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If you’re prepping for a poolside hangout this summer, or just starting to dip your toes in, you’ll want to break out the essentials. So slather on some sunscreen, break out the beach towels, and get some tunes going on your waterproof speakers, but don’t forget that the most important part is having fun— enter the best pool floats.
We consider a good pool float to be just as essential to your summer as zinc is to your UV-blocking sunscreen. Whether you want to start a full-blown splash fight, or just lounge on the water with a good book, we’ve picked out the best pool floats that’ll help you chill under the sun in style.
What Are the Best Pool Floats?
Sure, you could just repurpose an old inner tube or float there on your back (yawn), but the best pool floats for adults are designed to keep you buoyant on the water for hours, and withstand all the harsh chlorine and sunbeams all summer. Here are a few things to consider when picking out the right pool float (a.k.a. a pool floaty) for you.
Material: You’ll want a pool float that not only looks good on your Insta feed, but will stand up to the elements for the entire season. Some floats have fabric mesh that will help keep you cool under the sun, but might build up mold and mildew after being in the water for so long. Make sure that your float is otherwise made from premium vinyl, or raft-grade non-phthalate material, which will prevent tears, splits and punctures.
Size: Most pool floats, when inflated, measure about 30 inches by 50 inches or longer, giving you space to fully lie down. If you want to fit a whole party of people, some island-type floats will extend to around 100 inches (although these are better suited for lakes and large bodies of water than a pool).
Design: Pool floats now come in a variety of shapes, patterns, and designs, from practical lounging chairs, to novelty floats like giant pizzas and unicorns. The sky’s the limit for what’s out there, but most of the fun variety of pool floats don’t come with amenities like back support, cupholders, or cooling mesh. It’s comfort vs. cool factor here, and the choice is up to you, really.
Below, we’ve rounded the best pool floats to buy this summer, from practical floating chairs, to inflatables worthy of a poolside photoshoot.
1. Aqua Campania Ultimate 2-in-1 Recliner
The Aqua Campania Ultimate 2-in-1 Recliner is the best combination of versatility and comfort you can find in a pool float. You can chill out and use it as an upright recliner with a cushioned backrest, or fold it down into a full-recline position, which is great for both tanning and power naps where you accidentally tan anyways.
While some pool floats are meant to be used by both the young and young at heart, this has enough amenities to have adults in mind. The Campania has an attached drink caddy with oversized cup holders, so you can sip your adult beverage of choice while you soak up the sun, and keep your sunscreen, sunglasses, or snacks in reach too. Just fold up the caddy into the float when you want to spread out completely on top.
Not only is is it practical, it’s more durable than your typical float too—a high-quality fabric mesh covering creates a cooling seat that won’t burn you in the sun like some other vinyl floats, and it’ll stay buoyant longer, since the material is 20 percent thicker than your average inflatable. It’s still pretty large, but a carrying handle makes portability a breeze. Bottom line, the Aquan Campania will make you want to float on all day long.
2. Frontgate Floating Mesh Pool Chair
BEST POOL CHAIR
Do you ever wish that your pool float could be as comfortable as if you just threw your armchair into the water? Well, Frontgate’s Floating Mesh Pool Chair satisfies all your pool lounging wishes.
With oversized armrests, a well-cushioned back and even an attached ottoman, comfort and support are front and center with this pool chair. But you can easily relax and kick your feet up knowing it won’t deflate in an hour, since it’s filled with ultra-buoyant polystyrene beads, which means you’ll stay afloat longer.
The durable mesh fabric also dries quickly when you pull in the float for the season, eliminating the chance of mold or bacteria building up over time. It’s easy to transport and store too, thanks to a carrying handle at the top.
3. FUNBOY White Swan Float
BEST NOVELTY FLOAT
FUNBOY is known for their collection of eccentric pool floats with high-concept designs (a golf cart! A retro convertible!), but I think there’s something about the simplicity of a classic white swan float. Arguably what kicked off the trend of obnoxiously large novelty floats were flamingos and swan floats in the first place (which artist David Shrigley eventually parodied with my personal favorite “Ridiculous Inflatable Swan-Thing“).
While this float is nowhere near ridiculous, it is certainly an inflatable swan, and a big one at that—its elegant, curved swan neck rises three feet out of the water. But it’s meant to be oversized, and at 60″ this is a great example of a float that has room for two people to lay on.
Despite its size, the White Swan inflates in under three minutes with an electric pump, or even a hair dryer, which is pretty fast. But more than its memorable design, this is a swan float that gives back: FUNBOY works with several charities, stating that “each float purchase provides one person one year of clean drinking water.”
4. Frontgate Resort Pool Float
BEST POOL MAT
If you’re looking for the best option for tanning, look no further than the Frontgate Resort Pool Float. At just two inches thick, it delivers on buoyancy (it comfortably supports up to 350 pounds), while still remaining incredibly lightweight.
Crafted from high-quality, marine-grade, closed-cell foam for maximum durability, the Resort Float won’t sink even if punctured. The float is also coated in heat-processed PVC vinyl, meaning it can resist tears, splits and punctures in both saltwater and chlorinated pools, as well as sun damage.
That same triple-dipped vinyl coating also makes it quick to dry and easy to clean to boot. While the price point may push some people away, Frontgate’s Resort Pool Float is tough enough to last through multiple seasons, while still remaining light and comfortable to lounge on.
5. Aqua Monterey Hammock
BEST BUDGET PICK
You can do a ton with this simple pool float, and that’s what truly makes Aqua’s 4-in-1 Monterey Hammock such a bargain. The float has two buoyant head and footrests, and with a supportive mesh middle layer, which is as no-frills as it gets.
However, we like that you can use it in multiple ways: as a hammock, drifter, lounge chair, or even an exercise saddle. The buoyant ends are a bit thicker than other pool floats, to comfortably suspend you in the water and contour to your body, no matter what position you’re floating in.
The benefit of a basic design, is that it’s also one of the easiest floats to get in and out of, which means you’re less likely to accidentally slip off into the pool and struggle to get back on a weighty, oversized inflatable float.
It’s also fairly compact and portable, weighing under two pounds, folding up nicely into the included tote carrying bag. For a budget-friendly pick, there’s a lot to enjoy about this minimalist pool float.
6. FUNBOY Giant Cabana Dayclub Float
BEST FOR GROUPS
While it’s debatable whether pool parties will actually be back “on” this summer, if you’ve got a group, FUNBOY’s Giant Cabana Dayclub float is the only “party” float you’ll need for floating in a pool. Sure, you could always spring for a more raft-like island float, and that will obviously seat more people—but come on, that’s clearly not meant for a pool.
We chose the Dayclub, which seats four people, over other multi-seated floats mostly because of one essential feature: the removable mesh sunshade. Now you can chill out for hours under the shade, and really get to enjoy the other parts of the float without turning into a lobster. The dual mesh foot baths will also help keep you cool, and a central storage compartment lets you bring enough drinks, or a waterproof speaker, onto the float to last for hours.
The water entry pad also makes getting on and lounging a breeze. If you do feel like taking this cabana out onto the open water, the side grab ropes, multiple handles and a tether rope lets you firmly tie it down to a stationary anchor of your choice.
At nearly 10 feet long and seven feet wide, it’s pretty massive, but it folds up well when deflated into a mesh carrying bag. But you’ll have more room to party that way, and the Cabana Dayclub proves that sometimes bigger really is better.