Pole Buying Guide: Brass? Stainless Steel? The Right Finish

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Having good grip on your pole is crucial for your success at tricks.  Having too much grip can result in injuries just as much as being too slippery.  Aside from making sure you are adequately warmed up and your pole is warmed up choosing a pole finish is one way to control your stickiness- at least somewhat.

There are two main types of poles on the market plated and solid.  Plating is the same thing as a silver plated piece of jewellery.  Manufacturers use one of a variety of ways to get a layer of finish to stick to raw steel pole.   Despite the layer being thin the plating will not come off even with years of use.   However, it can be chipped off if the pole is dropped, banged, scratched, or used in a way that is not dancing.  Some people recommend using sandpaper to make a pole stickier- this should never be done.   This is one reason why- especially in terms of poles for home use I encourage individuals to purchase solid poles- they are worth the investment.

Solid poles are either made of solid stainless steel or brass tubes.   Different manufactures use different formulas and processes so even though the metal may be brass- it may have slightly different properties from one manufacturer to another.

There are a few main types of pole finishes on the market right now: stainless steel, chrome, brass and powder coated.

Stainless Steel is widely accepted as the least grippy pole on the market.  However it is very aesthetically pleasing.   Stainless Steel does react to the environment- meaning if you are in a warmer climate-the stainless will be stickier than in a cold dry climate.  Stainless poles need to be cleaned pretty often.  Grip aides build up on the pole and rather than increasing grip can make you slip.

Brass poles are my favourite poles.  They provide excellent grip even though they react to the environment similarly to stainless poles I find they offer the most consistent level of grip.

Chrome plated poles are another type of finish available.  This type of pole does often cause skin rashes in people who have nickel allergies.  I personally am not a fan of chrome poles for a variety of reasons one of which is that I have a difficult time getting good grip on them.   Additionally, chrome has another number of dangers that are not directly related to dancing, but I would just prefer to stay away from them.

Powder coat poles are another option.  They come in a rainbow of colours.  Powder coated poles can either be purchased that way or powder coated after purchase.  It is a spray on coating that is then baked to adhere it to the pole.

Like everything else the coating of the pole you purchase depends on how you react to the poles.  Different people have different experiences with different poles and the experiences can vary in different environments.  For instance, in the winter I have a brass pole that I love, yet in the summer that pole can be too grippy for me and I switch to a stainless pole.

The best way to find the right pole (or poles) for you is to try several out in different environments and see what works best.  This may mean buying two poles.


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