We’re often asked our advice on choosing a staff. There are quite a few options and variables so this can be a difficult decision, especially if you’re new to staff spinning.
What staff to choose depends on the type of staff spinning you want to do, if you’re not sure what types there are check out the article ‘What is Fire Staff Spinning’ also posted on here.
It’s important to remember that a lot of your decision will come down to personal preference so don’t take our advice as gospel! If you find you prefer a different staff to the one recommended here then stick with it (excuse the pun).
But for those who don’t know what they like yet, hopefully this article will make your decision a little easier.
The first choice you need to make is whether to go for a practice, non-fire (stage) staff or a fire staff. This may depend on your age; if you’re under 18 you shouldn’t be fire spinning, and if you are it should be with your parent’s permission and under the supervision of an experienced adult.
If you’re fortunate enough to be this young you may want to consider a practice staff. If you’ve never done any staff before this might also be a good choice for you, especially if the idea of fire spinning makes you nervous.
Practice staffs are decorated with tape that makes them look great on stage or just spinning in the park or garden. They are less expensive than fire staffs making them a good choice if you’re not sure how committed you’ll be to staff spinning.
We sell two types of non-fire staff; wooden practice staffs and FibreSTAGE contact staffs. If you’re a beginner we recommend going for a wooden staff as the FibreSTAGEs are much heavier and more tiring to use, plus they hurt more if they hit you! Wooden practice staffs look great and are inexpensive but being made of wood they can be broken if misused or dropped repeatedly on hard surfaces from high throws.
However, if you’re older, not too nervous about using fire or have some experience staff spinning you might want to jump straight in with a fire staff. Many people, including beginners, do this as it saves them buying a fire staff later.
Fire staffs are fine to spin without burning them so you can practice with one until you are good enough / feel comfortable enough to burn it. While this does save you the cost of buying a practice staff as well, bear in mind that while the wicks on a fire staff are tough, they do get damaged – especially if you’re using the staff on rough concrete. The wicks can be replaced but there is obviously an expense to this.
There is a large range of staff sizes to choose from. The Firetoys’ range goes from 90cm to 160cm in 10cm increments.
A rule of thumb you often hear is to pick a staff that is somewhere between shoulder and chin height. This is not a bad starting point but don’t adhere to it too strictly. What size to pick depends on what you want to use it for (see here for the different staff spinning styles) and personal preference.
Here’s a rough guide to staff sizes:
•90cm-110cm – Great for children and shorter adults as a staff for normal spinning. Also great for double staff spinning, staff juggling, antispins and isolations, and multiple staff spinning.
•120cm-130cm – Often seen as a standard size for a first time staff. Great for single and double staff spinning but can be a bit long and heavy for finger spinning manipulations or staff juggling. However, this size can be a bit light / short for a lot of contact staffers who tend to prefer longer and heavier staffs.
•140cm – A very popular size for single staff spinners, especially guys. Younger or shorter people can find this size too cumbersome but it is a good size for contact staff moves.
•150cm-160cm – These sizes are generally only chosen by contact staff spinners because they are long and heavy (we only stock these sizes in contact fire staffs). Taller and stronger people may like these staffs for normal spinning though.
•Aluminium Fire Staffs – These staffs are the standard fire staff in our range. They are perfect as a first fire staff and as a performance prop for more experienced spinners. The 140cm, Big Burner, version is also suitable for learning basic contact moves.
•Fibre 3 Contact Fire Staffs – These staffs are designed specifically for contact work. Sizes of 140cm and above are the most popular but shorter people might want a smaller staff. The smaller sizes are also used for double contact staff spinning (advanced stuff!).
•Fibre Air Throwng Staffs – These are super strong but lightweight creatures that are, obviously, great for throws and staff juggling. They are only available in 90cm or 110cm versions. Being short, light and strong they also make great fire staffs for children or for isolation / antispin finger spinning style staff manipulation.
Hopefully all this gives you a better idea of what sort and size of staff you are looking for. If you have any more questions give us a call or send us an email and we'll do our best to help you out.