Factors to Consider When Buying Backyard Inflatable Water Slides
- Well-Made, Quality Product
- Safe Product
- Age Appropriate
- Variety of Features (depending on what activities you want your inflatable to include)
- Ease of Assembly
Some inflatables come with a manufacturer’s warranty. This can be very useful if you receive a defective product or the product breaks soon after purchase. (Aside from normal wear and tear, obviously!) Remember to keep the instruction manual and any warranty paperwork included inside your inflatable purchase packaging.
How to Make Our ‘Best of’ List
Our list contains inflatable water slides which meet and exceed the criteria in ALL of the following categories:
1. Well-Made, Quality Product
The inflatable water slide is quality-made, will stay inflated as long as needed and will not fade in the sun. If the company manufacturing a toy has a bad reputation, its product will not make our list. Materials used to construct the products on our list are sturdy, tear-resistant, and able to withstand a mob of high energy children for hours!
2. Safe Product
Each inflatable water slide on our list has met the following standards for safety:
No Choking or Puncture Hazards
Slides are free from sharp objects, as well as detachable objects that may pose a choking hazard to young children.
All water slides are tested for solo adult supervision. In other words, the slide must be designed in such a way that a single adult can observe every child using the product at the same time, from a mostly fixed position.
In the time it takes to supervise different compartments, divided by barriers obstructing the supervisor’s view, a child may drown. Even if the risk is small, it is unacceptable. Therefore, products with features that include hidden compartments or barriers between sections are not included in our list.
Appropriate Rails and Barriers
Inevitably, rubber and water make for a slippery surface so proper rails are very important to ensure safety. Each water slide is slippery in the appropriate places, like on the slide itself. However, handrails, climbing walls, and other features attached to water slides must be constructed with a surface easily gripped by children.
Proper barriers at the height of the slide and other ‘high off the ground’ features are necessary to prevent falls to the surrounding area. All slides included in our list include all these safety features, reducing the risk of injuries.
NOTE: No matter how safe a product is, when water is involved, supervision is mandatory. A child can drown in less than 3 inches of water. Always have a designated supervisor when children are using a water-related product.
3. Age Appropriate
Every inflatable water slide on our list is fun for children, no matter the skill level. Although, children who are not able to walk may require assistance for some of the bigger slides and taller features.
Most inflatables are not able to hold twenty twelve-year olds at a time. In fact, the product will start to deflate and this may cause injury. Be careful to watch weight requirements on the slides, as some of the smaller slides are not made for children over a certain age.
Each slide has different age suggestions. Some features, like a ring toss, may not keep older children entertained. On the other hand, a climbing wall may be too difficult for younger children. Keep these potential situations in mind when deciding on a final purchase.
4. Variety of Features
All inflatables on our list have, at the very least, an awesome water slide. However, many of the products include other water features, such as climbing walls, bouncy compartments, and more. The more features, the more children a product will entertain at one time. However, some features may be too difficult for the youngest children. Please be aware of your child’s abilities and purchase accordingly.
All slides have fun colors, cool features, innovative designs, or all the above! Each is handpicked for its superb ability to provide hours of entertainment and fun in the sun.
We get it! No one wants to break the bank for a children’s party, but these products can be used at every gathering you have throughout the summer, potentially for many years to come.
The products on our list are the most affordable, quality inflatable water slides on the market. Slides priced for extremely cheap prices, are usually severely lacking in quality and safety.
If you decide to buy a slide at a clearance price, do not be surprised when it pops in the middle of your party! Trust me, I have seen it happen. (I think my cousin still has nightmares of her son balling his eyes out, with twenty other 4 year olds frowning in the background, twenty minutes into his birthday bonanza.) Not a fun memory, but we are thankful no one was hurt.
Point is, you get what you pay for when it comes to inflatable water slides but investing in a quality slide will provide entertainment for many summers to come!
6. Ease of Assembly
This one is self-explanatory. The assembly directions must be clear for a slide to make our list. An instructional video gains brownie points…or should I say gains a fish? 😉
The Scale of Fish
Dependent on performance during at-home testing, each water slide is assigned a specific ranking for each of the five categories listed above. All slides included on this list have received at least 3 fish in every category. Rankings are assigned using a scale of 1-5 fish, as outlined in the following table:
Best Backyard Inflatable Water Slides 2020
THE GOLDEN FISH!
This slide received our Golden Fish award for one of the best backyard inflatable water slides of 2020. You will not be disappointed with your purchase for many years of fun in the sun to come. Here are some of the features of this backyard inflatable water slide that allowed it to exceed all criteria on our Scale of Fish.
- Includes Big Water Slide, Water Blob, Climbing Wall, and Pool Area
- Has a 4.4 star rating on Amazon
- Is available in different setups:
- Hurricane Tunnel Blast (3 options)
- Mount Splashmore (4 options)
- Splash & Dash
- Splash Tower
- Splashtona Raceway
- Tsunami Waves Summit
- Turbo Splash
- The style we recommend, the Hurricane Tunnel Blast includes a rock climbing wall, water slide that finishes in a tunnel, and a small splash pool area.
- The walls of the inflatable are strong and sturdy, ensuring safety and high quality.
- Water squirts out of the water slide tunnel, keeping riders cool and the inflatable slippery for ease in sliding.
- The pool area next to the slide is big enough for 3-4 small children to splash around in.
- Importantly, the entrance to the slide is blocked off with an inflatable wall from the slide itself. This ensures the safety of all water slide riders and children waiting to ride the slide.
- A climbing wall also extends out of the splash pool area, keeping kids busy with more than just a slide feature.
- The top of the climbing wall leads to the slide entrance, for a rewarding slide after accomplishing the rock climbing wall!
- Mesh wall at the top level of the slide are strong and see through. This is every important for safety of children on the inflatable, as well as for keeping a direct line of vision to the children for proper adult supervision.
- THIS UNIT INFLATES IN TWO MINUTES. This is great for summer days when the children are dying to get some relief from the heat. It is great for parents who do not want to spend extra time with set up. This leaves more time for making summer memories!
- Included 110-1200V blower.
- Measuring 13′ 9″ x 10′ 6″ x 8′ 6″ , this water park is ideal for backyards and outdoor use.
- Made of a durable and colorful PVC-coated polyester material, the water park has a comfortable feel and touch for kids while withstanding their rough play.
- It can accommodate 7 children at one time.
Where to Buy
- This slide is smaller than the rest on our list, making it a great option for younger children.
- It allows up to 4 children, but the weight capacity is only 350 lbs, so they must be smaller children.
- Made of ultra-strong thermal polymerization pvc, “stitched with world-class technology,” this is a well-made inflatable.
- This inflatable is so lightweight the children will be able to help fold during clean up! However, this is the reason it loses points in the ‘Well-Made, Quality Product’ Category , as the lightweight material easily punctures if it is not handled carefully during set up and take down.
- The unit is small enough after deflation to fit into a backpack for traveling convenience.
- The inflatable pool comes with a water slide and water spray function. Water sprayer attaches to garden hose. Inflatable cushion on pool floor for extra comfort.
- This unit is for younger children so please make sure there is always constant supervision, with an adult in a bathing suit, ready to assist at a split seconds notice.
- We love that this backyard inflatable water slide has a basketball hoop! However, make sure you use a lightweight inflatable wall, as the hoop is directly over the water slide.
Where to Buy
- This inflatable includes an awesome climbing wall sandwiched between two water slides.
- As kids climb the wall, a bucket of water dumps randomly onto their heads.
- Product is one of the smaller inflatables on our list, capable of holding only 4 children at a time. The maximum combined weight is 350 lbs.
- Due to the smaller size and lighter weight capacity, we suggest use by ages 2-6 y.o.
- Measuring 161.00”L x 169.00”W x 103.00”H, it is an easy slide to set up and hide away when not in use.
- It comes with a carrying bag
- Includes 7 water park stakes, 1 blower with GFCI plug, 4 blower stakes, 1 hose assembly kit, and 4 repair patches.
Note: Rocky Mountain River Race inflatable water slide only received only 3 fish in the variety of features category. It lost two fish in this category because it does not include many activities. However, this may be great for children who are not big enough to play with more complex features yet.
Note: Rocky Mountain River Race only received 3 fish in the ‘Well-Made, Quality Product’ Category because, after a year or so of use(depending on how rough your children are), the seams around the grips on the climbing wall may start to come loose.
Where to Buy
- Approximately 15.8′ L x 7.4′ W x 8.6′ H total inflated size
- Maximum kids number: 3; Maximum combined weight limit: 250 lbs
- Mesh safety netting provides stability at the height of the inflatable slide.
- Equipped with water cannons, a pirate flag, climbing holes and a splash pool, this inflatable provides tons of entertainment for hours of fun in the sun.
- Included with the unit is a blower, ground stakes, a carrying bag and a repair bag.
Note: The Retro Jump Pirate Backyard Inflatable water slide almost received a golden fish. However, it came up short in one category. It only received 4 fish in the Safe Product category because it is hard to keep a visual of all children at one time. The way the slide entrance is positioned makes it necessary for two adults to supervise if any of the children playing are not strong swimmers.
Where to Buy
- This is a hybrid inflatable, as it has a jumping house and a water slide. The jumping house can be used without water. This is a nice feature as you will be able to use this unit when the weather cools down too much for swimming.
- The water slide, which is sprayed with a sprinkler connected to a garden hose, serves as the exit from the jumping house. Children slide down the slide into a splash pool, which is big enough for 3-4 children to splash around in.
- Mesh wall around the jumping house make visibility easy.
- Made of strong material, this unit will last for summers to come.
- This product lists a max weight of 150 lbs in the bounce house, so keep that in mind when deciding which unit to purchase. If you have more than two children, or you are planning on using this for a kids party, this unit may not support enough children for your needs.
- BLOWER NOT INCLUDED. (purchase the suggested 580 W Air Blower) This blower will inflate the unit in a few minutes.
Note: This product only received 4 fish in the ease of assembly category because a blower is not included. We think spending extra money for something many units include decreases the ease of assembly!! Well, it decreases the ease of purchase at the very least. Not to worry though, we made it easy for you by including the link to the specified blower in this review!)
Suggested blower for this unit can be purchased here:
Note: This product only received 3 fish in the Variety of Features category because it does not have many water features. It makes up for it with a bounce house, but bounce houses are known to get hot in the summer which may be a deterrent for play.
Where to Buy
- Hippo-themed outdoor inflatable water slide includes a water gun and a splash pool.
- Kid’s can climb, bounce, slide, and jump for hours of sun in the sun.
- The unit supports up to 5 children.
- This inflatable is made of strong, durable materials. It will last many summers and is strong enough for children who tend to play hard in the sun!
- Inflation and deflation: easy to set up and remove in 1-2 minutes
Without further ado, this backyard inflatable water slide received THE GOLDEN FISH! 5 FISH IN ALL CATEGORIES. This is a FANTASTIC UNIT.
Where to Buy
- Features: Crawl Tunnel, Slide, Sprinklers, and two Water Cannons
- Constant air blowing motor inflates the unit less than 3 minutes
- 2 anchor weight bags and 9 ground stakes included providing stability
- Constructed with DuraTech materials for durability
- Banzai claims the product can hold 8 children at one time, but we do not suggest more than 6 children weighing 100 pounds each at one time.
- Recommended ages: 5 and up (Weith proper supervision, 3 and 4-year-olds can also enjoy this inflatable)
Note: Sidewinder Falls Inflatable only received 4 fish in the ‘Affordable’ Category because, at this time, it is priced higher than similar products of the same quality. However, 5 fish were awarded in all other categories, making this product a great choice for summer fun!
This YouTube video, by the Dresslers, shows a family unboxing, setting up, and playing on the Sidewinder Falls Inflatable Water Park:
Where to Buy
- Features include a continuous water-blasting cannon, built-in basketball hoop and volleyball court.
- A climbing wall leads to a cushioned slide.
- The variety of features of this product is the biggest selling point of this unit.
- The material is durable and long-lasting.
- This product is set up for safety, all features located on one side of the inflatable. It was obviously designed with proper adult supervision in mind!
The fun your children will have with this backyard inflatable water slide (water park really!) for years to come, earned this water slide THE GOLDEN FISH!
Where to Buy
- Cool off from summer heat in this inflatable water play center; recommended for ages 2 and up
- Easy to use, attach garden hose to arch sprayer, and fill the miniature pool
- Landing mat is designed with extra padding for maximum lounging comfort
- Crafted from heavy-duty vinyl with a 58-gallon water capacity and 178-pound weight limit
- TOYS INCLUDED: Includes inflatable swords, arch sprayer, pirate canon with 6 balls, convenient drain plug, and 1 repair patch
Note: We love the variety of features on this backyard inflatable water slide. However, there have been customer complaints that the material does not stand up to rough play of children. This may mean the unit will not last past one summer. However, for the affordability of this slide, that may be okay!
Where to Buy:
So there you have it! These are the best backyard inflatable water slides on the market.
Please share your experience with any of these products in the comments section below. Feel free to ask any questions you may have. Have a great Summer and remember to BE SAFE and WATCH YOUR KIDS AROUND WATER.