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Last updated: February 27, 2023
Reviews of five of the best inflatable water slides, based on size, materials, features, accessories, ease of setup, safety, and price.
For many kids, an inflatable water slide in the backyard is the ultimate in outdoor fun, but they take up a lot of space and are not exactly cheap.
Finding a good water slide that is easy to set up, safe to use, robust, and doesn’t have a ridiculous price tag can be challenging with so many brands and products to choose from.
My kids and I have done the research for you, and we have shortlisted and reviewed five of the best inflatable water slides you can buy today.
Top 5 Inflatable Water Slides:
|1||Action Air Shark Inflatable Waterslide||Price|
|2||Little Tikes Slam and Curve Slide||Price|
|3||PicassoTiles Water Slide with Splash Zone||Price|
|4||Costzon Castle Inflatable Water Slide||Price|
|5||Little Tikes Rocky Mountain River Race||Price|
Top 5 Inflatable Water Slides
Let’s take a closer look at those five water slides and see how they stack up against each other.
We’ve also included the manufacturer-recommended age for each water slide, but I think these estimates are often a bit too generous. So, if the official recommended age is 3 to 10 years, more than often, it’s more like 3 to 6/7/8 years. Just something to keep in mind.
1. Action Air Shark Inflatable Waterslide
The one thing you’ll notice first when looking at this water slide is the shark theme, which I think is a great bonus feature for kids. The structure consists of a mini pool (with shark fin), a climbing wall, a water slide coming out of a shark’s jaws, and a splashing gun.
In the box, you will find the bounce house water slide structure, a blower, a repair kit (tears do happen), ground stakes, and a carry bag. Setting up is pretty easy. First, ensure the flat grass area is free of sharp objects like tree sticks. Then, unpack the slide, connect the air hose to the blower, and ensure the hose is straight. Turn on the blower, and the slide structure will inflate in about a minute. Once inflated, simply secure the slide structure with the stakes, and your kids are good to go once the water is in.
Note that the water slide structure is inflated by constant air flow provided by the blower. This means air leaks through the seams, which is by design. In total, the measurements of the water slide structure in an inflated state are 15 x 11 x 8 feet.
Manufacturer recommended age: 3 – 10 years.
2. Little Tikes Slam and Curve Slide
This water slide by Little Tikes is similar in setup to the previous model, with a small pool, a climbing wall, and the actual water slide. It doesn’t come with a splashing gun, but it does have a small basketball hoop for a bonus fun element. The structure overall is slightly smaller, measuring 14 x 9 x 7 feet when inflated.
Setting up this water slide structure is also fairly straightforward. Use the blower to inflate the water slide, and make sure to use the ground stakes for extra security. The blower must consistently keep running in order to keep the slide structure inflated.
The slide itself has a slight curve (hence the name) at the end when entering the pool, which adds a bit of fun to the whole climbing and sliding process. A repair kit is included in case of minor tears.
Manufacturer recommended age: 5 – 10 years.
3. PicassoTiles Water Slide with Splash Zone
The third model in my list of best outdoor inflatable water slides is designed differently from the previous two, and it is also a bit more compact. It measures 14 x 6 x 5 feet when inflated.
The small pool area is located right in front of the slide instead of next to it, which means the dimensions are just a bit different. The climbing wall at the back of the structure is also a bit shorter than the previous two. There’s a fun little water cannon at the front of the pool, and also a shower head at the top of the slide for extra water fun.
Otherwise, the setup is very similar, with a heavy-duty blower supplying continuous airflow. A carry bag is also included for easy storage and transportation. Stakes for the slide structure and the blower are included, plus four repair sheets.
Manufacturer recommended age: 3 years and up.
4. Costzon Castle Inflatable Water Slide
This Costzon inflatable water slide is designed like a castle bounce house, and comes with a small splash pool, a curved slide, a climbing wall, a repair kit, and a blower. You can also choose the more affordable version without the blower.
Like most other water slides in this setup, the small area at the top also functions as a bouncing area, protected by mesh netting. This means that the structure as a whole involves climbing, bouncing, sliding, and splashing.
Setting up the water slide structure is as easy as the previous ones, and when inflated, it measures 13 x 10 x 8 feet.
Manufacturer recommended age: 3 – 10 years.
5. Little Tikes Rocky Mountain River Race
Did we save the best inflatable water slide for last? I’m not sure if we can call this one the best of the bunch, but I do like that it’s designed very differently from all the other slide structures.
This second Little Tikes water slide actually has two slides, with the climbing wall built in the middle. So after climbing up, you have the choice between two slides that both end up in the same little splash pool. There’s a fun water dump bucket at the top of the climbing wall that pours water on you just before making it to the top.
The water slide structure measures 13.5 x 14 X 8.5 feet when inflated. As with the other slides, the blower must run continuously to keep the structure inflated. Included are also stakes for both the blower and the slide structure, a repair kit, and a handy carry bag for storage purposes.
Manufacturer recommended age: 5 – 10 years.
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When choosing the right backyard water slide, consider the following criteria:
- Appropriate size
- Recommended age
- Materials used
- Features and accessories
- Ease of setup
Let’s discuss these buying criteria in more detail.
1. Appropriate Size
Start by considering the size of your desired water slide. To make this decision, consider the free space you have in your backyard.
Once you’ve measured your backyard area, remember to choose a water slide that not only fits within it but also leaves enough surrounding space. The extra space gives you more activity room and an added safety buffer for the slide.
The available backyard space may also determine the shape of your water slide. For instance, if you have a smaller backyard, you may want to get a squared inflatable water slide because it will take less space than other shapes.
Trust me when I say that I have seen neighbors buying a water slide that took up way more space in their backyard than anticipated.
2. Recommended Age
Water slides are built to suit specific users. Some are manufactured for three-year-old kids, some for teenagers, and there are even slides for adults.
It’s important to pay attention to the age range for which the water slide is suitable because they may differ in weight capacity and height.
If you have younger children, the appropriate slide will be lower in height, making it safer for their smaller body sizes.
3. Materials Used
It’s important to consider the production materials of the water slide because it affects its durability. Some of the common materials used to make inflatable water slides are:
- PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)
- Chemical Grade Nylon
- Laminated Polyester
- Synthetic Rubber
Most water slides on the market are manufactured using polyvinyl chloride. PVC is the most common because it is elastic. Another common material is chemical-grade nylon, which is robust, adjustable, and lightweight.
One of the main issues with inflatable water slides is getting holes and tears in the material, so it’s best to choose a puncture-resistant material. Some slides have double layers for improved strength, and others may have extra stitching to prevent tears.
For a long-lasting (and safe) water slide, you may want to invest in commercial-grade materials and save frequent repair costs. Remember that some water slides come with a repair kit so you can fix holes and tears yourself. Hiring a professional can get quite expensive, let alone buying a whole new one.
4. Features and Accessories
A quick search will show you that there is a wide variety of backyard water slide types.
A few great additions include water canons, splash pools, tunnels, and basketball hoops. The decision really depends on what your children and their friends are into. You can even find water slides with party themes like pirates and sharks.
Besides special features, some water slides also include accessories in the purchase. As mentioned before, some will include a repair kit, which saves you the cost and trouble of hiring a professional to fix any damages.
Also check if the water slide you’re about to purchase comes with inflation pumps or cleaning tools, as these come in handy.
5. Ease of Setup
You may think that all backyard water slides will be easy to install because they’re inflatable; that is only partly true. Giant water slides take more time to set up than smaller ones, and ones with added features may also require a little more effort.
On top of that, there are two types of inflation. The one with air blower support is the most common. You’ll need access to electricity, and keeping it in an inflatable state can be pretty expensive.
The other type is an air-sealed one. Once you inflate it with an air pump, it should hold the air indefinitely. The first option may be cheaper, but your electricity bill may increase. The air-sealed one is a little more pricey because it uses a more durable material.
Many inflatable water parks or slides come with a blower, so keep an eye out for this crucial accessory. It’ll save you the time and headache of assembling.
The last thing you want is for your kids to get injured when playing in their water slides. A damaged water slide can cause injuries, so it’s best to invest in a durable slide that won’t get damaged all that easily.
Another concern is unstable slides flipping over while in use. It happens! Be sure to pay attention to anchor points when shopping for a water slide. You’d want to ensure the slide you purchase comes with stakes and water bags to hold the structure down.
You can also check whether or not your slide or water park meets ASTM safety standards. Even after you’ve chosen the right water slide, you should always monitor your kids’ playtime to ensure they are keeping safe when using the slide.
The price range of inflatable water slides and water parks depends on the manufacturing company, the features, and the materials used. While there may be a lot of cheap options available, you want to make sure you’re not sacrificing quality in the process.
A substandard water slide may end up costing you more money on repairs. Or it may break down quickly, leaving your summer fun time short-lived.
On the flip side, buying an overly expensive water slide is not sensible either. Instead, go for one that gives you the best value. Choosing a water slide that includes the necessary accessories can help save you the money of purchasing those accessories.
For added protection, get a water slide with a significant warranty period. This way, you can enjoy your backyard water slide without worry.