not one synthetic ice that offers the same density and release of friction as actual ice does. There are synthetic ice options that get close, but nothing that is exactly comparable to real ice.
If you’re expecting to buy synthetic ice and have it feel like real ice, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. I’m serious. Especially if you’re a goalie. If you’re a goalie, we’re going to talk about ways to make your ability to slide on synthetic ice better through out this article. All of this said, there are synthetic ice brands that set themselves apart from the competitors.
I know, because I’ve skated on both good and bad ice.
In this article, we’re going to cover all of the synthetic ice brands out there. I’ll tell you the ones I have not skated on personally, so you’re aware when reading. I thought that from a readers perspective, it would be valuable to include every brand as there aren’t that many of them.
How does synthetic ice compare to real ice?
It’s about 50-65% the feel of real ice. Many manufacturers will claim it’s “90%” as good, but remember, they’re trying to get you to buy something. Gliding on synthetic ice is much more challenging, and the actual feel of the ice is more of a “hollow” experience.
Here are ALL of the synthetic ice brands out there
- PolyGlide Ice
- Smart Rink
- Hockey Shot Extreme Glide
- Glice Rink
- Skate Anytime
- Kwik Rink
- Can Ice
- Snipers Edge
- D1 Ice
- Global Synthetic Ice
- xSynthetic by X Hockey Products
- Nice Rink
If I’m missing one, send me a DM over on Instagram (@goaliecoaches) with a link to the company website and I’ll make sure I get it added here. Now, let’s jump into the best synthetic ice options for the backyard hockey player. These are the ones I’ve personally used, and how they compare to the competition.
These are the 4 best synthetic ice kits for hockey players
First up, Hockey Shot Extreme Glide. Then, we’ll look at Can Ice, Skate Anytime, and Smart Rink. Again, I’m covering the ones that I have personally used, as synthetic ice is a huge gamble, especially when you have unrealistic expectations – like expecting synthetic ice to perform like real ice.
Even manufacturers that claim it’s 90% as good as real ice. I’m not going to disagree with a manufacturers claim, but I will say that the remaining 10% is a huge 10% difference. If you’re honest with yourself, expect a little less than you’re probably hoping, you’ll get what you’re after.
For those that are not goalies, synthetic ice is actually one of the best things you can do for summer time hockey training. For goalies, it’s not going to emulate the real thing. Yes, it can get you closer and it’s better than sitting on the couch, but you’re not going to be able to do the same movements as you can on real ice.
Ok, enough of the downplaying synthetic ice. It’s not that I’m intentionally TRYING to be a downer on the topic, I seriously want you to set your expectations right so that when you do choose to purchase your own, you’re going into the experience with an open mind. If you do that, you’re going to get the most out of your experience and maximize the product you buy.
I’ve saw it time and time again. A parent decides to go out and buy synthetic ice. They end up purchasing some, realize it’s nowhere near the same (albeit, not in a bad way) experience as real ice. They react.. and their kids never use the product. If you’re going to buy something, make it worthwhile! Use it! That’s why I’m trying to manage your expectations.
Hockey Shot Extreme Glide
If you’re a goalie, get Can Ice or Skate Anytime. The Hockey Shot Extreme Glide tiles are an excellent option for players, but they’re tiles. There are more opportunities for your pads to get hung up on the tiles themselves.
These tiles are excellent for shooters and stick handling work.