Plastic vs Inflatable Kids Pool: Pros and Cons

kid playing in inflatable pool with inflated toys

A plastic or inflatable pool will provide your kids with a safe, fun place to play during the summer heat. These pools are sold in the garden or seasonal sections of big box stores and other retailers. Before you buy, learn the advantages and disadvantages of plastic and inflatable pools to determine which will best suit your needs.

Plastic Pool Pros

Plastic pools tend to be less expensive than inflatable varieties. You can usually find a simple round model for around $10. The more elaborate ones can get up to $30 to $40, but they usually have a slide and stairs. If you decide to discard your plastic pool at the end of the summer, it won't cost much to buy a replacement when the weather gets warm again.

Plastic pools also provide instant gratification. When you bring it home, throw the pool out in the middle of the grass, fill it with a garden hose and call the kids to swim.

Plastic pools are lower to the ground, making access in and out easier for younger children. Having it so low to the ground also adds safety because there is not as much water. When watching children play, you will see a young toddler even if the child is crawling in the water. This means there is less risk of drowning for younger children (although you should always monitor children).

Cons of Plastic Pools

Plastic pools are generally more difficult to get home from the store as they are relatively set in their shape, and any bending could crack the material. You may need to tie the pool to the top of a car or truck to accommodate the pool's circumference.

Storing plastic pools can also be an issue. They do not fold or bend, so you would need some space to keep them stored. While you could prop it against an exterior wall of your home, this may make for an unsightly addition to your landscape. Moreover, contact with direct sunlight will eventually cause the pool's material to crack, erode, and warp in shape.

young boy in a plastic kiddie pool

Inflatable Pool Pros

Inflatable pools usually come folded up in a sleeve or small box. This makes them easy to transport, not only from a store but even to a vacation home or to the beach.

They come in a wide variety of styles. While some can be more expensive, these variants may offer exciting features like slides, arches with misters, or animal features that blow-up once inflated. The visual appeal is very inviting for a young child.

These pools are also easier to store. Once drained, deflated, and folded, the entire pool can fit nicely on a shelf in the garage.

Cons of Inflatable Pools

Inflatable pools take a while to inflate. They usually come with an air pump that you operate with your foot or hands. You can use an air compressor if you have one, but if not, it will take a good 20 minutes to have the walls inflated.

Another drawback is that these pools are relatively fragile. They are easy to puncture, and once damaged, they are often useless. While many models come with patch kits, these will still leak air even if applied correctly.

Deflating the pools for storage can also be a pain. You have to roll over it as you fold to make sure all the air is out. Clean up and take downtime is longer with an inflatable pool.

Whether you choose a plastic or inflatable pool, keep in mind these pools are intended to be temporary. They usually only last a summer or two before they need to be replaced. The best choice for you will depend on how much you want to spend, how you can get it home, and what kind of room you have available for storage. With either choice, the kids are sure to have a blast while cooling off!