All of us who speed cube, those who just started or those interested in trying speed cubing should know that there is really no one “BEST” speed cube. The best speed cube is purely subjective and one might think one cube is the best speed cube while another might have a different opinion.
There might not be one best speed cube but generally there are several traits that a good speed cube have that make it better then others. These different qualities of a speed cube are what makes a speed cuber prefer one over the other. The following are the qualities to look for in a speed cube.
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Speed cubes will generally have two types of turning, fast or smooth. Each styles have their pros and cons and each speed cuber will prefer one or the other depending on his/her style.
- Fast turning cubes will feel very light or will require very little effort in turning. This is good because algorithms can be executed in lightning speed although control is sacrificed for speed.
- Smooth turning cubes feel very nice with very fluid flowing precise layer turns. This gives the speed cuber total control and precision although you will sacrifice speed for control.
2. Corner Cutting
Mostly all the cubes tested can corner cut at a 45 degree layer turn which is the absolute maximum of what you’ll needed. If you think you need more then that then you better address your turning style or you may not be accustomed to your cube yet.
What makes a good corner cutting cube is the ease or amount of pressure needed to corner cut.
- Good corner cutting cubes will cut through a layer with almost no effort and won’t have much more resistance then it would have if the layer was aligned properly.
- Bad corner cutting cubes will need more pressure to corner cut, this will result in a very noticeable feeling of effort during solves or it may pop or lock the cube. Generally a very inconsistent unpleasing solve.
3. No Locking Up and Catching
There are several reasons and types of locks and catches you may encounter on a speed cube.
- Misaligned layers caused by overshooting or not being accustomed with the cube.
- The shape or arrangement of individual pieces may naturally lead to them catching on each other.
- Anti popping mechanism can be found on cubes which avoid popping although instead of popping it will lock up
4. Tension and Lubrication
The tension of a speed cube is really all a matter of preference and will be dictated by your cubing style.
- Fast and vigorous solvers might like their speed cube to be a little on the looser side.
- Slower more fluid turners might like a more tighter tension.
- An over tightened speed cube might turn slower and may reduce or totally eliminate corner cutting, while a super loose cube might be prone to popping.
Lubrication is very important, and just about any speed cuber uses it. Silicone lube is by far the best and the only lubrication you should be using on your speed cubes.
- There are a lot of types of silicone lubrication and they will range in viscosity, or thickness.
- Some speed cubes will perform better with a thicker silicone lube while some will work well with thinner silicone lubes.
There is no one perfect silicone lubrication for all speed cubes and it will differ from speed cube to speed cuber. In fact some speed cubers mix and combine different brands and viscosity to create their own personalized silicone lube.
The stickers are what makes a Rubik’s cube a puzzle, without stickers a rubik’s can’t be scrambled and can’t be solved. Color scheme doesn’t really have an affect in performance it’s just what a speed cuber was accustomed to when learning.
What really affects performance however is sticker shades and contrasts. It is quite important to distinguish one side of a cube from another and certain sticker hues and brightness will really help do that.
- There are some speed cubers prefer having the orange, yellow and green sides quite bright.
- Some companies apply these bright shades on their speed cubes.
- Cubesmith stickers are available which are high quality and have a wide range of hues and contrasts for you to choose.
Speed cubes do have different sizes, these range from the 57mm, 55mm and 42mm. There are extremely smaller and larger rubik’s cubes although those aren’t really popular for speed cubing. Ofcourse the standard size is 57mm and while most speed cubes are generally around 57mm, some speed cubes are larger then others.
- 57mm is the standard size of a speed cube although some cubes are slightly larger or smaller then others.
- This small difference may change how a speed cube feels to someone with smaller or larger hands
The first three qualities, Turning, Corner Cutting, Catching Locking, are what you really want to look out for in choosing your main. Since these are qualities that are embedded in a speed cubes design and characteristic. The last three are a bit minor since they are not specific to a speed cube, stickers and lubrication are the biggest since they are totally customizable.
Whether you are fast or slow turner or someone who likes extreme corner cutting just remember that choosing the right speed cube is extremely personal, while other speed cuber may like one cube you may like another. Some speed cubes gain so much hype and reputation for being this and that, while it might be the case for most, it might not apply to you. Don’t immediately believe other speed cubers who say that a speed cube is “THE BEST” but take that speed cube into consideration and test it out for yourself to see if it is indeed the best speed cube for you.
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