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16 April 2019

Bubble Column vs Hurricane Column

by Alexandra Hooson

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

Firstly a bit of background

A Bubble or Hurricane Column is the centrepiece of every multi-sensory environment and using a sensory tube will immediately catch the attention of the person in the room.

The main therapeutic benefits of the Sensory Columns are:

  • Calming– the tubes are very calming and the sound of the columns will encourage relaxation and ease anxiety. Perfect for de-escalation in order to make the person feel more settled and happier in their environment.
  • Stimulating– The colours change and the water or beads move around; this is a fantastic way to help sensory development, especially visual.
  • Development– Interaction and movement are key elements of the tubes experience. Therefore stimulating the senses with a bubble or hurricane column can encourage development.


Explained in more detail:

1.What goes inside the columns?:

  • Bubble Column- The Bubble Column is filled with water and water treatment additive. You can add Floating fish and ball effects which float in the water for additional visual effects.
  • Hurricane Column- The Hurricane Column is filled with specially treated polystyrene beads which are circulated by an air fan.

2. What do the columns sound like?

  • Bubble Column- You can hear the bubbles and sound of flowing water. Very relaxing and may remind some of being on holiday or sat in a warm, bubbling bath or hot tub.
  • Hurricane Column- The sound of the pitter patter as the beads hit the top cap and a hum of the air flow. 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 completely every 6 – 8 weeks. If the temperature of the room is really hot the column may need to be emptied more frequently. When the column is empty the tube may also need a scrub to clean off any deposits. See our full cleaning instructions here:
  • Hurricane Columns- No maintenance, but for hygiene reason the beads can be replaced for infection control on an annual basis.

4.Are both columns available in different sizes?

  • Yes, both are available in a variety of sizes, starting with the baby table top These mini versions are fantastic, as you can move it easily and pack it away in a carry bag if you are not using it.
  • Sizes then start from 120cm high to 200cm high.
  • The size you decide on very much depends on the space you have available and our team are 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 base of the column is safely contained behind wooden panels covered in mirrors which again create a lovely visual effect.
  • Bean Bags can be placed around a Bubble Column but, they cannot be put around a Hurricane Column as they can block the air flow to the fan. 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 stops the air flow, so when you let go the beads WOOSH up again like a volcano- a simple but effective cause and effect interaction.

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

Email:    Tel: 01270 766660