Whether summer has officially arrived, or we're having one of those famous British heatwaves come spring, paddling pools are one of the best ways to keep your little ones cool and swimming in the hot weather and have some family fun at the same time.
It can be hard to know which paddling pool to invest in as there are so many options on the market but it’s important to take a few things into consideration when choosing the one for you. Things like the age of your children, the size of the pool, the durability of the material or lining, and whether it comes with an all-important pump are key factors when it comes to choosing the best paddling pool for you.
There are loads of paddling pools to choose from, be it traditional, simple, round design, or an all-singing all-dancing version with palm trees, a slide, and sprinklers. But whatever you choose, just know that your little ones are going to have a whale of a time.
The best paddling pools at a glance
- Bestway Splash and Play Three Ring Paddling Pool
- Pop-Up Paddling Pool
- Chad Valley Aquarium Activity Pool
- Intex Swim Centre Family Lounge Pool
- Chad Valley Activity Pool Play Centre
- Intex Mystic Unicorn Spray Pool
- Bestway Ocean Life Kids Paddling Pool
- Intex Lazy Snail Shade Baby Pool
- Intex Rainbow Ring Play Centre
- Intex-57135NP Dinoland Play Centre-Inflatable
At what age can babies go in a paddling pool?
While there is no official age recommendation when it comes to paddling pools, the NHS suggests that you should supervise your children at all times whilst they are in the pool.
What temperature should a paddling pool be?
For babies under three months old, the water should be at 32°C. If they're older, the water should not fall below 30°C. Remember - if the water feels cold to you, then it's definitely too cold for your baby.
The best paddling pools
It may only set you back less than a tenner but this three ring inflatable pool, which comes in three different colours, provides all the water fun your toddlers need. It’s quick to inflate and won’t take long to fill up either. It’s only 45 inches in diameter so perfect if your garden is on the smaller side. Reviewers say it’s excellent value for money too.
Age grade: Kids under adult supervision
Dimensions: 122cm x 25cm
Review: "Exactly as intended. We wanted a low cost inflatable pool for our 6 month old baby to use on hotter days. This low cost option is ideal, it is quick to inflate and adequate with regards to size."
Not only will your baby love cooling off in this pool but they’ll be protected from harsh sunlight too thanks to the overhead sunshade and UPF 50+ protection cover. Best of all, its pop-up design means you won’t have to mess around with fiddly pumps and it folds away into a 40cm carry bag when not in use - ideal if you want to take it on holiday or to a friends’ house.
Age grade: 9 months+
Dimensions: 96.5cm x 40cm
Review: "We are delighted with this paddling pool purchased for our one year old granddaughter. The quality is excellent and so easy to use. We also use it as a tent without water! Thank you."
Little ones will have endless fun in this eye-catching play pool that comes complete with a blow-up dolphin, clown fish, octopus, slide and palm tree sprinkler. There’s plenty of space for three or four children to enjoy playing in and it all folds away nice and flat for easy storage when playtime is over.
Age grade: 2+
Dimensions: 86cm x 241cm x 260cm
Review: "I loved the paddling pool, it came with lots of inflatable animals and objects. It even has a sprinkler on the palm tree! (Which also keeps the sun out)!"
The whole family can cool off in this fabulous lounge pool that comes with an inflatable bench so adults can sit back and relax while the kids paddle about. There are even two cup holders, which is a nice touch.
Age grade: 1+
Dimensions: 229cm x 218cm x 76cm
Review: "Love this pool and got it at an amazing price! Really nice size. Deep enough for my son to play in but not too deep that he struggles, comfy inflatable bench seat for us to sit and relax while we watch him play. Cup holders nice and sturdy, expected them to be too shallow and a little obselite but they're great."
There’s lot of fun to be had with this inflatable play centre, which can be used as a ball pit and a paddling pool at the same time. Tots will also love the slide and palm tree sprinkler. With its vibrant and colourful design and focus of play, your little ones will be able to enjoy this pool for hours.
Age grade: 3+
Dimensions: 264cm x 137cm x 66.6cm
Review: "This paddling pool looks great, easy to set up, my kids absolutely love it. Very happy with the purchase. Definitely recommend."
Kids will adore the magical unicorn design of this paddling pool, which has a built-in sprinkler to keep them extra cool as they splash about. This also wins major brownie points for its convenient drain plug.
Age grade: 2-6 years
Dimensions: 272cm x 193cm x 100cm
Review:"This has been very popular with my children and their friends over the Summer. It's so bright and colourful. It's well made. The tail spray is really good fun. Decent size."
With summer in sight, this cute, fish-adorned paddling pool will be your next go-to garden accessory. Made from durable vinyl material, this pool is safe and easy as pie to set up. Sitting on the smaller size, this is a great option for those with limited garden space.
Age grade: 3+
Dimensions: 122cm x 25cm
Review: "Super cheap, quick to blow up, seems sturdy enough, fits my two terrors in with plenty of space, folds down pretty small so great to travel with or use in the garden. No complaints here."
Another great option for younger children as they will love the colourful and playful design. The inflatable floor is super comfy and works well on harder ground like a patio or decking, while the built-in sunshade will keep them safe from UV rays. This could even double up as an indoor ball pit when the weather isn’t great.
Age grade: 3+
Dimensions: 145cm x 102cm x 74 cm
Review: "Bought this for my 11 month old daughter she loves it. Shade is good and it keeps her relatively contained - or at least takes time for her to climb out. Have been using it as paddling pool but plan to fill with balls to turn into ball pit after as its sides are deep enough for this. Material feels robust and has survived some dog uses too!"
This paddling pool doubles as a play centre, with a slippery water slide, raging ring toss game and super fun ball games to keep your children busy in the sun. The base includes a landing mat for extra safety, and the water sprayer attaches to your garden hose to keep the kids cool and hydrated all day long.
Age grade: 2+
Dimensions: 297cm x 193cm x 135cm
Review: "Seriously fabulous little pool! Our two children (4 and almost 2) spent a good couple of hours in it the other day, they were very disappointed when I made them come inside! It feels as sturdy as any other inflatable paddling pool so not sure why there are reviews stating otherwise. We used an electric pump to inflate it and it was up and running in minutes. So impressed. The perfect way to spend these sunny days in lockdown!"
We can't quite get enough of this dino-themed paddling pool. The ultimate way to have some fun in the sun, your kids will slide and splash alongside their favourite dinosaur friends, and with the dino hoops and volcanic ball roller games to keep them entertained, you won't be able to get your little ones out!
Age grade: 2+
Dimensions: 333cm x 229cm x 112cm
Review: "Makes a massive pool, the dinos are lovely and the sprinkler and ramp to roll balls down are brill, it's an incredible all rounder! My almost-two year old had a ball with it! I'd put it over grass not decking or patio as it has a little slide inside it and they skid down pretty fast - you don't want any bruised bums! Good quality, colourful, impressive looking."