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Guide to Buying a Diabolo

Diabolos come in all manner of shapes, sizes and colours. Here is our short guide to buying a diabolo. It is by no means complete, but is intended as guidance, especially for that first diabolo.


Diabolos come in various sizes. The most common sizes are between 4 and 5 inches in diameter. 4-inch diabolos are great for beginners as you can do most tricks with these. They are also the best for 2-diabolo tricks because they are small enough to get two on a string. 5-inch diabolos are easier to balance and do tricks with, but can be much heavier and harder on the arms. You can get smaller and larger diabolos. Large diabolos are mainly for performing - they offer better visibility. Smaller diabolos are generally cheaper and portable, but not so easy to do tricks with. 4-inch diabolos are probably the most popular size.


There are two broad classes of axles, fixed and one-way bearing axles. Beginners should probably start with a fixed axle. One-way bearing axles have a ball bearing axle that only turns one way. This makes it spin faster, allowing you to do some more complicated tricks. Although they have their drawbacks - they can be loud and you can't do the elevator trick.


Most diabolos are either rubber, hard plastic or a hybrid material. The rubber diabolos are a bit flexible meaning when they are dropped they don't break. The only drawback is that when they are spinning very fast they can lose their shape. Hard-plastic diabolos keep their shape more but if dropped on a hard surface like concrete or tarmac they can shatter. Hybrid diabolos are like hard plastic but have some flexibility meaning they are less likely to shatter and keep their shape - the best of both worlds.


Sticks come in a variety of materials: wood, aluminium, fibreglass, carbon fibre. Wood is the original. Beginners might want to stick with those at first. The other kinds of sticks tend to be better for grinds.


A diabolo can be a fun toy for children. Initially it requires some patience and dedication but can quickly be very rewarding. You can get a reasonably good starter diabolo for £10-20. If they show perseverance you can always upgrade later. When buying from a toyshop rather than a juggling shop be sure to look at the string that comes with the diabolo sticks. We have noticed in toyshops they often use normal household string. For a diabolo to spin properly the string really needs to be much thinner than this. Using household string means the diabolo is harder to get spinning and the diabolo won't be much fun to play with. We suggest purchasing from a juggling shop or website.

First diabolo

We think the Mr Babache Medium Harlequin and Henry's Jazz are good cost- effective starting diabolos.

Where to buy

Check out some of the online diabolo retailers in our links page for places to purchase diabolos. A trip to a local juggling shop is also a great way to buy a diabolo as you can get personal advice and try a couple out to see if it suits your needs.