Should You Choose a Poly Pro Hoop or is HDPE better?
This is a common question, and in order to answer it, it is important to look at the similarities and differences. In this article we will explore
The differences between HDPE and Poly Pro.
How they behave in different temperatures.
Hear from a popular hoopsmith and teacher about the differences.
And give you the information you need to make an informed decision.
Want to know what the difference is in how these hoop materials perform?
Here are a few comparisons between polypro and HDPE based on reactivity, durability, flexibility.
When a poly pro hula hoop may be better
Try it with these Hula Hoop Tricks:
- Any type of breaks
- Hand spins
- Palm spins
- Nose hooping
- Head hooping
- Any type of move that bends tubing
- Most off body moves
When a HDPE hoop may be better
Try it with these hula hoop tricks:
- Shoulder duck outs
- Leg hooping
- Foot hooping
- Elbow hooping
- Chest hooping
- Waist hooping
- Hooks (because it doesn’t bounce off as easy as PPE)
- Typically most on-body hooping
Polypropylene, otherwise known as polypro or PPE, is a tough and flexible plastic. You would typically see this plastic in carpets, reusable containers, and loud speakers. Polypro can be made translucent or opaque. The downside of using polypro is that it can crack in the cold weather or actually shatter when switching from one cold area to a hot area.
HDPE is otherwise known as High-Density Polyethylene or “PEHD” (Polyethylene High-Density). HDPE is typically used in plastic bottles or corrosion resistant piping. It is much denser than polypropylene and can withstand higher temperatures. Meaning it is much less likely to crack or shatter in the cold. HDPE’s downside is that it does not work well in the heat because it gets wobbly and flexible (in a not so great way). This tubing is also easier to kink than polypro.
Responsiveness is the bounciness of the hoop, how fast it reacts to your movements and changes of direction. A more responsive material will react faster than a less-responsive one.
If you are a speedy hooper and you want to go quickly, polypro is going to be your best friend. It has a high reaction speed because it is more responsive. It’s very bouncy and is easy to perform change of direction moves like breaks.
Now if you are a hooper who likes control, HDPE is likely the material you want to go with. Although it reacts effectively, there is a bit of a lag in the response, meaning you need to put more effort into pulling of the same moves.
Ultimately you can hoop with either, but doing breaks specifically would take less energy with Polypro. HDPE absorbs more force, therefore you need more force in order to get it to react. Because....science.
Community member hoopsmith, and all around tremendous person Katie Emmit graciously made a pair of videos talking about the materials.
Take a watch and be sure to subscribe to her YouTube channel.
Shattering Versus Kinking: The ways your Hoop Will Break
When we talk about breaks here we are not talking about the tricks, we are talking about unpleasant surprises that any hooper who uses their hoop sufficiently will run into.
Because Polypro is more responsive to force and less shock absorbing, force applied to it is placed upon its structure. Thus when things go wrong, you are likely to outright break/shatter your hoop.
It is much more sensitive to cold weather and people have broken their hoops while attempting to coil them down in winter climates.
HDPE is more inclined to kink, it is also prone to becoming mushier in hot climates. The solution is to only coil it down for traveling purposes and to never leave it exposed sitting in a hot car for long periods of time.
Remember no material is right for everyone the best idea will always be to experiment for yourself and see what feels right for you.