Best Kiddie Pools

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.

29 Models Considered
5 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
75 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 kiddie pools

Last Updated December 2019

With about 70% of the earth's surface covered with water, not being comfortable in an aquatic environment can be somewhat limiting. The best approach is to be introduced to water at a young age so you can learn to fully enjoy it. Properly supervised playtime in a kiddie pool is an easy way to have that much-needed one-on-one time with your child while also fostering a love of the water.

There is a large variety of kiddie pools available, and finding the right one for your child depends on a number of features. Size, depth, and design are three important elements to consider, but you also need to take into account a number of other factors.

To learn more about what to look for and how to stay safe in a kiddie pool, keep reading. If you're ready to buy and just looking for the best, consider one of the kiddie pools we've spotlighted in this guide.

Babies are less tolerant of cold than adults. You want the water temperature of your kiddie pool to be about 89°F.

Key considerations

When choosing the best kiddie pool for your needs, there are four factors you should consider first: size, depth, sun protection, and construction.


Size​​​​​​​

How big of a kiddie pool do you want? The smallest ones are more like an inflatable tub and can be set up nearly anywhere. The larger ones – especially those that remain up all season – need a designated area that is level and free of debris that could damage the pool. You also have to think about the age of the child using the pool and how many children could potentially be in the water at the same time.


Depth

When considering depth, think about the size of your child. If you have a baby, two feet is too deep. In fact, even kiddie pools that are designed for active toddlers often have a fill line that is only six inches deep. Be sure the pool you’re looking at is shallow enough for your child to be able to play freely (with adult supervision).


Sun protection

Direct sunlight can be dangerous and lead to health issues in later life. Because of this concern, more and more kiddie pools are designed with built-in shade to help protect your child from direct sunlight. Note that this isn’t a replacement for sunscreen, which can only be applied to babies who are six months and older.


Construction

There are two main types of kiddie pools you need to consider: inflatable and rigid.

Inflatable: Inflatable kiddie pools are convenient, easy to transport, and affordable, and they offer a much wider variety of additional features. The downside is that they can take a while to inflate and are very fragile.

Rigid: Rigid pools are a little more durable, but they still must be treated with care. They take up more space, making one harder to transport and store than an inflatable kiddie pool. On the plus side, a rigid pool sets up quickly and isn't as susceptible to punctures as an inflatable pool. It’s still possible to find molded plastic kiddie pools, but these can crack from direct sunlight and might have sharp edges that aren’t safe for younger children. They are the easiest to set up but the hardest to store.

It's not a joke or an urban legend: if you’re in a kiddie pool, there's more than water in that pool with you.

Pool time for the whole family

This pool was created for parents who want to share the water with their kids and not just bask in the hot sun. This Intex pool has four built-in seats with backrests and is recommended for ages three and up. The sides of this inflatable pool are 26 inches tall, and it holds approximately 200 gallons of water.

Kiddie pool features

Before purchasing a kiddie pool, you'll want to be sure it's as fun as it is functional. In addition to the above considerations, you'll also want to think about the following to find the best pool for your needs.

Other activities

If your child enjoys water sprays, slides, basketball, ring toss, or other activities, look for a kiddie pool that has these desirable features.

Design

Inflatable kiddie pools offer the widest range of designs. You can find almost anything your child enjoys, whether it's certain colors, a specific theme, or a favorite animal. If your child wants a dinosaur-themed waterpark with a slide, it's available.

Suitable for adults

There are a number of kiddie pools that are not only larger in size but also have built-in seats so mom or dad can cool off while supervising. If this sounds appealing to you, look for a kiddie pool with this feature.

Adaptability

It’s possible to use some of the smaller kiddie pools year-round. If it fits in your playroom, it can turn from a kiddie pool into a ball pit during the colder months.

Portability and storage

If your kiddie pool survives the summer, you'll need a place to store it. This is where the inflatable pools become appealing because most can compress down to a small enough size to fit on a shelf during the off-season.

CAUTION

Anything that’s on you or your child when you enter a kiddie pool will be in the water. This includes sweat, body oils, lotions, and hair products.

Kiddie pool prices

Inexpensive: A kiddie pool is one of the most affordable forms of healthy entertainment you're likely to find. There are several small inflatable pool options available at or around $10. These are the no-frills, “blow it up and fill it with water” models. Most can also be used as ball pits.

Mid-range: As you move up in price, from around $17 to $25, you'll find small kiddie pools in the shape of animals, as well as some rigid pools (that you don’t have to inflate). Additionally, some kiddie pools in this price range offer shade.

Expensive: From $25 to $40, you can get an inflatable water playground with slides and other activities. Alternatively, you’ll find larger-size rigid pools.

Premium: If you’re looking to spend more than $50, you want the pool to be large enough to accommodate a lounging adult or be a more permanent pool. If you're not getting an appreciably larger size or a more durable item, the pool might be overpriced.

FOR YOUR SAFETY

A kiddie pool is an excellent way to safely introduce your child to water-themed recreational activities.

Tips

  • Stay vigilant. Never neglect your responsibilities or allow yourself to become distracted. Drowning can occur in less than 20 seconds. Watch to be sure your baby isn't getting cold, and check the baby's diaper often. Don’t allow running pushing, shoving, fighting, or any other forms of aggressive play near the kiddie pool.
  • Clean the pool. The smaller and warmer the body of water, the easier it is for bacteria to thrive. If you decide to use sanitizing chemicals, keep a close eye on levels because it won't take much to adversely affect your child.
  • Use sun protection. The sun is as much of a danger as the water. Positioning the kiddie pool out of direct sunlight is best. Children under the age of six months should not be exposed to direct sunlight at all. Children under a year can only tolerate a few minutes of nonpeak sunlight per day. You’ll need to reapply your toddler's sunscreen regularly while they’re in the water because even the most water-resistant sunscreen only lasts a maximum of 80 minutes.
  • Monitor who uses your kiddie pool. Many diseases and infections are highly communicable in a kiddie pool environment. If one child has pink eye, all the children will soon have pink eye. And keep older kids away from the kiddie pool when younger children are using it.

Affordable and fun

This Intex pool is lightweight and affordable, and at just 45 inches it’s small enough to fit in any backyard. The water fills to about 6.5 inches and so is recommended for kids who are older than two. The pool takes about ten minutes to inflate, and it comes with a repair patch. If you prefer, it can be used as a ball pit instead – about 200 balls will do the trick.

Other products we considered

Kids and adults appreciate options. Although the kiddie pools we've spotlighted elsewhere in this article are all highly rated items, there are a couple more pools we'd like to bring to your attention. The Intex Sunset Glow Baby Pool is an affordably priced, brightly colored option suitable for one child. It’s perfect for that all-important one-on-one bonding time. If the shark is your child's favorite fish, the Intex Sandy Shark Spray Pool is one you’ll want to consider, not only for the design but also for the sprayer spout that attaches to a hose, effectively increasing the pool's fun factor.

Some studies show that babies who are exposed to water at a young age develop greater confidence when trying new activities and learning new skills.

FAQ

Q. At what age can a baby use a kiddie pool?
A.
A baby can drown in just two inches of water. However, if parents are vigilant, distraction-free, and focused, you can introduce your baby to water as early as six weeks old. The vigilance doesn’t diminish as your child gets older because it can take less than 20 seconds for a child to drown.

Q. My child is still in diapers. Can she go in our kiddie pool?
A.
Yes, but you want her in a swim diaper because there are definite problems that arise with regular diapers when they’re immersed in water. Regular diapers absorb, so they can quickly cause an issue with weighing your child down in the water. Additionally, regular diapers quickly deteriorate – soiled diaper bits are not what you want floating around in your pool. If there is an accident, you should dump the water and start over.

Q. How much chlorine should I add to a kiddie pool?
A.
This is a hotly debated issue. Pool companies want you to buy chemicals to sanitize and balance the water, while the position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is that it’s not as effective as you might think. The levels are hard to monitor, and it could be dangerous – just a dash of chemicals in a smaller pool can make the water unsafe. If you choose to side with the CDC, use no chemicals. If you side with the pool companies, you need to really know what you’re doing so you don’t inadvertently harm your baby.

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

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