Gballz - An Honest Review
When people are asking advice on what juggling balls to buy, I often stumble on recommendations of people suggesting Gballz. The high quality and durability of the balls is often mentioned as the key selling point. I bought some Gballz, and would like to share my experience.
Note that I am mostly focusing on the durability here. Given that Gballz offers a variety of options in filling, size and weight, and even allow you to heavy them up or have them under-filled, reviewing the feel of the ball is rather subjective and therefore pointless.
For the record, I bought the E8 Series, size 2.6 inch at 115 grams, with plastic fill. I am trying to master 7 balls, so I am dropping the balls – a lot. Given the high price of the balls I was quite careful with them. I am often juggling indoors, outdoors mostly on grass and rarely on concrete or other hostile territory.
After only two or three months in use, the balls started to deteriorate rapidly. Somehow, the black ball teared up. I have no clue where and how this happened. The green one is obviously damaged as well. The orange also shows a small scar in the in the orange area just above the center (it is a bit difficult to see without zooming in).
The hole in the black one shows that the fabric is really thin. That, combined with a logo pressed onto it makes things fragile, as can be seen from rupture near the letter “b” of the logo.
Needless to say, I am very disappointed in the durability of Gballz. These are supposed to be high quality, durable balls. Balls that you can run over with a jeep.
I spent a lot of money on them, especially since I am from Europe and had to pay additional customs clearance fees as well. But, at the time of ordering, I thought it was all worth it. Apparently not so.
A few more takeaways:
Price: Taking shipping and customs clearance fees into account, a $15 ball can easily turn into a $20 ball (depending of course on how many you order and where you are ordering from).
Plastic fill: Balls with plastic fill are rare in Europe. I ordered these blindly, without having had any experience with them before. I learned that plastic affects the balls in ways that I would have liked to know beforehand. They make way more noise (when dropping), they are way less forgiving when collisions occur mid air, and due to size of the plastic pellets the feel is quite different as well. Note that this should not to be interpreted as criticism of Gballz – I should have done better research myself.
My lesson learned: do not pay a premium price for balls that are supposedly durable. Instead, try and find a more affordable set of balls that you can easily replace should one break down.
This review sparked a bit of a discussion over at Reddit, so read up on other people’s opinion on the matter there. I collected a few interesting snippets here.
by the looks of it those ballz were definitely not juggled indoors as it says on my site “indoor juggling ball” which doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t juggle outside on the grass or on a very smooth concrete driveway.
… It says indoor use only? Does that need to be bolded, italicized, and have a sticker with a warning printed on every ball?
People recognizing the issue
A note about ultra leather:
As I have a set of non-Gballz ultra leather juggling balls […] I can testify that this may be a matter of the material itself. I don’t know if all ultra-leather is made alike. These lasted for a while, but the breakdown progresses rapidly once it starts to happen.
Indoor vs outdoor:
yeah i agree gballz are not the most durable. If you juggle them only indoors, they’ll last a while, but if you take them outside much they break down. Any of those synthetic leather will in my experience. They feel great, but don’t hold up to how/where i juggle.
The rebuttal is shrugging it off as a customer that is using the product in ways that they were never intended for.
Yes, I used them – carefully – outdoors as well. Yes, I knew that they are advertised as indoors only. Given the myth of superior build quality, I was willing to take the risk, and would even have accepted wear down due to my own wrongdoing, but simply not at the pace it was occuring.
Advertising the balls as indoor only and then claiming them to be durable, well, ofcourse they are. Most balls don’t wear indoors.
My advice: ask yourself, do you really want to have a ball that can only be used indoors, and starts wearing down rapidly when not used under the ideal circumstances?