Tag Archives: synthetic ice sheets
Synthetic ice sheets
Synthetic ice sheets come in all shapes, size and in a variety of different materials. Every seller of synthetic ice sheets has their particular thought around why theirs is better or faster or cheaper or what have you. To the average consumer it can be just super confusing. There are now dozens of companies selling into the market, and some are fly by night operations and some make it their full time business. How is a consumer supposed to navigate through all the synthetic ice sheet options?
Set a realistic synthetic ice sheet budget
Most people honestly just don’t have any clue what to expect when they are looking for pricing. And then when they get it they often think “it’s too expensive”. Well you aren’t buying tupperware here folks. Synthetic ice sheets can become a significant investment and good products cost some money. I wouldn’t say any company is out there making a killing on their product margins – there is just too much competition – and we all keep each other pretty honest – or simply we lose sales. For a home based skills practice surface you should expect to invest between $1,000 and $5,000 on average. Now this is going to depend of course on the size of the surface and the type of material. Comparing what synthetic ice product is best for you all depends on what you need the product for.
What is the best synthetic ice sheet material?
Everyone thinks their particular brand is the best. The mis-information that is out there in this industry should almost be a crime! The industry players don’t even understand their own material, and yet they are selling it! Your best protection as a consumer or buyer is to ask lots of questions and stick with the companies that can provide good solid answers. When it comes to synthetic ice sheet material – do your homework, because the differences are vast. Always, Always, Always, higher priced material is better material!! Ignore the industry idiots that claim they have the best skating material for less money. If that were true then they truly are dumb. That’s like saying ‘I sell Porsche’s for the same price as Chevrolet’s”. It just doesn’t happen. Ignore those companies…scratch them off your list of legitimate synthetic ice sheet suppliers.
So what synthetic ice sheet should I buy?
Do you buy a car without driving it first? Do you buy a pair of skates without trying them on? Well SmartRink continues to be THE ONLY company in the world – as far as we know – that offers a FREE TRIAL of our synthetic ice. You pay the shipping, we send product. You like, you buy. You don’t like. you send it back. Simple, simple, simple. To date we have actually taken back 3 trials. People try it and for whatever reason they didn’t keep it. Could be a case of buyer remorse, or second “sober” thoughts, or “the boss” thought it was too much money, or it took up too much space in the apartment, or my two year old couldn’t really skate on it….anyway – we take it back. So there you have it. We have sent out literally hundreds of FREE TRIALS and 3 came back. So the smart money goes to the smart consumer who reduces their risk by taking advantage of a FREE TRIAL of SmartRink synthetic ice sheets. Even if you don’t want to work with SmartRink, at least challenge the other suppliers to offer a free trial as well. Read about our synthetic ice research to help you with your decision.
When people ask what is synthetic ice it can be a challenge to answer in a way that they can truly understand and grasp the both the concept and the product capability. So in this post I am going to do my best to give you a brief education and overview on what is synthetic ice.
Synthetic ice is a plastic
Yes, in it’s most basic form synthetic ice is plastic. To be sure there are a lot of different kinds of plastic. There are also various ways that plastic is made. So what is synthetic ice made of? Generally speaking it’s made of polyethylene although there are a few that appear to be made from other material as well.
Polyethylene and synthetic ice
There are various grades of polyethylene. I have written about this before so check out some of our earlier posts about that topic. Typically though what is synthetic ice polyethylene? We generally see products in the HDPe – VHMWPe classifications and even within these there can be quite a variety of molecular weights. For example HDPe can range from 300,000 g/mole to 500,000 g/mole.
What is synthetic ice manufacturing methods
Typically any product we see being made in North America is extruded. Extruded polyethylene does can have a molecular weight that is over 500,000 g./mole. This is a limiting factor for this method. The result is a decent sheet suitable for skating on but it won’t be the best material. Some companies claim to use a higher molecular weight and also claim they extrude the material. The only explanation for this is that they mix materials such that it will work in the extruder. The other method of manufacture is sinter pressing. This process uses extreme pressure along with heating and cooling of the material. This is advantageous because it de-stresses the material. Sinter pressing also allows for a much higher molecular weight material to be used and will produce a superior glide and far superior durability over the long term of the product. There are standard industry tests such as the sand slurry test that will demonstrate how much better sinter pressed material with higher molecular weight is to abrasion resistance than standard extruded material. That test shows how durable a product will be over time.
Ask questions about synthetic ice
So when people ask “what is synthetic ice” it is important to understand that there can be vast differences between suppliers. Clients tell me that other suppliers they talk to are reluctant to share very much product information with them. That’s unfortunate, but in order to do a proper analysis between products it’s essential to understand more about material, glide enhancers and connection systems. Then once you have all the basic information you can be better armed to make some legitimate price comparisons. Otherwise you are potentially relying on some companies marketing or sales pitch and that could lead to disappointment. Hopefully that is never the case.
What is a synthetic ice Free Trial?
It is understood that this can be a complicated and confusing purchase. SmartRink offers a Free Trial to assist you in making an informed intelligent decision. On our website just enter the Synthetic ice Free Trial button and you’ll be on your way to skating at home or anywhere, whenever you like.
Learn more about what it is like skating on synthetic ice.