Pool floats are an essential part of the swimming experience: they let you lay back and soak up your surroundings. They’re especially worthwhile for kids who are still too young to venture out past the shallow side. So, if you’re in the market for a new float for every type of pool bum, then here are a few options that we think you ought to check out.
Buying Guide for Pool Floats
Why buy a pool float?
Pool floats offer a range of benefits, including relaxation, fun, safety, style, and potentially even exercise. Whether you want to lounge around, soak up the sun, or simply float on the water’s surface, a pool float provides you with a comfortable spot to do just that. They come in various shapes, sizes, and designs, ranging from simple loungers to those with more elaborate inflatable structures, such as slides. Pool floats can add an element of playfulness to your pool time and provide hours of enjoyment for both children and adults; some are designed to resemble objects or creatures, such as unicorns, flamingos, or donuts, which add a decorative element for pool parties and/or a touch of whimsy for kids to enjoy. And since most pool floats are inflatable and lightweight, they’re convenient to transport to different locations, such as the beach, community pool, or a friend’s pool. They have more practical applications as well, namely providing toddlers and young kids with a fun floatation device to enjoy the pool in (with proper adult supervision, of course), even if they can’t swim.
What should you look for in a pool float?
- Floating Style: The biggest question concerning your pool float is what style best fits you or the person you have in mind. Are you seeking something that’s plump through and through to keep you bone-dry for the entirety of your drift, or are you the type of person who enjoys the best of both worlds: the cool sensation of being submerged while floating on by without any effort from your limbs? There’s a pool float for both of those styles and everything in between.
- Safety Construction: What purchasing a pool float can boil down to is age-appropriateness and how safe the system is for specific user demographics. Naturally, every pool float you come across will have a high degree of buoyancy that makes it easy to move with or push out of the way for other pool users. However, you should also invest in a pool float that’s up to the task of floating into the deeper side of the water because the last thing you want is an inexperienced swimmer to be stuck in the deep end with a quickly deflating raft. Floats designed from nontoxic materials that won’t react improperly to the chemicals in your pool or the heat from the sun are also a top priority.
- Comfort: Every pool float knows how to get the job done, but will it do as comfortably as you need? Will your next float feature a headrest or footrest? Will it utilize a soft mesh or fabric surface that makes it easier to climb aboard? And if this is a float for children, what else can it offer in the way of fun or protection from the sun? Weigh your options to find the right balance between personal preferences and must-have comfort.
How do you clean and maintain a pool float?
Cleaning your pool float can help prolong its lifespan. After each use, rinse the float with clean water to remove any chlorine or pool chemicals. If your pool float has visible dirt, stains, or grime on it, pour some mild soap or gentle cleaner (preferably one that’s suitable for the type of material your float is made from) onto a soft cloth or sponge and gently scrub the surface of the float. Rinse it thoroughly once clean, as leftover soap residue may cause the float to become sticky or attract dirt and grime, and allow it to dry completely before deflating and storing it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
Our Picks for the Best Pool Floats
Aqua 4-in-1 Monterey Pool Float & Water Hammock
A hammock, lounger, drifter, and exercise saddle in one comfortable mesh package.
Pros: Offering a unique way to stay afloat while still submerging part of you in the cool water below, this Aqua Leisure Monterey Hammock is a four-in-one model that takes on water in the best sense. While the designated seat portion of the product rests in the water, the inflatable ends remain afloat, providing safety and a cooling sensation. Its soft vinyl and mesh design easily allows this hammock to become a drafter, lounger, and even an exercise saddle. It’s also compact, lightweight, and easy to travel with, even capable of fitting into carry-on luggage.
Cons: While the compact and lightweight design of this float is convenient for travel, there is a bit of a trade-off in terms of long-term durability, particularly punctures. Difficulty inflating this float properly has also been mentioned by some customers.
Bottom Line: Hammock-style pool floats are always a popular option for lounging and relaxing in the pool, and this four-in-one model offers extra versatility that many other hammock pool floats tend to lack. As long as you’re okay with being partially submerged in the water at all times, you’ll love and get a lot of mileage out of this pool float.
Aqua Campania Ultimate 2-in-1 Pool Float Lounger
An inflatable chair that provides an ideal amount of upright ease for your back and rear.
Pros: Indulge in the ultimate pool experience with this fantastic Aqua Campania Pool Float Lounger. As its name suggests, it boasts a lounger-like design that allows you to sit up and interact with others or recline back to soak up the sun and work on your tan without the hassle of switching floats or getting out of the water. The easy inflation process ensures quick setup, so you can spend more time unwinding and less time preparing. Additionally, the float’s soft vinyl and mesh construction offer unparalleled comfort, keeping you cool and relaxed as you soak up the sun’s rays. But perhaps its standout feature is the convenient side table and built-in cup holder, which provides the perfect spot to keep your favorite beverage, snacks, sunglasses, or even a small waterproof speaker within reach. No need to interrupt your pool time for refreshments or entertainment—everything is right at your fingertips. There’s also the option to buy it with a removable canopy if you want some extra sun protection.
Cons: Great as this float is in most respects, the fabric is prone to collecting debris pine needles and small bugs, so it’ll likely require more thorough cleaning than many other pool floats. Additionally, make sure the float is fully inflated before you stick any bottles or cans in the side float; without proper inflation, your drinks may tip over or even fall out.
Bottom Line: Designed to provide hours of relaxation and enjoyment, this versatile float offers versatility and comfort like no other. Whether you prefer lounging in the sun, chatting with friends, or taking a break from swimming with a cool drink, this float has you covered.
Intex Giant Ride-On Gator
Kids will love playing with and riding this large alligator-shaped float around the pool.
Pros: The Intex Giant Gator Pool Float is the perfect choice to elevate your pool experience to new heights of excitement and adventure. With its eye-catching design and cute aesthetic, it’s sure to be the center of attention at any pool party or gathering. This float not only offers a fun and playful design, but it also serves a practical purpose, acting as a deterrent for unwanted ducks from landing in your pool. Its ability to combine functionality with entertainment makes it a versatile option for pool owners. Constructed with high-quality materials, this float also ensures durability and longevity, allowing you to enjoy countless hours of fun and relaxation. The float’s sturdy handles provide extra support and stability, making it ideal for kids who can hold on securely while enjoying an exciting ride on the back of the gator. It also offers ample space for lounging and stretching out comfortably while still being easy to maneuver and control in the water, making it equally useful for lounging and for play.
Cons: One common issue with this float is that the head and tail of the float may lose air and fail to hold it after a couple of days of use. Some customers have experienced air leakage within a short period of time, and there may also be issues with the float’s ink rubbing off onto the user’s skin and being difficult to remove.
Bottom Line: Get ready to dive into a world of seemingly endless fun with this fantastic pool float. Whether you’re looking to create memorable moments with your children, add a decorative touch to a themed pool party, or even deter ducks from landing in your pool, this large gator-shaped pool float has you covered.
Free Swimming Baby Inflatable Baby Swim Float with Sun Canopy
This pool float for babies provides plenty of stability and protection from the sun.
Pros: Ideal for kiddos between 7 and 72 months old, this Free Swimming Baby Inflatable Swim Float with Sun Canopy is designed for infants and young toddlers to enjoy safe and relaxing fun alongside their parents in water. This pool float provides the perfect introduction to water for babies, keeping them afloat with dual inflation chambers around three sides of the floaties and a wide, firm seat to keep them in place. The float’s design is meant to keep the child inside in an upright swimming-like posture, allowing them to kick their feet and move their arms freely in the water. The non-inflatable sponge chest support helps to protect your baby’s belly, and the adjustable straps allow you to loosen them to accommodate children as they grow. It also includes a removable canopy that offers extra sun protection for your baby’s delicate skin and comes in three different sizes.
Cons: You may find that this float doesn’t always inflate properly, with certain sections possibly not inflating at all. The quality of the straps and overall material can be rough and potentially irritate a baby’s sensitive skin, and some customers had trouble getting their child in and out of this float.
Bottom Line: This is a great float for introducing your baby or toddler to the water and helping them become comfortable with it in a fun and safe way (with proper adult supervision, of course; even though the float provides a level of safety, it should never be considered a substitute for attentive supervision.) By closely monitoring their child’s interactions with the float, parents can ensure a safe and enjoyable water experience for their little ones.
Jasonwell Inflatable Avocado Pool Float
This fun, colorful, slightly goofy pool float comes with a matching blow-up ball.
Pros: This Jasonwell Inflatable Avocado Pool Float is the ultimate summer companion that brings fun and relaxation to your poolside adventure. This float is designed to provide endless hours of enjoyment for both kids and adults alike. Crafted with high-quality, durable materials, it is built to withstand even rough play from rowdy kids, ensuring long-lasting use. The size of the float is perfect for a comfortable lounging experience, accommodating adults and providing ample space to relax and soak up the sun. That said, it offers more than just a comfortable floating experience. Its clever design includes a removable pit that doubles as a beach ball, adding an element of fun to your pool activities. There are two size options, as well as a seashell-shaped model if that’s more your style, which also comes with a matching beach ball.
Bottom Line: Whether you’re lounging in the pool, playing games, or capturing Instagram-worthy pictures, this float will enhance your summer experience and provide hours of joy in the water. It offers everything you could possibly want from a pool float—durability, comfort, and fun.
Pool floats have become a near staple of pool days thanks to their combination of relaxation, fun, and style. With proper cleaning and maintenance, they can provide hours of enjoyment and leisure at your poolside gatherings.