What kid doesn't love splashing around in a pool on a hot summer day? If you don't want to deal with the cost and hassle of maintaining a backyard pool, an inflatable water slide can be a fun way to keep your kids cool all summer long. Not only is an inflatable water slide significantly cheaper than a pool, it's also easier to set up and can be put away just as quickly.
If you're not sure how to find the best inflatable water slide for your yard, our buying guide is the place to get all the tips you need. Our top pick from Sunny & Fun doesn't just offer a water slide -- it has a splash pool, climbing wall, bouncer, and other activities to keep your kids occupied no matter how hot it gets.
Considerations when choosing inflatable water slides
Ground-level: A ground-level water slide is the simplest of all options because it only features a slick plastic track that sits directly on the ground. Many ground-level options have inflatable bumpers along the sides, and some even include a wading pool and/or other activity areas at the end of the track.
Kiddie pool-attached: A kiddie pool-attached inflatable water slide is exactly what it sounds like -- a small inflatable slide that deposits the rider into a child-sized wading pool. They work best for children who are two to seven years old.
Standard: A standard inflatable water slide is similar to the permanent water slides you find as part of an inground or above-ground pool, with a ladder to climb up and a track to slide down, except they're made of inflatable vinyl materials rather than hard plastic.
Slide plus playground: An inflatable water slide plus playground is usually the largest type of slide you can purchase. While it features a slide component, it also offers a wide array of other activity areas, such as a wading pool, climbing wall, basketball hoop, bouncy house, and sprinklers or water guns.
If you're in the market for a large, substantial inflatable water slide, choose a model that includes its own blowers. These blowers are usually powerful enough to inflate the slide in a matter of minutes so your children can enjoy their slide as quickly as possible, as well as keep the slide inflated by providing it with a steady stream of air. Some slides may only need a single blower, while other larger models may have two or more.
Most inflatable water slides feature a straight track for your children to slide down. However, some models add even more fun to the sliding experience by offering a curved or twisted track.
Like a traditional water slide, an inflatable slide must be kept wet to provide the slip necessary to shoot down the track. Some models also include sprinklers in other areas to spray your kids as they slide down. You can find slides with overhead sprinklers and those with sprinklers that spray from the sides of the slide.
Kids always enjoy splashing each other with water, so some inflatable water slides have water guns or blasters connected to their activity areas. This allows your children to spray their siblings and friends as they zip down the slide.
Inflatable water slide prices
Inflatable water slides usually cost between $15 and $1,800. Ground-level slides typically range from $15 to $150, while kiddie pool-attached slides cost between $40 to $100. For a standard inflatable water slide, you usually pay between $70 and $550. The most expensive inflatable water slides are those that include a playground with multiple activity areas. Expect to spend anywhere from $400 to $1,800 for one of these larger slides.
Q. Are inflatable water slides safe?
A. If you set up the slide according to the manufacturer's instructions, most inflatable water slides are perfectly safe. It's especially important to use care with a standard inflatable water slide that's set up beside an inground pool, and never allow your children to use any slide unsupervised.
Q. What's the best way to clean an inflatable water slide?
A. Keep your water slide as clean as possible by setting it up on a tarp that protects it from dirt, grass, and other debris. Consult your owner's guide to see the manufacturer's recommended cleaning method, as it can vary from slide to slide. In most cases, when the slide is dirty, you can use your garden hose to rinse off the heavy debris. To spot clean stubborn dirt, use a soft sponge or cloth and mild detergent. Rinse the slide thoroughly and allow it to air dry.
Inflatable water slides we recommend
Best of the best: Sunny & Fun Deluxe Inflatable Water Slide Park
Our take: A durable water slide with plenty of fun water features that are suitable for children of most ages.
What we like: Features a slide, a splash pool, bouncer, ring-toss game, and climbing wall to keep kids occupied all day. Made of sturdy, long-lasting nylon. Included pump allows you to set up the slide quickly and easily.
What we dislike: Cleaning and disassembling can be an issue.
Best bang for your buck: Intex Surf 'N' Slide Inflatable Play Center
Our take: An affordable water slide option that's ideal for younger children because of its low-to-the-ground design.
What we like: Can support up to 176 pounds, so it's suitable for kids of all ages. Low-to-the-ground design is especially effective for preventing injuries to toddlers. Comes with two surf rider mats for going down the slide. Features a built-in sprayer that can connect to any garden hose.
What we dislike: Doesn't have an included blower. Some owners find the slide loses air over time.
Our take: Kids will love the bonus water features that come with this two-slide model.
What we like: Offers two slides, a splash pool, and climbing wall for loads of summertime fun. A water sprayer at the top of each slide keeps the slides wet and the kids cool. "Surprise" dump bucket at the top of the climbing wall adds an extra thrill for little ones.
What we dislike: Can be difficult to clean thoroughly.
Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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