The 15 Best Pool, Beach, Lake, and River Floats [2021]

Bestway CoolerZ Single Person Rapid Rider Inflatable

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Lazy days spent out on the water are an excellent way to make the most of your vacation or trip to the lake. From tube-style floats that are fun to play on to full-size cabanas that you can share with your family, an inflatable float is an awesome thing to own.

Things To Consider With Floats

Different types of floats are suitable for different bodies of water, and some may be more portable than others. Before you buy, consider the following:

Construction

To ensure that your new float will provide you with many hours of fun, buy one that has high-quality construction. Floats made from high-gauge PVC are designed to withstand occasional scrapes on rocks and shingle beaches and should be less likely to suffer from tears or punctures.

You should also check that the seams are strong enough to hold your inflatable float together and that it can take the pressure of being inflated and deflated time after time. A repair patch is a useful addition in case the worst should happen.

Hot Tip: If there isn’t one included with your float, look into buying your own emergency repair kit before you hit the water.

Inflation

Imagine turning up at the lake with a float that takes hours to fill with air — what a disappointment that would be. When you are choosing your float for watery fun, be sure to find out how quickly it can be inflated.

The same applies in reverse when you are ready to exit the water. Floats that can be deflated quickly can be folded up and packed in your trunk without you have to wait around for hours.

Floats that come with double air chambers have a very high tensile strength and can inflate to a higher psi, and those that feature Boston valves are less likely to develop a slow leak out on the water.

Size

If you are planning on riding solo, there are lots of awesome single-person floats and loungers to choose from. If, however, you want to share the fun with fellow water lovers, look for couch-style floats or cabanas, or consider buying single tubes that can be connected together for impromptu gatherings and family fun.

Pump

While a small hand pump might be suitable for smaller tubes and floats, a family-size cabana will definitely need a pump with a little more oomph! Invest in a high-quality electric air pump to ensure that you are able to get out on the water quickly.

Hot Tip: Believe it or not, some floats can also be pumped up using nothing more than a regular hairdryer (just make sure you use the cool setting), and if you don’t want to buy anything too fancy, a foot pump is also a good option for larger vessels.

Accessories

Many floats come with molded cup holders to keep your drink close at hand, as well as superstrong grab handles to make it easy to climb on board.

Some more extravagant models may also come with sunshades that are perfect for longer trips out on the water, and if you are feeling sociable, you could even invest in a floating cooler to ensure that you are never far from a refreshing cold beverage.

The 8 Best Solo Floats for the Pool, Beach, Lake, and River

Solo Lounger for Use in Your Pool

Intex Sit N Float Inflatable Lounge

Offering all the comfort of a chair paired with the convenience of a raft, this awesome floating lounger is perfect for soaking up the sun in your pool. Made from high-quality plastic materials, it is quick and easy to inflate and comes complete with a repair patch in case of punctures, and the 60 x 69-inch dimensions make it sizable enough to let you spread out in style.

The unique design is comfortable and supportive, and with 2 handles, 2 useful cup holders, and a full-size backrest, this little lounger is the ultimate way to lay back and catch sun rays on the water.

What We Like

  • The extra-wide design

What We Don’t Like

  • Only good for calm waters

Hot Tip: Getting ready for a trip to the beach? We have a printable packing list for beach vacations along with tips and advice for taking the pain out of packing for your trip.

Little Inflatable for Big Adventures

Jasonwell Big Inflatable Unicorn

Made from premium soft and durable raft-grade vinyl, this stunning floating unicorn is the perfect pool float for your little princess. Designed to inflate super quickly for faster fun, the air can also be released quickly, and the float can be folded up for easy transportation.

Measuring 82 x 40 x 35 inches, your child can sit happily on the back of the float and hold on tight to the handles on the back unicorn’s neck, and the colorful mane, tail, and magical horn make it super pretty to look at.

What We Like

  • The cute design and high-quality construction

What We Don’t Like

  • Not super easy to get onto

Brightly Colored Floating Lounger Is Perfect for Lazy Days in the Sun

Zcaukya Inflatable Pool Float

Sunbathe on the water with this luxury pool float. This sturdy pool float is made from high-quality PVC material and features a built-in pillow design for increased comfort on the water.

The super-stable construction helps to ensure that you won’t tip over when you move, and the ergonomic shape of the bed has been designed to perfectly fit the curves of the body.

With a super-useful drink cup and cell phone holder on the side, you can lounge for hours, and measuring up at 65 x 33 x 8 inches, it is sizable enough to really stretch out on. Easy to inflate and stay inflated and firm for longer, this bed can take adults weighing up to 200 pounds.

What We Like

  • Keep your phone and drink with you on the water

What We Don’t Like

  • The pillow could be a little higher for a more upright position

Super-Size Single Tube Float Is Packed Full of Fun

Bestway CoolerZ Single Person Rapid Rider

Hit the water in this awesome float tube for solo riders. Made from high-gauge PVC material, this float has been designed to offer incredible comfort and durability at all times.

With extra-wide, built-in backrests, you can sit back and enjoy the ride, and the cool mesh bottom will keep you nicely ventilated without getting too wet. Cup holders on the side allow for easy access to your well-deserved beverage, and the all-around grab rope makes it easy to pull from the water or attach to other tubes for even more fun.

Easy to inflate and compact enough to carry when deflated, this is a brilliant choice for use in the lake or at the pool.

What We Like

  • The comfy and spacious design

What We Don’t Like

  • This model is prone to the occasional puncture

Float Solo or Connect With Others in This Super-Practical Lounge Float

Intex River Run Connect Lounge

Made from high-gauge vinyl, this awesome float can be connected to a floating cooler or other tube floats for a full water party experience. With 2 air chambers for additional security and stability out on the water, this model comes with 2 heavy-duty grab handles, and the mesh bottom will help you keep you cool while you ride.

For increased comfort, it comes with a built-in backrest for easy cruising, and the integrated cup holders let you enjoy a nice cool drink or 2 on the water. Easy to inflate and highly portable, you and your crew should buy 1 each.

What We Like

  • The tube feels really strong and sturdy

What We Don’t Like

  • The connection hooks can tear

Oversized Tube Float Is Perfect for Big Kids and Water-Loving Adults

Intex Inflatable 36″ Giant Tire Tubes

If you enjoy the idea of floating around on an old tire, then these thoroughly modern and much safer decorated tubes are just for you. Perfect for use on lakes, pools, and rivers, these tubes are suitable for use by riders of 9 years and older.

Made from high-quality, durable materials, this set of 4 giant tubes are quick and easy to inflate so you can be out on the water in an instant.

Measuring 36 inches in diameter, they are large enough to keep you floating on the water, and with their eye-catching tread and traction design, they are a brilliant addition to your family vacation on the water.

What We Like

  • The large design is super comfortable

What We Don’t Like

  • This set does not come with repair patches

Feel Like a Rockstar in This Inflatable Recliner

Floating Recliner Inflatable Lounger

Chill out on the water with this upscale recliner. Featuring a super comfortable backrest that is supportive enough to let you read, listen to music, watch movies on your phone or simply close your eyes and catch some rays, this oversized sun lounger also has built-in armrests for a more luxurious feel.

With 2 air chambers for extra safety, it can be inflated quickly, and the 2 heavy-duty handles make it easy to take in and out of the water.

The 2 perfectly placed cup holders let you enjoy a nice cool drink at any time, and with a repair patch included, this awesome lounger has everything you need to set you up for a relaxing day on the water.

What We Like

  • The oversized design

What We Don’t Like

  • The dark-colored design gets super-hot in the sun

Take Pole Position With This Float and Footrest

Sports Stuff Siesta Lounge

This bright and beautiful inflatable floating lounger comes complete with a fold-out footrest for incredible comfort in the water.

Made from heavy-gauge PVC with a durable nylon cover, it features an inflatable backrest that will keep you nicely supported, and the roomy seating area has wide armrests and 2 molded cup holders for your additional convenience.

Suitable for solo riders, the innovative zippered compartment offers handy storage for your sunscreen and other essentials, and with built-in handles, it is easy to get on and off without tipping over.

What We Like

  • The high-speed safety valve makes for super-quick inflation

What We Don’t Like

  • This float is probably best used in the pool only

The 6 Best Group Floats for the Pool, Beach, Lake, and River

Supercool 2-Seater With a Cooler Built-in

Intex 58837EP River Run II Sport Lounge

Take your lounging up a notch with this awesome 2-seater sports lounger. Perfect for use in the pool or out on the lake, this snazzy-looking lounger comes with 2 interconnected seats and a built-in cooler.

With 5 air chambers for added safety, this raft also comes with adaptors that can connect with other Intex River Runs so that more of you can chill out together, and the built-in cup holders let you keep your drink close at hand.

With a mesh bottom, you can keep cool even on the hottest of days, and the heavy-duty grab handles and grab rope make it easy to take in and out of the water. Quick and easy to inflate using the leak-free valves and a dedicated air pump, this is an excellent float for beach lovers to enjoy.

What We Like

  • The spacious seats are super comfortable

What We Don’t Like

  • Will need regular air top-ups on rough waters or with heavier riders

Best Party Raft for You and Your Crew

Bestway Hydro-Force Tropical Breeze Raft

Come one, come all with this incredible floating party raft. Large enough to comfortably hold up to 6 adults, this floating island has strategically placed cup holders dotted around to ensure that no one is ever too far from their drink.

Made from durable and tear-resistant PVC, it is perfect for use at the beach, lake, or river, and the all-around grab line makes it easy to haul out of the water. Lie flat on the sun deck or sit together under the shade for the ultimate in floating relaxation, and when the mercury rises, dip your feet and legs in the water using the mesh floor area.

Measuring 108 x 153 inches x 108 inches, this is a sizable multi-person island float that you and your crew will love to use.

What We Like

  • Plenty of room for a party

What We Don’t Like

  • The canopy has a tendency to pop off in stronger breezes

Incredible 7-Person Party Raft

Intex Splash ‘N Chill, Inflatable Relaxation Island

If a regular tube isn’t big enough, why not splash out on your very own floating island? Made from high-quality and incredibly durable vinyl materials, this brilliant party island offers enough room to sit up to 7 people.

Lay back on the lounge deck and snooze in the sun, or sit together on the comfortable curved sofa and let your legs dangle in the water to keep you cool. With built-in backrests, a convenient cooler, and a selection of cupholders, it offers the ultimate in easy-going relaxation, and the grab rope on 2 sides makes it easy to pull out of the water.

Oversized and supergood fun, this brilliant party raft even comes with an inflatable step with handles that allow you to gracefully pull yourself up and out of the water.

What We Like

  • It’s huge and incredibly comfy

What We Don’t Like

  • It does not come with any covered shelter

Fuss-Free Floating for 3 People With This Soft Beach Mat

Intex Giant Inflatable Floating Mat

Simple but effective, this oversized floating mat can be used on almost any body of water. Large enough to comfortably hold up to 3 adults, you can lay back and sunbathe together or prop yourself up and enjoy chatting together on the water.

Made from heavy-duty vinyl, it feels soft and comfortable against your skin, and the 2 inflatable chambers are made of air pockets that provide more than enough buoyancy to keep you afloat.

With Intex’s patented connectors at each corner of the mat, you can easily attach it to other Intex floats and tubes for bigger parties, and being super easy to deflate, it also folds up small for easy transportation and storage.

What We Like

  • The simple design

What We Don’t Like

  • It’s quite heavy to carry, even when not inflated

6-Person Cabana With a Built-in Cooler Is Perfect for Parties on the Water

SportsStuff Cabana Islander

This awesome pool and patio cabana has enough room to comfortably seat up to 6 people, and it looks absolutely amazing.

Out on the water, the wind-resistant PVC offers a sturdy and stable base for you all to relax on, and with its very own floating 16-quart cooler, it will keep your drinks cool. Leisurely step onboard using the dedicated boarding platform before taking a seat under the full-size sunshade or jump in the water using the center swim porthole.

Fabulous fun for parties out on the water, this super-large cabana is surprisingly easy to inflate, and it can also be tethered to the bank if you want to party close to dry land.

What We Like

  • The high-quality construction

What We Don’t Like

  • The sunshade can act like a sail on windy days

Enjoy Your Own Space With This Interlinked Tube Float

Bestway 4 Person Inflatable Raft

This supercool party float comes with 4 separate tube seats, extra-wide back pillows, and 2 built-in coolers. Keep well-hydrated using the molded cup holders, and enjoy kicking back and relaxing with your crew.

Made from high-quality, puncture-proof materials, this 4-person party float is easy to inflate, and the mesh bottoms allow you to dip your feet in the water as the temperature rises.

With 4 grab ropes with built-in grommets, you can connect to other pool floats, anchors, boats, or even docks, and the stable and durable construction makes this raft perfect for use at the pool, the river, or out on the lake.

What We Like

  • The spacious tube seats and bonus cooler

What We Don’t Like

  • It’s quite heavy

The Best Floating Cooler for the Pool, Beach, Lake, and River

Stay Cool in the Water With This Floating Cooler for Food and Drinks

Intex Mega Chill, Inflatable Floating Cooler

Are you having a party on the water? Then you definitely need one of these! Made from strong and durable high-gauge vinyl, this awesome float accessory is the ultimate party cooler.

Designed to connect to your tube and float alongside you, this cooler is spacious enough to hold your cans and bottles in the main cooler area and has a selection of cup holders and compartments that transform it into a floating bar.

With superfast inflation, it can be used both in and out of the water, and the 2 super-sturdy grab handles let you pull it back on dry land in an instant.

What We Like

  • It’s the ultimate water party essential

What We Don’t Like

  • It could do with some thicker insulation at the bottom

Hot Tip: If you prefer a more traditional hard or soft cooler, check out our guide to the best travel coolers.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are looking to party with friends, swim with the kids, or lounge quietly in the sun, a water float lets you enjoy the unrivaled pleasure of being surrounded by water.

Armed with just a float and a pump, you can have as much fun as you would on a solid vessel, and available in a wide range of sizes and designs, these beach, lake, and river floats let you safely lounge, play, or party out on the water.


Frequently asked questions

Should you take floats out of the pool?

Ideally, it would help if you did not leave floats in the pool overnight, as long-term exposure to chemicals can cause them to leak. When not in use, rinse them off with clean water and store them appropriately.

Can I use a float at the beach?

Rules float usage at a beach can vary by location, so it is best to check the official website of the beach you intend to visit.

Are inflatables safe in the sea?

Inflatables and floats can be dangerous if used in the sea or ocean as there have been cases where floats have been swept out. Ideally, stick to using inflatables on calmer waters such as lakes or rivers.

Is floating on a river safe?

Floating on a river is safe if some precautions are taken. Always river tube in a group and stay together. Even if you are a good swimmer, we suggest you still wear a life jacket. Also, don’t forget to wear sunscreen and keep yourself hydrated.

Amar Hussain

About Amar Hussain

Amar was born and raised in England, UK, embarked on an 11 country round the world gap year after graduation and then became well and truly hooked. The first gap year inspired a second which ended up being a 23 country down-the-world trip from Canada to Antarctica. Since then Amar has endeavored to turn his gap year into a ‘gap life’ and has spent the last 10 years traveling the 7 continents.

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