Paddling pools provide instant fun for a group of school-aged kids on a hot summer’s afternoon. They are also the perfect way to cool babies and toddlers down. Water play is a great sensory activity which will help with your little one's development. When buying a paddling pool, you will want to get one that last a good few years, feels sturdy and is quick to fill. Paddling pools with covers that are inbuilt are fantastic for younger children as they offer more protection from the sun. For a larger pool, covers offer a way of keeping bugs and insects out of the swimming pool as well as retaining heat and hygiene.
Summers in Britain are far from predictable, with heatwaves one week to constant rainfall the next. Paddling pools are perfect for sunny days. One thing though is when it is hot, there really isn't that many places to escape as most British houses aren't equipped with air conditioning or a pool.
A paddling pool is an affordable, easy and reliable way to take a dip into cold water and enjoy the sun without taking a trip to the beach or local lido.
Things to consider when buying a paddling pool
Paddling pools now come in all shapes, sizes, patterns and materials. So here are some things to consider when buying one.
It is essential to consider your child's age and size when choosing a paddling pool. You don't want to get one that's too small for your child as they will soon grow out of it and choose one suitable for their age. Children must always be supervised by parents when playing in the pool.
Paddling pool size:
Paddling pools are a great way for kids to play in the garden, but you'll need to consider how much outdoor space you have free before investing. There are many paddling pools that suit all kinds of spaces, from small baby pools with a canopy to large 10ft paddling pools.
Does it come with a pump?
The majority of pools do not come with a pump, so it is good to check if you have already got one before you checkout your purchase. Some pools do come with a pump, but if not, you can find one for around £5.
Does it come with a repair kit?
Another thing to check is if your pool also comes with a repair kit? As paddling pools can puncture, it is good to have tools for a quick fix if disaster strikes.
With all that in mind, check out the best pools for babies, toddlers and families. From little paddling pools to 8 to 10ft paddling pools, there is something for everyone. In this article we have included inbuilt shaded paddling pools as well as paddling pools with covers to protect and insulate your pools so they can stay clean and warm all summer long.
Best paddling pools with inbuilt covers
These paddling pools come with covers built-in, great for babies and toddlers to shade from the sun whilst having fun in the garden.
Babymoov Aquani 3-in-1 Snti-UV Pool and Tent
The best paddling pool for babies
This 3-in-1 design tent, paddling pool and playpen will help your baby to stay cool in the heat, and the SPF 50+ UV protective canopy will protect them from the sun. It also includes two detachable toys with clips and a comfortable, removable mattress so your baby will have fun playing all day.
Size: 90 x 60cm
Water capacity: 75 litres
Easy pop-up system
Removable mosquito net
Detachable UV protected canopy
Intex Mushroom Baby Pool
The best baby paddling pool for price and look
This adorable mushroom themed baby paddling pool from Intex is sturdy, affordable and will provide hours of fun for your child.
Size: 25 x 9 x 23 cm
Water capacity: 45 litres
Cute mushroom canopy
Mum review: My little one really like it, and me as well. It is so cute. I like it because I have a top as well for sun protection. It is valued for money
Pop-Up Rainbow Paddling Pool
The best paddling pool for young children
Your little ones can enjoy hours of fun with this rainbow-themed pop-up paddling pool. It is big enough to fit two children and can easily be packed away into a carry bag when not in use.
Size: 97 x 97 x 57cm
Suitable from 9 months
UPF 50+ cover
Intex Sun Shade Pool
The best paddling pool for toddlers with removable shade
This toddler-sized pool comes with a repair kit and is a cheap and cheerful activity for warmer days. This colourful pool's cover can be removed and is easy and convenient to set up.
Size: 157cm x 157cm x 122cm
Water capacity: 280 litres
Parent review:** "Perfect for our little one to enjoy, easy to set up and ideal with the removable shade when it gets sunny!"
Best paddling pools with covers
For the big kids, they'll want a paddling pool they can really make a splash in! These swimming pools are great picks, each accompanied by a suitable cover beneath to keep away bugs and debris.
Bestway MAX Steel Pro Round Frame Swimming Pool
The best over-ground pool
This above-ground frame pool is the perfect space-saving garden pool due to its rigid shape for durability. This new series of Steel Pro MAX has been updated with a sleek grey design and natural prismatic stone printed inner liner. It is the perfect sunny day activity for family and friends.
Size: 305 x 305 x 76 cm
Water capacity: 4678 Litre
Drain valve for easy draining
Review: "Brilliant swimming pool well worth the money only thing I would say is that Bestway should include steps with the pool as they are essential and you then Have to purchase separately. My daughter absolutely loves it."
Bestway Steel Pro Frame Solar Swimming Pool Cover 10ft
This solar pool cover floats on the water surface to provide heat insulation and prevents dirt and debris from accumulating in your pool.
This pool cover fits 305cm (10 feet) steel pro frame pools.
Bestway Round Kids Inflatable Paddling Pool 10ft
The best 10ft paddling pool
The Fast Set Pool Set from Bestway is a great family swimming pool measuring 10ft so the whole family can cool off. It can be set up in minutes on a flat surface as only the top ring needs to be inflated. The filter pump also helps keep the water clean and safe. Now you can have a piece of paradise in your garden.
Size: 305 x 305 x 76 cm
Water capacity: 3,800L
Made from durable Tritech material
Review:" Easy to inflate and fill but takes a while to fill. It's great that it had a pump, but I would get extra filters as they need rotating regularly, especially if the pool is being used every day. Plenty big enough for a few people to enjoy."
Bestway Fast Set Swimming Pool Cover
Keep dirt, leaves, and debris from getting into your pool with this Bestway Fast Set pool cover for the 10ft model.
Size 3.35 m (11 inch) - fits 3.05 m (10 feet) fast set pools
Denny International Fast Set 8ft Paddling Pool
The best circular 8ft paddling pool
This 8 feet fast set pool is made from PVC and polyester and a control drain valve for easy draining. The pool is easy to use - just place it down on a level surface, inflate the top ring, and the pool will rise as you fill it with water.
Size: 30.2 x 25.5 x 24.3 cm (8ft) or 3.05m x 0.76m (10ft)
Water capacity: 2,300 litres (8ft) or 2,300 lites (10ft)
Drain valve for easy draining
Review: "Great size and room for loads of people. Easy to set up and get going. You need a flat surface, and some extras like the pool cover to heat it and cover it at night."
Denny Shop Solar Pool Cover
These durable solar pool covers are made with UV resistant material which floats on surface of pool and use the sun's solar energy to heat the water and stop dirt and bugs from getting in the pool.
Sizes available for the 8ft, 10ft and 12ft Denny paddling pools
Bestway Rectangular Family Pool
This family pool can be inflated quickly, is very easy to set up, and is made from durable vinyl material. It is designed with extra-wide, sturdy sidewalls and a built-in drain valve for easy emptying. This pool is recommended for ages 36 months and up and measures 8.7ft.
Size: 262 x 175 x 51 cm
Water capacity: 778 litre
Self-adhesive repair patch
Two ring design
Review: "Really happy with this product - it is the second one ordered. Ideal for my 12-year-old daughter for to sit on her rubber ring to relax and sip her drinks. It is also very quick to empty and refill with no chemicals added as this is just a quick fix for now, as I didn't want the extra expense and fuss of a bigger pool."
Bestway Family Pool Cover
This pool cover for the Bestway Family Pool prevents dirt and debris and the drain holes stop rain from building up.
Fits a rectangualr pool measuring: 8.5 feet x 69 inch x 20 inch
What is the best paddling pool to buy?
You’ll need to pick a pool that’s suitable for the age of your children and how many people you will be catering for. We think the best paddling pool to buy for families with kids aged six and up is the Bestway Family 8ft Pool.
How to clean a paddling pool
Once you have drained all the water out, wipe the pool down with a towel or a rag to remove any leftover moisture. Use a cleaning solution such as one part bleach and five parts water, or equal parts vinegar and water to clean the sides of the pool to avoid dirt and mould. You can use a scrubbing brush to make this easier.
Bacteria and algae can create slippery sections, so make sure you pay attention to those areas when cleaning them out. When this is done, quickly rinse the paddling pool with a high-pressure hose, and you're done.
How long does a paddling pool last?
The longevity of your paddling pool is dependant on how it's used and stored. It’s very easy to get a puncture in an inflatable pool by accidentally dropping it on a stone or dragging it across the concrete. Paddling pools, generally speaking, will last three or more years as long as you’re careful with it. Some of the more expensive and non-inflatable models may last much longer, such as the Bestway MAX Steel Pro Round Frame Swimming Pool.