If you grew up in the 90s, you will no doubt remember the yo-yo craze that seemed to hit every playground in the UK as kids tried to perfect tricks like walking the dog, rocking the baby and countless others. While it may not reach those heights, thousands of people around the world are having fun with yo-yos again, and if you look up some of the trick tutorials on YouTube, the views the top videos are getting proves it!
Yo-yos are a great example of something that is simple and easy to pick up but hard to master and are a great way of teaching a child those all-important hand-eye coordination skills. To help you find the right product, we've picked out some of the best brands for beginners and aspiring professionals like Duncan, Yomega and Yoyo King, all available to buy on Amazon and eBay.
When looking for the right yo-yo, there are a few things to consider to make sure you pick the right option for your skill level. We'll take a look through the most common shapes and designs and the different axel types that are used, as well as the material the toy itself is made from.
Yo-yos come in three main designs relating to the shape of the toy itself, each of which lends itself to different types of trick or general play. Choosing the right shape comes down to what you enjoy doing most with your yo-yo, as well as your aesthetic preference. Read on for the lowdown on each!
If you couldn't guess from the name, the classic design is how most people imagine a yo-yo and hasn't deviated much in terms of shape since it first gained popularity in the United States in the 1930s. It's comprised simply of two circular discs held together by a metal axel, with the outer edge being curved and the inner flat.
As this design has been around for centuries, nearly all the classic yo-yo tricks were developed with this shape in mind. Using a classic design can make some string-based tricks (like rocking the baby) more difficult, meaning that they're not as beginner-friendly as some other designs. However, they are more suitable for looping and spinning tricks.
Flared gap, or winged, designs have a wide V-like shape to help you catch the yo-yo on the string, which is a common technique used in many tricks like the trapeze or splitting the atom. These types of tricks are the most popular, so it's no surprise to see flared gap yo-yos dominating the market – they're easily the most popular design around today.
While they are great for beginners, it is worth noting that with enough practise, all tricks are able to be performed by other yo-yo designs. This means that you can always choose to move onto classic or modified designs once you've progressed to the more intermediate and advanced techniques.
Many modern yo-yos feature what is referred to as a modified design which, in simple terms, is an updated version of the classic design that features a wider gap and rounded inside edges. This makes it easier to catch the yo-yo on the string while retaining the ability to easily do looping and spin tricks.
If you're only planning on owning a single yo-yo from beginner to expert and want to try your hand at the full range of tricks on offer, then we'd recommend picking up one with a modified design as it's a great all-rounder. They do tend to cost a little more, but not by any serious amount.
When looking at how easy certain tricks are to perform, it is important to have the right type of axle as it determines how well a yo-yo spins. Standard yo-yos have what is known as a fixed axle, which is a simple wooden or metal axle that is fixed to the sides of the toy.
If you're looking for some extra spin, you may want to consider a ball-bearing or transaxle yo-yo which have a lot less friction than a simple fixed axle allowing for much longer spin times. Many yo-yos on the market today will have this axel type as longer spin times are often desired.
You'll then want to determine whether you want your yo-yo to wake up and return to your hand automatically or not. Most yo-yos will have a clutch mechanism to do this, but you may want to opt for a non-responsive axle which is necessary for certain modern tricks. Be warned, however, that you'll need to know some advanced techniques in order to get the most out of this option.
Material-wise, most yo-yos tend to come in either wood, plastic, or metal. If you're looking to keep it old school, wooden yo-yos have a vintage feel and may become something of a collectable in the future, but if you're focused on impressing with your tricks, a plastic or metal option is a better choice.
Most yo-yos on the market today are made of plastic as it's cheap, light and durable. If you're after a great performance for little investment, plastic is the way to go. Plus, you won't have to worry about damaging the toy by practising difficult tricks as they'll be more than sturdy enough to take a few bumps and scrapes.
Metal yo-yos tend to be more expensive than their wooden or plastic counterparts, but have a little more weight to them which can result in a longer spin time. They're also much more unique, so if you're looking to stand out from the crowd, you may want to consider a metal option.
While it doesn't affect performance in a technical sense, you'll want the right colour and style when performing all the skills and tricks you've spent hours mastering to create that extra wow factor. It's also just nice to have something that's your favourite colour, or if you're planning on displaying a collection, it's worth thinking about the aesthetics.
Luckily, yo-yos come in all manner of colours and styles from bright matte to translucent plastic and shiny metals. Whether you want to see the internal workings of a centrifugal clutch or just want an eye-catching red one, there's an option out there for everyone.
Now you've had a chance to look through all the different types of yo-yos, it's time to take a look at our top 10 list. Whether you're a complete beginner, you're looking for a way to get your child doing something more active or you want to see if you can still around the world like you could ten years ago, there's something for you below.
|Colours||Black, red, blue, gold|
|Colours||Blue, red, green, orange, pink|
|Colours||Blue, red, greed|
|Axle||Ball bearing, non-responsive and responsive options|
|Axle||Ball bearing, clutch|
|Colours||Red, blue, green|
|Colours||Black, red, blue, green|
|Axle||Ball bearing, clutch|
|Colours||Clear, red, green|
|Colours||Blue, red, purple, yellow|
|Axle||Ball bearing, clutch|
|Colours||Blue, teal, red|
The Original Brain
DV888 Metal Yo-Yo
The Overall Best for All Levels
An Updated and Improved Classic
Perfect for Beginners Looking to Learn Spin Tricks
A Sound Choice When Moving From Intermediate to Advanced
This Modified Butterfly Makes a Great First Yo-Yo
One for the Professionals
Another of the True Original Designs
The Original Yo-Yo Design From 1929
This Metal Design Is Worth Experiencing at Some Point
Optimised for Performance by Advanced Users
|Shape||Modified||Flared gap||Modified||Modified||Modified||Flared gap||Flared gap||Classic||Flared gap||Flared gap|
|Axle||Ball bearing, clutch||Ball bearing||Ball bearing, clutch||Transaxle||Ball bearing, clutch||Ball bearing, non-responsive and responsive options||Fixed||Fixed||Ball bearing||Ball bearing|
|Colours||Blue, teal, red||Blue, red, purple, yellow||Clear, red, green||Black, red, blue, green||Red, blue, green||Blue, red||Blue, red, greed||Blue, red, green, orange, pink||Black, red, blue, gold||Black|
Unlike back in the day, we're lucky enough to have a wealth of resources at our fingertips to help us master all sorts of yo-yo tricks from the simple to the mind-blowing. This video sums up the 10 best tricks to get you started and is a must-watch for any beginner!
Yo-yos are one of those classic creations that transcend generations and can be a great pastime to pick up at any point in your life. Check out some of our suggestions below for more fun toys and games to try out no matter your age!
We hoped you've enjoyed looking through our top 10 list of the best yo-yos available online in the UK and have seen something you like. Whether you're planning on becoming a master trickster or you just want to have fun playing with one, we wish you all the best in your yo-yoing endeavours!
Author: David Sexton
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