Buttendz Twirl Grip & Tacki-Mac Pro-Ribbed Kane Grip Review
Hey guys! We’ve got a bit of a different theme here today. I’m sitting here with two of the industry’s leading brands in hockey stick grips, and I’m going to be giving a review and comparison between the two, using the equal-but-opposite counterparts from Buttendz and Tacki-Mac. Grips are often so quickly overlooked, and we’re so used to slapping tape on and calling it a day. Let’s explore the performance alternative!
Tacki-Mac Command Grips have been around for quite some time, with a successful following in both golf and hockey. They are typically sold in the $8-12 CDN price range depending on model. Three main textures are offered, with differing increasing levels of grip: wrapped, ribbed, and sanded. Different lengths, knob sizes, and combinations are available. They are made of a thin, grip rubber material that is slightly softer and thicker than a couple layers of hockey tape (approximately a 0.5mm difference), boasting amazing puck feel and responsiveness. The material was built with softer golf gloves in mind, and thus do not wear down glove palms as much as stick tape does.
Buttendz is a relative newcomer to the stick accessory market, having only been around for a couple of years. They can be had for around $24-30 CDN price range (more on this price range later), and are available in three models: Twirl (small knob, ribbed), Flux (large knob, flat), and the Fusion (an in-between, small-medium knob, flat grip). The material is a flexible rubber, slightly thicker than the Tacki-Mac, and provides grip through a tactile indentation pattern molded into the grip. This has the advantage of maintaining grip throughout its lifespan even as it wears down, as the grip isn’t dependent on texture, which can be eroded down smooth over use. The unique rubber also has the benefit of limiting torque in shots, increasing accuracy; while dampening vibrations, allowing firmer and cleaner receiving of passes.
For the purpose of this review, I will be comparing the Tacki-Mac Pro-Ribbed (Patrick Kane) Grip, and the Buttendz Twirl.
Both grips installed on quite easily. The Tacki-Mac was installed with an adhesive tape applied onto the stick, with the grip sliding on once the tape glue is activated with water. The Buttendz involved the use of an adhesive spray applied to the inside of the grip, and onto your stick, with the grip sliding on with very little difficulty. The adhesive spray has enough for 2-3 applications, allowing for easy re-use of the grip.
The Tacki-Mac grip was surprisingly thin. Stickhandling with the new grip felt very similar to a regular tape job, except with a much more secure grip and a much more consistent puck feel. Tape jobs can differ from stick-to-stick, even if you’re as particular about it as Sidney Crosby https://youtu.be/8Jxtzl916bI?t=31), and having a grip that is manufactured to this level of tight tolerance gives you a much more even feel from stick-to-stick, even from grip zone to grip zone. While these grips are marketed as reusable, the thin rubber of the grip coupled with the flexibility of the material seems to reduce its lifespan if constantly reinstalled. In my experience, it’s a one-use item, and a new one should be installed on each stick.
On the other hand, the Buttendz Twirl was noticeably thicker, in a comfortable, performance sense. Stickhandling definitely felt much more dampened and controlled, reducing the amount of “ping” coming from my stick, but at the expense of puck feel. The material is sturdy and still retained its stiffness and elasticity even after the stretching it took to be installed. The Buttendz are marketed and designed to be reused multiple times (hence the higher price tag and multi-application adhesive), and with the quality of grip available, I firmly believe it. It is a durable, comfortable product.
The first thing that caught my attention with the Tacki-Mac is the security it provided to my top hand throughout the game. I was able to loosen my grip while stickhandling, allowing for a greater range of motion and much quicker, softer stickhandles; all while the Tacki-Mac grip kept the stick firmly locked into my hand. The thin rubber definitely helped improve the puck feel on a stick notorious for a dampened blade, and allowed me to play my playmaking game comfortably by improving the performance of an already spectacular stick. The Tacki-Mac has since become my go-to grip on my Bauer 1N stick, and the two really complement each other as equipment.
While the Buttendz grip didn’t fare as well with the Nexus stick, it truly shined in all its glory when I installed it on my CCM Superfast, a stick known for a very lively, pingy blade. The vibration dampening grip helped tone down the stiff, poppy blade and made for incredibly comfortable stickhandling and great puck feel. The Buttendz grip showed its true colors when receiving hard passes from teammates – pucks that would usually blow past me now stopped firmly on my blade. I attribute this to both the vibration dampening rubber, as well as the grip and twirl pattern imprinted into the grip, which moved and twisted just enough to rob the torque and force from the pass and set me up for a perfect wrist shot under the goalie’s blocker.
Both grips have their pros and cons, and both sticks will have their uses and audience. The Tacki-Mac provides spectacular consistent puck feel while locking your top hand in, and the Buttendz does as advertised, reducing vibrations and creating a much more consistent passing and stickhandling environment. From a practical standpoint, I would suggest matching the grip to the blade of your stick – if you have a livelier blade (CCM Superfast, Bauer 1X, Warrior QR1, etc.), go for the Buttendz grip; for a more dampened blade (Easton CX, CCM Reckoner, Bauer 1N, etc.), reach for a Tacki-Mac grip and bump up that puck feel. In terms of value, although you are paying more for a Buttendz grip, the fact that it's truly reusable makes it a game changer in our books.
At the end of the day, it’s all personal preference. The data is there for you to make an informed decision.
Tips and Advice
- When installing the grips, stretch them out (especially at the openings) to make your life a lot easier. Work quick – the adhesive dries and sets quickly!
- Watch the installation videos provided by both companies if installing at home (and can be seen on our website shopping pages for each item). A drop of dish soap in a big glass of hot water will activate the Tacki-Mac adhesive much better and provide a lubricating surface for easier installation.
- Choose the grip texture closest to the tape job you like – both companies offer ribbed and non-ribbed grips, as well as knobs in a whole host of sizes. You’ll get the best results if you take the time to choose a grip that suits you.
And with that, I’m going to go. Ice time’s in an hour, and a 12-pack of beer calls me. Game on!