Best Pool Floats
A swimming pool without floats is like a slice of cherry pie without whipped cream. While the act of swimming is a great way to melt away the stress of the week, sometimes all someone needs is to just lie back and relax in the warmth of the sun. Rafts have come a long way since the days of the simple multicolor packs you might have used as a kid. Many of the models out there on the market today try and recapture the design and comfort as the furniture in your home. Not only are there flat rafts, but there are also recliners, chaise lounges, water hammocks, and, of course, the traditional inner tube. Check out our top picks below and you'll be floating around the pool in no time!
In a Hurry? The test winner after 17 hrs of research
Separated into 2 chambers
- Intex Rockin' Lounge
- Intex King Kool Lounge
- SwimWays Kelsyus Chaise Lounger
- Swimways Spring Lounger
- SwimWays Floating Hammock
- Intex Floating Recliner
- Swimline Spaceship Squirter
- Swimline Suntan Tub
- BigMouth Inc Gigantic Donut
- Intex Great White Shark
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Expert Interviews & Opinions
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Picks
1. Intex Rockin' Lounge
Separated into 2 chambers
Some feel you sit too far up out of the water
This Intex lounge is sure to keep you high and dry on those days you don’t feel like making contact with the water. It is made from a thick and durable material that is sure to bring you comfort for multiple summers.Read more
The design of this unit is simple, but it is positioned in such a way that you can choose to read a book or take a nap. It has a thick curved based that inclines the body only slightly. You won’t be lying down completely, so you will still be able to hold conversations or read a book while on this raft. It also has a cupholder included on the side, so you won’t have to paddle to the shore to reach for your refreshment.
If you don’t have a hand pump, get ready to give those lungs of yours a workout. If you do have a hand pump, however, the nozzles are able to accommodate a pump, making it a little bit easier to blow up. This unit is separated into two chambers, so you can blow up one and, and you can employ a friend to blow up the other side to get you floating in the pool faster. It also comes with a free patch, so that if an accident happens (and they do) you will have the proper tools to fix it without the need to replace the entire item.
With expert design and top notch quality also comes a cost. This raft costs a little bit more than some of the others out there on the market. It will likely set you back the same amount of money that you would spend on a small 4-pound box of chlorine tablets.
If you are in the market to add a little bit of life to your swimming this summer, Intex rafts are the way to go. Not only are they incredibly comfortable and well designed, but they will also last you multiple summers. They do cost a little bit more than many of the others out there, but the higher price tag reflects its great quality and durability.
2. Intex King Kool Lounge
Can be used in a number of ways
The cup holder is just out of reach when reclined
Intex also makes a lounger that isn’t quite as epic and places you a little closer to the water. It has a fun and colorful design that will look fantastic floating in any body of water, and it carries a price tag that will allow you to buy one for every member of your family.Read more
The design of this raft allows the lounger to sit in various different ways to keep comfortable and to keep cool. It has a head and armrest located at the top of the unit and a cup holder on the side. What makes this model a bit unique is that is has a hole at the end. This hole can be used to dip your legs into when the sun starts to make you a little too hot, without the need to slip off the raft completely. It is made from a clear tinted blue material that has multicolor stripes going down the middle.
This model is able to blow up in two different sections. The first section is the base and can be simply blow up with the power of your lungs and it won’t take you all afternoon. If you prefer to use it and lay flat on your back or on your stomach, you are going to want to leave the reclining section deflated. If you want to be able to sit upright, the head and armrest can be blown up by yourself and will not take you all that long. It also comes with a repair patch included in case any accidents happen.
The cost of this raft is one of it’s best features- it comes to you for about the price that you would pay for an iced coffee to place in the cupholder. With a price this low, you can afford to buy one for every member of your family, and with the Intex name behind it, you know that it will last you multiple summers.
If you are looking for something that is a little more simple, but also has some neat features to make it stand out among the rest, but also has some neat features that make it a little unique- this is going to be your best bet. With a low price tag and the Intex name behind it, this is an excellent deal.
3. SwimWays Kelsyus Chaise Lounger
- Comfortable fabric
- Keeps body partially submerged
- Comes with waterproof carrying case
This Chaise Lounger might be a little bit different than many of the other raft and chairs that you have seemed out there. If you are someone that typically under inflates their raft so that your body stays partially in the water- you might really like the design of this chair. Keep in mind, however, that this model is pretty expensive for a raft.Read more
The unique design is what makes it stand out from the rest. It isn’t made of the same slippery material that most rafts are made from, it is made from a softer and more breathable heavy duty canvas. The sides and the back of the chair inflate, but the center stays deflated. It is like an inner tube with a base and a backrest, basically. It is offered in only one color option- deep blue with light blue trim. The sides have tethering clips so that you can affix it to the side of your boat and relax without the fear of floating too far from the boat.
Due to the fact that the base of this unit doesn’t even have to be inflated- blowing it up is a snap and won’t take you much time at all. Plus, Kelsyus has special Jet Value that they have a patent on that makes inflation even easier and faster. When you are done using it, it deflates just as easily and can be stored for the winter in a waterproof case that is included with purchase.
The price tag on this design is a little shocking, and it costs quite a bit more than many of the others models out there on the market. The hefty price tag is due in part to the fact that it is made from thicker and more comfortable materials than some of its similar counterparts and thus will hold up better.
If you wanted something that was made out of a different material than the only standard options, this is a really great choice that will work perfectly in swimming pool or in the lake. Its durable design will likely last you many summers to come.
4. Swimways Spring Lounger
Easy to blow up
Durable and comfortable mesh material
Some wish it was bigger
If you like the idea of staying partially submerged while laying back and soaking up the wonderful sunshine, this will be an excellent addition to all of your swimming gear. It has a really basic design that makes it a snap to use, easy to climb onto, and even easier to pack away and keep in storage over the winter.Read more
As we stated earlier, simple is the name of the game when it comes to the Swimway Spring Lounger. It is inflated around the edges, and the center is made from a comfortable mesh material that keeps the body partially submerged when laying back. While this model isn’t ideal for reading a book or sitting on a nice cold beverage, it is great for keeping your body relaxed and comfortable when you simply want to unwind and relax from a stressful work week. The thick material makes it perfect for the pool, but it also makes it a great raft to take with you to the beach or on the lake this summer.
One of the best features of this model is that it barely requires any effort to blow it up. The edges are narrow and thin, so they won’t need to be filled up with all that much air. The headrest does stick out of the water a bit (no one wants their head to be partially submerged!) and will require a bit more air, but not nearly as much as some of the other options found out there on the market.
You would think that because it sports such a simple design that it would be a little less expensive than some of the others out there, but you would be mistaken. Any raft that is made out of this breathable and soft mesh material often runs at a slightly high price point, primarily because it makes them quite a bit more durable than the standard models, and can really hold their own on waters outside of the water.
If you are in the market for something that is a little bit more sturdy for your lounging days outside of still waters, this will be an excellent option to bring along with you to the lake this summer, if you are willing to pay the slightly higher price tag.
5. SwimWays Floating Hammock
- Made from durable material
- Easy to inflate and store
Not ideal for swimmers over 250 pounds
No two words conjure up an image of pure relaxation more than the words ‘floating hammock’. This hammock is exactly what it sounds- it makes you feel like you are hanging in a hammock right in the water. It has a clever design that will keep your head above water at all times and is made from quality materials that are comfortable.Read more
The design of this raft is really what makes it stand apart from all of the others. It has a ring around the edges to keep your body above the water, but it also has a bolt of fabric that is draped like a hammock to keep your torso cupped over the water. When fully inflated, it measures to be 36 inches long, 35.5" wide, and floats in the water 2.5 inches high. It also has a series of springs around your head and shoulders that will ensure you will stay above the water at all times. It is only available in one color- dark blue around the edges and light blue in the middle.
Blowing this up is a snap because the only areas that need to be blown up are around the edges- and the edges aren’t very thick. If you were looking for something that you wouldn’t have to spend an entire afternoon blowing up- this one is the ticket. Plus, it makes it simple to deflate it and stow it away in the garage for the winter. It’s durable material will make it last season after season.
While it does sport a simple design, the price tag is a bit steeper than one would expect. The cost of this will set you about about how much you would spend on a 4 pound container of chlorine tablets. However, the innovative design and sturdy and soft materials make it well worth the slightly padded price tag.
Nothing says relaxation more than a hammock that hangs in the water. If you were looking for a way to really kick back this summer and let the stress of the day just melt off of you in the hot summer sun- this floating hammock is the ticket.
6. Intex Floating Recliner
- Trusted brand
- Incredibly comfortable
- Durable, thick material
Takes a while to blow up
Intex is making this list yet again with this pretty great piece of water furniture. This isn’t your standard raft- this raft if perfect for pouring one (or two) of your favorite beverages, grabbing a good book, and spend the afternoon soaking up the sunshine without the need to even get wet.Read more
Some people like designs that leave you partially submerged in the water and others prefer models where there is almost contact with the water. The models satisfy the latter. It mimics the recliner that you might have sitting in your living room that is perfect for unwinding after a long day. It sits high up out of the water, has a pair of handles that will allow you to paddle to that perfect spot, and rocks double cup holders so you can keep a spare on you without the need to paddle to shore. This is made for the most hardcore summertime relaxer.
We hope you have good lung capacity because this might take you a while to blow up. On the bright side, it is able to utilize the help of a hand pump (not included) so you can give your lungs a break. If you don’t have a hand pump, the good news is that it is separated into two different chambers. If you ask nicely, you might be able to have a friend blow up one end while you work on the other.
The cost of this model isn’t the cheapest on the market- but it also isn’t the most expensive model either. This might set you back the same amount you might spend on a 4-pound container of chlorine. Considering that it comes with the mark of high quality that comes from Intex, this is well worth the slightly padded price tag.
If you want to relax, but you don’t necessarily want to get wet, this Intex recliner is are a sure way to let the stress of the week just melt away, without the need of even getting in the water.
7. Swimline Spaceship Squirter
Mounted squirt gun that doesn’t need to be filled
Hard to keep squirt gun in place
We are going to take a brief recess from the rafts that induce deep relaxation and manage stress and bring you something that is a little bit more fun. The Swimline UFO Spaceship has a comfortable design that makes you feel as if you are sitting in a captains chair, and it has a really clever squirt gun design.Read more
Swimline is known for making inflatable toys that will bring a lot of fun to parties this summer. The basic design of this model is like that of an innertube. It has a high back that you can lean into, and armrests on the side. The part of this that is incredibly clever is the squirt gun that is mounted to the top. It uses an endless stream of water to squirt unsuspecting victims. The design makes it perfect for your 10-year-old kids, but it is able big enough to fit your 40-year-old kids as well.
Due to the fact that it has a squat fat design that sits up pretty high out of the water, you are going to need to harness a lot of your lung capacity to get this blown up. If you happen to have a hand pump, it makes the job a whole lot easier. Many different types of hand pumps will work, too, such as the pump that might have come with your inflatable mattress.
The cost of this toy inflatable toy runs about the same price as many of the other rafts found on this list, and will likely set you back the same amount that you might spend on a 4-pound container of chlorine. Considering that it comes with the additional feature of an endless water gun, this comes in at a really great price.
If you find that lounging on a raft all day doesn’t seem all that appealing to you, and you want something that is a little bit more exciting- for your kids or for yourself- this is a really great way of injecting a little bit of fun into your summer.
8. Swimline Suntan Tub
- Incredibly comfortable
- Can be filled with water
Takes a long time to blow up
Swimline doesn’t mess around when it comes to leisure. This model looks like you put an actual mattress right into the water- which makes it ideal for days that you just want to take it easy. It has high edges that keep the water out so that you won’t even have to get wet if you don’t want to.Read more
This actually looks like a raft that a sultan would use. When it is completely inflated, it measures to be an impressive 70 inches long, 46 inches wide and stands 8 inches up out of the water. If you wanted to use it and keep dry, the high edges will keep water out. If you prefer to lay in a little bit of water, you can fill the inside with water and it will still allow you to float about the water. This design is perfect for those that like to stay dry, or those who prefer to stay submerged.
Due to the fact that is is just so large, it’s going to take a lot of your wind to blow it up. While it is possible to blow it up with just your lungs alone, we actually recommend using a hand pump just to save yourself some time and energy. If you own an inflatable mattress, you might even have the exact pump you would need to blow up this bed.
You are not going to pay sultan prices for this raft, but you are going to end up paying a little more than some of the more reasonable priced rafts on this list. This is one of the more expensive units we selected. However, considering its size and versatility, we think that it is well worth the price.
If you work hard all week and need something that will allow you to relax to the fullest- nothing is going to help you get there faster than this sultan tub. It may take a little bit longer to blow up, but in the end, it will certainly be worth it.
9. BigMouth Inc Gigantic Donut
4 feet wide
Takes a long time to blow up
Nothing says fun like a giant donut bobbing in the water. BigMouth Inc brings a run take on the classic inner tube. Inner tubes are one of the most popular ways to spend time in the water and their popularity hasn’t declined in the slightest. What makes them so great is that they can be used in a myriad of ways and they never stop being fun.Read more
BigMouth Inc has been manufacturing this clever design since 2012, and it still is one of their top sellers. It has the classic inner tube design, only the print on the top is made to look like a pink donut with sprinkles, and it has a bite taken out of the side. Not only does it have a clever design- but it’s also huge. It measures to be 4 feet wide- which makes it ideal for lounging on like it was a raft, or climbing through the inside of the hole and splashing around a bit.
Get ready- this is going to take a long of lung capacity to fill up. It is 4 feet wide and is just one solid design, so you know it’s going to take a while. We suggest either digging out the pump used to inflate your air mattress or spending just a little extra money to invest in a hand pump. Summer is too short as it is, and you don’t want to waste valuable time exerting all of your energy filling up a 4-foot giant donut.
Considering how big this unit is, it comes at a pretty affordable price point that is competitive with many of the other similar products out there on the market. It will likely set you back the same amount of money that you would spend ordering a pizza after a long day of lounging by the water.
If you are looking for something that you can splash around in, but is also big enough to lay back and catch some rays, this is an excellent option that will look insanely charming floating around in the water.
10. Intex Great White Shark
Plastic handles make it easy to stay on
Takes a long time to inflate
No summer swimming experience is complete if there isn’t a giant inflatable shark to ride on. This giant toy is a blast for kids to ride on, and well as adults. Surprisingly, it doesn’t cost as much as you would expect to to cost, and it comes with superb quality that can only come from Intex.Read more
This shark is huge. It measures in at 68 inches long and 42 inches wide. There are strong plastic handle grips on the side to ensure that you won’t fall off once you have climbed aboard. The shark is all gray with black features and adorable beady little eyes on the front.
You probably can already guess that this beast is going to take a while to blow up. If you have the lung capacity of Captain America and enough time to kill, you could perhaps blow this up with your lungs in time for summer. We suggest, however, that you seek the aid of a hand pump to get this shark ready for the open water.
This doesn’t cost nearly as much as you probably expected and is one of the most affordable options on this list. In fact, it costs half the price of many of the simple rafts that are found about. If you are looking for something big that makes a statement, and don’t want to spend a whole lot of money- this is an excellent option.
No pool is complete without a large maritime creature that you can board and ride around. This shark will be a welcome addition to your summertime fun in the water, and the best part about it is that it comes at an incredible price point.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Ease of Use
No one likes to blow up toys and rafts. After bringing home a new item, there is always the feeling of dread that washes over you when faced with what seems like miles of flat PVC stretched out in front of you, and you wonder just how long it will take before its ready to hit the water. We are familiar with that feeling, so we tried to select items that didn’t require days of being blow up. However, some models were just too appealing that we had to select them- like the giant shark. In those instances, we recommend that you invest in a hand pump. They are relatively inexpensive, and will really save you a lot of time, energy, and air in the long run. In fact, you might already have one if you have an inflatable mattress that came with an air pump included with purchase (which almost all of them do).
Sure, those packs of rafts that you get at the supermarket might work well for a moment, but how do they look at the end of the summer? Typically, most of them have been thrown into the trash, and the ones that remain seem to always be flat. You probably have memories of hopping off of them every so often to blow them up a little more. Then, come next summer- you buy more of the cheap rafts, only to repeat the ritual over again.
We think you deserve better than that, which is why we selected rafts that were made to not only last one summer but were made to last multiple summers. They way we ensured that these products would last were two-fold. First, we took notice of the companies that were manufacturing them and took note of what type of materials that they used. Products that used a thicker canvas material were generally more resilient and were made to last a very long time. The second that we looked at was what people were saying about the products. If we saw comments that mentioned how they lasted users multiple summers, we were immediately drawn to those products.
We do not recommend taking a nap on your raft. However, towing that line just between sleep and being awake is the sweet spot where all of the stress of the week can just melt away. We wanted to select items that were both comfortable and fun. In our experience- there are typically two types of raft dwellers. There are those that prefer that their body is partially submerged in the water so that their skin doesn’t become too hot in the summer sun. Then there is the kind that prefers that no part of their body touch the water. We tried to select rafts that would accommodate both camps, and some items (such as the sultan tub) would be considered perfect for both.
Maintaining a pool can be expensive, we know. Not only do you have to pay to have it filled to the top every year, but you also have to pay for all of the chemicals, tools, and gear to keep the water clear and inviting. After investing all of that money, it might sting a little bit to spend a lot of money on rafts and inflatable toys. We took that into consideration when selecting the best gear. We wanted to make sure that it was from trusted brands, and was made from quality materials so that in the years to come, you won’t have to make the same purchases over and over because the old gear won’t stay inflated or has too many holes that it’s starting to look like swiss cheese.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
You might be really tempted just to jump on the raft and push all of the air out, but if you do that you will rush the risk of ripping it at the seams. The best way to deflate it is to upon the valve and slowly and carefully press on it to let the air out. A lot of hand pumps have a deflate function, so if you don’t have the patience, the hand pump might be a good option. If you don’t have a hand pump, you might be able to pick one up at your local hardware store. The key to remember when deflating is to go slow and remain patient. Following these steps along with careful storage will make your products last for many seasons of enjoyment.
Other Factors to Consider
Most of the classic designs that you have used in the past are made out of a type of plastic called PVC. Some of the more expensive designs are made out of a mesh canvas type material is more sturdy and is designed to last longer. That type of material is also perfect to take out onto the lake or use in the ocean. If you have the money, the canvas versions are designed to be a lot more resilient and will rip and get holes in them less frequently.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Can I leave them in the water overnight?
It might be tempting to leave your float in the water overnight because if you put them next to the water they might blow away. However, keeping them in the water for longer periods of time will shorten their lifespan. Being exposed to direct sunlight while not in use will fade the patterns or colors on the surface, and the chemicals in the water will break down the plastics over time. We recommend that when you are done using them that you bring them inside away from the sun and the water.
q: How should I store them in the winter?
To ensure that they will last for many seasons, it’s important that you take some care when packing them away. One of the most important things that you need to do before putting them away is to ensure that they are completely and absolutely dry. If they aren’t dry, they might be moldy when you dig them out the following summer. It is also important that you place them in a cool, dry spot in your garage or in your storage shed. The best place for them is in a sealable plastic package or a plastic container with a lid, and ideally, they are safest up off of the floor. If you follow all of these instructions, you should have rafts that are ready to be inflated for a new summer swimming season.
q: How to clean them?
If you leave them outside in the water all summer, they are going to get a little grimy and dirty by the time September rolls around. It’s important that when you pack them away for the winter clean so that you don’t run the risk of any mold growing on when you unpack them in the spring. The most popular cleaning method to ensure there are no bacteria on them when you pack them away is to mix about 2 cups of household bleach into a gallon bucket of warm water. With a cloth that has been soaked in the mixture, wipe down the surface completely, and then hose it down with a garden hose. Once it is completely dried, you can either blow it back up and throw it into the water or pack it away for the winter. If you do not like working with bleach, you can substitute it for 1 cup of baking soda for a more natural solution.
q: Is there an easier way to blow them up?
No one likes to be the one sitting on the shore, watching everyone splash around and have fun while you are huffing and puffing as you try and fill up your raft. While some of the models on the market don’t require the use of all that much air, there are some (like the shark) that could take the better part of an afternoon. In those instances, we strongly suggest using a hand pump. You might already have a pump if you have ever purchased an air mattress because they typically come standard with a pump. If you don’t have one on hand, they can be purchased online or at your local hardware store for not that much money at all, and it is something that you will find a myriad of uses for.
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