Written by Terry Smith
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The best swimming pool toys in the UK: top inflatable pool and beach toys for kids reviewed and compared
This article was last updated on October 16th, 2021 at 4:54 am
At the time of writing this the summer holidays are just around the corner, a great opportunity to spend time having fun with your friends and family, and there’s no better activity then being in the water. Whether you’re at the beach, in a nice lake, or fortunate enough to have your own big garden swimming pool enjoying a lovely barbecue, you just can’t beat taking a dip to cool off from the sun. How do you make it even more fun? By bringing along some of the best pool toys of course! Inflatable pool toys can be used for games, or simply somewhere to lay back and soak up the rays.
However before buying any pool toy or inflatable I want to just remind everyone that they are just that and never never leave your kids unattended in a pool please 🙂 These are not floatation devices but exactly as they are named: pool toys. I would never in a million years let my kids loose on these unattended andd least of all at the seaside but that doesn’t mean under supervision these aren’t a great bit of fun for the family…
Back when I was a kid, the only type of these toys available was the standard inflatable lay-lo beds that every man and his dog was carrying around the hotel swimming pool and I was grateful just for one of those. Nowadays, there is a huge range of products in untold shapes and sizes, so you can be sure there is something out there for you, or an especially themed toy to spark your kid’s interest. You’ll be shocked actually, for one generation it almost seems unfair 😀
So let’s get to it then, an overview of my best pool toy choices including inflatable pool toys:
Best pool toy in the UK two years running: Wave Rider Ride-On
Best inflatable pool toy: Intex – Giant Mega Inflatable Flamingo
Best pool toy for kids: Intex 58504NP Floating Hoop Game
Best pool toy for babies and toddlers: Peradix Baby Swimming Pool Float
What you get in this article:
How to pick the best pool toys and inflatable pool toys for you and your family
There’s a whole range of important factors to consider when water is involved. The safety aspect being the most important. Age of your children and size of your pool as the depth play a part in deciding the best pool toys for fun that’ll keep the family safe. We all know you only have to turn your back for a minute with toddlers in water for a catastrophe to strike god forbid, so follow the simple guides below to get a feel for what will keep you and the love ones having fun and safe at the pool this Summer!
You should be looking at the size of your garden pool for the size of toys you can fit in
It goes without saying keep an eye on the dimensions of these inflatables and pool toys! Some of them are so big they barely fit in my little pool at home. Some on the other hand like the Intex 58504NP Floating Hoop Game are absolutely ideal for a smaller setup and keep the kids happy for hours at a time.
How old are your children – which toys suit them?
My kids absolutely love the look of the Bestway Star Wars X-Fighter Inflatable but it wasn’t that practical for us. You’ll need to consider ages most when making a selection. For example if I had a toddler still I would be taking aim at the Peradix Baby Swimming Pool Float whereas now that I have three kids 4,6, and 8 we are just about getting to that ages where we can mess about on the Intex – Giant Mega Inflatable Flamingo. Adults and adolescents that are more grown up will want a more traditional Lilo no doubt.
Which are the safest pool toys?
Never never rely on a pool toy for water safety. Even floatation devices should not be relied on. However, that doesn’t mean some toys are not better balance than others! You want an inflatable pool toy that will remain upright even with a fair bit of splashing and frolicking around. For example, once you get on the Wave Rider Ride-On you’ll feel pretty comfortable even with a bit of tide on the beach.
You might decide to opt for a completely different type of pool toy. Perhaps a playground with minimal water like the Intex Dinoland Play Centre. This fabulous recent invention has allowed younger kids to enjoy water without the need for them to be deep at all. They are a mile better for fun and design when compared to the older standard kids paddling pool setups.
Here is my list of best pool toys in the UK with inflatable options
Read on to see the best inflatable pool toys reviewed for you with links to more information and images, should you like to know more and just a gentle reminder that an air compressor will save a lot of huffing and puffing here :).
Specification: Inflated size: 117 x 77 cm, Suitable for: 3+ years
Our first inflatable toy review is of the Wave Rider Ride-On. Fully inflated it measures 117cm long and 77cm tall, so it is suitable for kids 3-8 years old, maybe a little older depending on how big they are. My daughter is 8 now and fits on one of these just fine, you could easily see her on this thing in a year or two still, it’s very big! That said the age range is based on design and what it can handle. The more weight, the more likely to fail so just something to keep in mind.
It is shaped like a jet-ski and has very wide base on it to help keep the toy stable. I’ll admit, it does take a few tries to get used to it, but once kids find their balance, it’s easy to sit upright on the seat and hold on to the strong plastic handle for support.
The bright and vibrant colour scheme looks great and you certainly won’t have any trouble picking your kids out in a busy pool on this inflatable toy. Sometimes, with low priced inflatables, the plastic is of low quality and tears easily, but this product offers you great value for money at only £9.39.
Since I last reviewed this a couple of years ago I would now note they also include a repair patch which is handy given any inflatable your kids will get their hands on. When I initially reviewed this pool toy it had just 200 reviews online, it now has over 4000 an has grown into one of the best pool toys and is my top pick for the best pool toy in the UK.
You’ll get the odd one that is faulty but don’t let this put you off it’s a cracking pool toy for the money. I have no problem letting my kids loose on one of these in a
- Suitable for ages 3 and up
- 117cm x 77cm when fully inflated
- Large base helps to stabilise the toy
- Vibrant colour scheme
- Strong plastic handle
- Good quality for a low price
- Excellent value for money
- Not suitable for kids under 36 months
- Occasional and VERY rare faulty one.
2. Intex - Giant Mega Inflatable Flamingo
Specification: Inflated size: 218 x 211 x 136 cm, Suitable for: 16+ years
We have chosen this giant inflatable flamingo for our next review because of its huge size of 218 x 211 x 136cm, which can comfortably fit two adults or a whole bunch of kids. It’s actually hilarious finding out how many of you can get on to this inflatable toy before it tips over or sinks. This is an absolute giant of a pool toy and pound for pound much better value when compared to any other pool toy.
When this first came to Amazon a couple of years ago it was in nearly a new brand of pool toy. It’s since grown into one of Amazon’s best sellers and I would easily rate this best large pool toy on price and quality as well as the amount of fun you’ll have. For the money, it’s really well built. Probably not that surprising given Intex also make pools so they know how to build PVC products that last…
There is also a smaller version measuring 142 x 137 x 97 cm, but I prefer the larger model as I can dive onto it from the side of the pool and it holds my weight easily. If you’re not the type who enjoys diving onto pool toys, there are two durable plastic handles to help you mount it instead. The Intex giant inflatable flamingo is made from very good quality vinyl and can withstand a fair bit throwing around.
- Massive size of 218 x 211 x 136cm
- Easily fits two adults, one could sprawl out completely
- Made from good quality vinyl
- Two plastic handles to help you mount it
- Also available in a smaller size
- Only suitable at huge pools and the beach
- The odd one breaks
3. Intex 58504NP Floating Hoop Game
Specification: Inflated size: 55 x 67 cm, Suitable for: 3+ years
Priced at only £7.74 at the moment on Amazon, this floating hoop game will provide you with hours and hours of fun. I have to tell you if you’re not into inflatable toys but like a bit of a mess around in the pool. for the money this is a good little pool game and probably my pick for the best pool toy after proving itself as a top seller for so long with excellent feedback online. I remember when I first reviewed this a couple of years ago – it was just starting out and as with everything Intex, you expect Decent quality, the biggest surprise is the quality. The materials used are durable and the toy inflates easily and stays that way without leaks or puncturing easily.
Whether you are using it in the pool or the back garden, with a little imagination, you can use this inflatable toy and ball for all sorts of games.
The toy stands 55cm tall and the base is 67cm wide, but when deflated it can be folded up and carried in a bag or suitcase easily. When you’re using this you really want to get a ball about 5 or 6 inches (assuming you lose the one supplied). Apart from that it’s easy to inflate and ready to play with in minutes. Given the size it’ll suit garden pools as well as any other pool you visit
- Low price
- Can be used in the pool or on dry land
- Ball included
- Inflates easily
- Excellent fun for large groups or alone
- It gets blown about quite easily in gentle breezes
- The odd one in thousands is defective
4. Bestway Star Wars X-Fighter Inflatable
Specification: Inflated size: 1.5 x 1.4 m, Suitable for: 3+ years
If your child is into Star wars (and let’s face it, who isn’t?) their face will light up when they have their very own X-wing fighter to sail around the pool on. While inflating the toy may take a little while initially because of the 6 separate sections, this also means that if one section is leaking air, it won’t affect the others, which I think is worth it. While it’s my favourite, I don’t think it’s the best value for money when you compare it to the Flamingo or the Ride-On.
Measuring 1.50 x 1.40 metres, the x-wing inflatable pool toy is big enough for children all the way up to 13 years old to enjoy. The wide base keeps the centre of gravity low and the product stable in the water. Do not underestimate the size of this inflatable. You’ll need a huge pool or the seaside for this. Word of obvious warning. IF your kid take this to the beach and dives in, you will pop it on sharp stones and gravel! I hardly think it’s fair to make that the deal breaker though as it pretty much applies to all inflatables…however this thing is designed for young teens, the sad reality is it won’t last the kind of battering Skywalker and co would give it.
Realistically, the vinyl used in this toys construction should hold up well if it is used as intended, but like all inflatables, care has to be taken not to damage it with misuse but as I say, this toy is designed for the worst possible age group in terms of getting a beating.
Since I reviewed this the first time not much has changed – if they want this to become a top seller the price will have to go down and the quality up. A tough ask with the generic products being so good, I doubt they’ll be able to compete but I would love to rate this higher. I think if you design an inflatable to look like a fighter for teens and then increase the price 50% in two years it’s an uphill battle – I hope they can do something on this though as it should be a top top seller, I mean just look at how cool it is…
- Great for star wars fans
- Easily the best looking inflatable
- 6 separate sections means leaks won’t affect the product overall
- Low centre of gravity for stability
- Heavy duty plastic handle
- Includes free repair patch just in case
- Prone to breaking with adolescents
- You’ll need that repair kit supplied 😀
5. Bestway Inflatable 18 Pocket Fashion Sun Lounger
Specification: Inflated size: 189 x 71 cm, Suitable for: 16+ years
You can’t go wrong with a classic ‘lilo’ inflatable sun lounger and you certainly can’t go wrong with Bestway. They have practically overrun the garden swimming pool scene with almost all the top selling PVC pools. Especially one that has 18 coloured ‘pockets’ for you to sit your drinks in, and costs £15.99 for two of them. They are a real bargain. Years ago Bestway sold these in singles but I think rather than upping the price they’ve worked out they can earn enough by b bundling two together. Really a great idea for us customers as we always want more than one eventually anyway…
To help the lilo keep its shape, it has been designed with a coil beam construction and the pillow section is also well supported by the I-beam build. The plastic used feels nice and resilient and when inflated the bed has a springy feel to it.
Measuring 74 x 28 inches, the Bestway inflatable sun lounger should be big enough for most average sized adults and it’s very well made. I personally think this is one of the more durable pool inflatables available in the UK at the moment. Take note of the height though, being a bit longer wouldn’t hurt anyone.
One thing you’ll notice is the large holes, they are good but if you leave it in the pool then jump on you’ll be hit by cold water 😀 – you probably don’t want to leave this is the pool overnight anyway but you get my drift…no pun intended.
- Coil beam construction means it holds its shape well
- I-beam pillow is comfortable and springy when inflated
- 18 multi-coloured pockets
- Resilient plastic material
- Could be bigger
6. Intex Dinoland Play Centre
Specification: Inflated size: 333 x 229 x 112 cm, Suitable for: 3+ years
Turn your garden into a mini dinosaur themed waterpark for your kids with this low priced inflatable play centre, suitable for ages 3+. I can tell you my kids play in this with their cousins. There are two 4 years old, 8 years old, and 10. they all love it and it’s still not broken after a few months so it’s pretty resilient. I never put too much water in but I always keep an eye on them as although the water isn’t like a pool, it still concerns me.
You will really thank me if you follow this advice – buy an electric pump – I actually gave up blowing this up by hand, you really want to have an electric pump to preserve some sanity 😀 Discard this advice to your detriment 😀
This play centre has a clever design that incorporates various features that can used to play a good selection of games such as Dino hoops and volcanic ball roller. The moveable orange dinosaur can be used to play basketball in or out of the pool. There is a paddling pool with a small slide with landing mat for younger children, and the blue dinosaur arch acts as a hose fed water spray as they come down the slide. This arch is also moveable. The pool is easily emptied thanks to the draining plug.
The play centre measures 333 x 229 x 112 cm and costs just £49.99. There are other designs from the same company, such as a pirate ship or fantasy castle and they also make awesome garden furniture too. These vary in price and features though so I would suggest clicking on the link provided to view them in more detail.
- Very good value for money
- Multiple features will keep kids entertained all summer
- Paddling pool with slide and landing mat
- Dino hoops included
- Can be used as a basketball game
- Moveable water spray arch
- Easy to drain
- Really need an electric pump to blow this up
- As will all inflatables you’ll get the odd dud out the box.
7. Peradix Baby Swimming Pool Float
Specification: Inflated size: 64 x 64 x 73 cm, Suitable for: 6 months – 3 years
If your child is 12 months to 3 years old or about 25kg in weight (so a big big baby), they should love riding around in this inflatable pool toy from Peradix that costs just £18.99. This is the best pool toy and inflatable for babies in my mind. I just love how cute this thing is. In the last two years since I reviewed this product the first time it has become an Amazon top seller. In fact, it goes to show just how good my picks have been since they have mostly turned into best sellers 😀 But bragging aside, this really is a good product and deserves the customers…
However if I had one complaint its the age range. A six month baby is very different to one that’s 30 months in terms of strength and stability. It’s hard to make a product to fit such a massive range and invariably you’ll see the odd complaint about stability for 6 month babies – so worth thinking about. The manufacturer clearly agrees with me as they have since changed the age rating to a minimum recommended of 12 months…
Peradix have made sure this is a quality product and have used 2.5mm thick, 3 layer, good quality PVC, to ensure that the toy stays airtight. The blow up valves have also been designed to prevent leakage and the seams are excellent. The ‘cockpit’ has a backrest to keep your baby comfortable, and a moveable steering wheel and horn for them to play with.
This inflatable toy is very stable, thanks to the large outer ring that sports two large safety hand grips and the ‘whale fins’ on the side, so even if your child gets excited and moves around a lot, the toy will retain its stability.
Also included is an inflatable canopy to protect the child’s skin from the harmful rays of the sun and this can be adjusted or removed as you see fit. Some have said the sun cover doesn’t come down far enough but I would argue how far do you really want to go? If it’s too hot you shouldn’t be in the sun as this cover fold down far enough to be a complete roof no less!
- Excellent toy for young children
- Very stable and safe thanks to large outer ring and whale fin design
- Cockpit area has back rest for comfort and a moving steering wheel with horn to keep the child entertained
- Made with 3 layer, thick PVC to make it airtight and strong
- Removable canopy to protect the child’s skin from UV rays
- Inflatable beach toys included
- Not enough support for young babies
- Some complain the canopy isn’t large enough
8. Peradix Baby Swimming Pool Float Boat Trainer Seat Inflatable Swim Rings
Specification: Inflated size: 64 x 64 x 73 cm, Suitable for: 6 months – 3 years
Peradix Baby Swimming Pool Float Boat Trainer Seat Inflatable Swim Rings is hard to compare to the previous model reviewed because I prefer the blue colours more. Otherwise they are pretty similar in design 🙂
Since I reviewed the last model they’ve made some really cool upgrades to this one when compared to the older Peradix Baby Swimming Pool Float models. For a start you can now remove the canopy which is a real plus if you want to roam freely with full view behind you. Trust me, the number of times I’ve pushed my baby along peering around the sides to make sure I don’t bump anyone else can become a drain. Likewise if there’s not enough sun it’s a hindrance as well so this is a nice upgrade, especially on a PVC blow up toy.
Talking about pushing it round, the handles are placed lovely for you to stand in front and control the inflatable. The head rest doesn’t do much for for little kids if I’m honest unless they are napping but it’s still handy to have.
The PVC is 0.3mm thick which is pretty decent and certainly justifies the 25kg rating, which if we are honest, is pretty overkill for up to three year olds so you can see why there isn’t much in the way of complaint as far as quality over thousands of sales and reviews which is a great sign.
- Secondary new design based on many feedbacks has made this a well rounded product.
- Excellent value for money
- Sturdy PVC not prone to failure
- Spare repair kit
- Nice design
- Inflatables don’t last forever
- More suited to toddlers than younger babies
Price comparison table for best pool toys
Best pool toy buying FAQ’s
It’s amazing how many repetitive questions I get about buying pool toys so I’ve done my best to cover a few of the most commonly asked questions which encompass what’s required to get a decent pool toy that won’t break in five minutes without paying he Earth. I hope it helps you too!
What is the cheapest pool toy?
If you’re looking for bang for buck then you are obviously going to go for something like the classic Lilo – we picked for this review for variety – the Bestway Inflatable 18 Pocket Fashion Sun Lounger. They cost less than a tenner each when bought in a pack of two and will give you hours of fun, laying about, or messing about with the kids on them. While the design isn’t exactly cutting edge, they are reliable and definitely the best value for money as inflatables go. Strictly talking toys, I would go for the Intex 58504NP Floating Hoop Game. This is a cracking bit of kit and can keep a whole team of kids busy and frolicking for under a tenner.
How do I know if the inflatable is good quality plastic and will last?
The best pool toys simply put have the thickest Polyvinyl Chloride. This is the plastic incase you think I’m trying to bamboozle you. The smaller kids pool toys rated for 25kg and up will be no less than 0.3mm thick plastic. The more heavy duty and heavy the toy, the more chance you have of it lasting. With that said, construction needs to be good too. Any seams are almost certainly going to be the likeliest place for a break. So when you’re weighing up which inflatable to choose make sure that you pick one with minimal reviews stating failure. Now on’t get me wrong, if you find me an inflatable without such negative reviews, I will gladly find you Moses in the bush :D.
Just be aware of the vinyl thickness and seam strength when researching your purchase. The last thing you want is a break and the kids disappointed on the day out own the beach or poolside on holiday
How do I clean my pool toys after use?
If you eave your PVC in your pool then it’s going to start attracting green Algae type growth. The very best thing you can do (if you can be bothered and have access) is to quickly hose down your inflatable to remove any chlorine and then dry it off. This was you can pack it away neatly and give yourself half a chance of pulling it out the next time without holes or damage. IF you don’t clean it up the chances of getting a second year are almost slim to none!
We hope you have enjoyed reading this page of inflatable pool toy reviews and that you have found them helpful, other fun activities in the garden we’ve reviewed for are badminton sets and garden golf nets and I hope these help too. Please take a moment to take a look at our other pages on this site that review other products when you have the time.