I know. I know. This seems like a bit of a bizarre post, especially for an interior designer. But as the weather warms and we spend more time at home and in our pool, I’ve been thinking about pool floats a lot lately. My kids love floats, so we have a bunch. But I hate the fact that they make my pool and backyard look junky. We have that large flamingo float that everyone on social media seems to have, but to be honest, it’s not a float you actually want to get onto. You’re balancing above the water and it’s not fun.

So, what is it exactly that I want in a float or set of floats (because you can’t buy just one). Here are my criteria:

  • Portability and storage: Preferably, it’s something that can be stored and isn’t huge (both during the winter and during the season). Is it foldable? Do I have to deflate it in order to store it (pain in the ass)? I think this is why pool noodles are nice – they store easily in a basket or bin. Also, hammock style floats seem to work well.
  • Comfort: Like I said, the flamingo, just isn’t comfy. As an adult I want something I can sit on or in that allows my head to rest above the water and keep my arms free
  • Grossness: yes, I said grossness. I’ve learned this by having a pool an floats for a year now. Inflatable floats tend not to get very gross. I had these mesh lounger floats and these other hammock style ones with inflatable inserts and gunk gets in the mesh and they get really gross. Also these types that have a mesh that almost acts like a sieve in the water – no bueno
  • Price: Let’s be honest, pool floats are not something I want to dump a bunch of money into. There are some cool and comfy looking plasticized foam ones like this one from Frontgate, but turns out they are very expensive (like upwards of $100 per float) and I think they are actually quite heavy.
  • Style / Look: The whole junkiness thing comes down to how many floats there are, portability and storage (so you can clean up easily), and look. Do you want to keep your floats in a single color palette? Are you ok with a rainbow of colors and materials and sizes? I personally am not even sure I have the answers to this, but I’m curious what people think

OK, so based on these critera, here is my roundup. I haven’t found the perfect combo of looks, price, cleanability, comfort etc, but these seem like good options to test out.

Mesh pop-up Ring float – we got this. It’s comfy but you sit a little far in the water – and the mesh will probably get gross. Doesn’t look great but very portable and easy to store.

Extra Large Pool noodle – All the benefits of the ease of a pool noodle, with a little more float.

Yellow foam float – I like that this is a little cheaper than the other foam options but it’s still 70 bucks which is on the pricey end. I also worry if you leave these out the plasticized coating will crack.

Large fabric float – I love how large this is what you get for the price. And kinda a cool design too. But will the fabric get gross? And does this end up being like the flamingo? I think I like having part of my body in the water.

Red water hammock – I like that this looks a little more classy than some of the others and doesn’t have the gross mesh around the head part – but I wonder if it will still get gross (maybe I need to give up on the grossness)

After thinking through all of these, now just thinking the standard inflatable tube in fun patterns may be the way to go. The kids like them – your butt can sit in the water and they look cool – but storage? :/

Paisley Pool Float, Glitter pool ring, Psychadelic float, Kiwi Float, Palm Tree Float, Mermaid pool ring, Zig Zag Float