If you hit the slopes often and have graduated from renting skis to owning your own pair, taking care of them is essential, and with the right gear, the task at hand can be elevated from a chore to a pleasure.
Caring for your skis not only helps ensure they’re good to go as soon as you clip them on. It’s also an opportunity to reflect on the best of your skiing memories, which inevitably involve feeling exhilarated, capable, and connected to nature.
But like skiing itself, caring for your skis necessitates the right gear. This is where ski tuning equipment comes in. Here, we consider some of the best ski tuning equipment kits on the market, plus a detailed buying guide that goes over all the essential pieces your kit should contain (and other important ski tuning equipment considerations).
The Best Ski Tuning Equipment
First and foremost, Demon United’s Hyper Speed tuning kit comes with a lifetime warranty on the iron, which is potentially the most costly and important element in the kit. In addition to the iron, which is temperature adjustable and dual voltage, the kit contains a tuning instruction guide, over a pound of any temperature wax, scrapers and files, four different brushes, a tuning stone, an edge turner, white and black P-tex, a polish pad, and two carrying cases.
The kit has two 10-millimeter brushes: one brass, the other nylon. There are also smaller horse hair and wire brushes.
The vast majority of reviewers give this ski tuning kit five stars. Some love the wax and base cleaner, while others report that they’re not the best quality. Others note that they wish the one heavy duty case, which has a carrying strap, internal open tool pockets, and mesh pockets for securing smaller items, accommodated the entire kit (instead, the brushes go in a separate pouch). Users also point out that you may want to put a Sharpie in your case and will probably need to invest in ski or snowboard vises, which are not included.
- Comes with more than a pound of wax
- Iron is covered by lifetime warranty
- Includes numerous brushes and files
- Wax may not be the highest quality
- Only includes one wax option
- Heavy duty case doesn’t accommodate brushes
- Adjustable temperature iron included
- Comprehensive kit
- Made-in-the-U.S. Hyper X Wax
- Brand: Demon United
- Piece Count: 16+
Demon United is doing something right to make our roundup twice. This slightly more streamlined kit actually includes four types of wax but not the larger brass, nylon, and horse hair brushes. It also comes with binding replacement hardware and ski brake retainers, which are not in the Hyper Speed ski tuning equipment.
You’ll get to enjoy four of Demon United’s wax options: White Lightning, modified hydrocarbon, Orange Crush, and Blue Blur wax. Some of these are for use in specific temperature ranges, and they offer better results than the any temperature wax, which is all you get with the Hyper Speed kit. It comes with a dual voltage iron, too, which is stored outside the significantly smaller carrying case.
One reviewer calls this kit an "insane value" and most agree that it’s a great kit with everything you need for a good price. Some note that the carrying case could be a bit higher quality, but skiers agree that the quality contents are worth it, especially considering the wax options.
- Binding replacement hardware is included
- Includes temperature-specific wax options
- Wax is guaranteed to smell great
- Bag quality isn’t as high as some buyers expected
- Case doesn’t accommodate iron
- Kit doesn’t include all the brushes you might need
- Compact but comprehensive ski tuning kit
- Includes adjustable temperature iron
- Comes with more than a pound of wax
- Brand: Demon United
- Piece Count: 12+
For about half the price of the Demon United ski tuning equipment we’ve considered, you can treat yourself to a 4.5-star-rated kit from XCMAN, which has everything you need -- except the iron. That’s right, you’ll get well-made horsehair, nylon, and brass brushes, P-tex, multiple files and scrapers, universal wax, and an attractive rigid carrying case with a handle.
This is a great setup if you already own an iron that’s dedicated for use on your skis, or are going to tinker with your skis in someone else’s shop and don’t want to use up their wax, P-tex, et cetera.
While 80 percent of reviewers give this compact kit five stars, some have complained that the plexiglass scraper isn’t sturdy enough or that their purchase came with the wrong kind of wax. That said, people love the case and appreciate that there’s actually room inside for additional items like Swix hot wax.
- Sturdy, water-resistant carrying case
- Multiple well-made brushes
- Case holds everything included in the kit
- Only includes one wax option
- Some buyers’ kits have come with the wrong kind of wax
- Plexiglass scraper may not be strong enough for ongoing use
- Compact case WITHOUT an iron
- Lower price point
- Brand: XCMAN
- Piece Count: 9+
One piece of ski tuning equipment we haven’t touched on yet? Ski vises, which hold your skis in place while you work on them, making the process infinitely easier.
Most folks buy their vises separately, but if you want to purchase all your essentials at once, RaceWax’s Complete Ski Wax Tuning Kit is the perfect option. Yes, it’s twice as much as Demon United’s kits, but it has a five-star rating and comes with everything you need to get to work: adjustable vises, brushes, temperature specific wax, files, scrapers, a Swix Gumi Stone, and, of course, an iron.
When this kit arrives, you’re equipped to get to work on your skis. Of course, if you need a little guidance, you can consult RaceWax’s videos; a web link will come in your kit. Reviewers appreciate the videos and call the kit a tremendous value despite its higher price point. We also appreciate that RaceWax has taken the time to answer prospective buyers’ questions on the product’s Amazon listing.
Note that the included SKS sharpening tool left scuff marks on the base of one buyer’s skis. If this is a concern for you, they recommend upgrading to a Toko or Swix sharpener instead. Also, some buyers have added additional files/diamond stone grits to their sets.
- Includes ski vises
- Comes with temperature specific wax
- Responsive Amazon seller
- Higher price point
- SKS scraper could scratch your ski bases
- Would benefit from additional files/diamond stone grits
- Comprehensive ski tuning kit
- Larger carrying case/bag than other options reviewed
- Brand: RaceWax
- Piece Count: 16+
We had to include this cheeky and affordable ski tuning equipment kit because, honestly, no one wants to eat yellow snow. Even if you made that mistake in childhood a time or two, now that you’re a ski-owning adult, you know better, and this kit will help ensure that doesn’t happen (or happen again) without a big investment or any bells and whistles you don’t need.
All the components of the kit (which, surprisingly, includes three types of wax, plus a base-polishing cork bar, a polishing cloth, and a plexi scraper) fit in the cheeky Don’t Eat Yellow Snow carrying case.
Buyers like this ski tuning equipment despite its relative simplicity and call it very giftable and a good starter kit, noting that the carrying case/pouch has room to accommodate more wax and additional tools.
- Highly rated
- Includes three types of wax
- Could make a great gift for the skier in your life
- Doesn’t include an iron or brushes
- Won’t support major tune ups
- Affordable ski tuning equipment option
- Base-polishing cork bar
- No frills -- just the basics
- Brand: Don’t Eat Yellow Snow
- Piece Count: 6+
Ski Tuning Equipment Buying Guide
If you’re looking to buy a ski tuning equipment kit, odds are you’re venturing into ski tuning territory for the first time. Veterans are more likely to have purchased a kit some time ago and continue building it out with individual pieces of equipment — or replacement pieces — and wax as needed.
With that in mind, here’s a rundown of ski tuning equipment essentials that will help you decide which kit is right for you. Note that ski tuning is a complex process. It’s best to learn from videos or someone well versed in the matter. No matter how high-quality or comprehensive a kit is, it can’t make up for lack of knowledge about how to take good care of your skis, especially when it comes to scraping, filing, and applying wax and P-tex — all of which ultimately affects your safety and enjoyment on the slopes!
Ski Tuning Wax
If you’re accustomed to renting skis, it all seems so easy! Grab them from the counter, snap your boots in, and head for the lift! But gliding down the slopes is actually dependent not only on the skis being the right size/length, but the right wax being applied to them in the right amount. As D’Arcy McLeish of Last Frontier Heliskiing points out in his article on the importance of wax, “Wax creates a lubricant on the base of your ski so it can glide smoothly on the surface of the snow. The warmer or older the snow, the softer the wax is needed.”
This is why ski tuning equipment kits come with wax — and why some of them come with temperature specific wax. While some folks are happy with all-temperature wax, it isn’t as good for your skis or your glide, so you may prefer to invest in a kit that will come with temperature specific wax, or order a bit of it on the side to add to your kit.
Not all irons are created equal, and the one you have in your clothing closet at home could scald your wax of choice or the base of your skis. For this reason, those who want to take the best care of their skis (which are usually a costly investment to begin with) should invest in a waxing iron. Many kits come with irons, and some even work at multiple voltages so you can use them across continents if you’re lucky enough to be jet-setting for your ski getaways. You’ll notice that waxing irons don’t have steam holes in them as clothing irons do, which means no wax getting jammed inside (and potentially ruining your clothes later).
Files And Scrapers
A file can be used to keep your scraper in top shape, and the scraper is used to remove excess wax from your skis before brushing begins. Again, this is a process, and high-quality tools help you execute it with ease, and hopefully some enjoyment.
The bottoms of your skis have little channels that need to be cleared to push moisture out to their edges to keep you moving. This is where the brushes come in. After excess wax is scraped away, the brushes clear the channels, and they’re used in a specific order, typically finishing with polishing horsehair. If a given equipment set doesn’t come with the brushes you’ll need, you may have to invest in them down the line.
P-Tex, or polyethylene, is the material used to make the base of most skis, and it’s the material used to plug holes in the bases, too. Ski tuning kits often come with sticks of P-tex that can be burned, melted, and used to patch up holes and gouges. Keep in mind that there is a technique behind this. Study up, practice on a pair of skis you aren’t worried about damaging, or invite someone who knows about ski tuning to supervise your efforts and provide guidance.
You can try to secure your skis by other means, but those who regularly tune their equipment know that dedicated ski vises make a world of difference. They attach to a workbench or countertop and your skis, securing them so you can do all that ironing, scraping, and polishing without trying to hold them in place.
Few ski tuning equipment kits come with vises, so seek out a set that does or invest in them separately.
Obviously, life is easier when you can put all your ski tuning equipment in a case that keeps it organized and protected. Note that some cases fit all the included equipment and have extra organizing features, like pockets and loops, while others don’t have enough room to accommodate everything. Choose your equipment kit accordingly, and be open to the possibility of buying another case or bag if you like a kit but know the carrying case might not be right for you.