Best Ball Pits

Updated December 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

19 Models Considered
68 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
184 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best ball pits

Last Updated December 2019

Eric McMillan's desire to create engaging and imaginative spaces for children to explore led to the invention of the ball pit. At one time, you could only experience the thrill of a ball pit by visiting a theme park. Today, ball pits can be located anywhere, including your own home.

Although it's not difficult to buy a ball pit for your home, there are many options you need to think about to be sure the one you’re considering is best for your situation. Is a ball pit enough or do you need more play space? Will it be used outdoors? How many children will be playing inside the ball pit?

If you'd like to learn about all of your options, as well as get some creative ball cleaning tips, keep reading. If you already know what will provide the best play experience for your child, consider purchasing one of the highly rated ball pits we've listed in this article.

When more than one child is playing in a ball pit, each learns to work together and socialize, which can enhance cooperative play skills.

Key considerations


What is a ball pit?

A ball pit is simply a space that contains plastic balls. Anything can serve as the pit. If you're in college, you can close the doors and fill up your dorm hallway with thousands of balls and have a blast. But if you're a parent of a young child, you want something much safer. You want a product that is specifically designed to encourage exploration, learning, and the development of motor skills while promoting the advancement of social skills. You want something soft and yielding – not hard plastic – to reduce the risk of injury.

Although many of the elements of a ball pit are optional, there are three considerations that can be thought of as deal breakers if they don't match your specific needs: age range, capacity, and location.

Age range

If you have an exceptionally young child, you must be sure that the ball pit you’re considering is appropriate for their age. A ball pit that’s too large could be overwhelming or frightening to a very small child. Likewise, one that’s designed for a toddler won’t hold much interest for a five-year-old.

Capacity

It becomes a safety issue when you try and squeeze additional kids into a ball pit that’s only designed to hold one or two children. An overcrowded play area is a good way to encourage an unnecessary and fully preventable injury.

Location

If you plan on using your ball pit outside so your child can get some fresh air while playing, it needs to have certain features, such as ground stakes that secure the structure and keep it from blowing over on a windy day. It also needs to be easily cleanable. If you try to regularly use an indoor-only ball pit outdoors, you will be disappointed.

CAUTION

When purchasing ball pit balls, make sure you buy ones that don’t pose a choking hazard and are nontoxic and phthalate- and BPA-free.

Ball pit features

Unlike the above, these options are not deal breakers. However, they do greatly enhance the fun of your ball pit.

Special features

Special features are the little things, anything from a target to throw the balls at to a basketball net. These are the extra items that allow your children to take their play to the next level.

Add-ons

Having just a ball pit is perfect for very young children. However, once a child is old enough to explore on their own, a ball pit that includes tunnels and other structures, such as a castle, to crawl through will greatly enhance the fun factor.

Inflatable

Most home ball pits are manufactured from a pop-up mesh that allows you to quickly set up or break down the ball pit. Some other models are inflatable, combining the fun of a bounce house with the thrill of a ball pit.

Portability and storage

Unless you plan on leaving your ball pit set up 24/7 and will never take it with you on a playdate or move it to another location, you’ll prefer a lightweight ball pit that is easy to set up and take down and takes up minimal storage space.

Balls

Unfortunately, most ball pits don’t include the balls. You need to purchase them separately. If the ball pit you’re considering does come with balls, make sure they’re nontoxic and BPA-free.

Color and design

You wouldn't make your child a chocolate birthday cake if their favorite was vanilla, would you? It's just as important to get toys right. Favorite colors and themes coupled with a stimulating design can make the difference between a ball pit that gets used every day and one that sits in the playroom forever neglected.

Ball pit balls are basically air contained inside a thin plastic shell, which makes them very light. On average a package of 100 balls only weighs about one pound.

Ball pit prices

Inexpensive: Ball pits are generally not very expensive. You can get a pop-up playpen designed to hold balls for as low as $10. From $15 to $25, you’ll find tents that can be filled with balls for more contained play.

Mid-range: As you move into the $25 to $50 price range, you can purchase a ball pit with multiple pits and connecting tunnels.

Expensive: Over $50, the ball pits are a little more durable and better suited to older kids. These might also feature an overall theme, such as a pirate ship or a castle. If you’re considering spending more than $100, you’ll find inflatable units that can handle rougher activity. With most ball pits, the balls are purchased separately, so you’ll need to budget for the additional cost.

Tips

One of the most baffling challenges for parents can be cleaning the balls in your ball pit. If you have 500 balls, you don’t have time to care for each one individually, washing it, disinfecting it, and drying it so it’s ready for tomorrow's play session. Following are some creative tips to help you solve this cleaning dilemma.

  • Use a cooler. Fill a large container, such as a cooler, with the balls, and allow them to soak in a cleaning solution.
  • Use a laundry basket. Fill a laundry basket with the balls, add a little dish soap, and hose them off. Let the balls dry outside.
  • Use a mesh sack. Place the balls in a mesh sack, put them in the back of a pickup and take it to a car wash. Or hang up the mesh bag outside and spray it thoroughly with disinfectant and then hose off. Or place the mesh bag in a washing machine, using cold water only.
  • Use a blanket. Lay all the balls out on a blanket in the sun and spray them with disinfectant.
  • Use the bathtub. Add the balls to a bubble bath.
  • Use the dishwasher. Wash the balls in the top rack of a dishwasher, but know that heat might damage them.
EXPERT TIP

When a child is alone in a ball pit, it can turn from an exhilarating physical activity into a safe and quiet place to relax and explore colors and textures.


Staff  | BestReviews

Other products we considered

Depending on your child's favorite color and desire to explore, there might be some higher-quality ball pits of interest to you than the handful we've listed above. If that’s the case, consider the Kiddey Ball Pit. This brightly colored, extra-large, six-sided ball pit can be used for indoor or outdoor play. If your child prefers a fairy-tale castle, then the Playz Princess Fairy-Tale Castle tent, tunnel, and ball pit combination is an imaginative option you should look at. It’s suitable for indoor or outdoor play and comes with a zippered storage case. Playz also makes a five-piece play set that includes two tunnels, tent, cube, and ball pit. You have a choice of a purple, orange, and blue color scheme or a ball pit that’s yellow, pink, and purple.

When your child is playing in a ball pit, he or she is developing hand-eye coordination. Chasing after rolling balls, catching them, grabbing them, and throwing them all take considerable skills that enhance your child's development.

FAQ

Q. How many balls do I need?
A.
If you purchase a ball pit that doesn't include balls or you want a few more, remember that the balls come in different sizes. Also, the number of balls you need depends on the depth you want in the ball pit. On average, 500 balls will fill a space that’s six feet square to one foot deep.


Q. How much do ball pit balls cost?
A.
The balls come in a variety of sizes and colors. Most come in some kind of mesh container and are nontoxic, BPA-free, and crush-proof. The general price range is from $10 to $20 per 100 balls. Features like unusual colors or jumbo size tend to make the balls more expensive.


Q. Are there any age limits on ball pits?
A.
Some ball pits are deeper and designed for older children, while others are geared to toddlers. The best thing to do is check the manufacturer's age recommendations before purchasing to be sure your child will be safe and happy using the ball pit you’re considering.

The team that worked on this review
  • Allen
    Allen
    Writer
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Erica
    Erica
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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