Looking for the top swimming pool lane lines? Here’s a detailed look at the top ones on the market, key features, and buyer’s guide.
Swimming lane lines are one of the key features of swimming pools.
Mainly, lane lines in the pool help swimmers navigate the pool so that they avoid crashing into other swimmers.
Competition-grade lane lines also feature colored markings that give a visible reminder to swimmers that they are 5m and 15m away from the walls so that they know to surface from their breakouts and that a turn is quickly approaching.
Although the function of lane ropes is relatively straightforward, there is a very large range of different types of lane lines and ropes.
In this guide to the best pool lane lines, we will look at the key features you need to look for when purchasing, the difference between lane lines and lane ropes, and the best ones on the market right now.
Let’s dive right in!
How to Choose a Lane Line (or Lane Rope)
The purpose of a lane line is straightforward: to separate lanes in the pool and help swimmers not collide with each other, whether that is in competition, during swim practices, or during leisure lap swims.
Lane lines (and to a lesser degree, lane ropes*) also perform another important function, reducing the accumulation of water turbulence.
During a calm, quiet lap swim this purpose isn’t so obvious. But attend a swim meet, where swimmers are churning rapidly up and down the pool, or attend a swim practice, with ten swimmers per lane, and the rushing and rising water is very apparent.
Lane lines help kill the wave energy while allowing water to flow throughout the pool.
Competition-grade lane lines are particularly effective at reducing wave flow.
With designs that specifically reduce the momentum and intensity of waves, these lane ropes are excellent at helping keep pool water relatively flat and reduce waves from crashing into other swimmer’s lanes.
What can be more appropriately thought of as a lane rope—a nylon rope with 3’”-5” floats interspersed every few feet or so—are better designed to separate lanes and areas in the pool.
These types of lane ropes are also called pool lane dividers.
The thinner design does next to nothing in terms of quelling waves, but they are an efficient and affordable way to section off areas of the pool for different activities.
These types of ropes are ideal for pools that have high group turnover and require a quick and easy way to cordon off different lanes and tanks.
Storage is also an important consideration. The more technical lane ropes, the Kiefer Wave Eater II’s, for instance, are quite large and require significant storage capacity. Covering the lane lines when outside is recommended, as the elements are relentless and will damage the steel cable and plastic floats over time.
Lane lines should also be removed from the water carefully, as the plastic paddles on the floats can be chipped and broken from pulling them across pool decks and over bulkheads. Replacement of individual floats can be time-consuming and expensive.
(*) There is healthy debate in swimming circles over the proper definition of lane lines. In this guide, lane lines refer to the competition-grade version that has consecutive floats. Its recreational cousin, the lane rope, is the literal rope that has buoys or floats spaced out by several feet. To further muddy the terminological water, some people in the swim world refer to the lines along the bottom of the pool00the black line bookended by a “T”—as lane lines.
Competitor 6” Racing Lane Lines
Competitor Racing Lines are some of the more popular lane lines used for swimming pools.
The lane rope controls water turbulence through a series of discs that are made of non-corroding 6” polyethylene. Vents in the discs allow for water to move through while deadening swells.
Between each disk are donuts that helps reduce waves while also allowing water flow to eliminate dead spots and return waves.
The lane line is strung out on a 3/16” steel cable and locked to the walls with a steel spring and ratchet reel.
The lane lines are available in custom lengths, up to 50m, and with custom color combinations. You can also choose the color of the 15m and 5m markers. Competitor also offers connection options for swimming pools that attach the lane lines through the pool gutters.
Swim Outlet also carries a full roster of replacement parts, including steel cables, donut floats, extension hooks (ideal for pools with gutters) and much more for lane lines.
Click here to see Swim Outlet’s current inventory of swimming lane line accessories.
Kiefer Wave Eater II Racing Lane
The Kiefer Wave Eater Racing Lane Lines are the preferred lane line for backstrokers who enjoy pulling on the lane rope (?).
In all seriousness, these racing lane ropes are top of the (lane) line. Billed as the ultimate lane line for high-grade competition, the Kiefer Wave Eaters are the best of the best.
Each float has eight blades that strike an excellent balance between stopping wave energy while also allowing less wavey water to pass through. Each float is 6” by 5.6”, making them the biggest floats on the market.
They are available in about a dozen colors and Kiefer backs them with a four-year limited warranty.
Fibropool Rope & Float Pool Lane Divider
For smaller, above-ground and inground swim pools, the Fibropool Rope & Float Lane Line provides an adjustable and easy-to-set-up pool divider.
Pool lane dividers are great for sectioning off your swimming pool, whether it’s so that one half of the pool can do a water aerobics class undisturbed from other patrons, , sectioning off the deep end, or cordoning off a landing zone for users flying down the pool slide.
At its fullest length, the Fibropool Rope is 20-feet, include nine floating buoys, and chrome hooks that can easily attach to pool ladders and gutters.
Fibropool offers this high-quality rope and float for about $25 (check Amazon for current pricing and shipping options).
Lane Line Accessories – Storage and Protection
Lane lines, particularly the competition-grade lines, are not cheap, with 50m singles costing as much as $1,200 per lane line. Protecting these lane lines from daily use and the elements is crucial.
Spectrum Sheridan Lane Line Storage Reel
Made completely of stainless steel, the Spectrum Sheridan Lane Line Storage Reel is built to store up to 650-feet (or 198-metres) of lane lines with 4” floats or 375-feet (114-metres) of lane line with 6” floats.
Four 4” steel wheels help you to roll and position the reel when it’s time to load it up with lane line, and locking mechanisms prevent the reel from sliding around the pool deck.
The steel finish helps prevent rusting and corrosion, making it perfect for both indoor and outdoor swimming pools. Cover not included.
Competitor Elite Stor-Lane Reel
A name that is familiar to many swim teams and swimmers, Competitor produces some of the best lane lines on the market. Suffice it to say, they would also offer storage reels for their lane ropes.
The Competitor Stor-Lane Reel is a heavy-duty reel built for racing lane lines. Made of aluminum and powder-coated to prevent corrosion and rusting, these reels have steel, encased wheels (the rear two can lock when reeling in lane lines).
In terms of capacity, it’s one of the bigger reels on the pool deck, capable of holding up to 900-feet of lane lines made with 4” floats or 450-feet of six-inch float lane lines.
For outdoor pools, consider adding the Competitor storage reel cover that is made specifically for this reel. For teams and pools that train outdoors, a cover is essential for protecting your lane lines from the elements. (You can see the reel cover here on Swim Outlet).