Visit any retailer's pool aisle or website, and you'll quickly realize a challenge your parents and grandparents never had to face — more pool inflatables to choose from than you could ever imagine. Whether you're shopping for a larger-than-life float island or something to help keep your non-swimming little one safer in the pool, the sheer range of options can be overwhelming, but exciting!
"Shopping for pool inflatables is supposed to be fun, not overwhelming," says Marvin Natareno, an inflatables expert with Intex Recreation Corp., the leading manufacturer of novelty pool inflatables. "Yet there are so many choices these days that comparison shopping for the best inflatable for your needs can be a challenge."
Natareno offers some tips for choosing inflatables that will help keep your summer fun going swimmingly:
Grownup fun and relaxation
When shopping for an adult-sized novelty float, Natareno says, keep comfort, quality and originality in mind. Today's floats can provide a unique, unexpected water experience. For example, Intex is the only manufacturer offering a rodeo bull-themed float. The INFLATABULL Rodeo Bull Ride On Float provides a "bull-riding" experience in the water and is around $50 at select retailers both in-store and online.
When investing in a large novelty float, quality certainly counts. The last thing you want is for it to fizzle flat during summer fun.
"If you're investing in a large novelty float, you want to know it will last for many summers, not just one," Natareno says. "Floats with quality PVC construction, well-sealed seams and colors that retain their vibrancy are ones to consider, especially for a more active group."
Intex offers high-quality floats with everyone's favorite themes, including the Mega Toucan and Mega Pegasus Island Floats, the Watermelon Island and Popsicle Float. All are available in-store or online through select retailers that can easily be found via a quick online search.
Cost doesn't always equal quality
When shopping for a reasonably priced, quality inflatable, Natareno recommends looking at the construction and materials, and suggests looking for a brand name that you recognize and that has a long business history.
"Large-scale inflatables are very trendy right now thanks to social media and celebrity commentary," Natareno says. "You don't have to pay a premium price to get a quality inflatable that will provide hours of fun season after season."
Inflatables for kids
Beach balls and classic rings might have been the first inflatable toys for kids, but today there are many more options, from inflatable arm bands meant to help stabilize little ones in the water to whale and plane-shaped ride ons. Manufacturers like Intex make a wide variety of inflatable toys for kids and offer some of the bestselling and most popular tubes and lounges that can be used from pools to rivers and lakes, like the River Rat and River Run tubes.
"Take a quick poll of your kids and see which style of float would be of interest for this pool season. Consider adding new ones each month as the season evolves for more creative fun," adds Natareno.
Long live your inflatables
Inspect inflatables every time you use them, looking for any tears or sign of wear that can be repaired before they jeopardize the structural integrity of the toy or float. Although chlorinated pool water does a good job of keeping inflatables clean, using them at the beach or lake could mean some dirt. If inflatables become dirty, clean them with a soft brush and liquid soap and water.
Most importantly, follow strict safety practices around pools. When it comes to floats, practicing good safety habits, setting and following rules, carefully reading instruction manuals and vigilant supervision can greatly reduce the likelihood of injury as well as reduce injury severity. Take time to review all safety information to assist in keeping you and your family safe this summer: www.intexcorp.com/safety-information-pools.