The best kickboard
New swimmers and experts alike have a need for a good kickboard. Kickboards are small floating planks that can be easily held with two hands in the water. They allow you to swim around a pool -- or even in the ocean -- keeping your head above water, easily directing yourself through space.
If buying a new kickboard is on your agenda, you're in the right place. Read our buying guide to learn more and check out reviews of a few of our favorites. Our top pick, the Speedo Team Kickboard, is a classic from a trusted brand that features finger scallops and grooves to give you a solid grip.
Considerations when choosing kickboards
Type of kickboard
There are actually a number of different types of kickboards. The main difference is that each serves a different purpose. These are the primary types of kickboards available:
Traditional kickboards are what you find at most public pools. They are meant to be all things to all people when more specialized boards aren't available. Their primary purpose is to help people work on their swimming technique, as well as to help swimmers float more easily when in the pool.
Children's kickboards are similar to traditional boards, only smaller. These are the tools most children use when learning to swim. They're usually designed in a way that is slightly easier for kids to grip via small finger grooves, etc.
Alignment kickboards are triangular in shape, and they float a little underneath the water's surface. These are used by serious swimmers who want to improve their technique, and thereby improve their lap times. Alignment boards are the only boards designed for safe use with the butterfly stroke.
Pull-kick boards can be used by grabbing them with the hands or by squeezing them between the legs. Pull-kick boards are designed for the user to focus on either the arms or legs during repetitive swimming drills.
When you hold your kickboard from the top, your elbows should be able to rest on the board with enough room for your head to be in the water, if that's what you want. The board should not be wider than your shoulders. Children's boards obviously need to be quite a bit smaller than adult boards.
Kickboards should be durable enough to last for hundreds of swim sessions without damage. If you want something that's going to last a long time, search for an extra thick kickboard. Non-absorbent kickboards can be dried off instantly out of the water and are more durable than those that absorb water.
Handles and grips on a kickboard are especially useful for new swimmers and children. They help the swimmer position their hands in such a way to promote proper swimming form and technique. If you want a kickboard for those new to swimming, try to find one that includes handles and/or grips. They're also useful for older swimmers that might not have the dexterity in their hands that they once did.
Most kickboards cost between $5 and $25. For $5, kickboards are the most basic models, with limited durability. For $15, you can find a mid-range kickboard of just about any design. If you spend $25, you should be able to get a nice hydrodynamic design kickboard or a pull-kick board that should last quite a while.
Q. Can a kickboard help me become a faster competitive swimmer?
A. Absolutely. Not only do kickboards help swimmers fine-tune their technique, they allow for the development of important muscle groups that are used in competitive swimming.
Q. I thought kickboards were only for children. Why would an adult use one?
A. There are a number of reasons for an adult to use a kickboard. They can be great for increasing your competitive lap times. Furthermore, older adults use them to stay afloat when swimming for exercise.
Kickboards we recommend
Best of the best: Speedo's Team Kickboard
Our take: A great all-around board from a brand that knows swimming.
What we like: Finger scallops and grooves promote proper hand position. Lightweight EVA foam construction. Comfortable curved back end.
What we dislike: Chemical smell when brand new.
Best bang for your buck: Speedo's Junior Team Kickboard
Our take: Grown-up quality in a kids' kickboard.
What we like: Similar side grooves to Speedo adult board. Choice of different colors. Easy to grip for children.
What we dislike: Not quite as stable as other boards due to smaller size.
Our take: A fun design with serious benefits for little swimmers.
What we like: Silly shark design is fun for kids. Colorfast fabric stands up to chlorine and sunshine. Helps kids develop confidence in the water.
What we dislike: Some users reported that the fabric shifts easily.
Adam Reeder is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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