Which pop tube is best?
Fun to stretch, bend, connect and make noise with, pop tubes might not be much to look at, but they’re hugely popular with kids. Although most look similar, there are differences and not all are equally flexible or durable.
To help you decide which to buy, you might want to consider the different sizes available and how many you need in a pack. If you’re looking for a variety of sizes, Fun Kidz Jumbo and Mini Pop Tubes are great.
What to know before you buy a pop tube
Most manufacturers list the diameter of pop tubes rather than the length. The length is generally in proportion, so those with smaller diameters are almost always shorter than those with larger diameters.
- Standard: Standard tubes measure roughly 1 inch in diameter. This is a good place to start if you’re unsure what size to buy.
- Mini: Mini pop tubes have diameters of less than 1 inch, usually one-half or three-quarters of an inch. They’re great for smaller hands and for more intricate projects.
- Jumbo: Jumbo tubes are usually 1.25 to 1.5 inches in diameter. They’re great for making things that require length and heft, such as skipping ropes or hula hoops.
Since they’re aimed at kids, these tubes usually come in bold colors that appeal to little ones. Expect firetruck reds, primary yellows and bubblegum pinks. However, you can also find some that come in pastels or other more muted hues, which some kids may prefer, especially older ones. In most cases, you’ll receive an assortment of colors at random, which can be a problem if kids are set on a particular color.
Number in a pack
While you can occasionally find individual pop tubes, most are sold in packs. You’ll usually get six to eight tubes in a pack, but you can also buy them in bulk, with sometimes as many as 48 tubes in a pack. If you’re buying for just one child, a small pack will suffice, but you might be buying in bulk for school or for use as party favors. You’ll usually pay less per piece the more you buy in one go.
What to look for in a quality pop tube
Most pop tubes are connectible, so you can attach one tube to another or connect both ends of the same tube to form a circle. This gives kids more options for play. Bear in mind that it’s only possible to connect tubes of the same diameter together.
You can find some pop tubes filled with LED lights, making them safer alternatives to glow sticks, with less potential for mess.
Some tubes look like animals, with a head and front legs on one end and a tail and back legs on the other. These are especially cute when designed to look like long animals, such as weiner dogs.
How much you can expect to spend on pop tubes
Depending on tube size, design and the quantity you receive, expect to pay anywhere from $5-$25 for a pack.
Pop tube FAQ
What is a pop tube used for?
A. Pop tubes don’t really have a purpose. They’re simply for play. They can stretch three to four times their original length, so kids can expand and contract them. They’re also bendable and twistable, and you can manipulate them into various shapes. Plus, most tubes connect to themselves and one another so that you can make them into bracelets and extra-long tubes.
They’re often sold as sensory toys or fidget toys, and people with sensory needs may find them satisfying to play with, but everyone is different. Manipulating them and fixing them together can also help children develop fine motor skills.
Do pop tubes make a noise?
A. Yes, pop tubes make sounds as the ridges expand and contract. These are sometimes described as popping sounds, which is why they’re called pop tubes. While many kids enjoy the sound, those sensitive to certain noises may not like it.
What age are pop tubes for?
A. They’re suitable for children 3 years old and up. While there’s no upper age limit for them, older kids are more likely to use them as fidget toys than to play with them in earnest. As such, they may get less use from them.
What’s the best pop tube to buy?
Top pop tube
What you need to know: This versatile set contains a variety of jumbo and mini tubes.
What you’ll love: You receive 21 tubes in total, including 10 jumbo-sized and 11 mini-sized. They’re easy to connect together and make a satisfying noise. You get an assortment of bright colors.
What you should consider: The colors are assorted and vary between packs.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top pop tube for the money
What you need to know: With six in a pack, you have spares but won’t find your home overwhelmed by pop tubes.
What you’ll love: These tubes are nicely flexible, feel sturdy and are easy to connect. They have a 1-inch diameter and measure approximately 3 feet when fully expanded.
What you should consider: A handful of people found them too quiet, but others found them too loud, so it’s relative.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: Filled with LED lights, these pop tubes add extra fun and sensory input.
What you’ll love: The light-up design makes them great for kids’ parties as an alternative to glow sticks. They’re battery-powered with a simple switch to turn them on and off. You can choose between three lighting modes.
What you should consider: Occasionally, the odd one won’t light up or won’t turn off, so it’s worth getting a few more than you need.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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