27 posts
Location: auburn wa

ok ive been spinning about eight months and am about to buy my chains. but id like a little advice first. i dont want your personal opinions or favs, id like your experiences with different types of chains. i am confused by all the rumors... ive heard that twisted link oval chains are the best (like my wallet chain), also that ball chain is unsafe but the easiest to do hyperloops with!?!?! so please give some pros and cons of the chains you use

KaelGotRiceGOLD Member
Basu gasu bakuhatsu - because sometimes buses explode
1,584 posts
Location: Angels Landing, USA


And searching as well.


Now for me to directly answer your question -
Everyone's experience carries some sort of favoritism/opinion. I haven't had much experience with wires, but I've spent plenty of time with different ballchain and ovalchained poi.

Since it sounds like you're planning on buying soon, I assume it's from the HoP shop?

Nothing from the HoP shop is inherently "unsafe". That includes the ballchain. I've used my chains extensively for over 6 months usage without them showing signs of wear, and retire them after a years rigorous use. I've never had ball chain break or snap on me like other's have - but then again I always get the #15 stainless steel. I wouldn't settle for Nickel plated steel or anything other than stainless steel.

Ballchain does carry less load than oval chain, but the swivels make it feel a lot smoother, and i wouldn't consider wrapping/airwrapping/hyperloops with oval chain. You should check ballchains after every burn, especially after a few hundred they'll start to weaken.

Ovalchain is heavier, but if you want the added security of knowing they're hard to break, then go for it smile Once again I wouldn't recommend anything other than stainless steel. Especially if you're planning on making your own gear. You can add extra swivels to your poi and modify it later - after you're comfortable with your first set and know what you like/don't like.

good luck

To do: More Firedrums 08 video?

Wildfire/US East coast fire footage

LA/EDC glow/fire footage

Fresno fire

MikeIconGOLD Member
2,109 posts
Location: Philadelphia, PA - USA

Cable is strongest, but sucks for the most part. It's very inflexible and kinks. Not good if you like to shorten the length by wrapping around your hands. Its not good for tangles/hyperloops either. Can also make wraps painful.

Welded link chain is the second strongest and is a fair choice. Its strength is its biggest quality and some find it to be pretty comfortable to use. Its not great for tangles/hyperloops but workable...It doesnt swivel which means you will need to use another form of swivels which often creates the weak spot, if any. The lack of swivel also makes buzz saw moves (when you are holding the chain) a bit more difficuly. It can also make untangling a bit more challenging than ball chain.

Ball chain is another good choice and possibly the most common. Its not as strong as welded link but if you find good quality ball chain and regularly check/maintain it, you shouldnt have any problems. The chain is a self contained swivel so no need for outside hardware. This also makes buzz saws quite easy (holding 1 ball and letting the chain swivel). Its good for tangles since the balls sort of lock together and its fairly easy to untangle after a screw up.

And although you said you dont want opinions, Im giving mine anyway smile

If you can treat it well and take proper care of it, ball chain is the best. While some say its weak, its what Ive used for the past 3 years and Ive never had any break. The only time Ive seen it break is when a glow stringer friend was being very rough with it, pulling really hard when tangled and such.

Let's turn those old bridges we crossed into ashes.
We'll blaze a new trail,
and torch the rough patches.


chris19SILVER Member
17 posts
Location: Mnchendorf, AUSTRIA

Just to add one thing. If you want speed and change direction very often (less complicated figures more moving) cable could be an advantage. The poi will follow a change of direction very quickly. At least that's what I've heard from people that tried it out, I never tried it myself.

twirling greets


Think but never worry for tomorrow will come anyway

linden rathenGOLD Member
Carpal \'Tunnel
6,942 posts
Location: London, UK

*throws in his two cents

ive used cable and hated it - it felt too light yet infelxible - also can fray which causes problems

another issue with it is that wraps/tangles are a nightmare - the poi are so light that tangles become very hard especially when coupled with the inflexability of the cable - arm wraps are a definate no - the wire conducts heat along its entire length and is pretty thin - when it hits your arm at speed it hurts

ive never used ball chain so i cant comment on that but i do use welded oval links and they're brillent - flexible enough to do hyperloops easily though air wraps are a bit of a problem, they feel safe which is really nice and ive never had them go wrong - also should you burn yourself you get pretty cool branding from them wink


328 posts
Location: uk


Having just seen another fire poi set with S/S ball chain come apart, and these were fairly new (2 months) and from a good quality supplier whom I will not name here, they are now in my collection of unsafe performance kit. That now makes in total 2 sets of ball chain failures, and one S/S swivel failure, in terms of putting on comercial shows, I now have a blanket policy in keeping with my risk assessment that no fire poi sets with either swivels and or ball link chain are to be used in any of the shows we put on.

I've been manufacturing generally all of the fire performance kit we use, and will currently only use S/S welded link chain, I have used wire in the past where on or two persons have very specifically requested it, but generally not, since I have to outsource the construction / crimping etc.


663 posts
Location: Glasgow

My experiences with different chains:

Wire: Just no. I can't stand it, too light and inflexible (the common complaint)

Ball Chain: Felt a little weird. I'm not sure why but it just did

Welded Chain: My personal favourite. I don't normally use swivels either so don't have the risk of failure

Have faith in what you can do and respect for what you can't

GeoffonTour04SILVER Member
360 posts
Location: Oxford, United Kingdom

I haven't tried wire but it seems like a strange idea & I've not heard many good comments about it.

I've tried ballchain & personally I thought it was far too heavy, I can imagine it's fairly weak (compared to welded). I'm also not sure, but it seems to me that ballchain would absorb quite a lot of heat.

I would strongly reccommend you buy the chain & heads separately - that way you can pick your own thickness of chain (I prefer slightly thinner than most fire poi), and tbh I can't imagine a welded chain ever breaking just from poi. If you do build your own, stay away from splitrings, they stretch apart & catch it's very bad for wraps. Although they're expensive I'm gonna get some split links instead - 5 for two but they're as solid as the rest of the chain & removable.

Also when you get your own chain you don't feel guilty about cutting it to length, I've used some shop bought poi that were far too long, had to wrap around my hands to clear a buzzsaw weave (even slightly isolated). Best thing is, I can get a new meteor or longer/shorter poi for about 4 of chain and use the fire heads I already got.

27 posts
Location: auburn wa

ok one more question... my style of spinning uses alot of direction changes and fast wrap combos. i intend on getting kevlar sleaves for this purpose. but according to this website the force doubles when wrapping and can be a hundred times greater during direction changes and kicks. am i gonna kill some innocent onlooker if i choose ball chain?

TheGreatSaintGOLD Member
48 posts
Location: Canada

I haven't done any kicks or combos, but I've been practising hyperloops with some small ball-chain:

Written by: GeoffonTour04

I've tried ballchain & personally I thought it was far too heavy

This makes me wonder where this person is getting such large ballchain. I want it, I want it bad.

I bought my key-chain sized ball-chain at the hardware store for $1.00/ft (I really hope that's not considered "heavy" because that makes me sad, very very sad.

Anyways, back to my hyperloops: the poi over loops and gets tangled in some very bad ways (which makes me prefer my oval-linked chain because I can unwrap it in a few seconds by pulling it apart). I've been pulling on that ball chain without worry about it breaking, if you can find larger ball-chain, let me know because I'd like to know it's out there.

The only structural weakness is the part that connects the ball-chain to the handles/poi. That has split on me a couple of times, but the chain is ok.

I'd say it's pretty safe with ball chain, If you can find "heavy" ball-chain, go for it.

YOu might not kill anyone, but you'd scare the *&#!@ out of them and that would be fun to watch anyways.

110 posts
Location: ashland OR

I have broke every set of ball chain I have ever had. Including about 6 that went flying off @ Burningman. I have broke it almost 20 times, all styles, It is superb for airwraps and butterfly tangles. I now use 3 mil dog chain with twisted ovals, it kinda sucks because the chain weighs as much as my monkey fist heads. So throws and isolations are different beacause the weight is all weird from the handle down. With ball chain you can feel the poi heads location easier in the air. Cable is not used or recomended by anyone I have ever met in the last 2 years.

dont make peoples heads turn, give them whiplash.

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