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A good book, a cold drink and a pool float - these are the essential ingredients for the perfect lazy day spent poolside. When it comes to buying a float, though, you’re spoiled for choice - do you want a traditional raft, a sophisticated recliner or a novelty tube made with pool parties in mind? There are also specialized options for couples; and at the other end of the spectrum, for babies experiencing the water for the first time. In this article, we take a look at a few of the best pool floats on the market.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Kelsyus Chaise Lounger
Covered with cool blue fabric, the Kelsyus Chaise Lounger is both comfortable and stylish. It’s a little pricier than most pool floats, but its quality construction and durability makes up for it. A patented inner spring around the outside edge of the lounger gives it good stability, while the inflatable sections are easy to inflate orally. The seat is made from comfortable mesh, which suspends your lower body just below the water line to keep you cool on hot days.
The lounger also features an integrated head, back and footrest. Simply roll-aboard, then lie back and spend the rest of the afternoon working on your tan. There’s a built-in cup holder; while side tether clips allow you to attach the float to another lounger, or to a boat or dock if you choose to use it in the sea. When you’re finished, it folds up into a portable disc complete with an over-the-shoulder strap. The lounger measures 56” x 38” x 17”, and can carry up to 250 pounds.
Most Versatile: Chillbo Don Poolio Inflatable Lounger
The Chillbo Don Poolio Inflatable Lounger is the ultimate accessory for those that like to lounge around wherever they go. According to the manufacturer, it excels as a pool float but can also be used as a beach bed, inflatable mattress, campsite couch or river rafting companion. It’s made from lightweight, durable ripstop fabric which dries quickly to facilitate your movements between the pool and dry land.
With a single opening and no inner liner, the lounger is also amazingly easy to inflate. You won’t need a pump - instead, simply swoop the lounger through the air to fill it in a matter of seconds. When fully inflated, it can accommodate up to 440 pounds, making it ideal for friends and family. It also weighs just two pounds, folds to 13” x 6” x 3.5” and fits inside a matching carry bag complete with a convenient shoulder strap. Choose from eight colorful designs ranging from pink leaf to rainbow swizzle.
Best Budget: Intex Transparent Tube with Handles
The Intex Transparent Tube is a no-frills, ring-style float made from sturdy clear vinyl. The upper half of the ring is printed with tropical floral patterns that perfectly match the spirit of your vacation; while two heavy-duty handles on either side of the ring make it easy to transport from your hotel room to the pool. Best of all, it’s super-lightweight, tipping the scales at just 1.1 pounds.
Its 36” diameter is suitable for one person, either to sit in or to wear around the waist. The manufacturer recommends this product for children and teenagers aged 9 to 13. Additionally, this tube includes a patch repair kit, helping to extend its lifespan and thereby giving you even better value for money.
Best Party Tube: GoFloats Unicorn Party Tube
The ideal purchase for fun-loving teens and adults who want to stand out at their next pool party, the GoFloats Unicorn Party Tube can be ridden, sat in or worn hula-style around the waist. It’s also the ultimate Instagram prop, thanks to its tan-enhancing white color, playful unicorn’s head and rainbow tail. Use the rapid valve inflation to inflate the tube in just two minutes.
Standing three feet tall and with a 45” diameter, the float is designed for swimmers aged 12 and up. It can support over 500 pounds and is made extra durable by its premium raft-grade vinyl construction. The vinyl is UV-treated, so that the tube doesn’t suffer fading and discoloration after long party seasons spent out in the sun. The same seller also offers similar floats in flamingo, penguin and American eagle designs.
Best Ride-On: Intex Giant Gator Ride-On
Suitable for children (and adults!) aged three and older, the Intex Giant Gator Ride-On is sure to be a hit at your next pool play-date. Its friendly alligator design is full of fun; while the UV-resistant, 12-gauge vinyl increases the float’s durability. With two separate air chambers, it’s stable, too. It has four sturdy plastic handles and measures 45” x 80” - meaning that there’s plenty of room for multiple riders and less chance of sibling squabbles.
Due to its large size, it might be worth investing in a basic hand or foot pump to help inflate this product speedily. Your purchase includes a handy patch repair kit, while other ride-on designs from the same seller include a great white shark, a stingray and a killer whale.
Best Hammock: OUTERDO Water Hammock Pool Lounger
Available in red-and-white or blue-and-white stripes, the OUTERDO Water Hammock Pool Lounger works much like a standard air hammock. It features two inflatable pillows connected by a swathe of lightweight nylon fabric, allowing you to hang suspended in the water with your head and knees afloat. It’s supportive, comfortable and helps you to stay cool while relaxing or reading your book in the pool.
It’s also the ideal purchase for those with limited closet space at home or for those who want to travel with their pool float in tow. The pillows deflate completely, allowing you to roll the hammock up or fold it flat. They also inflate quickly and easily. This product is suitable for children and adults weighing up to 250 pounds.
Best for Couples: Inflatable Two Person Lounger
Custom-made for couples – or friends – that like to do everything together, the Inflatable Two Person Lounger is made from durable blue vinyl. A raft-style float with two inflatable headrests, it’s designed so that you can face one another for easy conversation; while the 16” elevation keeps you well above the water for maximized tanning opportunities. There’s an integrated pocket for an ice bucket and two cup holders. Whether you choose to stock the float with a romantic bottle of champagne or a pair of hydrating soft beverages is up to you. The float is recommended for ages 13 and older.
Best for Babies: SwimWays Baby Spring Float with Sun Canopy
Intended for water babies aged 9 to 24 months, the SwimWays Baby Spring Float introduces your infant to the water in a way that’s both safe and enjoyable. The float features a comfortable mesh seat surrounded by a highly stable inflatable outer ring. On the front of the float, five tethered baby-safe toys provide endless hours of entertainment without getting lost. The canopy is adjustable, removable and includes 50+ UPF sun protection. Mesh sides ensure that you can keep your baby within sight at all times. The float folds into three compact rings for easy transport and storage.
Products We Tested
How We Tested
Our reviewers spent 22 hours testing one of the most popular pool floats available. To ensure we’re getting the most well-rounded results, our testers inflated this float, took it to the pool, and lounged to their hearts’ content. We asked our reviewers to consider the most important features when using this pool float, from its design to its durability. We’ve outlined the key takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.
What to Look for in a Pool Float
Capacity Whether you’re after a float just for you — or one that can hold the whole crew — there’s an option out there for pretty much anyone who wants to kick back on a hot day. Before buying a pool float, think about its capacity and see what fits your needs best.
Tube vs. raft Some swear by inner tube-style floats while others love a raft-like shape. Think about whether you’re going to want something to stretch out on or a float that makes it a bit easier to bop around the water.
Durability No one wants a float that pops — that’s pretty much a guaranteed pool party buzzkill. If you plan to use yours a lot, it’s worth spending a bit more to make sure it can last, ideally for a few seasons. Look for ones that are made of higher-quality materials (like raft-grade vinyl) to ensure you can have fun without worrying that a brief encounter with a piece of driftwood will kill the mood.
Test Results: Kelsyus Chaise Lounger (Best Overall)
What We Like
Easy to inflate
What We Don't Like
Might not last as long because it’s inflatable
This float was a huge hit with our testers and their families. “Both my kids and the adults love this float,” raved one reviewer. “Everyone wants to use it.” Our testers also appreciated its comfortable backrest and headrest: “It's high enough and at a good angle to support your head. It doesn't sink,” noted one. One reviewer, however, was concerned with the float’s longevity over time because it’s inflatable, noting that she had to add a little more air after a week of usage.