Best pool noodles for (safe) summer fun

Believe it or not, there’s a right way — and a wrong way — to use these popular pool toys.
You’d be surprised about just how different pool noodle models can be while shopping around.
You’d be surprised about just how different pool noodle models can be while shopping around.Westend61 / Getty Images
By Jessica Migala

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Pool noodles are one of the quintessential pool toys in summer. Kids love to splash and play with them and adults can lean on them in order to gingerly float around. This year, pool noodles matter even more: You can use them to claim a spot in the pool and keep the requisite six feet of physical space between you and other swimmers.

IN THIS ARTICLE Safety tips | Best pool noodles

Pool noodles: Safety refresher

Generally, a pool noodle is a long foam tube that floats, but it has its limits. Namely, it’s not a lifesaving or safety device, so they’re not appropriate for kids to rely on for staying afloat if they can’t swim.

“Pool noodles can be used as swimming aids, however, they are not intended to help prevent children from drowning,” says Emily Samuel, program director for Safe Kids Worldwide. Noodle or no noodle, you’ll still want to keep an eye on kids in the pool and ensure young kids stay within arm’s reach of an adult, she advises.

Similar safety measures apply even to adults. “If the person does not know how to swim, the person should wear a life jacket and can use a noodle for extra floatation,” says Rachel Griffiths, communication director for the Aquatic Safety Research Group. She says they can best be toyed with in the pool by holding them out front of your body while you kick, stashing it in between your legs for extra buoyancy, or used as a prop in a water aerobics class.

Best pool noodles

You’d be surprised about just how different pool noodle models can be while shopping around. Most pool noodles are made of foam. These are generally inexpensive but they can tear and fade, notes Griffiths. Some have a hole in the middle or are solid foam. Others can be inflated and still others can be fashioned into a seat for easy sitting. Here are eight that’ll suit anyone’s pool noodling style.

1. Oodles of Noodles Deluxe Foam Pool Swim Noodles

Prevent family fights over pool noodles and get one for each person in this budget-friendly pack of six. Each foam tube is 52 inches-long, made from a dense foam that the company says is “more buoyant” and there are 10 randomly chosen color options.

2. WOW First Class Super Soft Foam Pool Noodle

This souped-up, extra-large pool noodle is designed to keep up to a 250-lb person afloat. The indented texture makes them easy to grab onto and hold, and the foam is comfortable to hang out on.

3. Oodles of Noodles 3 Pack

Unlike their other pool noodles, these have a solid core made from dense, highly buoyant foam — they come in bright colors like red, blue and yellow.

4. Sun Searcher Water Worms Inflatable Pool Noodles

This pack comes with three curvy and three straight pool noodles. Since they’re inflatable, they’re easy to pack and travel with, and can be blown up quickly.

5. Airhead Sun Comfort Swirl Noodle

This noodle has a unique shape. It’s 5-inches wide and flat, plus it has a smaller profile (just 45-inches long). It’s designed so that it won’t absorb water and is made with eco-friendly foam, says the company.

6. TRC Recreation LP Super Soft Swimming Pool Water Floatation Jogger

Consider this an amped-up pool noodle. The device is easy to sit on or you can use it as a back or chin rest when in the pool.

7. Oodles of Noodles Mega Jumbo Noodle

This 6-foot long noodle is large enough for two people to swim with. It does not have a center hole — which makes it more buoyant — and it’s highly flexible, so swimmers can twist it into different shapes while floating.

8. Big Joe Noodle Swing Float

Kids and adults can relax in the water while lounging in this noodle float. A mesh seat is attached to the noodle, providing you with a comfortable place to sit. The float comes in a variety of designs and colors, like Faded Stripe Fuschia and Paradise Pink Cozumel Stripe.

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Zoe Malin contributed.