Best Christmas Inflatables

Updated December 2021
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Buying guide for Best Christmas inflatables

If you want to get the most bang for your holiday decorating buck, consider using Christmas inflatables. These festive, oversize items allow you to quickly and easily transform your house into a larger-than-life seasonal diorama. They add a depth and festive dynamic that can make your home a focal point of the neighborhood.

However, before selecting a Christmas inflatable, knowing a bit about them helps you choose the best model: something that creates a little holiday magic year after year. The two most important elements to consider are theme and size, as you want an inflatable that brings you joy and fits comfortably in your yard.

Christmas inflatables
The official Christmas season is six weeks long. It begins four weeks before Christmas and ends on January 6.

How to buy the best Christmas inflatables

What are the benefits of decorating with inflatables?

Stringing Christmas lights around the exterior of your home is time-consuming. You have to map out where you’re going to put them, how you'll fasten them, and how you'll power them. This doesn’t even take into account the frustration when a string doesn’t work. Additionally, installing lights along the roof can be dangerous.

When you use Christmas inflatables, you're decreasing your frustration and reducing your risk of injury. You're also decreasing the amount of space needed to store your decorations because several of these inflatables can be rolled up to fit in a storage bin.

How to choose the right size

Christmas inflatables can be as short as 4 feet or as tall as 12 feet. While the size of your inflatables depends to some degree on personal preference, you need to be careful about getting ones that are too large to fit safely on your property or too small to make the desired impact.

As a rule of thumb, Christmas inflatables that are 5 to 7 feet tall are a good fit for most homes. If you have an apartment with a balcony, or you'd like to place one inside, a 4-foot model might be best for you. If you have a two-story house with ample space in the front yard, you might want to go with much larger decorations so they aren’t overpowered by the facade of your home.

How to set up inflatables

Some people might be intimidated by the size of a Christmas inflatable and think it’s hard to set up. Fortunately, that isn't the case. If you have a level patch of ground, simply put the fan in a secure position and spread out the inflatable so there will be no issues with pinching as it inflates.

Before plugging in the fan, secure the inflatable to the ground so it won’t blow away. After it’s been fully inflated (which won’t take long), make any necessary adjustments to position your inflatable. You might need to remove some stakes from the fan at this time. When your inflatable is precisely where you want it, secure it with the included tethers so it will stay in place all season long.

If you're having trouble keeping your Christmas inflatable in position, consider carefully placing a few sandbags inside the unit to weigh it down.

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What features should I look for in Christmas inflatables?

Design

The most important aspect of choosing a Christmas inflatable is picking a design you like. You can choose something fun, something venerable, something generic, or something with pop culture characters. It’s also possible to find some with more than one element, such as Santa driving a truck or a trio of penguins building a snowman. Since these inflatables have become so popular in recent years, you can find nearly any design you can imagine, even a gift-giving dinosaur!

Lights and animation

When it comes to Christmas inflatables, lighting and animation are the bells and whistles. Some models may have just a few lights so the inflatable can be seen at night, while others have a dazzling display. It’s also possible to purchase some that move. If animation is something you desire, you'll have to pay a bit more for this feature.

Christmas inflatables
DID YOU KNOW?
When choosing an extension cord for your Christmas inflatable, make sure it’s designated for outdoor use and is the recommended gauge.
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How do I accessorize Christmas inflatables?

Spiral ground anchors

Your inflatable should come with stakes and twine so it can be secured during installation. However, you might find the included tether isn't tough enough to handle your particular situation. If the stakes that came with your unit pull out of the ground, consider using spiral ground anchors. These twist into the ground, making it nearly impossible for them to pull free in average conditions.

Repair tape

Inevitably, your inflatable is going to endure some wear and tear. Rather than tossing it out because it’s beginning to sag, look for where air is escaping and seal any holes with a repair kit designed especially for inflatables.

How much does a Christmas inflatable cost?

Inexpensive

If you're interested in a small model, roughly 4 feet tall, you’re in luck because those are the most affordable. You can find some for as low as $20, but most cost closer to $30.

Mid-range

If you have $35 to $75 set aside for your inflatable budget, you have access to a wide range of models. These are between 5 and 7 feet tall and may feature either generic designs or pop culture characters.

Expensive

If you’re one who likes to supersize your inflatables, you can get larger-than-life characters for between $80 and $200. At the top end of this range, the inflatables are 12 feet tall. You can also find 6-foot animated inflatables for around $150.

One of the most important tasks you can perform to extend the life of your Christmas inflatable is to clean it and let it dry thoroughly before packing it up at the end of the season.

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Tips

  • Consider a theme. Of course, it’s totally up to you, but if you're getting more than one inflatable, consider how they’ll fit together as a theme or even a scene. Otherwise, your holiday decorations may just look chaotic.
  • Think about the wind. Before deciding where to position your inflatables, consider the direction and strength of the wind. If there’s an area of your property that’s somewhat shielded from strong gusts, that might be the best place to put your decorations.
  • Give each inflatable adequate space. Inflatables move around in the wind. Be sure to position them far enough apart and away from other objects and structures so they won’t rub against each other or cause damage when they move.
  • Secure your inflatables. These decorations are little more than air. Make sure you follow all the manufacturer’s recommendations to secure yours so they won’t blow away. If you're still having problems, consider using sandbags or spiral ground anchors to hold them in place.
  • Use a timer. While it can be easy to forget to turn on your Christmas inflatables, it’s even easier to forget to turn them off. Leaving them inflated all night can affect your energy bill and cause your inflatables to wear out more quickly. Use a timer so you don’t have to remember to turn them on or off.
  • Store your inflatables correctly. It’s best to roll them up rather than fold them. Folding puts more stress on the materials and may create a weak spot that can tear or develop a leak over time. Place towels between the inflatables and any sharp or hard edges, such as on the fan.
Christmas inflatables
If you take care of your Christmas inflatables and follow all the manufacturer’s recommendations, it’s possible to get several years of use out of them.

FAQ

Q. Are Christmas inflatables waterproof?

A. They’re made to be outside in the elements, so they can handle the weather, resisting rain and most snow. However, high winds, heavy snow, and temperatures under freezing can be a problem. If there is a severe winter storm, high wind, or sub-zero temperatures in the forecast, most manufacturers recommend bringing your inflatable inside to prevent damage.

Q. Can my inflatables stay inflated all day?

A. An inflatable doesn’t look very festive when it’s flat on the ground. For this reason, many people leave the fan on their Christmas inflatable running 24/7 for about a month. While this might look better, most inflatables don’t have heavy-duty fans. In other words, they aren’t meant to run for more than 8 hours at a time. Then again, some manufacturers take this into consideration and include a more durable fan. To find out how long you can keep your particular decoration inflated, consult the owner’s manual.

Q. How much does it cost to run a Christmas inflatable?

A. The answer can change drastically depending on three factors: the cost of your electricity, the wattage of your inflatable, and how many hours a day you run it. The cost of electricity can range from roughly $0.07 to $0.30 per kilowatt-hour, while the wattage of inflatables varies depending on size, number of lights, and animation. If your electricity costs $0.13 per kilowatt-hour and you run a 100-watt inflatable for 8 hours every day for a month, the cost will be a little over $3 for that one inflatable.

 

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