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Best Floating Water Mats

Updated August 2023
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Best of the Best
Aqua Lily Pad Original Floating Water Mat
Aqua Lily Pad
Original Floating Water Mat
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Most Comprehensive
Bottom Line

Like its namesake, the Lily Pad breezily floats atop the water with remarkable strength and steadiness.


This one is 6 by 18 feet and stays afloat with 9 to 10 adults, depending on their sizes (about 1350 to 1500 pounds total). The versatile design lets you use it socially, as well as while you train swimmers. The cross-linking foam is built to withstand lakes. Tethers and straps are included as well.


Don't get the wrong idea. It doesn't stay perfectly flat when you're on it.

Best Bang for the Buck
Intex Giant Inflatable Floating Mat
Giant Inflatable Floating Mat
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Trusted Brand
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The big daddy of mats at 9 feet 5 inches by 7 feet, at a very attractive price point.


Unique design allows users to float right at the water's surface so you keep wet and cool in the water. Can handle a lot of people and even some gear, such as a cooler. Soft to the touch and comfortable to lay on. It can also be connected to other mats.


Does require inflation and may get punctured if users aren't careful.

Rubber Dockie Floating Mat
Rubber Dockie
Floating Mat
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High Visibility
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A good weight-bearing mat, this floating mat comes at a reasonable price in 2 sizes, the Dockie and the Duckling.


This floating mat's foam is treated for durability, with tear-stop technology that will prevent perforations from becoming large rips. It’s comfortable and highly buoyant, withstanding rough treatment from rambunctious kids and adults alike.


Rigid foam is hard to roll up after use, with the larger size needing 2 people. Colors tend to fade.

World of Watersports Water Walkway Inflatable Floating Mat
World of Watersports
Water Walkway Inflatable Floating Mat
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Most Versatile
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This affordable floating mat can be used solo or connected to others to accommodate more users.


Made of reasonably durable 30-gauge PVC that can easily hold several adults and kids. Simple to inflate. Has grommets for attaching to boats. Connects via zippers to other floating mats by the brand. Makes a nice large pool float.


Some reports of air leaks from small holes and of broken zippers after a few uses.

Big Joe Waterpad
Big Joe
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Spacious Surface
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A comfortable and large water mat that can accommodate several people.


Constructed of comfortable foam-like material that can hold multiple adults and kids. Suitable for groups of people. Grommets can be used for towing with a boat or for anchoring the mat for hours of relaxation in the water and sun. Rolls up for storage.


The 1,500-pound weight limit is questionable. Material may tear after several uses.

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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 all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
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.About BestReviews 

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for best floating water mats

If you're spending your summer days on the lake or in the pool, a floating water mat gives you a break from swimming and offers a floatable surface where you can lounge in the sun. A cross between a yoga mat and a dock, the latest mats are made of foam and can keep multiple people buoyed. They can also be used as a platform for yoga or for kids to jump into the water. 

Inflatable water mats from back in the day are still in rotation as well. They are less expensive than foam water mats, but they are susceptible to puncturing. A floating water mat made of foam offers raft-like stability that you can even stand and walk on. 

We checked out a range of options and found the Aqua Lily Pad Original Floating Water Mat to be the best. Strong and sturdy, it’s a great choice for the lake and is big enough for the whole family.

Our list: The best floating water mats

Aqua Lily Pad Original Floating Water Mat

The original “lily pad” mat, this premium brand started the trend of foam mats. At 6 feet by 12 feet, this generously sized water walkway can support five or six adults (900 pounds max). It rolls up easily, making storage a breeze, and lies flat on the water when unrolled. It’s a great launching pad for jumping off in the middle of a lake. Dogs love it, too. 

This is one of the best floating water mats for lakes. The cross-linked foam is UV protected and will last at least five years without degrading. It’s worth investing your money in such a quality mat. 

Intex Giant Inflatable Floating Mat

For the pool or the lake, this large inflatable dock is over 9 feet long and 7 feet wide. It’s much more affordable than foam rafts, and kids can stand on it. It floats right at water level, so you’ll stay wet (and therefore cool) while lounging on it. You can tie it to a dock or connect it to other mats.

Soft and comfortable to lie on, this big mat can hold two or three adults and is even sturdy enough to balance a cooler on. However, because it is big, inflation can be a hassle.

Rubber Dockie Floating Mat

This long floatie comes in 9-foot and 18-foot lengths, so all your friends can pile on. It features an attached bungee cord so you can tether it to a dock. Its high-grade, two-ply foam is also two-sided — neon green and neon orange — so your floating party will stay visible to passing boats on the lake. 

The closed-cell foam has an inner nylon matrix that makes it more durable and less prone to ripping than other mats. Adults can use it as a swim-up bar for drinks. Kids love it and will stay on it for hours on end. Even dogs like to float on it. It comes with straps to keep it rolled up when not in use. 

World of Water Sports Water Walkway Inflatable Floating Mat

This 10-by-6-foot inflatable mat features grommets you can attach to a boat for a tow. You can zip it to other mats by the brand for a longer walkway. There’s also a circle-shaped option. The material is heavy-duty and durable, even under dog paws. It inflates easily and is compact for hassle-free transport. The colors don’t fade. 

If you like to stay dry while you float, this mat is for you. Water doesn’t pool on it, unlike most foam mats and other inflatable ones. Adults can stand on it, and it can fit six people.

Big Joe Water Pad

A whopping 15 by 6 feet, this impressive foam mat can hold up to 1,500 pounds. It rolls up like a yoga mat and comes with Velcro straps to keep it compact. Each corner features a grommet, so you can anchor it or tow it. 

Kids find this lily pad more fun than a raft and will play on it for hours. It makes an excellent floating platform for lakes and allows kiddos a place to jump off. It’s built to last many summers. This quality EVA foam mat is a great value. 

Airhead Sun Comfort Cool Suede Pool Mattress

An elevated version of your inflatable water mat from childhood, this one-person pool lounger has a velvety, luxurious feel that won’t stick to your skin or get too hot in the sun. It’s super comfortable, like lying on a mattress, and the holes help it stay balanced in the water. Unlike other floaties, there’s no issue with this pool mattress deflating while in use. 

It comes in a double-wide option for two people. Its colors are bright, though they do fade over time. The pillow is removable and has a nice loft if you don’t want to get your hair wet. 

Mission Boat Gear Reef Inflatable Floating Mat

This 6-by-10-foot rigid mat rivals the sturdiness of a dock. If you want to stay completely dry as you float or are looking for a stable platform for yoga, this high-performance mat is made from naval-grade nylon. It’s a step up from your average foam pad. 

It does take about 10 minutes to inflate, but a pump is included. Once inflated, it’s rock solid yet still soft on your toes. It comes with extra features, such as D-rings for anchoring and a good storage/transport bag. It’s available in multiple sizes, and notably, the larger ones get pricey. 

SOWKT Premium Floating Mat for Lakes and Pools

This extra-large mat can bear an impressive 1,320 pounds, or roughly seven to eight chilling adults. Considering its dimensions (18 feet by 6 feet), it’s relatively lightweight to carry to the lakeshore and doesn’t hold onto water. 

Made of triple-layered foam (each layer a different color) and heat sealing, this pad is resistant to rips. However, it may not be as durable as high-end mats. It comes with an attached 12-foot tether, and you can choose from five reversible color schemes.

What to know before buying a floating water mat

As we mentioned, there are two main types of floating mats: foam and inflatable. There are pros and cons to each type, so you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the materials and designs before looking into individual models.

Pros and cons of foam water mats

Pros: Foam mats are sometimes called lily pad mats. (Aqua Lily Pad is a registered trade name, and the company’s high-end mats have become synonymous with the product.) Lily pad mats started out as industrial items used on docks and similar scenarios, but someone caught on to the fun fact that they can also be used as floating mats. 

Foam mats come in a range of sizes, and the biggest ones can support over 1,000 pounds. You can walk, jump, do yoga, and even paddle board while floating about. Since they’re made of foam, they don’t puncture, so even the dog can use it (though sharp toenails could damage some types of foam.)

Foam mats consist of two or three layers of foam. High-end mats consist of marine-grade cross-linked foam. Less-expensive models use closed-cell foam (like pool noodles) and, much like pool noodles, these tend to degrade quicker after exposure to the elements.

Cons: The primary downside of foam mats is the cost, which can be substantial. The other downside is that they can’t be compressed much, so even when rolled up, a foam mat is bulky. The bulk can make transportation and storage a bit of an issue for some people.

Pros and cons of inflatable water mats

Pros: The inflatable raft has been around for more than a century. With the invention of plastics, the leisure industry launched the pool float, which is synonymous with a hot, lazy day in the pool, cool drink in hand. As a natural progression, the more sturdy inflatable mat arrived, allowing more people to climb aboard and enjoy the fun.

On the upside, inflatable mats generally cost less than foam mats. Also, they can be deflated and reduced to a relatively flat form, making them easy to transport and store. That also means they must be inflated, preferably with a motorized pump for ease and speed. At the very least, you will need a hand pump. Sometimes, a pump comes with the mat – but not always.

Inflatable mats can sometimes be used as towables behind a boat. However, this is not the intended use of foam mats, since they may submarine when towed. Always check manufacturer instructions before towing any type of inflatable behind a boat.

Cons: The biggest negative of inflatable water mats is that they can puncture, even if covered with rugged fabric. While you may be able to repair a puncture, that might not be possible at the time of the deflating event which, according to Murphy’s Law, will happen just as the July 4th party gets underway. Even if you are in a position to make the fix, it can be tricky and a chore, and there eventually comes a point where the mat is deemed unusable.

What to look for in a floating water mat


Inflatable mats are generally a few inches thick, though really big mattress pads can be as much as 14 inches deep. Foam mats range from 1.25 to 2.3 inches thick. Generally, the thicker a mat is, the more weight it will support. But remember, the thicker the mat, the bigger and heavier it will be when rolled up for transportation and storage.


Mats range from a personal float size up to 60 feet long. The most popular lengths for individuals and smaller groups are 6 feet long and 9 feet long. For larger groups, a mat of 18 to 20 feet in length is often preferred.


The least-expensive inflatable mats may simply be made of vinyl, like an inflatable pool toy. Higher-quality models have a tougher fabric covering that’s more pleasant to lie on and gives you some grip. The priciest inflatables often have a marine-quality canvas or similar covering. 

Lily pad mats may be bare foam or may come with a protective coating, which gives it a nicer look and protects the foam. However, the covering can crack and degrade from constant exposure to water and sun. While that may not affect flotation, it’s unattractive and less pleasant to sit on. Without a covering, the foam may also be subject to blemishes.


In most cases, you will want to tie up your float so you can relax without drifting away. Some water mats have a grommet for attaching a rope or bungee cord, which may be included or sold separately, so you can tie up to a dock, boat, anchor or another mat.


Many inflatables have pillow rests and seats. Lily pads lack these, although they sometimes have rolled edges at one end to form a pillow. Larger inflatables may have grab handles so you can clamber on board from the water with some modicum of dignity. 

Storage bag

Many high-end water mats come with a storage bag. If yours doesn’t, you may be able to purchase one separately. The best storage bags have water drainage holes to prevent mold and mildew growth and are constructed of marine-grade material (think boat cover). Foam mats often have built-in straps to tie up the mat when it’s rolled for storage.


Floats can be pricey items, so a manufacturer warranty of at least one year is desirable.


  • Hose off your mat, removing any debris or algae, and let it dry completely before putting it away for the season to avoid mold and rot.
  • To avoid punctures and abrasions, make sure the area you are floating in is away from rocks, rough-edged docks, buoys and other submerged dangers. Stay clear of other boats, and don’t swim underneath the mat.
  • Make sure a competent adult is in charge of kids at all times. The use of a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket while using a floating water mat is highly recommended, especially for children.


Q. How much does a floating water mat cost? 

A. Inflatable mats start at $40. For this price, you can expect the material to be on the flimsy side. A smaller mat like this might hold one or two people, and durability might not be as reliable as it is for pricier options. Most products in this price range are more like pool floats than floating water mats.

If you want the ability to gather with friends on a large, reliable floating water mat, your purchase will be much more substantial. A smaller mat (say, 6 feet by 8 feet) may cost between $300 and $400. A larger size (say, 13 feet by 6 feet) may cost a few hundred dollars more, between $400 and $600.

You will find floating water mats that cost over $1,000 as well. These are made from naval-grade nylon and are rigid, rugged and thick. 

Q. What size mat should I get?

A. Decide how many people you want to entertain, and then check the manufacturer’s description for an accurate measure of how much weight the mat can hold. Bear in mind its dimensions when rolled up to be sure it would fit in your trunk or other vehicle. Consider your storage space at home as well. 

Removing it from the water, which adds extra weight, will be tricky, too. Even inflatable mats can be heavy and bulky in giant sizes. A foam mat of 9 feet by 6 feet is a popular choice because it’s more manageable and can usually support a couple of adults plus a few kids.

Q. How do I repair a puncture?

A. You can buy inexpensive repair kits for vinyl and PVC products that include an adhesive and patches. Ready-to-stick patches are another option.

Q. Can you use a floating mat in salt water?

A. Not all mats are suitable for use in salt water. The manufacturer will usually state if the construction material can withstand salt water. Any mat used in salt water will tend to have a shorter lifespan. Getting a mat that has UVA/UVB protection can help; make sure to rinse it with clean, fresh water after every use.