Here’s a breakdown of the best pool noodles for all of your aquatic activities, from swimming, to Aquafit, to floating around at the beach.
The pool noodle leans on the recreational side of swimming, often seen in the wave pool or with kids slapping each other silly with them (I might have been one of those kids at one point…).
While the pool noodle looks strictly like a water toy or something to keep only in the leisure pool, it is extremely useful for other things in the water.
Swimming Noodles: Benefits and Uses
- A better buoyancy tool. The pool noodle can be used as a flotation aid to help beginner swimmers learn how to balance themselves properly in the water.
- It can double as a kickboard, particularly for those who find stretching their arms across the board to be strenuous on their shoulders. You can manipulate the shape of the pool noodle to get a more comfortable and natural kicking position; under your arm pits and around your chest, for instance.
- Useful for water running. The noodle gives you just enough buoyancy to keep your head above water, which makes it helpful for those who like to exercise by water running. Simply wrap it around you and you are off to the races.
- The swimming noodle is great for developing upper body awareness in the water. You can use it to emphasize the upper body portion of treading water (sculling, basically). By “riding” the pool noodle you take your legs out of the equation and you can concentrate on executing the back-and-forth sculling movement properly that is essential in being able to tread water efficiently.
- High degree of movement. The best benefit of a pool noodle is that unlike your favorite pull buoy, kickboard, or even a life jacket, the pool noodle provides buoyancy and support without being fixed or strapped on, restricting movement of the arms or legs. They give you a customizable and free range of movement.
- It’s easy to use and remove. No stumbling and bumbling trying to remove it before moving onto something else or finishing your workout. Simply throw it on the pool deck or let it float peacefully away.
- It’s a common water therapy tool. The pool noodle is commonly used with physical therapy patients at the pool that I train out of. With just enough buoyancy to keep people afloat, it allows them to move through the water slowly and safely.
- Doubles as resistance training in your local Aquatfit classes. The noodles allow for low impact exercise and movement in the water and can even be used as a piece of resistance equipment while doing AquaFit or other aquatic aerobic-related exercises.
Picking the Best Pool Noodle for You
Pool noodles are typically made of foam, and as a result, they are basically indestructible. They are also quite cheap (especially compared to other pieces of swimming equipment like racing suits and training fins), usually coming in at around $10-12.
- They come in either a hollow or a solid core.
- Pool noodles—as you will see in our list of best water noodles below—also come in a hilariously diverse range of bright colors.
- Can be used at the beach, the pool, or even in the hot tub. All you need is a little bit of water and you are good to go.
The Best Pool Noodles for All Your Swimming Needs
Here are four of the top swimming noodles out on the market:
Oodles of Noodles Swimming Noodles
This is the classic swimming noodle seen at most local aquatic facilities. They are light, thin, easily bendable, and last for about a zillion years.
The Oodles of Noodles 6-pack (you can get them multi-coloured or in sets of one color) is cheap, made to last, and are at home both in the pool and at the beach.
World of Watersports Foam Noodle
This water noodle looks more like a foam roller, and although you might be tempted to use it as such, it might not give you the roll that you’d expect from an actual roller.
Nonetheless, the bumps and the vinyl coating of the roller is designed to give you a comfortable and non-slip float/water run/swim/hit your siblings with.
It’s also a little wider and thicker than the typical pool noodle that you are used to seeing at your local aquatic center. It provides extra buoyancy, supporting persons up to 250lbs.
SwimWays Standard Swim Noodles (Bulk Pack)
For swim clubs, pool administrators, or people who just really, really like pool noodles, you can get them in 35-packs (yup, that’s not a typo—35 pool noodles).
When ordering them in bulk they are also hilariously cheap, coming in at just over a dollar per noodle. The SwimWays Standard bulk pack features five different colors, and has the hollow core.
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