Yo-yo Shapes...

I didn’t see this question after searching, but also had a secondary question about preferences. I’m just getting into the hobby, so my experience with the topic is very limited. So here it goes:

What are the pros/cons with the different yo-yo shapes?

What shape(s) do you prefer and why?

Let’s hear it!

I’ll assuming you’re talking about the cross sectional profile.

Different shapes offer differing levels of performance. Very generally speaking, rounded ‘O’ shapes are less stable and typically have lower spin times due to the distribution of weight. Without getting into all the physics of a spinning yoyo, more weight towards the rim = a longer and more powerful spin. This shape is less forgiving as there’s usually more surface area for the string to rub against, increasing the likelihood that the yoyo tilts or slows down; this is referred to as a ‘high wall’ and is seen more prominently in older yoyos as its more or less been phased out over the years for performance reasons. Examples of this shape include the OneDrop O-Shape Benchmark, A-RT Grail, and CLYW Peak 2.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, a hard ‘V’ shape tends to be found on more competition-worthy yoyos. The higher allocation of weight on the rim means the yoyo can spin harder and longer, thus decreasing the need for as many binds (which leaves more time for tricks, speaking in a competitive setting). Because of the ‘low wall’, the string rubs against the yoyo less, indirectly increasing the spin times, as well as making the yoyo more inclined for horizontal/change of plane tricks. Examples of this shape include the YYR Draupnir, YYJ Phenom, and OneDrop V-Shape Benchmark.

The other variations in shapes (W and H being the most notable) are in the middle, with the typical modern yoyo leaning more to the ‘V’ shape than ‘O’.

I personally prefer ‘W’ and rounded ‘V’ shapes as hard 'V’s usually aren’t too comfortable. It’s always nice to have an assorted collection, though.


The B Grade Pivot is an example of a comfy V shape.

The modified or rounded V has softer edges at the rim, and by “more comfortable” they mean that when it comes back to your hand (or other body part) at warp speed it won’t sting quite so much. Or they could be talking about just the general feel of the yoyo as you hold it in your hand. In either case, the rounded V is going to be more forgiving. Also, and I have no empirical evidence to back this up, I feel like the rounded V shapes perform a little better than a straight V

Organic (O-shape) is my favorite. They feel nicest in-hand. I didn’t enjoy them as much when I was first learning, but now I’m much better at keeping the yoyo on plane and hitting the string more cleanly, so I don’t really have an issue with spin times or stability. I liked v shapes when I was first learning since they’re a lot more forgiving, and I sometimes go back to them if I’m trying to learn something new. In general most of them just feel too sharp or something.

Yeah, the o shapes definitely look very comfy. I’m still cleaning a lot of the simple things up at times though. So, I’m sure I’ll enjoy that shape a little further down the road, when I’m more consistent.

That’s interesting how the shapes affect play.

Yes, the rounded V shape looks much more comfortable on the catch than a harder V.
At some point, I’ll likely try an H shape, but a type of rounded edge V or similar will probably be more helpful for me since I haven’t been throwing long, and the wider target will be helpful.

Shapes affect play to an extent, but there are many, many more factors that contribute to how a yo-yo is than simply the profile.

Agreed. The more I play and research, the more evident all the different variables become. The profile is (was) a part I just had not found too much info on, previously.

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I’d say it is a good idea to own a “strong” or pure example of each basic shape.


I’m very partial to strong H shapes myself!

Beyond shape, there is

  • weight
  • diameter
  • weight distribution
  • material (POM, 6061, 7075, 7068, Ti, bimetal)

… all of which can have a huge effect on play.

And most yoyos are combinations of the above shapes anyway. I personally feel one of the reasons the Shutter works so well (though IMHO the Wide Angle Shutter is better still) is that it’s such a pleasing hybrid of all the WHOV shapes at once:


I’d also say the “bell” shape has become quite prevalent, another hybrid shape that plays reliably great, a little O, a little W, a little V…


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I’m an H and O shape kinda guy. I love the way organic feels more than anything, but I really only enjoy the shape for more lowkey and casual throwing. If I am trying to practice more complicated tricks with a lot of tech or just long motions, I go for H shaped. Just something about it feels really nice on the string.

Yeah, So far, It seems like I’m gravitating toward H-ish shapes and their hybrids. Although my favorite throw right now is my SK —is that more rounded-V?? . Either way…Man, I dig that thing.

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Yeah hard H shape really works for me. I consider the Kuntosh by OneDrop kinda the archetypal hard H example. Or anything from iYoYo :wink:

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Ha! Funny you mention that. I’ve always thought the Hydra looked like it would be really enjoyable.

Everyone seems to like H-shapes a lot and it made me realize that I’ve never thrown one. Any recommendations for a budget H-shape yoyo that would give me an idea of if I like their playstyle?

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My go-to on intro to strong H shapes is the Sesh. Love it. That or a HiDRA, maybe Paolista, maybe Abduction, and of course a used Kuntosh? Others might have strong H suggestions as well.

Thank you for the suggestions! I have some investigating to do.