by | Apr 2, 2020 | Z | 0 comments

Last Updated: Feb 14, 2021 @ 11:29 am.

What are the best baby pool floats?

Before we reveal our picks, let's go over an Important safety reminder: never leave a child in a pool float without supervision. By supervision, we mean an adult swimmer is in the pool next to the child at all times. Pool floats are not a substitute for swimming lessons or life vests. These floats won't teach your child how to swim—they are just for fun!

Now that's all said, we tried out several pool floats with actual kiddos to find the best baby pool float. Here are our picks.

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Best Baby Pool Float With Canopy

Sun protection + toys = FUN!
Here's the winner among all the floats we tested: well made, removable sun canopy, toys and stacking rings. Mesh seat works well—even includes a carry case. Super cute!

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Best Baby Pool Float With Canopy: SwimWays Baby Spring Float Activity Center with Canopy

We tried out 10 of the most popular floats for babies and toddlers with actual kids to see which ones were best. Which were most fun? Had the best sun protection? The best value?

Important safety reminder: pool floats are not life-saving devices. An adult must be in the pool and supervising a baby using a float at all times. Pool floats don’t teach babies how to swim, nor are they life jackets. Pool floats are just for fun!

For the best baby pool float with canopy, we thought SwimWays’ Baby Spring Float Activity Center was the top choice. It combined fun (toys, stacking rings) with decent sun protection—great for babies aged 9 to 24 months. Here’s more:

What We Liked

• Sun protection canopy is 50 UPF and has both nylon and mesh for air flow. Remember: a sun canopy isn’t a substitute for sunscreen, protective clothing, hat and sunglasses.

• Toys! This activity center comes with a removable octopus toy as well as fish toy, star toy, stacking rings and squeaker fish.

• Mesh seat in center is comfortable.

• Canopy is removable.

• Very cute.

• Extended use. You can use this pool float up to 30 lbs. or 24 months of age.

What Needs Work

• Seat may be too deep for smallest babies. We liked the mesh seat, but we noticed smaller infants can sink too deep—where the water comes up to their faces. The maker says babies should be at least nine months old to use this float.

• Takes some effort to inflate. It would be nice if this float included a small air pump—alas, no.

• Could be easier to break down and repack. 

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Best Simple Baby Pool Float

3 different sizes to better fit
This float ring was a hit with our testers—wide width keeps it stable. We liked how easy it was to inflate. Babies loved the built-in bells. But no sun canopy.

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Best Simple Baby Pool Float: Free Swimming Baby Inflatable Float Ring

This inflatable float ring positions baby on their stomach and is fun, colorful and well designed. We like that this float comes in three different sizes, for babies as young as three months up to kids age 5. That’s nice for infants, since most other pool floats are recommended for babies 9 months and up.

In our tests, we thought this was a good simple baby float that works well for most folks.

What We Liked

• Baby lies down at angle, with the float’s front raised to keep baby’s face out of water. This float is probably best for less-active floaters. If your baby or toddler is more active, the mesh seat baby float recommended earlier is probably a better bet.

• Safety harness goes over shoulders and waist.

• Wide width for stability.

• Built-in bells. These were a hit with our testers!

What Needs Work

• No sun protection. Your baby or toddler will need a hat, sunglasses and protective clothing to use this float. Babies over six months should use sunscreen.

• Can tip over. Yes, the wide width of this helps keep the float stable—but that doesn’t mean it can’t tip over. As with any pool float, an adult must be with a child in the pool at all times.

• Kids sometimes slip out the back. Yes, there is a crotch strap with this float, but we see reports that some kids can still slip out the back. We didn’t find that in our testing, but it is a good reminder that you have to be in the pool with baby at all times!

• Have to be careful not to overinflate. The maker suggests filling the air chambers 80% to 90%.

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Best Budget-Friendly Baby Pool Float

Inner spring for stability
Simple pool float has nice sun canopy with reflective material, UPF 50+. Lightweight and great for travel. Comfortable mesh seat great for active kiddos.

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Best Budget-Friendly Baby Pool Float: Swimways Baby Spring Float Sun Canopy

This baby pool float is exactly like the top pick at the top of this article—it just omits the toys. If you have your own pool toys, then this choice is easier on the wallet.

We do love how comfortable this float is, but it does take some effort to inflate. And be careful of the canopy, which snaps to the float. We see reports that the snaps can break. That said, this is still a great choice: lightweight, fun and great for travel.

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Cutest Baby Pool Float

Instagram gold!
Yes, this float is as cute as it looks—we liked the sun canopy, mesh seat and carry bag. Of course, the star here is the too-cute-for-words design!

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Cutest Baby Pool Float: SwimSchool Blue Fun Fish Baby Pool Float

We know—a pool float is the background for a zillion pictures of baby in the pool. Why not make it cute? When looking for quality pool floats to recommend, we thought SwimSchool’s Blue Fun Fish float hit the mark: well made and super cute.

What We Liked

• Mesh seat is comfortable.

• Sun protection canopy retracts and is removable. This coated canopy is UPF 50.

• Good for travel. This float is lightweight and comes with a carry bag.

• Other colors/designs available. Yes, including a shark. Baby + shark = Instagram gold.

What’s Needs Work

• Pricey.

• Hard to fold. We wish it was easier to fold up this float to get it back in the carry bag.

• Challenging to inflate. It takes a good amount of effort! We wish there was an included air pump. Alas, no.

• “Fin” on the canopy can weigh it down. We didn’t have a problem with this, but we see reports that extra weight on the canopy can make it harder for it to stay up

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing baby gear, including outdoor toys like pool floats, since 1994. We do hands-on testing—we buy the products with our own money and evaluate with an eye toward safety, ease of use and affordability.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Baby Bargains is your independent and unbiased source for expert baby gear reviews.

Baby Bargains: Your Baby Registry Cheat Sheet is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to and its related sites. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.