Out of all the pool maintenance gadgets, the pole is the most basic piece of equipment, yet it’s the most essential and versatile. A pole comes in handy for retrieving loose items like a necklace or goggles. You can even connect it to an array of accessories to scrub the floor and walls, skim debris and suction sediment.
Sure, you can get by without a pool pole. However, keeping your swimming pool clean is a lot harder if you don’t have one. If a swimmer is in distress, a pole can transcend its purpose as a maintenance tool and become a lifesaving aid.
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Not all pool poles are made the same. Some are fixed while others are telescopic, letting you adjust the length. The joints lock in place with a variety of mechanisms, and the poles themselves are constructed from materials such as plastic and aluminum.
Quality and sturdiness are the two features you should consider first, and all the pool poles on our list meet these requirements. However, only some may be appropriate for your swimming pool due to their length of the extension. Our buyer’s guide will tell you more about how we rate pool poles and the accessories you can use with one.
Best Pool Poles
Pool Pole Buying Guide
To those who have never owned a swimming pool, the only discernible differences among pool poles are color and length. However, pool poles vary in terms of the number of telescoping pieces and the manner in which those pieces lock/unlock. Then, there are durability features, including the material and thickness.
In this guide, you’ll find out how to choose a pole that’s long enough for your swimming pool yet sturdy enough to remain stable when fully extended. We also describe the pros and cons of aluminum, carbon fiber, fiberglass and plastic as well as introduce you to various pole accessories and storage solutions.
Types of Pool Poles
Pool poles come in three varieties. While not often used, there are pool poles that move without human assistance. Some are equipped with propellers, using power from the pool’s pump to move. Others float in the water – These are usually solar-charged.
The most common pool pole is a manual stick that the user must guide himself. The majority of manual pool poles are telescopic, meaning the length is adjustable. However, some manual pool poles come in a single solid piece.
Sizing by Length
Length is the only way to size a pool pole. First, you need to know the length and width of your swimming pool. For circular pools, the diameter is the measurement you need. No matter the shape, the depth at the deepest point of your swimming pool should also be taken into account.
Armed with your pool’s measurements, you can now determine the appropriate length. You want the pool pole to reach to the floor of your pool’s deep end. Typically, residential swimming pools are about 3 feet deep in the shallow end and 6 feet down in the deep end.
Most rectangular pools are twice as long as they are wide. A telescopic pole lets you adjust its length, so you can reach any point in the pool without walking around to the other side. Telescopic poles vary widely in length, measuring anywhere from 5 feet at their shortest length to 21 feet or more at their longest length.
Although telescopic poles are ideal for pool maintenance, a rescue pole should be fixed in length to ensure it’s sturdy enough to pull a swimmer. We recommend that residential owners follow the rules that govern public pools in many locales by keeping a 12 or 16-foot rescue pole on hand in addition to a telescopic maintenance pole.
Every telescopic pool pole comes sectioned into two, three, four or five pieces. Where each piece connects, there are locking mechanisms that allow you to slide the pieces to the desired length and tighten them into place.
Manufacturers use either an internal cam, an external cam, a lever or push-in pins for a pool pole’s locking mechanisms. Cams are the prevailing type of lock. External cams are easier to grip, but internal ones require less twisting; they’re also unlikely to jam since dirt and dust can’t penetrate the lock.
The most popular alternative to the screw-apart cam is the lever. To adjust the pole’s length, flip up the lever. To lock the pole in place, push down on the lever – It’s that easy. Some pool pole manufacturers employ locks that fit into pinholes. Levers and pinhole locks offer more stability for poles with four or five pieces.
The more sections a pole has, the less sturdy it tends to be when fully extended. Robust locking mechanisms bolster a pool pole’s stability, but you can’t rely on sections and locks alone when choosing a pole. You must also take into account the type of material, the material’s thickness and its construction.
Plastic is an inexpensive, lightweight choice. It doesn’t rust with frequent exposure to water, but it’s better suited for tasks like fetching objects from the pool. Aluminum is the material many pool owners like because it’s stronger than plastic. However, aluminum corrodes over time unless it has an anodized finish.
Fiberglass and carbon fiber are also used to make pool poles. Both materials are tougher than plastic or aluminum. Although carbon fiber has a little more flexibility to it, the downside to fiberglass and carbon fiber is their heaviness.
Don’t forget to check the thickness of the material. Particularly for aluminum, a pool pole with at least a 1-millimeter thickness can stand up to heavy-duty use season after season. Ribbing also lends to a pole’s durability, making the pole stronger, more impact resistant and better able to shed water.
Pool Pole Accessories
There are many accessories available that fit on the end of a pool pole. Skimmer nets/rakes are the most widely used tool. Nets allow you to remove floating debris from the water. The smaller the mesh, the finer the debris you can collect. There are also magnet attachments that make easy work out of retrieving metal items like jewelry.
Brushes and pumice stones also help you clean your swimming pool by loosening stuck-on debris. The bristles of a brush may be made of nylon or stainless-steel – Nylon is safer for vinyl and fiberglass surfaces. Pumice excels at removing calcium deposits, and you can buy a special pumice attachment that connects to a pool pole.
After you’ve scrubbed loose the grime on your pool’s floor and walls, you can replace the brush or pumice stone with a vacuum head. Many pole-compatible vacuums have wheels, and they either connect to a hose via a water spigot or a filter intake pipe.
Finally, there’s the shepherd’s crook attachment. A shepherd’s crook is a must-have lifesaving tool. Some clip onto the pole while others have a bolt and nut. When a swimmer is struggling to stay afloat, you can reach out to them with the shepherd’s crook and pull them to the edge of the pool.
What’s the Best Way to Organize My Pole and Accessories?
Storing your pool equipment off the ground prevents tripping hazards and ensures you can find a tool when you need it. Wall-mounted organizers come in a variety of colors, and they let you store your pole and/or accessories vertically or horizontally. Look for an organizer that resists rust and oxidization. There are also hooks that hang on the fence.
What If the Accessories I Have Won’t Fit My Pool Pole?
It’s easy to achieve compatibility if the pole and tools you have are made by the same manufacturer. Thankfully, you don’t have to replace all your accessories just because you bought a new pool pole. Some accessory manufacturers also supply adapter cuffs that allow their tools to fit any telescopic pole.
V-clips, or butterfly clips as they are sometimes called, are another option. Although not as durable as adapter cuffs, V-clips can be used with almost any pool pole and accessory. You simply push the ends together, fit the tabs through the holes and connect the tool to your pole.
How Do I Take Care of a Pool Pole?
Pool poles are simple by design. Therefore, maintaining one doesn’t require much effort. Always rinse off the pole before you store it. Push all the pieces together when you aren’t using your telescopic pole to reduce wear and tear on the joints, and never leave your pole exposed to ultraviolet rays for extended periods.
Pool Poles: Recap
Flimsy, low-quality pool poles only last one or two pool seasons, and they can’t accommodate the weight of vacuum attachments and nets full of debris. Durability matters even more when you need to bring a swimmer to safety.
Telescopic poles should extend long enough to reach the bottom and opposite end of your swimming pool. Anodized aluminum and carbon fiber offer the stability you need for a long pole with multiple pieces; however, plastic poles work well for light duty.
Make sure the locking mechanisms can support the telescopic pole when stretched to its longest length. Features like ribbing not only add to the pole’s strength but also prevent pool chemical buildup from breaking down the pole’s integrity.
Don’t forget to keep your pole stored off the ground and out of the sunlight. Fence hangers and wall-mounted hooks can help you organize your pool pole and its accessories. If you take care of it and choose one with durable construction, a pool pole can easily withstand five years of use.