It is enough to walk in a park where one practice spinning top to find that there are all kinds: wooden tops, metal tops, spinning tops in Bakelite, or resin. But the shape also varies; While most Chinese tops have the overall shape of a cylinder terminated by a tapered tip, there are also spin-shaped tops in the form of gourds (or inverted calabash) and others in the form of turnips. Concerning the weight, it varies between 1 kg and 12 kg depending on the manufacturers but you should know that most players use one to three kilo tops.
If you are a beginner, you will choose a one-kilo top, knowing that after a few months of practice you’ll find this top a little light and you will pass to a 1.5 kg one; There is only 500 g difference but it feels at the end of the whip or the stick after an hour of exercise.
You still have to choose the shape. Again, to start, it is better to choose a classic-shaped top (a cylinder finished with a tapered tip); They are easier to launch and keep rotating.
Finally, remains the choice of materials: wood, metal, bakelite or resin? For my part, I am an unconditional of the wooden top, a superb wooden object that skates over time and lashes, and as it is still handcrafted, there are not two alike. In addition, depending on the wood used, the color and weight varies. But the wooden top also has its drawbacks; It is easily crack and the shocks are poorly cashed. This will cause you to damage the edge of your top by hitting it against a sidewalk or other obstacle.
Two drawbacks that do not have metal tops, those in bakelite or resin. The first consists of a simple steel casing which contains a block of raw wood or a block of machined steel; The seconds are made from high-density synthetic materials.
In the case of a top made of a metal casing, with equal dimensions, the weight is comparable to that of a wooden top. On the other hand, the use of solid steel, bakelite or resin, makes it possible to produce tops of one or two kilos with a size reduced to 6 or 8 cm in diameter. The advantage of these tops is of course their cumbersomeness but when you are a beginner, hitting with a whip on a 10 cm tops is infinitely more difficult than hitting on a 15 cm high one. So, the real interest of these tops is especially for those who want to buy a 4 or 5 kg spinning top that will not be more cumbersome than a 12 cm diameter wooden top.
On the benefit side, finally note that unlike wooden tops, these metal tops or synthetic materials are all equipped with a ball bearing head that facilitates the pitch and rotation and allows to play on surfaces that are not perfectly smooth. But this same ball bearing also has a downside; By promoting the glide, it makes the spinning top “soft”, especially when using 1 or 1, 5 kg tops.