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Best Ski Poles

last updated Sep 02, 2019

Whooshing down a mountain with an improper pair of ski poles can turn a great day into a nightmare. The perfect pair of ski poles will be strong enough to successfully propel you and light enough to not tire out your arms. One of the most important aspects to look for is the length of the poles, followed by the features, such as the basket and wrist straps. After researching and choosing all of your gear, the last thing you’ll want to do is more research. To save you time and headaches, we have found the top 10 best ski poles for you to choose from below!

In a Hurry? The test winner after 10 hrs of research

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U.S. Freestyle
96.5/100 our score
Materials
96
Weight
97
Features
96
Value
97
U.S. Freestyle
Why is it better?

Comfortable grip

Sturdy pole construction

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
U.S. Freestyle
Test Winner: U.S. Freestyle
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Researched Sources
14
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
13k
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
10
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
18
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
Sami Kritz
By Sami Kritz:

Take the slopes with more confidence this winter with one of these top-rated ski poles. Our newest additions to include the Black Diamond Expedition 3 and the Volkl Phantastick 2. Additionally, we have updated each product review, making it easier to read and added a new expert tip.

Sorting Options
Materials Weight Features Value By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.5
Materials
96 %
Weight
97 %
Features
96 %
Value
97 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$89.99
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.5
Materials
94 %
Weight
93 %
Features
96 %
Value
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$69.98
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.3
Materials
94 %
Weight
95 %
Features
94 %
Value
94 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$25.00
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94
Materials
95 %
Weight
95 %
Features
92 %
Value
94 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$44.72
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.5
Materials
93 %
Weight
94 %
Features
90 %
Value
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$119.95
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.5
Materials
92 %
Weight
91 %
Features
91 %
Value
92 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$39.99
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.5
Materials
92 %
Weight
90 %
Features
93 %
Value
91 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$59.00
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.3
Materials
89 %
Weight
89 %
Features
90 %
Value
89 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$45.00
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.3
Materials
88 %
Weight
86 %
Features
85 %
Value
86 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$28.99
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78.3
Materials
78 %
Weight
79 %
Features
78 %
Value
78 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$74.36

Top 10 Picks

1. U.S. Freestyle

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.5
Ski Poles Graphite Carbon Composite
Amazon Link
Materials
96
Weight
97
Features
96
Value
97
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$89.99
Pros:

Comfortable grip

Sturdy pole construction

Cons:

A bit on the expensive side

The official ski pole of the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team, used by the top mogul skiers on the team like Joe Discoe, Patrick Deenen, K.C. Oakley, along with many pro athletes from the Canadian Freestyle Ski Team like Julie Bergeron and Matt Joosten.

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Materials
Zipline poles are made with high modulus carbon fiber graphite that’s extremely lightweight and durable, and they are designed to perform under all conditions. The graphite technology offers the best in vibration dampening. The poles provide excellent touch and feel without initial shock normally associated with aluminum poles.

Weight
These poles are part of Zipline’s “super light” line and weigh less than one pound together.

Features
Zipline combines all the necessary requirements for a mogul pole to be quick, durable and balanced. The poles will not break under any circumstances even under the high-performance requirements of the skiers.

Value
As you may have guessed from the durability and features of these skis, they are fairly expensive. They are made from quality materials and incredibly durable. There is no wonder why these poles are so popular among professional skiers.

2. Black Diamond Expedition 3

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.5
BLACK DIAMOND Expedition 3 Ski Poles
Amazon Link
Materials
94
Weight
93
Features
96
Value
95
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$69.98
Pros:

Collapsable and portable

Made from 100% aluminum

Comfortable grip

Cons:

Can get stuck when bushwhacking

Must be careful when screwing on the baskets to ensure you don't lose them

Black Diamond is no stranger to the world of winter sports. With these poles, they bring us a strong and reliable design at a low weight. These ski poles can be used in all seasons for trekking or skiing and include powder and trekking baskets.

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Materials
These poles are made from 100% aluminum. Up and down the pole, the width changes from 14mm to 18mm. The grip of the poles is made from a comfortable foam.

Weight
The beauty of aluminum is its ability to be both durable and lightweight at the same time. As a pair, these poles weigh 1.02-pounds.

Features
Perhaps the most admired feature of these poles is their three-section design. Each section uses Black Diamond’s FlickLocks that are reliable and easy to use. The strap is easily adjusted and fits well with or without gloves. When fully collapsed, the poles measure 25” long and are great for travel or to attach to your pack. Included with the poles are 4-inch powder baskets and trekking baskets.

Value
As if you weren’t already impressed, these poles get even better. For the product you are receiving, the price seems right on. These poles can be used in all four seasons for a multitude of activities including walking, hiking, and skiing, of course.

3. Leki Checker X

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.3
LEKI Checker X Ski Pole
Amazon Link
Materials
94
Weight
95
Features
94
Value
94
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$25.00
Pros:

Lightweight

Durable aluminum construction

Cons:

They scuff easily

The Leki Checker X is the perfect equipment for a new school rider or a free rider who’s looking for some action on the hill. The Checker X is made from durable lightweight aluminum to give it greater strength and stability.

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Materials
These poles are made from 18mm aluminum. If you were wondering why they are called “Checker,” you will soon find out when you see the color options. Each pole has an eye-catching checkered design.

Weight
The pole tapers down to a smaller diameter towards the tip to save some weight. In turn, the poles weigh 15.7-ounces, just under one pound.

Features
Aside from the funky graphics, the Soft Grip fits in just perfectly on your hands as you launch off of jumps or cruise the mountain. Additionally, the strong steel tip of these poles can pierce through the snow easily and are built for heavy-duty performance. The Hard Snow Basket measures 90mm in diameter and snaps on tightly so you do not have to worry about it popping off after some nasty crash.

Value
These poles are priced affordably. We would have liked to see a bit more durability, avoiding scuffs and scrapes, but overall, we are impressed with these poles.

4. K2 Power 8 Alpine

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94
K2 Power 8 FlipJaw Ski Pole - Men's
Amazon Link
Materials
95
Weight
95
Features
92
Value
94
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$44.72
Pros:

Great flip jaw system

Excellent grips

Cons:

The baskets might run a bit small

Add a little spice to your setup with the extremely rigid and durable K2 Power 8 Alpine Ski Poles. The perfect ski pole that adjusts itself to match any condition no matter where you’re on the mountain, the K2 Power 8 Alpine is specifically designed to perform.

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Materials
It features a high-strength 7075 aluminum shaft with an upside-down lock design that keeps the clamp high on the shaft, reducing swing weight and increasing strength.

Weight
This set of poles weigh 1.37-pounds.

Features
The adjustable Velcro strap attached to an Overmold Grip fits perfectly in your gloved hands. The dual injection grip with thick soft outer layer makes for comfortable gripping and top/bottom supports to hold hands in place. The best thing; you’re good to go every day with “set-it-and-forget-it” straps.

Value
This set of K2 poles is an incredible value! With all of the adjustability and features included, this durable pair of poles will be with you for a long time.

5. Black Diamond Razor

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.5
Black Diamond Razor Carbon Ski Poles
Amazon Link
Materials
93
Weight
94
Features
90
Value
93
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$119.95
Pros:

Rubber grip

Pretty stable

Cons:

Pricey

Combine the durability of aluminum poles with the low swing weight of a carbon fiber lower and you’ll get your full-package all-in-one gear – the very versatile Black Diamond’s Razor Carbon Poles.

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Materials
The carbon lower shafts provide decreased vibration and greater strength, and improved handling over all-metal poles, but at a competitive price. The rubber grip provides great comfort and a steady hand-feel.

Weight
This lightweight yet stiff pole is destined for the long ski tours into the backcountry or for use as walking poles. The set of poles weighs in at about 2-pounds total.

Features
The Razor Carbon Ski Pole is outfitted with its very own FlickLock Pro technology to let you adjust the length of the pole on the fly and with a flick of your thumb.

The all-new SwitchRelease breakaway technology allows you to ski tight trees without worrying about that dreaded jerk and the pop sensation in your shoulder. All in all, the Razor Carbon provides the best of both the backcountry-pole worlds.

Value
These Black Diamond poles are on the more expensive end of the spectrum. However, they do come from a well-known and trusted brand and have great features and adjustability.

6. Rossignol Stove Pipe Sr.

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.5
2016-17 Rossignol Stove Pipe Sr Ski Poles Black
Amazon Link
Materials
92
Weight
91
Features
91
Value
92
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$39.99
Pros:

Ergonomic grip

Durable

Cons:

Not too comfortable straps

These ski poles are built for both the park and the hills. They are built to last with durable aluminum and will last for seasons to come. Find out why we love these poles below.

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Materials
The shafts of the Rossignol Stove Pipe Sr. are made from pure 18mm aluminum dural that is both lightweight and strong. The tip of the pole is made of steel.

Weight
This is a great lightweight pair, at only 8.6-ounces per pole.

Features
These ski poles offer a grip that is Bi-material, and it is grippy to allow a firm grasp, so they don't escape your hands. The disc baskets are 60mm and are able to handle packed snow. They can easily maintain a reliable hold on a hard pack.

Value
We are happy to say that these Rossignol poles are priced affordably. We do wish that the straps were slightly more comfortable, but with the money you’re saving, you can switch that out, right?

7. Volkl Phantastick 2

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.5
Volkl Phantastick 2 Ski Poles
Amazon Link
Materials
92
Weight
90
Features
93
Value
91
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$59.00
Pros:

Lightweight

Secure grip

Visually striking

Cons:

Finger grooves may not fit all hands

If you are looking for a reliable and visually striking pole, the Phantastick may be the one for you. Multiple skiers say that they are often stopped to ask what type of poles they are using because they are that attractive. They feature a unique and comfortable grip and are lightweight.

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Materials
Like many other poles on our list, these are also made of 18mm aluminum alloy. Aluminum is a great material for ski poles because of its durability and weight. The material of the Soft Touch grip is not listed but it gives a great hand-feel and security.

Weight
As mentioned, the shaft of these poles is made from aluminum and helps to make these poles lightweight and easy to use.

Features
The grip of the Phantastick is a Soft Touch clear grip with 5 finger grooves for comfort. For most people, the grooves fit their hands well, but if you have especially small hands, you may have an issue. In addition to a great grip, there are also comfortable nylon straps. These poles are available in four different sizes and four different striking colors. Each pair comes with powder baskets as well.

Value
The price of these poles isn’t cheap nor outrageous. They are a great pair of poles that are lightweight and comfortable to use while maintaining their durability. To top it all of, Volkl offers a one-year warranty as well.

8. Rossignol Snow Flake

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.3
Rossignol Snow Flake Womens Ski Poles 2019-110cm
Amazon Link
Materials
89
Weight
89
Features
90
Value
89
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$45.00
Pros:

Versatile baskets

Secure grip

Adjustable strap

Cons:

Low-quality straps

Designed only for women

Traverse your way through any mogul field, powder face, icy slope, or whatever the wild mountain throws at you with the very versatile Rossignol Snow Flake Ski Poles. It’s a great pole for the all-mountain skier who wants something that’s lightweight and provides utmost flexibility.

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Materials
The Aluminum alloy shaft is made with 20 percent Carbon to keep the weight down, and the 60mm basket works well with both on-trail and off-trail skiing.

Weight
These are very lightweight poles. The pair together weighs in at 15.2-ounces. Less than one pound!

Features
The grip offers a comfortable, secure hold, and the adjustable strap supports the wrist perfectly for better control and stability on the slope. Additionally, these poles have sleek looking matte graphics that make the pole look a little more interesting than the regular run-off-the-mill poles.

Value
An almost perfect aluminum ski pole at such an insanely low price, there’s really no reason not to go give it a shot!

9. Swix Techline

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.3
Swix Techlite ski Poles Techlite Performance Aluminum Ski Poles
Amazon Link
Materials
88
Weight
86
Features
85
Value
86
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$28.99
Pros:

Aluminum construction

Ergonomic design

Cons:

Suitable for beginners only

Unreliable size chart

The Swix Techline Ski Poles are made from high-strength aluminum and Swix single density handle for well-groomed slopes. The medium-sized basket helps you maneuver with ease and the shaft diameter is good as well.

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Materials
These poles are made from 18mm aluminum. The durable tips are made from hardened steel. Reviewers say the hardened basket system seems to be well made and reliable as well.

Weight
These poles are lightweight and great for beginners. They allow you to focus on proper hand placement and comfort instead of feeling weighed down by your poles.

Features
They offer the strength and stability you need on the slopes, but also the flexibility to tackle tougher slopes. The straps are easily adjustable, allowing you to focus on the task at hand. Additionally, the standard baskets are easily converted into snow baskets.

Value
Although these are pretty basic for recreational skiing, for those who want an affordable set with all the technical properties to enjoy the day on the slopes, this is a wonderful bet.

10. Leki Artena

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78.3
LEKI Artena S
Amazon Link
Materials
78
Weight
79
Features
78
Value
78
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$74.36
Pros:

Trigger S comfortable grip

Cobra shaped basket

Cons:

The grips might be small for some user

Designed for only women

The Leki Artena is an ideal ski pole for any woman looking for a lightweight pole with a comfortable grip. The Compact Thermo Grip is slightly smaller and stays warm for a long time, thanks to its thermal material. It’s perfectly designed to fit into the delicate hands of women.

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Materials
These poles are made from a 14mm high strength aluminum shaft. The handle and strap are specifically designed for a woman’s grip. The tips of the poles are made from carbide.

Weight
These feminine poles are super lightweight, at only 7.2-ounces per pole.

Features
The Trigger S System allows you to clip in and out of your poles easily with the push of a button located on the grip, without having the trouble of removing the straps all the time. The diamond tip is specifically designed to punch your way through the toughest of the snow conditions for smooth pole plants. Additionally, the thermal material on the grips helps to keep your hands warm while skiing.

Value
If you want a ski pole that’s light and durable, and the one which functions fantastically, the Leki Artena is just the thing for you. However, it will cost you. These poles are one of the more expensive versions on our list.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Materials

Skiing poles are usually designed out of one of two materials, or a combination of the two. Those two materials are aluminum and carbon fiber. Both types of materials have benefits and drawbacks. Aluminum tends to be more durable, and also much more affordable. However, aluminum skiing poles are also usually heavier and don’t flex as easily. Carbon fiber skiing poles tend to cost more, are more lightweight, and aren’t as durable. However, they have better flex and a boost in performance features. Some manufacturers make skiing poles that combine both materials to offer the best of both worlds.

Weight

The weight of the pole is just as important, especially when it comes to backcountry or cross-country skiers. The weight of a pole often relates to the material type, but that doesn’t mean carbon fiber is the best option for a ski pole. Let’s say, if you’re just starting out, aluminum poles are just your thing to start rolling and are moderately priced. Like many action gear, lighter means more money. Lighter poles will generate a higher price tag and the added features won't add a ton to the performance. The thickness of the pole also plays a role. In some cases, a narrow shaft of any material type tends to be less durable and with less stress tolerance, so you’d probably want to avoid choosing the lightest pole available.

Features

If you’re into skiing, you must know you can’t hit the slopes without a good helmet, goggles and a pair of ski poles. In addition, it aids in releasing bindings, timing the turns, stabilizing hands, skating and hiking, maneuvering the steep slopes, but the most important use is to help initiate the new turn and actively carry energy between different turns. When you extend the new turn, your pole swings and touches the snow to the side and slightly ahead of the boots. In short, a pole is a great link between turns.

Think of your poles as an extension of your arms. When the pole comes in contact with the snow, it gives a little sensation that goes all the way through the arm and ultimately into the body. Stabilizing your upper body while your legs are moving actively and independently, is crucial to good skiing. It’s all about timing and rhythm – the pole movements will happen naturally as you advance further. A perfectly-timed pole swing keeps your body perpendicular over the skis and moves in the direction of the new turn.

Value

Getting a nice deal is imperative to your selection but at the same time, it should satisfy your needs to the best of your interests. That being said, aluminum is probably the most preferred choice of material, especially for the beginners. For those who’ve just begun, it’s not wise to spend a hefty sum on high-end poles. You can get a good deal without spending a fortune and that best serves your interests. For your basic skiing needs, mid-range poles will do just fine and that too, without burning a hole in your pocket. They are not only the best budget-friendly alternative to high-end ski poles but they also perform well on cross-country trails.

Ski poles can be expensive, depending on the different manufacturers and shaft properties. But if you don’t want to spend a significant amount of your hard-earned money on something that you’re not so sure about, you might want to wait for the seasonal sales or those fancy end-of-season sales for a better deal. This is a great way to get a new set of poles if you’re not so fussed about getting your hands on the latest color scheme for the coming season. Rental shops in the slopes or ski resorts often auction their stock at the end of every ski season too.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

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expert tips icon
How to Find the Right Size Pole

It’s vital to find the right length ski pole before hitting the terrain to get maximum performance. You should take the time to choose a pole that seems of proper length for your height and skiing style. To find your proper size, measure the height of your arm with your elbow bent at 90-degrees. Ski poles are generally sized in 2-inch increments. Take the pole and turn it so that the pole is standing on the handle, grasp the pole just under the basket. If the pole size is correct, your forearm will run parallel with the ground. You can find your ideal size using a simple measuring tape – and put on shoes (or ski boots) for a more exact number.

The Strap

When trying out a ski pole, make sure that you are wearing gloves when testing out the strap. You will want to make sure that the strap is flexible and easy to take on and off with gloves on. Finding out that your gloves and strap don't fit well together on the top of the mountain can make for a very difficult day.

Other Factors to Consider

Ease of Use

If you’re into skiing, you must know you can’t hit the slopes without a good helmet, goggles and a pair of ski poles. In addition, it aids in releasing bindings, timing the turns, stabilizing hands, skating and hiking, maneuvering the steep slopes, but the most important use is to help initiate the new turn and actively carry energy between different turns. When you extend the new turn, your pole swings and touches the snow to the side and slightly ahead of the boots. In short, a pole is a great link between turns.

Think of your poles as an extension of your arms. When the pole comes in contact with the snow, it gives a little sensation that goes all the way through the arm and ultimately into the body. Stabilizing your upper body while your legs are moving actively and independently, is crucial to good skiing. It’s all about timing and rhythm – the pole movements will happen naturally as you advance further. A perfectly-timed pole swing keeps your body perpendicular over the skis and moves in the direction of the new turn.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: Is it better to buy a carbon fiber or an aluminum ski pole set?

a:

That all depends on you. Both types of materials have their strengths and weaknesses. So, it is best for you to consider what you need and take your decision from that. But in general, some carbon fiber poles come with reinforced designs that add durability, but carbon fiber still isn’t usually as durable as aluminum. So, if you want to get an extra boost of durability, consider buying skiing poles that are hybrid designs that feature both carbon fiber and aluminum materials.

q: If I buy a lightweight pole, will it be less durable?

a:

Most of the time, but not always. Usually, skiing poles that feature lightweight designs are made up of carbon fiber, which isn’t as durable as aluminum. However, aluminum poles are more durable and more affordable, but the run heavier. Some manufacturers use a hybrid combination of carbon fiber and aluminum to add more durability and give you the best of both worlds.

q: Should I choose a heavy or lightweight pole?

a:

Most of the modern-day ski poles are made of aluminum, graphite, carbon fiber, fiberglass, and composite materials – each varies differently in weight, cost, and performance. Several models use a combination of these materials to draw the benefits of each. A ski pole that feels too heavy can interfere with your balance on the slopes, whereas an extremely lightweight pole won’t be able to withstand average wear and tear. So choose wisely before making the decision.

q: What is swing weight, and how it impacts my skiing?

a:

Just like pro golfers feel about the ideal swing weight for the poles, skiers need to be concerned about the swing weight of their poles. Swing weight refers to your poles’ resistance to being swung when in use. It determines how good a pole feels when you swing it and the ideal weight refers to the amount of energy you actually need to swing the poles without sacrificing your performance regardless of the snow condition and the slopes. It not only relates to the pole’s weight but also promotes proper weight distribution thereby improving your skiing techniques.

q: If I am shopping on a budget, what material should I buy in my skiing poles?

a:

If you are looking for something that is inexpensive, then you’ll probably wind up with a heavier aluminum pole. Aluminum does tend to be more affordable, and it is also more durable than carbon fiber by comparison. So, it does have its benefits.

q: Will I have to spend a lot of money to get a lightweight pole?

a:

Lightweight poles are usually comprised of carbon fiber materials, which can make the poles cost more. If you can afford it and it is important to you, then go ahead and get a lightweight pole to meet your needs.

Sources

  1. Pirates of Powder, 7 Best Ski Poles for All Types of Skiing, Ski Website
  2. Casey Fiedler, The 7 Best Ski Poles Reviewed For [2018-2019], Outdoors Blog