2018 Pool Floats Buyer's Guide: This Summer's Best Inflatables

Since the debut of inflatable swim rings and arm floaties in the early 1900s, pool toys have been on a trajectory of innovation. Local pool retailers now feature hundreds of different inflatable pool toys, used both for safety and relaxation, and manufactured for everyone from infants to senior swimmers. With so many colorful inflatables to choose from, how do you pick the right accessory for your favorite swimmer? This kind of recreational research floats our boat, so (drumroll please) we present our favorite inflatables of the summer:

Inflatable Swim Rings

Image courtesy of BigMouth Inc.®

Best All-Around Pool Float - Giant Unicorn Pool Float

Featuring everyone’s favorite mythical creature, this inflatable unicorn pool float allows adults to indulge in childhood fantasy. Kid-size versions of the unicorn float are available as well because unicorns are equal-opportunity float providers. Lounge in luxury aboard this rainbow-haired unicorn float while you sip fruit punch, preferably from a juice box. Doesn’t everyone look just a little more hip riding on a unicorn?

Honorable Mentions

  • Bacon Pool Float – If you think everything is better with bacon, then this meaty float will have you sizzling with excitement.
  • Gigantic Rubber Duckie Pool Float – Supersize your childhood bathtub fun with this giant floating duck, perfectly sized for relaxing.
  • Donut Float – A cheery floating sprinkled donut is hard to resist, and is sure to bring a smile to even grumpy poolside guests.

Best Inflatable Pool Game - Inflat-A-Bull

Inflatable Bull Pool Game

Take the challenge of bull riding out of the rodeo arena (or honky-tonk) and into the pool with this inflatable bull. See if you can last eight seconds on this inflatable—the spectacle will make for the most entertaining pool game of the summer. The best part about this bull riding challenge? If the bull bucks you, you’ll have a splash of a landing.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Pool Basketball – This fun stand-by is sure to provoke plenty of dunks.
  • Inflatable Tic-Tac-Toe Toss – Test your skills with this twist on a classic game. The X’s and O’s are balls you have to land in the right spot on the floating tic-tac-toe board.
  • Log Flume Jousting – For a true test of aquatic skill, attempt to balance on this wobbly floating log while jousting your rival.

Best Pool Party Float - Floating Pool Bar

Floating Pool Bar Pool Party Float

For laid-back indulgence, you don’t even have to get out of the pool to help yourself to a cold beverage. Equipped with a floating cooler and floating drink holders, you can relax and let your cares float away while stashing your drink within arms’ reach. If you want to play pool bartender and cater to your guests, this inflatable tiki bar may be just the ticket.

Honorable Mentions

  • Ginormous Dinosaur Yard Sprinkler – Ok, so this isn’t really a pool float, but what better way to cool down your pool party than with a giant inflatable T-Rex sprinkler?
  • Beach Balls Galore – Set the stage for pool party fun with an assortment of beach balls. Classic pool décor doesn’t get much better than that.
  • Happy Rainbow Swim Up Bar – The real star of this inflatable is the large pocket that you can fill with ice for a floating buffet of drinks, fruit, chips and dip, or whatever grub you need to keep your guests happy--nobody wants to host a hangry swimmer.

Best Baby Pool Float – Baby Buggy Seat Rider Float with Steering Wheel

Baby Buggy Seat Rider Float with Steering Wheel

This baby pool float has lots of bells and whistles, including a cover to protect baby from the sun, a steering wheel for the tiny captain, and a cushy ride for your precious cargo. Fun and functional, all rolled into one cute baby pool float!

Honorable Mentions

  • Octopus Shaded Baby Pool – When baby wants a quick splash, this baby pool—shaded with an adorable octopus—provides a quick fix.
  • Floating Butterfly Boat – Babies will be enchanted by this bright purple butterfly float while parents will appreciate its UPF 50 rated sunshade.
  • Baby Unicorn Float – Tiny companion to adults’ whimsical ride, the baby unicorn float lets baby experience the same fantasy. Safety features specifically designed for tiny swimmers include non-toxic ink printing and durable PVC construction.