Bubble Column vs Hurricane Column

Bubble Columns vs Hurricane Columns


Are you considering buying a sensory column but not 100% sure whether to go for the bubble or the waterless hurricane tube? We can help you decide!

Bubble and Hurricane Columns are centrepieces of every multi-sensory environment. Using a sensory tube will immediately draw eyes and capture the attention of distracted minds.

Therapeutic benefits of Sensory Columns:

  • Calming: The tubes are very calming. Their lights and soft humming sounds encourage relaxation and ease anxiety. They’re perfect for de-escalation spaces and helping users feel more settled in their environment.
  • Stimulating: The column’s changing colours and racing bubbles create a wonderfully stimulating visual effect that distracts and captures attention.
  • Development: Interaction and movement are key elements of the tube’s experience, helping to develop tactile, visual and social skills.

Bubble Column vs Hurricane Column

Explained In More Detail

1 . What goes inside the columns?

  • Bubble Column: The Bubble Column is filled with water and water treatment additives. You can add Floating Fish and Ball Effects, which float in the water for additional visual stimulation.
  • Hurricane Column: The Hurricane Column is filled with specially treated polystyrene beads circulated by an air fan.

2. What do the columns sound like?

  • Bubble Column: You can hear the bubbles and sound of flowing water; it’s very relaxing and may remind some of being on holiday or sitting in a warm, bubbling bath or hot tub.
  • Hurricane Column: The sound of the pitter-patter as the beads hit the top cap and the calming hum of the airflow. This sounds like rain tapping on a window and gives a relaxing and comforting sound.

3. How do you maintain the columns?

  • Bubble Column: The water inside the Bubble Column should be replaced every 6 – 8 weeks. If the room temperature is hot, the column may need to be emptied more frequently. When the column is empty, the tube may also need to be scrubbed to clean off any scum deposits. See our full cleaning instructions here: https://www.rhinouk.com/how-do-i-clean-my-sensory-bubble-column/.
  • Hurricane Columns: No maintenance, but the beads can be replaced annually for infection control.

4. Are both columns available in different sizes?

  • Yes, both are available in a variety of sizes, starting with the tabletop columns. However, Tabletop Tubes are smaller, portable and practical for busy spaces. When you’re not using it, you can move it around with ease and pack it away in a carry bag.
  • Sizes then start from 120cm tall to 200cm tall.
  • The size you decide on depends on the space you have available, and our team is more than happy to advise.

5. Can you put a podium or bean bag around both kinds of columns?

  • Yes, both columns can be fitted into a podium. A podium creates a comfortable padded seat around a sensory column where you can get up close and experience it fully. The column’s base is safely contained behind wooden panels covered in mirrors, creating a lovely visual effect.
  • Beanbags can be placed around a Bubble Column, but they cannot be put around a Hurricane Column as they can block the fan’s airflow. So please, please don’t do this!

6. Can you use interactive controllers in bother sensory columns?

Yes, both sensory columns are available in an interactive version, whereby a variety of controllers can be used to; change the colour and stop/start the bubbles or beads.


The Hurricane Column has one feature the Bubble Column doesn’t! If you hold your hand over the top cap of the column, it will stop the airflow. When you let go, the beads will WOOSH up like a volcano! It’s a simple but effective cause-and-effect interaction.


We hope this short blog has helped you decide which column to buy, but please get in touch if we haven’t answered all of your questions or if you want to find out more.