So you want to buy an LED hula hoop! YAAAAA! Oh it’s exciting! “But wait. How do I pick one??”
There are lots of things to consider when buying an LED hula hoop. Below is a list of questions you should ask yourself before buying. Take some notes as you read through these ideas to help you narrow your options and selections. Keep in mind that LED hula hoops are not indestructible, can sometimes take up to 6 months to arrive and over time you might find your preferences change and you’ll need to upgrade your hoop. We hope these questions help you out so that when your hoop arrives you are happy with your choice and have gotten as close to your perfect LED hoop as possible. After reading the questions below and considering your options, head on over to the LED Hula Hoop Reviews page (Re-launching soon!) to check out some popular retailers. Woot woot! Congratulations and welcome to the awesomeness that is LED Hooping!!
Things to Consider When Buying an LED Hula Hoop
What diameter/size should I buy?
Presumably you’ll be using your LED hoop long-term and sadly, they aren’t easy to quickly replace. Often it is recommended that you buy a size that is slightly smaller than your regular practice hoop (unless you’ve been hooping a long time and are set on your hoop size). Usually as hoopers progress in their skill level, we downsize our hoop for lighter and faster hoops, which increase our freedom of movement. Ordering a smaller LED hoop will of course make the hoop harder to work with at first and you’ll have to practice with it to feel comfortable again. Make sure your downsize isn’t too aggressive, if you suddenly drop 5 inches that will be a difficult challenge, try 2 or 3 inches at most. Planning ahead like this will prevent you from purchasing a hoop and then 6 months later feeling like it’s too large and bulky. There are several options for your first hoop. Since you are likely to want to downgrade you may want to purchase an inexpensive model first or even consider finding a used hoop to purchase. If you take good care of your hoop (whether new or used), you should have no troubles re-selling it when the time comes for you to upgrade!
What kind of tubing do you want? HDPE or Polypropylene?
LED hula hoops can come in HDPE or polypropylene (aka polypro) tubing. There are benefits to each type of tubing and it comes down to your hoop style, preference, and the weather conditions in which you’ll be hooping.
What thickness should I get?
Let’s talk about girth! Bigger isn’t always better. The thickness of your hoop can vary your style of hooping and what you are capable of. If you normally use a 1 inch thick hoop and do a lot of core hooping you may want to stick with a larger thickness for your LED hula hoop, for example ¾ inch might be best for you. If you do a lot of hand hooping and you want good hand dexterity then perhaps a ½ inch or ⅝ thickness of hoop might be better. How many hoops you use at once may also be a factor. For example, if you’re a multi hooper and will sometimes have 2-5 hoops in your hands at once, selecting thinner tubing will make the hoops easier to handle. In the end, consider what thickness of hoop you typically use and feel comfortable with. If you have friends who have other thicknesses of hoops, give them a ‘test drive’ and see what your thoughts are before ordering your LED hoop.
Do you want a lot of options or would you like to keep it simple?
Generally speaking there are two main tiers of LED Hoops. Basic LED Hoops and Smart LED Hoops. Basic LED hoops have simple lights and only one colour pattern while Smart LED Hoops can offer you a wide array of colour selections, patterns, and sequences! Basic hoops are typically easy to operate with a simple on and off switch while Smart Hoops may come with a detailed information booklet, a mode/pattern guide, maybe even a remote and maybe even computer software. Be prepared that there might be a learning curve when you first get a Smart Hoop. After a few uses you should be able to locate your favourite colour combinations and pattern sequences and rock out in no time!
What are you using your LED Hula Hoop for?
Will you be using it outdoors in the cold? How reliable do you need your hoop to be? Are you using it for personal use or are you performing? Do you need to be able to turn it on quickly and easily in the middle of a performance? Some of these answers might effect your decision.
How bright do you want your hoop to be AND how long do you want it to last?
Find out from your retailer how long the hoop will typically last on a full charge. If you get to pick the number of LEDs it will effect how long your hoop will last before the battery dies. Battery life can vary greatly from hoop to hoop. Basic LED Hoops will vary in lifespan depending on the quality of the LEDs, number of LEDs and the colours you choose. Fun Fact: Red LEDs take up the least amount of energy, this is why when your battery is dying the red LEDs will remain longer than any other colour. In regards to Smart LED Hoops, some have the option of adjusting brightness. This is a great feature! If for example you’re at a festival and won’t be able to recharge often you can dim the brightness to save on power.
How fast does it charge?
Find out from your retailer how long your hoop will charge. Does this matter to you? If you are attending festivals it may be nice to have a quick charging hoop. This could be a bonus for hoops that use external batteries rather than plugging the hoop directly into the wall. Being able to instantly replace the battery with a new one might be a benefit for you if you’re not so great at planning ahead.
How small do you need it to collapse?
Depending on the thickness of the tubing a coil down style collapsible hoops will shrink down to almost half its size. This also depends on overall size, for example a 40″ hoop might be able to collapse around to 25″ but a 33″ hoop will still likely only collapse to around 23″ because anything more would stress the tubing.
What is your budget?
LED hula hoops can range in price from $50 to $600. Deciding which options are most important to you will help you find out what price you are comfortable with. For some people this might be the biggest factor when selecting an LED hoop. At the end of the day ANY LED hoop is still better than no LED hula hoop. Picking up a cheap LED hoop at a festival or ordering a low cost hoop that has simple features can be a really fun experience! You could think of this first hoop as your ‘gateway hoop’ before deciding on a more expensive and specified hoop. Be aware of currency exchange rates and additional shipping costs. If you are on a tight budget considering buying locally or again, finding a used hoop to purchase.
Is the shop reputable and do they offer repairs?
If you are spending over $300 on an item you want to make sure it will last. Check out the LED Hoop Reviews (re-launching soon) to get an idea of what shops and LED retailers are reliable. In the end, accidents happen and LED hoops have a lot of ways intricacies that can lend themselves to damage. Will the hoop retailer repair your hoop should something go wrong and how long does the warranty last?
When do you need it?
If you are in a time crunch and need an LED hula hoop soon, keep in mind that some hoop makers have a 6 month waiting time. Their hoops are high in demand and are time consuming to make.
What kind of grip do you want?
Sanding an LED hoop is a great method to get full coverage and grip along the entire interior side of the hoop while allowing the LEDs to shine brightly through without gaffer or grip tape obstructing the light. If given the option of sanding or a strip of grip tape, sanding is recommended. You can always easily add tape at a later date if you desire more grip. Of course you could also sand a hoop later, but you would need to first remove the tape before sanding, and sometimes a sticky glue residue can remain on the hoop. Check with your hoop retailer to see which options they offer.
Is the LED hula hoop evenly balanced?
Because a portion of the hoop must contain a battery and switch, this sometimes results in the hoop being unbalanced and heavier on one side. This is not a crucial element of an LED hula hoop as the weight difference is minimal but to some hoopers, and for certain moves, having a well-balanced hoop is important. LED hula hoop makers who solve this problem achieve this by distributing multiple batteries or counter weights around the hoop.
Do the LEDs rattle? (Less common these days but could still happen with smaller retailers)
There are several reasons why a quiet hoop with no rattling LEDs is important. Imagine you are hooping, having fun and then oops… you make a “mistake.” What a great experience to have the LEDs of your hoop rattle at you to remind you that you’ve lost your Flow. Rattling and noisy LEDs can be very disheartening, discouraging and distracting. Also, if you perform and use a quiet song for your routine, the rattling LEDs will be distracting to your audience. If you primarily hoop at festivals with large sound systems, then rattling LEDs will not be a problem.
What kind of switch is the best?
A good switch is one that is recessed, meaning it does not stick out far from the tubing. The reason for this is that larger buttons can break off if the hoop hits something. Internal and recessed switches also reduce the likelihood of your hoop turning on and off while hooping. Please note that internal switches are only recommended for hoops that have a secure, quick release method of opening and closing that allow for quick access to the switch. As well, switches located on the side of the hoop (as apposed to the inside or outside edge) are least likely to break or switch on or off while hooping.