Summer

This inflatable pool is the only one you'll need.

I'm A Parenting Editor & This Is The Only Inflatable Pool I'll Ever Buy

Courtesy of Samantha Darby

There are tons of options out there, but this one is the absolute best.

I have two little girls and a big backyard in the suburbs, which means every May, I spend a small fortune on inflatable sprinklers, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, and other summer childhood favorites. As much as we love adventuring, there is nothing quite like sitting in our own backyard to splash and have a popsicle (and at nap time, we just pop right inside).

In short, I’ve had some experience with buying summer products. I’ve bought the bright inflatable sprinklers that only lasted one summer, the slip-and-slides that ruined my grass for six weeks, and a very popular water toy I’ve spotted on every Instagram influencer’s feed, which turned out to be a total (expensive) bust.

But there is one summer water toy that has never, ever let me down. And it’s the Play Day 10-foot inflatable pool from Walmart.

Full disclosure: I bought this pool. In fact, I’ve bought this pool three times over the years. I’ve gifted it to friends and passed the link on to family members; it’s a staple of every summer get-together at my house. It is, hand on heart, the only inflatable pool you’ll ever need.

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Here’s the kind of details you can read on the back of the box: It’s 10 feet long and less than 2 feet deep. It’s three-tier, which means you blow up each tier individually, and I swear, it doesn’t take any time at all. (Buy yourself this pump; I’ve had it for four years now and it’s a champ.) Once the pool is all blown up, it’s very easy to flip it into place (it’s best on a flat surface, but I can’t speak to using it on concrete — we always use it in grass), and fill it with water. It’s easy to drain, and it’s easy to pick up and hang somewhere to dry if you’re going to store it in a shed or garage.

Now here’s the information only a mom of two kids can tell you about this pool: It is sturdy. My 6-year-old jumps in and out of it, leans on the slides, runs in the pool, fills it with toys, has pushed plastic slides right up against it to form her own Duke Kaboom stunts.

It is big enough for my husband, me, and both of our girls. It is comfortable; I sit in with a margarita and a book during nap time. I don’t know how to explain that a pool is comfortable, but you can literally lean up against a corner of this and rest your head, and it’s totally fine. It can hold several children at one time; kids can spend hours jumping in and out of this pool. (No diving obviously, and the pool is recommended for kids 6+ so you must proceed with caution.)

It is also incredibly easy to clean. Once it’s deflated, I squirt dish soap on it, grab a cleaning cloth, and wipe it down while wearing my own swimsuit. Then I hose out all the suds, and it’s as good as new. It’s cute. It’s a classic blue and white pool that gives me all the nostalgic-summer-day feels. It has yet to kill my grass, and when it’s not full of water, we’ve filled it with pillows and blankets for outdoor stargazing. We have a 75-pound dog who jumps on the sides of it and tries to drink water out of it, and it has yet to get a puncture. We can even fit floats in it for the ultimate luxury.

I’ve never had to call for a replacement. I’ve never noticed any wear or tear on this pool. And it’s $25.

1/3

There are so many things you’ll spend money on this summer — countless cans of sunscreen that go rolling under car seats never to be seen again; sidewalk chalk that gets left out in the rain; sprinklers that barely spit any water out at your hot kids; pounds and pounds of popsicles. I have lots of fun water toys in our yard all summer — an inflatable car wash, a bouncy house, sprinklers galore — but this pool is the one item I will always, always make sure I have. If you need something budget-friendly or something to fit in your small (or big!) space, trust me: this pool is it.