flyangler

Berkley X9 vs Sufix 832 & X8 - A simple comparison = Don't believe the hype

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Based on my cursory examination below, Berkley's "advertised diameter" :airquote: claims for its X9 lines in 20# and 30# weights are not even in the "class" (neighborhood) they claim. :airquote:

 

WHY READ THIS:

Do you find you sometimes question the advertised line diameters of braids? Especially the more recently introduced super-braids with 8 or 9 elements all wrapped together into the next best thing? If so, read on.....

 

Introductory points: 

  • I wanted to spool a new reel for a jigging application where a very thin diameter line was desirable
  • The running assumption being thinner diameter, less drag, more straight up/down jigging in current
  • I mostly use Sufix 832 and Daiwa X8 J-Braid (the regular variety) but was looking for something thinner
  • Based on favorable online mentions and its "advertised diameter" I bought Berkley X9 in 20# and 30#, ghost color 
  • I would be remiss if I did not mention that John Skinner regularly mentioning X9 was what started this project
  • This is totally a layperson's analysis based on my initial eyeball comparison of X9 to 832
  • This is not meant to compare to the work of SOLer Aquaholik and those who contributed to the sticky above
  • I usually buy as much as I can at the local shops, but in this case no one local had inventory of X9 that I could find, hence off to Amazon
  • I am a reformed engineer which explains the wonkiness below
  • I also have a tendency to be too verbose, hence the use of bullet points (as if that will help :laugh:

 

Motivation:

  • I am spending the time putting together this note because I am minorly pissed off that the X9's "advertised diameter" was, well, bullchit
  • Before ordering the X9, I had checked the specs and the "advertised diameter" of the X9 beat the pants off of the 832
  • In fact, 30# X9 was supposed to be thinner than 20# 832 (0.20 vs 0.23), a no-brainer in my book
  • Below is a grab of the specs for X9 from the Berkley site, note that they call it "Advertised Diameter"
  • Note that the 20# is listed as 0.17mm "class" and the 30# as 0.20mm "class"
     

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Out of the box observations:

  • I spend more than a little time fishing 832 on spinning rods, mostly 15, 20 and 30# test
  • When casting lures dozens of times per outing, that's quite a bit of "finger time" so you get a sense of diameter
  • So when Amazon delivered the new lines and I opened the boxes, my immediate reaction was "What the hell?"
  • A quick trip to the garage and putting the X9 next to comparable 832 showed a discernable difference
  • Laid out below, you should be able to visually see what I noticed right away, the X9 20# and 30# are visually thicker than the comparable 832
  • Whoa! How can that be? I had checked the specs and the "advertised diameter" of the X9 beat the pants off of the 832
  • All the lines are equally smooth to the touch and round as well, no oval profile that could make a line look thinner or fatter
  • As you can see, the 20# X9 is visually thicker than the 20# 832 and the same for the 30# lines

 

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So what is one those boxes? What is the "advertised" or label diameters?

 

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MEASUREMENT PROCESS:

  • I used a cheap caliper bought on Amazon to measure the thickness of each line
  • I used millimeters as the metric system lends itself to this compared to small fractions of an inch
  • I zeroed out the caliper before every measurement and put the line in at roughly the same point in the jaws each time
  • I rested the caliper on the bench so as to reduce any undue pressure that could "squeeze" any line sample
  • I did at least three measurements per line, twice near the end and then once each ~6" and ~12" from the end, a lazy attempt to see if there was any variability
  • The photos at bottom, taken of each line, show the measurement that was consistent across the three or four measurements taken
  • I took the photos with the spools in the frame for easy reference

 

SUMMARY OF RESULTS:

 

610095820f65d_ScreenShot2021-07-27at6_37_39PM.png.fef6704d341c7c64820cd5590338cdb0.png

 

DISCUSSION OF TEST RESULTS:

  • The data collected here are limited, performed without serious scientific rigor and are worth whatever you want to determine
  • I did take multiple measurements and noted the best representation of the thickness of each line
  • Again, this is not meant to be a professional critique and I welcome any comments from readers (or Berkley)
  • OK, pure and simple, the "advertised diameter" put forth by Berkley is a fantasy based on my observations
  • Funny, because using "advertised" almost tells you, the buyer, that they are about to lie to your face
  • The measured diameters for the 832 and J-Braid were either right on, or actually a 0.01mm thinner, than label or "advertised" diameter
  • The measured diameters of the J-Braid and 832 were nearly the same
  • The measured diameters of the X9, supposedly a skinny line, were actually slightly larger than the same tests of the others
  • Regarding 832, if you were thinking of 15# for a given reel, the 20# at the same measured diameter (or close) could be a better choice
  • Note to fluke anglers and others concerned about 15# vs 20# diameters, within these samples, the differences are so small to be meaningless
  • As for Berkley, I find it almost laughable that they use "advertised diameter" as you might find in a used car ad given it feels like a bait & switch
  • And then they compound that foolery using "class" as if suggesting there is a class or range of diameters, rather than actual diameter, that matter

 

COST COMPARISON

  • Using Amazon prices, rough cost per yard based on Berkley 164y spools, Sufix 300y spool and Daiwa 300m spool
  • Berkley X9: 20 & 30#: 11 cents per yard
  • Sufix 832: 30# = 11 cents / 20# = 9 cents
  • Daiwa X8: 30# = 6 cents / 20# = 4.5 cents
  • In my view, Berkley is the "most expensive" in real terms but also in the cost:benefit metric
  • Having never calculated this before, I was surprised that the J-braid was the cheapest and by how much, even relative to the 832

 

CONCLUSION

  • Raise your hand if you think I am NOT returning the X9 spools to Amazon
  • Good, no hands up which is perfect, as both spools are going back tomorrow
  • One advantage of using Amazon, even if it does not support your local shop (low price, low margin item means little), is the returnability of most items to Amazon
  • While it might not make Mr. Bezon happy, if you want to audition a bunch of lines, order two or three, examine them when they arrive and return what you do not want
  • Personally, as a Prime member, I would limit my purchases to Amazon as the facilitator and avoid third-party sellers whose free-returns policy might not be as liberal (been there, done that, paying return shipping sucks)

 

REGARDING MR. SKINNER

  • As for John Skinner, I have to admit that I do enjoy his videos and find his underwater views of fluke and seabass quite interesting and informative
  • No, I am not a fan boy and I do find his personality can be a bit grating at times, but he seems a decent enough guy and puts much time into this YouTubes
  • Of course, he's a big proponent of Berkley's Gulp and they do supply him with Gulp products early (he got the salmon red before anyone as well as the 8" camo grubs)
  • So when he says he uses the X9 for its thin diameter, he right in the absolute sense, X9 is thin but no thinner than 832 or X8 (using my measurements)...
  • .... However, X9 is not some miracle line that provides 15# diameter in a 20# product, which is what Berkley's own specs would suggest
  • Maybe Skinner has never made such a comparison, as a subscriber to his YT channel, I would like to think not.....

 

At this point, I have not compared any of my measurements to those in the exhaustive sticky at the top of the Main, that's too much effort at this point :laugh:

 

For you more quantitative or scientific types, please feel free to critique the above, both process and conclusions. :howdy:

 

If you got this far, thanks for reading, I hope you found it helpful.....

 

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Edited by flyangler

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Diameters on labels are about as accurate as me reciting an encyclopedia in French in braille. 

 

Ive pulled off sufix 832 for being near double its stated line diameter... And went x9.. 

4lb test sufix 832 ice line was far thicker than 6lb x9. 

 

Fins 40g 's 5lb line was. 009 vs it's 004 stated line diameter.... 

 

If I recall correctly sufix 6lb 8ln 15 and 20 were pretty darn accurate in my caliper measurements 

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2 mins ago, scoobydoo said:

 

Diameters on labels are about as accurate as me reciting an encyclopedia in French in braille. 

 

Ive pulled off sufix 832 for being near double its stated line diameter... And went x9.. 

4lb test sufix 832 ice line was far thicker than 6lb x9. 

 

Fins 40g 's 5lb line was. 009 vs it's 004 stated line diameter.... 

 

If I recall correctly sufix 6lb 8ln 15 and 20 were pretty darn accurate in my caliper measurements 

 

How do you handle measurements of line that is not circular in cross section?   While I recall that suffix 832 is pretty 'round", Fireline comes to mind as being flattened.  

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Thank you for this post. I was respooling my reels and was comparing lines online vs. what I already have. None of the lines can put 280 yards of 20lb braid on my reel. I was sitting here thinking maybe the reel label is incorrect vs. line diameter is incorrect. This post verified one of my concern. 

 

Also with the Berkerly lines, how are the X9 different than the fireline they use to have? 

 

I love fireline, but somehow they changed the name/label(?) and their diameter is thick!

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20 mins ago, scoobydoo said:

 

Diameters on labels are about as accurate as me reciting an encyclopedia in French in braille. 

 

Ive pulled off sufix 832 for being near double its stated line diameter... And went x9.. 

4lb test sufix 832 ice line was far thicker than 6lb x9. 

 

Fins 40g 's 5lb line was. 009 vs it's 004 stated line diameter.... 

 

If I recall correctly sufix 6lb 8ln 15 and 20 were pretty darn accurate in my caliper measurements 

Scoob, I bow to your experience and wisdom. As I tried to say, I limited my comments to my limited sample set and my simple process. My focus was to spool two specific low pro reels, originally one with the 832 15# spool and one with the 832 20#. Given I found the diameters to be "the same", I am going to inspect those one more time but just put the 20# on both if I confirm my initial measurements. 

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Sufix 832 is thicker than most good lines. Sucks up water like a sponge too.

832 in 30lb is much thicker than 0.27mm.

 

There is no way a line that breaks at nearly 50lb has a dia of 0.28mm unless you start looking at very expensive lines manufactured from fancy pants Ultra Dyneema or Ultra 2 PE fibres (Shimano Pitbull and Varivas Max Power come to mind; I cant justify the outlandish cost)

'

From  my own records (and there is a pinned post at the top of the main forum that you can get a host of information from)

832

15lb: 0.28mm

30lb: 0.36mm

 

4 hours ago, 55555s said:

How do you handle measurements of line that is not circular in cross section?   While I recall that suffix 832 is pretty 'round", Fireline comes to mind as being flattened

 

Weigh a section and based on known density work backwards.

or

Open jaws of a micrometer to a specific dimension say 0.32mm and then with line under tension between your hands try to pull it between the jaws. No fit - open jaws. etc etc

When you find the opening that allows the braid to pass, make sure with different sections of line (it crushes easily)

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@ZAFisher Wow! Was I off by THAT much? I will have to measure again. 
 

I have been into the tables and I think that’s how I ended up using 832 and J-braid, seemed best combination of metrics and general availability in the USA. Maybe my availability criteria it too simplistic. 
 

So, based on your experience (which I appreciate is not in the US) what would be the most optimal compromise line in the 20# label rating for diameter, smoothness, knot strength, diameter:ABS, longevity AND is generally available in the US?
 

Maxcuarto? Yozuri Super? 

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40 mins ago, flyangler said:

@ZAFisher Wow! Was I off by THAT much? I will have to measure again. 
 

I have been into the tables and I think that’s how I ended up using 832 and J-braid, seemed best combination of metrics and general availability in the USA. Maybe my availability criteria it too simplistic. 
 

So, based on your experience (which I appreciate is not in the US) what would be the most optimal compromise line in the 20# label rating for diameter, smoothness, knot strength, diameter:ABS, longevity AND is generally available in the US?
 

Maxcuarto? Yozuri Super? 

Maxcuattro is good for jigging and very thin (4 strand braids are NOT dead).

Yozuri I believe is good too.

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I noticed the same thing even between spools of same brand.  Some spools feel thicker.  No science beyond my fingers

 

I wonder if lines get thinner with use (stretched) and thicker when wet?  I worry more about castability then diameter especially for surf and fw fishing.  The gliss type lines are super thin and cast like crazy, until they don't!  Like fighting with cobwebs so I gave up on them.   

 

FINS still makes the best casting line for me

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12 hours ago, 55555s said:

 

How do you handle measurements of line that is not circular in cross section?   While I recall that suffix 832 is pretty 'round", Fireline comes to mind as being flattened.  

I pull it under tension, Take a measurement in a few spots......jot down those numbers.

I don't bother with the not round aspect.  I recall paulus just fishing's site kept tabs on all that stuff.....never really made a difference to me

 The modern lines I've cared to measure are close enough.  I mainly want to see if it's close to labeled spec.  If it's significantly thicker then there is a problem......never found one that was significantly thinner.

 

If I have to focus on measuring both axis of a fishing line........i'm living life wrong lol

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Posted (edited) · Report post

so a funny thing happened as I went to process the returns to amazon for these two lines. bought on different days, i had to process separate returns.

 

I did the 30# first, ordered second, and used the "Inaccurate description" as the reason. Curiously, when i got to the end, Amazon said they were processing the refund and there was no need to return the product. Hmmmmm

 

I have had that happen before, usually with items under $10 or which you know had shipped from China. Too expensive for them to process, easier to let you keep it. But this was over $15 and shipped from Amazon, so a surprise.

 

And yet, when I processed the 20#, using the same reason, Amazon provided return shipping info, free if I drop it at the UPS store a mile away. 

 

Strange and makes me wonder how their return algo works.

 

Anyway, now I have a spool of 30# X9 going into the line box.

 

 

 

Edited by flyangler

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@flyangler thanks for the hard work.

 

For me, I go by three things:

  1. Using Aquaholic’s chart I look at actual break strength for “will it suit my SW needs” 
  2. strength to weight ratio - is that line a good/efficient choice for taking up valuable real estate on small Shimano spools. This is not even a concern for most other brands but I really like lightweight plugging combos so 5k Shimano is kinda the sweet spot for me - just means being smart about which line so I get proper strength & capacity. 
  3. In thinner class line, is it capable of being cast from land on at least a breezy day? For example, powerpro 10 lbs fails that test for me personally but 8lbs fireline Crystal passes. Will I look forward to fishing this line or will I be apprehensive? I want to think about fishing or nothing at all when I’m on the water - not the annoying overly wispy line. 

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Posted (edited) · Report post

I love Berkley x9, and once you understand their labeling scheme, you will too.  From a post I made elsewhere...

 

"Funny thing about fishing line in the US is that manufacturers don't make it clear what the actual qualities of the fishing line are. For example, even in the picture below of my spool of Berkley x9 there is a lot of conflicting information.  This is because there is no standard for rating fishing line in the USA, but there is elsewhere (like Japan).

 

- Line Diameter "Size" - given as 0.004in or 0.10mm BUT there is also another number next to that, "1.0(kanji symbol)".  This number, often hard to find on the packaging, will tell you the actual line diameter.  In this case, that Kanji symbol means "PE" which indicates a line's PE rating, of which I have a PE 1.0 line here, meaning the actual line diameter is 0.165mm.  Fair sight larger than 0.10mm, huh?   

 

- "Max Break" - claimed to be 20lb on 8lb-test braid!! Why have two ratings? Well, it's because in the USA, we use strength classifications rather than using diameter to classify lines.  Imagine how hard it is to make a line break at a specific tension...so in reality, they just make it to the foreign standards and then fudge the numbers to fit the US market.  The truth is the line pictured will break at approximately 20 lbs (if all my knots are perfect, the best knots typically maintain 90ish% of the line's strength...20 x 0.9 = 18lbs ABS).  Imagine dead-hanging a 18lb fish from the tip of your rod...If your rod or reel doesn't fail first, then this would be possible with the line I've pictured.

 

Also pictured below is a PE line chart and the corresponding Berkley x9 lb-tests to PE rating that I put together from scouring the internet.  Now, do the same with all line you encounter, look for that tiny little PE number and purchase accordingly."

 

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Edited by cbinvb

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