Buying your first pole can be a difficult task – it only takes a few minutes of research to discover there’s a lot more to it than you might have first though! Hopefully, this article can help…
Frequently asked questions about buying your own pole
- How/where do I buy a pole?
- Permanent, Semi-Permanent or Removable?
- How does it stay up?
- Is it safe?
- How much should I spend on a pole?
- Chrome, Titanium, Brass… What’s the deal with all the different finishes?
- Is my house suitable for a pole?
How/where do I buy a pole?
There are a number of companies that specialise in manufacturing quality dance poles for home use, including Platinum Stages, X Pole and Lil Minx. Your local pole dance studio may also be able to sell you a pole, as many studios are distributors for the aforementioned manufacturers, or sell their own custom poles to students. It’s also possible to build your own pole, if you are handy with that sort of thing. Just make sure you know what you’re doing – or get help from someone who does.
A quick word of warning: most poles available in supermarkets, retail chains or adult shops are simply toy poles that are not suitable for dancing on. Please also be wary of buying poles on ebay. There are many fake or knock-off versions of popular poles (including X Pole), and it can be very difficult to determine whether you are paying for a genuine one until you take it out the box (and by then it’s often too late!)
If you’re looking to buy a pole online, check out some of these websites as a good starting point:
Permanent, Semi-Permanent or Removable?
This depends on your house, your personal situation and how you intend to use your pole. A permanent pole is screwed or bolted in on at least one end (often the ceiling if not both). A semi-permanent pole requires a floor or ceiling mount to be installed, and then the length of the pole can be taken up and down at will. Fully removable (or portable) poles require no alterations to the floor of ceiling, and can be taken down or moved at will.
If you are in a rental property, or don’t wish to install ceiling mounts or screw anything permanently into your roof, then a removable (or portable) pole is probably for you. If you intend to hide your pole away whenever you have company, semi-permanent or removable poles would be the way to go. If you’re shopping on a budget, permanent poles are often cheapest.
How does it stay up?
When I tell students they can buy poles that don’t screw or bolt into their ceiling (and that in fact they will cause no damage to their ceiling or floor at all) the question that invariably follows is “Oh, but how does it stay up?”
Removable (or portable) poles stay up the same way as chin up bars: they are pressure mounted. Just as your car jack will lift your car higher up from the ground the more you unwind it, so too will your pole push tighter against the floor and ceiling as you unwind the tightening bolt (aka adjuster screw).
For more information, check out the assembly videos available on X Pole’s youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/xpoleinternational#p/u
Is it safe?
If it’s not installed and maintained correctly – any pole can fall down, including permanent poles. Please read the safety instructions for your pole, as each one will be unique. Top of the range poles are built to handle heavy weights at high speeds, but all poles CAN come loose! Having said that, I have had my own pole for nearly 3 years, I perform with some incredible women who really put their pole’s strength to the test, and I teach classes several times a week on a variety of different pole types – and I can count the number of times I’ve seen a pole has fall down on one hand. Personally, I’m happy with those odds.
How much should I spend on a pole?
As a general rule of thumb, anything less than $300(AU) for a removable or semi permanent pole is probably not worth your while. At that price it’s likely to be poorly manufactured and dangerous.
With dance poles, you really do get what you pay for. The cheaper, bottom of the line poles are notorious for falling down, twisting and loosening until they slip out of their fixtures, having rough joints that cut your skin and more. If you’re going to be swinging your weight around the pole or going upside down, it is wisest to invest in a quality pole, such as one of the ones available from the companies I listed above.
Top of the range poles cost approx $400 – $600 for your average height home. If you want to purchase special finishes, or need extra extensions to reach your roof you could be looking anything from $600 – $1000 and above.
Chrome, Titanium, Brass … What’s the deal with all the different finishes?
First things first: each type of metal is composed differently. Brass, for example is very porous, while stainless steel is not. Your ideal pole type and finish will depend on your skin type and the climate in which you live, among other things.
Highly porous finishes are great for humid climates, or sweaty pole dancers, because the moisture in your skin will have somewhere to ‘go’, when you try to grip the pole. Low/non-porous finishes, on the other hand will not be able to absorb any of the moisture and instead a film of slippiness will form between your skin and the pole.
But porous isn’t always best. Think of your skin as a suction cup… like the kind you use to stick sun-shades to car windows. A suction cup works by creating a vacuum between itself and the surface it is trying to stick to. If the surface is highly porous (like wood, for example) it cannot create the vacuum because there are too many opportunities for air to get in. But if the surface is smooth, with the molecules packed tight together (like glass), the suction cup can stick! So for this reason, finishes such as chrome and stainless steel can provide great grip, especially for dancers with dryer skin.
A quick summary of common pole finishes
In general, silicon (or plastic) is the grippiest, but can burn the skin during drops and slides. Brass is most grippy of the metal poles and is favoured by a lot of pole dancers. In some climates however the grip can be so good that it becomes very difficult to perform spins. Titanium comes in sliver and gold varieties. Titanium gold is often touted as brass’s less problematic big sister. It provides grip almost equal to brass in most situations, whilst still being sleek enough to easily perform spins and drops.
Chrome is one of the most common finishes found in clubs and studios worldwide. In my experience there is little difference between chrome and titanium silver, but other dancers will swear otherwise – and insist titanium is grippier. As I said before, the chemical makeup of the dancer’s skin will make a difference – so your experience may vary! Stainless steel is the odd one out here because its grippiness changes over time. Stainless steel poles are often very slippy when new, but once ‘broken in’ they can provide grip equal or superior to chrome.
Is my house suitable for a pole?
This is a difficult question to answer, because it depends on the type of pole. Permanent poles, for example, will need a strong solid beam to drill into but stage poles do not attach to anything at the top, and instead require a flat, even surface, with strong support structures beneath it and wide clearance space for the base.
Generally, the factors that will influence the type of pole that will fit your house include:
- Ceiling height
- Ceiling material – wooden beams, concrete etc
- Type of ceiling (suspended or false ceilings are not suitable for many types of poles)
- Angle of the ceiling – if it’s slanted you will likely need an adapter to level the surface
- Your flooring – tile, carpet, wood etc.
- Clearance space around pole
- Whether there are any interfering factors, such as asbestos in your roof, which could pose health or safety risks
- Whether you rent or own the property – see ‘Should I tell my landlord about my pole?’ for more information
If you have your heart set on having a pole in your home – I am sure it is achievable!
Desperate and dedicated pole dancers around the world have been known to go to all kinds of lengths – including setting poles in concrete in their back garden! So rest assured – where there’s a will there’s a way! If you would like someone to assess your home and help you decide which pole to buy and where to install it, I recommend getting in contact with your nearest pole dancing studio.
Do you have a pole question not answered here?
Go ahead and ask in the comments section below.
(Readers – feel free to answer your fellow pole dancers’ questions if you can help!)