“Pure fluoros” are not pure, and they’re not the same!
There is some lingering conventional wisdom out there that “all pure fluoros are the same”, and the more sophisticated version “all the raw materials come from one of three factories, so many of the pure fluoros are the same”. However, anybody who has tested multiple different powders knows that this conventional wisdom is wrong, even if they don’t know why.

The reason it’s wrong is that the wax companies do a lot of processing to their raw materials before they’ve got a finished product. A true “pure” per-fluorocarbon powder or liquid would be too difficult to work with on ski bases (per-fluorocarbons don’t like to melt if they are solids, and they don’t like to adhere to anything whether they are liquids or solids). And so we work with mixtures of per-fluorinated molecules, and other “chaperone” molecules that help the perfluoros coat and adhere to the ski base. While wax companies may start with similar raw materials, the reactions and processing that they use is proprietary, and the resulting products are all different.

Why fluoro powders are used in all conditions
Another piece of conventional wisdom states that fluoro powders only provide a benefit when the conditions are really wet, or at least above freezing. This is certainly the range of conditions where the benefit is most notable, but the benefits to fluoro powders throughout the range are real enough so that it is nearly unheard-of to race without a fluoro powder application at the World Cup level. Perhaps the biggest reason for this is that Fluoros have superior durability. Paraffins can be fast, but they tend to slow down considerably after several kilometers in all conditions, while fluoros will hold their performance much better over longer distances. This really becomes a big factor after about 10km in most conditions.

In most conditions the final performance boost and refinement will come from a top-coat – either a cold-corked fluoro block or a liquid application. With the powder we’re usually looking for good foundation qualities and a broad range. The products we like and recommend have been race-proven over time, and we trust them to provide stable and predictably competitive results.

We use an iron to apply these fluoro powders. It is also possible to use a roto-cork. In the past we’ve spent some time testing different application methods, but recently we’ve settled on the iron as the most effective, cleanest and fastest method to ensure good durability and performance. Many of the modern fluoro powders have very high melt points and require iron temperatures of up to 180 degrees Celsius. It is important to have a good iron to apply these powders! If you’re in the market, check out the Star digital iron featured on our Tools page. The new Star irons have a maximum temperature of 180 degrees.

About the chart.
Just like with paraffins, no one company can claim to have the best fluoro powders. It would be easy for us to make this chart featuring entirely different brands. This reflects our current use and preference more than any kind of absolute assurance!

Ski*Go C380 and Star C1 are synthetic paraffins in powder form – they’re not fluoro powders. They’re used to create a very hard surface in extreme cold conditions.