Kendama is a traditional Japanese toy. Kendama consists of handle (“Ken”) and ball (“Tama”) which are connected by a string. The basic principles of playing kendama are tossing the ball and catching it with one of the cups or the point of the stick, however there are almost infinite amount of ways of doing so with different levels of difficulty. Although kendama is considered a Japanese toy, it’s believed that it arrived in Japan from west in 1777 and it originated in France during the 16th century. Some theories suggest that Kendama actually originates in Greece or China. Kendama develops eye coordination, balance and reflexes. Japanese Kendama Association has organized kendama contests since 1979, therefore playing kendama can be considered a competitive sport/game.
I have done extensive research to help you choose the best kendama just for you out of 17 different ones. Read full article now!:
#1 Sweets Kendamas Grain Split 2.0 Prime Kendama
Sweets Kendamas are well known in the kendama community. Their kendamas are well balanced, made from high quality materials and very durable. Grain Split 2.0 Prime kendama isn’t expensive, but it’s a very good one and very beautiful which makes it a great choice as your first one (however even experienced kendama players will appreciate and enjoy it. In fact best kendama players in the world currently play with Sweets Kendamas).
Grain Split 2.0 Prime kendama is made from high quality 2-piece beech wood cup. The spike is designed for both left and right handed players. The paint job is very beautiful and durable – it doesn’t chip like it’s the case with many kendamas in similar price range. The paint job is sticky which helps beginners to learn basic tricks faster and experienced players land advanced ones. Balance of this kendama is very good. The cups are a bit on the larger side and the sword is comfortable. Strings are very strong and doesn’t break or fray.
Overall Sweets Kendamas Grain Split 2.0 Prime kendama is great choice for both beginners and experienced players. It’s very sturdy, well balanced, beautiful and rather inexpensive.
Unfortunately this (and other) Sweets Kendamas models are often sold out, however all models from this manufacturer offer great value for money so you can check which models are currently available for sale by clicking here!
#2 Sweets Kendamas Prime Pro Model – Nick Gallagher
Prime Pro Model (Nick Gallagher) is another Kendama from Sweets Kendamas. It’s made out of hardwood maple.
Nick Gallagher Prime Pro Model kendama is very well balanced. Hardwood maple makes this kendama very durable and very well balanced. It’s a better kendama than Grain Split 2.0 Prime (the #1 in this list), however it’s also more expensive and value for money has to be considered. Most beginners probably won’t be able to appreciate the extra quality over Grain Split 2.0 Prime for it to be worth extra pricing. However if you don’t mind spending a bit more then this is a great choice. It many ways it’s similar to Grain Split 2.0 Prime – the paint is sticky too and cups are on the larger side as well. The paint job quality is great – it’s very beautiful and durable, doesn’t chip.
Sweets Kendamas Prime Pro Model (Nick Gallagher) kendama is amazing, however it’s also a bit expensive
Dimensions: 7.5 x 3 x 2.4 inches
Sweets Kendamas Prime Pro Model – Nick Gallagher Kendama
#3 Sweets Kendamas Prime Pro Model – William Penniman
Sweets Kendamas William Penniman Prime Pro Model is another great kendama, it’s well balanced and durable. It’s made from high quality 2 piece maple wood and is designed for both left and right handed players. The paint is sticky too just like with the other Sweets Kendamas, which helps landing tricks. Paint job is high quality and durable, it doesn’t chip.
Overall this is a very good kendama just like others from Sweets Kendamas, it’s certainly among the best ones in this price range.
Dimensions: 7.5 x 3 x 2.4 inches
Sweets Kendamas Prime Pro Model – William Penniman Kendama
#4 Kendama USA – Tribute – Half Split Matte Silk (Neon Green and Black)
Kendama USA Tribute Half Split Matte Silk kendama is well balanced, it’s perhaps a tad too light but overall balance is good. The paint job is of high quality – it’s beautiful and durable – it doesn’t chip. It stands at 7 inches tall – half an inch shorter than Sweets Kendamas. This Kendama USA kendama is very durable, however Sweets Kendamas ones seem to be a bit stronger and slightly better balanced. The string is good and durable, it also isn’t too stiff.
Overall the quality for the pricing is very good. This is a good kendama and it’s quite inexpensive, which makes it a great choice for beginners.
Dimensions: 3 x 2 x 7 inches
Kendama USA – Tribute – Half Split Matte Silk (Neon Green and Black) Kendama
Kendama USA Alex Smith Pro Model V4 Red Maze is pretty well balanced especially considering its pricing. The “tama” (ball) is a bit too heavy compared to the “ken” (handle), but other than that the balance of this kendama seems to be just fine.
The paint job is of decent quality too. The paint doesn’t easily chip like with many other kendamas, however over time it eventually will start to. The durability of this kendama is average – it’s will last for a while but it certainly isn’t among strongest ones.
Overall this is a pretty good kendama for the price and it’s a good choice for beginners, but there are better kendamas that are just slightly more expensive.
Dimensions: 3 x 2 x 7 inches
Kendama USA Alex Smith Pro Model V4 Red Maze Kendama
Pocket trick guide
#6 Master Kendama Tk16
Master Kendama Tk16 is a great kendama for learning basics. It’s very durable, however it’s not as well balanced as some others are. Master Kendama Tk16s are JKA (Japanese Kendama Association) approved and very reliable. It weighs 140 grams and is 6.25 inches tall (from handle to tip). TK16 is a popular kendama among beginners.
Overall a decent kendama, it’s a good choice for beginners but not the best. It’s sturdy but could be better balanced.
Weight: 4.9 ounces (140 grams);
Length from handle to tip: 6.25 inches (159 mm);
Ball Diameter: 2.25 inches (57 mm)
Master Kendama Tk16
#7 CANSHOW Kendama
CANSHOW Kendama is made out of nice quality maple wood and the “tama” (ball) is rubber coated. The overall balance is good, better than average at this price range for sure. One thing that might annoy you – the string isn’t centered in the kendama. Paint job is pretty durable and looks gorgeous in nature. Some dents do start to appear after some use but overall this kendama is pretty durable.
Overall CANSHOW Kendama is a pretty good kendama for beginners, it’s inexpensive and of decent quality.
Material: Maple wood
#8 WANG Ash Kendama
WANG Ash Kendama is made out of ash wood that is FSC certified. The weight balance of WANG Kendama is pretty good but not the best. Kendama feels to be durable and of decent quality. The cups are big which makes landing tricks easier. Overall it’s a pretty good kendama for the price, however it wouldn’t be among my first suggestions for beginners.
Material: Ash wood
Dimensions: 2.75 x 2.36 x 7.08 inches
WANG Ash Kendama
#9 Kendama Kraze Kendama
Kendama Kraze kendama has decent weight balance however it could be more durable. It’s not exactly fragile, but it certainly isn’t near as durable as strongest kendamas. The wood construction doesn’t feel strong and it creates dents quite fast. The string is rather weak too. Paint job also isn’t the most durable as it starts to chip almost immediately. It’s not badly made, but it’s not on par with higher rated kendamas.
Kendama Kraze isn’t a bad kendama, but there are far better ones available.
Weight: 5.6 ounces (159 grams)
Dimensions: 2.75 x 2.36 x 7.08 inches
Kendama Kraze kendama
#10 Kotaro Pro Bamboo Kendama
Kotaro Kendama is made out of bamboo. The material seems to be of decent quality but the rest of kendama feels mediocre. The overall balance and sturdiness feels average and far from best. However the string is well made and strong. Kendama is traditional size – 7.25″ size from top to bottom and 6.25 “from bottom to tip of spike.
Overall this is pretty mediocre kendama and it can’t compete with best ones. However it’s very inexpensive and therefore could serve well for learning basics.
Kotaro Pro Bamboo Kendama
#11 Alpha Kendama
Alpha Kendama is made out of high quality wood. The balance is mediocre but not bad considering Alpha Kendamas low pricing. String is pretty weak and won’t last long, the kendama itself seems to be durable though.
Far from best but for the price it’s an “ok” kendama.
Alpha Kendama kendama
#12 RQN Bamboo Kendama
RQN Kendama is made out of real bamboo and is 7 inches tall. It’s advertised to have translucent ball, but it’s not translucent at all. Balance is mediocre and so is overall quality of RQN Kendama. The string is quite fragile and most will find it tearing up after not that much of playing.
RQN Kendama is inexpensive, however you can’t call it a good kendama.
#13 Kaleb Kendama
Kaleb Kendama is 7.25 inches tall and weighs 160 grams. The weight of ball is 85 grams inches and its diameter is 2.35 inches. The overall balance of kendama is mediocre. It itself seems to be of decent durability, however the paint job isn’t of the highest quality and start to chip pretty much immediately you start playing.
Overall Kaleb Kendama is a pretty mediocre one. It’s quite inexpensive and you can feel why.
Length: 7.25 inches
Weight: 160 grams
#14 Toysmith Bamboo Kendama
Toysmith Kendama is made out of bamboo and it’s 7 inches long. The overall balance of the kendama is rather bad, it’s not as heavy as it should be. It also isn’t among the most durable kendamas, it is quite fragile and starts to create cracks fast. It’s cheap and that directly translates to quality. This kendama won’t last a long time.
Although very attractive in its pricing, Toysmith Kendama is not well made therefore it’s not among the better choices for beginners.
Length: 7 Inches
#15 KENDAMA TOY CO. 2 Pack
KENDAMA TOY CO. 2 Pack consists of 2 kendamas that are made out of bamboo – one with ball in orange color and the other in blue. They are 7 inches tall and weigh 5 ounces (~140 grams) each. The balance of kendamas are mediocre. The wood is of low quality and chips easily. The string is pretty fragile but balls scratch a lot.
These kendamas are pretty cheap – literally and figuratively. You pay very little per each, but they are of bad quality too.
Length: 7 inches
Weight: 5 ounces (142 grams)
2x KENDAMA TOY CO. kendamas
#16 Yomega Pro Model Kendama
Yomega Pro Model kendama is made out on beechwood. The balance of kendama is mediocre, however the whole construction is pretty fragile. Yomega Pro Model kendama won’t last a long time and it can break if dropped. The paint job quality is pretty bad but not the worst, it starts to chip quite fast. The string is pretty fragile too and prone to snap.
It’s unlikely Yomega Pro Model kendama will last for a while, that’s why you probably should avoid it.
Material: Crafted Beechwood
Yomega Pro Model kendama
#17 Duncan Komodo Kendama
Duncan Komodo Kendama is made out of beachwood. The balance of kendama is poor. The kendama isn’t durable and is badly mate, it won’t last a long time. The string is fragile too, it keeps breaking and twists all the time.
Duncan Komodo Kendama is cheap in price and quality. It can’t be suggested because of it’s poor quality and durability.