The 4 Best Pool Noodles

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No pool party is complete without the best pool noodles, which are made from buoyant foam or inflatable plastic and are sturdy enough for your intended use. Children can use thinner, flimsier noodles, but adults might need thicker solid-core noodles to support their weight. Foam noodles might not last through repeated heavy use, but vinyl-coated foam is less likely to break down in the pool, and inflatable noodles should last a while, so long as they don't pop.

If you're committed to a classic foam noodle, you'll need to think a bit about design. Most noodles are 40-60 inches long, but some can be longer. Shorter noodles are easier for children to handle but longer ones can support adults better. Noodles can also vary in thickness, and while something as thin as 2.5 inches is enough to support a child, adults should opt for a larger diameter. Hollow noodles are super flexible, but solid-core noodles have denser, more buoyant foam that's better for adult weights.

While most pool noodles are foam, inflatable plastic options are a must if you need to maximize storage, since these noodles can be deflated. The disadvantage is that they can pop, and popped noodles won’t work as floatation devices anymore. (On the flip side, even when foam noodles degrade, leaving bits of foam floating around, they still remain functional.) Vinyl-dipped foam noodles should last longer than undipped foam, but come with a higher price that may not be worth it if you need lots of noodles or don't use them very often.

Whether you’re getting serious about pool exercises or just adding some color and fun to your pool, check out this roundup of the best pool noodles to find the right ones for the job:

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A 3-Pack Of Solid Foam Pool Noodles

This three-pack of solid-core noodles from Oodles of Noodles is a great pick for anyone looking for a sturdier floatation device. The 55-inch noodles come in seven fun colors and boast a 4.4-star overall Amazon rating from over 200 reviews. Many reviewers love this dense, solid-core foam noodle which is able to support more weight than hollow-core ones, despite the fact that it measures just a tad more than 2.5 inches in diameter.

In addition to being better for floatation, the added buoyancy also makes these pool noodles better for resistance training. Since they’re built to really, really float, it takes legitimate effort to push them fully under water.

According to one reviewer: “Took these to the pool and received many compliments on how dense and sturdy they are. Many people asked where I got them. Great quality foam and we use them in the lake as well."

A 35-Pack Of Foam Pool Noodles In Assorted Colors

This bulk pack from SwimWays has earned a 4.6-star overall Amazon rating, based on more than 1,200 reviews, and it's easy to see why. The pack offers a whopping 35 pool noodles in an assortment of five different bright colors — for less than $2 per noodle. This is a convenient choice for anyone who wants to keep plenty of noodles on hand for pool parties, epic pool noodle sword battles, and other summer fun. This pack is also a great choice for swim teachers.

The noodles are 55 inches long and 2.375 inches in diameter. They feature a hollow-core design that makes them super flexible for bending into shapes without ripping or breaking. The shorter length and thinness, along with that hollow design, makes them better suited to kids or adults who don't need a lot of buoyancy. But with so many in the pack, adults can also easily use two or three to add buoyancy while still leaving plenty of noodles left for everybody else!

According to one reviewer: “These are perfect in the pool for all the grandkids and their guests. No more waiting for a turn to use one, and with so many, two or more can be used at a time”

A Durable Vinyl-Dipped Pool Noodle

With an overall 4.5-star rating based on over 3,300 (and growing!) Amazon reviews, this vinyl-dipped pool noodle by WOW Sports is a popular choice for lounging in the pool. The heavy-duty noodle is on the shorter side at 46 inches long, but it's a super-thick 5.5 inches in diameter and supports up to 250 pounds.

The interior of each noodle is made from dense, pliable foam that's easy to bend. It's coated in vinyl that's soft but not slippery, and has a ribbed texture so you can lean back comfortably without feeling like you’re going to slide off. The coating is also UV-resistant so it wont fade or peel as quickly as undipped foam.

Overall, this is a durable, well-designed noodle for both kids and adults, and it even comes in six different colors and a few different styles.

According to one reviewer: “These noodles are great! They are shorter in length than traditional pool noodles, but much wider making them easier to transport in the car. They are smooth to the touch and somewhat soft, but most importantly really buoyant. We've taken them to the subdivision pool and the river, and they held up great on all adventures, being [dragged] along, pounced on, tossed on riverbanks...mud wipes away with a simple dip into the water. Super fun noodle!”

A Set Of Inflatable Pool Noodles

With six straight and squiggly noodles in three bright colors, this pack of inflatable noodles from Swimline will add a dose of fun to your pool. You can also choose from five other designs and shapes to add even more playfulness to swim days.

The inflatable design has earned a 4.4-star overall rating after more than 800 Amazon reviews. Many reviewers love the convenience of the inflatable pool noodles for travel and off-season storage. When you’re not floating around a pool on these noodles, deflate them and toss them in a drawer or bag until you need them again.

The manufacturer doesn't specify the diameter of these long 72-inch noodles, but reviewers report that they're fun for both adults and kids.

According to one reviewer: “I like the foam noodles but they are not ideal for taking on an airline given their length and inability to compress down. I purchased these gems for a 2 1/2 week trip to Colombia and they survived the use from 4 adults ranging in weight from 90-180lbs. Despite being rolled/unrolled, folded and hastily shoved into backpacks, beach bags, dry bags and multiple uses in pools, rivers and the ocean they came back home unscathed!”