[Hooping.org columnist Lara Eastburn helps us determine which LED hoop is the right one for us.]
Choosing an LED hoop these days can literally make your head spin. In fact, the choices are growing at the speed of light-emitting diodes! While there have never been more options for the glow-aspiring hooper, many are finding the multiplying preferences downright overwhelming. Today, you can purchase an LED hoop from what I estimate are over 50 web sites, Etsy stores, FB pages, and even eBay. LED hoops are offered in a dozen kinds of tubing. Some have internal computer chips and up to 500 settings. Some even have smart-phone apps. And some aren’t even made with LEDs, but newer technologies like fiber-optics. The options are dizzying. The vocabulary is heady and technical. An LED hoop can be a substantial investment, and it’s a decision most glow-hungry hoopers have to make sight-unseen. So the most often asked question online is quickly becoming, “What’s the best LED hoop?” My fellow hoopers, there is no answer to that question. But don’t despair! There IS an answer to the question, “Which LED hoop is best for me?”
Having so many kinds of LED hoops available now is a happy thing. Promise. Each one has evolved to meet the very different needs and desires of nearly every kind of hooper. So, wading through the perfectly-awesome plethora of light-up circles is as easy as making a list of what you want from your hoop. Y’know, besides just wanting it to glow.
What follows is a checklist that will help you narrow down the choices and hone in on your new “best” glowing dance partner. Once you’ve got a clearer idea of what you’re looking for, keep your checklist close when shopping. And keep in mind that the folks that make these battery-powered wonders are just regular people who live and breathe hooping, too. Most will be delighted to answer your questions, so don’t hesitate to contact them for help and/or clarification.
Copy and paste this checklist to a document, print it, and make it yours.
General Use: Where and how will your LED hoop be getting the most action? Indoors or out? On stage or in your back yard? All or none of the above?
I want to rock my LED hoop at ________________________.
_____ It doesn’t really matter to me
_____ I know exactly what I want: ___________________________
_____ I have a vague idea (lighter/heavier,etc): __________________________
_____ I have no idea; I’ll ask!
_____ I know what I’d like, but I’m flexible.
_____ My hoop needs to be exactly this size: _________
_____ I have no idea; I’ll ask!
I would like my hoop to glow for _____ hours before charging or a battery-change.
_____ I want my LEDs to flash and/or strobe.
_____ I want my LEDs to change colors slowly.
_____ I want my LEDs to stay the same color.
_____ I want my LEDs to do as many things as the hoop can possibly make them do.
_____ I want to customize the LEDs in my hoop.
_____ I want my hoop to highlight what I’m doing.
_____ I want my hoop to be a show of its own.
_____ I want to turn my hoop on and dance.
_____ I want to be able to program what my hoop does.
_____ I’m rough on my hoops and need something sturdy.
_____ I’m extra careful with my hoops – not an issue.
Changes down the road
_____ I want to be able to make my hoop smaller if I want to later.
_____ I want to be able to change the tubing if I want to later.
Ideally, I’d like to pay $_______ for my LED hoop, including shipping.
I’m willing to pay up to $_______ for the one I want, including shipping.
Again, this is not an exhaustive list, but is intended to help you whittle down the choices out there and get closer to the right hoop for you. Other things you may want to consider while shopping:
Construction time. How quickly do you need it and how quickly can you get it?
International shipping. Does the hoopmaker ship to your country?
No LED hoop is bomb-proof. And like any piece of electrical equipment, some will malfunction. So another thing to keep in mind while on your mission is warranty. What is the repair process like if something goes wrong? What does the warranty cover and when does it expire? Also consider communication. How easy/quickly does the hoopmaker answer your questions/problems? And if you’re cool with a previously-loved LED hoop, let your hooping community know. Many hoopers sell their perfectly functional hoops so that they can change things up and get a different one.
Lastly, making LED hoops is complex stuff. You can help improve the products made and offered by giving constructive feedback to your LED hoopmaker. And if you love it, by all means, let them know!
Editor’s note for commenters: Please refrain from using the comment space to endorse or criticize ANY LED hoop or hoopmaker. Just because something is so right for you, does not mean it will be for everyone else, but please feel free to share your tips with our fellow glow-hungry hoopers out there on how they can go about finding the perfectly matched LED hoop for them.
Lara Eastburn has been dancing in meadows and singing with the moon while spinning in circles for eons at Superhooper.org. Beyond commenting here, you can also discuss this and other topics related to the Hooposophy for living in Hooping.org’s Hooposophy Group and Forum. Lara is also the planting and gardening force behind discovering our hooping community roots at The Hooping Family Tree Project.