Last Updated: May 31, 2023 @ 2:29 pm.

What is the best splash pad for toddlers? Baby, it's hot outside! To cool off, we tried out 10 different splash pads, sprinklers and pools with toddlers. Which were most fun? Easiest to clean? Here are the ones we recommend.

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Best Fun With Canopy

Ages 6-18 months
Inflatable backrest and toy stacker make this baby pool great for the younger set. Canopy shades the sun. Holds a couple inches of water. Can even be used indoors without water. Affordable.

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Best Fun With Canopy: SwimSchool Splash Play Float with Canopy

Most splash pads are designed for older toddlers and kids—18 months is a typical minimum age (although a few start at 12 months).

What if you have a six month old you’d like to get in on the water fun? For that, we’d suggest SwimSchool’s Splash Play Float. Fun, yet designed for younger toddlers from six to 18 months.

What We Liked

• Canopy shields the sun. UPF 50 sun protection.

• 28″ wide, so it can fit in smaller areas.

• Can be used inside without water.

• Can use with or without canopy.

• Fills with small amount of water so toddler can splash around.

• Includes patch kit! That’s a nice extra feature.

• Other versions don’t have a canopy, in case you don’t want that.

What Needs Work

• Canopy isn’t very wide. The lack of coverage means you have to reposition it as the sun moves during the day. It’s also easy for a toddler to grab and pull down!

• Small size. Perfect for one kid . . . but not the best choice if you want to cool off more kids at once.

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Best Fun Sprinkler

Ages 12 months & up
Loved this five foot wide splash pad that's inflated with water—and then squirts from 10 openings on the perimeter! Tons of fun! Not as much fun to drain, however.

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Best Fun Sprinkler: Splash EZ 3-in-1 Sprinkler for Kids

When we tried out splash pads, one factor influenced the fun: water pressure. We found if you turn it on too high the water squirts outside the pad—which isn’t the point. Try lowering the water pressure to keep the water inside!

Also: high water pressure can bust some of these pools—that’s because they are made of vinyl. So be careful when you turn up the hose.

Finally, always place these splash pads on soft surfaces (grass, etc). If you place them on concrete, they may rip or tear.

For the best fun sprinkler splash pad for toddlers, we pick Splash EZ’s 3-in-1 sprinkler—easy to set up and a winner, based on the squeals of delight we heard from kids!

What We Liked

• Rim keeps small amount of water inside the pad. 

• Large 60″ size can fit more than one kid.

• BPA and phthalates free.

• Squirts are adjustable, based on water pressure.

What Needs Work

• Hard to drain. That’s true for many splash pads, unfortunately! That’s because water inflates these pads—and it can be hard to get it all out when done!

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Best Budget-Friendly

Ages 18 months & up
Easy to use and easy to clean, this splash pad is great! Nothing fancy—attach a hose and let the water fun begin! 54" wide diameter is bit smaller than other pads.

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Best Budget-Friendly: BANZAI 54” Diameter Sprinkle & Splash Play Mat

You don’t have to spend big bucks to get a fun splash pad—Banzai’s Sprinkler and Splash pad does the trick, at a price that is easy on the wallet. Here’s more!

What We Liked


• Great for parties—holds a couple of kids at a time.

• Easy to set up.

• Easy to clean.

• Attach a garden hose and poof! Sprinkler fun.

What Needs Work

• Somewhat smaller than other pads we tested. This pad is 54″ wide—fun for a couple of kids. If you’d prefer something bigger, the Splash EZ 3-in-1 Sprinkler (recommended earlier in this article) is 60″ wide.

• Can rip easily if water pressure is too high! Turn the water on slowly at the start.

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do extensive research, evaluating products with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability. When we purchase a product for hands-on testing, we do so with our own money. 

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Our work is 100% reader-supported!

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