Poles and nets are important tools for pool professionals, but not all are created equal. Whether it is portability, maneuverability or durability, there are many factors to consider when selecting the right tools.
Matt Brannon, owner of Freedom Pools in Northern Virginia, values durability when it comes to poles. “I had a yellow fiberglass pole that snapped in half while I was vacuuming,” Brannon says. “The cheap aluminum poles with the twist locking cams always get bent and do not work properly for more than a week if you are a pool cleaner.”
Brannon now uses a Piranha Power Pole. “I’ve found that the pole is heavy duty and lasts a long time, and I love the locking mechanism that is uses,” he says. According to Piranha, the Power Pole is reinforced and equipped with extra attachment holes that make quick work of swapping tools. Piranha also says the locking technology makes for quick and easy adjustment to the pole size.
Doug Gilreath, owner of Gilreath Pool Service in Collin County, Texas, says he believed “a pole is a pole is a pole” until he found the Skimlite 5009. He says there are noticeable differences in job speed depending on the pole. “I like the cam setup on [the Skimlite 5009] and it is cheap to repair,” Gilreath says.
The pole’s reliability is not an accident, says Heidi Vickery, national sales manager for Skimlite. “The 5009, like the rest of our professional poles, are made with drawn aluminum instead of extruded aluminum for added strength and durability,” she says. “This, along with the ability to replace all parts and fittings, allows the tech the ability to get years of service from each pole under normal use.”
With almost 25 years in the industry, Chad Matsumoto, owner/operator of Aqua Pros Pool & Spa in Orange County, California, has tried a number of poles. He prefers the Skimlite 9000 Dual Cam Series Telepole.
“It’s extremely durable, and you can replace parts, so basically one pole can potentially last years and years,” Matsumoto says. “When brushing I can actually lock the pole, thus speeding up the service process. The final kicker is these poles actually float. They are sealed on both ends so it takes a very long time to fill up with water and sink. No more losing your pole as it slips into the deep end. This fact alone makes this pole worth the investment.”
“Techs who prefer an inside cam lock can use just the inside cam while they are doing some quick skimming, but also lock down the outside lock for added strength and hold while they are brushing or vacuuming a pool,” Vickery says.
Bob Spacy Jr., owner of Superior Pool Solutions in Glendale, Arizona, is fond of his Primate 3X pole. Made of carbon fiber, this Primate pole only weighs 2.5 pounds. “Because it’s so lightweight, I don’t get sore, allowing me to work longer days,” Spacy says. “Did I mention this thing is incredibly strong? I’ve seen a 200-pound man hanging from one. It’s like the Ferrari of pool poles.”
One of Spacy’s biggest pet peeves with poles, he says, is that the grip wears out, no matter the brand. But Primate has replacement grips, which he says extends the life of the pole (he’s used the same 3X pole for three years) and keeps the pole protected, looking fresh.
As a bonus, Spacy adds that Primate’s owners understand the needs of pool technicians. “The [DiAnnas] are the real deal,” he says, “down-to-earth pool guys just like me. After a few short minutes, they made me feel like I was a buddy just talking with them. They’re extremely approachable and always willing to help. They know what it’s like, and what we need to be able to get that edge on the competition.”
As for nets, all three pool pros noted variations of the same net: The Red Baron is the flagship product of Purity Pool; Brannon, Gilreath and Matsumoto all use it.
According to Purity Pool, Red Baron nets are efficient and durable with a 20-inch-wide strong frame. It comes with three bag variants: Tuff Duty, Rag Bag and Leaf Chaser.
Gilreath uses the Tuff Duty bag. He started with a Red Baron years ago. “I’ve never felt that I needed a different one, so I never bothered to look at anything different,” he says.
Matsumoto equips his Red Baron net with the Rag Bag. He also uses Purity Pool’s smaller, 14-inch Spa Scoop, which he equips with a silt bag for collecting finer particles such as pollen or small bugs.
“The [Spa Scoop] is highly durable; it can pick up everything except dust and is small so it’s easy to maneuver and get in tight spots,” Matsumoto says. “The Red Baron with a Rag Bag is my go-to all-around pool net. It’s big enough to pick up large amounts before needing to be emptied. It’s also very strong and I even use it to carry supplies.”
In addition to a Red Baron net, Brannon uses a Little Dipper by T&K Pool Products, which has a 15-inch steel frame and 16-inch net. Aside from the standard net, they can also be equipped with a Sand/Silt variant, which Brannon uses. For pool professionals, poles and nets are often some of the most heavily used pieces of equipment, so a reliable combination of the two is essential. “As someone who depends on these two things for a living,” Gilreath says, “reliability is a must.”
Recommended Poles and Nets
Piranha Power Pole (PP-LV8)
Piranha Pool Products
Professional grade with lever lock and extra attachment holes for swapping tools.
Primate 3X Pole
Primate Pool Tools
Weighing only 2.5 pounds, the carbon fiber design is easy to use, offering superior performance and an innovative locking mechanism. Carbon fiber is 10 times the strength of aluminum, which results in less wear and tear on the user and a longer life expectancy for the pole.
Replaceable parts, one-handed lock and extension capability and durable drawn aluminum.
Skimlite 9000 Dual Cam series
Replaceable parts, dual-lock technology and durable drawn aluminum.
20-inch-wide frame with three available bag variations.
14-inch lightweight frame with two bag variations.
Little Dipper series
T&K Pool Products
15-inch steel frame, polycarbonate T-Handle available in standard or Sand/Silt netting.