The 8 Best Pool Floats of 2021
Functional inflatables for fun in the sun
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When the mercury strikes, there’s no place quite like the swimming pool. And while a quick dip will certainly do, a quality pool float can make the experience that much more enjoyable, allowing you to lounge, read, or sip on a cold beverage to your heart’s content. But which inflatables are worth the expense, hassle of blowing up, and puzzle that storage can be? Whether you’re looking for something fun and affordable for the kids or for something large and practical for the adults, these top-rated pool floats really deliver.
Here, the best pool floats to make your time at the pool even more relaxing.
Best Overall: Aqua Campania Ultimate Two-in-One Recliner and Tanner Pool Lounger
If you’re looking for a pool float with maximum versatility, the Aqua Compania Ultimate Two-in-One Recliner and Tanner Pool Lounger is it. The adult-sized inflatable chair has it all, including an attached drink caddy, so you can sip on your beverage of choice while you bask in the sun. (There’s even room for your sunscreen!) To use the chair as a recliner, flip the backrest into the upright position; to use the chair as a lounger for resting or tanning, nestle it down into the hole in the floatie.
This isn’t your typical plastic float, either. The super buoyant float (it’s 20 percent thicker than your average inflatable), is made of a soft coolweave fabric—a high-quality mesh that helps create a supportive and cooling seat. Though rather large, the float is relatively portable, too, thanks to convenient carry handles.
Best Budget: Intex 30-Inch Transparent Tubes
If you don’t need anything fancy—just something you can perch in or prop yourself up on—this three-pack of inflatable tubes will do just the trick. At 30 inches in diameter, the trio of tubes is suitable for both children (ages eight and up) and adults.
Because of their size, the tubes are easy to inflate and deflate, too, making them ideal for a day trip to the town pool or even the lake or the beach. Still, they’re sturdy enough to accommodate those well over 100 pounds. Smooth inner seams mean no scratching, either—just a super comfortable place to float.
Best for Toddlers: SwimWays Baby Spring Float Activity Center with Canopy
Safety is undoubtedly of utmost importance when it comes to toddlers and pools and this pool float delivers in both security and fun—the best of both worlds. The floating activity center is like your typical baby seat—it has two leg holes to hold your baby or toddler (ages nine to 24 months old) securely in an upright sitting-like position. Additional safety features include child safety valves and an innerspring for added stability to keep the float from tipping.
In terms of comfort, the raft has a large removable canopy with mesh sides crafted from UPF 50+ fabric. And, to keep your tot occupied, the adorable octopus accessory turns 360 degrees and includes toys like a squeaker, rattle, stacking rings, and a soft touch star. Despite all of this, the inflatable folds easily into an included carry case for storage and transport.
Best for Kids: Swimline UFO Squirter Pool Inflatable Lounge Float
This one-person raft, which is great for children ages four and up, provides plenty of opportunities for fun. While it’s perfectly suitable for simply sitting and enjoying the water, it’s also built to provide plenty of interactivity, thanks to the built-in ray-gun squirt gun that has a constant stream of water. (If you have more than one child, make sure to get one for each—there’s no doubt the ensuing water fights will keep them occupied for hours!)
Because kids can be a bit rough on their toys—especially during outdoor play—the inflatable lounger is made from a durable 12-gauge PVC material to keep it in tip-top shape for longer. Still, it takes less than 10 minutes to inflate—even faster if you opt to use an air pump.
Best for Adults: Aqua Four-in-One Monterey Hammock Inflatable Pool Float
Though it doesn’t look like much and weighs just shy of a pound, this pool float is extremely versatile. Adults up to 250 pounds and about six feet tall (there’s also an extra-large version for larger, taller people) will love all that the simple vinyl and mesh raft can do—use it as a hammock, a chair, a drifter, or even an exercise saddle. Despite the breathable mesh fabric, the head and footrests are super buoyant to comfortably suspend you in the water and contour comfortably to keep you afloat, no matter how you choose to use it.
There are plenty of convenient features, too, including a removable pillow insert and a foldable design that fits in an included tote bag. Perhaps best of all, the float is machine washable, so you can keep it in like-new condition for as long as possible.
Best Pool Chair: Frontgate Floating Mesh Pool Chair
If comfort and support are a priority, try this floating mesh pool chair by Frontgate. It’s a lot like your favorite armchair—just suspended in water. The durable mesh chair has oversized armrests, a well-cushioned back for comfort, and an attached ottoman. Because it’s filled with ultra-buoyant polystyrene beads, even larger adults will stay comfortably afloat.
When it comes time to call it a day, the mesh fabric ensures the chair dries quickly to eliminate any mold or bacteria growth. A handle at the top of the chair allows for easier transport and storage, too.
Best Large: Bestway Hydro ForceTropical Breeze Floating Island Raft
For pool parties, nothing beats a floating island—especially one that’s this functional. Though you’ll need a relatively large pool to accommodate the 54-pound, 153-by-108-inch floatie, the investment is well worth it.
Once inflated (use a pump for this one!), the pool float can comfortably fit up to six adults (it’s suitable for kids, too) in an array of different seating positions. Sit in the loungers on the exposed side, or pick a seated spot under the retractable, detachable sunshade. With extra-wide pillow backrests and built-in cup holders for each person, one thing is for sure: This is one extremely comfortable way to party in the pool.
Best Pool Mat: Frontgate Resort Pool Float
If you’re satisfied with one of the most classic options out there, the Frontgate Resort Pool Float is your best bet. The two-inch thick mat is crafted from the highest-quality marine-grade closed-cell foam for superior buoyancy and durability (it won’t sink even if punctured and supports up to 350 pounds!). What’s more, the float is triple-dipped in a vinyl coating that resists cracking, fading, and peeling in both saltwater and chlorinated pools. As an added bonus, the mat is extremely quick drying and easy to wipe clean, too.
The best overall pool float is the Aqua Campania Ultimate Two-in-One Recliner and Tanner (view at Amazon), which is a very versatile inflatable that allows you to relax in the pool in a flat or sitting position. If you’re looking for a more affordable, convenient option for day trips, the Intex Transparent Tubes (view at Amazon) comes in a pack of three and is easy to inflate and deflate.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Brigitt Earley, a freelance writer who has spent the last 10-plus years researching the best home goods for various digital publications, including The Spruce and Good Housekeeping. Brigitt has always relied on the Frontgate resort pool float, though she’s also used the Intex transparent tubes and the SwimWays Baby Spring Float Activity Center With Canopy for her children.