Last year, contributors Erica Cerulo and Claire Mazur predicted that “the inflatable backyard pool is going to have a big summer.” They, perhaps not surprisingly, couldn’t have been more right. Come Memorial Day, many inflatable pools were suddenly quite hard to come by. Yes, a lot of that had to do with the pandemic and the fact that lots of public swimming pools and beaches weren’t as accessible last summer as they will be this year. But even with vaccinations proceeding apace, the ease of installing a pool on a roof or in a sliver of backyard with just a few pumps (or blows) of air remains as appealing as ever — especially on those scorching days to come. Between this and the fact that some folks may want to wait a bit longer before plopping down at a crowded beach or public pool, we suspect it may not be long before inflatable ones are yet again flying off shelves, which is why we decided to rustle up options for anyone who likes to plan ahead. To find inflatable pools that look a little more elevated than your average cartoon-covered kiddie pool, we asked interior designers (and our in-house home décor expert) for their thoughts on options for different kinds of outdoor spaces. Then we did a little more digging on our own for good measure. The 15 inflatable pools below, at the time of publication, are all available and ready to ship in time for Memorial Day — or sooner, in many cases.
Most of the pools the experts recommend measure about five feet in diameter. While some have “kiddie” in their name, this size can fit adults and work well in a variety of outdoor spaces, including an unfinished roof, small (or large) backyards, or even a spacious balcony. Three of the interior designers we spoke with — Decorilla’s Devin Shaffer and Decorist’s Casey Hardin and Megan Wright — told us about pools from the Venice Beach–based brand Funboy, whose brightly colored pool floats are all over Instagram. According to Hardin, Funboy’s inflatable pools are equally great “for their stylish prints and the ease with which you can inflate and deflate.” Wright loves this one with a “summer-y pattern and splash of color” that measures 66 inches in diameter.
Here’s another style from Funboy that we like for its contrasting tie-dye patterns. It measures just over five feet in diameter and, according to Urban Outfitters, will ship on May 12 to arrive well before Memorial Day.
Shaffer and Decorist designer Sarah Ramirez both love Minnidip, the brand behind this tufted, blush-colored pool that Shaffer likes for its “simple color and form.” Ramirez adds that “the unique scalloped edges make it the perfect art-deco addition to your summer setup.” The pool, which is just a bit more than five feet in diameter, has an easy-to-use air valve that allows it to be inflated by a standard air pump or even a hair dryer, according to the brand. (But if you’re using a hair dryer, just make sure it is set to cool so you don’t melt the plastic.)
This Minnidip pool we found at Target is more or less the same size as the one above (it also measures just more than five feet in diameter), but has a tropical-foliage print and costs $10 less.
Cerulo and Mazur pointed us to the inflatable pools from fashion stylist Kristin Myllenbeck’s line Mylle, which they say are “fun without splashing into swan-pool-float territory.” The Mylle pools measure 65 inches, or just under five and a half feet, in diameter. In addition to this ochre color, you can get them in green or with patterns that range from black-and-white stripes (the brand’s original style) to terrazzo.
Ramirez told us that this “refreshing” print of “cheery golden lemons” could easily “complement a traditional look or fit right in with a kitschy, mid-century aesthetic.” Poolcandy says the five-foot-wide pool should comfortably accommodate two adults.
If you’re not into fruit prints, PoolCandy sells the exact same pool in this neon palette that feels delightfully ’80s.
In the same bright colors as our favorite Popsicles, this pool that measures 59 inches (or slightly under five feet) in diameter just screams summer to us.
Hardin directs those who want something other than a circular pool to this heart-shaped option. According to the brand, it’s ideal for couples — or throuples — as it can fit two to three adults. Hardin adds that “with its multiple air valves and drain,” set up and cleanup should take “just a few minutes.”
Technically this foldable pool is meant for dogs, but at 63 inches (or just over five feet) wide, it will also work for humans. Strategist contributor Regan Stephens says her three daughters — “who, at ages 3, 4, and 8, range in size from pug to pit bull” — spend all afternoon playing in it. The folding design makes it easier to set up, compared to an inflatable pool, and a drainage valve makes it just as easy to empty.
You will need a larger patch of grass to unfurl this modular, family-size, monochromatic pool, but it gets extra points for the built in chairs. It also comes with a drain plug and a repair patch.
On the smaller end of the spectrum, at a little under four feet long, the size of this inflatable unicorn pool makes it better for kids. But if you’ve got little ones to entertain, it is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. The pool has a padded base and a drain plug, so you can easily pack it up after a day in the yard. And if she springs a leak, an included repair patch makes fixing it easy.
While all of the above options work for both kids and adults, they’re a little too deep for the infant set. If you’re looking for a baby pool, Strategist writer and resident home décor expert Lauren Ro recommends this option that she has been eyeing for her son, Augie. “While it’s unclear from the product description whether the inflatable pool rings are included in the set, if they are, the $15 price tag seems more than reasonable,” she notes. “The square shape, padded bottom, and removable canopy for added sun protection are also nice touches.”
Here’s another shallow option we found for the littlest swimmers (or very cottagecore-obsessed) among us. Like the pool above, this has a padded bottom, and the giant mushroom cap not only makes it fun to look at, but also functions as a shade from the sun.
While it’s not inflatable, this personal pool is certainly unlikely. Hannah Faust, a dancer, actor, and interior designer, told us she created a perfectly usable pool using an aluminum tank like this. “I had been using it as an herb garden, but I emptied it out and filled it with my hose.” Also known as a stock-tank pool, Wright says it’s the “perfect idea for the DIY-er” and told us that step-by-step instructions for putting your own stock-tank pool together can be found online. While Faust scored her used aluminum tub on Facebook Marketplace, she says you can find plenty of new ones online, like this one from Tarter. Its ovular shape makes it kind of like a bathtub, and at roughly two feet wide by four feet long, it would be a perfect size for kids.
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