When a Pilipino migrant first introduced yoyo in the United States in the early 20th century, it became an instant hit and since then has been one of the most popular toys all around the globe.
There are so many brands and variants of yoyo available in the market today. So, it’s easy for you to get confused regarding which one to choose.
That's why we are here to discuss the best yoyos and give some practical guidelines to the beginners so that you can choose the right one for you.
Let’s dive in!
Types of Yoyos
Interestingly, the first-ever mention of this toy can be traced back to Ancient Greece, almost 2500 years ago! In modern time, many variations of yoyo have been introduced; the difference depends on the size, weight, shape, string, material, axle, and the response of a yoyo.
All these are responsible for different kinds of tricks, which can be played by this toy. So, different types of it are suitable for different types of tricks.
Following are some types of yoyos based on the factors mentioned earlier.
They are the typical, circular-shaped yoyos. A good option for the beginners, but you can’t do many tricks with it, only a few looping. You can’t make it sleep. It comes back to your hand after each delivery.
As you can assume, they are shaped like butterflies. It is considered the best-selling string-trick yoyo of all time. It is designed for beginners to learn basic string-tricks. Butterfly yoyo has a steel axle and wide string gap, which helps to land the yoyo very quickly.
They are called automatic for a reason, once you throw the yoyo; it sleeps for a while and then automatically returns to the hand without any need to tug the string. It is very easy to play with for the novices, but we won’t suggest it to you if you want to be a more expert yoyoist.
It is for the very serious yoyoists. In these yoyos, the string is tied to the finger of a player, but not to the yoyo, which makes it very difficult to play with. The basic design of off-string yoyos is usually flared and has wide string gaps, which helps to catch and land the yoyo on the string more easily.
What to Look for Before Buying?
Buying a yoyo isn’t so hard, right? But in reality, a newbie might get confused, as there are so many types of yoyo available in the market. There are several factors one should consider before buying a yoyo.
Here are the ones:
There are three types of forms available for a yoyo.
These are the old fashioned, circular ones, also known as the Traditional or the Imperial yoyo. They have a narrow string gap in between their body, which makes it hard to do the string tricks. But they are suitable for looping tricks. They are handy and sleek so that one can carry them around easily.
It is the inverted version of the classically shaped yoyo. So they have a full string gap in between their body, which helps it to land back comfortably on the string while it is spinning. Which results in allowing the player to do many beautiful string-tricks. It is a good shape for the beginners and thus dominates the market.
Also known as the Modern or Flywheel yoyo. It is the combination of Classic and Butterfly shaped yoyos. It has a narrow string gap, sometimes more narrow than the classic ones. They are suitable for looping tricks. These toys are quite heavy, which helps them to sleep for a long time.
Based on their responsiveness, yoyos are of two types.
Like the traditional yoyos, the responsive yoyos come up with a little tug. Responsible yoyos are a better option for the beginners, as they need less effort and skill to make them return to hand.
Responsive yoyos can also be divided into two types: Automatic Response Yoyo and Manual Response Yoyo. Automatic ones come back automatically when the yoyo reaches the end of the string due to its clutch mechanism.
2. Unresponsive Yoyo
These yoyos sleep for a long time and don't come back to the hand so quickly. There is a technique called Bind, which makes the unresponsive yoyo go back to the player's hand. These toys are better for the advanced level players, as they can perform many tricks using prolonged sleeping time.
Size matters when it comes to yoyo, it helps to do different types of tricks, and so you should consider the size of a yoyo before buying one.
50mm to 55mm are the most common sizes you will find in the stores, they have the best balance for doing the usual string tricks.
Below 50mm yoyos are suitable for performing more tricky string plays, for example, the 3A string tricks. These tiny ones are easy to carry around yoyos, fit smoothly in your pocket, but take a lot of effort to master them.
Above 60mm is considered a bit gigantic for a yoyo, it is tough to play with them. But the players who play the 4A and few other loop tricks prefer these oversized toys.
You'll generally find three elements which are used to build the main body of a yoyo: Wood, Plastic and Metal.
Wooden yoyos are the most traditional ones; they can spin fast but have less stability. They are generally very low-priced so that you can give them to your small kids without much hesitation.
Plastic yoyos are inexpensive and durable; they are useful for learning the basic string and loop tricks.
In the past, some cheap polycarbonate plastic yoyos were made, which used to crack easily. But now the quality and strength of plastic have also increased. As a result, you don't need to worry much when you are buying a plastic yoyo anymore. The weight distribution of these toys is also impressive.
Metallic yoyos are the most durable and have the best stability of spin. Aluminum alloy is the most common metal used in these toys. They have the best weight distribution. The only problem is they are more expensive than the others.
String and Other Feature
You can use the most standard Type 8 Cotton yoyo string for your yoyo; it is the string, which is being used since yoyo became popular. There is also polyester made lines available, which lasts more than the cotton ones. A 100cm to 110 cm is a right length for your strings.
You need to replace your string regularly if you are a steady player. Strands become greasy with regular usage and thus weaken the performance. There are different colors of strings available in stores, so you don't always have to buy the boring white ones.
Another thing, which is sometimes necessary, is yoyo oil. It helps to smoothen the strings. But keep in mind; over-lubricating will make the yoyos spin unstable and also will make the line dirty.
10 Best Yoyo Reviews
Here, we’re going to tell you about the finest yoyos on the market. Let’s begin.
1. Yoyo King Green Merlin Professional Responsive Yoyo with Narrow C Bearing and Extra String:
Green Merlin by Yoyo King is a responsive yoyo. Many consider it to be the best yoyo for beginners, whereas many professional yoyoists also prefer it. Surprisingly, this is one of the least priced yoyos you will find in the market so that you can buy this toy for your kid without any hesitation.
When buying a new Green Merlin from any shop, you'll always get a unique yoyo string along with it. It is an excellent choice for the newbies to learn the standard yoyo tricks.
One can also smoothly perform Split the Atom, Brain-twister, The Double or Nothing, Trapeze, etc. advanced level tricks using this yoyo. This one’s weight is almost 64 grams, the width is approximately 38 mm, and the diameter is around 54 mm.
It has superb balance, stability, and long spin times. Also, it is easy to catch it on the string. It has a flared gap shape, which helps the yoyo to spin for a longer time by adding some weight to the outside edge.
This one’s silicone response system and small-sized ball bearing is another factor for increasing its spin time. The design may not be very appealing; the plastic used in it is durable enough, but not up to the mark when comparing it with the other present-day yoyos.
As we have stated earlier, it’s the best responsive yoyo for beginners. Apart from the design and durability issues, it has some outstanding features. You’ll rarely get any other such a piece of toy with an economy budget. So go, grab yours!
2. Duncan BUTTERFLY YO-YO (colors may vary)
Butterfly Yoyo by Duncan is a bestselling yoyo and incredibly popular item. Duncan first made these out of plastic back in 1960, before that they used to be made out of wood. It is designed for the beginner yoyoists to learn the string tricks like Walk the Dog, Rock the Baby, etc.
It's comprehensive, flared shaped feature allows the players to do the string tricks easily. It is a great, yet cheap choice for beginners to intermediate yoyoists. It comes with a high-quality nylon string. This thing’s weight is approximately 60 grams, width is around 37 mm, and the diameter is almost 56 mm.
It has been well known for its extraordinary performance. The metal axle helps the yoyo to spin more smoothly. And the flared design of this toy is another reason for it to turn fast. It can sleep for a long time.
The response is outstanding; it smoothly comes back to hand. It is also extremely low-priced, so it doesn't hurt much when it breaks!
This yoyo is made out of plastic with a fixed metal axle, which means the two sides doesn’t separate or unscrew. The yoyo becomes useless, once the shaft is broken.
The quality of its plastic is not satisfactory, breaks often and it has been a common complain by the users against it. The nylon string, which comes with this toy, is also severely reputed for cutting and hurting players hand.
Butterfly by Duncan is a proprietary designed yoyo since its first production was in the 1960s; it changed the whole dimension of the yoyo world.You’ll still find many professional yoyoists prefer this yoyo and keep it in their pocket, or even perform in competitions with it. Despite a few negative features, it is an excellent choice for yoyoists of all age.
3. Yomega Power Brain XP yoyo with Synchronized Clutch and Smart Switch
This one is the first-ever auto-return yoyo with the feature of an on/off Smart Switch, which enables the player to choose between manual and automatic return function with just the flick of a switch. This particular feature made Power Brain XP an instant hit in the yoyo market.
The weight of this yoyo is almost 69 grams, with a Width of 35.9mm and a diameter of 60.3mm. The Gap Width is 2.5mm.
It is designed for both beginner and intermediate players. Moreover, long spins are ensured by transaxle technology even in the manual mode. Then again, the beginners can use the auto-return method to build their skills. After acquiring some skills, the player can move to the manual-return way and try for the advanced level tricks.
XP is made out of profoundly durable polycarbonate. It is a beautifully designed yoyo, one side of it features a clear window cap, which clearly shows the gears and X logo on the other side. It is modular, so one can unscrew the parties to fix the tangles and lubricate the axle for better performance.
The axle used in XP is made out of plastic, so doesn't have any ball bearings. Which means there are few audible frictions, which of course can be reduced simply by applying some lube. The price of this toy isn't that low, as you can guess. So you better not give it to someone who doesn't know how to take care of it.
XP will always be considered as a landmark in Yoyo History; some even believe it to be the best yoyo in the world. You better keep it in your list of "Must Have" yoyos.
4. Unresponsive YOYO, Magicyoyo P.LOTOR Newest Design V1 Polished Alloy Aluminum Professional Yo-yo Ball
P. lotor V1 is the latest type of unresponsive toy, made by Magicyoyo. It is an Intermediate to Professional level yoyo, designed in such a way that yoyoists can perform the entire beginner to advanced tricks using this single yoyo. V1 is made from A1 standard aluminum, which gives it a shiny look and also makes it durable.
The large and full design makes it easy for yoyoists to perform some spectacular tricks. It has adopted a very rare, size C KK Bearing, which helps the yoyo to remain stable even when it revolves with high speed. This bearing also helps this one to hold a very long sleep time. Some consider it to be the best yoyo for sleeping.
This butterfly-shaped yoyo weighs 68 grams, has a width of 44.5mm and 57mm of diameter. The gap width is 4.3mm.
It is very light weighted and well balanced at the same time; barely has any vibration. It has an excellent, unique design; the color combination is excellent.
This package comes with some useful accessories. You'll get a gift package, one glove, three yoyo strings, and one mesh storage bag along with the yoyo. The price of this total package is also meager if you compare it with other yoyos of this kind.
It is a very advanced level yoyo, so not suitable for the newbies. Some find it a bit lightweight. The uncommon C KK Bearing used in this yoyo takes time and practice to get adopted with it.
This package can be an excellent gift for the intermediate to expert yoyists. Even if you have similar yoyos, we would still recommend you buy P. Lotor for its smoothness, long sleep time, and excellent finishing.
5. Duncan Metal Drifter Yo-Yo
Metal Drifter is another great unresponsive yoyo by Duncan. It has been redesigned thrice with minor improvements each time. Suitable for the intermediate players who are trying to improve their control over yoyos.
The body is made from precision-machined aluminum, so it is quite durable. Equipped with SG Stickers aka response pads, which increases the friction on both sides of the yoyo and thus facilitates it to return to the player's hand.
This butterfly-shaped yoyo has a vast structure along with wide string gap and has a high-speed ball-bearing axle. All these help Metal Drifter to deliver prolonged and smooth spins.
The weight of this aluminum toy is almost 61 grams. It has a diameter of 52.6 mm; width of 39.3 mm and the gap width is 3 mm.
It is one of the lowest-priced aluminum yoyos available in the market. When playing with it, you’ll find it to be a stable one; it has a light feel on the string.
You can make it responsive or unresponsive anytime by switching the bearing for a Size C, based on your level of expertise. It is straightforward to control, whenever you will want it to sleep, it will sleep. It generally returns to hand without any bind when it is new.
The metal body might hurt you if you are still a learner, so it is not a good option for you if you are new to yoyo. Another problem you might face with this yoyo is the return pad often wears out quickly, so you will eventually be forced to learn how to bind.
The yoyo is a genuine piece by Duncan; it is easier to throw and play with it, also quickly returns to your hand whenever you command. If you are a fan of the old freehand yoyos, you'll love it.
6. MAGICYOYO Silencer M001-B Yo-yo Ball Aluminum6061 Unresponsive Yo-yo
Silencer M001-B is an unresponsive alloy yoyo made by MAGICYOYO. Its body and weight rings are all made of Alloy 6061 with anodized for color, which gives it solid stability and the smoothest performance.
The package includes six-strong nylon strings, one yoyo glove, one yoyo holder, a user manual, and one M001 MAGICYOYO Black Yoyo. Its polished body is full and more prominent than the usual yoyos, improved to find the best balance and longer spin times.
High precision stainless steel T type bearing is used in it. Which not only makes the string to be in the exact center of the bearing but and also reduces the friction between the ball and the rope.
This butterfly-shaped yoyo is a light one which weighs approximately 66.5 grams. Diameter is almost 57 mm, the width is around 41 mm, and the gap width is nearly 4.5 mm.
One of the strongest yoyos ever made; you will need to make some relentless wrecking efforts to break it off. This yoyo’s high-speed stable spin and perfect symmetry help it to turn for a long time. The price is also reasonable.
Being an advanced level yoyo, not everyone will make the best play out of it unless he acquires some great skill of yoyoing. The durable aluminum body also can bring some minor injuries to the players while practicing.
This big-sized yoyo also doesn’t let the yoyoists to put it in their pocket quickly. And although it is one of the best yoyos for advance level tricks, when it comes to looping and a few other easy plays, it is terrible.
Lastly, we can say that it is an excellent toy for the intermediate and advanced level yoyoers, also one of the best choices for competition. But if you are a newbie, think of buying something else.
7. Duncan Yo-Yo Imperial (3) & Butterfly (3) Deluxe Gift Set Bundle - 6 Pack (Assorted Colors)
This bundle includes three Duncan Imperial Yoyos and three Duncan Butterfly Yoyos. We have talked about the Duncan Butterfly on top, so hopefully, it doesn’t need any further introduction.
Let's talk about Imperial for a while. It is the original and an excellent looping yoyo of all time, first introduced back in 1954.
It is one of those classic toys with which our parents or even grandparents might have played with. It has a narrow string gap, steel made axle for smooth spins and a bright-colored plastic body.
Imperial is one of the best yoyos for learning the basic yoyo tricks. This bundle is an excellent gift for beginners to intermediate yoyoers.
This is a very economical package. You can give it to almost anyone on any occasion. These are some beginner level yoyos, so if you gift them to the kids, they will learn the basic tricks quickly. Even if they break one or two while learning, there will always be few backup yoyos so that the learning process won't get hampered.
But you can never choose the colors of your yoyos in a bundle; sometimes you’ll find more than one same colored yoyo in the package. The plastic body of these classics is not very durable; so, it is a common complain against them that they get broken with pure drops. You cannot even fix them if once the axle is broken.
Finally, we can say that this bundle of yoyos is an excellent option for gifting the young ones, far better than the fidget spinners. At least it will help to improve their exceptional motor skill. You better think of giving these good yoyos as a gift to your kids on any future occasion.
8. Sidekick Yoyo Pro Light Blue & Black Reverse Splashes Responsive Professional Yo-Yo
This one is an Aluminum alloy built stunningly beautiful high-speed responsive yoyo. It is a professional yoyo; you’ll need to acquire some good skill before taking it in your hand. The design helps it to remain stable and provides prolonged spin time for performing longer combos.
It has a center trackball bearing, which means to control this yoyo the way you want to, you'll need to work extra hard. Also, it helps to improve your coordination and flexibility. And after playing with this toy, you'll notice the strength of your hand and wrist has increased!
Sidekick Pro is a tremendously fun skill-based product and considered among the best yoyos. It will take hours after hours of time and energy to get it under control. This yoyo weighs 65.5 grams. Diameter is 56.35 mm, and the width is 44.5 mm.
It is a beautifully designed toy. It was inevitable, and the designers knew very well that this yoyo would fall countless times. So they built it with Aluminum alloy to make it one of the toughest yoyos you'll find in the market. You cannot break it merely by accidentally throwing it at the floor.
You will find it a bit expensive to own one of them. Another thing we have stated earlier several times that this is a professional yoyo, newbies will find it impossible to play with it. It is built with Aluminum alloy, so it is a tough one.
The player needs to be extra cautious while playing with this toy; otherwise, it might damage his face or break things around if it slips from hand.
Sidekick Pro is an extremely professional yoyo; if you ever want to take part in the yoyo competitions, we would seriously recommend you buy a Sidekick Pro. It is a beauty, Yoyo Collectors as well should think of buying it to enrich your collection.
9. Compass Rose Yo-yo - Made in the USA
Now, this is a classic one! The Compass Rose Yoyo is made out of solid wood. It is an exemplary piece of craftsmanship. It has a non-toxic and durable finishing with a compass printed on one side.
This wooden yoyo is American. It is nicely made, and has a delicate weight balance, and works just fine. Some prefer it to plastic, ball bearings and metal yoyos.
The wood used in it is active, which makes this yoyo more durable than many of the lightweight plastic ones available in the market. It has the classic circular shape. It is perfect for the beginners; one can perform the necessary trick shots with it. It is about one and quarter inch thick, and the diameter is two and quarter inches.
You can also give it as a gift to almost anyone, from kids to even your grandparents. While kids will love it, your grandfather might get nostalgic.
It is a beginner level yoyo, and also a cheap one, so you can always give it to your kids to learn the necessary plays. The size is also fair enough; you can put it in your pocket and take it anywhere.
Being made of wood, it certainly can never tolerate the same stresses and abuse as the metal or plastic yoyos take. And once it is broken, it is broken forever. The axles are steel made, can’t be fixed. It comes with a short string; this is a regular complaint against this toy.
If you are looking for a yoyo with exceptional performance, it isn’t the right choice. As we have stated, it is a collectible. You can have fun with this toy for a while, but can never move to the next level of expertise with it. Ultimately it will take place in your showcase.
10. YoYo Factory-Replay Pro - Tough Poly-Carbonate, with a Center Trac Bearing.
Replay Pro is a beautifully designed unresponsive yoyo made by the YoYoFactory. It is the latest signature model for 2014 World Champion, Gentry Stein. Released in mid-2015, the YoYoFactory claims it took a year for them to design this model.
This toy comes with a Center Trac Bearing for advanced tricks and always set for the bind response. It is made out of solid and first-class polycarbonate. It also has large, slim silicone pads from CBC along with it. The plastic sleeve is placed over the axle for long smooth spins.
It has a rounded H-profile, along with an ultra-thick rim, which makes the wings pretty heavy. You may not expect this heaviness from a plastic-built yoyo. These heavy wings help the yoyo to spin for long.
The weight of this yoyo is 68 grams, with a diameter of 58.2 mm. The width is 44 mm, and the gap width is 4.5 mm.
Some great features of Replay Pro are: It is considered one of the best low-priced, high-performance yoyos of modern time. Pretty yoyo with a beautiful texture, adored by both boys and girls.
Since its release in 2015, it has become one of the most popular unresponsive yoyos. Yoyoers often play Pro in a competitive setting. Gentry Stein won the 2015 U.S. National Yoyo Contest playing with Replay Pro.
Some drawbacks of this yoyo are: It is an advance level yoyo, so not suitable for everyone. Some players complain of a slight noise, which of course can be ignored.
Gentry Stein’s long-term dream of creating a low-priced plastic yoyo with high-performance became fulfilled with the creation of Replay Pro. He proved its performance by winning the 2015 U.S. National Yoyo contest with it.
Anyone who wants to improve his yoyoing by learning unresponsive yoyo in a low budget, we highly recommend this yoyo to him.
Top YoYo Brands Available on Amazon
You will find more than hundred yoyo brands if you search for them online. But not all of them are producers of quality yoyos.
Some of them regularly create new yoyos with new features or updates their existing models while others continue to produce some moving pieces of yoyos (if you want to call them that!).
You will also notice there are few yoyo companies with one or two outstanding products, while the rest of their productions are total garbage. We are recommending a few yoyo brands and some of their best products available on Amazon for you, so that you may not hesitate much where to choose.
They are the pioneers of modern-day yoyoing. We have talked about their signature Butterfly and Imperial yoyos on top already. Duncan also produces many professional and modern yoyos nowadays. For example, Duncan Windrunner, Duncan Barracuda, Duncan Pandamonium, etc.
Yomega invented and introduced the centrifugal clutch system in their most reputed Yomega Brain back in the early 1980s and changed the dimension of the whole yoyo industry.
It is recommended by many to learn yoyoing; the newbie will quickly learn how to get a good sleeper using this toy. Some other reputed yoyos from Yomega are Yomega Mavericks, Omega Ooch Yoyo, Yomega Fireball, etc.
Magic yoyo took its place in this list due to its production of some great yoyos at a very reasonable price.
Some complain about their durability, though, still not so bad when you compare the type of yoyo. They create in such a low price with the other high-priced similar featured yoyos. Magic Yoyo Desperado, Magic Yoyo Skyva and the N Series are some of the most notable pieces of yoyos from them.
This Yoyo brand never compromises their quality; they are primarily known for this reason. They never outsource the job of producing their yoyos in some cheap Chinese factories. Instead, they chose to provide all of their yoyos in the USA to ensure the best quality.
This is the reason their yoyos are usually a bit costly than the others. So far they have created around 45 yoyo models, some most popular amongst them are Kraken, Code 2, Kuntosh, etc.
YoYoFactory was established in 2004 with a focus of improving the yoyoing experience enhancing functional technology. So far, they are the best yoyo brand according to many champion yoyoists.
They create all kinds of yoyos for performing all sorts of tricks. Some of their best yoyos are Replay pro, Shutter, Edge, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions
Some commonly asked queries regarding yoyo are;
1. Which yoyo should I choose as a beginner?
We prefer the responsive classic yoyos; you can also start with an unresponsive one.
2. What are Responsive and Unresponsive yoyos?
Responsive is those yoyos which come up to the hand while they are spinning, only by pulling them up a bit. In Unresponsive yoyos, you need to perform a unique technique called Bind to make them come back to your hand.
3. At which age should I give yoyo to a kid?
Yoyos have choking hazards, so never give them to under-aged kids. Six to seven years is the right age for starting yoyoing.
4. What is a bind?
Bind is a method of returning your unresponsive yoyo to your hand while it is spinning.
5. Can all yoyos sleep?
No, the cheap ones don’t sleep usually.
6. Why can’t I perform all the tricks with just any yoyo?
Because yoyos are not designed to perform all the tricks, you'll need different shaped and mechanized yoyos to play them.
Yoyoing is a form of art, not only a piece of old toy anymore. Numerous techniques, mechanism, types of yoyos are being introduced regularly. More and more people are getting interested in yoyo every day.
We believe this article helped you, and also will help the interested ones to get basic knowledge, guideline, and suggestion regarding buying a new yoyo. Thank you for reading the whole thing!