paddling pool fun

The Best Paddling Pools For Garden Fun This Summer

Published 12th July 2021
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Summer is finally here, and with sun (yep, some actual sun!) on the long-range forecast for July and August, there’s never been a better time to start planning your al fresco activities. Chances are you won’t be packing a suitcase and jetting across the world this summer, but with the Great British staycation reigning supreme this year, it’s time to embrace all the domestic delights our gardens have to offer… and a paddling pool is a brilliant place to begin! 

Here at OnBuy, we think there’s nothing more relaxing than a quick dip on a hot day, especially when enjoyed with family and friends. Whether you’re looking for a state-of-the-art, all-singing all-dancing paddling pool, something to support your youngsters in their first foray into the water, or simply an inflatable model that’s incredibly lightweight and convenient, we have all manner of shapes and sizes to captivate your clan this sunny season. 

In this handy guide, we’ll introduce you to some of our best-selling paddling pools that are sure to make a splash this summer. Showcasing a range of high-quality products for every budget and buyer, we’ll guide you through a few important factors to consider pre-purchase, helping you feel better equipped to reach an informed decision. Who knows? Your new pool could be a mere click away!

What should I consider before purchasing my paddling pool?

slip and slide

With warmer weather now happily on the horizon, it’s highly likely that your family will need to cool off at some stage this summer. An inflatable option is certainly a great idea for anyone who loves to spend time in the water, and it won’t break the bank like a built-in alternative! 

First, you must consider your space. In other words, how big or small is your backyard? This will ultimately determine the size of the pool you purchase, so rather than imagining or guessing the dimensions in your head, it’s a good idea to get out the tape measure. Once you work out what you can squeeze into the garden, you can then consider shapes and styles.

Also, pay attention to the build quality and materials used. This could be the difference between it staying upright while you enjoy your splashing and swimming shenanigans, and the fun being cut criminally short due to a puncture! Inflatable models are notoriously transient, but by selecting the highest-quality material (often described as a mix of polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, and several layers of rubber), you’re sure to increase its lifespan. 

Finally, think about your paddling pool’s in-built features. Ring toss games, water sprinklers, and cup holders are just some of the fun-filled examples to look out for. Additional luxuries like underwater lights, slippery slides, and spray pads can also be appended to enhance the al fresco amusement. Unlike adults, little ones are far less fussy about what their toy may look like – ultimately, they just want something that contains water, so any expandable extras are merely a fun-filled bonus. 

However, some extras, like integrated canopies, can be really useful for protecting your children from harmful UV rays and sunburn if you’re worried about increased sun exposure. Alternatively, you could turn to our range of parasols and garden umbrellas if your chosen model lacks this. For blow-up ranges, we’d recommend investing in an electric pump to help save time when inflating. Let’s face it, no one can solely rely on the power of their own lungs! Plus, with one of these life-savers in your accessory arsenal, you’ll be able to kick-start the fun much sooner!

OnBuy’s top five paddling pools for garden fun this summer

paddling pool for garden

Now we’ve established the basics, let’s dive straight into OnBuy’s selection of popular paddling pools. No matter what your style, preference, or age range (big kids, we’re looking at you), we've got a pool for every home. So strap on those swimming goggles and prepare to make a splash with your little ones!

The best for expandable enjoyment | Intex Easy Set Swimming Pool

inflatable pool

Pros: Just the right size for little ones to enjoy their first ‘big person’ pool, 6ft diameter is perfect for a small family or group of children

Cons: You may need a pump to help inflate the ring, doesn’t come with a cover as standard

This Intex inflatable paddling pool is the perfect choice for families and smaller groups of youngsters this summer. If a child-sized model is simply not big enough for your brood, this affordable, expandable option is your answer! Boasting a 6ft diameter, there’s plenty of room to play, so brush up on those Marco Polo rules and let the games begin! Crafted by the well-known, reliable Intex brand, it’s sure to last far longer than some of its competitors. Unlike most pools, you don’t need to waste time inflating the whole thing; just blow up the inflatable ring and the pool will expand when you fill it with water.

Unfortunately, a larger size and volume means this paddling pool will take a long time to fill with a garden hose - not ideal if you’re wanting to take the plunge straight away. Make sure you work ahead of time here, as preparing this model certainly won’t be able to happen on a whim. A pump is recommended for the inflatable ring, while potential extras (like filters, chlorine tablets, and a cover) also aren’t included, so must be purchased at an additional cost.

The best for little swimmers | Intex Lazy Snail Shaded Baby Paddling Pool

little kids paddling pool

Pros: Compact and adorable, perfect for introducing your baby to water, features a generous in-built sun shade for protection from harmful UV rays

Cons: Only suited to little ones between the ages of one and three, vinyl material more susceptible to punctures

Your little one can have tonnes of fun in the sun with this incredibly cute pool, while you have the peace of mind that their sensitive skin isn’t being harmed by UV rays. If your pensive little paddler is unsure about getting their feet wet, or cautious about swimming altogether, the adorably friendly snail could help them come out of their shell, encouraging them to embrace that buoyant, weightless feeling. Finished with a clear window and soft inflatable floor, the pool is incredibly comfortable and cosy, perfect for even the most delicate of baby’s bottoms!

What’s more, with a wall height of roughly 14cm, this ultra-cute snail can hold an impressive 50L of water, so you won’t have to worry about constant re-filling. Constructed from a robust vinyl material, it can even withstand a degree of rough play, thanks to the inclusion of a handy poolside repair patch as standard. On the downside, the manufacturer states that this model is only suitable for children between the ages of one and three, so your youngster isn’t going to get a huge amount of use from it.

The best for adult amusement | Bestway Tropical Paradise Fun Pool

adult size paddling pool

Pros: Built-in seat for comfort, a handy cup holder on the inflatable rim, self-adhesive repair patch included as standard

Cons: Water capacity of 282L means it’ll take a very long time to fill, thin base so susceptible to punctures

We won’t lie, this Bestway adult paddling pool is not an entirely selfless choice! You’re not alone if you’ve envisaged yourself perched on the inflatable seat with a strawberry daiquiri resting in the convenient cup holder on a scorching summer’s day - and to be honest, we don’t blame you! Though paddling pools are, at least traditionally, designed for children, there’s nothing to stop us grown-ups from enjoying the prospect of a quick dip, too!

The base is a little thin on this one, so it’s worth considering what surface you’re going to be placing the pool on, but it does come with a self-adhesive repair patch included (on top of a reputable brand history). While being bigger can be a bonus, you are going to be waiting around for a while before you can jump in; this pool takes an incredibly long time to fill thanks to its 282L capacity.

The best for prehistoric play | Intex Dinoland Play Centre

fun paddling pool

Pros: Fun-filled design features a moveable dinosaur arch, water sprayer, inflatable slide, and hoop and volcanic ball roller games, only requires two minutes to inflate

Cons: Smaller capacity means its only young suitable for children, longer dimensions may not fit in every garden or outdoor space

Ignite your child’s imagination and transform your garden into a thrilling Jurassic world with the Intex Dinoland Play Centre - the ultimate summer companion for your little ones! Make yours the backyard of the bunch with a plethora of exciting features, including moveable arches, water sprayers, and an inflatable slide, all of which are set to bring your outdoor space to life this sunny season. Fast and incredibly easy to inflate, it won’t be long before your youngsters are enjoying splashing around on a warm afternoon. What’s more, several colourful throwing balls are also included, which can provide hours of entertainment for toddlers as young as three as they scramble to pop them inside the hungry dinosaur’s hoop. You can even keep the fun going thanks to an extra repair patch that can be affixed, should any accidental tears or rips occur.

Unfortunately, the diminished capacity means it's only really suitable for children (sorry dads!). The longer dimensions may also be too large for some gardens or backyard spaces, especially in comparison to more compact models on the market. Be sure to double-check the measurements of your available area before buying!

The best for family fun | Intex Inflatable Family Pool

intex family pool

Pros: Generous 990L capacity provides room for your friends and the whole family, complete with seats, backrests, and cup holders for ultimate relaxation 

Cons: The most expensive item on our list of paddling pools, extremely heavy and cumbersome piece of kit that may be difficult to store in the cooler months

An ideal way to spend gorgeous days basking in the sun, this family-friendly pool from Intex has amusement and relaxation ticked off all in one! Its unique shape provides plenty of room for little ones to splash around, as well as for grown-ups to stretch their legs after a long and tiring summer’s day. Boasting four inflatable seats, complete with comfy backrests for an extra shot of luxury, you’ll be able to recline in style at home, while sipping your favourite beverage (alcoholic or otherwise!). 

With wide sidewalls lending additional stability, there’s absolutely no compromise when it comes to quality or enjoyment. In fact, its vinyl exterior material means you can all look forward to summer after summer of fun-filled splashing around. Thanks to its no-fuss inflatable design and generous 990L capacity, there’s ample space for everyone to enjoy their very own slice of paradise this sunny season. 

Standing at the most expensive price on our list today, it may not be the most appropriate option for those with budget as a primary concern. The extremely heavy construction is also very cumbersome and awkward, meaning it’ll probably be rather difficult to store in the cooler winter months, or whenever not in use. 

Splish, splash, splosh… bosh!

child playing in pool

Choosing a new paddling pool can be such an exciting and enjoyable experience for you and your family, but the fun really shouldn’t have to stop just there. Our online shelves are full of fun items - just check out our blogs and buyer’s guides, which are packed full of useful insights and inspiration to create a memorable family summer.

We’ve taken a look at some great ways to bust the boredom of long drives to attractions and holiday destinations, our favorite wet ‘n’ wild water water games for the summer holidays, plus seaside ideas and top tips to turn up the fun in your back garden! Soon, you’ll have forgotten all about that Mediterranian hotel pool, and will have fully embraced the staycation vibe!

Now we’ve breathed some life back into your summer holiday hopes, it’s time to pick out the perfect paddling pool that is sure to make a splash with your family!

The information in this buyer’s guide is correct at the time of publishing but may be subject to change. 

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