So you want to install a pole at home, and you have a ton of questions about how to do it. Which pole do you buy? Is it safe to use? Can you install it yourself?

Don’t worry; help is on the way! Let’s begin at the beginning with your space.

How much space do I need to install a pole at home?

If you have 6 feet on all sides, you’ve got a pretty good space to work with. How much space you need depends on a few things, like how tall or long limbed you are and what you plan on doing with your home pole. My first home pole space was my kitchen, flanked by the slider to my back deck and the dishwasher. Not a lot of side to side clearance, maybe three feet in either direction, but it was great as a beginner poler for repping the spins I learned in class and doing lots of conditioning. If you plan on training exclusively at home, a space that small might eventually be limiting, but for my practice, it suited me just fine.

Ditto goes for height. I wanted to buy an X-Pole, and X-Pole’s height chart shows the shortest setup at 7’6” for the X-Pert Pro, which bummed me out at first because the ceiling in my ranch home was 7’ exactly. I contacted X-Pole’s support, and they advised me to use the A pole, but swap out the B pole for the 750mm extension, which worked perfectly and safely for my low ceilings. Again, I wasn’t going to be doing any climbs with 7’ ceilings, but I could rep pole squats or climb once, slide down, and climb again to build climb strength. If you have soaring 10’ ceilings, great! Anything above that and you’re potentially looking at a commercial grade pole, which has to be specially ordered. So FYI, higher ceilings come with a higher price tag.

Speaking of ceilings, you’ll need to know where your joists are. You’ll want to center your pole’s dome on a joist to avoid having it push through the ceiling. You can also permanently mount your pole to a joist or beam, if you want, but most people opt for the dome so they can move the pole or take it down easily if needed. Got a beautiful vaulted ceiling? There’s a mount for that. Popcorn ceilings can be done, but you still need to know where the joists or beams are to find the strongest part; don’t underestimate the powerful tension of a good pole! A square cut of strong plywood can help bridge any gaps between joists too. The center of my pole room doesn’t line up perfectly with a joist, so I have a 1” thick piece of plywood straddling two joists, and my dome centered on the plywood to distribute the weight—no problem!

Since we are talking ceilings, we might as well talk floors. Hardwood, linoleum, tile, and laminate all work just fine. Wall to wall carpet too! Just know that as you tighten your pole, the carpet will depress a few inches. You might need to tighten it again in time after the carpet mashes down, but really, we should all be checking the tension on our poles regularly regardless of what kind of floor we have.

At this point, people feel kind of overwhelmed and think, “I’ll just get a stage pole so I don’t have to deal with the hassle of installing or risk damaging my ceilings.” I’m not knocking stage poles—I know people who have them set up at home and love them—but they aren’t space savers. Stage poles generally require about 10.5” in height and 10’ from side to side. And if you train on a studio pole that is fixed to the ceiling, the stage pole wobble will take some getting used to.

If you are thinking of setting up a pole outdoors, I’d say don’t unless it’s expressly made for outdoor use. Otherwise, your pole is subject to the elements and will degrade quickly, making it unsafe to use. A stage pole is great for outdoor use because you can take it down and store it indoors.

Which brand, finish, and size pole should I install at home?

There are a lot of trustworthy, reputable brands out there. As I mentioned, I have an X-Pole X-Pert Pro, but you can check out Lupit, Platinum, Lil Mynx, and Fit2Flaunt too. There are others, I’m sure, but these are the brands I and people I know have experience with.

As for finish, that depends a lot on where you live and what your skin is like. Every wonder why all the Aussie polers you follow on Instagram are riding brass? Brass poles work well in hotter climates. Have you seen people who pole fully clothed but don’t seem to struggle with grip? Likely, they’re using a silicone pole. Chances are if you’re reading this, you’re looking for a durable, safe, good all around option, which is chrome.

Not sure what thickness? Depends on what your plans are. Many strip clubs have 50mm poles, so if you currently are or thinking of becoming a stripper, it might be wise to train on a 50mm. If you are more of a studio dancer, 45mm will do just fine. 45mm poles are the most common diameter you’ll find in pole dance studios and onstage in pole dance competitions. I’ve found that on a 50mm pole, leg hangs feel secure, but I don’t love handsprings. I’m more comfortable on a 45mm. Most of my training and dancing are done in a studio, so a 45mm is the right fit for me and my pole needs.

Will I get in trouble for having a pole in my apartment?

Maybe you are worried about your family coming over for a visit and seeing your pole set up. I understand that some people keep their pole life under wraps, and if that's you, I'm not here to judge your reasons for doing so. My hope is that some day, you don't have to hide what you love from your friends and family, but until then, let's find a workaround. If your pole isn't permanently mounted, you can unlock it with the hex key and loosen the tension just enough to be able to take the whole thing down in basically one piece. As long as you have a place to store it in the meantime, you can put it back up again pretty easily.

If you are worried about your landlord, that's a different thing altogether. While I'm by no means a legal expert, I'd check your rental or lease agreement to see if it makes any specific provisions regarding installations of any kind. If there's nothing in the agreement that says you can't, then it's really up to you. I'd take pictures of the floor and ceiling prior to installation to record any existing damage or marks, just like you'd do a walkaround inspection on a rental car. Consider putting a piece of square plywood or even a thick towel between the dome and the ceiling to prevent any marks. If you're going to wear heels, just watch out for scratches or dings on the floor. 

Is it safe to use a pole installed at home?

Yes! I know what you’re thinking: but what if it comes loose, like this? I mean, it could… but if it’s a reputable brand and it’s installed properly according to the instructions, then it’s safe. Check your pole prior to using it each time, and don’t buy a glorified shower curtain tension rod at a party store! A lot of times those fail videos you are seeing are the result of people trying tricks on novelty poles that aren’t meant for inverting, and these novelty poles say as much in their instructions, so read carefully.

As far as weight limits go, I’d refer you to the guidelines each brand provides. But in general, a correctly-installed-and-meant-for-pole pole doesn’t have a weight limit. Need to see it to believe it? Check out Cris Rivers from Pole in the Wall doing pole doubles. And Cardi B gets three people on a single pole! If a good pole can hold two or three people, it can hold you.

Where can I get a good pole to install at home?

You can go straight to X-Pole, Lupit, Platinum, Lil Mynx, or Fit2Flaunt to order, of course. They’ll have all the resources and support you need to get started with their poles. But let’s say you get there and they’re sold out, or maybe you want to score a used pole for slightly less…

If you train at your studio, talk to your studio’s owner. A lot of studios are authorized dealers who can place orders for you. Your pole will be delivered right to the studio, and you can pick it up when you come for class! My studio’s owner has used poles to sell from time to time. Sometimes people purchase home poles, and never end up installing or using them, so you might get lucky and score a basically brand new pole.

Join a Facebook group that’s dedicated to selling used pole gear. I’m a member of a few, and it seems like every other day, someone is selling a used pole. I’d opt for this over Craigslist or any other general selling site because pole dancers are more likely to know the brand, model, year of purchase, and other relevant info you’d want to know before deciding to buy. The trick is finding one for sale in your local area.

Final Thoughts on Installing a Pole at Home...

Once you are ready to install a pole at home, be sure to follow the specific instructions given by the brand. In general though, you’ll want to have a stud finder and a magnetic level on hand, and it doesn’t hurt to have a second person there with you to help. I always have my husband help me, and then when the pole is up, I make him swing around on it before I do to make sure it’s safe!

Installing a pole at home generally costs anywhere from $400-$500, but you can get the price down if you shop used. I once scored an unused X-Pole for $100 from a friend who won it in a raffle, but never put it up. Decent!