I used PEX to make a pair of minis and I don't really use them because they're too heavy. They hurt my hands after a while. It's best to use something lighter for minis. My friend bought two of those water hoops from Target and let the water out. They're actually a nice weight for minis :)
I also think PEX is too heavy, the walls also seem kind of thick too, but I don't know very much about it. I'd stick with HDPE or Polypro :)
I LOVE my PEX minis! I used the smaller, 1/2" white PEX tubing. I had the exact opposite experience, it's gentler on my hands than the 1/2" black polyethylene tubing. They're light and fast, close to polypro, but more springy. I like the springy effect. They seem to bounce off when I hit myself and not hurt so much. I also use PEX for my regular hoop, which doesn't maintain the shape as well as the minis, but it's gentle on my knees. I'm sure it depends on the supplier but in my case PEX was the cheapest and not having to use heat to connect the ends means I can make hoops twice as fast. I say go for it! I've noticed that playing with different sizes and types of tubing just opens up the possibilities.
i love pex! i dont think they are any heavier than polypro... its cheap, too! you can just use dowel rods for connectors and i bet you dont spend more than 5 or 6dollars.. just get the1/2 inch!
I agree with Julie. I have pex minis and the material is so dense/heavy that they really start to hurt the backs of my hands quickly. I'm going to make some new ones with polyethylene in 1/2" 125psi. I have used 3/4" pex to make regular hoops though and quite like it.
Quick answer: I personally wouldn't recommend PEX for minis, unless it specifically says on the tubing that it is 125 PSI or less (at 73 degrees F - PEX often has ratings at different temperatures printed on it, but 73 degrees is the standard by which the black tubing is rated). For minis I would go with 125 or 100 PSI HDPE or PolyPro.
The long answer, in case you're curious: The thing about PEX is that there are several different types. The PEX in hardware stores (at least near us) reminds me of the white HDPE from McMaster-Carr. It's fairly stiff, springy, lighter than regular black HDPE, and slippery. However, there are some other types of PEX online that have different properties. There is a type called PEX-A that is heavy-ish, but the plastic composition makes it naturally grippy even without sanding. And just like HDPE, it comes in different thicknesses and weights, so you CAN get lightweight PEX, but in general I think the stuff offered in the hardware store is a bit heavy for minis. What you should do is pick up the coil of PEX and compare it to a same-length coil of the type of HDPE you are used to. If it's lighter, it might work. If it's the same, I would keep looking. I find that PEX is great for intermediate hoops - not quite ready to go to 125/100 PSI or PolyPro, but wanting to do more (arm moves, vertical hooping, etc) than the 3/4", 160 PSI HDPE will allow.