What to Look for in an Inflatable Pool

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What to Look for in an Inflatable Pool
Inflatable pools are a temporary and relatively inexpensive alternative to costly and permanent in-ground pools. From tiny toddler pools to enormous family-size pools, inflatable pools come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Inflatable pools may also include a variety of features, including slides, sprinklers, and more. Although these choices can add to the value and excitement of an inflatable pool, knowing what to look for in an inflatable pool ensures the safest, most enjoyable purchase for the money spent.

Size and Shape

There are inflatable pools available in every size and for every purpose, but one pool will not fit all needs. Choosing the size of inflatable pool required will depend primarily on the area available and the purpose for which the pool will be used. Other factors, such as homeowner's association (HOA) rules and local ordinances may also influence consumer decisions about the size and shape of inflatable pools.

Every pool listing should include the pool's dimensions. These dimensions provide a precise description of the pool's size. Images and other information can be misleading, but exact measurements provide precise information about the size of the pool. Consumers can measure the location where the pool will be set up to ensure that the proper pool is purchased, thereby avoiding buyer's remorse or costly returns after the product is delivered.

Another important factor in determining the size of pool to purchase is the purpose of the pool. A wading pool for children should be small and shallow whereas a pool for teenagers or adults should be considerably larger. Often, inflatable pools include age recommendations for this purpose. Even without clear labels, however, evaluating the purpose of the pool and who will use it can provide tremendous guidance throughout the shopping process.

Although inflatable pools are commonly sold in rectangular, oval, and circular shapes, they are available in almost any shape. Often, wading pools for children may consist of two adjacent pools of differing shapes that are connected by a slide or other attachment. Very large pools may even contain inflatable bouncy castles or other waterless play structures. These configurations can create unusual shapes that may or may not be suited to the area where the pool will be situated.


Since inflatable pools are filled with air, they are susceptible to puncturing and deflating. Although precautionary measures can be taken with any pool, choosing an inflatable pool made with a strong material and a durable design can lessen the potential for damage and extend the lifespan of the pool over several seasons.

Designs that incorporate multiple air compartments are best because they prevent one puncture from destroying the structural integrity of the entire pool. Pools designed this way may be more complicated or time consuming to set up because each air compartment must be found and filled. However, these designs ensure that a single hole in the pool does not ruin the whole product. While the single punctured section deflates, the remaining sections remain intact and hold the inflatable pool together. In contrast, inflatable pools made from a single air compartment will deflate entirely when pierced.

Most inflatable pools are made from a sturdy vinyl or PVC material. The thickness of this material is called the gauge. A higher gauge number indicates thicker material. Since thicker material is more difficult to puncture and is more resistant to wear, choosing a thicker gauge of vinyl for an inflatable pool is always a wise decision. However, this information is unavailable in many inflatable pool listings.

Cleaning Supplies

Maintaining clean, safe, and attractive water is an important part of pool ownership and use. Pumps, filters, and external accessories can all be used to ensure the cleanliness and safety of the water.

Stagnant water can develop algae and other bacteria that can cause it to discolor and eventually become dangerous to swim in. Mosquitos also breed in stagnant water, transforming an enjoyable pool into a backyard menace.

Pumps prevent stagnation by keeping the water in constant motion. Although pumps require additional effort to install, they provide an effortless ongoing defense against the negative effects of stagnation.

Pumps typically include a filter that removes debris from the pool. Some debris, such as leaves and hair, may be visible. However, pool filters can also protect against bacteria, algae, and other pool pests that can be difficult to identify visually.

Although many large inflatable pools are designed to be used with pumps and include connecting hoses for that purpose, many pools do not include pump attachments. Since it is still important to keep the water clean, additional cleaning agents, such as chemicals and skimmers, may be required.

Pool covers can also prevent external debris, such as leaves and dirt, from entering the pool when it is not in use. Many inflatable pools, especially large ones, include a pool cover that can be used to cover the pool between uses. Even a pool with a pump and filter installed can benefit from a pool cover as it can prevent clogs and unnecessary wear on those devices.

Built-In Features

Built-in pool accessories can add entertainment and value to an inflatable pool. Especially common in children's play pools, these extras may include inflatable slides, seats, sun shades, sprinklers, and other play attachments.

Regardless of the size or purpose of the pool, these additions should consist of separate pieces or air compartments. Since slides are usually used aggressively, these air compartments are more likely to puncture than the actual frame of the inflatable pool. If attached directly to the frame, a single puncture in the slide could deflate the entire pool.

Inflatable pools that are designed for babies and toddlers often include a shade that covers most of the pool. These shades protect a young child's sensitive skin from direct sunlight, allowing the child to play in the pool longer without experiencing any negative side effects. However, these shades can sometimes get in the way if someone outside the pool is trying to interact with a child in the pool.

Some inflatable pools also include sprinkler systems that, when attached to hoses, spray water over certain parts of the pool. It is important to note that these sprinklers will only function if a hose is accessible and connected to the pool. This should be accounted for when determining where the pool will be placed.


Even shallow inflatable pools pose safety hazards to children. As with any pool or water-based entertainment, precautions should be taken to ensure the safety of all nearby children and adults. Although many inflatable pools have clearly printed warning labels on them, they are often unread and unheeded.

The flexible sides of the pool are especially hazardous because they make it easy for a child to lean over and tumble inside. However, climbing back out of the pool is not as simple. Most inflatable pools, especially those designed for older children and adults, are designed to be wider at the base and narrower at the top so that the sides do not collapse. This ensures the stability of the pool and prevents water from spilling out over the sides. Unfortunately, this same design can prevent a young child from successfully climbing out and can therefore cause the child to drown.

Life jackets and other floatation devices can help protect children who are playing in a pool, but they are not a substitute for adult supervision. As most inflatable pool warning labels state, children should never play unattended.

Securely covering the pool with a pool cover can act as a deterrent to children when the pool is not in use. Securing the pool cover with a tie or other strap is best. Other potential safety tools for inflatable pools include wave-triggered alarms, mesh covers for the pump hoses, and portable fencing.


Inflatable pools are available on eBay for competitive prices. Bundled packages, which include an inflatable pool and additional pool items, can offer significant value for the price.

Calculating shipping may impact the price, but many vendors offer free shipping. Local sellers may be able to offer more affordable shipping or may allow local pickups of products. This can drastically reduce the time and cost required to receive the inflatable pool.

Finding Inflatable Pools on eBay

To find an inflatable pool, visit eBay and select the Home & Garden category. Refine the search by selecting Yard, Garden & Outdoor Living from the categories in the sidebar. Another menu will appear, from which Pools & Spas may be selected. Clicking Pools on the subsequent menu will reveal the Inflatable option. Of course, consumers can also type "inflatable pool" or another related keyword into the search bar on the eBay homepage.


Inflatable pools offer an inexpensive, convenient alternative to traditional in-ground pools. A variety of sizes, shapes, and features make inflatable pools a suitable solution for everything from childhood play to adult relaxation. Proper care, including cleaning and storage, ensure that any inflatable pool can be used and enjoyed season after season.

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