Best Inflatable Swimming Platforms of 2021 (Buyers Guide!)

If you want a piece of equipment that will make your swimming pool or private pond even more fun, you’ll need to find the best inflatable swimming platform on the market. The last thing that you want to do is purchase a lackluster inflatable swimming platform, however. 

In this article, you’ll find a collection of our floating swim platform reviews that you can use to pick the perfect product for your family’s needs.

By the time you’re done reading, you’ll understand everything there is to know about picking an excellent inflatable swimming platform. Without further ado, let’s dive into the world of inflatable swimming platforms.
(You might be interested in reading our article on Best Inflatable Islands)

Product Table

The Best Inflatable Swimming Platform Reviews (Updated 2021)

1. Driftsun Mesa Inflatable Floating Dock and Swim Up Deck Platform

Driftsun’s Mesa is an excellent choice for an inflatable swimming platform because it’s easy to use, highly stable, and great for making a dock surface on the pond or the pool. 

With the Driftsun Mesa, you’ll get two bicycle-style inflation pumps, the dock itself, a carrying case, and numerous anchor lashing points. The unit takes around six minutes to inflate with two people using the pumps, so it’s best if you have a friend to help out. 

The anchor lashing points on this inflatable swimming platform double as grips for swimmers to pull themselves up onto the dock. This means that it’s more user-friendly for swimmers with weaker upper body strength than other platforms. 

It also means that reeds or seaweed can get caught in the anchor points if you’re using the platform in shallow waters. 

The only downside of the Driftsun is that it isn’t aesthetically appealing. While there’s nothing particularly wrong with the graphics or the form factor, the aquamarine and white color scheme falls flat when it’s on the blueness of the water. 

Pros:

  • Fast-inflating dual-pump system
  • Includes eight different anchor points
  • High-stability edges
  • Includes convenient carrying case
  • Constructed from UV-resistant materials

Cons:

  • White color may be overly reflective
  • Requires manual inflation
  • Awkward color scheme

2. Aquaglide Airport Classic Inflatable Swim Platform

Aquaglide’s extra-tall inflatable swimming platform is great for people who want a fully stable dock that keeps people dry when they lounge on the top. Thanks to the dock’s mattress-style air cushion, it’s especially comfortable to sit on. 

When you’re sitting on the Aquaglide, you’ll find that the dark blue paint on the surface of the platform collects a lot of heat from the sun. While you won’t burn up, the heat can get a little bit uncomfortable. 

On the bright side, the material on the surface of the platform is smooth and gentle on your skin, so you won’t get a rash when you shift around to make yourself more comfortable.

Likewise, the Aquaglide’s towing hitch means that your family can tow the platform behind a boat as it rides slowly through calm waters. When you’re done with the Aquaglide, you can deflate it, dry it out, and compact it into the size of a handbag. 

Pros:

  • Extra-padded mattress-style platform
  • Collapses to a tiny size
  • Can be towed by a dinghy or rowboat
  • The platform has drain points to remove water on the surface
  • Rash-preventing platform material

Cons:

  • Few surfaces for swimmers to hold onto while mounting the platform
  • Dark blue platform surface heats up rapidly in the direct sun
  • Overloading will cause it to ride low in the water

3. Island Hopper Island Buddy Inflatable Swimming Water Platform

When you’re looking for an inflatable swimming platform that has the stability and hardness of a non-inflatable dock, look no further than the Island Hopper Island Buddy.

The Island Buddy has a handful of useful features that you will enjoy, including a modular design that allows you to connect multiple Island Buddies together to make a larger unit. This means that with four Island buddies, you could easily make a floating fortress capable of carrying 16 people. 

Similarly, the Island Buddy is party-ready with several straps, cups, and lashing points for furniture. The real utility of this platform shows itself when you bring your pool furniture and cooler to the Island Buddy while you’re floating on the water. 

The downside of the Island Buddy is that the hardtop isn’t very comfortable to sit on. You can easily remedy this issue by bringing inflatable furniture or golf chairs and perching them on top of the stable platform. 

You should also be aware that the Island Buddy is very heavy for an inflatable swimming platform on account of its hard and durable surfaces. If you can’t lift 30 lbs without assistance, you may want to find an inflatable swimming platform that is a bit lighter.

Pros:

  • The extremely stable and firm swimming platform
  • Suitable for rougher waters than a pool or small pond
  • Hard platform style-dock makes for heavyweight capacity without sinking
  • Modular and extendable
  • Pullable in the water thanks to a large strap

Cons:

  • Uncomfortable to sit on without additional equipment
  • Weighs more than 30 lbs when uninflated
  • It takes a long time to inflate

4. Tower Inflatable Floating Dock

Tower’s Inflatable Floating Dock is a moderately-sized and highly stable inflatable swimming platform that is notable for its soft surface and sturdy construction. The Tower inflatable swimming platform is comfortable enough to sit on without a chair or pad. 

Likewise, the surface of the Tower platform won’t irritate your skin as you slip around, nor will it collect too much heat from the sun. If you want to use a chair or cooler on the platform, there’s more than enough stability for it. 

You will also find that the platform is stable enough for an individual to do calisthenics to exercise. There isn’t enough room for two people to use at once, but there is plenty of stability to spare with this platform. 

The issues with this inflatable swimming dock are that it doesn’t have too many ways for people to easily clamber onto it from the water. The two handles are intended for carrying and collapsing the platform rather than helping swimmers, so they aren’t very useful most of the time.

The only other issue with the platform is that it’s cumbersome and large, even when it isn’t inflated. You’ll need a dedicated spot in the back of your car for this behemoth. 

Pros:

  • Great for swim teams who need space for multiple people on their platform
  • Extra-thick platform design
  • Moderate-friction surface helps with mounting and dismounting
  • Includes two storage straps for easy collapsing
  • Stable enough to gently jump on

Cons:

  • Awkwardly placed hand straps
  • Large footprint when collapsed
  • Difficult to inflate

5. Solstice Inflatable Floating Dock

This Solstice inflatable swimming platform is an effective floating dock option for people who want something that has utility beyond recreational lounging alone. 

The Solstice dock shines the brightest when it’s being used by one person who needs to move into different positions. This means that the Solstice dock is a great tool for people who want to clean the exterior of their boat while it’s still in the water. 

The Solstice inflatable swimming platform is also great for individuals who want to do exercises on their platform. However, the surface area of the platform is not very large, nor does it ride high out of the water with a light load. 

As a result, you will find that your feet will get wet fairly frequently when you are on this dock. When you start to add several people to the dock’s small surface area, there’s a high chance of someone losing their balance and falling off. 

Otherwise, the platform’s stability is good enough for one person. 

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Holds up to five standing people 
  • Six grip points that double as lashing points for anchors
  • Pleasant aesthetic
  • Fast-deflation capable

Cons:

  • Shallow height means that the surface is often wet
  • Not stable enough for furniture or coolers
  • Small surface area 

6. Wow World of Watersports Inflatable Floating Water Walkway

The World of Watersports inflatable water walkway is a fun and easy choice for people who want to make a little more lounging space out of empty water when they’re on a small boat. This inflatable swimming platform inflates rapidly, and it’s easy to tie to the back of your boat. 

Because of the softshell design of this inflatable swimming platform, you’ll find that it is exceptionally comfortable to sit or lie on. However, it’s also far too unstable for people to use furniture on top of it. 

This is especially true because the softshell covering of the walkway is prone to puncturing, so you don’t want to put too much weight on any single point. On the other hand, the platform is very lightweight, and it dries out rapidly after deflation.

As a walkway, this platform is sturdy enough for someone to pass over it without getting wet if they step lightly. If you step quickly, you will probably cause the surface of the walkway to dip beneath the water for a moment.

In calm waters, there is a lower chance of the people on the platform getting wet. For turbulent waters, there’s a good chance that you’ll never be dry with this water walkway. 

Pros:

  • Great for the pool or calm pond
  • Excellent for adding space to a small boat
  • No-slip surface material
  • Dries rapidly for quick storage
  • Easy to mount and dismount without any lashing points 

Cons:

  • Not durable
  • Doesn’t have enough lashing points and handles
  • Not stable enough for more than one person to use at once

(You can also check our article on Best Floating Water Mats)

7. RAVE Sports Whoosh 10’ Water Mat Inflatable Activity Platform

RAVE’s inflatable swimming platform is a no-frills solution that makes it easy for your children to have fun in the pool or the pond. Thanks to its wide format, several people can hang out on the platform at once. 

If you find that the platform needs deflation or inflation once you’re in the water, there’s a built-in valve that’s adjustable during normal use. If you aren’t careful while adjusting the inflation while you’re on the water, you’ll sink, but it’s an excellent feature once you get the hang of it.

While you’re using the RAVE inflatable swimming platform, you should be careful about putting too much weight along the centerline. If you aren’t conscious of your weight distribution, it’s possible that the lowest point of the raft will dip below the water line and cause the edges to rise up on either side, destabilizing the float. 

Other than this issue, you will find that the platform is durable. Unfortunately, the white plastic may become discolored with use. 

Pros:

  • Rip and puncture-resistant
  • Multiple size options
  • Fits up to four people at one time
  • Stable enough for one piece of furniture
  • Great for children

Cons:

  • Not enough grip points or lashing points means that the platform can float away
  • White plastic becomes discolored easily
  • Easy to accidentally fold in from the edges by standing in the wrong spot

8. MISSION Boat Gear Reef Mat Inflatable Floating Mat Water Lake Lounge

MISSION’s reef mat is a highly stable and thin inflatable swimming platform that’s the perfect size for two people. With this inflatable swimming platform, you’ll get the convenience of a rapidly-inflating platform with none of the issues. 

This is a highly durable platform that is nearly puncture-proof. There are also plenty of places to grip the platform for easy mounting and dismounting, not to mention the numerous lashing points for anchors and other equipment.

Unfortunately, you can’t use this platform to tow behind a boat because there is no towing strap. You may also find that the platform’s surface is slippery when it is wet, but you won’t need to worry about it very much because the platform rarely dips below the surface of the water. 

The other nitpick about this platform is that it has no drain to remove water that has accumulated on the surface. 

While there isn’t any way for accumulating water to sink the platform if you want to lay out for a tan on a dry surface, the inability to remove water is a minor annoyance. 

Pros:

  • Plenty of lashing points and grip handles
  • Thin but stable platform
  • Super-rigid design
  • Attractive carrying case
  • High-pressure pump

Cons:

  • Not designed for towing behind a boat
  • No bottom drain 
  • Slippery surface

9. AQUA X-Large Floating Mat Raft Island

AQUA’s extra-large floating inflatable swimming platform is ready for your entire family to rest on for an enjoyable afternoon. The AQUA’s platform has a massive surface area that’s very comfortable to rest on. 

Overall, the platform is stable except at the lateral edges, which dip into the water when people step on them. As a bonus, the color swatches on this inflatable swimming platform change their hue as they get wet, so you can identify where there are dry spots to rest on. 

The issue with this inflatable swimming platform is that it’s impossible to anchor effectively, meaning that it tends to drift away from its initial location. 

Likewise, the unit doesn’t include an inflation pump, so you will need to purchase an electric pump or connect a compatible bicycle pump before taking this island to the pond. Most standard pumps will be compatible with this inflatable swimming platform, so don’t worry too much.  

Pros:

  • Delightful visual design
  • Highly buoyant
  • Massive surface area
  • Modular and compatible with other brands of inflatable swimming platforms
  • Platform changes color when exposed to water

Cons:

  • Lacks anchoring of any type
  • Doesn’t include an inflation pump
  • Edges tend to dip into the water

Inflatable Swimming Platform Buyers’ Guide (Knowing What To Look For)

Now that you know what the options are, here’s what to consider before buying.

Features To Look For

In most cases, you’ll want to look for the following features in your inflatable swimming pool:

  • Stability
  • Size
  • Easy inflation
  • Durability
  • Comfort
  • Lashing and grabbing handles

In this section, we’ll go over each of these elements in depth so that you’ll understand why they are essential.

Stability

The stability of your inflatable swimming platform refers to the amount of weight that can be placed on any single point of the platform without the platform rising out of the water on the opposite side while sinking beneath the water line at the point of pressure. 

If your inflatable swimming platform isn’t stable, when you stand on one end of the platform, you’ll fall off, and the platform may capsize. On the other hand, if your platform is highly stable, you’ll be able to do jumping jacks or pushups on your platform without worrying about sinking it. 

In general, tall platforms are more stable than short platforms. However, tall platforms are harder to mount from the water, and they tend to be more difficult to tow with a boat, so there is a tradeoff to be made. 

Short platforms are less stable than tall platforms, but short platforms are often much wider. This means that the most stable platforms are small and only large enough for one or two people. On the other hand, thin platforms are only stable when they are very wide, and weight is distributed evenly. 

Keep in mind that tall platforms will also be more affected by turbulence in the water, so stability is also a factor of where you plan on using your inflatable swimming platform the most frequently. 

Size

The size of your inflatable swimming platform should be correlated to how many people and what kind of activities you plan to be doing on the platform. 

Larger platforms are necessary if you want to have more people, but they aren’t necessarily helpful if you only want to have a small number of people using accessories like chairs or tables. 

Smaller platforms are lighter and faster to inflate, and in some cases, they may be less expensive. If you want a versatile inflatable swimming platform but you don’t have specific ideas about the situations you’ll be using it in, go for a platform that can accommodate four people. 

Easy inflation

The best inflatable swimming platforms are easy to inflate thanks to multiple inflation valves and included electric inflation pumps. Similarly, many great inflatable swimming platforms have valves on the top surface that you can use to re-inflate or deflate the platform while on the water.

In contrast, the worst inflatable swimming platforms do not include pumps to inflate the air pocket inside. Alternatively, some weak inflatable swimming platforms take extra long to inflate as a result of their small gauge size. 

Durability

The durability of an inflatable swimming platform is directly linked to whether it is a hard shell or a softshell design. 

Hardshell designs have a tough top surface, which is either semi-rigid or entirely rigid. Hardshell designs are heavier than soft shell designs, and they tend to be much more stable. However, hardshell designs may be uncomfortable to rest on without a chair. 

Hardshell designs are the only platform in town when it comes to setting up furniture. Softshell designs are less durable, and they can’t support the weight of the furniture.

Softshell inflatable swimming platforms are typically lower durability than hardshell designs because their air pockets can be torn or punctured relatively easily. 

Overall, if you want a more serious inflatable platform that you can own for years, you’ll need a hard shell platform. If you’re looking for something that is more along the lines of a large pool toy, a softshell platform’s drawbacks aren’t as relevant. 

Comfort

Not all inflatable swimming platforms are equally comfortable to rest on. Softshell inflatable swimming platforms are nearly always more comfortable because they give to the weight of the person on the platform. 

Heat is also an important element of comfort. Many inflatable swimming platforms are coated with UV-resistant material on the top surface. Typically, the surface of the swimming platform gets warm while it sits in the sun. 

In many cases, the surface can get so hot that it is physically painful to touch. Darker colors exacerbate this issue, so you should understand that the aesthetics of the inflatable swimming platform are linked to its comfort. 

Comfort also encapsulates features like cup holders and traction cladding. Cup holders are a bonus feature, but you shouldn’t explicitly seek out an inflatable swimming platform just for its cup holders. 

In contrast, the traction cladding on the top of the inflatable swimming platform’s surface can make a major difference in the comfort of the dock. Higher-traction cladding makes the platform feel more stable because it will be harder to slip off. 

On the other hand, high-traction cladding makes it less comfortable for people to sit or lie on the platform. So, there is a tradeoff between comfort for people resting directly on the surface of the platform and the comfort for people who are seated in chairs or other furniture. 

In general, high-traction cladding is better for platforms that you want to use as docks for furniture rather than docks for sunbathing. 

Lashing and grabbing handles

Lashing and grabbing handles on the sides of the platform make for a significantly easier mounting and dismounting experience as well as an easier collapsing and deflation routine. 

Benefits of Using Inflatable Swimming Platforms

Most people find that there are a handful of benefits when they use inflatable swimming platforms. These benefits include:

  • Providing a convenient resting point in the middle of pools or lakes
  • Providing extra space for small boats sitting on the water
  • Encouraging exercise via swimming

In comparison to similar products like rafts, inflatable swimming platforms tend to be more stable and also more durable. However, you will notice that inflatable swimming platforms are more difficult to tow with boats than inflatable rafts. 

Likewise, the average inflatable swimming platform is not compatible with rough waters, whereas most inflatable rafts are compatible with turbulent seas but have little appeal in tranquil areas. 

How To Use Inflatable Swimming Platforms

There are a few simple tricks to using your inflatable swimming platform correctly. 

First, remove your inflatable swimming platform from its storage container once you are near the body of water that you want to swim in. Then, connect the pumps to the gauges and inflate the platform. 

Once the platform is completely inflated, you will be able to tell by the fact that the air spills out the side of the gauge when you try to pump it.

Then, drag the inflatable swimming platform into the water after securing the inflation cap into the gauge to prevent deflation. 

Next, you’ll probably want to mount any furniture on top of the platform, and then board the platform yourself. When you’re finished, bring the platform closer to land or your boat, remove all of the equipment on the top of the platform, and deflate it using the deflation gauge. 

Dry off your inflatable swimming platform and collapse it, then store it somewhere safe. 

Maintenance Tips

You’ll need to perform some basic maintenance on your inflatable swimming platform. Maintenance for your swimming platform includes:

  • Cleaning
  • Safe storage
  • Identifying stressed points

Let’s take a closer look at each of these.

Cleaning

You shouldn’t let seawater or dirt accumulate on your inflatable swimming platform, especially around the inflation gauges and drains. Soap and water do a great job of washing down most rigs, so be sure to clean it after every few uses. 

Safe storage

Try to store your inflatable swimming platform in its storage bag and in a cool and dry place. Make sure that the inflatable swimming platform is fully dry before putting it away, as moisture can allow mold to fester and degrade the material in rare cases. 

Identifying stressed points

If you think that you may have inflicted some damage on your inflatable swimming platform, you can identify the weak points and try to fortify them with waterproof tape. 

You can also get your inflatable swimming platform repaired professionally if you think that there will soon be a rip. Patches can hold up for a substantial amount of time if you are careful, and it’s a great way to maintain the value of your investment even when it has some damage. 

Safety Tips

It’s important to stay safe while you’re using your inflatable swimming platform. The most important safety tip is to make sure that everyone who will be on the inflatable swimming platform knows how to swim. 

If people don’t know how to swim, they need to wear a life jacket to enjoy the inflatable swimming platform because they may fall off into the water at any time. 

When you are using the inflatable swimming platform, be sure to use it safely. Don’t carry any sharp objects that may puncture the air pocket inside of the platform, and don’t do anything that will twist the sides of the platform up towards the center, as this can cause it to sink. 

Furthermore, you probably shouldn’t allow anyone under the age of 10 onto the inflatable swimming platform. Young children may have trouble getting onto the platform from the water, and they may also have trouble staying on the platform consistently. 

Sometimes, it’s also possible for people to get trapped beneath the inflatable swimming platform in some situations. This means that you should try to use your inflatable swimming platform away from other things that block people from coming up from underwater. 

Finally, be sure to use plenty of sunblock while you are lounging on top of your inflatable swimming platform, as some ultraviolet light may be reflected off of the surface of the platform onto your skin, increasing your exposure to be more than you would usually get. 

If you want to learn more about the risks associated with using inflatable swimming platforms, check out our an interactive resources for the US and worldwide drowning stats plus drowning prevention tips. 

Best Inflatable Swimming Platform Comparison Chart

Product NamePriceSize in CM (LxW)Weight capacity (Pounds)Distinct Features
Driftsun Mesa Inflatable Floating Dock and Swim Up Deck Platform$$$304.8x198.12600Constructed from UV Resistant High Pressure Layers, High-stability edges
Aquaglide Airport Classic Inflatable Swim Platform$-$$228x228510Extra-padded mattress-style, Rash-preventing platform material
Island Hopper Island Buddy Inflatable Swimming Water Platform$$$243.8x182.81000Modular and extendable, heavyweight capacity without sinking
Tower Inflatable Floating Dock$$$304.8x152.4900Includes two storage straps for easy collapsing
Solstice Inflatable Floating Dock$$$304.8x243.8825Lightweight,6 stainless steel D-ring, reinforced grab handles
Wow World of Watersports Inflatable Floating Water Walkway$$304.8x182.8500Heavy-Duty PVC Construction, heavy-duty 30 Gauge PVC
RAVE Sports Whoosh 10’ Water Mat Inflatable Activity Platform$$$304.8x152.41500Rip and puncture-resistant, Stable enough for one piece of furniture
MISSION Boat Gear Reef Mat Inflatable Floating Mat Water Lake Lounge$$$396.24x198.121400High-pressure pump, Plenty of lashing points and grip handles
AQUA X-Large Floating Mat Raft Island$$$182x1821000Massive surface area and Highly buoyant

Wrap Up

That concludes our roundup review of the best inflatable swimming platforms. Whether you’re looking for a hardshell platform that’s great for lounging with a chair and a cooler or a softshell floatation device for fun, you’re ready to pick one for your family. 

Remember that most inflatable swimming platforms are safe when they’re used properly and that you should think of your platform as an investment rather than a one-off pool toy or as something disposable.

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