The 10 Best Inflatable Pools

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This wiki has been updated 34 times since it was first published in July of 2015. Inflatable pools are a convenient and affordable way to enjoy some fun in the sun, whether you’re looking for a kiddie model or one the whole family can use. They don’t take up much room in your yard, are easy to blow up, and don't require a lot of storage space when the weather cools. For safety’s sake, never leave a small child unattended while using one of these, even for a moment. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Intex Easy Set

2. Intex Lazy Shade

3. Sable Rectangular

Editor's Notes

May 20, 2020:

Whether you’re looking for a baby pool or one that can accommodate the whole family, our list has plenty of options for you. For a pool that’s well suited for the entire household, and is available in a range of sizes, we added in the Intex Easy Set and placed it in the number one spot. It’s made by a well-known name in backyard pools, and comes as a complete kit with a filter pump and corresponding cartridge, a slip-resistant steel frame ladder, a ground cloth, a debris cover, and a ground fault circuit interrupter for safety. All that needs to be inflated is the ring that’s attached to the top. Once you have that done, position that ring in the middle and start filling the pool with water. A thorough setup takes quite some time, but when done correctly and on flat ground, your pool should be ready for use for the long haul. Included is a helpful instructional DVD, and plenty of instructional videos are available on YouTube for Easy Set pools.

Today we also added a couple of smaller options that are still suitable for the entire family. The Sable Rectangular can accommodate up to two adults and four kids at a time, and its phthalate construction is lead-free, and advertised to be 50% thicker than many other pools on the market. If you’ve got an electric pump, it can be inflated in just a few minutes, and can be drained quickly as well via the two water valves. We also inserted the Intex Family Lounge into the selection, which comes with four comfortable seats with backrests, so adults can relax as they watch the kids play.

Since the Intex Rainbow Ring Play Center contains some small parts that aren't kid friendly, it was replaced with a similar enough model, the Intex Dinosaur Play Center. Its exciting prehistoric theme incorporates a volcano slide and a hungry dinosaur ball game. For another fun model for kids, look to the Sable Backyard. Just plug in the hose and it’ll send a spray into the pool via a series of holes. Another kiddie model is the Intex Lazy Shade, which features a cheery yellow design with a snail theme. It’s equipped with a canopy to keep kids cool and out of the Sun’s rays. It replaces the similar fish model, which is unavailable at this time.

With any pool that stays filled with water after you’re done using it, for safety’s sake, you should make sure the pool can’t be used by anyone who might enter your yard without your knowledge. A high fence around your yard can keep outsiders from using the pool when you’re not around, and this is actually required by some municipalities. No matter what size pool you have, never leave small children unattended, even for a moment, as drowning is a constant risk.

Special Honors

Lilly Pulitzer Fancy Flamingo Pool With a bright printed pattern on the inside and a fun solid pink on the outside, this vibrant pool will make kids want to splash it out every day. It’s made from durable PVC that’s BPA-, phthalate-, and lead-free. It’s good for kids aged three and up, comes with a handy repair patch, and requires the use of an electric or foot pump to inflate, which is sold separately.

Disney Toy Story 4 Play Center Packed with games and other fun features, this inflatable pool is sure to be a hit with any youngsters who are fans of Buzz, Woody, and the rest of the gang. Included are five balls, three alien disks, and three rings that they can toss through the baskets, into the rocket, and on the carnival pillars. They can also take a ride down the slide as refreshing water is sprayed by the sprinkler. The pool's drain valve makes it easy to deflate when the fun is done. It’s just as easy to fold up compactly for storage.

4. Intex Sunset Glow

5. Sable Backyard

6. Intex Dinosaur Play Center

7. Alcott Inflatable for Dogs

8. Jilong Pentagon Family

9. Fisher-Price 3-Ring

This item has been flagged for editorial review and is not available.

10. Intex Family Lounge

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

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.

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.

During the winter months you can fill any inflatable pool with plastic balls to create a playpen for your children.

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.

The target demographic was middle-class families who wanted an affordable cooling option for their infants and young kids.

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.

Karen Bennett
Last updated by Karen Bennett

Karen Bennett lives in Chicago with her family, and when she’s not writing, she can usually be found practicing yoga or cheering on her kids at soccer games. She holds a master’s degree in journalism and a bachelor’s in English, and her writing has been published in various local newspapers, as well as “The Cheat Sheet,” “Illinois Legal Times,” and “USA Today.” She has also written search engine news page headlines and worked as a product manager for a digital marketing company. Her expertise is in literature, nonfiction, textbooks, home products, kids' games and toys, hardware, teaching accessories, and art materials.

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