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    Info & Tips — synthetic ice sheets

    Synthetic Ice Tiles vs Panels: What's The Difference?

    Synthetic Ice Tiles vs Panels: What's The Difference?

    So you're finally ready to take your ice skating to the next level and have decided on purchasing synthetic ice tiles.....or so you thought.

    While doing your research you find yourself asking yourself;

    "Do I want synthetic ice tiles or panels?"

    Well, There are many reasons why people purchase synthetic ice.

    Maybe your kids are eager to get in more reps to prepare for the new hockey season.

    Perhaps you've got a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit, and you're going to make some money with a huge rink.

    Whatever the reason, you're probably thinking about synthetic ice.

    Synthetic ice is a great way to enjoy skating without natural ice.

    A common question we're asked is the difference between our synthetic ice tiles and pro-glide panels.

    Each product has its pros and cons.

    To get the most out of your purchase, we're going to outline the key differences, uses, and important facts you need to know.


    synthetic ice


    Understanding Synthetic Ice

    Before we go further, let's touch a bit on the concept of synthetic ice.

    Synthetic ice is made of a durable polyethylene material that's specially designed for skating.

    That means you can use your metal figure skates or hockey skates on the tiles or panels.

    In the past, it was crazy to think about skating on something that was not real ice.

    Today, technology has allowed us to create these interlocking tiles or panels that feel close to the real thing.

    Synthetic ice is durable and makes skating accessible to thousands of people.

    If you want to learn more about synthetic ice and its uses, read our Expectations vs. Reality blog for a deep dive into the world of synthetics. 

    Option 1: Tiles

    When you head over to our site, you'll have the option of Home Ice Tiles or Pro-Glide Panels.

    Home Ice Tiles are our popular product and got a bit of notoriety thanks to our appearance on Shark Tank.

    When you order a kit, you receive four equally sized tiles in a convenient box.

    The tiles are about 1/4 inch thick and cover 32 square feet when assembled.

    This is our lightweight entry product (each weighs about 10 lbs) and can easily be shipped almost anywhere in the world.

    Keep in mind that there are several lightweight tile products on the market that have a hollow back and can be only skated on one side.

    When reaching out to manufacturers be sure to ask, "Can your synthetic ice tiles be skated on both sides?"

    People who opt for our home ice tiles love them for several reasons:

    Tiles Are Great For Skills And Drills.

    With 32 square feet of tiles per box, you basically get a mini rink with each order.

    That's fine because home ice tiles are perfect for skills and drills.

    For example, you can set up a space for hockey players to practice slap shots or stickhandling techniques.

    If you're a figure skater, you can practice beginner to advanced spins on your tiles.

    If you want a space where you can put in countless hours practicing specific skills, this is for you.

    They're Portable

    With a mallet and just a few minutes, you can have your home ice tiles in a designated space of choice.

    With the same speed you put them together, you can take them apart.

    Choose this product if you're setting up in a multi-use indoor space like a garage, basement or living room.

    We've even seen mini-rinks set up in kitchens!

    When you're done, you can store them away until it's time to skate the next day.



    You Can Customize Them For Almost Any Space

    Do you just have a long corridor to work with?

    Are you setting up your rink in a playroom or den?

    You can place your panels in a straight line, square or rectanglar shape.

    If you purchase multiple boxes of synthetic ice tiles, you have even more flexibility that will allow you to get the most out of almost any space.

    They're Easy To Maintain

    Large, natural ice rinks require a lot of maintenance.

    You'll have to clean and resurface the ice, protect it from rain (if it's outdoors), and buy several different maintenance products.

    If you're looking for a hassle-free way to skate, you can go for these tiles.

    Even large at-home rinks need minimal maintenance compared to natural ice rinks.

    You'll only need mild PH neutral soap mixed with water to clean your panels (with a cloth or dedicated mop).

    We also formulated our slip surface conditioner to help maintain a slick surface.

    They're Durable Yet Scalable

    With just a few clicks, you can add multiple boxes to your order.

    As the number increases, you double your square footage.

    That makes tiles scalable at an affordable cost.

    Remember, these are lightweight, interlocking tiles that are easily movable, customizable, and long-lasting.

    On average, our synthetic ice tiles last eight years or more.

    If you're planning a larger rink project to install in a dedicated space, your next option is pro-glide panel.




    Option 2: Pro-Glide Panels

    For the serious ice skater, home ice tiles may not be enough.

    And for a space to accommodate lots of skaters, you'll need something much more durable over time.

    In this case, our pro-glide panels are the preferred option.

    Pro-glide panels are twice as thick as our synthetic ice tiles, and each panel is almost twice as large, meaning fewer interlocking seams.

    One panel can weigh between 40 and 80 lbs and must be freight shipped to your location. Keep this in mind when ordering your panels.

    PolyGlide synthetic ice tiles and Pro-glide panels come infused with a special lubricant that helps it sustain its performance.

    However, you can grab an additional surface conditioner for maintenance purposes.

    As you can tell, the clear difference lies in the size, weight, and shipping options.

    So why choose pro-glide panels?

    You're Looking For A Durable Rink For Hardcore Use.

    Some customers want tiles for recreational use or for their kids to practice on the weekends.

    Others are hardcore, professional skaters that need the space and durability for training and practice sessions.

    These pros need the performance of a professional-grade rink without the hassle of maintaining natural ice.

    Furthermore, if you plan to have large groups skating at your home rink (for instance, teammates coming over to practice), you should invest in a more durable option.

    You Have Lots Of Space To Play With

    Professional grade panels are best if you have a large backyard or space, deck, garage, or barn that you'll be turning into a rink.

    The large panels mean fewer interlocking tiles and more seamless surface.

    It also means you spend less time installing your rink.

    The only caveat is that you'll need more help to construct your rink due to the weight and size of the panels.


    Large Rink


    Your Budget Is A Bit More Flexible

    If you have the space and a larger budget, professional-grade panels are a better choice.

    Compared to home ice tiles, you'll get a greater return on your investment over time.

    For heavy use, pro panels have the least amount of surface wear and do less damage to your blades.

    The larger rink could even start paying you back if you're a coach or influencer.

    It's Great For Commercial Spaces

    As it starts to get colder, the thoughts of ice skating heat up.

    Every year, businesses wishing to capitalize on that interest install large refrigerated rinks leaving small to medium-sized companies behind. 

    With professional-grade panels, you too can add some value to your business with a large rink.

    These panels are great for heavy traffic during the holidays or any special event throughout the year.

    Also, unlike outsourcing a company to install and maintain your rink every year, the panels are yours.

    That means you can properly care for them and store them, then whip them out every winter.




    Plan Your Purchase With These Questions

    One thing's for sure; you know you wanted a durable, natural ice replacement for your home or business.

    Now you also see the difference between tiles and panels.

    With this info, now ask yourself these questions to make an easier decision:

    1. What am I going to use the rink for?
    2. How many people need access to the rink?
    3. Do I have enough space?
    4. How often would I/they be skating?
    5. What's my budget?
    6. Is it going to be a long-term rink or a temporary setup? Where will I store it when it's not in use?

    Our  product has made leaps and bounds over the years and can now support skaters in different scenarios.

    It would be unfortunate if you purchased the wrong type of tile/panel for your space and needs.

    Take your time and make the choice that's right for you.

    Tiles or Panels


    It's a common misconception to hear the term 'synthetic ice' and think they're all created equal.

    Remember, when we talk about synthetic ice tiles, think about a lighter, more customizable product that's easy to get to you.

    When we use the term 'panel,' we're thinking heavy-duty, large panels that must be freighted to you. 

    Even with a clear understanding of the difference and what you want, you may still need some help in terms of measurement, accessories, and so on.

    If that's the case, feel free to reach out to us, and we'll be happy to help.

    What are you going to do with your synthetic ice tiles or panels?....Let us know!

    Take a look at some of our most popular rink packages!

    PolyGlide Ice - Home Ice Tiles

    PolyGlide Ice - Pro-Glide Panels


    Keep on Skating! 

    Jim Loughran, PolyGlide Ice

    Shark Tank Synthetic Ice Rink Impresses the Sharks

    Shark Tank Synthetic Ice Rink Impresses the Sharks

    How it All Began

    I founded my company from a need that dated back to my childhood years and took me until my adult "Hockeydad" days to realize.

    The problem: Limited access to ice time, enough to perfect the skills necessary to excel at the game I loved... Ice Hockey.

    It's what led me to where I am today as a formative leader in the synthetic ice industry, providing unlimited ice time to those in need, anywhere, anyplace, at any time.

    It also led me to the world's most prominent entrepreneurial reality show with a chance to pitch my product, PolyGlide Ice, on prime-time national television.

    Check Out Our Pitch To The Sharks On ABC's Shark Tank

     What Was it Like to Appear on Shark Tank?

    The question I'm asked most often, "What does it feel like to pitch to the Sharks?" can be answered in one simple word...Incredible!

    From the day I submitted my email entry to the Shark Tank executive producers until my scheduled air date had to be, no doubt, one of the shortest and longest years of my life.

    Longest because I couldn't tell anybody throughout the process, and shortest because so much took place that year; it's all a blur, but I can tell you it was an overall great experience!

    Several family members had told me for a while that I should try out for the show, but I always shrugged it off and never gave it much thought.

    Then one day, I figured out what the heck and filled out the online questionnaire form with information on my product and company and hit the send button.

    After submitting my December 2015 email and not hearing back from anyone for over four months, I honestly forgot all about it.

    Then the call this entrepreneur's been waiting for came in April 2016 asking, "So tell me about your synthetic ice panels," and that's when it all began.

    PolyGlide Ice SHark Tank

    Video Submission Deadline

    The phone interview lasted about fifteen minutes, and at the end of the conversation, I was told, "Congratulations, you made it to the video submission round."

    This next step involved producing a five-minute video submission explaining my product to wow the producers with my story.

    I had only a few short minutes to tell how PolyGlide Ice became a manufacturer of the best artificial ice on the market.

    I had only two weeks to complete the production as there were deadlines they were facing on their end.

    After submitting my video a week later, I got another call saying

    "Congratulations, the producers loved your video, and you're being considered for the show" however, nothing's ever guaranteed in the television world.


    Shark Tank Arena

    After continuing through the process, I was lucky enough to get my break and a chance to pitch to the sharks.

    Once I was assigned a producer, I had to create the draft of my first pitch, which I thought I nailed until I read it to my shark tank producer.

    My opening sentence was great, but it was back to the drawing board for the remainder of the pitch until I got it right.

    It was apparent the synthetic ice panels would provide a visual attraction, and having youth hockey players skating into the tank got the Shark's attention.


    Time to Pitch to The Sharks

    Fast forward to August, and final preparations are underway involving all the details of my shark tank pitch, right down to the set design and travel arrangements.

    At this point, it's finally official,

    I'm going to pitch to the SHARKS!! (or am I?).

    The simple fact is that even if you are allowed to pitch, only 40-50% of all Shark Tank pitches ever make it on air.

    The fact is, contestants have to wait until just a few weeks before their "air date" even to confirm if they have an air date ...and throughout the process, you can tell NO ONE!

    It's Showtime for PolyGlide 

    My pitch date was scheduled for September 20th, 2016 (Season 8, Episode 11) and after going through the whole process, trust me when I say I was beyond ready.

    The common question is always "Were you nervous?" and I can honestly say I was much more excited than nervous.

    As it turned out, because of the sizeable synthetic ice set design, I was to be the first pitch of the day, and the Sharks were wide awake waiting for their first "taste of the day."

    Once the countdown began, there was no turning back 3, 2, 1, ACTION!

    All in all, the entire pitch lasted about 45 minutes, that in the end, was trimmed down to 8-1/2 minutes of non-stop air time.

    The fact is, the average 30-second prime commercial costing around $400,000.00 which would put me about 6.8 Million dollars ahead of the game, Deal or no Deal.



    Let the Pitch Begin

    After my opening pitch, things started rapidly, with the Sharks often talking over each other with their questions.

    My engineer who traveled with me was in the green room and said it looked like I was watching a tennis match as my head spun on a swivel, snapping back and forth, addressing the fast pace of the questions.

    Many comical moments were edited out of the episode, which took on a more serious tone in the final cut. 

    The deal for me, quite honestly (though not with a Shark), was just getting on the show AND being given an air date.

    The feedback from the Sharks, and valuable exposure, were much more than I could ever ask for.


    In the end, I can tell you that if you're an entrepreneur ready to take the next step and put it all out there, try out for Shark Tank.

    Even though I didn't get a deal, the experience can be life-changing and help take your business to the next level.

    If, by chance, you don't make it on the show, then I recommend you pitch your company to your friends and strangers whenever you can get the opportunity.

    Their feedback will help steer you in the right direction and help you better understand your customers, and make the best decisions for your company and product.

    Take a second and check out some of our most popular rink packages!

    PolyGlide Ice - Home Ice Tiles

    PolyGlide Ice - Pro-Glide Panels


    Keep on Skating! 

    Jim Loughran, PolyGlide Ice

    For additional information call: 855-765-9423




    How to Decide on what Synthetic Ice Rink to Buy

    How to Decide on what Synthetic Ice Rink to Buy

      So you've finally decided you like the idea of investing in a synthetic ice rink for your hockey player or figure skater so they can enjoy ice skating at home.

    Then as you start to do your research you quickly become overwhelmed and wonder which way to turn after trying to educate yourself on what is truly the "Best" synthetic ice product available at a reasonable price.

    When things start to get a little crazy it's always best to take a step back and evaluate the reasons why you started your search in the first place.

    This can help you access what makes the most sense moving forward BEFORE buying your synthetic ice rink.

    your research and take pen to paper to consider these four basic questions that you need to ask yourself before beginning your Home Rink project:

    Beginner Skater

    Who is the Rink For?

    This is one of the most important questions you can ask yourself once you begin the process.

    How would you classify your skater?:

    Beginner or Advanced Skater?


    If your synthetic ice rink is intended for a beginner that wants to learn how to skate, trust me when I say you do not need much more than 100 square feet to achieve this goal.

    The nice thing is there are many options available today that can help you create either a "skating lane" or runway for forward and backward strides or mini-rink shape for cross-overs and turns.

    The age and/or size of the skater will help you decide on the overall size of your start-up rink.

    Advanced Skater

    Advanced Skater:

    If the rink project is for an advanced skater that you know has already committed a lot of time to work on their skills then you may feel more comfortable investing in a larger rink knowing it will be put to good use.

    Keep in mind that an advanced skater can also can make great use out of a smaller space

    What is the Purpose of your Rink?

    There are so many applications and reasons to install an artificial ice rink but simply put lets classify them as:

    Recreational Use:

    If you simply want the easiest skating experience that feels the most natural when compared to real ice then purchasing an infused surface would be your ideal choice.

    An infused or “self-lubricating” synthetic ice surface is manufactured with a slip agent additive during the manufacturing process that makes it extra slick and reduces surface friction.


    If your skater is focused on trying to become a stronger skater then "positive resistance": is a good thing (as many trainers will tell you) and you don't necessarily have to find the product with the lowest coefficient of friction to achieve your goals.

    What Size Should Your Rink Be?

    In today’s day in age there really is no limit to how big or small you can make your synthetic ice rink project.

    People looking for a simple gift for a friend or young one can purchase just a few lightweight panels and call it a day.

    By opting for a smaller"starter" surface your could opt for lightweight skating tiles that work well for indoor applications

    You could then continue to grow your rink a little at a time as the skater improves their overall skills.

    Other folks may be avid skaters and want to go “all-in” with a scaled-down professional looking rink complete with Dasher Boards, Players Benches and Penalty box with scoreboard.

    As with any backyard or home rink project there is literally no end to what you can create with a little bit of know-how and ingenuity!

    To help you work through this process let’s classify it simply as Small and Large:

    Small Rink

    Small Rink (under 300 SF):

    Considering an average 1-car garage measures around  12ft x 22 ft. a standard 12’ X 20’ rink layout would maximize this space.

    If your rink is for a young skater to learn the basic skills of ice skating and hockey this is plenty of space.

    USA Hockey has trumpeted the Small Games approach for many years now as a great way to repeat the fundamentals in a small confined space.

    Stride, crossover, turn, pivot and shoot!.....repeat!….repeat!….repeat!!

    With figure skaters this is enough space to work on jumps and spins, two of the most important fundamentals of any routine!

    You DON’T need a lot of space to exercise the fundamentals of either of these sports!

    When choosing a panel size for a small rink layout you have many options to consider for indoor rink projects.

    Thinner, smaller synthetic ice tiles are lightweight and portable and can be easily stored away.

    If your small rink is outdoors then a heavier ½” thick panel would be recommended in regions with large temperature swings from night to day.

    Large Rink

    Large RInk (Over 300 SF)

    If you've allocated a large dedicated space for your rink (over 300 SF) you may want to opt for larger panels with less seams over your rink layout.

    If you’re planning a larger budget for a dedicated space then it makes no sense to use a small skating tile that will “pepper” your rink with seams that will accumulate dirt and be a challenge to keep clean.

    Dovetail Connection

    Connection Types and Panel Sizes:

    If you prefer a quicker connection method then the "dovetail" profile will help make your project a quicker one.

    If your space is for multi-purpose use and not just dedicated for the rink then it would be wise to choose a lighter, more portable panel.

    This would allow for an easy set-up and breakdown so the space can be quickly utilized for other things when not in use.

    WIth a dedicated space you would want to consider a larger panel that will have less connections and overall seams on your synthetic ice surface.

    If you're not pressed for time with the installation of your rink you could entertain a spline or "tongue and groove" connection method that takes a little longer and involves multiple parts (locking dowels or splines).

    Rink Budget

    What is Your Budget?

    No doubt, this one is the overall Bottom Line!

    Be sure to limit yourself to what you can afford BEFORE getting your synthetic ice project started.

    This is the ultimate reality check in deciding what truly makes sense and will address all your needs without making you broke.

    The good news is that there are now lightweight panels available on the market that can help you “Grow your Rink” along with your budget.

    If your rink project is for a young “learn to Skate” beginner you can simply set-up a small space for them to start taking Baby Steps that will soon turn into strides!


    As you can see there are many factors that go into the decision on which size skating rink is right for you and your family.

    If this sounds like something that interests you but you need a little more help then please let us know.

    We’ll get started working on a plan that will fit your needs AND budget!

    We can help you figure out which is the right rink panel for you by providing a list of all the different sizes we have available to suit your needs.

    Knowing some key information about how space at home affects the choice in rink sizes may help make things easier when deciding where to install your new rink!!

    Simply fill-out our quote request form and we'll get started on drafting your free quote with the latest discount offers we have available!

    For additional information or request a quote simply Click Here

    Take a look at some of our most popular rink packages!

    PolyGlide Ice - Home Ice Tiles

    PolyGlide Ice - Pro-Glide Panels


    Keep on Skating! 

    Jim Loughran, PolyGlide Ice