What Type of White Cane Tip is Right for You?

I recently decided to update my cane tip collection and was surprised at how difficult it was to get a full list of available cane tips. I thus set out to make my own. While I can’t guarantee every tip is in this list, it is pretty extensive, and you should be able to find what you’re looking for here. I’ve added descriptions of all the tips. For reference, I have the jumbo roller, pencil, and metal glide tips. I’m also planning on getting a ball tip very soon. I personally use a folding aluminum cane from Ambutech that uses a hook to attach tips, and most of these tips would work with such a cane, although I have not found the Bundu Basher on Ambutech. I’ve also used a fiberglass straight cane, but not extensively because it’s difficult to store. If you are looking for a tip to go with a telescoping cane, I would recommend only looking at the pencil, ceramic, and metal glide tips.  Even the marshmallow is too heavy for a telescopic cane and may break it. Unless otherwise noted, the tips I’m describing are made out of nylon. Tips generally range from $4 to $15, depending on the materials and complexity of the tip. Here’s a quiz I created to help you find which cane tip might be the best one for you. At the end of this article I’ve also posted helpful links.

Marshmallow

This tip is not named after the fluffy treat because It’s squishy (It’s solid nylon), but because It’s shaped like a marshmallow. This is a popular tip for its slightly bulky size but remarkably light weight. It gives a good audio feedback. This tip is best suited for a developed area with smooth or moderately cracked sidewalks and  a two-point touch use.


Marshmallow Roller

Very similar to the marshmallow tip, the marshmallow roller has the same shape and size but also rolls from side to side. This is one of the most popular constant contact tips. It doesn’t do very well with large cracks or rough outdoor terrain, but it is a great everyday urban or suburban tip.


Pencil

The pencil tip is another common tip. This tip is designed for two-point touch use. Again, it is most suitable for urban or suburban environments. It reportedly provides good audio feedback as well. This tip’s biggest strength is its weight, and, if you prefer a small tip, its size. In my experience, It’s the best two point touch cane for flat, smooth areas.


Ball

The ball tip is one of the larger tips. This is a good choice for outdoor travel as it can handle rough terrain pretty well. If you live in a developed area with heavily cracked sidewalks, this may be an optimal choice for you as well. The standard size is 2 inches in diameter, but larger sizes exist for campers and hikers. The ball rolls from side to side. The standard model  is made of nylon, but it is possible to purchase a more durable version for a higher price. This model’s lower half is made of high molecular weight material. For a full review of this tip, I recommend this video by William Elliott.


Jumbo Roller

The jumbo roller is a relatively large disk-shaped tip that is attached in the middle at a 90 degree angle to the rest of the cane. The tip itself is fixed in place relative to the cane, but it rolls from side to side, allowing for a smooth sweeping constant contact. This cane does well in most urban settings and can handle some outdoor terrain but is not well designed for it. This is my personal everyday cane. It gives some auditory feedback but provides a lot of tactile details. It does, however, get stuck in large cracks and is pretty loud when rolling over bumpy surfaces. I recommend to anyone looking for a daily, reliable cane in an urban or suburban. Here is a video I created in which I review this tip.


Metal Glide

The metal glide is a small, typically circle-shaped tip that is fixed in place at the end of the cane. It allows for some constant contact use, but is best for two-point touch. This tip is very light and compared to the pencil tip gets stuck in cracks less. It has a very smooth texture, and when using constant contact this feeling is actually quite pleasant on the ground. It is made of stainless steel and is generally 1 inch/2.5 centimeters in diameter. I have used this tip before, and I liked it for walking on a sidewalk. However, I prefer constant contact so I haven’t used this tip intensively.


Ceramic

Similar to the metal glide, the ceramic is bell-shaped and small.  Of all the cane tips, this is known for having the best audio and tactile feedback. It works for both 2 point touch and constant contact techniques. It is .9 inches/2.2 centimeters in diameter.

 

Flex Tip

This tip is specially designed for rough outdoor use with two-point touch. It has a bell shape and is made with ultra-high molecular weight material for durability. As the name suggests, the part of the tip that connects to the cane is flexible to help it bounce along bumpy surfaces.

 

Dakota Disk

The Dakota Disk is a newer tip developed by Ambutech. It’s shaped like a flying saucer, joined to the rest of the cane by a joint in the middle. This joint is like a ball joint, allowing the disk to stay parallel with the ground even on hills and rough terrain. This forest or park setting is actually what the Dakota Disk was designed for. It’s relatively big but still light. It’s best for contact contact use. This video gives a great description and demonstration of how it works.


Rover Free Wheeling

This is a soft rubber wheel that rolls forwards and backwards. It is designed for rough terrain and constant contact. Of all the tips I’ve looked at it, this seems the most heavy duty, hardcore outdoor tip, rivaling only larger versions of the ball. It is 3 inches/7.6 centimeters in diameter.


Bundu Basher

The Bundu Basher is another unique tip specifically designed for rural and outdoor use. It does not easily get stuck in bushes or other brush. It is shaped a little bit like a u with both sides bent outwards at 120 degree angles from the bottom middle part and attached to the cane on one end of the u.


For some additional resources to help with your shopping check out:

A website with some great information: http://www.visionaware.org/info/everyday-living/essential-skills/an-introduction-to-orientation-and-mobility-skills/what-type-of-cane-should-i-use/1235

Ambutech s list of cane tips: https://ambutech.com/shop-online/cane-tips/


Contact me at easiervision@gmail.com

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One thought on “ What Type of White Cane Tip is Right for You?”

  1. Thank you so much for compiling this list! I didn’t know there were tips specifically designed now a days for rougher out door don’t get stuck in the brush cane walking. That’s great to know!

    Liked by 1 person

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