The 8 Best Inflatable Pools

Updated May 18, 2018 by Melissa Harr

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We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. No matter what you call them — inflatable pools, blow-up pools, or kiddie pools — these backyard bathers can keep both you and your children cool and comfortable in the sweltering summer heat. You’ll find some on this list with all kinds of features, from lights to sprayers to games, but they all do at least one thing: give you a stress-free splash zone that’ll be the envy of the neighborhood. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best inflatable pool on Amazon.

8. H2OGO! Color Wave

Looking for something a little unusual? Check out the H2OGO! Color Wave. It’s got color-changing lights built right into the walls, which are extra-wide with an I-beam construction. The drain valve makes it a breeze to tear down when you’re finished, too.
  • seven different light colors
  • great for nighttime parties
  • required batteries not included
Brand Bestway
Model 54135E
Weight 9.5 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. Intex Rainbow Ring Inflatable Play Center

The Intex Rainbow Ring Inflatable Play Center creates a miniature hydro park perfect for kids trying to beat the summer heat and be entertained at the same time. It’s got ring toss, ball roller, and ball toss games and even includes six plastic play balls.
  • features water sprayer
  • built-in drain for easy cleanup
  • not durable enough for the price
Brand Intex
Model 57453EP
Weight 16.3 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

6. Jilong Pentagon Family

Sure, the Jilong Pentagon Family will work for entertaining children, but it’s just as useful as a cooling off spot for adults, especially since it doesn’t have any loud colors or cutesy decorations. When filled to 75 percent capacity, it’ll hold a total of 118 gallons.
  • sturdy vinyl construction
  • two separate air chambers
  • seems smaller than the pictures
Brand Jilong
Model 17222
Weight 6.9 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

5. Fisher-Price 3-Ring

Whether you need a playtime pool or ball pit for the kids, you might give the Fisher-Price 3-Ring a look. It comes with 25 plastic balls as well as a bottom that’s covered with cheery animal characters — just the thing for holding a toddler's attention.
  • for outdoor or indoor use
  • vivid primary colors
  • bottom doesn't inflate
Brand Fisher-Price
Model pending
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. Alcott Inflatable for Dogs

You won’t have to leave your four-legged friends out of the fun this summer if you have the Alcott Inflatable for Dogs. It’s crafted from thick PVC, and it features dips all around the outside that enable even shorter canines to step in.
  • folds up for portability
  • good for preventing overheating
  • avoid exposing it to sharp teeth
Brand Alcott
Weight 4 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

3. Intex Sandy Shark Spray Pool

Chomp into amusement with the Intex Sandy Shark Spray Pool, which has a playful shape and a sprinkler in the shark’s tail fin. This sprayer attaches to a standard garden hose and is great for keeping you cool while sunbathing, too.
  • comes with repair patch
  • made from tough vinyl
  • reasonably priced
Brand Intex
Model 57433EP
Weight 5.6 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

2. Intex Sunset Glow

An inexpensive, no-frills choice, the Intex Sunset Glow does just what you’d expect: hold enough water to keep your little one splashing happily. You’ll be able to carry it to the beach in a backpack and inflate it without a pump, if need be.
  • holds up to 22 gallons
  • could be used for ice and drinks
  • simple yet fun styling
Model 58924NP
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Intex Lazy Fish Shade

The Intex Lazy Fish Shade not only lets little ones explore the water, but it also shields them from the sun so they’re protected while doing so. A handy mesh screen has been added to the wall, which keeps the inside from becoming too muggy.
  • best for ages 1 to 3
  • soft inflatable floor for comfort
  • works well as a beach shelter too
Brand Intex
Model 57109EP
Weight 4 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

Why Go With an Inflatable Pool (Instead of a Plastic One)?

You won't find much difference between an inflatable pool and a plastic one, at least in terms of average size. Manufacturers may add certain accessories, along with minor bells and whistles, but you've got to go a bit deeper to understand why an inflatable pool might be a better buy.

For starters, an inflatable pool is collapsible. This means that during the off-season - or in preparation for any backyard parties - you can deflate the pool and put it out of harm's way. Plastic pools, on the other hand, are not only bulky, but leaving them out during the winter will likely result in some minor surface cracks, as well as paint damage and significant warping.

Plastic-pool advocates will argue that these models are slightly less expensive than their inflatable counterparts. They will also point out that a plastic pool requires zero assembly, which, while true, will only benefit you short-term. A plastic pool's price, in particular, is indicative of its value. Plastic pools are fragile, and they have a tendency to get damaged during shipping.

The edges of a plastic pool run sharp and narrow, which means that children may be more prone to injury. The walls of an inflatable pool, by way of comparison, are designed to feel soft like a cushion for the head.

As a precaution, be sure to anchor an inflatable pool if you happen to drain it (even temporarily). Inflatable pools are lightweight, and a major gust could send one rolling into a jagged object, resulting in a leak. Better to tie the pool to something, as opposed to placing a weight down in its center. Placing any major weight across a rubber lining could - and probably will - result in a tear.

Several Little-Known Uses For an Inflatable Pool

An inflatable pool would be a lot more valuable if you could use it year-round. And the reality is that you can. During the winter months you can fill any inflatable pool with plastic balls to create a playpen for your children. You can also place a baby's feeding chair on top of the pool's inner-lining so there's little risk of getting any stains along your carpet or floor.

Got a hula hoop? If so, you can fill an inflatable pool up with some bubble solution, and then dip the hoop in to create giant bubbles in the backyard. You can mix clean water with some dish soap to rinse off any outdoor toys. Either that or add some shampoo, and then use the pool to bathe your dog.

If you're a runner or you suffer from foot pain, you can use an inflatable pool for soaking in hot or cold water. If you have athlete's foot, just add the appropriate powder (the same goes for alleviating calluses or corns).

An inflatable pool is great for holidays. Assuming you can find a makeshift arch, then you can transform the inflatable pool into a massive Easter basket. If you have a Halloween party, then you can use the pool to bob for apples. If you have a 4th of July party, then you can fill the pool with ice and use it as a beer cooler. If you have a Christmas party, then you can create a Dickens Village by draping a white curtain around the pool and filling the inside with layers of cotton to create the illusion of snow.

A Brief History of the Inflatable Pool

Inflatables - that is to say, hollow, lightweight objects that can be filled with gas (most commonly air) - have been in existence since the 1800s. Their popularity can be traced back to the rubber balloon, which was invented by a British Chemist named Michael Faraday in 1824.

By 1900, industry professionals had improved the science surrounding inflatables. Outer linings were built stronger, very often reinforced. More durable materials opened the door for inflatable rafts and boats, along with inflatable tires, and, of course, inflatable pools.

Pools have been around since the third millennium B.C., at which point they were referred to as baths. The Ancient Romans constructed very elaborate indoor pools. And they were the first to use pools for recreation and exercise. A Roman aristocrat named Gaius Maecenas designed the first-ever heated pool during the first century B.C.

The idea of outdoor swimming became popular in England during the 19th century. Throughout the 1850s, the British began constructing public outdoor pools as a safer alternative to swimming in rivers and streams. The cleanliness and convenience led to private swimming pools being built inside the backyards of estates.

The inflatable pool became a staple in America during the 1950s. The target demographic was middle-class families who wanted an affordable cooling option for their infants and young kids. From the outset, inflatable pools have either been made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or reinforced rubber. These pools remain marketable because they are safe, lightweight, compact, and inexpensive to produce.

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Last updated on May 18, 2018 by Melissa Harr

Melissa is a writer, editor, and EFL educator from the U.S. She's worked in the field since earning her B.A. in 2012, during which time she's judged fiction contests, taught English in Asia, and authored e-courses about arts and crafts. In her free time, she likes to make stuff out of sticks and string.

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