Pool noodles have become a modern staple of pools everywhere, both personal and public. Essentially, they’re recreational floatation devices. (Note that they aren’t certified lifesaving or safety devices and shouldn’t be used as such.) Many people of all ages use pool noodles for floating around while enjoying a relaxing dip in the pool. They’re also a popular choice of support for beginner swimmers and are used in various pool and water games. They can even be used for exercise, such as water aerobics. And despite their name, pool noodles work in any body of water, from lakes to the ocean and more. They work equally well in fresh water, salt water, and chlorinated water.
Pool noodles are made from large pieces of polyethylene foam, which doesn’t absorb water. Thus, pool noodles are waterproof and won’t deform over time through extended contact with water. They are usually but not exclusively cylindrical in shape. Many are hollow, though again, this is not a strict requirement. Most pool noodles are hollow simply because that’s the easiest way to manufacture them. There is no advantage or disadvantage to a hollow pool noodle over a solid one, and vice versa.
If you’re looking for some new pool noodles to bring to the community pool or use in your own backyard in-ground or above-ground pool, here are a few we recommend.
What to Consider in Pool Noodles
Here are a few things to think about before buying a pool noodle:
- Size: Not all pool noodles are created equal in size. Standard models range somewhere between 42 to 63 inches long (around 3.5 to 5 feet long) and about 2.8 to 3 inches in diameter. Shorter and slimmer pool noodles are more suitable for kids, while medium or larger-sized ones are better for adults. Any pool noodle of around 50 to 58 inches is considered medium-sized, while anything over 58 inches is considered larger. If you want a little extra security for yourself or your family members, there are extra-thick pool noodles, which provide extra support. Extra-large pool noodles are available with diameters of 3 to 5.5 inches.
- Quantity: How many pool noodles do you plan to purchase? Consider your personal wants or needs, such as the size of your family or the number of spares you want to keep on hand. Most pool noodles are sold in sets of four to six at a time. If you’re in the market for a smaller quantity, purchasing individual pool noodles or in pairs is possible. Anything larger than a set of six will be a bit harder to find but not impossible.
- Design: While most pool noodles are long, cylindrical in shape, and hollowed out, you’re not limited to this design alone. Most retain their foam texture, but some models have smoothed out surfaces. Some have raised textures, which provide a more solid, easy-to-grip surface than standard pool noodles. Others come equipped with some sort of fabric or cloth you can sit on, providing a more seat-like floating experience. Thanks to their built-in LED lights, a few even light up or are designed to look like other objects such as a pen or giant Tootsie Roll. Pool noodles of all sorts also come in various colors and may even be patterned or decorated with accents like glitter. Most are one solid color, but multicolored options are available. Sets usually come in several different colors, one red, one yellow, one green, etc. However, you can buy sets of pool noodles all in the same color or a small range of color options if you prefer.
Best Set: Fix Find Foam Pool Noodles (5 Pack)
You can’t go wrong with this set of five classic, hollowed-out pool noodles. Their bright colors make them easy to spot anywhere in the pool, which can help parents better keep an eye on their children who are using or playing with them. You’ll receive one blue, one red, one yellow, and two lime green noodles with your purchase. There are even nine other color combinations available.
Each of the five noodles is 53 inches long and between 2.25 to 2.5 inches thick. The foam they’re made out of is durable and strong, able to hold up to almost endless use, floating, water aerobics classes, and pool sword fights. It’s also soft to the touch, so it’ll feel perfectly comfortable for sitting or floating around on. And when the time of year is too cold for swimming, these noodles can serve other purposes as well. They make great padding, edge cushions, and can even be used for DIY arts and crafts.
Pool Noodles, Fix Find 5 Pack of 52 Inch Hollow Foam Pool Swim Noodles, Bright Multi-Colored Foam Noodles for Swimming, Floating and Craft Projects
A set of five soft, brightly colored pool noodles that'll be easy to spot at all times.
Best Premium: WOW World of Watersports First Class Pool Noodle
Unlike most pool noodles, which are pure foam and nothing else, this high-end model has a special exterior and coating. While the interior is made of soft, luxurious foam, the outside is triple coated with heavy-duty vinyl. This not only increases the noodle’s durability and ensures its color will last longer but makes it nonslip as well. The raised, ribbed texture makes it that much easier to grip during activities like water aerobics and ensures you don’t slide off when simply floating around.
Despite the vinyl coating, this pool noodle still remains soft and flexible. It’s plenty comfortable to lounge on and will even conform to the shape of your body. As a bonus, it’s also UV resistant and will hold up under the sun, salt water, and various pool chemicals. This ensures you can use it without fear of damage or fading in the ocean, lake, pool, river, or whatever body of water you care to swim in. And at 46 inches long by 5.5 inches wide, this noodle is extra thick and can support up to 250 pounds of weight at once. Choose between blue, red, or green. A similar flat pool noodle and a version with a built-in cupholder are also available for purchase.
WOW World of Watersports 17-2060B First Class Soft Dipped Foam Pool Noodle, Blue, 5.5-inch-wide by 46 inches long
An extra-thick pool noodle with a triple vinyl coating that increases its durability and provides protection without sacrificing flexibility and softness.
Best Extra-Large: Pool Mate Extra-Large Swimming Pool Noodles
Many people prefer to buy pool noodles that are slightly thicker than the average 2.5 to 2.8 inches in diameter. Larger, thicker pool noodles can handle more weight, so they’re better able to support full-grown adults. While smaller pool noodles will work well enough for younger children, at a certain point, those small children will grow up and likely need something larger. At 3.25 inches in diameter, these extra-large pool noodles are suitable for anyone over age 5. Coupled with their 56-inch length, they’re the perfect size for most adults.
You’ll receive six extra-large pool noodles with your purchase, three in blue and three in teal green. If you prefer an alternative set of colors, you can buy them in red and purple instead. A set of 21 pool noodles in assorted colors is also available for purchase if you’re in need of a higher quantity. No matter which quantity or color assortment you choose, every pool noodle in the set is made out of polyethylene foam that is lightweight despite the noodles’ large size, as well as eco-friendly. They’re soft and flexible, perfect for any pool or water activity, game, or exercise, as well as floating and relaxation.
Pool Mate Premium Extra-Large Swimming Pool Noodles, Blue and Teal 6-Pack
A set of long and extra thick pool noodles that can support anyone aged 5 or older.
Best Sling Float: Big Joe Mesh Noodle Sling
Floatation and relaxation are the main purposes that pool noodles were designed to serve. This unique pool noodle comes equipped with a sling seat to making floating, drifting, and relaxation that much more comfortable and easy for you. You won’t have to find your balance on top of a noodle alone with this model. The seat is made of high-quality mesh that is both lightweight and dries out extremely quickly, so you’ll be able to load it into your car at the end of the day without it dripping all over your interior.
The design is not the only unique aspect of this pool noodle. Unlike most, this noodle is filled with patented, lightweight beans with the same buoyancy level as classic foam pool noodles. You’ll never have to waste time inflating it, either. This pool noodle moves easily through the water and drains out as quickly as it dries. If you ever need it, refill beans are available for purchase. And as a bonus, the float comes equipped with a cup holder so that you can enjoy a drink as you float and lounge. There are seven different colors to choose between, and you can order them as a set of two as well.