Guide written by:
Crystal, Owner of a small gardening business, Oxford
Inexpensive, quick to set up and easy to store away at the end of the summer, inflatable pools come in a range of shapes and sizes. But how do you go about choosing the right one? And what's the best way to install it and keep it clean? Read on for everything you need to know about inflatable pools.
- Size and depth
- Liner thickness
- Installation and preparing the ground
- Accessories and safety
- Overwintering and maintenance
Key factors for choosing an inflatable pool
The size of your inflatable pool will be based around the amount of space you have (making sure to leave clearance space around the pool) and what you plan on using it for (for example, a kids' pool or a space for adults to cool down). Of course, you'll have to think about the length and width of your pool (bearing in mind that some can reach the same size as an in-ground pool!) but you'll also have to think about depth. If the pool is to be used by toddlers, it should not be any deeper than 20 cm. For older children the water should not go beyond their knees or waist. If your pool will only be used by teenagers or adults, you can go over 1 metre in depth.
Another essential factor when making your decision is the type of equipment supplied. Depending on the model, the pool may be sold as part of a kit with all the equipment you'll need for installation and use including a ground mat, chlorine dispenser, a filter system (so you don't have to change the water every couple of days), and so on.
And don't forget to think about your budget. While inflatable pools are the least expensive type of pool on the market, you'll still need to set aside the cost of water treatment products (chlorine, foam remover, etc.) as well as a few care accessories (skimmer, brush, etc.).
Two main types of inflatable pools
No matter their colour or shape, inflatable pools will always feature one or more inflatable rings. But there are two basic types:
- In a standard inflatable pool, all the sides will inflate.
- In other models only the top ring of the pool inflates. When the pool is filled, the pressure provided by the water will stabilise the structure and allow the pool to reach its full height.
Inflatable pool materials
The pool liner is usually made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride). The thickness of the material will determine how resistant it is; the thinnest liners are around 0.2 mm while the strongest are around 0.6 mm.
Larger inflatable pools may feature a reinforced liner made up of two PVC layers held together by polyester mesh lining for greater stabilisation and tear resistance.
A reinforced base will also be a bonus and may even allow you to safely set up your inflatable pool on a slightly bumpy surface.
Inflatable pool accessories
Inflatable pools can come with any number of essential and non-essential accessories.
- Ground mats are used to protect the base of the inflatable pool
- A chlorine dispenser is a small floating accessory designed to hold chlorine tablets so that they dissolve gradually in the water.
- Filter systems are essential for pools over a certain size (generally over 3 m3). Choose between a cartridge system (less expensive but limited service life) and sand filter (excellent filtering capacity but bulkier).
- A protective cover to shield your inflatable pool from leaves and other pollutants when it is not in use.
- A repairs kit containing self-sticking or glue-on patches.
- A water analysis kit designed to monitor the chlorine and pH level of your pool water.
- A pool brush designed to clean the pool liner.
- A skimmer to get rid of floating debris.
A ladder for easier access to deeper pools.
Inflatable pool installation and safety
Preparing the ground
Inflatable pools must be installed on flat ground so it is essential to prepare your surface properly. Once you've levelled out your surface, you'll have to get rid of stones and rocks, fill in any holes and lay down some sand before you set up your ground mat.
Installing an inflatable pool
Blow up the pool making sure that base is not folded. Screw in the filter system connections and treat your water according to the size of your pool and the manufacturer's recommendations.
Inflatable pool safety
Even if you have a very shallow pool, it is essential to follow safety precautions.
The number one safety rule is to never leave children unattended in the pool. Be sure to block access to the pool with safety equipment such as barriers, alarms, covers or safety ladders (with removable rungs, for example). Choose your apparatus according to the size of your inflatable pool and the age of your children.
Storing your inflatable pool for winter
When the temperature drops below 13°C, it's time to store your inflatable pool.
Start by emptying the pool, then clean the liner using a specialist product. Leave the pool to dry then fold it up. Ideally, your pool should be stored in its original packaging.
Place your pool alongside its filter system and any other accessories you may have in a dry and frost-free spot. Store it correctly and your inflatable pool will be ready to enjoy when summer rolls around again!
Guide written by:
Crystal, Owner of a small gardening business, Oxford, 31 guides
From a background in waste transportation, I became a farmer specializing in organic market gardening. A graduate of a professional baccalaureate in Agronomy and Horticultural Production, I tried for several years as a young farmer to settle in the beautiful region of Oxford. After many disappointments, I finally started a small-business in home services, specifically in gardening, assisted by my loving, dear husband. Passionate about nature and wild edible plants, I am very attentive to ecological solutions and respectful of our environment in all aspects of my daily life. From the vegetable garden to the flower beds, from seed to harvest, I have all kinds of advice up my sleeve. Do not hesitate to ask me your questions.