The latest trend in boating is floating water mats, floating foam mats, and floating inflatable mats. If you don’t already own one, you’ve seen them on the water, and no doubt you want one. When you go to buy one, you’ll find thousands of options. But then, there are those pesky Facebook ads offering you the ultimate floating water mat for a fraction of the cost. The research alone is overwhelming, and given that all quality floating platforms are pricy, you need to know what you are buying. After all, the average spends on floating water mats and floating foam mats is $250, and some top $1,500.
Want to know the best floating water mats, floating foam mat, or inflatable mat, but you don’t know your needs? Then, use this guide to determine which is best for you based on your needs.
What to Consider When Buying a Floating Water Mat or Floating Water Inflatable Mat
We’ve all heard the expression “Go big or go home.” This may be true for most things, but it’s not necessarily the case for floating water mats and floating foam mats. There is such a thing as too big when it comes to floating platforms. And, the bigger they are, the bulkier they are to lug around. This said, the size you need depends on how many people you expect it to hold and where you plan on using it. For example, if you will only use your pool, you need to look at smaller options. Likewise, if you have a smaller boat that only accommodates four or five people, you need to consider a smaller option. For those who want to go big, you need to understand the floating water mat’s dry weight and look at how easy it is to roll up. Finally, if you choose an inflatable floating water mat, you need to understand what setup entails.
Don’t panic; we’ve done all of the work for you and compared the best-selling models side by side.
Think of weight capacity as cargo load or maximum weight your boat can carry. The same concept applies here. A rule of thumb for boaters is that your water mat capacity should be somewhere in the range of your boat’s capacity. And, when you evaluate capacity, understand that manufacturers base the maximum weight based on even distribution.
The last thing that you want is to sink your floating mat. If you exceed your mat’s weight capacity or do not distribute the weight evenly, it will sink! Naturally, it will rise, but whoever is on the platform will end up in the water.
This is probably the most important criteria given the price of floating water mats and floating foam mats. If you spend $300 – $500 on a water toy, you should expect to get more than one season of use out of it. So essentially, you are looking for a floating water mat or inflatable floating mat that won’t rip, tear, or puncture.
Note: You also need to consider dogs! Many people want their dogs to experience the joy of bouncing off a water mat, but dogs have nails! So if you plan to include Fido, you need to ensure that the water mat you choose will hold up against fur ball nails. Most important, if you are looking for a dog friendly float you should look at Inflatable Floating Water Mats – most are dog friendly.
Consider the strength of the best water floating mats to support a variety of activities. You can swim, lie down, and even sit without the risk of falling. Some floating foam mats are suitable for playing, running, walking, and other types of water sports. Others only support single activities, such as lying down.
Most floating water mats require little maintenance. However, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to clean it regularly after use. The longer you leave dust, saltwater, or mud on the mat, the faster it will disintegrate. All floats require cleaning. Clean it with a sponge and mild soap to remove debris, dirt, and grime. Then rinse with clean water and let it air dry.
Even the best-designed Floating Water Mats and Floating Foam Mats can be dangerous if not used consciously. Here are some essential tips to remember:
- Make sure kids don’t play on water mats without supervision.
- Check your connection security regularly.
- Do not use the water mat on uneven water.
- Remove all dirt from the mat to prevent rot.
- Secure the water mat to the dock or boat or secure it in place.
- Refer to the mat’s instruction manual for specific safety instructions.
- Limit alcohol intake while using a water mat.
Foam vs. Inflatable Floating Water Mats
Perhaps the biggest debate in boating and lake groups is which is best – foam or inflatable? Unfortunately, the answer is not simple. It depends on how you plan to use it, the portability, then price and quality.
Inflatable mats tend to be less expensive, but they require inflating and deflating. Inflatables are also easier to transport once deflated. On the other hand, foam mats do not need inflating and are more durable but bulky to transport.
Note: Some of the best selling premium inflatable mats are anything but inexpensive – some are a lot more expensive than foam pads.
Lastly, before we dive into a review of many mats on the market, it’s worth mentioning that many people rave about the Floating Oasis Water Pad ($249) and the Ultimate Floating Oasis ($449) foam mats from Sams Club. Floatation IQ makes both, and both are available on Amazon.
Floating Water Mats Table Comparison
Floating Water Foam Mats
The Airhead Water Mat prides itself on its portability, so it works as indicated in the ratings. However, if you are looking for water to float and avoid tiring inflation, Airhead floating foam mat is your best choice. Just roll it and take it to the nearest lake or water park, take it out, and you’re ready to enjoy the water activities with your family.
Slightly smaller than a standard floating foam mat, the airhead water mat is ~11 × 5 feet, is lighter than most and more portable than others. It can be rolled up tightly without any problems and weighs only about 19 pounds compared to other brands that weigh around 35 to 40 pounds. Its overall thickness is about 1.2 inches.
Despite its size and weight, it is only suitable for two adults or 4 to 5 children. Still, don’t be discouraged. So It can be used as a platform for kids to walk, run, or jump into a lake or pool. It is sturdy, lightweight, and works well.