Speedcubing is becoming more and more popular and now there are more speedcubes available than ever which is why I created this ultimate guide to help you not only choose the best speed cube for you but to help you understand what makes a good cube.

If you are a total beginner then I highly suggest you read the buying guide first and then head on to the actual cubes below.

Choosing your speed cube is going to be very subjective since there is a lot of personal preference in it. However, there are some important characteristics which all 3×3 puzzles share that you need to be aware of in order to make your choice.

This is a cheap hobby since most of the quality cubes are below 20$ and with some rare exceptions which are considered by many to be the highest quality with prices going above 30$ like Gan 356 Air Ultimate which is still not that expensive. Keep this in mind and choose a quality 3×3 for yourself and not some random Chinese rip off at a dollar store because you will ruin your cubing experience.

Pro tip for absolute beginners:
The Rubik’s cube and Rubik’s brand are two different things. One may think that Rubik brand cubes are best for speedsolving but from my experience that is not the case. Best cubes for speedcubing today are made by various manufacturers and are usually sold over the internet.

Which is the best speed cube for you? This is what to look for:

Everyone has its own preferences when choosing their speed cube and each of them offers the mix of these characteristics below.

As you get more and more familiar with this hobby you will get multiple 3×3’s to suit your needs. For an example, you will have your main (that’s how we call the precious one), another one which is extra quiet and is used in school or other places where noise absence is needed and so on. Once you join the dark side there is no going back.

Main Characteristics of speedcubes:

These are some of the most important characteristics of the speed cubes and they will dictate the overall quality and the feel the cube has to offer.

Are you ready to have your “cube eye” opened wide?

Turning

When it comes to turning speed and feel, cubes can fall into one of these two categories:

Fast turning or Smooth turning.

Fast Turning Speedcubes

Cubes optimised for speed have very little friction between their layers so there is minimal resistance between the layers. This makes the cube very fast, makes it feel light and these require very little effort when turning their sides.

Another distinct thing about fast turning puzzles is their sound and their dry feeling.

Pros – Allows for ultra fast algorithm execution because of minimal resistance between the layers.

Cons – These cubes offer very little control because there is no friction and the speeds are high. Some fast turning cubes may be uncontrollable at first for beginners.

Smooth turning speedcubes

Smooth ones have more friction between their layers and give a nice smooth fluid feeling while also providing precise layer turns. Smooth ones have a bit more resistance when turning them but this will give you more control over your cube.

They are quiet and they don’t give the dry-scratchy feeling the fast turning ones do.

Pros – Provides you with control and precision when executing algorithms due to their perfect layer gliding along each other.

Cons – It will cost you some speed since friction and resistance are involved.

So which is better?

There is no better. Because it is up to you to decide which turning type you like and need.

Every cuber has their preferences for the turning characteristics of their cube. However, it is important to know how to tell if these two characteristics are poorly integrated when the puzzle was designed.

Fast turning cube is poorly made if it simply provides no control and this results in poor algorithm execution making its speed count for nothing anymore.

While quality fast turning cube will provide you with exceptional speed and will give you enough control.

Smooth turning cube is poorly designed if it requires too much effort to turn the layers and then its control beats the purpose since it costs you too much speed and energy.

On another hand, quality smooth options will give you optimal control with the least amount of speed reduction.

Corner cutting

What is corner cutting you ask?

It is the ability for a cube to make a turn even if the vertical face is not fully aligned because of over shooting while performing algorithms which is something that happens very often while speed cubing so this is an essential factor of the cube.

bad corner cutting animation

An example of bad corner cutting. Frustrating, huh?

Animation of proper corner cutting

An example of good corner cutting

This is where speedcubes outperform the Rubik’s brand cubes because most of the modern cubes allow for 45 degrees corner cutting, meaning that cubes can realign when the top face is turned over 45 degrees forward.

This provides room for error and increases fluidity.

Okay, now you know what corner cutting is but Is every corner cutting good?

Short answer: NO.

Corner cutting is only good if you don’t feel it while cubing. Proper corner cutting is executed effortlessly.

Bad cubes with poor corner cutting will have a very rough corner cuts which will interrupt your algorithm execution. This will distract you and it will slow you down and speedcubing is about speed.

Stability

image of an unsolvable rubiks cube

Rubiks Cube with poor stability can also result in an unsolvable case when one or more corner pieces twists.

Every cuber will want a stable speedcube. This determines if the cube flexes and does it deforms a lot. Less stable cubes tend to pop more often and warp which is not something you want.

If you are a beginner you won’t be doing crazy moves at first like 5-10 moves per second but if you do it later on it is best to get a stable speedcube for it. Just so you know a popped out piece during an official solving competition is an auto disqualification for that round.

Control

Speedcube’s control depends from multiple factors but one being most important of them all is its turning speed. Faster cubes have less control and they tend to overshoot while performing algorithms. However, the new trend of magnetizing cubes has contributed a lot in giving cubers more control.

You can magnetize some speedcubes yourself but it is not easy with all of them because of their inner design.

Today many speedcube manufacturers are selling already magnetized cubes which give you a lot more control when performing algorithms. However, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend them for absolute beginners because these 3×3’s feel different and it is good to learn cubing “naturally”. This is just my opinion and you can learn cubing on a magnetic cube but I wouldn’t do it.

Secondary Characteristics

Catching

Catching is a case when a layer of your cube catches on another layer. Most common catching occurs when a corner piece catches on a center piece and when an edge piece catches on another edge piece.

This can disrupt the execution of algorithms and distract you which will result in slower solve. Not to mention eating your nerves. On some speedcubes the catching is minimal thanks to proper design while on others happens way too often, ruining your experience.

Catching is caused by bad corner cutting paired with fast turning cubes.

Lockups

Lockups are a thing of the past when it comes to 3×3 cubes because of how well modern speed cubes are designed. But older Rubik’s cubes will have a case of lockup now and then.

This is more likely to happen to 4×4, 5×5 and higher dimensions because they have more complex insides.

Lockups are directly related to the cube design and the more layers the cube has the more often it will lockup.

Additional things you should know

Now you are almost a master cuber! Or at least you are well on your way.. However, there are still more things a beginner needs to know.

Below are some additional things to think about when choosing your speedcube.

Tensions and lubrication

Ready to get your mind blown one more time?

You can change to a certain extent most of the characteristics discussed above on your speedcube!

This is why we (cubers) like to tweak and lubricate our speedcubes.

Pro tip:
Don’t adjust your 3×3 until after you broke it in. New ones need to be used for a while until their layers smooth out and only then you can judge if you need to adjust the tension or add lube.

Tensions

Tensions are holding the cube together and by adjusting them you make layers come closer together or give them more room between each other, removing or adding the friction between them.

Since cubes characteristics are a personal preference it is a real pleasure to fine tune it. By adjusting its tension, you can make your speedcube tighter or looser which will affect pretty much all of its characteristics.

I love adjusting my speedcubes because it really feels good when you make it perfect for you!

Some of them come poorly adjusted out of the box and even after they break in you can notice that they have a side which is too loose or tight. Sometimes it happens that a speedcube out of the box has sides which corner cut 45 degrees while others don’t. If you are experiencing such a corner cutting problem with one side, the top side should be loosened.

How do I tension my speedcube?

If you need to adjust the tension of your 3×3 puzzle first you need to remove the caps of each center piece that needs to be adjusted. Note that you can’t do this with Rubik’s brand cubes because they don’t have adjustable screws.

Once the caps are removed all you need to do is take a screwdriver and tighten or loosen the screws beneath the caps surfaces. Its that simple.

Note:
Don’t go crazy here, make a slight adjustment and then check for the effect on corner cutting, speed and the “feel” of it and if you need to adjust more proceed. It is best when adjusting it little by little and that is why I call it fine tuning.

Once you are done just place the caps back on their place and viola your 3×3 now works by your preferences!

But on a side note, not all cubes will need adjusting since sometimes it happens that you like it just the way it is after it breaks in and this goes especially if you are a beginner because you will start tinkering around your cube(s) only after you get hooked to the hobby. Still, it Is my job to let you in on all of the secrets ?

Lubricants

Internal parts of every speed cube are rubbing against each other and this is why it is crucial for you to use lubes. Think of it as adding oil to your car engine. You wouldn’t want engine parts going dry one on another.

You should only use Silicon Type Lube for lubricating your speedcubes and this is pretty straightforward since there are silicon lubes made specifically for this purpose. But you should know that there are various types of lubes and again it comes down to personal preference depending what you want to achieve.

There are lubes that will give you more speed and those that will give you more control. This depends from the viscosity and thickness of the lube.

There is no secret formula for lubing your speedcube because it will depend from cube to cube and from what you want to achieve. You can even mix lubes in order to get specific results to your needs.

You should never lube a brand new speedcube because it will take more time for it to smooth out its pieces. Only after you have broken in your new 3×3 you should add lube to it.

You can check out this great tutorial for 3×3 lubrication:

Stickers

When it comes to stickers for your 3×3 puzzle there are basically three options:

  • Speedcubes with stickers which are the most popular option.
  • Speedcubes with plastic tiles instead of stickers and these are rarely used and seen anymore.
  • Stickerless speedcubes

None of these are “the best” and this is 100% a personal preference because it will determine what you see.

Stickers come in different shades ranging from half bright shades to full bright shades.

When I first started speedsolving I had headaches because I used a full bright stickered one and I was really upset because I couldn’t spam my cube for a long time before a headache would strike me. This is why I started looking into blind speed solving but once I bought a darker stickered cube my headaches were gone.

The best way to tell if you are going to experience something similar as I did is to think if you experience headaches from very bright things like your computer monitor. This can manifest in speed cubing as well, because once you start spinning full bright colors in front of your eyes it could give you headaches but this will only happen once you start going fast like 3+ moves per second. This problem is easily solved by restickering your cube with darker shades.

 

image of stickerless speedcubeStickerless speed cubes have their plastic colored instead of having stickers. I personally love them because of their looks but that’s just me.

One good thing about stickerless rubiks cubes Is that you don’t have to worry if their stickers will eventually wear off but on another hand, they have their colors and that’s it. Someone may say that it is possible to change their color but the effort needed beats the purpose.

They offer slight advantage over stickered 3×3’s because they don’t have borders between their “stickers” so it is easier to catch a color in the speed of the moment because the area with color is bigger. But this advantage is small and shouldn’t be a sole reason for opting for stickerless option.

Size and weight

Speedcube’s dimensions and its weight can influence the way a cuber is speedsolving depending on their hands size and their preferences.

The standard 3×3 puzzle size is 57x57x57mm (2 1⁄4 in) on each side but there are other sizes available and they range from 57mm and 55mm to 42mm. However, there are of course some extremes which shouldn’t interest you at the moment. Like huge and extra small 3×3 puzzles.

The intuitive way of thinking will tell you that a lighter cube may be better but that is not always the case. Medium weighted cubes are the best options in the most cases.

Reviews of the Top 9 best speedcubes

List Updated 2018

The cubes listed below are the best currently available in the 2018. Any of these choices will be excellent for beginners and professional cubers alike. I encourage you to choose the one which attracts you the most because the personal preference is the most important.

If you are a beginner then I welcome you to the cubing world… Below are the tickets for a ride, pick yours and enjoy 🙂

1. MoYu WeiLong GTS3 M

MoYu is one of the most recognizable names in the speedcubing world and for a good reason. They made some of the best speedcubes that ever hit the marketplace and are always there to innovate. 

The WeiLong GTS model 3 is fairly new but it brought a lot of new features. It is a successor to the well known and reviewed below MoYu WeiLong GTS2. The GTS3 is definitely one of the best 3×3’s ever made and the only thing I think that some people will not like are the outer ridges on its edges. These ridges are there to improve the grip and they help when you are doing extremely fast executions but some people just may not like them.

Another innovation they brought to the table is an adjustable spring system which is separated from adjusting the screws so that you have way more customization options. I love this because when combining this method with the lube you can really personalize the puzzle.

Just like its predecessor, the GTS3 has unparallel speed and now even more than before but this is not something that the beginners will fully enjoy. Luckily the cube comes in the magnetic version which I absolutely recommend and it can easily be adjusted to offer more control.

I don’t know if I would recommend the GTS3 for an absolute beginner because it is a bit costly and it is very fast. The magnets help a lot with the control but still for the beginners it is probably best to go with the non-magnetic cubes at first.

The MoYu Weilong GTS3 has an amazing corner and reverse corner cutting. This is not a cube that will let you down and the solving is effortless.

Turning: Fast and light turning, Corner cutting: Unnoticeable, Control: Enough control, Catching: Very Rare, SpeedSolving: Excellent

2. MoYu WeiLong GTS V2

MoYu is one of the biggest speedcubes brands today and the GTS V2 is still known as their prime model. It is used by many world class cubers and was used for few world breaking results.

MoYu WeiLong GTS V2 has unparalleled turning speed and it goes to the point of being too fast out of the box for beginner cubers because of the lack of the stability but with the proper lube, you can get more control out of it. Cubers who love speed can appreciate the WeiLong GTS V2.

GTS V2 has excellent corner cutting which in most cases you won’t even feel and the effortless turning will have you solving without getting your hands tired.

The cubes size is 55.5mm making it more compact and making it a good choice if you have smaller hands.

There is also a magnetic version of this cube GTS M2 and this cube was used by SeungBeom Cho to break the world record for a single solve of 4.59 seconds. The GTS M2 combines its speed with magnetic control so it is no wonder it was used to get the best single solve.

Turning: Fast and light turning, Corner cutting: Unnoticeable, Control: Enough control, Catching: Very Rare, SpeedSolving: Excellent

3. GAN 356 Air SM

GAN 356 Air SM is much quieter and smoother when comparing to other top speed cubes available today and it is the best cube from the 356 production line. Its core and corner piece design has influenced a lot of recent cubes on the market.

It is a magnetic cube which gives you more control and reduces overshooting to minimum even if you are a rough cuber.

It used to hold the third fastest single solve by Feliks Zemdegs of 4.73s and currently holds the world average of 5.80s also by Feliks.

This cube is more expensive than other quality cubes but it justifies its price with the innovative design, installed magnets and absolute best materials.

The cube is light and that’s where its name comes from “Air” but this is not necessarily a good thing. Think if you would want a light cube or not.

GAN 356 Air SM is still definitely one of the best cubes existing today.

Turning: Fast with enough smoothness, Corner cutting: Unnoticeable, Control: Enough control, Catching: Extremely Rare, SpeedSolving: Excellent

4. GAN 354 M

Gan 354 M is a fairly new cube from the GAN production. Now, this is a 3×3 that many people love while some people would rather stick with the GAN 356 Air SM. Which is totally fine as the 354M has its advantages over the 356 Air SM and disadvantages.

First off the Gan 354 M is one of the smallest cubes you can find today at 54mm which is a big difference when compared to the 56mm of the Gan Air. This is something that the people with smaller hands will love because it really sits well and can give you great control. Also, it is great for one-handed solving too.

The cube comes with the installed magnets but the GAN always loves to innovate so they introduced the visible magnets. I think that this is great because it really gives the personality to the puzzle but some people find the visible magnets distracting when solving it so depending on how much details you notice in the speed of the moment you may not like it.

The 354 M is a little bit more wobbly and less stable which can mess up your algorithm execution but this is not going to happen once you tension it to your liking and once you go through the period of adaptation to this cube.

The corner cutting is excellent as in the 356 Air SM. The speed is phenomenal but this also makes it less controllable. Magnets will help with the control but you will need to find the lube or a combination of them along with the tensioning in order to make it work for you.

Overall this is a phenomenal cube just like GAN Air SM and especially for the people who are looking for a smaller and more compact cube but it will take a bit of adapting to it from your side.

Turning: Fast with some smoothness, Corner cutting: Unnoticeable, Control: Enough control, Catching: Extremely Rare, SpeedSolving: Excellent

5. Valk 3

Valk 3 is manufactured by QiYi and carries the name of one of the best speedoslvers, Mats Valk, and he used this cube to set the pervious world record of 4.74s. This cube also held the 3rd fastest single solve of 4.69s by Patrick Ponce.

Valk3 is a speedcube which has a great balance of speed and stability. Making it a great choice for a beginner. This cube is accompanied by multiple guides about solving the cube by Mats Valk and these guides are available through QR codes in the cubes package. This makes it a perfect gift for someone who is a beginner and also if you are a beginner.

This cube has a smaller size than the standard with its 55.5mm sides.

Turning: Fast with some smoothness, Corner cutting: Somewhat noticeable, Control: Enough control, Catching: Not very often, SpeedSolving: Very Good

6. GuoGuan YueXiao

GuoGuan is a division of MoYu and the YueXiao is their first cube. This 3×3 is very fast but it gives you a good amount of control over the cube providing you with a slight smoothness between the layers.

It used to be generally considered as the best cube for the money until Weilong GTS V2 and M2 but it is still highly appreciated cube loved by many.

If you are a rough and fast cuber the GuoGuan YueXiao tends to overshoot and misalign because of the lack of control.

The YueXiao gives out a bit of a loose feeling and it has a clicky sound which comes from corner cutting. However, corner cutting will usually not interfere with your solving other than the sound of it.

This cube offers a very unique feel to it and it is definitely worth having.

Turning: Fast with some smoothness, Corner cutting: Somewhat noticeable, Control: Enough control, Catching: Not very often, SpeedSolving: Very Good

7. Shengshou FangYuan

Shengshou is a brand that used to produce mediocre but very cheap puzzles with old technology so the 3×3 puzzle FangYuan was a bit of a surprise coming from them. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes.

This is a very good cube for its price. The Shengshou FangYuan provides a cuber with smooth and controllable speedsolving with the loss at a speed. This may be a great cube for a beginner because of additional control.

However, this cube also has its downsides. FangYuan will require some tensioning right out of the box and you may need to do it multiple times until you get it right.

Althou, providing you with great control this cube overdoes it and in my opinion, it takes away too much speed for the control provided. But this problem can be solved if you use some lube to increase the speed.

Turning: Smooth, Corner cutting: Noticeable, Control: Great, Catching: Often, SpeedSolving: Good

8. QiYi Thunderclap V1

QiYi is one of those brands that are trying to lower the price for the value of the product which is something I like. This is an affordable cube with a very good performance for the money.

Thunderclap V1 has very fast turning speed but it also has smooth turning feel which turned out to be a great mix in this speedcube. The cube will give you enough control while also providing you with excellent speed.

This is one of the best speed cubes for those looking to up their game from something like an old rubiks cube into something for speedsolving.

QiYi Thunderclap is used by many big cubers as their main and it is a cube everyone can appreciate.

Some downsides of this cube are catching that occurs due to noticeable corner cutting and the loud clicky sound.

Turning: Smooth, Corner cutting: Noticeable, Control: Great, Catching: Often, SpeedSolving: Good

9. QiYi Warrior W

I love this cube from QiYi because of its affordability and good value for its price. This is one of the best ultra-budget cubes.

This may be a best speedcube for a beginner if he is not looking into spending more. However, generally cubes are not expensive and you shouldn’t pick this one solely because of its price If you don’t like its features.

Warrior W doesn’t feel cheap and it has a unique stickerless color scheme with matte texture on the pieces which is the reason why many cubers have one of these in their collection.

The turning of this cube is smooth enough to give you control over it but it is also quite fast making it a great budget cube for speedsolving.

The cube is however not very stable and this makes it somewhat wobbly which can lead to catching and poorly executed algorithms. However, this is not going to happen unless you go beast mode on it.

Corner cutting is pretty good and it won’t be often that you fail an algorithm because of it.

Overall for a budget cube the QiYi Warrior W does more than what you pay for which is great for beginners.

Turning: Fast with some smoothness, Corner cutting: Somewhat Noticeable, Control: Great, Catching: Often, SpeedSolving: Very Good

Which cubes do the world record cubers use?

Single fastest 3×3 solve
Rank Name Result At the event Cube used
1 Feliks Zemdegs 4.22 Cube for Cambodia 2018 Angstrom Gan Air Sm
2 Max Park 4.40 SacCubing V 2018 GAN 354 M
3 SeungBeom Cho 4.59 ChicaGhosts 2017 MoYu WeiLong GTS2M
4 Tanzer Balimtas 4.64 Pennsylvania 2018 Angstrom Gan Air Sm
7 Mats Valk 4.74 Jawa Timur Open 2016 Valk 3 M

 

Fastest average 3×3 solve (3 out of 5)
Rank Name Result At the event Cube used
1 Feliks Zemdegs 5.80 Malaysia Cube Open 2017 GAN 356 Air SM
2 Max Park 5.95 ABCD 2018 GAN Air SM
3 Patrick Ponce 6.31 Brooklyn 2018 Valk Power M

Information for records used from www.worldcubeassociation.org

Conclusion

After reading this speed cube buying guide you are well on your way to having a positive speed cubing experience.

It is very important to note that what is the best speed cube for one person it doesn’t have to be the same for you. However, the fact that the speedcubing community and successful cubers are opting for certain cubes over the others is helping you scout through the huge array of options.

You should choose the cube whose features you like the most because that will determine the first few months of this beautiful hobby if you are a beginner.

Keep in mind that you can change the cubes features up to a certain extent so if the cube you liked offered very fast turning with a touch of smoothness you should know that you can give it more smoothness and control using lubes and etc. Cubes are not stuck to their manufactured state.

Wishing you awesome cubing!