It’s been a year since I did my review of Sunshine Fire Toys’ Solar Flare heads--where does the time go? I promised a follow-up review for them and I am here to deliver. How do Solar Flares stack up over time as compared to other fire poi heads?
First a disclaimer: due to a LOT of factors, this isn’t going to be as perfect an assessment as I would like. We’re talking about props that sometimes get used repeatedly for several days and sometimes don’t get used at all. I haven’t made a detailed record of how much I’ve spun with these in the past year, so a lot of their comparison to other fire poi heads is going to be impressions and anecdotal evidence. It should be taken with a grain of salt.
Just to review: Sunshine Fire Toys is a company run by a gentleman by name of Keegan Kuvachs and he makes a variety of different tools. His approach to making fire poi heads is to have them taper at the top and bottom, giving them an egg shape as opposed to the barrel or rectangular prism shapes we find in many other styles of fire poi heads.
Kuvachs’ thinking on this is that wear is more likely to occur where you find sharp angles, so his poi heads are an attempt to eliminate any such angles and hopefully make the poi heads last longer as well as having a more consistent burn time in the long run.
So how do they hold up?
The fact that I’ve been using these heads a year and didn’t realize it should probably tell you something to start with. I usually notice a significant decrease in the lifespan of my tools after even six months of use.
As I shared a year ago, the dry weight of the poi heads are about 5 ounces per head and the wet weight is between 7.5 and 8 ounces. This hasn’t changed at all--at least not within my capacity to measure a change in these weights.
As for the burn time, a year ago they lasted roughly five minutes while now they go for about four and a half. This is a really relative measure because sometimes you spin faster and sometimes you spin slower. That said, it’s a surprisingly small drop for heads I’ve been using for over a year now. I’d totally feel comfortable using these for another six months, no problem.
The last wicks I used before these were some 3-inch moonblaze-style wicks that had seen use for about 7 or 8 months. As you can see from the photos, there’s a little bit of fraying at the tips of each one but overall the fraying is worse on the moonblazes. Also: the moonblazes were in use for several months less, so I think there is a case to be made here that the Solar Flares are more durable.
The one and only caveat I’ll put on the performance of these heads is that they’re prone to jellyfishes, that thing people with torches sometimes do when they stall a torch upwards into a flame to put it out. I have absolutely no idea what the physics of this is--why these heads might be more prone to jellyfish or whether it’s something unique about my style of spinning but I can scarcely remember a spin I’ve done where I haven’t accidentally put out one of the heads in the first minute of spinning.
So, overall with a year of spinning these under my belt I’m a fan. I totally buy that the design results in longer prop life and more consistent performance. The weight and weight distribution feels great and I’ll have no problem continuing to spin with these all the way through to the Spring. I think Kuvachs and Sunshine Fire Toys have a great design and I’m probably going to go back to them when the time comes for me to need new heads. Good job!