I stop using them after I can feel a crack or split in them. I usually keep them around as a giveaway on the off chance that someone wants one. Now that I'm using wood-tipped sticks, I have to keep an eye on the tips to make sure that they aren't chipping/sharpening and knock dents in my heads. I prefer nylon tips, but I hit an amazing sale at LIDC on some wood-tipped Vic Firth sticks last year. I've been using them and have been enjoying them.