A kid’s perfect summer day equals no homework, a melting popsicle in hand, and a kiddie pool full of water. Affordable and good for hours of fun, the best kiddie pools are sure to keep little ones entertained and cool on hot days. Depending on the pool, adults can take part in the fun as well.
The best kiddie pools are full of features that make them both easy and fun to use. For parents, they are simple to set up, easy to clean, and convenient to pack away. For kids, these pools are brightly colored and include built-in sprayers, water games, and slides. Read on for the best kiddie pools to help the whole family beat the heat.
- BEST OVERALL: Intex Rainbow Ring Inflatable Play Center
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: XFlated Kiddie Pool
- BEST FOR BABIES: Intex Mushroom Inflatable Kiddie Pool
- BEST FOR TODDLERS: Intex Ice Cream Stand Inflatable Pool
- BEST FOR ADULTS: Minnidip Watercolor Swirl Inflatable Pool
- BEST HARD-PLASTIC: Step2 Play & Shade Pool
- BEST PLAY CENTER: Little Tikes Slam ‘n Curve Slide
- BEST FOR FAMILIES: Intex Swim Center Shootin’ Hoops Inflatable Pool
- BEST SPLASH PAD: SplashEZ A to Z Sprinkler Pool
- BEST FOR THE BEACH: EverEarth E Lite Beach Blanket & Kiddie Pool
How We Chose the Best Kiddie Pools
The best kiddie pools share a few features: They’re made of durable and long-lasting materials, are simple to set up and take down, and are low maintenance and easy to clean. These are the main features we looked for when evaluating pools—they ensure the pool lasts through the summer, at minimum (many will last through several seasons), and will be hygienic to use and store.
That’s a great list of features for the parents, but since the kids will be using the pool, we took them into account, too. The top kiddie pools on our list appeal to kids because they’re just plain fun. Even the simplest options are colorful and bright, but we also included a range of pools with exciting features like built-in inflatable water slides, games, and sprayers to keep kids occupied. Plus, there’s a choice on this list to entertain kids of any age, from babies to teens.
Our Top Picks
Looking for a way to cool down and keep kids occupied through the long days of summer? Little and big kids alike will love splish-splashing the day away in these feature-filled kiddie pools.
The Intex Rainbow Ring Inflatable Play Center makes an excellent first impression—this kiddie pool play center looks like fun right off the bat. The inflatable pool is split into two exciting sections for kids 3 and older. One area features a water sprayer and water games, including rings and balls. This area is joined to a larger pool section via a water slide—a major draw for little ones.
Overall, this pool measures 117 inches long by 75.6 inches wide by 52.8 inches tall, which allows two or three young kids to comfortably play (up to six if just used as a sitting pool). This kiddie pool sets up pretty easily, has a drain plug for emptying, and comes with a repair patch in case of accidents. The only item it’s missing is an inflation pump; users must provide their own.
- Type: Inflatable
- Dimensions: 117 inches long by 75.6 inches wide by 52.8 inches tall
- Age recommendation: 3+ years old
- Tons of fun for kids with the included water games, sprayer, and a built-in mini slide
- Users report it is durable and lasts through many uses
- Includes a patch repair kit in case of any small punctures or tears
- Does not come with an inflation pump, which is required due to the size of this pool
- Slide is very small and likely entertaining only for young toddlers
Get the Intex Rainbow Ring kiddie pool at Amazon, Overstock, or Wayfair (with 100 plastic balls).
While a play center is oh-so-fun, a simple and cheap kiddie pool is often enough to do the trick. This pool from XFlated is very basic and also very affordable. Measuring 45 inches in diameter by 10.5 inches tall, it’s suitable for a couple of babies or toddlers to splash around in (or an adult who really needs to cool off).
The watermelon pattern adds a bit more summer fun to this plain pool (a hamburger and ice cream design are also available). In practical terms, users can inflate this pool with a pump or by mouth. Although a pump is not included, this pool does come with a patch repair kit for any small holes and a bag for storage.
- Type: Inflatable
- Dimensions: 45 inches in diameter by 10.5 inches tall
- Age recommendation: Babies and toddlers
- Easy to inflate and deflate due to simple design and smaller size; a pump is not necessary
- Watermelon graphic makes this basic pool a bit more fun, and 2 other designs are available
- Includes a patch repair kit and a storage bag to make repairs and tidying up a breeze
- No extra accessories or toys included—this pool is just for wading and relaxing
Get the XFlated kiddie pool at Amazon.
Measuring 40 inches in diameter, this small inflatable kiddie pool is the perfect size for babies and toddlers to splash around in. Its shallow depth and inflatable padded floor make this pool both safe and comfortable, not to mention its mushroom design is eye-catching.
The inflatable mushroom top is adorable, but more importantly, it doubles as a sunshade to shelter little ones’ sensitive skin. Since the shade is supported by air instead of a hard frame, there’s no need to worry about babies bumping their heads. Plus, a removable, inflatable mushroom friend attached to the pool’s edge gives babies an extra playtime pal. A patch repair kit is included.
- Type: Inflatable
- Dimensions: 40 inches in diameter by 35 inches tall
- Age recommendation: 1 to 3 years old
- Mushroom design is entertaining and practical; it’s colorful, and the top doubles as a sunshade
- Pool bottom has inflatable padding to keep babies comfortable
- Inflatable sunshade doesn’t have a hard frame, which makes it extra safe for babies
- Some users note the structure can lean to one side, even when fully inflated
Get the Intex Mushroom kiddie pool at Amazon, Wayfair, Target, or Intex.
While a wading pool is fun, it might not keep all toddlers occupied. Consider this ice cream stand–themed pool from Intex to bring more imagination into pool time. It’s a wading pool and make-believe ice cream stand, complete with three inflatable ice cream toys. Toddlers will love pretending to serve their favorite summer treats while cooling down in the shallow water.
This pool measures 50 inches long by 40 inches wide by 39 inches tall and is rated for kids up to age 6. It fits two kids comfortably, and the ice cream–stand structure also doubles as a partial sunshade. Like other Intex pools, this one comes with a patch repair kit. It does not include an air pump for inflating.
- Type: Inflatable
- Dimensions: 50 inches long by 40 inches wide by 39 inches tall
- Age recommendation: 2 to 6 years old
- Includes inflatable ice cream toys to encourage imaginative play
- Ice cream–stand design doubles as a sunshade to provide partial sun protection
- Structure inflates firmly without drooping or sagging
- The bottom of the pool is not padded, so it may not be comfortable on hard decks or rocky surfaces
- Quite small; fits 2 children at a time at most
Get the Intex Ice Cream Stand kiddie pool at Amazon or Intex.
Nostalgic about homework-free summers spent in the pool? There’s a way to relive that childhood dream. The Minnidip inflatable pool looks a lot like a regular kiddie pool—it’s just adult-size and a little fancier looking. When inflated, this pool measures 66 inches in diameter by 21 inches tall, which is large enough to fit two adults.
The tufted design and watercolor swirl pattern elevate this pool into an “adult” kiddie pool and give it a place on our best inflatable pool list. Other fun patterns are available from the brand as well. There’s nothing stopping kids from enjoying this pool, too—with supervision, of course.
Using the Minnidip is simple. It has a wide air valve for fast inflating and deflating. While it doesn’t come with an air pump, users can use a hair dryer (set to the cool setting) or an air- mattress pump to inflate the pool. It also has a drain plug for easier emptying and comes with a patch repair kit.
- Type: Inflatable
- Dimensions: 66 inches in diameter by 21 inches tall
- Age recommendation: 6+ years old
- Stylish tufted design and modern pattern is well suited for adults
- Large enough to fit 2 adults while keeping to the nostalgic shape of traditional kiddie pools
- Very easy to inflate using an air pump, hair dryer, or air-mattress pump
- Might be a tight squeeze for 2 larger adults
Get the Minnidip kiddie pool at Walmart, Maisonette, Minnidip, or Target (Blushing Palms).
Season after season of roughhousing isn’t a problem for the Step2 Play & Shade Pool, which is made of durable hard plastic. This pool measures 37.5 inches in diameter by 7.75 inches tall. It’s a little wading pool for kids ages 2 and up and has two built-in seats for a couple of little ones.
To add to the fun (and safety), this kiddie pool includes an umbrella with water toys. Attached to the umbrella stand are small water funnels that drip water down to a wheel. The umbrella is sizable, measuring 40 inches across, and it provides a good amount of shade so kids can spend hours playing outdoors.
- Type: Hard plastic
- Dimensions: 37.5 inches in diameter by 7.75 inches tall
- Age recommendation: 2+ years old
- Thick plastic is very durable and resistant to cracks and holes, even when kids are rough
- Has 2 molded built-in seats for young kids to sit on
- Comes with a sun-shading umbrella and baby- and toddler-appropriate water toys
- The umbrella does not tilt, so it may not offer full sun protection all day
- Lacks a drain for emptying the pool
Get the Step2 kiddie pool at Amazon, Wayfair, or Step2.
Larger and more complex than traditional kiddie pools, play centers can provide kids hours and hours of fun. With enough space to splash, slide, and climb, the Little Tikes Slam ‘n Curve Slide will surely be a hit. This large structure is an inflatable water slide with a climbing wall, slide, and wading pool area, complete with a basketball hoop and inflatable ball.
This play center is very large, measuring 168 inches long by 108 inches wide by 84 inches tall. It’s intended to fit a few kids at once and is recommended for children between the ages of 5 and 10. This pool includes everything necessary for setup, including a heavy-duty blower (which runs continuously during pool use), anchoring stakes, a repair kit, and a storage bag.
- Type: Inflatable
- Dimensions: 168 inches long by 108 inches wide by 84 inches tall
- Age recommendation: 5 to 10 years old
- Pretty much irresistible to kids, with a large curved slide, climbing wall, wading pool, and basketball hoop
- Includes all the necessary parts for setup (pump, stakes, and repair kit), along with a storage bag
- Easy to set up and made of durable, puncture-proof material
- Large and requires continuous airflow, so it has higher water and energy needs
Get the Little Tikes kiddie pool at Amazon, Wayfair, or Little Tikes.
The Intex Swim Center Shootin’ Hoops Inflatable Pool provides fun for the whole family. Measuring 101 inches long by 74 inches wide by 53 inches tall, it’s large enough for adults to lounge in. This size also means extra room for the kids to play, which might be necessary considering it has a built-in inflatable basketball hoop. Kids over 3 years old (including adults, of course) can have lots of fun with the inflatable hoop and included ball.
This pool doesn’t include an air pump, so users must provide their own for setup. Take-down is simplified since the pool has a drain. A patch repair kit is included in case anyone plays a little too rough.
- Type: Inflatable
- Dimensions: 101 inches long by 74 inches wide by 53 inches tall
- Age recommendation: 3+ years old
- Suitable size for both adults and children—fits 2 adults
- Includes a built-in inflatable basketball hoop and ball to entertain kids
- Built-in floor drain makes it easier to take down once playtime ends
- Some reviewers note that the pool has trouble staying inflated
Get the Intex Shootin’ Hoops kiddie pool at Amazon, The Home Depot, Target, Overstock, or Intex.
Looking to cool off but don’t want to inflate a pool? A splash pad is a compact but equally effective alternative to beat the heat. The SplashEZ A to Z Sprinkler Pool is great for getting babies and toddlers in the water without the need for a larger pool. This pad is very shallow and attaches to a garden hose to operate the sprinkler feature, which douses kids in a pleasant stream of water.
Besides cooling kids down, this pad has an educational design, with letters written across the bottom and animal cartoons to keep learning fun. With no parts to inflate, setting up this splash pad is as easy as attaching and turning on the hose.
- Type: Splash pad
- Dimensions: 60 inches in diameter by 4 inches tall
- Age recommendation: 1 year old and above
- Very easy to set up and use—no inflatable parts to pump up
- Alphabet and animal pattern can be used as a learning tool while playing
- Flexible material and small size means it compacts down for storage
- Can be difficult to dry completely since the pad fills with water
- Some reviewers report a leaky hose connection
Get the SplashEZ kiddie pool at Amazon or SplashEZ.
Beach days are exciting for the whole family, but keeping kids nearby and contained can be stressful. The EverEarth E Lite Beach Blanket & Kiddie Pool is the beach accessory to bring along to solve both these problems. This product is essentially a waterproof beach blanket that doubles as a kiddie pool—but not the inflatable kind. It’s essentially a portable swimming pool made of soft plastic.
To use as a pool, dig a hole in the sand and place the blanket inside to create a beachside kiddie pool. It comes with a waterproof carry bag for transport and storage, which also doubles as a water bag for filling the pool with ocean water. This design takes the stress out of beach days—kids can frolic in the water while being nearby and protected from waves.
- Type: Soft plastic
- Dimensions: 70.9 inches in diameter
- Age recommendation: 3+ years old
- Great tool for supervising and keeping kids safe at the beach
- Dual purpose as a beach blanket and waterproof pool liner
- Very lightweight, durable, and easy to transport with included carrying bag
- Really only for beach use; this blanket needs to go in an existing hole to work as a kiddie pool
Get the EverEarth kiddie pool at Amazon or Kmart.
What to Consider When Choosing a Kiddie Pool
In general, kiddie pools are affordable, and almost any model will get the job done, so buying one is a pretty low-stakes process. However, some aspects should be considered regarding usage, maintenance, and longevity. Some features to decide on include the pool material, size, age recommendation, setup process, and extra accessories, all of which we explain ahead.
Inflatable vs. Hard Plastic
Kiddie pools come in two material options: soft-sided, inflatable pools made of flexible plastic or vinyl materials and hard-sided pools made of rigid plastic. There are pros and cons to each type.
Inflatable kiddie pools require a pump to inflate them, which may or may not come with the pool. Their soft sides make them easy to pack for storage, but they’re also more fragile. Puncturing or tearing is common, and some pools include patch repair kits since accidents happen, especially when kids are involved. These blow-up pools usually only last a few seasons, but they’re affordable, easy to replace when kids outgrow them, and convenient to store. Look for cushioned flooring in inflatable options, which makes the pool more comfortable to sit in.
A hard kiddie pool is made from rigid plastic and comes ready to use, outside of installing any extra accessories. These pools are usually pricier but also much more durable than inflatable options—typically lasting several years. However, because they’re hard-sided, they won’t compress down for storage in the colder months.
When choosing a pool size, consider the available yard space. If buying a pool for young children, make sure there is enough space to comfortably maneuver around the pool once, in case any little ones need help while playing. Keep in mind too that a small kiddie pool requires less water than a larger one.
Another size determinant is how many children will use the pool and their ages. Kiddie pools sometimes share a capacity rating for the number of babies, toddlers, or children they can fit at once. It’s also pretty easy to estimate according to the dimensions or by checking features like the number of built-in seats.
Kiddie pools generally share an age or age group recommendation to make it easier for parents to choose a suitable option. If the brand doesn’t share a numerical age, many will at least label the pool as suitable for babies, toddlers, or children.
Generally, the younger the kids, the smaller and shallower the pool should be for safety reasons. A baby pool should always allow the child to be close to an adult’s reach. Larger kiddie pools are suitable for older kids and teens, including options for adults to lounge in. For babies and toddlers, consider a kiddie pool with a built-in sun cover to protect their vulnerable skin from the sun.
Ease of Setup and Storage
The best kiddie pools are simple to set up, take down, and store. Due to their size, most inflatable options require a pump. The good news is these pools are often easy to set up: many times it’s as simple as plugging in the pump. Some pools pop up in one go, accessories and all. More complicated pools, such as a kiddie pool with slide features, may need to be inflated by section. Setting up hard-plastic pools is even easier. They come pretty much ready to use and don’t need inflating. They just need to be put in place and any accessories installed.
Most inflatable pools are even easier to take down than set up. Versions with drains can simplify draining the pool. Then take-down just involves releasing the air (after the pool is cleaned and fully dry, of course). Inflatable pools can be folded up for storage, but it’s important not to store them with items that can puncture their soft sides. Hard-plastic pools can’t be folded, but since they’re also less prone to tearing or punctures, they aren’t so delicate during storage.
The simplest kiddie pools are very basic—essentially just vessels for kids to splash around in. Affordable and low maintenance, they are more than enough for many families.
However, kiddie pools also come with a range of accessories for family fun. For a toddler pool, this can include water toys, sprayers, and illustrated characters and decorations. For children, water games, built-in slides, and even climbing walls add to the excitement. For adults, think lounger seats and water games for all ages, such as a basketball hoop. Inflatable kiddie pools are likelier to have accessories, while hard-plastic pools are usually simpler.
On a more practical note, kiddie pools can include useful accessories like a pump for inflating the pool and patch repair kits for fixing the pool if it springs a leak.
Tips for Keeping a Kiddie Pool Clean
The CDC recommends against using chlorine or other pool-disinfectant chemicals in kiddie pools. This lack of water treatment means bacteria and germs can flourish, so keeping kiddie pools clean is important. The best defense against a gross kiddie pool is to change the water frequently. It’s best to empty the water in small kiddie pools at least daily. For larger pools, follow the manufacturer’s directions for filtering or disinfecting.
To prevent the introduction of nasty germs, avoid letting kids who are sick use the pool. Also, cover the pool when not in use to prevent debris and wildlife from getting inside.
Kiddie pools benefit from occasional cleaning, either if they start to look or feel a bit grimy or in case of any accidents, like spilled food or a sick child. A soapy water solution made with mild dish soap is often enough to do the trick, but a diluted bleach solution (½ cup of household bleach to 1 gallon of water, per the CDC) can also be used as needed. It’s a must to clean kiddie pools thoroughly before storage and ensure they dry completely before packing them up.
- Change the water at least daily
- Avoiding letting kids who are sick use the pool
- Cover the pool when it’s not in use
- Clean the pool with mild soap and water as needed
- Always clean and fully dry the pool before storing
If you don’t have space for a permanent pool and water slide, a kiddie pool can be a temporary fix. A kiddie wading pool can provide hours of family fun and cool everyone down on a sticky summer day. Using a kids pool is generally straightforward, but new users might have some questions. We answer some frequently asked questions about using and storing kiddie pools below.
Q. What do you put in a kiddie pool?
Nice, cold water, right from the garden hose. Actually, the source doesn’t really matter, just make sure to use clean water to fill a kiddie pool. Per the CDC, adding chlorine or water- treatment chemicals is not recommended for kiddie pools. It’s hard to gauge the amount of water in the pool to measure these water treatments properly, and too strong a solution can irritate or even damage children’s sensitive skin.
Q. How long do kiddie pools last?
It depends on the kiddie pool type and your maintenance efforts. Hard-plastic pools are durable, and there’s no reason they shouldn’t last several years. Inflatable pools are prone to puncture and tearing, so all it takes is one bad accident (whether during playing or in storage) to put them out of commission. When kids are involved, this means they might not last past one or a few seasons. Careful use and storage can improve the longevity of inflatable kiddie pools.
Q. How do you store a kiddie pool?
Make sure the pool is clean and completely dry before storing it. To store an inflatable kiddie pool, fold it up and place it in its own box. Don’t be too tempted to throw in other bits and bobs alongside the pool unless they’re soft or well protected. Sharp items in the box can damage an inflatable pool, so it’s best to store inflatable kiddie pools on their own.
Q. How do you keep a child safe in a kiddie pool?
Supervision is key—young kids should never be left unattended in a kiddie pool. It takes very little water for a young child to drown. It’s best to empty the pool between uses so kids can’t access the water unsupervised. Less hazardous but still important, it’s also necessary to keep the pool clean and hygienic by emptying it and cleaning it often.
Why Trust Bob Vila
Since 1979, Bob Vila has been one of America’s trusted sources for all things home. Continuing this tradition, the Bob Vila team strives to share expertly researched home renovation and product guides with a wide audience. Jasmine Harding has been researching and writing about home products for BobVila.com since 2020. During her research for this guide, she looked at key kiddie pool features including material, ease of use, and accessories to find the best kiddie pools suitable for a range of ages.