Which ultimate frisbee disc is best?
In the last decade or so, ultimate — the sport once known as ultimate frisbee — has risen in popularity. What was once relegated to college quads is now played competitively on collegiate and professional stages. If you’ve seen highlights of high-level athletes and decided you want to play too, it’s easy to start. With a pair of cleats, cones to mark the field, and a flying disc like the Discraft Ultra Star, you have everything you need for a game of ultimate.
What to know before you buy an ultimate frisbee disc
If you’re used to a Wham-o or other hard plastic disc, you’ll likely find a regulation-sized ultimate flying disc to be a little bigger than you’re used to. The standard disc is just under 11 inches long and wide, coming in just over 1.5 inches tall.
Day and night
Not all flying discs are equally good, nor are they all intended for the same purpose. If you play in a league where you strap on your cleats and play competitively, you won’t want to practice with a disc different than the one used in league play. Higher-end discs are all the same size, but some glow in the dark or have a light-up element for night play. Of the two, serious ultimate players opt for the glow-in-the-dark for night games. The battery pack in the middle of light-up discs affects the weight as well as how it flies, though they’re a hit recreationally.
The standard weight of an ultimate disc is 175 grams, or just over 6 ounces. There are heavier discs for windy days that come in at 200 grams, or a hair over 7 ounces. Most days you’ll be fine with 175, and if you plan to play in a league, you’ll want to be comfortable with a 175-gram disc. For young ultimate players, Discraft makes a 145-gram J-star disc. If you want to get into the niche sport of freestyle, there are freestyle-specific 160-gram discs made for freestyle tricks and control.
What to look for in a quality ultimate frisbee disc
Texture and grip
Quality discs have a special ridged texture that makes them easier to catch and throw. They’ll also have a softer, more pliable plastic, making them more forgiving to throw and giving you more control when attempting advanced throwing techniques.
There are really only two major players making flying discs for ultimate frisbee: Discraft and Innova. Both make affordable, quality discs and you can’t go wrong with either. If you’re really looking to get serious about ultimate, Discraft is the official sponsor of professional ultimate.
Pliable higher-level discs are more durable and forgiving. If you buy hard plastic discs, they will eventually crack. The forgiving nature of soft plastic allows competition-style discs to be more durable over the long term.
How much you can expect to spend on a flying disc for ultimate frisbee
Like disc golf, ultimate is a budget-friendly sport. You can spend anywhere from $10-$25, but a disc on the lower end can be just as good as a more expensive option.
Ultimate frisbee FAQ
What is a good weight for a flying disc for ultimate?
A. If you aren’t looking for a kid-sized or freestyle disc, go with 175 grams. It’s nice sometimes to have a 200-gram disc in your bag as well, in case of high winds.
Do you need to break in your flying disc after you get it?
A. There’s no break-in period for discs for ultimate in the way that there is for disc-golf discs. While your disc will get a bit more comfortable after some use, it’s ready to go right out of the box.
What’s the best ultimate frisbee disc to buy?
Top ultimate frisbee disc
What you need to know: This is the most popular disc available for ultimate frisbee and for good reason. It’s loved by professionals and amateurs alike.
What you’ll love: Besides having lots of color options and special editions, the Discraft Ultra Star flies better than any other disc and will last you for years. It’s the official disc of the pros for good reason.
What you should consider: The softer plastic can occasionally get bowed, but this is almost always fixable.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top ultimate frisbee disc for the money
What you need to know: While Innova is mainly a disc-golf brand, the Innova Pulsar was the official disc of Major League Ultimate before the league folded.
What you’ll love: If you want to save a couple of dollars, this disc does a comparable job to the Discraft Ultra Star. Its plastic is slightly harder than Discraft’s, so it may be more comfortable to people new to the sport of ultimate.
What you should consider: You usually can get the Discraft Ultra Star for only a couple of dollars more, so the saving may not be worth it.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: If you want a disc for playing in higher winds, the extra 25 grams on this 200-gram disc can make a significant difference.
What you’ll love: The one place that Innova handily beats Discraft in the disc sphere is in weighted discs (because Discraft doesn’t offer one). Even if you don’t often have high winds, this is a great disc to keep in your bag, just in case.
What you should consider: It has limited uses. You don’t want to throw this on still days.
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Joe Coleman writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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