WINDOW CLEANER'S GUIDE TO EXTENSION POLES
It's no surprise that ladders pose an array of safety risks so why not invest in a quality extension pole? Extension poles are easier to transport to and from the job site, less bulky and of course, the safety benefits are huge. If you do a lot of storefront or route work, a quality extension pole is key. They can also be very useful for residential work. At the end of the day, an extension pole allows you to reach difficult or high reach areas easily and quickly.
Let's talk safety real quick. You should always have both hands on your extension pole when working. You should also never leave your extension pole on the ground or unattended when not in use. Not only is this a trip hazard but you can damage your pole. You should also check and replace your locking cones and collars as needed and regularly. Replacement parts for your pole are readily available but that won't help you if you are on the job and something goes wrong.
In this blog post we will be going over some of the most commonly asked questions we get when it comes to extension poles. Are Carbon Fiber Extension Poles really that much better? What is the difference between internal and external locking mechanisms? What is extended versus unextended pole lengths? We're also happy to answer your questions directly, just give us a call at 862-266-0677!
Most poles will come with a combination tapered and threaded tip. They will work with tools that pressure fit on to the taper and tools that thread on with standard ACME threading. Some poles, such as Garelick poles, only have ACME threaded tips, so they will only work with threaded tools. All you need is a wooden or plastic cone adapter to attach tapered tools.
Let's talk about extended and unextended pole lengths. The collapsed size is its unextended length basically. The length of the pole in the product description is most often referring to the extended length. For example, the Moerman Carbonator has an extended length of 25 feet and a collapsed length of just 6 feet. Certain poles also have a different number of sections (2, 3, or 4).
Extension Poles come in a variety of sizes and you will likely have a few in your arsenal to tackle different jobs. Shorter poles that are 8 feet or less are great for reaching ground-level windows. Some extension poles will go all the way to 24 feet, at that length you can reach most second-story windows and maybe some third story windows.
If a part of your pole breaks, most parts are replaceable, so you won't have to replace the entire pole. Not sure which part needs to be replaced? Count from the top section down, starting with the top which is the pole tip. The section the pole tip is connected to is section one. The next section is two and so on and so forth.
Carbon Fiber VS Aluminum Poles
If you have a lot of route work, storefronts or just generally use your extension pole often or even daily, we highly recommend choosing a Carbon Fiber extension pole. You absolutely WILL feel the difference of the Carbon Fiber versus a standard aluminum pole. Check out this video review SteveO did that compares two popular extension poles.
Firstly, Carbon Fiber is lighter and in turn, massively cuts down on fatigue and shoulder pain. Another benefit to Carbon Fiber Extention Poles is that they feature a clamp based system so there’s no need to twist anything. The clamps are very simple to use, which prevents twist, turns, and pole slide downs. Smooth action, bolted on clamps keep extended sections locked in place. They just provide a really nice user experience.
When it comes to our best-selling XERO Trad pole we tried to take the functional aspect of how we engineered our XERO waterfed poles and create an affordable extension pole for traditional tools. XERO Trad Poles allow you to pick your length and pole tip. Choose between XERO, Ettore, Unger, Moerman, Dr. Angle or a Wagtail pole tip.
The XERO Carbon Fiber Pole - Trad Pole 2.0 is made from 100% Carbon Fiber and is available in four sizes: 8, 12, 16 and 20 feet. Colored poles available in 12 feet only. These traditional poles are light and durable for easy extension work. Each pole nests into the size above so when you purchase the full 20-foot length you can drop sections as you need. Pick your length and your pole tip so you can use your favorite traditional tools.
This reasonably priced shorty pole packs a BIG punch! The XERO J2 Extension Pole is a great pole that's compact and lightweight. It is very versatile so you can use it for storefronts and you can even buy an add on kit to turn into a water fed pole and use it on single story homes. A great buy for sure!
Finally, we have the Maykker Mini Extension Pole. Clunky, oversized extension poles are a thing of the past. This is a super-compact option, only 27 inches which can be extended to 8 feet. Great for storefronts and single-story houses. Easy to store and transport as well. If you are working out of a smaller truck or van, this is a great option! Be sure to check out the video overview for more information!
External VS Internal Locking Mechanisms
Let's go over the two main types of locking mechanisms, external locking collars and internal locking collars as well as some popular examples of each.
When you have an external locking collar, you can adjust it by loosening and tightening the collars which are located on the outside of the pole. An example of this is the popular Ettore REA-C-H Extension Poles. External locking collars allow you to extend and collapse these poles to their full length.
On the flip side, the locking mechanism for an internal locking pole, such as the Garelick Extension Pole, is located on the inside the pole, so the pole has no collars. The exterior of the pole is therefore smooth when handling and won’t catch. One tip is to be sure not to overtighten it. It doesn’t take much to hold the sections in place so over-tightening can cause damage. A drawback to this style never being able to replace the workings of an internal locking pole.
Garelick Extension Poles are great for pole work as there's no collar to get in the way. This is an example of an internal locking mechanism. The sections extend with a very easy twist of the section. Unlike the poles with collars, just be careful to not overtighten it. It also collapses to a smaller size for tight areas. Great choice!
Ettore REA-C-H Extension Poles are made of anodized gold aluminum to make them strong and light. The external locking collars on this pole allow you to extend and collapse these poles to their full length. Features include an Ettore Pro+ Pole Tip, ergonomic handle and aluminum body. Choose your number of sections (1, 2, 3 or 4) as well as your pole length.
The Unger OptiLoc Extension Pole is another example of an external locking pole. These poles have a versatile Unger tip that locks onto Unger Tools and also fits cleaning tools that are press fit, screw fit, or snap fit. The external collars twist to allow you to extend the pole sections and lock them in place.
Extension Poles VS
There are two main styles of cleaning windows. One is using traditional methods that include hand tools like squeegees, washer sleeves, extension poles, etc. Water Fed window cleaning, on the other hand, uses pure water and waterfed brushes to leave a spotless clean.
Extension Poles are a great asset for residential, route or storefront work. With an extension pole, you can attach any of your traditional tools such as squeegees, scrapers or any other window cleaning accessories.
Waterfed Poles, on the other hand, are essential for reaching new heights or tackling those "big" jobs. A waterfed pole will allow you to clean ground-level windows all the way up to 6 stories and above all from the safety of the ground. No more ladders! Water fed poles can consist of Aluminum, Fiberglass, or Carbon Fiber material (the most popular) and can be suited for residential, commercial and more!
If you'd like to learn more about the differences between Extension Poles and Waterfed Poles, visit the Window Cleaning Poles page.
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