Curtains’ Tracks & Poles Buying Guide

poles and tracks

Tracks and poles are essential parts of your curtains’ installation process. They are both used for hanging your curtains, however, they have a few differences that make one type preferable depending on the look you want. Read on to learn about these differences and find out which type is best suited to your home.

1- Appearance

Curtain poles are made from metal or wood. They are usually visible and add to the room décor thanks to their attractive finials. They are available in a wide range of designs to complement the interior look of every home.

Tracks, on the other hand, are made from plastic or metal. They can be completely hidden behind closed curtains. As they are not normally visible, they are available in a smaller range of designs and materials.

2- Compatibility

Poles can be used with most curtain styles, including pencil pleat and eyelet curtains. Pencil pleat curtains can be hung on poles with curtain rings, whereas eyelet and tab tops curtains can be hung directly on the pole.

poles with rings

Tracks can only be used with curtains that have heading tapes, such as pencil pleat curtains. They are hung by simply attaching curtain hooks to the gliders. If you have eyelet curtains or tab top curtains you’ll need to use poles instead of tracks.

If you are wondering what’s the difference between eyelet and pencil pleat curtains, this article will help “Pencil Pleat or Eyelet Curtains?”


3- Types

Curtains tracks can be made with or without a cord. The cord system is used to open and close the curtains rather than doing that manually by hands, which helps to protect curtains’ fabric, tracks and the gliders. It’s also an ideal solution for large and extra tall windows or windows on stairways.

Tracks are also available in extra-long sizes and extendable options to fit the exact size of the windows. Extendable tracks are ideal for students or renting families as the tracks can be taken down and fitted to other windows when needed.

You can also get double curtain tracks or tracks with valance rails that allow you to hang two different types of curtains in front of each other and create a unique style. For example, you can hang a thick blackout curtain in the front and a light weight voile underneath it.


Curtain poles are available in many options to suit different needs, they can either be a fixed length or extendable poles. The same is true for tracks, fixed length poles can be cut down if needed using a saw or extended by joining two poles together, which a professional joiner can do, whereas extendable poles are much easier to extend and retract to suit the exact size of your window, making them a practical choice for renting families and helping them to make some long-term savings.

Curtain poles can come with or without curtain rings. It depends on which type of curtains you’re planning to get. Curtain rings can also be bought separately in case you decided to get pencil pleat curtains in the future.

Unlike tracks, poles can also be made from wood. Wood poles are not available in extendable options but they can still be cut down and extended in the traditional way, i.e. using a saw and a joiner. Wood poles come with matching wooden curtain rings but if you are planning to hang eyelet curtains, you can look for wood poles that are designed for eyelet curtains to avoid paying extra fees for curtain rings that you won’t use.

Eyelet curtains

Tracks Vs Poles – which is better?

Poles can be used with a wider range of curtain types and are available in many colours and different materials. They are usually visible in the room and are often treated as a decorative piece that complement the final look of your window dressings and add an elegant and contemporary touch to your interior décor. Their attractive finials are available in a wide range of designs and materials allowing you to choose what best matches your room and personality.

Curtain tracks, on the other hand, are completely hidden behind closed curtains making their design purely functional. However, they are more flexible than poles; they can be easily fitted on difficult windows such as bay windows and dormer windows with limited space to manoeuvre.

Finally, the choice depends on your own preferences. If you like the seamless look of curtains where the main focus is on their design, then curtains tracks are for you. If you like to make an impact and add a contemporary element to your décor, then go with curtain poles!

If you still have questions, contact our support team and they’ll be able to show you more examples and designs of poles and tracks and help you find the right one for you: 01226 307367

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