The 10 Best Extension Poles
October 15, 2018: Noted a weak locking mechanism on the Dynamic Twist. Removed the Zip-Up 3rd Hand due to quality concerns. Discovered consistent reporting that the Unger Professional is extremely manageable given its extensive reach, prompting a rise in the rankings. Dropped the Shur-Line Easy Reach several spots after learning that users find its stickers annoying and difficult to remove.
Reach High So You Can Stay Low
At some point in your life you’ve definitely either heard or said the sentence, “I wouldn’t touch it with a 10-foot pole.” In the majority of instances, it’s a way of saying that you wouldn’t go anywhere near a certain person or thing, and that even if you had a way of interacting with it or them from a distance, you’d still choose not to.
In terms of people, the saying is a little cruel, though it makes a lot of sense when referring to things that are too disgusting to approach. But what about the things that deserve specifically to be touched with a long pole? There are some instances where a long pole is exactly what you need to interact with a certain substance or surface. Just because they’re colloquially markers of avoidance doesn’t mean they can’t serve a very important purpose in some exchanges.
Take the sides of your home, for example. Depending on the climate in which you live and the material from which your siding is made, the exterior of your house can begin to look dirty over time. Some people invest in power washers that can spray upwards with enough force to remove a bit of this environmental sediment, but these can often soak the user and result in runny streaks of filth on the home.
In other cases, people will take a bucket and a sponge, set up a ladder and risk their lives just to clean up their house. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 43 percent of fatal falls that occurred between 2001 and 2011 involved a ladder. The scary thing is that fatality rates in falls don’t reach close to 100 percent until you get up above 150 feet. While that might make a fall from the second story of your home seem safer, all it really means is that you’re more likely to survive the fall and suffer paralysis or traumatic brain injury.
The responsible thing to do in these situations is employ the services of an extension pole. As an investment, an extension pole is rather modest, and many will allow you to reach the farthest corners of your siding, eaves, and roofs.
The Many Uses Of An Extension Pole
While the extension pole is a pretty simple instrument, it can achieve a great number of things. This is primarily due to the many different heads a pole can support, but if you’re still not sure you’d get enough use out of one, pay close attention to the following.
Extension poles are the ideal painter’s assistant. You can use them indoors and out for exceptional reach and leverage with a roller. They shine in particular when painting large outdoor structures.
You can also use an extension pole to increase the reach of a roof rake. These devices help you clear snow from your rooftops, preventing ice buildup and potential structural damage.
If you have a particularly large pool, you can attach a skimmer with acceptable threads to your extension pole. This will save you from walking the whole circumference of the pool on a hot day, and still allow you to clear all those leaves.
Some less common uses of an extension pole include changing the channel when you’ve lost your remote, ding-dong-ditch from a distance, and braining zombies at a safe range.
Which Extension Pole Is Right For You?
Most extension poles look pretty similar. They may come in different colors, but that isn’t necessarily a marker of anything other than the brand’s preference. They mostly all adhere to a thread standard that applies to the vast majority of available heads for mopping, painting, sweeping, and more. That means that you can take anything in your home that doesn’t have proprietary threading or contacts, remove the head from its regular-length pole, and attach it to your shiny new extension pole.
Given that there are more similarities than differences among the options on our list, you might be tempted to just grab the least expensive pole you see and call it a day. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but you might find that it doesn’t quite quit your needs.
Take a look at the materials from which a given pole is made. Plastics will do a better job at resisting corrosion from moisture, but they stand to weaken with exposure to extreme temperatures. If you know you take pretty good care of your stuff, and you’re going to keep your pole in a garage attached to the house that stays pretty warm, plastic might do you fine.
Among metal models, you’ll find that aluminum of varying quality, as well as more traditional steel, dominates the market. Even metal models often have plastic adjustment points, however, so make sure these seem sturdy. The last thing you want is for your pole to come collapsing back at you in the middle of a job.
On the topic of extension points, some units allow you to dial in a specific length as you extend, while others have stops along the way that lock into place. If you’re working with heavier or more fragile heads, a locking unit would be smart. The downside is that they limit your flexibility, but you can always make the pole a little too long and then choke up on the handle to compensate. If you need precision, go with a pole that doesn’t have locking points, but make sure you tighten it enough to keep it safe.
Length and load capacity are the two most basic aspects of an extension pole that warrant attention. A head unit will place more pressure on the pole the longer the pole extends. If you need to put a heavy head on a pole that can’t support its weight at full extension, you’re going to run into trouble. Likewise, if that pole is just a few inches too short to do the job, you’re going to need a step-stool or small ladder, and then we’re back in danger again.