Best Pool Floats for Swimming: A Buyers Guide & Review

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Who doesn’t love a good pool float?

I mean, don’t get me wrong, splashing around in a pool is great and all, but nothing beats chilling on a floating bed of air, reading your book while sipping on a cold pina colada. (No? Just me?)

For the younger crowd, however, relaxation couldn’t be further from the mind, and the right pool float can be at the center of hours of fun.

This article will be a deep look at the best pool floats around, including the various types you can buy, as well as a side-by-side comparison to see which float is truly king of the hill pool.

The Best Pool Floats

The following pool floats have been chosen for comparison since they’re regarded as the most popular options among pool owners today.

Enter the brave candidates:

Preview Product
Intex King Kool Inflatable Lounge,... Intex King Kool Inflatable Lounge,...
BigMouth Inc. Donut Pool Float,... BigMouth Inc. Donut Pool Float,...
Kelsyus Spring Float Hammock Pool... Kelsyus Spring Float Hammock Pool...
SWIMLINE ORIGINAL 90621 Giant... SWIMLINE ORIGINAL 90621 Giant...
Texas Recreation Sunray 1.25' Thick... Texas Recreation Sunray 1.25" Thick...
Coast Athletic Foam Pool Noodles, 4... Coast Athletic Foam Pool Noodles, 4...

Note — If you’re just here to get a breakdown of your options, you can click here to jump straight to the product review section.

When Should You Buy A Pool Float?

There are a number of reasons to get yourself a pool float, and if you’re reading this buyer’s guide, you’re no doubt aware of at least some them.

  • Relaxation: Like I said in the intro, some floaties offer a level of relaxation that you just don’t get on hard ground. #bliss
  • Fun: Pool floats come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and there’s no shortage of outrageously silly floats to keep the fun alive.
  • Tanning: Trying to get some color? There’s few better ways to get your UV suit on than basking in the middle of a well-exposed pool.
  • Appeal: Let’s face it, a handful of well-selected pool floats have the power to turn a dull, lifeless pool into a people-packed bonanza.
  • Versatility: Pool floats, despite their name, can actually be used at lakes, rivers and beaches. Who says you get what you pay for?

When Shouldn’t You Buy A Pool Float?

Not every purchase makes sense for every person in every situation, which is why I’m also going to list off reasons why you might decide AGAINST getting a pool float.

  • Pool size: While some pool floats are small enough to work in a smaller pool, it may actually hinder the pool experience if there’s no room to swim.
  • Sunburn: We all know wet bodies are more prone to tanning, so if you’re bobbing in and out of the water on a pool float, you better have some endurance to the sun.
  • Phobia: Sounds crazy, but you or someone in your circle could have a phobia to inflatable objects. (There’s actually an official name for fear of balloons, called ‘Globophobia’.)
  • Addiction: I realize we’re getting into some weird territory now, but if you have a strange love for inflatables, you may want to steer clear. (Watch the video below, you’ll understand.)

What Types Of Pool Floats Can You Buy?

When looking at the different types of pool floats available, it can sometimes be hard to know what to go for.

As with most things, there’s really no one-size-fits-all solution. It’s simply a case of understanding what your options are so you can make a more informed buying decision.

Inflatable Pool Floats

Most pool floats you’ll find are inflatable, in that they’re made from vinyl and need to be blown-up before use.

No… not that kind of blowing up.

The great thing about inflatable pool floats are that they can be reduced down to almost nothing when the air is released, although it will never be quite as compact as when you first bought it.

Ironically, that’s also the biggest downfall of using an inflatable pool float. If you need to pack it away or move it from A to B, releasing the air and blowing it back up again can become a real nuisance.

There’s also the fact that inflatables are prone to punctures, so it’s important to get something durable that, preferably, comes with a patch kit as well. Just in case.

If you’re buying a pool float to keep the kids occupied, inflatables—and large, silly inflatables—are a great way to go.

2. Foam Pool Floats

Foam pool floats, unlike inflatable floats, do not have to be blown-up before use. (Can I get a hell yeah?)

Since the foam traps air within itself, it becomes less dense than water and is able to float right out of the box.

That means you’re essentially removing the setup time required with any inflatable floatie, as well as not having to worry about punctures.

It’s not all good news though.

Since you can’t “take the air out of them”, foam floats are wayyyy less portable, and bigger ones can be a real pain to store for the winter.

You also have to consider that there is much less variety when it comes to foam, especially when you’re looking for something on the larger side.

While these can be fun to play with, especially the long, sausage-like foam floats, they’re generally used to new swimmers.

How To Choose The Best Pool Float

Knowing which type of float to look for will narrow your options down to some degree, but it still doesn’t tell you what the right product is.

If you really wanna drill down your options, you have the look at the factors behind what makes a great pool float, well… great.

How Much Time And Effort Is Required?

I touched on this above, but I still believe it to be one of the main things to consider when buying a float for your pool.

Pumping air from your lungs into an inflatable can not only take up a good chunk of your time, but it can also be pretty damn tiring.

If your pool is open for most of the year, and your floats aren’t going to be moving from pool-to-pool, or (pool-to-beach), this is not something that will be much of an issue for you.

Additionally, if you’re looking for a foam float, this isn’t something you need to concern yourself with at all.

Can I Kick Back And Relax In Style?

Granted, not all pool floats are designed for comfort, and it really does depend on the use case, but it’s certainly something you should take into account.

We all know that kids will be more interested in the “fun factor” than anything else, but for those of us who are more interested in a relaxing drift across the water, comfort is KEY.

Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to tell how comfortable a floatie is without actually trying it, which is why you kinda have to depend on reviews, like this one.

The good news?

I’ll be taking into account many of the other reviews for the pool floats mentioned in this article, just to get a more accurate picture of how they feel for people of all shapes and sizes.

How Long Will It Last?

Durability is going to vary a LOT depending on which type of pool float we’re talking about.

Nobody expects to get 5 years out of an inflatable because they’re so prone to damage, whether it be the elements, animals, or just over-excited children.

This is one the primary reasons to spend a little bit more for a higher quality float, which will be made from thicker, more durable vinyl material.

Some of these products also come with patch kits, and while they’re not always the most reliable, they can save you from having to buy a replacement.

Foam on the other hand is much more durable, but as stated before, it may need fit your needs as it’s more limited in terms of choice.

Can It Hold My Weight?

Most people won’t even consider buoyancy when buying a pool float, but it does actually vary from product-to-product.

For example, some floats are larger, hold more air and are able to carry more people without caving under pressure. If you expect it to be used by a group of kids, you need to factor that in.

The same applies if you’re freakishly tall or overweight.

It’s also worth noting that some pool floats are designed to be less buoyant and allow water to cover your body. (I will cover at least one of these below.)

Can It Be Used At The Lake Or Beach?

While we’re technically looking at “pool floats” today, that doesn’t mean they are strictly for pool-use only.

We all know better than that.

Maybe you’re looking to take your floatie to the lake, or the beach, or wherever else that harbors water.

Not all pool floats will be ideal for all conditions, especially if you factor in the convenience of moving them from A to B.

Reviewing Popular Swimming Pool Floats

Now that we’ve covered what to look for in a swimming pool float, you’ll be able to use the comparisons below to make a more informed decision about which makes sense for you and your needs.

The following products were hand-picked for review, where they have been evaluated and rated based on the same criteria I outlined above.

1. Intex King Kool Inflatable Lounge

  • Transparent top with multi-colored I beams
  • Drink holder, arm rests and backrests
  • Repair patch comes with it
  • Setup: 4 out of 5
  • Comfort: ? out of 5
  • Durability: 4 out of 5
  • Buoyancy: 4.5 out of 5
  • Versatility: 3 out of 5

The King Kool Inflatable Lounge float from Intex is available in 2 different colors, and as part of multi-packs if you’re looking to get a discount on multiple floats.

There’s plenty of praises to sing for this product, such as the fact that it’s super sturdy, can hold a lot of weight, and the vinyl is tough enough to handle a dog’s nails.

One of the nice things about this model is that the back support can be inflated or deflated separate from the main body, which means you can even lay flat if you choose. Oh, and there’s also an open area to dip your legs into the water.

2. BigMouth Inc Gigantic Donut Pool Float

BEST VALUE
BEST VALUE
  • Donut Pool Float: Make a splash with this awesome...
  • Convenient Pool Raft: This raft is easy to store...
  • High Quality Vinyl Raft: This vinyl pool float is...
  • Setup: 3 out of 5
  • Comfort: 5 out of 5
  • Durability: 4 out of 5
  • Buoyancy: 4 out of 5
  • Versatility: 4.5 out of 5

The Gigantic Donut from BigMouth Inc is an inflatable pool float that comes in two delicious flavors (or colors) — strawberry and chocolate.

As the name suggests, this food-shaped floatie comes in at just over 4 feet wide, making one the largest inflatable donuts on the market.

Thanks to its size, this thing will hold a good amount of weight, making it ideal for large people, or even multiple small people (if you can fit them on, that is).

One of the issues with this product, however, is that some users report significant fading of the donut graphics within a few months of use, though that’s something you should to expect with any printed float to some extent.

The verdict? Donut pass this one up.

3. Kelsyus Floating Hammock

  • FLOATING POOL HAMMOCK: Features a soft mesh bed...
  • INFLATABLE HEAD PILLOW: Oversized inflatable...
  • PATENTED INNER SPRING DESIGN: Inner spring sewn...
  • Setup: 5 out of 5
  • Comfort: 4.5 out of 5
  • Durability: 4.5 out of 5
  • Buoyancy: 2 out of 5
  • Versatility: 4.5 out of 5

The Floating Hammock from Kelsyus is a partially inflatable pool float that comes both as a standalone product, and as part of discounted multi-packs.

The unique selling point of this particular floatie, is that your body is partially submerged, so it feels like you’re actually in a hammock. (And yes, it’s just as comfortable as you’d imagine it to be.)

Despite appearances, this though little water hammock is also able to hold up to a 250lbs, making it an ideal choice for pretty much all people of all shapes and sizes.

The only let down that I could find, was that the air valve is pretty stiff which allows air to escape pretty quickly, even as you take a second to insert the stopper.

4. Swimline Kids Giant Inflatable Swan

  • {OVERSIZED DESIGN} This Original Ride-On Swan...
  • {PRIME COMFORT} The float mat features a buoyant,...
  • {EXTRA STABLE} Its wide base, grab-on neck, &...
  • Setup: 3.5 out of 5
  • Comfort: 4.5 out of 5
  • Durability: 2 out of 5
  • Buoyancy: 4.5 out of 5
  • Versatility: 3 out of 5

This Giant Swan is an inflatable pool float made by Swimline, and although it’s specifically for “kids”, it’s certainly big enough to hold an adult (or two, at a push.)

One thing you get with this floatie over any of the others listed here, is the massive appeal it has to children. It’s big. It’s fun… and… hello, it’s a swan!

It’s not all good news, though, since this thing isn’t the most durable pool toy on the market. While some have managed to keep the fun alive throughout an entire season, many have reported issues after only a couple uses.

I mean seriously though, how could I not include a swan?

5. Texas Recreation Sunray Pool Float

OUR TOP PICK
OUR TOP PICK
  • 70” L x 26” W x 1.25” Thick
  • High-quality, durable, vinyl-coated foam
  • The full-roll pillow adds buoyancy and head...
  • Setup: 5 out of 5
  • Comfort: 4 out of 5
  • Durability: 4 out of 5
  • Buoyancy: 4.5 out of 5
  • Versatility: 4.5 out of 5

The Sunray is a foam pool float from Texas Recreation, and you can get it in a variety of colors, including blue, coral, lime, yellow and teal.

The obvious benefit to a floatie like this is that there is virtually ZERO setup time involved, since it doesn’t require pumping air into it to work. (And yes, foam is also surprisingly comfortable to lie on.)

On the flip side, this particular product is on the thin side, with some users reporting that it doesn’t hold their weight very well. The other thing to consider is that this is significantly more expensive than most inflatable alternatives.

6. Coast Athletic Famous Foam Pool Noodles

  • DIMENSIONS* - 54 Inch Length, 2.5 Inch Diameter,...
  • Setup: 5 out of 5
  • Comfort: 3.5 out of 5
  • Durability: 5 out of 5
  • Buoyancy: 4.5 out of 5
  • Versatility: 4 out of 5

This 4-pack of “famous” foam pool noodles from Coast Athletic come in a number assorted colors, and are chosen at random for each individual order.

While you won’t be kicking back on these things any time soon, they’re always a hit with the kids and are often to use to help aid new swimmers.

It’s surprising how many people actually use pool noodles for things other than swimming, such as covering up sharp edges or organizing shoes. Still, these are still a great addition to any pool!

Conclusion

So there you have it, my roundup and review of the best pool floats in town.

Whether you’re looking for something to chill out on, catch a bit of sun, or just have a bit of a laugh with, this buyers guide has you covered.

Good luck and happy floating!

Categories: Pool Care, Pool Equipment