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Buying Guide for Ski Wax


Ski wax is an often overlooked but essential accessory if you are looking to get the maximum performance and glide out of your skis. Waxing your skis allows them to glide faster over the snow by repelling water and preventing snow from sticking to the bases of your skis. The wax itself is the application method of the different chemicals that gives your skis faster gliding properties. With so many different options available, it can be a little confusing as to which wax would be the best for you. This guide will help clear everything up for you and allow you to make an educated decision as to which wax you should purchase.


Buying Guide for Ski Wax


One of the first things that you need to consider: what temperature range is needed for the days you will be skiing. Most waxes have a temperature range that will overlap with the range either above or below. The snow is typically a few degrees colder than the air temperature during the day and a few degrees warmer than the air temperature at night. It is always better to error on the colder side of things than the warmer one.


There are also plenty of universal waxes that offer fair gliding properties, but waxes with a specific temperature range will offer the best gliding properties.


Different Styles of Wax


Ski wax can come in a variety of different types for specific conditions, compositions, or performance level. These are the most common forms of wax:


Block Wax


Block Wax is the most common form of wax. Block wax needs to be melted on the ski base once it is heated up with an iron, then ironed in to the pores of the bases evenly to allow faster gliding. It is important to melt the wax on at the specified iron temperature to avoid breathing unhealthy fumes and burning off the chemicals that add the gliding properties to your skis. Once the wax cools it must be scrapped off the bases. Failure to do so will result in sticky skis. Waxes in block form last the longest on your skis.


Block Ski Wax


Liquid Wax


Liquid Wax can typically be found in either very high end or very basic waxes. It is supposed to be applied onto a cloth or it comes with an applicator then rubbed on the bases of the skis. In high end waxes, liquid wax is used in conjunction with other forms of waxes to provide the fastest skis possible; this is called an overlay. Very basic liquid waxes are a short-term solution to allow for faster gliding properties for up to a half a day or so. A rule to follow with basic liquid waxes: the longer that you buff it in to the base, the longer it lasts.


Liquid Ski Wax


Paste Wax


Paste Wax is usually very economical and an easy wax to apply. Paste wax is typically available in a universal temperature range. This uses a small fabric applicator to apply and buff in. Again, a good rule to follow when using this type of wax is the longer you buff it into the base the longer it lasts on your skis.


Paste Ski Wax


Powder Wax


Powder Wax is designed to be used after a few layers of block wax are applied to increase faster gliding properties. Powder waxes typically have high costs due to the high amount of Fluorocarbons they are usually made with, and should be used sparingly for important races only.


Powder Ski Wax


Spray Wax


Spray Wax is typically used on top of several layers of high-end block wax to offer the best gliding properties. Once it is sprayed on, allow it to absorb and dry for 5 minutes, then use a cork to further buff it in. Spray wax can sometimes be found in very basic waxes, but most commonly is found in high-end finishing racing wax as an overlay.


Spray Ski Wax


Wax Composition


The composition of ski wax refers to the different chemicals or additives for different snow conditions, humidity levels and weather conditions.


High Flourocarbon


High Flourocarbon ski wax has more Flourocarbons than LF (Low Flourocarbon) wax. The higher the amount of Flourocarbons in the wax, the more expensive it will be. Flourocarbons repel water and give you stronger gliding properties, especially in wet snow conditions. These are typically the more expensive ski waxes, and are best crayoned on your skis then melted in with an iron to conserve your wax. High Flourocarbon waxes provide the highest amount of gliding properties in areas with high humidity, man-made snow, dirty snow or places with very cold temperatures. HF wax is made in every temperature range possible. High Flourocarbon wax typically has HF in the title of the wax.


Hydro Carbon


Hydro Carbon Wax has no Flourocarbons and is very economical. They are very durable meaning that they do not wear off of your bases too quickly, and repel dirty snow conditions very well. They can be used by themselves (best in colder conditions), or they can be used to help prep bases for use with higher-end waxes. Hydro Carbon wax typically has CH in the title of the wax.


Low Flourocarbon


Low Flourocarbon waxes have less Flourcarbons than High Flourocarbon, or Pure Flourocarbon waxes, but more than Hydro Carbon Waxes. LF waxes can be used by themselves or to better prep your bases when using higher end waxes. They are available in every temperature range and are the best value wax when you compare price and performance. Low Flourocarbon wax typically has LF in the title of the wax.


Pure Flourocarbon


Pure Flourocarbon Wax can be found in liquid, powder or block form. Liquid form is the most popular. It can be sprayed on evenly, corked into the base and then brushed with a Horsehair Brush. For the optimal results and the best gliding properties, this wax should be a final step in several wax applications. Pure Fluorocarbon wax has a high resistance to dirt and oils to provide you with a long lasting, fast gliding ski. Waxes made with Pure Flourocarbons typically have FC or Cera in the title of the wax.


Soy Based


Soy Based waxes offer some strong gliding properties and water repellency. The biggest advantage to using a Soy wax is the fact that it is biodegradable and does no harm to the watershed.



What other Ski Waxing Tools Do I Need?


A Scraper is needed for you to remove excess wax to allow for maximum gliding. You’ll want to keep this tool sharp and clean; a Scraper Sharpener is a very useful tool that can be mounted to your waxing bench to help keep your scraper sharp for easier wax removal.


While this buying guide has helped you become more educated in the differences between ski wax, you should also consider having an assortment of Wax Brushes, a Waxing Iron and a Waxing Table and Vice. For more information on those, please consult our Buying Guide for Ski Waxing Irons, Tables and Vices


When it comes down to it, you really can never over wax your skis. Each time you wax your skis, you can condition your bases for better gliding over the entire life of the ski, so don’t be afraid to get your skis waxed early and often during the season.

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