The Difference Between Slick Tiles and Synthetic Ice

Out of all of the hockey products that are available on the market today, the ones that get the most confusion are slick tiles and synthetic ice. Although they are very similar in many ways, they are on two separate sides of the hockey spectrum. One is made so that people can play hockey like they are on ice, with ice skates. The other is made for dryland hockey games, without ice skates. Which is which? Let us explain.

Slick Tiles

Slick tiles are also known as dryland hockey flooring. This kind of flooring is for dryland hockey. Dryland hockey can either be played in rollerblades or tennis shoes, but never with ice skates. Slick tikes are manufactured in the same manner as synthetic ice, but the end result is a softer and less dense type of polymer plastic that is perfect for wheels, but not the sharp blades of ice skates. The tiles are slick in the sense that they allow the pucks or biscuits to glide across it just like they would on ice, so that passes and shots are similar to ice hockey, but not the same. 

Slick tiles come in convenient tiles that are one square foot and easy to install. They can be implemented in the home or outside, but have to be on a hard flat surface that is level. They can be installed on grass, but they have to have subflooring such as plywood in order to be effective.

Synthetic Ice Panels

Synthetic ice was created back in the 1960s so that ice skating sports could be practiced and experienced all around the world in any time of the year. Sice authentic ice is merely frozen water it is extremely difficult to maintain during hot summer months. Ice skating enthusiasts and developers wanted to create a type of flooring that would allow for ice skating no matter what the temperature was outside.

At first, artificial ice was more of a problem than it was a solution. In order for skaters to be able to actually skate it, there had to be a constant supply of added lubricant. The lubricant itself had many issues as well. Although artificial ice flooring had a long way to go, it was a start in the right direction.

Polymer Plastics

When hockey flooring was first introduced into the world many years ago, the type of plastic that was available to make the panels out of was not strong enough to withstand ice skates or roller blades because it was pretty much just regular plastic. As science evolved a more promising type of plastic became available known as polymer plastic. What it means is that plastic is created on a molecular level with synthetic polymers that mimic the naturally occurring polymer chains in the material world of our planet. The most commonly known polymer example is the DNA chain. Developers learned that they could manipulate the plastic on a cellular level and be able to create plastics that are specifically designed for a designated purpose.

The Difference

Slick tiles are less dense than synthetic ice tiles, therefore they are not effective for ice skates. Synthetic ice has built-in lubricants so it is not made to use with rollerblades, but ice skate blades. Both are great ways to build a hockey practice area or even a whole rink in the home, but it all boils down to your specific needs as to which one is better for you.


***Sniper’s Edge Hockey loves Canada! We proudly ship all of our products to Canada and offer the same return policies as we do for everybody else. We realize the exchange rates for the Canadian dollar are not the best right now, so we’re trying to help by giving you free shipping and no customs/duty.***

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