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As we head into another sizzling summer, many of us are gearing up for our favorite hot-weather activities. One of the best ways to have fun and keep cool is to go for a dip in a refreshing pool. However, no poolside hang is complete without a leisurely float to lounge around on. These days, you can find fun inflatable pool toys in just about any shape or size, and some even come with special features. Considering the many options available, here’s a wet, hot guide to help you find your new favorite swimming pool float. Whether you’re searching for the best pool floats for yourself, your friends, your kids, or even your dog, these are the coolest pool inflatables for every sunbather.
- Best overall: Aqua Campania Ultimate 2-in-1 Recliner
- Best foam: Frontgate Resort Pool Float
- Best for pool parties: Intex Party Island Flamingo
- Best unicorn: Jasonwell Giant Unicorn Pool Float
- Best for babies: Laycol Baby Pool Float Ring
- Best for dogs: SwimWays Paddle Paws Dog Raft
How we chose the best pool floats
We looked at product reviews and consumer impressions to determine what floats a pool-goers boat when it comes to the best pool floats. After reviewing the specs—including dimensions, weight limits, cupholders, and other luxuries—we narrowed down our list to the inflatables that most float our … boat? Nay, our bodies.
What to consider when buying the best pool floats
Imagine yourself on the perfect summer day, dipping your toes into a freshly inflated pool with a frosty beverage in hand, a patio umbrella nearby to shade you when you take a break from the sun, a waterproof Bluetooth speaker to soundtrack your fun, and your favorite people by your side. Now, ponder the best pool float to complete this picture. If you’re having trouble visualizing, ask yourself the following questions to help turn this daydream into reality.
Number of people on the float
First and foremost, you’ll need to decide how many people you’re hoping to pack on. Are you looking for a relaxing tube for one? A double-wide recliner built for two? Or a massive party float to hold a group of friends? Before you buy, double-check the product’s size specs to ensure you’re getting the dimensions you need, that way, you can safely select your favorite design and avoid any surprises when unboxing.
Statement pool toys
The best thing about pool floats is the veritable feast of eye-catching options. Hello, perfect pool day selfie! While there are several classy, solid-color options, summer is all about fun, and your float should inspire smiles. From llamas to pizza slices, giant pineapples to classic convertibles, there is truly something for everyone—including the fan-favorite unicorn pool float.
If you’re looking to spend an entire day bobbing along the water, you’re going to need sustenance, which in turn means you’ll need a place to put your snacks. Instead of heading towards dry land to get some grub, grab a reclining pool float chair that comes with a food and beverage holder. That way, you won’t have to waste a second of aquatic fun to replenish and rehydrate.
If you are headed to the pool with your baby in tow, and you know they aren’t ready for arm floaties, think about grabbing an inflatable ring, so you and your little one can enjoy the water together. Safety is of the utmost importance, so look for a no-flip float made from non-toxic material that’s equipped with safety belts to keep your tiny tot securely above water. In addition, make sure your little water bug has enough mobility to stay comfortable, but not so much room to move that they can accidentally fall out of the float. Products with raised edges and multiple straps are a great way to let your water baby splash around safely.
Foam vs. inflatable
Most inflatable pool floats are made from PVC plastic, which is great for buoyancy, dry-time, and easy inflation. However, some find that the material in inflatable pool floats can get too hot if left in the sun or that it irritates their skin over time—this is especially true for classic inner tubes and full-body recliners. Luckily, there are a few solutions. Some companies offer custom covers made from nylon or waterproof fabrics. Also, check out some of the amazing foam floats available. While foam floats tend to be pricier, they don’t require any inflation, are gentle on the skin, and provide soft, squishy support for maximum comfort. Plus, there’s no risk of popping and sinking. Even with an accidental puncture, foam pool floats are not likely to sink.
What’s cuter than a puppy lounging on a pool float? Not much! If your dog enjoys the water but isn’t keen to spend the day swimming, think about giving your four-legged friend their very own float as a special summer treat. Essentially a buoyant dog bed, dog pool floats are a fun way for you and your furry best friend to relax on the water. As long as you select a product made from durable material that can support your dog’s weight, nothing should get in the way of a perfect summer day alongside your canine BFF.
The best pool floats: Reviews & Recommendations
While it may seem like a simple purchase, there are a few things to think about before clicking “add to cart.” First, determine how many people might be using the float at once, then make some executive decisions about size, style, and functionality. After all, there are pool chair floats, unicorn pool floats, and giant pool floats, just to name a few types. Quality, price, and safety—especially for babies, kids, and pets—are a few other very important considerations.
Best overall: Aqua Campania Ultimate 2-in-1 Recliner
Why it made the cut: This versatile chair can accommodate different lounging vibes.
- Cupholders: Yes
- Weight limit: 250 lbs.
- Dimensions: 3.25 x 16.5 x 13.85 inches
- Detachable caddy
- Adjustable backrest
- Inflates easily
- Needs pump to fill
This reclining lounger from Aqua Campania is everything you need for a perfect pool day. The backrest can be positioned at a 60-degree angle for a little support, or lay the back completely flat to achieve a successful full-body tan. The Campania pool chair float comes with a detachable caddy for snacks, extra drinks, or personal items so you won’t be left wanting on the water. It can support up to 250 pounds and is easily inflated with a two-valve locking system.
Best foam float: Frontgate Resort Pool Float
Why it made the cut: This foam float was designed to last more than one pool season.
- Cupholders: No
- Weight limit: 350 lbs.
- Dimensions: 74 x 26 x 2 inches
- Resists peeling and cracking
- Incredibly buoyant
This pool float is truly top of the line when it comes to peace and relaxation on the perfect pool day. The 2-inch, closed-cell foam is thin enough to keep you afloat but light enough for easy transport. Unlike traditional floats, this product uses PVC coating on top of the foam to reduce erosion caused by chlorine and sun exposure while keeping things plush. This foam pool float is available in eight solid colors, or be bold and select from two fun prints. While this product might be a bit more expensive than other inflatable pool floats, it will last longer and provide additional comfort.
Best for pool parties: Intex Party Island Flamingo
Why it made the cut: The more really is the merrier when it comes to this party-friendly pool float.
- Cupholders: Yes
- Weight limit: 880 lbs.
- Dimensions: 166 x 147 x 73 inches
- Lots of room for drinks and beverages
- Repair kit
- Boarding platform
- Need a large pool to use
This isn’t just a pool float—it’s a pool island, capable of supporting 880 pounds and measuring 166 inches by 147 inches by 73 inches. This Intex pink flamingo float comes with four cup holders, a built-in cooler, a detachable boarding platform, and a mesh bottom to let in cooling water. It’s even equipped with an anchor bag, rope, and repair kit just in case you need some extra support and stability. If the giant pool floats are too big for your pool, consider taking them to a nearby lake.
Best unicorn: Jasonwell Giant Unicorn Pool Float
Why it made the cut: This mystical pool float puts the “fun” in “functional.”
- Cupholders: No
- Weight limit: 400 lbs.
- Dimensions: 114.17 x 55.12 x 47.24
- Fits two people
- Easy to inflate
- Leaks air easily
Make a splash with this giant unicorn pool float, designed to support up to 400 pounds (typically up to two people) at a time. It measures 144 inches by 55 inches by 47 inches when fully inflated, which you can achieve using a hairdryer, hand pump, or electric pump. Make sure you bring out the waterproof camera because you’ll definitely be bombarded with picture requests.
Best baby pool float: Laycol Baby Pool Float Ring
Why it made the cut: This pool float helps your baby learn to swim while protecting them from the sun.
- Cupholders: No
- Weight limit: 48 lbs.
- Dimensions: 10.5 x 10.5 x 2 inches
- 5-point safety protection
- Easy to remove
- Reviews note flip potential
Suitable for children under 36 months old, this baby pool float will support your little one’s first ventures into the water this summer. It has a double-layered air chamber, wide sides, a raised front, abdomen/back support, and a five-point safety belt to keep your baby right side up. Buckle in your guppy on their back or front so they can experiment with different ways to “swim.” You’ll be able to pull them around through the water easily while they kick and splash around. This float ring comes in three sizes and colors—each includes a removable canopy to protect little ones’ sensitive, soft skin from the sun.
Best dog pool float: SwimWays Paddle Paws Dog Raft
Why it made the cut: This dog-friendly pool float lets the family pooch cool off in the pool.
- Cupholders: No
- Weight limit: 200 lbs.
- Dimensions: 15 x 15 x 16.25 inches
- Paw- and claw-friendly
- Reusable carrying bag included
- Reviewers note flimsy air valve
Keep your fur baby happy with this inflatable dog raft from SwimWays. It’s available in two sizes, supporting dogs under and over 65 pounds. Made from claw-friendly mesh, this dog pool float features inserts that allow just enough water to seep in and cool down your pet. An innerspring design around the edge provides extra stability, and reinforced fabric protects the float from popping. Best of all, Fido’s float folds down flat, easily fitting in your pool bag without any hassle.
Q: What are pool floats made from?
Most pool floats are made from polyvinyl chloride, or PVC. Manufacturers can also list this as vinyl, plastic, or naphthalene. Think of any inflatable water toy—baby pool, beach ball, waterslide—and chances are it’s made from PVC. Some products may have an additional layer of polyester mesh to strengthen the material, but this is more commonly used for inflatable pools. The only other material that is often used is foam.
Q: Why are foam pool floats so expensive?
Foam pool floats are typically more expensive than PVC floats because of their durability, comfort, weight, and ease of use. Creating a foam float requires manufacturers to develop tiny cells within a plastic layer by putting the plastic inside a gas chamber filled with nitrogen and applying high pressure. As a result, it is highly unlikely that a foam float will sink, even when damaged, plus they provide a soft layer of cushion for peak relaxation.
Q: What are the best foam pool floats?
If you are looking specifically for a foam pool float, in addition to the Frontgate Resort Float, we recommend the TCR Recreation Sunsation and SwimWays Aquaria Luxury Solana Lounge Float. There are many options for foam pool floats out there, and you can use the same list of factors above to help narrow down your selection.
Final thoughts on the best pool floats
Finding the best pool float for your perfect summer day shouldn’t be too difficult once you know what you want. First, make sure it can safely support any person or pet who will climb aboard, then think about any additions or aesthetic features. If you’re shopping for kids or preparing for a pool party, look for a silly or fun style. If you are looking for yourself and prioritize comfort above all else, think about purchasing a long-lasting foam float or a reclining pool chair float. Above all, make sure to select the best pool float for bringing a smile to your face whenever you’re ready to take a dip.