12 of the best paddling pools and accessories

Looking for a paddling pool for your children to splash around in and cool off? Here's our pick of the best - from cheap bargains to more expensive shaded baby pools, fun play pools and plunge-everyone-in family pools

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best paddling pools

Although we’re constantly updating this article, due to the high demand for paddling pools at the moment, some products are selling out very quickly.

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We’ve been splashing our way through the paddling pools out there to find the best for every age and budget, from single sit-in shaded ones for babies to shaped and sprinkly toddler ones to great big pools with pumps and solid sides for older kids (and the odd parent).

One word about safety before we start, though: if you do get the paddling pool out this summer, do always drain it after use (or put a secure cover on it, if it’s a bigger pool). Child safety experts, such as RoSPA, advise that small children can drown in as little as 5cm of water so, unless you have a cover, it’s always best to fill your pool fresh every day and pack it away at the end of play.

Here’s our pick of the best children’s paddling pools…

1. Chad Valley Activity Pool Play Centre, £25

Age: 3+

What it is: This 76cm x 146cm x 259cm pool can take up to 109 litres of water. And it’s also an inflatable playground, featuring a sprinkler, a slide and a ball pit. Comes with 3 balls and a repair kit. Takes 5 minutes to inflate (with a pump).

Why we love it: It’s quick to set up and you get a lot of fun for your money. Given the size of the slide, we’d say it’s more suitable for toddlers than older children. We really like the sprinkler feature: you attach a hose to the tree/flower and it starts (gently) spraying water – brilliant!

Available from: Argos

2. Summer Escapes Octagonal Family Pool, £50



Age: 6+

What it is: A 279cm x 279cm x 56cm, 1806 litre pool that has 3 double-intake air chambers. Features 2 cup holders. Comes with a repair kit. Takes about 15 minutes to inflate with an electric pump, and 20 minutes to fill.

Why we love it: It’s nice and sturdy and holds its shape well. And it’s easily big enough for 2 adults and 3 kids.

Available from: Argos

3. JoJo Paddling Pool, £35

Age: For babies who can sit independently (and are supervised)

What it is: A 96.5cm pop-up circular pool made from tough fabric with UPF 50+ protection. Features a sun-shadeand folds into a 40cm carry bag when not in use.

Why we love it: This one’s ideal for taking to the park or on holiday or to a friends’ house because it’s so quick and easy to set up. Lots of people use it as a shaded outside ball pit or toy play area, too.

Available from: JoJo Maman Bebe

4. Intex Dinoland Play Centre, £39.99



Age: 3+

What it is: A 333cm x 229cm x 112cm pool with a ‘volcano chute’, an inflatable pterodactyl, stegosaurs and and a movable diplodocus arch sprayer, which you can connect to your garden hose. Holds up to 209 litres water and has a drain plug. Comes with 6 balls, 3 hoops and a repair patch.
Why we love it: Though it takes a while to inflate (don’t even think about this without a pump!), this pool delivers really well on the water-fun front, and it’s big enough for several small ones to slide and splash around in together. Extra points for the prehistoric theme!

Available from: Amazon

5. Bestway Quick Up Pool Set & Cover, £60

Age: 6+

What it is: A 305cm x 305cm x 76cm heavy-duty PVC family pool that holds up to 3638 litres water. Comes with repair kit, drain plug, filter pump and protective cover.

Why we love it: If you’re looking to invest in a pool you’ll use time and time again, this is a great option. Its selling point for us is that it has a water filter, meaning that it won’t get gunky and you can leave it out for a few days without having to refill it.

Available from: Argos

6. Chad Valley Ocean Lagoon Pool, £22

chad valley lagoon pool

Age: 3+

What it is: A 46cm x 157cm x 262cm whale-decorated pool in pre-tested vinyl that can hold 500 litres of water. Comes with heavy-duty repair kit.

Why we love it: All the feedback we had singled out the fact that this pool is bigger than it looks – definitely plenty big enough for 2 or even 3 kids to splash about happily in. Good value for money, too.

Available from: Argos

7. Sunnylife Slip Slide Splash Rainbow, £34

Age: 3+

What it is: A 750cm x 125cm x 90cm water slide with a rainbow water cascade. Comes with a puncture repair kit.

Why we love it: Ye, it’s not technically a paddling pool but we’ve included this one because it’s such sliding, splashy fun. We particularly like the rainbow that you hook up to your hose for extra overhead sprinkler action. A winner for older kids as well as little ones, too.

Available from: Kidly and Flo and Joe

8. Intex Lazy Snail Shade Baby Pool, £15.99

Age: 12 months+

What it is: A dinky snail-shaped 145cm x 102cm x 74 cm vinyl paddling pool with a built-in shell shade. Holds over 50 litres of water. Also comes as a whale and a shark.

Why we love it: We’d say it’s perfect for under-1s (provided you’re constantly supervising them), despite the 12 months+ advisory. The built-in shade is a real plus, as it the inflatable floor (softer to sit on). It takes a while to inflate (you have to do it in sections) but the wait is worth it. Would also make a great ball pit indoors.

Available from: Amazon

9. Intex Family Pool, £34.99

Age: 3+

What it is: A 229cm x 229cm x 66 cm vinyl pool with ‘chairs’ at each of the four corners. It can hold 882 litres of water. Comes with 2 cupholders, a drain plug and repair kit.

Why we love it: It’s sturdy, easy to inflate and has plenty of room for a whole family. We like the backrests on the chairs – very comfy!

Available from: Athlete Shop and Amazon

10. Chad Valley Aquarium Activity Pool, £20

Age: 3+

What it is: A 86cm x 241cm x 260cm PVC play pool that holds 308 litres. Comes with blow-up dolphin, clown fish, octopus and stars, sprayer palm tree, a slide and a repair kit.

Why we love it: It’s a lovely, wide, shallow pool and the sprinkling palm tree works really well when hooked up to your house. Nice to see the extra inflatable animals.

Available from: Argos

11. Chad Valley 3 Ring Paddling Pool, £6

Age: 3+

What it is: A toddler-sized (101cm x 25cm x 101cm) 3-ring PVC pool. Comes with repair kit.

Why we love it: It’s cute and colourful and you can actually blow it up without a pump. But, above all, it’s an excellent price.

Available from: Argos

12. Summer Waves White Pool, £150

Age: 6+

What it is: A 76cm x 305cm x 305cm rigid-sided family pool that holds over 4,000 litres water. Requires some heavy lifting and self-assembly. Filter pump and cover included.

Why we love it: You can get at least 6 people in this pool, easily. It’s easy to set up and fill (but a bit tricky to drain, as the drainage plug isn’t particularly well situated). Nice and study and, for a big pool, good value for money.

Available from: Argos

Here’s our pick of the best padding pool accessories…

1. Buzz Lightyear Water Blaster Backpack, £10

Age: 3+

What it is: A kids water pistol connected to a space backpack filled with water, so they can keep their blaster fuelled for longer in the sun.

Why we love it: Great for Toy Story fans, this inventive Buzz Lightyear toy helps kids feel like a real space invader while cooling off in the heat. Customers who bought this pistol set in the past seemed pleased overall, as the toy scored 4 out of 5 stars from over 100 reviews.

While a couple of parents noted that it didn’t feel like the most hardwearing toy, it seemed good value for the low price. The main comments were that little ones really loved playing with their toy and that it was a lot of fun in the garden.

Available from: Argos

2. Water Wheel, £12.99

Age: 18 months +

What it is: A multi-level water wheel toy including a truck and small owl-shaped cup to play with.

Why we love it: There’s lots of differently moving parts to keep young kids engaged and enjoying their time in the paddling pool. It could also be a great addition to a sandpit it you happened to also have one at home.

Previous buyers were impressed with the size and quality of the toy, with one adding, “my little one has had this toy that she has used both in the bath and sand a good 3-5 times a week for the last 2 years. It very hard wearing and still looks brand new.”

Available from: Smyths Toys

3. Llama Rama Inflatable Water Slide, £30

Age: 3+

What it is: A double-width sliding mat for paddling pool and water fun in the garden. It includes the two “surf riders” and a repair kit.

Why we love it: The llama-shaped surf riders add a splash of extra fun compared to a standard water mat. There are also sprinklers to help keep the wide mat slick enough for sliding, you just need to connect it up to a garden hose. With two lanes and a finish line at the end, kids can have a go at racing their siblings or friends on hot days.

Available from: Asda

4. Chad Valley Hydro Hop Water Sprayer, £10

Age: 3+

What it is: An inflatable sprinkler which spins so kids can jump over it in the garden. The sprayer connects to a garden hose, which activates the spraying and spinning.

Why we love it: A great price for what could be a lot of fun on a summer afternoon. Parents who bought the paddling pool accessory in the past described it as a “good game to keep the kids busy and happy” and a “fantastic idea if you’re short of space for a paddling pool, but want to keep the kids entertained.”

A couple of the reviews noted issues with the spinning function on ground that wasn’t completely flat, so it is worth considering if you have a level enough space for this to function fully.

Available from: Argos

5. Faburo 1000 Multicoloured Water Balloons, £12.99

Age: 6+

What it is: A bumper pack of water balloons to fill up and throw about with friends.

Why we love it: Simple fun for the garden and a great activity to get kids up and running around on paddling pool days. One parent said that the balloons, “kept my kids amused for countless hours, and there’s loads left.” Other buyers were also impressed with the quantity of balloons included in the pack, adding they were, “great fun for the kids. Good value for money [and] lots of bright colours.”

Available from: Amazon

6. Chad Valley Slide and Splash Inflatable Bowling, £45

Age: 5+

What it is: An inflatable water slider mat with bowling pins to create a human bowling lane.

Why we love it: This is an imaginative take on a standard bowling game and great fun for kids to throw themselves at. Customers who bought this previously were generally impressed with the scale of the product and with how much fun it provided for those who played. The bowling game averaged 4 out of 5 stars overall from more than 50 reviews.

One parent said, “this was so much fun, easy to set up and the pins were a lot bigger than I had expected and the ‘lane’ a lot longer, so my 9 year old son also loved it!” Another reviewer, who had bought the bowling lane as a gift for her niece, added, “it was so slippy and hilarious to watch everyone slipping over, even I had to have a go!”

Available from: Argos

7. Water Gun Twin Pack, £10

Age: 3+

What it is: A twin pack of water pistols made from non-toxic plastic, capable of shooting water up to 10 metres.

Why we love it: Great value for two water guns and ideal for snapping up if you’ve got multiple kids who will want to have a go at battling each other. Reviewers were impressed with the power of the pistols and the quantity of water they can hold (up to 1000ml per filling). One parent said they were, “easy to fill, even my 3-year-old can do it by himself,” before adding, “only downside is he gets me all the time!”

Available from: Smyths Toys

8. Summer Waves Whale Ride-On Inflatable, £7.99

Age: 3+

What it is: An inflatable pool toy strong enough for kids to climb on top of and have a go at riding themselves.

Why we love it: A fun addition for any water-based fun. This whale inflates to an impressive 42cm tall so it will feel almost like the real thing to little ones. Best for bigger paddling pools, kids can clamber on and off their new friend and it can be deflated again for popping in your suitcase for future holidays abroad.

Available from: John Lewis

9. Sprinkle and Splash Water Play Mat, £32.99

Age: 6+

What it is: A kids’ water play mat which hooks up to a garden hose to engage sprinklers.

Why we love it: With a 68-inch diameter the mat should be large enough for kids to splash about on without taking up too much room if you don’t have a lot of spare garden space. The mat is one of Amazon’s recommend choices and reviewers praised the design of the mat and how easy it was to use. To fully enjoy high water jets, though, you’ll need decent water pressure from your hose.

Available from: Amazon

10. Electric Air Pump, £25.99

Age: adults

What it is: A rechargeable, automatic pump which can both inflate and deflate. It also comes with various attachments to suit inflatables of different styles and sizes.

Why we love it: Ideal for saving mum and dads’ tired lungs a job inflating all those garden toys. As you can recharge it, there’s no wires in the way which makes it handy for outdoor use. The pump also has a reversible function which allows it to quickly deflate things completely, so they’re nice and flat for storing away again once you’re done.

Available from: Amazon

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