Yoyo Reviews are kind of useless

(Former National 4A Champion) #1

The title needs a bit of explanation. I do not mean that all parts of a review are going to be useless. I do mean that some of the terms used in many reviews do not tell anything about the yoyo. Let me give you an example: the term ‘Floaty’. I myself am not sure of the meaning of this word, but I think (correct me if I am wrong) it means that the yoyo is fast and light. I am taking physics, so I have some issues with this definition. According to physics, when a rigid body moves (forgetting about collisions for a moment), it moves as if all its mass were at its center of mass, regardless of how its weight is distributed. Thus, when a yoyo is said to be fast, all that says is that it is light. Thus, ‘Floaty’ is redundant.
Let us look at the big yo. It seems really light, but if you look at the weight of 75 grams, you might be surprised. The reason for this is that the big yo is so large. Perhaps ‘floaty’ means light compared to its size.

Revised Definition of how ‘Floaty’ a yoyo is: How light a yoyo is compared to how large it is.

So floaty depends on the size and weight of a yoyo, both of which can be found in the specs of a yoyo.
Thus, the term floaty is useless. The same goes for the term ‘Solid’.

If you have any problems with this, don’t hesitate to tell me.



If you are looking into buying a yoyo, you should look at reviews to confirm the quality of the yoyo.

(Former National 4A Champion) #3

I agree completely. You should look at a review to find how smooth a yoyo is, and how long it spins, but when reviews tell how floaty or solid a yoyo is, they are just telling you something you could find in the specs of the yoyo.


Yeah, it might have NOTHING to do with play, but maybe the quality of the bearings, anodization, and features of the yoyo.

I am always looking around at reviews. I find them VERY helpful.


There’s so much more to it than that. Weight distribution affects how heavy it feels more than its actual mass does. Then there’s a bunch of rotational dynamics you need to take into account.

I don’t know that much physics, but I know enough to know that you’re only talking about the tip of the iceberg. Stuff’s complicated.

I thought this post was going to go in a different direction, about how everything is personal, and a review can’t really tell you what YOU’ll think of the yoyo. Everyone goes nuts for the CLYW Peak, and I find it a completely boring throw. But there are still some absolutes you can glean from a review, like what its grind surface is like, how responsive it is out of the box, etc. But anyway, off-topic.


It’s probably too boring to you because you are going way too deep into this.

Yoyos are not completely about physics. They are about having fun.

So if a review will help me decide if a yoyo looks fun enough, then I support Reviews.

(Former National 4A Champion) #7

The rotational physics has nothing to do with how fast or slow a yoyo is. It only affects spin time.


It’s often been brought up that the term “floaty” seems to have a different definition depending on who you ask. It usually refers to the feeling that the some yoyos have where it seems like the yoyo has more air time. Fast yoyos are often not floaty as the floaty feeling actually slows down their play. Solid yoyos normally feel heavy on the string.

Simply looking at the specs will not tell you how a yoyo plays. Weight distribution has a huge affect on how a yoyo plays. I’m no physicist but I have a feeling there’s more to yoyo physics than you’ve considered.

I’m guessing you haven’t played all that many yoyos to be familiar with how different yoyos feel on the string. I guess to some extent this validates part of the point you were making, as yoyo reviews are probably most useful to people who don’t have access to many yoyos, but terms like “floaty” and “solid” don’t mean a lot to these people. There’s still plenty of other useful information in reviews that makes them worthwhile.


Fine, but I’m just saying that two yoyos of the same diameter, width and weight will not necessarily play identically. I agree that the term ‘floaty’ is not the best example of an adjective that will help me decide if I want to buy a yoyo.

lol I was just expanding on what the OP said - I don’t normally think about yoyos in terms of physics.


There’s a lot more going on concerning speed, float, agility, sleep time, etc., than just size and weight. Weight distribution can affect all of those things.

The more experience you have with different yoyos, the more apparent this will become.


I, too, have a bit of a thing about the word “floaty”… it’s so danged vague. In the time I’ve been on this board, I’ve seen one really good discussion about it, but I don’t recall the link.

Suffice it to say, the way a yoyo hits the end of the string is also partly informed by other things such as rotational forces and (to a rather large extent, actually!) gap size and response (type and condition).

You’re totally right that two yoyos moving through the air from point A to point B with all other factors being equal except weight distribution… will still feel the same. The weight distribution will not magically change the overall mass whatsoever! People who think otherwise, as if the yoyo is somehow suspended in the air longer… need to rethink their position.

However, if a yoyo hits the end of the string gracefully, it will have more of this vague property we call “float”. Heck, unbeknownst to the thrower, the amount of bounce in a string will also affect what they think of as floaty. A string that manages to just reach its apex of stretch at a certain weight will contribute to this “floaty” feeling.

I think what you’re saying… and I agree… is that “floaty” is a nebulous term and is the result of too many factors to take too seriously in a review.






You have a point, but considering that you are rather new, I think you need 1 thing made clear (you did say that you were not 100 percent sure what floaty meant). Floaty is the amount of… Float a yoyo has. Yes. Ok for real let me explain that float is the quality that measures how long a yoyo will sort of hang while being played, so like how long it will stay in the air when hopped (a minute difference, but it feels significant. It has nothing to do with speed, and the h5, a large, 71 gram yoyo, has more float than yoyos that weigh ten or more grams less. It is all about weight distribution. If I made a yoyo with an aluminum core and plastic rims, it would be floaty. If I got a yoyo of the same weight but with aluminum rims and plastic core, it would feel a lot more solid.


Alas, phil, that’s not clarifying things and contains incorrect data. :wink:

What Philip is saying is exactly the opposite of your claim: there is no such thing as the “hang time” changing given identical mass, no matter the material used or the weight distribution.

Two yoyos of identical weight, launched with the same conditions (velocity, angle, environment; everything) will stay in the air exactly the same amount of time.

This is why the term “float” becomes nebulous… because it’s an intangible and incalculable property… as my examples tried to show, it’s actually more of a mental thing. If a yoyo comes gracefully to the end of a string (and then usually directly into a combo!) it will probably have a seamless easy feeling to it versus one that comes to the end with a “thunk”. This feeling carries through the entire combo and a mental association is formed… the positive connotations of that gracefulness translate through the entire experience of playing with that yoyo.

To accomodate people who don’t even LIKE “floaty” yoyos: the heavier (pure weight; not distribution) a yoyo is, the more likely the weight becomes the dominant influence in this feeling. A heavy mother of a yoyo is still going to “thunk” regardless of response, gap, etc. A heavier yoyo is also going to require more effort to “hop”, and it when coming down on a string, will have more presence (well, weight!) to contend with. These things all contribute to a particular “solid” feeling while playing it. It’s slightly easier to control hops with a heavier yoyo (not to MAKE the yoyo hop… it’s heavier… but to control those hops). It’s easier to get physical feedback that the yoyo is in position for the next part of the trick… etc…

You can have lighter yoyos that are not “floaty”, but we all have to admit that despite the vagueness of the term, lighter yoyos TEND to be ones we describe as “floaty”, and with some notable exceptions, heavy yoyos TEND to be the ones that are “solid on the string”.


Nice explanation GregP.

When you hop a yo-yo, base weight is all that matters for the feel of the yoyo. Any hang time differences you perceive are probably due to the sound of the yoyo, the character of the vibrations, and anything else your brain throws into the equation. Any two yoyos hopped with the same velocity will follow identical trajectories and have the same hang time.

Weight distribution affects the feel of the initial throw, tricks that involve tilting the yoyo, spin time, and the bind (all of which are of course significant). The feel of hops and basic string hits aren’t really affected by weight distribution, just weight.

Yeah, the term floaty does nothing for me.


Yeah that makes more sense. Sorry about my lack of clarity, I was typing on my phone


Did y’all see the yoyonews yoyo review? Finally someone adopts a rating rubric!

Maybe this is a move towards more “useful” yoyo reviews.

Also, “floaty” is a perception, and is hence needfully vague. The consensus seems to say it means a yoyo appears lighter in play than it is. Take the Peak, for example, its weight (target, but not always) is ~67 grams. However, it was considered classically “floaty”. The Peak has lots of rim weight, but substantial center weight as well. The result is a balanced, “floaty” feel. New CLYW use the double rims to distribute the weight in the same region, balanced in mid-rim, rather than straddle that region with plenty of outer rim and center weight. Either way, it appears to me that “floaty” yo-yos are those that tend to focus or balance weight across the middle of the rim instead of outer rim weight (like pretty much all YYR) or center-weighting that gives a more boat-anchor feel.

Ask me in a couple months and I’ll change my mind, but for now…


center weight = “boat anchor” (typical for small and dense yo-yos, extreme would be a Pop Star)

weight balanced on mid-rim (either by centering the weight there or straddling it via outer rim weight and center weight) = “floaty” (Peak, Northstar)

outer rim weight = “solid” (Yoyorecreation)


Gah. As a former teacher, I can say zat zees rubric… she means nussink! A rubric has to explain what is mean by a 1, 3, 5, or whatever. Otherwise it’s still just arbitrary. Although not everybody will have access to a baseline yoyo, an examplar is a must.

(Steve Brown) #19

Realistically, the best you can hope for from a yoyo review is that something in there resonates with you, and turns you either towards or away from a purchase because it gives you a slightly better idea what you’re getting in to. A warning about sub-standard quality is useful, an explanation of “what tricks it’s good for” (as one angry FB comment demanded of the YoYoNews reviews recently) is impossible.

A good review should lay out a clear and unbiased assessment of quality, an informed idea of play characteristics from as high a level of play as possible, and leave the reader either interested or ready to move along.

The reality of modern metal yoyos is that most of them play just fine. The difference from one to the next is an amalgam of preferences. Modern yoyo reviews should help you whittle down your options a bit, but mostly they are there for the same reason as reviews of anything else: people want their own expectations and biases confirmed.

I’m working with our reviewers to produce a better explanation of the rubric, I just haven’t had time yet to take all their notes and edit them into one cohesive explanation. Maybe some time this week.


GregP: Agreed on rubric being arbitrary. However, if one persons uses one over the course of a few different reviews a baseline will establish itself. Especially if the reviewed yoyos are familiar.

The “name” sites’ yoyo reviews are typically uncritical. With a rubric there is the hope that more actual criticism would come into play.