Sharpening your skates is a vital part of your game. Sparx Hockey came up with the Sparx portable skate sharpener to fit the demands of hockey players and figure skaters. So, one big question comes up: is it worth it?
The Sparx portable skate sharpener is worth the investment because you will save time and money. On average, the Sparx will cost $1.25 to $1.75, per sharpen, compared to $7-$10 for sharpening blades at a local shop. The Sparx is fast, as it can sharpen one skate in five to ten minutes, depending on the hollow you desire.
While the initial investment might seem high to some, the benefits exceed paying to have your skates sharpened. There are many positive aspects to the Sparx. Read on to learn more about them and some of the users’ feedback experiences.
What is the Sparx Skate Sharpener?
The Sparx is an automated, portable skate sharpener that helps you sharpen your blades at home or on the go. It allows users to keep their skates in top condition without the hassle of taking them to the rink or a local shop.
When purchased in a bundle, it can come with up to three rings to provide you with the two most common hollows, ½”, 5/8″ and the ½” fire.
To start sharpening your skates, you must buy the starter pack, which can cost from $1050 upwards, depending on your location.
How does the Sparx work?
The operating procedure is straightforward. The first step is to place the grinding ring fastened with a screw. After this, you must check if your blade is bent with the edge aligner.
After turning on the sharpener, you push the blade into the top slot. The Sparx will let you know if the skate isn’t correctly placed by turning on lights. You can then move the grinding ring to the blade with the keypad.
It’s recommended that you start the grinding at the blade’s front for consistency. You can choose how many grinds you want, with 4 being the standard, but keep in mind that there have been reports of some skates needing 10 or 12 grindings.
Press the start button and wait. You should clean the filter after every use and replace it after every 200 grindings.
According to the manufacturer, Sparx Hockey, the sharpener will work on goalie skates. To grind them, you must use the Goalie Skate risers. The same can be said with figure skates since the Sparx can sharpen these with an adapter’s addition.
What does the Sparx include, and how much does it cost?
The Sparx Skate Sharpener comes with the following items:
- locking devices,
- grinding rings,
- keypad, and
- indicator lights.
Additionally, and Sparx recommends that you do, it’s hugely recommended that you buy an Edge Checker or a Height Depth Indicator (HDI).
The actual sharpener will set you back $899, and it includes one grinding ring of your choice. You can buy more, with no aftermarket rings available at the moment. Each grinding ring costs $60, and Sparx offers more hollows on their website. The Sparx Edge Checker costs $139 but should be considered part of the pack.
Additionally, you must add the shipping cost, which varies depending on where you live. A Sparx starter bundle’s total cost, assuming a shipping cost of $100, is approximately $1100.
Some other accessories include the replacement filters, which cost $20 each, the goalie holders or risers, which are $50, and the figure skate adapter for $99. If you are interested in personalizing the Sparx, you might notice that the price increases considerably.
When it comes to recovering your investment, Sparx becomes cheaper the more skates you need to sharpen. Several forums and Reddit threads have calculated that the Sparx will break even in 2 years when used with a team of 8 skaters per season.
Is the Sparx Skate Sharpener any good?
The web is packed with positive reviews for the Sparx. Many users praise its practicality and overall grinding finish. Given that it’s completely automated, users can adjust the settings and forget about the grinding process.
One hockey parent, Rutsch Hockey, found that the grinding ring actually lasted longer than he expected, which motivated him. He considered the Sparx one of the best hockey-related purchases he has made, as he has five pairs of skates to sharpen.
Best Skate Reviews has said, of the Sparx, that this product is a good investment that might even be cheaper in the long run, even with such a high price tag. Other users agree.
Amazon reviews are predominantly five-star comments. Amongst the few one-star ratings are users who hadn’t purchased the edge checker.
It’s clear that most users like the Sparx and that any concerns regarding the initial investment quickly vanish, especially for those with many skates to sharpen.
Pros and cons of the Sparx Skate Sharpener
It’s safe to say that no device is perfect, and the Sparx is no exception. While the final product’s quality and consistency are excellent, and the product is durable and portable, it’s still a $1000 investment or more.
Most user reviews praise the practicality, ease of use, and automated processes and criticize the initial price.
Such an initial investment might throw off many buyers. There are currently no aftermarket components, so users must buy replacement parts from Sparx, which are elevated in price.
The company has said that their grind rings last for about 50 or 60 sharpenings, with an average cost per sharpening of $1 to $1.25. Real-life users estimate that rings last 40 to 50 sharpenings and that the cost is $1.25 to $1.75 per cut.
Also, those who haven’t had sharpeners at home might find the maintenance to be tedious at first. After every use, you must clean the filters of debris and eventually replace filters and other components.
It’s important to highlight that Sparx first came to the market in 2016. Though it sells in the US and Canada, its price might be restrictive. In turn, this means the Sparx isn’t the most commercially available product, so, at the moment, reviews are limited.
Where to buy the Sparx Skate Sharpener?
If you want to buy a Sparx Sharpener, you can contact the manufacturer directly at its website and order it from there. Ordering it through this method might incur high shipping costs, but the company ships to both the US and Canada.
Amazon also sells the Sparx, but it might not always be in stock as the inventory is subject to availability. MonkeySports Europe sells the Sparx for those living in Europe, but it might not always be available.
Other stores within the US and Canada sell the Sparx, like ProHockeyLife and PolyGlide Ice. These retailers might offer discounts but, at the same time, might not provide all the accessories. If you’re looking to buy a used Sparx, eBay has had some available for purchase, but the availability is limited.
When it first arrived, the Sparx seemed like a visionary adventure that was a bit too expensive. But, the truth is that some parts of hockey can be burdensome. Not all skating facilities might have sharpeners available and, if they do, they might have long lines.
When you finally get to the counter, you have to dish out money and wait for the technician to finish. If you’re in charge of more than one pair of skates, this can not only hurt your wallet but consume a lot of your time. So, if you are more of a hands-on person, this option is right for you, as it is also a fun, easy way to maintain your equipment.
It’s safe to say that the Sparx is an exciting alternative for hockey players, coaches, and parents alike. The entire device has been designed with ease and security in mind and, with more accessories coming each year, it’s now a more versatile and portable tool than most sharpeners out there. If 25 NHL teams use it, it’s worth checking out.