Adam holds a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Linguistics, and creative writing has always been his greatest passion. For more than 25 years he's been working for several well-known automobile and travel magazines as an editor and expert consultant, but when Adam started his writing path here, at WisePick, it turned out that he's capable of writing practically anything about everything.
Initially being an engineering specialist, Tom has never stopped learning and acquiring other knowledge and skills. Now he’s involved in technical support for a well-known household appliances manufacturer, so no wonder he knows everything about almost everything you buy for your home.
Last updated: June 23, 2021
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Those hot, sticky summer days can create some cranky kids if you don’t have a way to cool them down. That’s why many parents are adding the best kiddie pool to their yards. Not only does this keep your kids from overheating, but it is a great source of entertainment, preventing boredom.
There are hundreds of kiddie pool options on the market, and after considering about 40 models, we chose the top 5 models to review. Our favorite is the Intex Mini Frame Pool, which includes a galvanized steel frame, foam padded beams, and a durable vinyl liner, plus comes in two great colors. We also reviewed folding and inflatable models, some with extras like slides or sunshades. We even added a pool for dogs in case this is also on your summer shopping list.
When choosing a kiddie pool, you may want to look at a few key features to ensure that you’re getting the right one for your family. The first is the dimensions of the pool, which show you how much space there is to play. The height is also important, especially if you’re planning on putting smaller kids in there to play. What type of materials are used will help determine the pool’s durability. Some models include some accessories, making them even more entertaining for the kids. To help you choose the best kiddie pool, we’ve created a comparison table and added an in-depth review for each model. We also added a buying guide at the end to cover all the important features.
The Intex Mini Frame Pool is rated as a kiddie pool for 3-year-olds and up, though it can be the best kiddie pool for a 2-year-old or even younger if they can sit up and you’re paying close attention. In fact, at 48 inches across, you can even get in there with your little ones to cool off as you play without feeling too crowded.
The Intex pool comes in blue and green, so you can pick your little one’s favorite color. Both options use the same materials, too, so you can be sure you’re getting a sturdy pool. The frame is made of galvanized steel, with foam padded beams holding up the sides.
The liner is thick vinyl, which can handle a bit of rough splashing all summer long. Included with the pool is a repair patch kit, so if a rock or stick pokes a hole in your pool, you’ll be able to fix it quickly and easily.
There are minimal instructions, so you’ll need to figure out the setup without them. This is easy to do, though, so you should have your pool up and filling in no time.
There is a drain plug in the bottom of the pool, which makes it easy to drain out every drop of water. You can also wipe the sides and rinse it out the same hole without worrying about any dirt getting stuck inside and fouling the fresh water.
The littlest members of your family need a bit of extra care, requiring protection from the sun before they can use sunscreen. The JOYIN Whale Playpool takes this into account, with a full sunshade over the top of the pool. This blocks the sun’s harmful rays, making it the best kiddie pool for a 1-year-old or even younger.
The Whale Playpool is made of non-toxic and high-quality raft material, so it is safe for your little ones. The bottom of the pool is padded to keep their little bums and legs comfy for as long as they’re in the pool. The wall is 14 inches tall, too, so they won’t fall out of the pool. A drain plug at the bottom of the pool makes it easy to drain the water when you want to clean the pool or pack it up.
This pool has four different sections that need to be inflated separately, so you can’t just plug in your air pump and do it all at once. Switching to each section doesn’t add to much time to the inflation process, though, so you’ll be adding water and plopping your kids into it sooner than you may think.
Another handy feature this pool has to offer is its versatility. It can be left empty and used as a covered play area or a floating lounger for your baby at the beach. At only 5 pounds, it is easy to take with you anywhere.
If you’re looking for the best kiddie pool with a slide for your kids to enjoy, the Intex Jungle Adventure Inflatable Play Center may be a good option. It’s easy to set up using an air mattress pump or a compressor. Once it’s filled with air, add some water and start the fun.
This play center is made up of 2 separate pools. The smaller one is located in the corner by the slide’s ladder. It includes a water sprayer that can be connected to your garden hose to create a sprinkler over this smaller pool.
The larger pool makes up the rest of the play center. The kids slide from the small pool into the large one, landing on the padded landing mat. There are also a variety of other fun extras in this large area. There is a removable flamingo in one corner that can be used with the included rings for a ring toss game. In the opposite corner is a removable monkey to play with. There are also 5 balls for playing catch or other games with, all of which can fit in the colorful wall on one side to keep them organized and prevent them from going missing.
The drain plug is located on the pool floor, making it easy to drain every drop of water. An inflated alligator and hippo attached to the inner floor of the pool add to the fun.
Your little ones aren’t the only ones who get warm during the summer months. This model is a great kiddie pool for dogs who love to splash and play while staying cool. It’s a good pool for kids as well, plus it comes in 5 sizes to accommodate the size and age of whoever is using it.
The Jasonwell Foldable Dog Pet Bath Pool is easy to set up, with no inflation needed. Just open it up, lift the sides, and add the water. As the pool fills, the water pushes the sides up, keeping them upright while your pets splash around.
You want your pool to last as long as possible, so decent materials are needed, especially with dogs who may have some sharp claws. This pool is made of extra-tough PVC, so it should last for quite a while, even if your pet has missed a grooming appointment or two. There is also slip-resistant material on the bottom to keep your dogs or children on their feet.
Another handy feature that this pool has to offer is the side drain, which makes it easy to drain the water for cleaning or at the end of the season. It can be tricky to get the last bit of water out or clean the bottom since it isn’t recommended to lift or flip the pool. Once it’s empty, you can fold it up and store it away until the weather warms up again.
The best inflatable kiddie pool should be easy to set up and fun to play in. The Jilong Pentagon Inflatable Family Pool has you covered in both areas. It has two inflatable rings that inflate separately. This way, if one gets a hole, the whole pool doesn’t come down on you. You can fill them with a normal air pump in very little time.
This pool has a decent size, fitting multiple kids at once. Even mom or dad can climb in, making this a great kiddie pool for adults as well. This way, the whole family can keep cool during the summer months.
The extra-wide walls don’t just keep the water in, they add some stability and support to those in the pool. You can lean on them and relax, like an inflated pillow. The whole pool is made of vinyl, which is sturdy, though the bottom is a bit thin. It may be best to put something under it, like a tarp, to prevent rocks or twigs from scraping or puncturing this bottom area.
On the bottom of the pool is the drain valve, which lets you drain out the water when it is time to change it out and give the pool a good cleaning. The pool itself is lightweight, so you can also lift it if needed to get every last drop to drain properly. This also makes it easy to pack up when the weather starts to cool.
What do we love it for?
What were we disappointed with?
Things to Consider
A hard plastic kiddie pool is nice for the little ones to splash around in but isn’t very portable, so you can’t take it with you anywhere or store it away easily when summer is over. The pop-up or inflatable models we’ve chosen are easy to set up and fill. Some of them can also go with you to a park, beach, or camping trip to keep the little ones cool and entertained. If you’re interested in a new kiddie pool, check out the following features to figure out exactly what you need.
What a kiddie pool can be used for
The main use for a kiddie pool is for little kids to swim and splash in. These pools are small, so they can hold little kids, even the smallest ones in the family. The sides are short, too, making it easy for them to get in and out of the pool, plus you can grab them if they should slip and go under the water.
Some of the kiddie pools are big enough for grown-ups to cool off in as well, like the Jilong Pentagon Inflatable Family Pool. It’s no fun sweating under a hot sun while you watch your little ones play, so a pool that can fit you as well lets you stay cool and join in the fun at the same time.
There are also kiddie pools that include some extras, like the inflatable water slide, ring toss, and removable animals on the Intex Jungle Adventure Inflatable Play Center. This turns the pool into an entire play area, adding even more entertainment to your backyard. Even the regular pools can have toys added to them to turn them into an adventure.
If you have pets at home, a kiddie pool can be a good place for them to cool down and play on a hot summer day. This will mostly work for dogs but even some cats enjoy a dip in the water now and then, as long as they can easily get in and out of the pool.
Another great way to use a kiddie pool is draining the water and filling it with small balls to create your own ball pit at home. This keeps your little ones entertained when it’s too cool or rainy for swimming or splashing. You can also set it up inside your house for this since it won’t make as big of a mess as water would. Using it this way also allows you to use it year-round, making it well worth buying.
Features to consider when choosing a kiddie pool
When searching for a new kiddie pool, there are a few things you may want to look for. This will ensure you’re getting the right pool for your children, pets, and even yourself.
There are three main pool types to choose from. The first is the inflatable pools, which need an air pump or air compressor to blow up. The air in the sides holds the water in, plus gives you a cushioned edge to sit up against in the pool. It also won’t hurt the kids if they slip and hit the side on the way down. The downside to the inflatable pools is that even the smallest hole can release the air, so you need to be extra careful with them to ensure they don’t get punctured or your pool will be unusable. These pools are usually lightweight, making them more portable than some other models.
The foldable pool is made of a thin bottom and thicker sides, all in one piece. This means there is no assembly needed. You just need to lay it out, lift the sides, and fill it with water. This can be tricky since the sides won’t stay up until there is enough water inside to hold them in place, so you need to babysit it in the beginning. These kiddie pools are lightweight and portable, so you can take them with you wherever you need them.
Another pool type is the frame pool, like the Intex Mini Frame Pool. These pools have a frame made of metal or plastic and a liner. The frame holds the liner up, keeping the water inside the pool. These types are sturdy and durable but take a bit longer to set up and take down. They also aren’t as portable as the other kiddie pool types.
When you’re buying a kiddie pool, you don’t want to just grab a random one off the shelf. You should look at the dimensions to be sure it will fit the kids going into it. For instance, if the length and width are rather large, you can fit a few more kids into it, which is great for those who already have a few at home. If you live in a neighborhood that has a few other kids to play with, you can also host some pool party playdates for your little ones, fitting a few of their friends in the pool as well.
This size is also something to look at if you’re planning on jumping in there with the kids to stay cool while you keep an eye on them. Doing so also makes it easier to hold onto any babies who may not be entirely stable when sitting or standing. A larger pool will accommodate you as well as your kids.
Though the length and width of the pool are important, the height is the first thing you should look at. The higher the pool, the higher the water level will be. You want to make sure the water isn’t higher than your child can handle. Babies and toddlers should be in water up to their tummies or lower, so it won’t cover their heads if they happen to all over. Older kids have better mobility, so can handle water that’s a bit higher.
The materials used to construct the pool need to be durable, otherwise, your pool won’t last very long. Plastic is a common choice because it is lightweight, making the pool more portable. It is also cheap, so pools that use this material won’t cost too much to buy. The downside of plastic is that it is sort of thin, so even small rocks or twigs could scrape or puncture it if you’re not careful. Plastic pools usually don’t last longer than a season or two, though their low price makes it less of a hardship if you need to replace your kiddie pool.
Vinyl is another option for kiddie pools since it is durable and strong. Vinyl is thicker than plastic, too, so it won’t puncture as easily, though you’ll still need to be careful with it to ensure it lasts for a few seasons.
If a frame is included with the kiddie pool, like the one on the Intex Mini Frame Pool, it should be made of strong materials as well. This includes metal like steel. Some models also include plastic, which needs to be thick to hold up under the pressure of the water and the movement of the kids in the pool. Some type of padding on the frame is also a must to keep your little ones from getting bruised if they bump against it.
Many of the kiddie pools on the market don’t have a weight capacity since the bottom of the pool is just a sheet of plastic or vinyl. It won’t matter how much the kids weigh since they can’t damage this area. The pools that do include a weight capacity usually have some sort of inflatable piece that can only handle so much weight.
For instance, the Intex Jungle Adventure Inflatable Play Center comes with an inflatable slide and an inflated landing pad at the bottom of it. These pieces aren’t strong enough to hold a grownup and some won’t be able to hold a large child either, depending on the pool. The weight capacity will tell you just how much weight you can put on those pieces without popping them.
The drain system is another feature you may want to look at. Some pools have the drain on the side, which is fine for draining most of the water, though you may need to tip the pool to the side to get rid of any water below the drain height. Drains on the floor will get rid of all of the water but also have a downside. If the pool is on solid ground, the weight of the water will hold the pool flat, so you may need to lift it to get the water flowing out of the drain. If your pool is on a deck or wooden platform, the water will flow through the space between the boards, draining easily.
Though the features we’ve described above are the most important ones to look for when buying the best kiddie pool for your family, there are a few extras that can make these pools even more worthwhile.
One thing to look for is the design of the pool. Though a few of the models on our list are rather plain, many kiddie pools include some colorful designs and features that will attract your children. For instance, the JOYIN Whale Playpool is shaped like a big whale, with your little one climbing into its mouth to sit in it. It even has big eyes and a tail at the back, making it fun from the outside as well as the inside. The Intex Jungle Adventure Inflatable Play Center comes with a slide, ring toss, removable animals, and a sprayer, all of which can entertain kids of all ages.
Even if your new kiddie pool doesn’t have a lot of entertaining features, a few color options can make it more enjoyable. This makes it easy to pick your child’s favorite color, which will make them like the pool even more. You can also match it to their other outdoor toys for a more attractive backyard.
Another thing you may want to look at is how easy the setup is. Pools like the Jasonwell Foldable Dog Pet Bath Pool only need to be unfolded and filled. The inflatable ones usually come in one piece but may have multiple sections to fill with air. The only ones that actually need assembly are the frame models, though these are usually easy to put together, so you should have your kids in the pool in only an hour or so, including filling time.
Price is something else to look for. Though some of the pools in our reviews are rather inexpensive, costing less than $30, they could run as high as $50. This depends on the size of the pool and what is included with it. The more materials and extras that come with the pool, the more it’s going to cost, so keep this in mind.
No, you don’t need to drain the pool after each use. You can add some chemical cleaners to it, like chlorine, but this isn’t usually necessary for kid’s pools since they don’t hold that much water. You can likely leave it for 2 to 3 days before you need to drain it and clean it, depending on how dirty the water is and how many kids are jumping in and out of it.
The Jasonwell Foldable Dog Pet Bath Pool can be used for dogs. It doesn’t have any inflatable areas, so you don’t need to worry about their claws puncturing it. It also comes in 5 sizes, so you can get one that can accommodate the size of the dog using it.
This depends on whether or not the water in the pool is treated. Water treated with chlorine gets rid of bacteria but can irritate your skin and eyes, plus dry out your hair. Kids under 12 months should spend 30 minutes or less in these pools. Older kids can handle a bit more time but shouldn’t spend more than a few hours in a treated pool. Untreated water won’t irritate their skin, so you can leave even smaller kids in for longer. Also, you should be careful with your kids staying too long in the sun. For this, you might want to check the pool umbrellas.
The best kiddie pool can be a great addition to any backyard, giving your kids an entertaining area to play in while staying cool. Though there are dozens of kiddie pools on the market, some are better than others. Let’s take a look at our favorites.
Our top choice is the Intex Mini Frame Pool, which includes a galvanized steel frame, foam-padded beams, a vinyl liner, and a bottom drain plug. It comes in 2 colors, is easy to clean, comes with a repair kit, and even fits the grownups.
The JOYIN Whale Playpool is a great inflatable pool for babies and toddlers. This whale-shaped inflatable pool is made of high-quality, non-toxic PVC, with a padded bottom and a bottom drain. It is also lightweight, with multi-purpose use.
The Intex Jungle Adventure Inflatable Play Center is another great option. This PVC inflatable pool comes with a ton of extras, including a slide, 5 balls, a ring toss, a sprayer, and removable animals. The 178-pound weight capacity can handle kids of all sizes.