I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, this will be a quick review of my favorite few boutique strings as compared to my favorite ‘bulk’ string which are fat Kitty strings.
So I’m going to begin this by saying that as everyone always says, people only review what they like, and this will be no exception, however I will try and be objective and describe in detail how I feel these play. Some of this will be based on stuff I put in a recommendations thread a while back.
Firstly, my overall favorite is probably the Kevlar:
Twisted Stringz Kevlar
Cost: $8.99 for a pack of 10 plus shipping
Availability/lead time: Made to order. Variable lead time but normally a few weeks.
Color: Customizable but including yellow (that’s the Kevlar thread color)
This is a Kevlar/poly blend, I believe in a 1:2 ratio. Professionally packaged. Thinner than Kitty fat, a little coarser initially, and a little stiffer initially too. You can use these for forever and a day. Initially these feel a little coarse, I mean not too bad but a little. But once they break in they are really quite soft. These are great to throw around with force, and aren’t as thick as many long lasting strings. I think the addition of the slightly stiffer Kevlar means you can achieve great hardy results without some of the thickness. More importantly, loops and slacks with these strings open and stay open. They’re a perfect all rounder, requiring a little force to make them whip but not too much. They hold tension really well for a stiffer string and have been my stock for a long time. The downsides of these in terms of play are pretty few, with limitations only induced by the lead time/cost.
How the strings break down for me is important-being a limiting factor in how long I can use the string for. With these strings I want to use them until they die. The break down of the Kevlar is the easiest to identify with those of us that throw Kitty. They start to fray, becoming fluffier but more snaggy and less easy to work with. However, between breaking in and break down there is a long period of ideal play. I have noticed a hint of residue on my fingers from these strings if I play for really long periods in a single stint.
Cost: My most recent purchase was 50 strings for $34.50 including shipping
Availability/lead time: Made to order. Pretty short time delay between purchase and arrival
Color: Customizable to some degree I believe
The thinnest of the three, made with a homebrew twist to the string. Quite slick throughout play, and soft throughout too. In fact the combination of slick/soft makes them feel even softer than Kitty to me, with a looser wind than the Kevlar. Really the most interesting thing to me regarding this string is the speed with which they whip. These things are out of control. They whip so fast you actively have to try and slow everything down otherwise the string flies past where you want it seemingly before you even thought about whipping it. Unfortunately, the downside to this is that I find they don’t deal as well with tension as the others. They have a slight tendency to unwind near the yoyo, but it’s not too bad. They break down relatively normally, but they also last for a long time. If anything they are a tiny bit too thin for me, and I have to worry just a little too much about tension for them to be stock string on many of my throws. However, they are a perfect string for those throws that play better with a thinner bouncier string. Although this won’t be on every yoyo I have, I’ll try not to be without it. And for learning more complex whips this gives you an extra hint of time which will make your life easier.
BigYoyo strings Panther
Cost: My most recent purchase was 30 strings for $22 including shipping
Availability/lead time: Made to order. Time on the order of 2 weeks
Color: Customizable with SUPERB neons
The thickest of the three up for review here, on a par with fat Kitty. Again a looser wind, pretty soft, and very bouncy. Slick though, with that hint of a plastic feel to it, but nothing offensive. I couldn’t bear Chaos strings because it felt like throwing fishing line, but this stuff is great. I love these strings as a balanced whipping string for fast play. They whip quickly (not as fast as the T13x), and are a great thickness for me. They provide great open loops, and again afford a subset of tricks that put my shoulders out with regular Kitty. They last a great deal longer and make me happy to be a yoyoer. They provide great tight binds, on par with the Kevlar. Middling tension, they hold tension well, but are not quite as good as the Kevlar or as Kitty fat. The reason these are not my faves predominantly stems from the way that they break down. Instead of becoming fluffy, they break down through the wind - small inconsistencies in the wind that can normally be smoothed out become seemingly close to permanent. Areas of wind near the yoyo become uneven, and can occasionally cause unwelcome binds. This effect can also occur higher up the string. Short of this effect, I’d never have a reason to replace the strings, as I’ve never had one truly wear out. However, I have had a yoyo fly off the string which is more concerning for me.
Really I would use any of these on any of my throws. I have taken to trying to use Kitty fat often too, but I still routinely revert back to these. Particularly because Kitty break down sooo much more rapidly. I’m sure that most of these could be sampled, so please do try them out, they’re so much fun. And if you can get hold of some Kevlar, I can’t recommend them highly enough. While the Kevlar provide a hugely consistent degree of play, for a really long time, and are a little stiffer than fat Kitty strings, they are reasonably similar. The Panther/T13x strings provide accessibility to slack and whip tricks that I otherwise found challenging, while providing a slightly higher speed of play. The choice between these two really boils down to how thick you like your strings.