Types of Hula Hoop Tubing

UPDATED 2/2/2017 - Have you always wondered about the difference in all the various types of hula hoop tubing available? This resource aims to be THE resource for all your question about hoop tubing. 

Info & knowledge obtained from first hand experience, research & education of materials since 2006.

Get to Know Hoop Tubing

ID compared to OD. This can be used to describe the total size of a hoop as well. Some hoop companies measure OD while some measure ID.

Tubing_Cross_Section

PSI

PSI rating, which stands for Pounds per Square Inch, is generally in the range of 100 - 160 for most hoops. PSI is used to determine the overall weight and feel of the hoop, but is an actual measurement of water pressure. The higher the PSI, the thicker the wall of the tubing and the heavier the hoop.

Types of tubing


1" 160 PSI - PE (Polyethylene)

Best for the hooper that is new to hooping, has a larger frame or is looking for a heavy weight exercise hoop specifically for loosing weight. This tubing can be quite "heavy" for a hoop, which makes it perfect for the person that is looking for a weight loss hula hoop, and it will limit you on learning "hooping tricks."  


3/4" 160 PSI - PE (Polyethylene)

Hands down best for beginners before transitioning to "performance" style hoops - Polypro & HDPE. The added few ounces mean worlds to the control and regulated speed offered by this tubing in comparison to performance hoops. Black in color, and a only slightly flexible, this tubing coils easily and is a great stepping stone before getting into the lighter 3/4" Polypro tubing.


3/4" 100 PSI - PE (Polyethylene)

This tubing is best for someone that is either already familiar with waist hooping or that falls into the category of small-medium waist, 5'5" or smaller and under 140 pounds. A great beginner hoop for a smaller person, a super fun hoop to use both for waist hooping and learning basic hoop dance tricks. (I used this hoop for 5 years of professional performance before Polypro became an option)


3/4" PP (Polypro)

Best polypro size for beginners, who are looking to start learning more hooping tricks and graduate from just hooping on their waist. This has been the most popular size and type of tubing for the past 3-4 years.


5/8" PP (Polypro)

Light-weight, responsive, highly flexible and best for more advanced hoopers or people with a smaller frame. Fabulous for quick finger-tricks, doubles, minis, and a feather-light experience.


1/2" PP (Polypro)

Lightning fast, feather light, and ultra thin. No more than 30" OD, or else you may have a crazy noodle hoop.


3/4" HDPE

Known as High Density Polyethylene. Loved by beginners, and even craved by professionals. A bit more of a 'spring' to HDPEs responsiveness than Polypro, HDPE also offers a bit more weight for added control and decreased speed of tricks.


7/8" HDPE

A beginners hybrid! A definite recommendation when you prefer a bit of weight and thickness to your tubing and flow. A lovely tubing size for those that desire a chunkier grip, heavier hoop, and slower flow all around.


POLYETHYLENE

  • Also known as PE tubing or black irrigation tubing
  • Can be purchased at most hardware stores such as Lowe’s or Home Depot.
  • Hoops made from PE tubing are what most hoopers start with
  • This tubing is great for beginners
  • PE tubing is thicker and heavier than the other tubing types; moves rigidly
  • PE hoops move slowly (because of their heavier weight), which gives the hooper more control over the hoop (which is also why this tubing is great for beginners)
  • Measured by ID (inside diameter) and PSI (pounds per square inch)

 

HIGH DENSITY POLYETHYLENE (HDPE)

  • Also known as HDPE tubing
  • Natural HDPE tubing is white in color; however, HDPE tubing can also come in a variety of colors (including pastels, metallics, and neon/UV reactive colors)
  • HDPE is one of the two tubing types used to make LED hoops
  • HDPE tubing is fairly stiff and rigid (similar to PE tubing; however, HDPE is thinner and lighter than regular PE tubing)
  • HDPE is lighter than PE tubing, but heavier than polypro
  • Good for off-body tricks or intermediate/advanced on-body moves
  • Measured by OD (outside diameter) and ounces

Polypropylene

  • Also known as PP tubing or polypro tubing
  • Natural polypro tubing is a milky-clear color; however, polypro tubing also comes in a variety of colors (including pastels, metallics, and neon/UV reactive colors)
  • PPE tubing is thin and very light, which makes PPE hoops move faster
  • PPE tubing is more flexible and more resilient than other types of hoop tubing (which makes PP excellent for breaks and reversals)
  • Polypro tubing is resilient and very responsive
  • Polypro tubing is commonly used for LED hoops
  • Good for off-body tricks or intermediate/advanced on-body moves
  • Measured by OD (outside diameter) and ounces

 

Even MORE info about Polypro

WHAT IS A POLYPRO HOOP, ANYWAYS?

Polypro is a nickname given to the type of plastic that these hoops are made out of.
Wikipedia states- “Polypropylene (PP), also known as polypropylene, is a thermoplastic polymer used in a wide variety of applications including packaging, labeling, textiles (e.g., ropes, thermal underwear and carpets), stationery, plastic parts and reusable containers of various types, laboratory equipment, loudspeakers, automotive components, and polymer banknotes.”……and now Hula Hoops!

WHAT IS DIFFERENT ABOUT IT?

Polypro hoops are lighter, stiffer, more springy and reactive. In hooping terms they are quicker, lighter, more responsive and generally a lot better than the standard hardware store irrigation tubing historically used to make hoops.

ISN'T LIGHTER MORE DIFFICULT?

Yes and no. The first time you get to work with a polypro hoop it will feel light and a little strange. Give it about 30 minutes (or less) and you will be in LOVE!
Lighter hoops move faster than a heavier hoop and they are also a lot more responsive to your body movements.

WILL A PP HOOP MAKE ME A BETTER HOOPER?

Most definitely, but it’s not going to happen without some effort on your part. It’s not like you can just buy a polypro hoop and suddenly be as skilled as Rachael Lust (she’s incredible, by the way. (and she’s sponsored by us!! Eeeeee!!! (excited noise)))
...ok, where was I? Oh yes, you need to practice.
Polypro hoops require a faster hooping style and they also open up a whole new book of tricks and moves that will not feel as good without a polypro hoop. 


DO I NEED A SMALLER HOOP? CAN YOU TELL ME WHY?

Polypro hoops are most optimal at a size of 36” or less. At 37” they tend to coil in on themselves due to the natural curve of the tubing.
A smaller hoop will allow you to do more off-body style tricks and give you more freedom of movement.


WAIT, WHAT’S 3/4” and 5/8” OD TUBING?

This refers to the size of the tubing measured at its widest point. A ¾” hoop is the “standard” size that most people use. It is a very good hoop to get if you are just starting out with a polypro hoop. To give you an idea of the size of this tubing, I can fit my pointer finger in it.
5/8", on the other hand, is only big enough for my pinky.
...and now I have hoops stuck on both hands. :)

A 5/8” hoop is going to be thinner, lighter, and a little more flexible. The people that buy these hoops are usually professional performers or someone that is very small and light. This would be closer to a kid's hoop size and weight.


POLYCARBONATE

  • Also known as polycarb tubing
  • Can be purchased online
  • Polycarb tubing can be found in a variety of colors including UV reactive
  • Polycarb tubing is hard, but very bouncy/springy
  • Good for off-body tricks or intermediate/advanced on-body moves
  • Measured by OD (outside diameter) and ounces
  • Polycarb is most often used for the connector piece of hula hoops.

Cross-linked Polyethylene:

  • Also known as PEX tubing
  • Can be purchased in most hardware stores or online
  • Very similar to Polycarb tubing (in that PEX tubing is hard but lightweight; PEX tubing is also bouncy/springy)
  • Good for off-body tricks or intermediate/advanced on-body moves
  • Not very common in the hula hooping world.

WOOD

  • Made from cedar
  • Lighter/hollow wooden hoops weigh 6-10oz (about the same as a polypro); heavier wooden hoops weigh 11-17oz
  • Wooden hoops can be engraved with words or phrases
  • Wooden hoops are rather stiff compared to plastic hoops

Aluminum:

  • Can be purchased online
  • Aluminum hoops do not warp or crack like plastic hoops
  • Lightweight (typically just over 6 ounces)
  • The shininess of aluminum hoops make them great for performances
  • Aluminum hoops are rather stiff compared to plastic hoops