The Spark R&D Arc skinned away with the Editors' Choice award and for good reason: this model scored the highest in every single one of our review categories. The Arc was the lightest splitboard binding in our review and was the easiest to adjust highback from touring to shredding mode. They had the simplest attachment system and the highest quality straps. A couple reviewers mentioned that the Arc felt nicer than the bindings on their inbounds snowboard. The Spark Women's Arc is the same binding but sized down to better fit smaller boots. It comes in one different color (Bluebird) and is a few grams lighter.
While this competitor dominated the competition in both performance and price, there are a few areas in which these bindings could be improved. Engaging the riser bars proved to be challenging for several of our reviewers. While simple to flip from snowboarding to climbing mode, the forward lean adjuster still requires the user to remove the binding to switch between positions. Still, this forward lean adjuster (along with one on the Karakoram Prime) was at the top of pack for our review. Achieving high scores in all our metrics, our testers feel that if you can only have one pair of splitboard bindings, this is the pair that you'll want. If you're on a tight budget, we highly recommend the Best Buy-winning Spark Blaze
This year, Spark shaved another 54 grams by adding in the new Pillow Line straps. This reduces the weight of the bindings by about 8%. Otherwise, the binding remains the same as the 16/17 model. This year they discontinued the red color and replaced it with Cyan.