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9 inflatable pools for adults and kids this summer

Inflatable pools can be a great way to keep cool this summer — here’s how to shop for the right one.
Two children having fun in inflatable swimming pool and Portrait of two happy girls in an inflatable swimming pool with parents
Experts say inflatable pools are easy to inflate and install, but they recommend emptying out and replacing the water daily to ensure it remains safe and clean. portishead1 / Getty Images ; Westend61 / Getty Images

There are plenty of ways to keep cool as temperatures start to rise, including flocking to the beach, hooking up some outdoor play sprinklers or investing in a good quality air conditioner. An inflatable pool (also called a kiddie pool) is a great purchase for those warmer months: It can help both kids and adults stay cool in the backyard and entertain the family for hours on end.

Inflatable pools are especially appealing because of their ease of installation — you just need an electric or battery-operated pump to inflate it, according to Greg Canfield, a pool expert at Leslie’s Pool. “They can easily be blown up, deflated and taken or moved from one spot to another,” he said.

SKIP AHEAD How to shop for an inflatable pool | How to clean an inflatable pool | Inflatable pools and child safety

Many people envision inflatable pools as the round kiddie pools from their childhood, but they’ve evolved over time — some have built-in seats and slides, while others come with their own built-in pumps and filters. Whether you choose the simple route or go for a higher-end option, we consulted experts to find out what you should consider before buying an inflatable pool and gathered some safety tips. We also compiled a few top-rated options to consider this summer.

Highly rated inflatable pools in 2022

To help you choose the right inflatable pool for you, we sifted through some highly rated options across varying price points and compiled a few inflatable pools that we think are worth considering. Each of the following options is made from puncture-resistant vinyl, measures at least 3 feet wide and can be inflated using a manual, electric or battery-powered pump.

Top inflatable pool for lounging: Intex

Intex Swim Center Family Inflatable Lounge Pool

This Intex pool features a built-in inflatable bench and backrest to enhance your lounging experience. It has 12-inch-high walls and can hold approximately 156 gallons of water, according to the brand. It also equips two cup holders on either side and comes with a repair patch to conveniently repair any punctures if necessary. When you’re done using the pool, it can easily be emptied via the drain plug. The inflatable pool has a 4.2-star average rating from over 7,800 reviews on Amazon.

Top affordable inflatable pool: Intex

Intex Crystal Blue Inflatable Pool

If you’re looking for a small inflatable pool without any of the bells and whistles, the Intex Crystal Blue Inflatable Pool is 45 inches wide when fully inflated and is designed to hold water 6.5 inches deep, according to the brand. This inflatable pool — which has a 4.2-star average rating from over 11,100 reviews on Amazon — is recommended by the brand for those 2 and older.

Top inflatable pool for adults: MINNIDIP

MINNIDIP x ALICE + OLIVIA Tufted Luxe Inflatable Pool

If you’re looking to splurge on a women-owned designer option, MINNIDIP offers several stylish inflatable pools, along with floats, pool games, umbrellas, chairs and more. This tufted pool is part of MINNIDIP’s latest collaboration with designer clothing brand Alice + Olivia — it features the brand’s “Stace Face” print and is 21 inches deep when inflated, according to the brand. The capsule collection also includes a matching round pool float with a connected cooler, a 3-foot-wide beach ball and a ring float.

Top inflatable pool for older kids: Little Tikes

Little Tikes Slam 'n Curve Inflatable Water Slide with Blower

If you’re hoping to bring the water park to your backyard, this Little Tikes option stands at 7 feet high and features an inflatable slide along with a “rock wall” to get up there. To add to the fun, it also includes an inflatable basketball hoop and ball. The inflatable pool also comes with stakes that help anchor it in place when it’s inflated. Designed for kids ages 5 to 10, the pool has a 4.7-star average rating from more than 1,700 reviews on Amazon.

Top inflatable pool for families: Intex

Intex Easy Set Inflatable Pool

This 15-foot inflatable pool from Intex is the largest on this list — it’s able to accommodate up to eight people and hold over 3,000 gallons of water, according to the brand. The set comes with a cartridge filter pump that can filter up to 1,000 gallons of water per hour, along with a ladder, ground cloth and pool cover, the brand says. The pool has a 4.2-star average rating from over 16,200 reviews on Amazon and is designed for kids ages 6 and older.

Top inflatable pool for young kids: Intex

Intex Kiddie Pool

The Intex Kiddie Pool is a classic circular option designed for kids ages 2 and older. It has 12-inch-high walls for the water to sit 7 inches high, according to the brand. This pool measures 58 inches around, which Intex says makes it small enough to easily empty and fill up throughout the day. The pool has a 4.3-star average rating from more than 11,300 reviews on Amazon.

Top covered inflatable pool: OEVES

OEVES Inflatable Swimming Pool

On those extra hot days, a little bit of shade can be necessary to stay sheltered from the sun’s strong rays. The OEVES Inflatable Swimming Pool, which is suitable for kids ages 3 and older, comes with a removable sun canopy that can be secured to the sides of the pool. At 6 feet wide, it can hold approximately 162 gallons of water, and it features a curved water valve with a vertical drain pipe that can help speed up drainage, according to the brand. It has a 4.3-star average rating from over 4,500 reviews on Amazon.

Top inflatable pool with a sprinkler: Hamdol

Hamdol Inflatable Swimming Pool with Sprinkler

The elephant-shaped sprinkler attached to the side of this inflatable pool adds an additional element of fun — you’ll simply need to attach the water hose to get it started, the brand says. The pool also features three individual air chambers on the base to prevent air leakage and water penetration, according to Hamdol. This pool has a 4.4-star average rating from over 1,100 reviews on Amazon.

Top inflatable pool with seats: Members Mark

Member’s Mark Elegant Family Pool

The Member’s Mark Elegant Family Pool measures 10 feet across and features two inflatable seats with air-cushioned backrests for supervising the kids or conversing with friends. The pool can easily be drained after use with the included drain plug and, if it ever gets nicked, it comes with a repair patch to handle holes or punctures. The pool has a 4.2-star average rating from more than 2,400 reviews on Amazon.

How to shop for an inflatable pool

Inflatable pools tend to be much more accessible and cost-effective than in-ground pools, which typically require professional installation and can cost thousands to install in an appropriate-sized location. But before giving a specific inflatable pool a go, experts recommend considering a few factors, including the size of your pool, where and how it’ll be used and what maintenance it will need.

  • Location: “It’s important to have enough flat space and firm foundation to place the inflatable pool,” Canfield said. He recommended identifying a location that’s large enough for your needs, flat enough to avoid water spillage and far enough from balconies, decks and platforms to avoid possible punctures. You’ll also want to identify potential sources of electricity for plugging in a pump to inflate the pool or a filter to clean the water, Canfield added.
  • Size. It’s important to take into account how exactly you’ll be using your inflatable pool and how many people will be enjoying it. Many brands will specifically say how many children and adults can fit in an inflatable pool.
  • Drainage: Some inflatable pools offer a convenient drain plug to clear out the water after each use, while others (typically smaller kiddie pools) will require you to dump it out yourself.
  • Durability. “If you are interested in something that lasts multiple seasons, you will want to look at the higher-end pools supported by steel poles with durable liners,” said Canfield. However, if you only plan to use the pool for a season or two, “the inflatable ring pools are a great affordable option,” he added.
  • Maintenance: For larger inflatable pools, Canfield said you should consider additional expenses to help maintain your pool, including the cost of filling up your pool with water and air, as well as the supplies needed to maintain your pool’s water’s health, including a wall-mount skimmer (more on that below).

How to clean an inflatable pool

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), germs can easily spread within plastic inflatable pools and water slides because they lack the same protection as other water-based areas like in-ground swimming pools, hot tubs or water playgrounds. “From a microbial safety perspective, fecal materials would be a major cause of contamination of the water,” said Dr. Xu Li, a professor within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Nebraska—Lincoln.

However, the CDC states it can be unsafe to add germ-killing disinfectants, like chlorine or bromine, to the water in small inflatable pools for a few reasons:

  • The amount of required disinfectant would largely vary since water can easily and quickly splash or spill out of the pool.
  • Most inflatable pools don’t have filters to remove debris, including leaves, dirt and skin cells, which can use up the disinfectant needed to kill germs.

To help prevent the spread of germs, the water in small inflatable pools should be emptied at least daily, according to the CDC. After emptying the water, you should remove any debris, rinse the pool out with fresh water and let it air dry completely.

The CDC ultimately recommends following the manufacturer’s instructions — some larger inflatable pools will require a filter and come with instructions on how to properly disinfect them. “Be sure to also clean your filter regularly, if you have one,” added Canfield. He noted that you can sometimes use a wall-mount skimmer on larger soft-sided pools since it attacks most debris at the water’s surface.

Inflatable pools and child safety

Setting up an inflatable kiddie pool for your child this summer can be a great way to keep them cool in the heat, but supervision is always the key when water and drowning risks are involved.

“Young children can drown in as little as 1 inch of water and children ages 1 to 4 are at a greater risk of a fatal drowning,” said Emily Samuel, the program director for Safe Kids Worldwide. “It’s essential that parents and caregivers watch kids when they are in or near water without being distracted” and to teach children to only go near water when an adult is with them, she added.

When there are several adults present at the pool, Samuel recommended that parents designate an adult as “Water Watcher” for a certain amount of time, like in 15-minute periods. Older children should also always swim with a partner, “so if one of them gets into trouble in the water, the other can call for help,” she said.

Inflatable pools can pose similar drowning risks to larger above-ground or in-ground pools. Samuel noted the safest option is to surround the inflatable pool with a fence that is at least 4 feet high with a self-closing and self-latching gate, which can prevent young children from accessing the pool if it’s filled with water without someone present. And you should always remove any pool steps or ladders when the pool isn’t in use.

While using the pool, you should also make sure to gather appropriate items like towels, extra clothes, water toys, sunscreen and water to stay hydrated so you don’t have to leave children unsupervised to get these items later.

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