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Over the years, I’ve had several inflatable swimming pools, and I’ve also owned and reviewed several framed pools here. I still have three inflatable swimming pools I use occasionally. In fact, one of my favourite above ground swimming pools is an inflatable swimming pool! More on this in a moment.
When choosing an inflatable swimming pool, you need to consider a couple of things. I like to use a pool filter pump, as discussed here, as well as a pool heater and maybe even a pool skimmer. Until recently, this was not even possible for an inflatable pool, so I either had to use my larger frame swimming pool and leave it set up over the summer or keep putting it up every weekend.
Then there is the hassle of inflating them! My two kids enjoyed using my Bestway Tropical Paradise Fun Pool pictured above. However, it takes a while to inflate, and there is no way to connect a pool filter pump or pool heater (I’ve tried, as you can see above). You can skim the water with a skimmer net which helps keep it clean, but you can’t beat hooking up a filter pump and heater to a pool. It makes such a big difference to the water quality. That being said, get yourself an electric pump, and this is a good option and even has a seat to relax on while the kids play. In terms of size, it’s pretty big at just under 8ft wide so plenty of space to play.
As much as I like the Bestway Tropical Paradise Fun Pool, you still have the problem of inflating. Most inflatable pools take a while to inflate as you have to inflate the whole pool and that a lot of air. Any decent size inflatable pool will usually have several large chambers to inflate. It’s hard work using a manual air pump, as I do. I really need to get an electric pump!
However, there is one inflatable pool I’ve been really impressed with. I’ve been using this Intex Easy Set Swimming Pool pictured above for around two years, and it has got to be one of the best inflatable pools I’ve owned and it’s in great condition.
Firstly, you only need to inflate the top ring as you can see above, which floats as the pool fills with water, so inflating is much faster and much easier. However, I really like that I can connect the hoses from my pool filter pump to the pool to keep the water clean and I’ve even connected my solar heater to it to take the water to a nice 26 degrees on a sunny afternoon. You can even do this with the smaller 6ft version below. However, you don’t have to, as it also includes plugs.
If you get the larger versions 8ft or larger, some even include a filter pump to get you started. I think it’s also worth mentioning that you could even add a pool skimmer to the larger pools, which I tried recently. However, you might need to upgrade your filter pump to one with a water flow rate of over 3000 L/H. The pool filter pumps that are usually included are only around 2000 L/H. This is fine for just filtering the water but they’re not powerful enough to use with a pool skimmer. I like it’s also available in several sizes from 6ft to an impressive 13ft. It is a great piece of kit and provides amazing value.
Below I review the best models in more detail, giving their pros and cons and expanding on their best features. It’s might also worth checking out my Buyer’s Guide, which focuses on how to keep the water in your pool clean, with a couple of bonus FAQs to help you get the best experiences out of your inflatable swimming pool.
Best Inflatable Swimming Pools Reviews
1. Intex 6ft x 20in (183cm by 51cm) Easy Set Swimming Pool
This Intex Easy Set Swimming Pool is a pool that I’ve had a lot of personal experience with. Head over to this garden swimming pool review guide to read all about my first-hand account of life with this pool. For this review, I’ll just cover the features.
The one in the picture is the 6ft Intex swimming pool which is 51cm deep, making it a great size for kids to use. It’s made of PVC plastic and the pool wall is triple layered for stability and strength. My kids love to jump around in the pool without fear of it capsizing. It a great pool and very stable!
The stability of the pool is enhanced by the strong ring at the top. I really like that I inflate the pool by inflating just this top ring. It’s this that pulls the pool into its shape when you fill it with water. The process of inflating the pool takes less than 5 minutes so you can do this quickly to catch an unexpected hot afternoon or early evening.
So now for the unique part when it comes to inflatable pools. This swimming pool doesn’t come with a filter pump as standard unless you buy the larger options which are 8ft, 10ft, 12ft and 13ft. However, I highly recommend using a filter pump as it helps keep the water clean and it’s something you cannot do with most other inflatable pools.
I recommend checking out my Intex Krystal Clear Swimming Pool Filter Pump review here if you buy the smaller 6ft version. If you opt for a larger pool size larger than 8ft, then definitely upgrade to a larger pump with a better flow rate.
It’s also worth noting that you can also use a pool heater with this inflatable pool as I have above my solar pool heater mat which I’ve talked about here.
- Round Easy Set swimming pool which is very quick to inflate.
- Pool is made from PVC plastic which is strong and easy to clean.
- The triple-layered pool wall is 0.44mm thick and the base is 0.25mm thick.
- Easy to assemble and inflates in less than 5 minutes.
- Inflate the ring around the top of the swimming pool, and the pool takes shape.
- Drain plug in the bottom of the pool for easy emptying.
I highly recommend these Intex Easy Set Swimming Pool. My kids had this pool for a while and enjoyed it as much as the more expensive and larger pools they later grew into. It’s quick and easy to put up and is strong and durable. Don’t forget to buy a filter pump if you intend to leave the pool up for over a week and even consider a pool heater, it makes such a big difference. Overall, it’s a great inflatable pool and very affordable.
2. Intex 56475NP Inflatable Swim Center Family Lounge
This Intex 56475NP Inflatable Swim Center Family Lounge is similar in size to my Bestway Tropical Paradise Family Pool but it’s more for relaxing with the four seats. I would say it’s more an outside living space-in-the water than a swimming pool. Certainly, you can splash around in this pool, but the four inflatable seats take up quite a bit of room.
This is a pool with an aquatic theme in white and translucent blue plastic. The pool walls are in two rings, but the entire pool inflates as one and you might want to consider an electric pump with this one to make life easier. The pool capacity is 900L so it should rake around an hour and half to fill.
The unique feature of this Intex pool are the four inflatable seats, one in each corner of the rounded square shape. Behind each seat, on top of the pool edge, is a headrest for your added comfort. This is a pool that just shouts “relax here” rather than “Improve your swim stroke”. However, there is enough room for the adults to stretch out from the seats while children play in the middle of the pool.
This Intex pool also includes a repair patch in case you get a puncture which is handy and hopefully not needed.
The only real downside is that the drain plug is a bit small. Draining the pool takes quite some time because of this.
- A great inflatable pool for relaxing with your family thanks to the 4 chairs, one in each corner.
- Translucent blue and white inflatable swimming pool with four built-in inflatable seats.
- Each seat has its own headrest for extra comfort.
- Two drink holders; not sure why there are not 4.
- Drain plug at the bottom of the pool for easy emptying although it takes a while to drain.
- Capacity is 990L takes around an hour and a half to fill.
- Easy to inflate with an electric pump.
- Comes with a repair patch kit.
- Dimensions: 228cm (length), 228cm (width), and 66cm (height).
This Intex Inflatable Swim Center Family Lounge allows you to relax outdoors in the water while enjoying a beverage. The four inflatable seats have backrests so you can lounge back and not have to sit upright, which isn’t really a comfortable position to spend a hot afternoon in. However, with only two beverage holders for four people, your guests have to hold their own drinks during the gathering. Overall perfect for relaxing on on a hot day. You might want to just make sure you get an electric pump and it’s hard work with a manual one.
3. Bestway 305 x 183 x 56cm Family Pool Deluxe rectangular pool
This Bestway Family Pool Deluxe rectangular pool is a blue and while vinyl pool designed for children six years and older. It’s large enough at an impressive 3m by 1.8m by 56cm, thats over 10ft long and 6ft wide so for little ones to feel safe in and to practice their swimming strokes.
The extra-wide side walls of this Bestway pool help to keep water loss to a minimum. Kids’ splashing water still remains in the pool. It also helps children climb into and out of the pool as they have a wall to lay on as they go in and out.
The pool walls are in three rings and each inflates separately. This is an advantage if you’re trying to track down a puncture. You know immediately which ring has the problem without having to search all the pool’s walls. And speaking of inflation, each of the three values is a no-return valve. If you stop inflating a ring before it’s fully blown up, the air already in it stays there and doesn’t come out. You don’t have to fumble around to get the cap in the valve before you lose all the air. The capacity of this pool is 1,161L so a decent volume.
- Rectangular vinyl blue and white pool designed for kids.
- Capacity is 1,161L.
- Extra-wide side walls.
- Three rings of the pool inflate separately.
- For children 6 years old and up.
- Built-in drain valve.
- Comes with repair patch.
- Dimensions: 305cm (length); 183cm (width); and 56cm (height).
This Bestway Family Pool Deluxe is a good pool if you have children learning to swim or who just like to splash around because it’s around 10ft long. The extra-wide walls keep the water and the kids in. The no-return valves mean that you don’t have to inflate the pool in just one sitting. And as each ring of the pool inflates separately, you don’t have to search far in case that dreaded puncture occurs. This is a functional and convenient choice for young kids and offers excellent value for money.
4. Intex 57190NP Swim Center Family Lounge Pool
This Intex 57190NP Swim Center Family Lounge Pool is another relax-in-the-water pool, brought to you by one of my favourite brands for pool equipment, Intex. The manufacturer of the other family lounge pool in my review. This time, the seating is a built-in single inflatable bench on which two adults can sit or one can lay down (depending on the water level in the pool so that their head’s above water). There’s enough room for the adults plus some kids so the whole family can be in the pool together.
This round-ish pool is in translucent blue vinyl giving an in-the-sea vibe to your experience. The beverage holders, one on each side of the bench, let you place your drinks safely away from any children’s splashing in the pool. And your added comfort is thought of with the headrest on the pool edge behind the bench. How could you not feel relaxed in this environment?
Inflating the pool is easy, especially if you have an electric pump. The pool has three tiers but only two separate air chambers, each with their own valve. If a puncture occurs, you only have to search half the pool wall to find it. And you can repair it with the included puncture repair kit.
The bench inflates separately to the pool wall and does so a bit awkwardly. However, this isn’t a deal breaker; you just need a bit of patience for it.
Another minor downside is that the drainage plug for the pool is at the very bottom. The problem is that the plug is flush with the bottom of the pool. This makes it more difficult to drain the water away than if it were at a slightly higher level. But again, that’s just something to get used to.
- Round swimming pool in transparent blue vinyl.
- Capacity is 590L.
- Inflates in three rings in two separate air chambers with their own valve.
- Inflate with an electric pump in under 20 minutes.
- Has a bench seat with a headrest on one side of the pool.
- Two cup holders on the sides of the pool.
- Comes with a repair patch.
- Dimensions: 2.29m (length), 2.18m (width), and 76cm (depth).
This Intex 57190NP Swim Center Family Lounge Pool is a great choice for a family to have a relaxing and cooling time together in their pool. The adults can enjoy a beverage and the kids can splash around. The headrest adds to the comfort of the bench seat while there’s enough room for the adults to stretch their legs out.
5. Intex Dinoland Play Center Inflatable Water Play Center
This Intex Dinoland Play Center Inflatable Water Play Center is a pool just for the kids and its one I owned when my oldest was about 2 or 3 years old, she is 12 now so it served us well. It’s a full play centre in a shallow pool, so it’s the perfect cooling off spot for young children. I would say, up to age 3-4 as the slide in the centre is small.
This is a very colourful play set in bright blue, green, red and yellow. An inflatable slide with a padded base and side barriers comes down into the shallow pool at its end. A soft mat at the bottom of the slide makes it comfortable for kids to land there – no harsh bumps on the kid’s bottom.
An arch above the base of the slide produces a fine rain shower so the children get wet from above and it makes the slide more slippery. The shower can be turned off if the child doesn’t like it – it uses cold water from your outside tap by way of a hose.
On the edge of the pool are colourful dinosaur figures, but they’re not scary at all. One of these holds a ring that children can use for a ball toss game. They can also use the bird’s beak for a ring toss session. The balls and the rings come with the play centre. This is an all-round fun play centre.
Inflating this play centre is a bit time consuming and fiddly, especially the little dinosaurs and trees on the side. Each part needs to be inflated separately so be prepared for that
My own kids had this play centre and used it for a number of years. They outgrew it after they were about four years old, even though the manufacturer says the recommended age is two years and up. They loved it and played on it all the time in the summers before we got the large Intex pools.
- Dinosaur themed play centre in a pool.
- Built-in water slide and sprinkler.
- Constructed of brightly coloured vinyl; includes repair kit.
- Game with six balls for passing through the dinosaur arch or dinosaur hoop.
- Contains two inflatable rings for tossing over the dinosaur’s nose.
- The central arch is a water sprayer.
- The slide comes down under the water spray to a mat in the pool.
- Recommended age: 2 years and up (I think it’s best suited to ages 2-4 max).
- Dimensions: 3m (length), 2.3m (width), and 1.1m (height).
This Intex Dinoland Play Center Inflatable Water Play Center is a complete play centre in a shallow paddling pool. The dinosaur theme and bright colours appeal to young children. There are several ways for them to interact with the water, including a slide and a rain shower. The set includes two games (ball toss and ring toss) though kids usually make up many more themselves. My own children used this set for several years, and I never had a puncture or other problem with it. And they loved playing in it.
This Buyer’s Guide for the Best Inflatable Swimming Pools covers how to keep your pool clean. With the fun of owning a pool comes the responsibility of keeping the pool water clean and healthy, for the environment and for your guests.
I also answer a couple of bonus questions that are frequently asked.
How do I keep my pool clean?
Pool filter pump
If you have a pool that’s quick and easy to set up and you intend to take it down after a day or two, you probably don’t need a pool filter pump or chlorine tablets. But for any longer period, the filter pump cleans the water of any debris and returns clean water to the pool. Remember that it doesn’t do anything with algae – for that you need to use chemicals, particularly chlorine and the easiest way to do this is with a floating chlorine dispenser and chlorine tablets.
For a review of the best pool filter pumps out there, please read my review, 5 Best Pool Filter Pumps for Intex, Bestway and Other Above Ground Garden Pools.
Pool skimmer, skimmer net and vacuum cleaner
These three pieces of pool cleaning equipment remove debris from the surface of the pool water (skimmer and skimmer net) and from the bottom of the pool. Two are manual to use (pool skimmer and vacuum) and the other one (skimmer) you just place in your pool and turn on. Use these together or by themselves. If you have a small pool, you can use the skimmer net and vacuum in place of a filter pump and skimmer.
A solar cover is a mat that you put over the surface of the pool when it’s not in use. This keeps dirt and debris from falling in the pool. The best ones have a solar capacity that heats the (black) mat up and serves to heat the water a little. Two functions in one mat.
The main chemical to use in your pool is chlorine. This keeps the algae (the green slime) in check. As already mentioned above, chlorine for pools usually comes in the form of tablets. You can buy a floating surface dispenser in which you put a chlorine tablet that gradually dissolves into the water. One pool filter pump I reviewed, the Bestway Flowclear Sand Filter System with ChemConnect, has a place in its filter system for chlorine tablets.
Choose the right size filter pump
Throughout this review, I mention that you need to know the capacity of your pool and its dimensions to purchase the right size filter pump. Every filter pump is marked as to its flow rate, that’s the number of litres of water per hour (L/hr) it pushes through the pump. It also has information about the capacity (L) of the pools it can support or the size of the pool.
If your pump’s flow rate is too small, it takes longer to pump through all the water in the pool and gives time for algae to grow and debris to collect. This makes it harder to keep the pool clean. On the other hand, if the flow rate is too fast, water doesn’t spend enough time in the filter for all the debris to be removed.
You can work out how long it takes to filter all the water in your pool with this equation:
The capacity of pool (L) / flow rate of pump (L/hr) = time taken (hr)
A time around 8 hours is suitable.
I’m personally all about safety, especially when it comes to children. And water safety is especially important to me as my own children love the swimming pools we’ve had in the garden and we often also go kayaking with out inflatable kayak. Supervise children, actually, anyone who isn’t comfortable in the water, whenever they’re in your pool, no matter how shallow or deep the water is. And take particular care whenever anyone is getting into or out of the pool.
Monitor the cleanliness of the water, particularly if you don’t change it very often or don’t have a filter pump (please get one). Make sure to use chlorine on schedule to deal with the algae. If possible, put the pool in the shade if you have an electric heater – maybe with a cantilevered umbrella over it or a popup gazebo. And don’t forget the sunscreen for everyone.
Bonus Inflatable Pool FAQS:
Does my inflatable pool have a slow leak?
Have you noticed that your inflatable pool looks slightly deflated in the cooler times of day – mornings and evenings – but seems to recover in the warmer parts of the day? Have you looked for a puncture, not found one and decided that it’s a slow leak somewhere?
You may be wrong. Your pool probably hasn’t lost air and is reacting to the ambient temperature – that’s the temperature in the environment around it.
Air contracts in the cold and expands in the heat. So swimming and paddling pools become less firm in a cooler outside temperature as the air is taking up less space. They rebound at a hotter temperature as the air expands. It’s just the pool reacting to nature.
So, this means if you inflate your pool in the morning or evening, leave room in the pool walls for the air to expand when the air heats up in the hotter parts of the day.
I hate cold pool water. What do I do?
You quite simply buy a pool heater. It’s way too expensive to use hot water to fill the pool, and it always cools off over time. While the sun does heat the water in the pool up a bit, the warmth rarely reaches the cold depths.
Head over to my review, Pool Heaters for Intex, Bestway and Other Above Ground Pools, for all the latest information about the variety and quality of the best pool heaters available. They range from solar mats that work well with smaller above ground pools to electric heaters for larger swimming pools. The review also explains how pool heaters work to help you make the best decision for your pool situation.
Owning an above ground inflatable swimming pool is fun. Choose one to stretch out in or for the kids to practice their swimming. Or maybe a family lounge centre where the whole point is to relax and cool off on a hot day. Or perhaps a water-based play centre that’s just for the kids – their own dinosaur theme waterpark.
Whichever pool you pick, be sure to read the Buyer’s Guide which explains several ways to keep your pool water clean. This is a necessary responsibility of owning a pool, and I’ve written reviews of the best equipment for each of the items you can use in your pool hygiene process.
But above all, practice water safety when you, your guests and especially children are in your pool.
Last update on 2023-11-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API