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What are the best pool noodles?

Top pool noodles for playing and exercising in the water

Pool noodles are great for keeping you afloat while enjoying time in the pool. They are long, relatively slim flotation devices you can sit or lie on while playing, exercising or sunbathing in the water. Pool noodles range in size, shape and design, so there is a noodle suitable for everyone’s style. It's helpful to understand the options before selecting the right noodle for your needs.

How to choose the best pool noodles

Each element of a pool noodle determines how well it will work for your pool habits. If you’re shopping for noodles for children, you’ll want to stick to shorter noodles with smaller diameters that are easier for kids to grip. On the other hand, solid noodles with soft covers or textures add comfort and support for adults practicing water aerobics.


Pool noodles are available in three categories: foam, vinyl-coated and inflatable. Each type has its pros and cons.

  • Foam: Foam noodles are the classic choice, and they're often the most affordable. They come in hollow and solid-core designs, both reliable flotation devices. The foam quality often determines the price, with higher quality foam resisting sun damage and shredding.
  • Vinyl-covered: These foam noodles feature the same interior as plain foam noodles but have a slick vinyl coating on the outside, protecting the foam underneath from damage. Some vinyl coatings also offer UV protection to prevent colors from fading in the sun. They are usually more expensive and wider than plain foam noodles.
  • Inflatable: These lightweight noodles are easy to take anywhere and inflate before use. They can come in a wide variety of colors and patterns. Since they’re inflatable, you’ll want to be careful not to puncture them and mind the seams.


Both the length and diameter determine how comfortable a noodle is to use, how many people can fit on one at a time and how easy it is to carry. Pool noodles can measure between 46 inches and 60 inches long, with some exceptions for extra long ones. Foam noodles usually measure between 2.5 inches and 4 inches wide. Vinyl and inflatable noodles can measure up to 6 inches in diameter.


Some noodles feature additional texturing on the outside to help swimmers find their grip and hang onto the noodle while in the water. Texture also helps diffuse pressure from your body, which is helpful if you stay floating on the noodle for long periods.

Hollow vs. solid core

Hollow-core noodles have a cutout hole through the center. They are often less expensive but offer less buoyancy, making them ideal for children rather than adults. Noodles with a solid core are more buoyant and safe for all ages.


Choosing a color or pattern that suits your personality is a fun way to personalize your time in the pool. Noodles often come in bright colors and patterns that also help family and friends keep an eye on swimmers from the poolside.

Some noodles come in curved designs rather than the classic straight pasta-like noodle shape. Curved noodles can be easier to sit on in the water and hold the swimmer more steady. Noodles can also have animal shapes such as a sea horse or unicorn, adding even more fun to the pool party.

Best pool noodles

Best foam pool noodles

Wow Sports First Class Soft Dipped Foam Pool Noodle

An extra-large diameter on this high-quality pool noodle offers great body support. The unique texture along the outside makes it easy to grip and get comfortable. The vinyl coating resists UV rays and pool chemicals. Sold by Amazon


Pool Mate Premium Extra-Large Swimming Pool Noodles, Six-pack

For a classic pool experience, this six-pack of multicolored pool noodles adds affordable fun to any party. The thick noodles can support both kids and adults. They measure 56 inches long and feature a hollow core for flexibility. Sold by Amazon


Oodles of Noodles Solid Deluxe Foam Pool Swim Noodles, Three-pack

These 55-inch noodles are both flexible and durable. Their solid core keeps them sturdy and a closed-cell design resists absorbing water. They come in a pack of three. Sold by Amazon


SwimWays Standard Foam Pool Swim Noodles, Multicolor 35-pack

This multipack comes with seven noodles in five different shades for a total of 35 noodles. The pack is ideal for households or swim instructors that plan on lots of time in the pool. Their hollow cores make them extra flexible. Sold by Amazon


TRC Recreation LP Super Soft Swimming Pool Water Flotation Jogger

For sunbathers and those who like to exercise in the water, this recreation flotation jogger is buttery soft and helps you balance while keeping your arms free. Climb on and straddle the jogger for water aerobics or relax in the sun by leaning forward or backward. Sold by Amazon

Best inflatable pool noodles

Poza Inflatable Jumbo Pool Noodles Floats, Two-pack

These oversized pool noodles measure 74 inches long and 6 inches in diameter, offering plenty of space to float around and play in the water. The inflatable noodles are lightweight yet durable and feature an advanced valve closure. Choose from three confetti designs. Sold by Amazon


Poolmaster Inflatable Curved Swimming Pool Noodle Pool Float

A unique C-shaped curved pool float lets you sit or lie in the water comfortably. The inflatable noodle is lightweight and easy to pack away. The noodle measures 44 inches wide and 6 inches in diameter. Sold by Amazon


Aqua Oversized 5-foot Inflatable Pool Noodle, Two-pack

These 60-inch noodles have enough space for two people to lounge side by side. They feature a removable, machine-washable fabric cover for a soft exterior. Choose from six patterns. Sold by Amazon

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Katy Palmer writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.


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