The 10 Best Lake Tubes
This wiki has been updated 26 times since it was first published in June of 2016. If you want to enjoy the water without exerting the energy needed for swimming, try one of these lake tubes. They allow you to gently float around for relaxation, or enjoy a fast ride when attached to a speed boat. We included models in a traditional donut shape, and some others with more elaborate designs that include everything needed to keep you comfortable, from backrests to coolers. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. If you'd like to contribute your own research to the Wiki, please get started by reviewing this introductory video.
June 24, 2020:
A day on the lake should be entertaining and relaxing, but it can be neither of those if your floating accessory suddenly pops or breaks, so long-lasting materials were important to us in making our selections. Of course, features that up the fun factor were also a priority. On that note, we added the Airhead Comfort Shell Deck, which is a good pick for those wanting to be towed around at high speeds. It quickly attaches to a boat; comes in several models, the largest of which can hold four riders; and has a fabric cover that shouldn't cause rashes, so you can leave your wet suit at home. If you don't plan on getting towed, but think you may encounter some fast-moving water, you may want to consider the Bestway Rapid Rider, since it has two handles to hold onto. It is just as suitable for lazy lounging, though.
As for tubes that are particularly built for kicking back and slowing down, the Intex River Run II, with its built-in cooler, backrests, and cupholders, earned a spot on our list. We removed the Intex Pacific Paradise because, even though it also has features that enhance relaxation, its mesh center is fragile and rips too easily. Those hoping to unwind solo may like the Kelsyus Chaise Lounger, and those wanting to float with a crowd of friends might appreciate the massive World Of Watersports 13-2060 Tube A Rama, or the Intex Splash 'N Chill.
We wanted to include some simple, donut-style options too, so the Coconut Float Jumbo Pink Flamingo snagged a spot. Though the Bestway H20GO! has a classic and nostalgic design, we removed it to make space for a comparable but far more rugged and versatile option, the Tricam Swim And Snow, which is quite durable and can be used on the water or the slopes.
DBX Warp Speed 2-Person Towable Tube Made with welded seams and a 24-gauge bladder, the DBX Warp Speed 2-Person Towable Tube is ready for lots of days on the water. Its rocker profile allows it to gently roll from edge to edge, for a more thrilling ride, and its EVA padding should make for a comfortable experience. A repair kit and two pull-up straps are included. dickssportinggoods.com
Jobe Kick Flip Towable 2P The Jobe Kick Flip Towable 2P can either be towed from the back, in which case riders kneel and grab onto the handles, or from the front, allowing users to lounge and relax on its angled seat. It has a total of eight grips, each with neoprene knuckle guards, and has a durable, double-stitched 840-denier nylon cover, along with a three-year warranty. jobesports.com
Why Get A Lake Tube?
Despite lake being in their name, expandable tubes are also excellent additions to your pool, the river, and even a snow-covered slope come winter.
Heading to the lake with your friends and family in tow can be one of life’s most enjoyable pleasures. You get to escape the hustle and bustle of your hectic schedule, reconnect with nature, and spend quality time with the people you love.
Whether you’re taking the family boat out or you're joining your buddies aboard their craft, chances are you’ll want to take a dip into the water eventually. Rather than bob up and down in your life vest or tire yourself out swimming, why not recline on a comfortable inflatable lounger? Not only is floating an extremely calming activity, but it can alleviate stress and help you clear your mind. You can also work on your tan, dive into a novel, or take a relaxing nap — just don’t forget the sunscreen.
If you don’t own a boat or waterfront property, all the more reason to nab yourself a lake tube. Once you’ve set up camp on the shore, you’ll be free to go float solo or tie your tubes together, so you can hit the water with your group and mingle with the masses. Certain tubes are capable of accommodating multiple adults at the same time, with some even offering coolers, tables, and ultra-comfortable seating arrangements.
Despite lake being in their name, expandable tubes are also excellent additions to your pool, the river, and even a snow-covered slope come winter. They’re relatively easy to transport and store, as well, so you can cart them around to various destinations year round.
Choosing The Right Tube For You
Lake tubes may not be the most technical of devices, but they do offer a slew of features that are worth considering before you purchase one. For instance, if you’re in the market for a no-frills flotation device, look for a classic donut. They’re rugged, uncomplicated, and are suitable for everything from river and ocean visits to sledding down snowy hills. Be sure to choose a UV- and tear-resistant model that's constructed from durable, commercial-grade rubber. And if you’ve ever been scraped by a protruding valve stem, then you'll appreciate an item outfitted with a rubber-coated safety option, so you can prevent unnecessary injury.
A mesh bottom layer is helpful for keeping you cool and supported, while integrated head and backrests will have you relaxing in complete comfort.
If you’re searching for something similarly straightforward, but crave a flashier look, there are plenty of inner tubes available in cheeky designs. You can recline on everything from an oversized flamingo or unicorn to a sprinkled donut — just bear in mind that many of these selections aren’t intended for harsh conditions.
Sun-worshippers that love luxurious lounging and desire a few upgrades needn't worry, as there are plenty of models out there that fit the bill. If you’re not one to be caught without a beverage in hand, then a tube with built-in cup holders will be perfect for you. A mesh bottom layer is helpful for keeping you cool and supported, while integrated head and backrests will have you relaxing in complete comfort.
Big families and groups of friends who’d prefer to stay together will appreciate larger designs that can accommodate a handful of adults at once. These models boast numerous recessed drink holders, built-in coolers, and flat surfaces for gameplay. Naturally, these selections tend to be robust in order to support the additional weight, and it’s advisable to obtain an anchor bag to moor your float in case waters get a little rough.
Then, there are a couple of general specifications you might want your item to have. If you’re worried about your tube deflating, invest in one that has multiple air chambers. You may also want to get a product that’s lighter in color, as black has the tendency to absorb sunlight and convert it into heat, resulting in a tube that can become uncomfortably warm to the touch.
Tips For Staying Safe Near The Water
When you hit the lake or river for a relaxing day or a long weekend, the last thing you want is for someone to get hurt. By taking a few simple steps and exercising a hefty dose of common sense, you can ensure that the whole gang stays safe all summer long.
First and foremost, see to it that the children in your group wear a life jacket at all times. Even if your little one is a Michael Phelps in the making, it's better to be safe than sorry. If you'll be boating, then it's proper form for everyone in your party to don a safety vest, so make sure you have one ready for each person.
Pack plenty of hats, extra layers of clothing, and ample sunscreen to keep everyone protected from the sun.
You'll need to supervise your kids constantly, whether they're in or around the water. Before heading out, discuss the importance of taking safety precautions and the behavior that you expect from them. Have them brainstorm ideas about how to stay safe, and warn them against excessive horseplay and dunking each other. Try to strike a tone that's not too grave or humorless — you don't want the conversation to scare them out of having any fun.
No matter your age, it's always best to swim with a buddy or have someone nearby to keep their eyes on you. Even if you're not planning on going in the water, it's still smart to avoid complete solitude, as an accidental tumble is something no one can predict. It's helpful to prepare for the worst by ensuring that someone in your crew knows how to properly administer CPR, as well.
Avoid hitting the water on days where winds are high, as they can create dangerous waves. Check the weather forecast beforehand, and if it looks like a thunderstorm may be brewing, reschedule your trip for another time.
Pack plenty of hats, extra layers of clothing, and ample sunscreen to keep everyone protected from the sun. Water and snacks are instrumental for maintaining your energy levels and hydration, and of course, never overindulge in alcoholic beverages. Alcohol impairs balance, coordination, and judgment, not to mention it makes it harder for your body to produce warmth.