The best splash pads to keep your kids cool all summer long

The children will love these - and so will you as they'll save you hours blowing up a paddling pool

Splash pads

by Jade Moscrop |

Summer is here, and with each new heatwave comes a mad rush to get to the shops and buy your kids an inflatable pool or you'll never hear the end of it - sound familiar?

While pools are great, unless you have an endless amount of toys or your kid is just happy to, you know, paddle around, they can quickly lose their charm for the little ones. Even though they keep them cool, they require some imagination to have lots of fun with. Plus, they take AGES to fill, aren't always suitable for toddlers and older kids all at once, and can get filled with grass and bugs easily - not ideal.

Related: The best toys for 5-year-olds for every occasion

That's where splash pads come in. If your child loves to run through those fountains in the city centre or the sprinkler in the back garden, they'll LOVE their very own splash pad. Also known as sprinkler pads, they're similar to a pool but WAY more fun. They're also more suited to toddlers, as they aren't deep, but are fairly large.

Luckily, they're affordable, easy to run and provide endless fun for the children and even for your dog, so take a look at the best-rated splash pads below. Please note: these products are suitable for children aged two and up.

How do splash pads work?

You'll have seen these kinds of splash pads at your local water park and now you can bring the fun right home.

Generally, the way inflatable splash pads work is by inserting a hose into the pad through an opening. When the water is turned on, it will sprinkle out through small holes in the inflatable - making the water come up and out!

You can adjust the water pressure to make the water come out faster, slower, higher or lower.

Are splash pads sanitary?

Yes, inflatable splash pads that you use at home are totally sanitary. Where you're pushing the water through your hose, it's simply the same water that comes from your tap inside your house.

Remember that it may get a bit dirty from your little ones jumping in and out of it, especially if you put it on grass. As long as you clean the splash pad every use and make sure to use running water, it will be perfectly hygienic.

Related: The best kids' gardening sets

Check out our full breakdown of why these are the best splash pads for this summer below.

The best splash pads for kids 2022

Featuring shapes, animals, numbers and more, this splash pad will comfortably suit three or four toddlers.

Diameter: 170cm

Review: "Absolutely loved this! If you're looking for something to keep the kids entertained whilst you sunbathe and get yourself an English/Miami tan. This is the product! I have bought water slides with a sprinkler system before and it was disappointing. It was more of a trickle, so was dubious about this but it was fab! Really good quality. Does what it says! Hours of fun for kids and grownups alike."

This mat not only looks good but also has a non-slip bottom for extra safety. We love the unicorn theme around the edges which makes it extra fun for kids.

Diameter: 172cm

Review: "Love this product, easy to use, will fit in most gardens with not a lot of room. The water creates a little pool for them to sit and play in and either have the sprinklers on or off. I find a paddling pool that comes out for a day takes forever to get warm and then gets put away again, I can see us grabbing this and switching on whenever at short notice and using it all the time. Great price too! Chuffed to bits."

This bright and colourful mat is praised as being easy to connect and fill, as well as featuring a really cute animal printed base.

Diameter: 149cm

Review: "We took this out yesterday, was fabulous, perfect for toddlers and for paddling your feet. I was looking for something to do with water but that isn't a swimming pool and this is perfect, easy to maintain water, requires only ten minutes to fill. Best purchase! Plus I can take this to my parents too so my boy isn't bored in the garden as he absolutely loves water activities."

In a hexagonal shape, we like this splash pad for its bright and vibrant colours, keeping children stimulated whilst enjoying the sprinklers.

Diameter: 172cm

Review: "It is quick and easy to set up, it’s loads of fun and it’s easy to put away and store. It’s also covered with dinosaurs, which my little boy loves! Overall great quality and good value for money!"

This square-shaped splash pad has a cool surfer dude motif and the sprinkler height can be adjusted via hose pressure.

Diameter: 170cm

Review: "My daughter loves this and has had some great times in it already. I like that I can control the water fountains and it holds just the right amount of water in the bottom for her to have loads of fun playing with water toys splashing about and sliding down her slide into it."

Featuring numbers and animals, this large sprinkler pad comes with five repair patches as a bonus.

Diameter: 172cm

Review: "I bought this as I wanted something quick that can be set up rather than waiting for the pool to fill up. Worked out great! It's also quite quick to empty and put away! My son loves it. He puts his slide at one end and slides into and through it onto the grass. The sprinklers managed to get to around 50-60cm. Seller is good, I had a query about the adaptor and they responded quickly."

Thoroughly tested for your kiddo's safety, this paddling pool features adorable doughnut patterns and inflates within minutes. The automatic sprinkler can also be adjusted to the perfect height for your little ones.

Diameter: 160cm

Review: "Absolutely perfect paddling pool for all 3 of my children ranging from 1 year old to 11 years old.
So easy to set up! You don’t need to invest in a pump!! All you need is a good pair of lungs! No fear of the kids slipping and getting into any dangerous situations. The sprinkler system is awesome too! Brought this at the perfect time and thoroughly looking forward to a nice hot June 2021! Can easily be hung on the washing line to dry off before packing away. Just perfect! You won’t be disappointed."

The best paddling pools you can get delivered ASAP

6 of the best swimming pools to keep you cool in the summer

The best Lay-Z-Spa hot tubs to buy

Jade Moscrop is a Deputy Commercial Content Editor for WhatsTheBest, specialising in lifestyle topics. She also writes for Closer, Heat, and Mother&Baby.

Subscribe to the What’s The Best Newsletter to keep up to date with more of the latest reviews and recommendations from the What’s The Best team.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us