The best paddling pools 2024 for the whole family to enjoy

Summer is calling - it's time to get the paddling pool out

A collage of five of the best paddling pools featured in our buying guide including ones from Very, John Lewis and Amazon
Our pick of the best paddling pools include ones from Amazon, Very and John Lewis
(Image credit: Future)

The best paddling pools aren't necessarily the most expensive ones but picking a pool that will be a hit with the kids is tricky - so we've done all the research for you and put together this handy guide to help you choose the best paddling pool for your budget.

If you haven't already got your outdoor toys sorted, it's time to shake a leg before the summer really heats up. And no garden is complete during a sunny spell without a decent paddling pool. 

The secret to choosing the best paddling pool is simple. First, think about how deep you need it to be. All children need to be supervised in the water, of course, but babies and younger children should be able to stand up in the paddling pool without being out of their depth. Older kids and teens, by contrast, are likely to want a pool that's big enough to actually have a go at swimming in, if space in your garden allows. 

Secondly, think about how much maintenance you're prepared to do to keep your paddling pool clean and operational. In general, the bigger the pool, the more work is required to fill it and keep it free of leaves and bugs.  

The paddling pools in this roundup are the best of the bunch. We've included everything from cheap paddling pools and pools with slides to paddling pools with sprinklers and even 8ft paddling pools. All you have to do is work out which is the best paddling pool for your garden and your budget.

Best kids paddling pools 2024

These are the best paddling pools to buy online in a range of sizes and shapes. Scroll down for the best cheap paddling pools, ones with slides, sprinklers and the best 8-foot paddling pools - all made with kids' safety and enjoyment in mind.

Pools with slides

Baby paddling pools

Family paddling pools

Paddling pools with sprinklers

What to look for when choosing a paddling pool

Not all paddling pools are made equal, here's what to look out for when buying a paddling pool...

  • Is it safe? Children should be in the paddling pool with undistracted adult supervision at all times. According to the Royal Lifesaving Society, children can drown in as little as 2cm of water. However, some paddling pools come with other features that make them a lot safer than others. If the paddling pool comes with a slide attachment, rather than being in-built, make sure the kit also comes with tie ropes and grommets. The grommets attach to the bottom of the paddling pool, the small ropes are linked to them and the slide. These two pieces prevent the slide from moving around as children clamber up and down the inflatable.

    It's also important to buy the right size paddling pool for the age of your child. While many manufacturers recommend paddling pools for those age 3 years and up, others suggest their paddling pools are only suitable for those aged 6 and over. This is often to do with the size of the pool and the height of the safety barrier. Pools made especially for toddlers will often be very shallow with a low safety barrier, so they can get out of the pool when they want to. For older children, the water in the paddling pool should not be higher than their waist at any time.

    Ensure that stand-alone paddling pool accessories are either tied securely to the pool itself or are filled at the base so they don't topple over.
  • What size should you buy? It's always important to leave at least a 1 metre gap between your paddling pool and any objects. This will allow enough space for children to get in and out of the pool safely.

    Consider how much of your garden you want the pool to take up. Before buying a pool, measure the space you want your paddling pool to go in. If you have a 10ft space for a paddling pool, opt for an 8ft paddling pool rather than a 9ft to be on the safe side.

    In the winter time, you'll have to wrap up the paddling pool and store it somewhere ready for next summer. So, it's also important to consider how much space you have indoors to store the pool as well.
  • Where will you use the paddling pool? As well as size, it's also important to consider the ground that you're putting the paddling pool on. If it's grass, then you're probably fine. But if you have a paved back garden or outdoor space, consider buying a paddling pool that comes with a ground mat - or buy one separately. This will prevent the paddling pool from ripping on the concrete.
  • Does it come with a puncture repair kit and a pump?  Many paddling pools come with their own puncture repair kit. However, it may not if you're opting for a cheaper model. Consider the price difference between a higher quality paddling pool with a puncture repair kit and a cheaper one where you have to buy one separately.

    Also, many paddling pools of all kinds don't come with their own pump. Most of the time, you'll have to buy a paddling pool pump separately. Luckily, they're a handy thing to have around - especially if you've got lots of inflatables in the garden this summer.

Keeping paddling pool water clean: how do I keep the pool clean?

So how can you keep your paddling pool water clean? One easy way to do so is to buy a paddling pool with a filter. We've included a few great options below. This can rid your pool of debris and keep water circulation going, to avoid any scummy build-up.

Another simple way to keep the water clean is to buy both a pool cover and a pool-scooping net. Pop a cover on the pool when you're not using it. Overnight, to prevent you from waking up the next day to flies, bugs, leaves, and all sorts in the pool. This affordable pool cover option from Amazon for a rectangle pool is ideal. Or, you could use your own tarpaulin to create a cover yourself.

There are plenty of scooping nets available for pools too. These allow you to regularly maintain their cleanliness throughout the day. This handheld £3.58 option is a great choice, or this £14 one from Amazon.

While kids might love outdoor toys and grown-ups might prefer to fill the space with nature, a paddling pool is a great mix of both and allows for hours of fun for the whole family with very little clean-up required.

Although, we also find that even the biggest kids (read: grown-ups) enjoy making a wave on a particularly hot afternoon.

Looking for more shopping inspiration? Check out 25 best outdoor toys and games for kids of all ages and 20 trendiest toys for outdoor fun this summer.

Heidi Scrimgeour
Deputy Editor

As a parenting specialist for more than 15 years, Heidi has written for most national newspapers and for a wide range of consumer magazines, including Mother & Baby where she was the Shopping Editor for six years, looking after regular consumer features including buying guides and gift roundups.