The Best Kiddie Pools to Splash, Cool Down, and Relax In

The Intex Rainbow Ring Play Center offers maximum summer fun at home

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Kiddie pools are a great investment to keep children cool and entertained on hot, sticky summer days. The best options will last through the season, and depending on your kids' ages, have add-on features to make play more exciting. 

Reviewed & Approved

The Intex Rainbow Ring Inflatable Play Center has two wading pools, a water slide, and multiple activities to entertain the kids. For a budget-friendly option, we recommend the Intex Sunset Glow Baby Pool.

There are plenty of options to help your family cool off, including inflatable, plastic, and frame pools. Whichever variety of kiddie pool you choose, be sure it is appropriate for your children's age and durable enough to withstand their play.

“Kiddie pools are a fun way to cool down from the summer heat, but remember safety does matter!” Mona Amin, DO, a board-certified general pediatrician based in Florida and member of Buybuy Baby’s Parenting Pros says. “Make sure to always use sunscreen since they may be out for a while. ... [M]ake sure to use clean water every time and to rinse the pool and wipe it down at every use. Because these pools/water lack chlorine, we want to make sure there’s no infection risk.”

We carefully considered design, ease of assembly, water capacity, durability, and value when reviewing products for this list.

Here are the best kiddie pools for sunny summer days.

Best Overall: Intex Rainbow Ring Inflatable Play Center

4.5
Intex Rainbow Ring

Courtesy of Amazon

 

Pros
  • Water slide

  • Built-in sprayer

  • 2 wading pools

Cons
  • Air pump needed

  • No shade

Who else recommends it? BestReviews and The Spruce both picked the Intex Rainbow Ring Inflatable Play Center.

What do buyers say? 82% of 12,400+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

The Intex Rainbow Ring Inflatable Play Center earns our top spot because this pool is more than your standard kiddie pool thanks to a slew of additional features. This pool has two wading pools, a water slide, and multiple activities to entertain the kids like ring toss, two ball games, and a built-in sprayer. It fits up to six kids and is best for swimmers ages 2 and up. 

Dimensions: 117 x 76 x 53 inches | Age recommendation: 2 to 7 years old | Material: Not Listed | Water capacity: 54 gallons (main pool) and 46 gallons (wading pool)

Best Budget: Intex Sunset Glow Baby Pool

 Intex Sunset Glow Baby Pool

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Affordable

  • Perfect for young toddlers

Cons
  • Small

This affordable option works well if all you need is to cool off and splash around. Perfect for tiny tots between 1 and 3 years old, it doesn't require too much water to get the pool party started.

This kiddie pool is easy to transport for a day at the beach or a friend's backyard. It’s also the perfect size to double as a ball pit during the colder months.

Dimensions: 34 x 10 inches | Age recommendation: 1 to 3 years old | Material: Vinyl | Water capacity: 18 gallons

Best Splurge: Little Tikes Rocky Mountain River Race

Little Tikes Rocky Mountain River Race

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Great for crowds

  • Climbing wall

  • Two slides

Cons
  • Costly

  • Take-down is time-consuming

If you don’t mind spending a little more, this Little Tikes inflatable pool featuring a fun waterslide is a crowd-pleaser. Kids can climb the center wall to the top and race down either of the two slides into the pool.  

Made of durable, colorful plastic, this pool is easy to set up thanks to the included heavy-duty blower and stakes to hold in place. Trust us, your kids will love this pool.

Dimensions: 161 x 169 x 103 inches | Age recommendation: 5 to 10 years old | Material: Plastic | Water capacity: Not Listed

Best for Multiples: FUNBOY Tropical Palm Kiddie Pool

Funboy tropical palm kiddie pool

Courtesy of Funboy

Pros
  • Quick inflation and deflation

  • Stylish print

Cons
  • No extras

  • No shade

This pool is big enough to hold two adults or multiple kids ages 6 or older. Measuring 66 inches in diameter, this Funboy pool works well in a variety of spaces. The rapid inflate and deflate valves inflate in minutes and fans of the product rave about the quality and how well it stands up against wear and tear.  

Funboy uses industry-leading safe, non-toxic, soft-touch vinyl and with its fun, tropical palm print, it will look cute outdoors even when there aren’t kids around.

Dimensions: 66 (diameter) x 18 inches (height) | Age recommendation: 6 years old and up | Material: Vinyl | Water capacity: 250 Gallons

Best Play Center: Intex Dinosaur Inflatable Play Center

Intex Dinosaur Inflatable Play

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Palm tree waterfall

  • Slide

  • Easy set-up

Cons
  • Air pump required

  • No shade

A play center is a nice upgrade to your standard kiddie pool. This activity center will keep them busy with the hungry dinosaur game, going down the slide, and sitting under the palm tree waterfall.

Best for ages 3 and up, this pool fits 57 gallons of water, and with only one pool area the set-up is a breeze. Those who have purchased make note that two size attachments are required to blow up with a pump, and the main part needs a larger attachment that is not standard. This is priced well for the hours of fun your family will enjoy.

Dimensions: 98.03 x 75.2 x 42.9 inches | Age recommendation: 3 years old and up | Material: Vinyl | Water capacity: 57 gallons

Best with Frame: Intex Mini Frame Pool

Intex Mini Frame Pool

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Foam padding on frame

  • Easy to assemble 

  • Repair patch included

Cons
  • Material is thin

Unlike inflatable pools, frame pools have a structure to hold the pool’s liner up, making it sturdy and large enough to hold plenty of water. This mini frame pool from Intex features vinyl liner with an alloy steel framework. Once the pool is assembled, it can hold around 90 gallons of water and has foam padding on the framework for extra protection. 

Measuring 48 by 48 inches wide and 12 inches tall, the pool is safe for children ages 2 and up. And, thanks to the pool’s smaller size, you don’t need to worry about a pump or ladder.

Dimensions: 48 x 48 x 12 inches | Age recommendation: 2 years old and up | Material: Vinyl and alloy steel | Water capacity: Approximately 90 gallons

Best Non-Inflatable: Step2 Play & Shade Pool

Step2 Play & Shade Pool

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Minimal set-up

  • Attachable umbrella

  • Easy to clean

Cons
  • Small

  • No drain

Unlike inflatable pools, this one is made of hard plastic and requires minimal setup. It features two molded-in seats for your little ones and is the perfect size for two toddlers to spend the day socializing and playing together. They will enjoy splashing around and watching the water turn the attached wheel. While a plastic pool is more durable and easier to keep clean, it is bulkier to store during the off-season. 

We love that this pool comes with attachable umbrellas and three funnel cups for scooping and pouring water. Although it only holds up to 12 gallons of water, that's all that is required to get the most out of this pool. 

Dimensions: 37.5 x 37.5 x 50 inches | Age recommendation: 2 years old and up | Material: Plastic | Water capacity: 12 gallons

Best With Shade: Bestway H2OGO! Splash-in-Shade Play Pool

H2OGO! Splash-in-Shade Play Pool

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • UV-resistant canopy

  • Great for the whole family

Cons
  • No pump

Some days are hotter than others, which is why we love this pick from Bestway featuring an extra-large canopy. The canopy is UV-resistant, with a UPF rating of 40+ to protect your little one from sun exposure. 

The wide sidewalls make this pool super comfortable and the fun marine designs make it extra fun. It holds about 78 gallons of water and is best for two kids ages 2 and up. This pool is a great inexpensive option that’s perfect for playdates.

Dimensions: 8 feet x 20 inches | Age recommendation: 2 years old and up | Material: Polyester | Water capacity: 78 gallons

Best for Babies: SwimSchool Splash Play Mat

Swim School Splash play mat

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Attachable canopy

  • Stackable toy rings

Cons
  • Only fits one baby

This cute elephant pool will give you peace of mind and hours of entertainment. It's easy to blow up and has a built-in sprinkler for added enjoyment. The internal diameter measures 28.3 inches and is built for one baby to sit comfortably. 

Unlike most other baby pools this has an additional cushion that adds comfort for your little one and protects your lawn. It holds just enough water for the baby to cool off on a hot day. Even though it is only a small amount of water, never ever leave a baby unattended in a pool.

Dimensions: 2 x 15.75 x 13.62 inches | Age recommendation: 6 to 18 months | Material: Mesh and PVC Plastic | Water capacity: Not Listed

Best Pool Alternative: SplashEZ 3-in-1 Splash Pad

SplashEZ 3-in-1 Splash Pad

SplashEZ

Pros
  • 3-in-1 design

  • Large enough for multiple kids

  • Budget-friendly

Cons
  • Material is slippery

  • Water must run constantly for sprinkler

Families who don’t want to purchase a kiddie pool yet will love this splash pad option as an alternative for water play. The SplashEZ Splash Pad features a three-in-one design, transforming from a splash mat to sprinkler or wading pool. This lightweight mat measures 60 by 60 inches wide and 4 inches tall, so there’s plenty of room for kiddos 12 months and older to play. Plus, there’s no assembly required on your end because you simply attach the hose and you’re good to go.

Dimensions: 60 x 60 x 4 inches | Age recommendation: 12 months old and up | Material: Polyvinyl chloride | Water capacity: Not Listed

Final Verdict

Turn your backyard into a waterpark with the Intex Rainbow Ring Inflatable Play Pool. With a slide, sprinkler, and pool area, your kids will enjoy hours of fun. For a simpler pool that holds plenty of water, try the Intex Mini Frame Pool.

How We Selected the Best Kiddie Pools 

We chose the best kiddie pools by researching reviews from customers and competitors, and by studying the features of more than 30 products on the market. We considered price, design, features, ease of cleaning, age recommendations, pool safety, and material when deciding our picks. We also consulted with Timothy Lee, MD, of Akron Children’s Hospital, and Mona Amin, DO, a board-certified general pediatrician based in Florida and member of Buybuy Baby’s Parenting Pros, for any considerations or product recommendations while reviewing guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics on pool safety.

What to Look for in a Kiddie Pool

Age Guidelines

“Kiddie pools can be a safe way for a child to play outdoors and beat the heat, provided families give adequate supervision,” Dr. Lee says. Before purchasing a kiddie pool, make sure it’s age-appropriate for your children. Some kiddie pools are designed for babies and toddlers while others are geared toward older kids and have a higher water capacity. 

In addition to checking the pool’s age recommendation, it’s up to you to be up to date on pool safety. Drowning is the number one cause of death, after birth defects, for kids from ages 1 to 4. Tragically, drowning can happen in the blink of an eye, silently, and in only an inch or two of water.

To protect your children, drain smaller pools in between uses, install a fence around large pools, designate a water watcher anytime kids are playing in a pool, and be up to date on CPR training. All of these can save your child’s life, or another child’s, while they’re playing in the water or in the yard near a pool. 

Durability

While there are other materials, like polyester, kiddie pools are usually made of vinyl (inflatable pools) or hard plastic. There are pros and cons to each material. 

  • Inflatable, vinyl kiddie pools are portable and lightweight, and can be taken down once you’re finished using them. However, they are susceptible to tears and other damage.
  • Hard plastic pools are usually budget-friendly at any big retailer and last longer than vinyl. They usually don’t have a drain, and are much bulkier to store. But they are easy to set up as they don’t require an air pump. Just fill with water and jump in.

Water Capacity 

Be sure to see how much water capacity the kiddie pool you’re considering can hold. Some kiddie pools are big enough that you may need to keep the water clean with chlorine tablets and other chemicals like a traditional pool. And of course, a larger pool will take longer to fill and have a bigger impact on your water bill.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long can I leave my kid in a kiddie pool?

    You should never leave your child unattended in a kiddie pool or any body of water. While there’s not necessarily a maximum soak time for kids under supervision, you might consider taking your child out when they lose interest, look cold, or become prune-y—all telltale signs the pool party is nearing an end. And unless the pool is in a fully shaded area, you'll need to reapply sunscreen periodically as well.

  • How do I keep my child safe in a kiddie pool?

    There are several hazards to look out for, and the first and most obvious one is drowning. To prevent it, you should always supervise children in and near any water source, including kiddie pools. “Parents should treat a kiddie pool like a bathtub in the sense that a child should always be supervised when playing in the kiddie pool. Some very young children may have difficulty sitting up alone in the pool, and could be harmed in a few inches of water if not supervised closely,” Dr. Lee explains. Like a lifeguard, keep your eyes on your kids from the moment they dip their toes in, and keep your phone in your pocket to avoid what could become a fatal distraction. Alternatively, you can hop right in with them, but ultimately, make sure the pool is in a safe spot.

    “Ideally, the pool should be placed on a soft surface such as grass, rather than a driveway, especially if the floor of the pool is not inflatable. This way, if a child does slip and fall, they would be less likely to suffer a significant injury,” Dr. Lee says.

    When swim time is over, empty the pool and remove toys so your child isn’t tempted to reach in for them.

    “Clean it before and after [use],” Dr. Amin says. “Ideally, disinfect after every use, drain it and use mild dish soap to scrub it down.” It’s also smart to check state and local laws, as some may require a barrier like a fence around backyard pools (usually depending on their size). 

    Lastly, be on the lookout for slipping—one reason water shoes can be a great idea in and near kiddie pools—and sunburn, since kiddie pools tend to be used on warm days when the sun is shining and most don't have shade canopies.

  • How do you keep a kiddie pool clean?

    “To prevent bacterial growth, a kiddie pool should be emptied or drained and allowed to dry when play is finished. Pools should be stored upside down if outdoors to prevent rainwater from accumulating and creating a breeding ground for mosquito larvae,” Dr. Lee recommends.

    “Because there is no chlorine, bacteria can be more likely to be present,” Dr. Amin adds. “This is a risk and not a definite, so taking precautions can be helpful. Always make sure the children use the bathroom before and use swim diapers to contain stool.”

    Unlike chlorine pools and hot tubs, where chemical disinfectants protect against viral and bacterial spread, kiddie pools can harbor pathogens that lead to diarrhea or vomiting. Additionally, watch to ensure kiddos don’t drink the water if possible.

    ”Limit them [from] drinking the water directly from a safety perspective,” Dr. Amin says. And, thoroughly disinfect the pool if anyone vomits or poops in it.

    To clean a kiddie pool, dump water daily, rinse the pool with fresh water, and let the plastic air-dry to keep your kiddie pool in tip-top shape. If a child poops (in or out of a swim diaper) or throws up in your pool, end the pool party immediately. Use disposable gloves or a plastic bag to fish out as much solid waste as you can, drain the pool water, and start cleaning. First, scrub with soapy water, rinse with clean water, and air-dry. Next, disinfect surfaces using a bleach-based cleaning solution (one gallon of water plus 1/4 cup of household bleach). Leave it on the surface for six minutes or however long the manufacturer recommends, then rinse with fresh water and air dry in the sun for at least four hours.

  • Should I put chlorine in a kiddie pool?

    Chlorine isn’t safe for small kiddie pools. Although it may sound like a good idea in theory, it’s impossible to get the water-to-chemical proportions right in a small basin that’s prone to water loss from splashing. What’s more, the absence of filters to remove gunk ranging from rogue leaves to skin cells can “distract” disinfectant, tying it up before it can actually go to work on germs. For family-size, semi-permanent pools, follow manufacturer's guidelines on treating the water.

Why Trust Verywell Family

Deanna McCormack is a copywriter and marketing professional who writes product reviews for parents and families. She lives with her two kids under 3 in sunny Arizona where they swim almost every day of the year.

6 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  3. Pool dangers and drowning prevention―when it’s not swimming time. HealthyChildren.org.

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