10 Best Floating Tubes | May 2017

10 Best Floating Tubes
Best Mid-Range
★★★★
Best High-End
★★★
Best Inexpensive
★★★
We spent 39 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. River runs, lake lounging, and pool parties are all so much more fun with the right floats for letting your kids (or your inner kid) run wild without worrying about sinking into the water. Whether summer's right around the corner or you're just daydreaming about braving rapids in the sun, it's never the wrong time to invest in a floating tube. Skip to the best floating tube on Amazon.
10
Stay cool on your next family fun day with the World of Watersports 13-2060. The design allows up to eight people's legs to dangle into its mesh center while their bodies rest comfortably in the molded rings around its perimeter.
  • massive 12-foot diameter
  • 2 built-in coolers and 8 cupholders
  • not especially durable
Brand WOW Sports
Model 13-2060
Weight 43.7 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0
9
The classic Tar Tube in a Box has got you covered for years of fun on the snow or water, and is made of 100% commercial grade rubber with UV protection that can withstand the harsh sun. Plus, it features a low-profile air valve that won't poke you.
  • available in four sizes
  • sturdier than vinyl and pvc
  • no handles to grab onto
Brand TAR
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
8
Beat the heat and enjoy those hot summer days with the Airhead Tremor. Its wraparound horseshoe design makes it easy to share with up to four people, and it features eight foam handles and soft kneepads to keep you secure and comfortable even in rough rapids.
  • durable nylon-wrapped vinyl bladder
  • can be towed by a speedboat
  • needs frequent reinflation
Brand Airhead
Model AHTM-4
Weight 47.2 pounds
Rating 3.5 / 5.0
7
If you're looking to throw a party on the water, the SportsStuff Fiesta Island will comfortably hold up to eight friends with contoured back- and arm-rests and personal built-in cupholders. It also includes a detachable 16-quart inflatable cooler.
  • central air chamber adds support
  • durable pvc anchor bag
  • tends to spring a leak quite easily
Brand SportsStuff
Model 54-2010
Weight 75 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0
6
The roomy one-person Intex River Run is a popular choice for lake and river rafting. It boasts two heavy-duty handles, can be quickly blown up manually without an air pump, and deflates within seconds thanks to its screw-out quick-release valve.
  • includes a patch repair kit
  • stays cool to the touch in the sun
  • mesh bottom rips out easily
Brand INTEX
Model 58825EP
Weight 5.5 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0
5
Ideal for fishing, the Classic Accessories Cumberland sports a hydrodynamic hull shape that improves tracking and steering. It offers an extra-high seat for better visibility, which also helps keep you dry, should you prefer to stay on the water rather than in it.
  • integrated fish ruler
  • five built-in storage pockets
  • soft cupholders aren't very secure
Brand Classic Accessories
Model 32-001-011101-00
Weight 19.3 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
4
You won't be disappointed if you take the 44" Tube Pro on your next vacation. It's constructed with an extra heavy duty 30-gauge PVC vinyl that will stand up to continual use, and its dual-chambered design makes it quick and easy to blow up or deflate.
  • backrest with adjustable firmness
  • good for all people ages 10 and up
  • 2 large handles
Brand Tube Pro
Model pending
Weight 6.5 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0
3
The top-of-the-line Caddis Sports Premier Plus will last for years with a heavy-duty ripstop cover and a reinforced tarpaulin bottom that resists wear and tear. It is loaded with plenty of storage pockets, plus a rear cargo area for extra gear.
  • comfortable foam seat and backrest
  • critical seams are double stitched
  • great for casual fishing expeditions
Brand Caddis Sports
Model PREM/PLUS
Weight 16.9 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0
2
With woven mesh seating and built-in heavy duty handles, the Bestway Rapid Rider 2-Pack will keep you and a friend supported and relaxed on your next trip to the pool or river. The all-around grab rope makes them easy to attach to one another.
  • roomy seats are good for tall riders
  • large valves for easy inflation
  • good price for a pair
Brand Bestway
Model 43116E
Weight 5.2 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0
1
While its camouflage pattern might appear better suited to land-based activities, the Bestway Realtree Max-5 is a sturdy and reliable companion on the water. It features a mesh bottom to keep you cool and supported, a headrest and two grab handles.
  • oversized for comfort
  • pre-tested for durability
  • grab rope makes it easy to get into
Brand Bestway
Model 92104E
Weight 5.4 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

How Do I Choose the Correct Floating Tube For Me?

The first thing any person needs to consider before purchasing an inflatable tube is what exactly they plan on using that tube for. If you plan on using a floating tube in your swimming pool, for example, then you'll want that tube to accommodate the weight of at least one person, perhaps more. In addition, you'll want a tube that'll fit accordingly given the approximate dimensions of your pool.

If you plan on tubing from a speedboat, or sledding down a hill, then you'll want a tube that's aerodynamic and lightweight (no more than 10 lbs). The greater the chance that a tube could come into contact with any sharp or abrasive objects, especially at a high speed, the more you'll want that tube to feature a durable, reinforced polyvinyl liner. Boating tubes should also feature some type of plastic handle for attaching to a line. Read each tube's description to ensure the liner won't tear in the event that a plastic handle is jerked suddenly by a boat.

If you need to transport a floating tube via a car or a boat, make sure that tube can be inflated - and deflated - fairly easily. If you plan on drinking while in a tube, make sure that tube comes with cup holders. If you plan on keeping your phone with you in a tube, make sure that tube has waterproof compartments. If you plan on taking a floating tube to the beach, it may be worth considering a tube that you can recline on in the sand.

How to Protect Your Floating Tube From Punctures (& Other Damage)

If there's one thing you want to protect a floating tube against, it's a puncture. Yes, there are repair kits that might allow you to patch a minor hole in a pinch, but by and large, any puncture could mean the demise of your tube. So how do you defend against that? For starters, be sure not to over-inflate any floating tube. Fill the tube until there aren't any wrinkles or dead spots. Otherwise, use an air pump's pressure to gauge when the floating tube is full.

If you're buying a floating tube to use in a pool, be sure to place foam bumpers around that pool at any jagged edges. By its nature, a floating tube is prone to drift or bang from side to side. Any above-ground pool with a metal railing, a metal ladder, or exposed nails could cause a problem. In addition, be sure to store any floating tube in a shaded area. Prolonged exposure to the sun causes polyvinyl to expand, and this could break an inner-tube's seams or bladder over time.

If you plan on sledding with a floating tube, it's better to sit inside the tube than to lie on top of it. Winter jackets are designed with several hooks and zippers, any one of which could stab right through a floating tube, assuming a person is jumping onto it. In addition, do your best to avoid sledding hills that might be lined with sticks, or protruding stones. If you're tubing on a river, avoid sitting on a tube until the water level reaches your waist. Otherwise, that tube might scrape against the bottom.

Be sure to hose or wipe a floating tube down after using it. Sometimes shards of glass or sharp debris can wedge themselves into the vinyl. The deeper those shards wedge, the greater the possibility that a minor leak will eventually occur.

A Brief History of The Floating Tube

At its core, a floating tube is really nothing more than a reinforced air mattress. Air mattresses have been in existence since the 1890s, at which point they were introduced as an alternative to hair- and fur-filled mattresses on steam ships. Air mattresses were inflatable, which provided these ships with a lot more storage space. These mattresses could also be used as life rafts in the event that a ship was going down.

Inflatables were largely born as an outgrowth of the rubber balloon, which had been invented by a British chemist named Michael Farraday in 1824. The popularity of balloons almost immediately led to further experimentation, along with the idea that a large-scale inflatable could be manufactured out of reinforced latex, or some equally dense polymer of rubber.

The proliferation of the automobile eventually led to Americans re-purposing a tire's inner-tubes for use on rivers, in pools, and during sledding. After World War II, manufacturers began to sell brightly-colored inflatables that were made out of dual layers of plastic. Generally speaking, manufacturers referred to these inflatables as life savers, or simply "floating tubes."

As of the 1980s, almost all floating tubes were being designed out of some combination of reinforced plastic, specifically polyvinyl chloride. What's more, increased competition led to entire inflatable islands equipped with waterproof compartments and the capacity to seat three or more. Today, floating tubes continue to be tremendously popular, perhaps because they are inexpensive, and they can be used year-round, regardless of an intense heat wave or a winter storm.



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Last updated on May 04, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.


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