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When my neighbor first got a backyard pool I remember sitting in a lawn chair on my deck and staring wistfully over at him. He wasn’t much to look at but he sure seemed to have the right idea for cooling off on our 100+ degree days.
Fast forward two years and my wife and I had finally made the decision to stay in our current house and install a semi-permanent above-ground pool. We bought the decking, the heavy-duty pool ladder, the pump, and water treatment kits. We thought we were ready.
On the first day we broke into the 90 degree range the kids decided it was time to break in the pool for real. A few hours later I was standing in the pool looking wistfully over at my lawn chair.
What I didn’t realize is that, unless I had a heavy duty pool floaty or wanted to stick my lawn chair in the pool (and ruin the floor) I was stuck just slowly bobbing around the pool on my feet. It cooled me off for sure but it wasn’t overly relaxing.
I tried using my sons float tube. I even tried holding 4-5 pool noodles together and sitting on them. No dice. If I was really going to enjoy my pool then I needed to get myself a pool float for big adults.
In the end, I did order several different options to test and review them, but the reviews and features weren’t really the point of this review. Some are a bit more durable and comfortable than others, but when it comes down to it, they’re all pool floats for big adults. The real trick was finding quality pool floats that would hold 400 pounds or more, guaranteed. Well, I found them, I bought them, and brought you the best of them. Check out the line-up:
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What makes a pool float suitable for overweight adults?
When it comes to supporting a large adult, a pool float/seat really only has one job: to displace water. If it can displace enough water, it can support a big fat guy like me. There’s so such thing as a small or compact pool float for big adults. If you want to float on an inflatable, you have to have enough air to hold you up.
Beyond just the weight capacity, there are several things which make some pool floats more useful for big and heavy people than others:
Usable Size: We just established that your pool float needs to be a certain size to keep your weight afloat. However, there are tons of pool floats on the market that, while huge, aren’t very usable for a backyard or community pool. Let’s face it, you and I are already big, we don’t need to be floating around on a giant swan, a piece of pizza, or an 8-legged spider that is huge but has a very small surface to lay on. I need something big, comfy, and not terribly obtrusive.
Stability: If you haven’t fallen asleep on a pool float and woken up to getting dunked in the pool, I wouldn’t recommend it. (I wouldn’t recommend sleeping on your heavy-duty pool float either unless you’re wearing sunscreen). What I would recommend is getting a pool float that will support 400 pounds not matter if you are laying still or want to move around a bit.
Durability: We big people are hard on things. There’s not point in buying the best pool float for big adults if it’s only the best for a couple of months out of the season before it goes the way of the dodo.
Easy to get onto: Have you ever gone to the pool wishing that you could re-enact a touching movie scene of a whale trying desperately to climb onto a rock? Yeah, me neither. So you’ll probably want a pool float that you can get onto without a ton of difficulty.
Extra Perks: After we’ve met the basic requirements, we’ll have to use other means to decide on the best pool floats for big adults. The presence of cup holders, footrests, pillows, etc. all gave a float a boost in the rankings.
Honestly, that’s about all we’re looking for when it comes to heavy-duty pool floaties! They’re a simple item designed for a simple job: float in a pool. If you’re looking for a tube/floatie to float through some river rapids, good luck, it’s probably not these!
But for every day relaxing at home or the local pool, these fit the bill. So let’s take a closer look at the ones I found and talk about why you should but the same one I did.
Lounge Pool Float for Big and Heavy Adults
The very first pool float in our test in one that we didn’t actually test to 400lbs. I’m not quite to the 400lb mark (yet) so the best I could do was sit in this myself. I tested other floats with my kids on my lap, with my wife, etc. but this one is distinctly a one-seater.
Now, don’t be put off by the 250-pound weight capacity. Manufacturers feel better when they can include a max weight but let’s be honest, what’s going to happen if you exceed it? You sink slowly? However, this float didn’t even do that!
It was quite comfortable and easy to relax in. It was the most traditional lounge-type pool float in our test (which is why I included it in the first place!) With that being said, it wasn’t without drawbacks.
First and foremost, I don’t think this float would support 400 pounds. Nothing catastrophic would happen but it wouldn’t float well or be comfortable. However, for most big and heavy adults this is more than adequate.
Secondly, since this is a lounger, you’re going to get wet using it. If you’re dreaming of staying dry and basking in the sun, let’s keep looking. However, if you want a traditional float with the highest weight capacity I could find, this is a great option!
Overall Pick: The Best Pool Float For Heavy Adults
When it came to a pool float that made me feel comfortable and supported, this was it! It is very comfortable and allowed me to lay back and lounge, it has drink holders (a must) and even a footrest!
In my mind, there were absolutely no drawbacks to this tube. It is perfect for a day at the lake, at the pool, or even in your bathtub if you live in a mansion.
We didn’t quite reach 400lbs in weight but I’m sure it would support it. It was very stable to get into and felt solid as a rock while floating around. My only concern would be fitting between the armrests if I had a very large bum but for me, it wasn’t an issue.
So if you want the best overall float, this is it! We actually ordered another one for my wife and this is going to be our go-to for our pool or trips to the lake. Just be aware that this pool float is pretty big so you won’t be putting 4-5 of them in your backyard pool and still letting the kids splash around…
Highest Capacity Pool Float Tube for Big and Heavy People
If you really liked the sound of the above float tube but wnat something more versatile, I feel you. This is why we have this option!
This is a very solid tube that we actually did test to over 400 pounds without flipping, sinking, popping it, etc. We did have to forgo amenities such as cup holders and a footrest but the stability made up for it.
Oh did I mention stability? This tube is awesome, once you’re on it. You’ll need to get on it in the shallow end or near a bank if you want to avoid looking like a crazy person trying to climb onto a deserted island.
All in all, this is exactly what you’d expect from a heavy duty float. It’s heavy duty, and it floats.
The Best Pool Float for Obese People (600+ pound capacity)
This last choice is a bit of a departure from the rest on the list. However, it is the highest capacity float on the market and probably the only option available for extremely heavy or obese people.
This is actually a float mattress instead of a tube but it’s very large footprint (it’s 8″ wider and almost 3′ longer than a king mattress) gives us a very important thing: a huge capacity! This mattress is given the green light from Intex to support up to 600 pounds and we tested it to 660! (Which meant: myself, my wife, our two young kids, and our dog)
While it does start to fold on you a bit and sit low in the water at that weight, it is a solid option for a heavy-duty floatie that I have no hesitation to suggest.
The main drawback is that you’ll be taking up half the pool when you set sail. That and the fact that every kid in the world wants to try and jump on it/run across it.
But if you can keep it to yourself, you’ll be able to float in stability and comfort!
So there you have it, the 4 best pool floats for big and heavy people. While we only tested half of them to 400 pounds or more, I’m sure that you’ll be able to find one that fits your needs. As long as your needs are stability and comfort! So scroll back up, order your favorite one, and then let’s hit some common pool floatie questions!
How much weight can a pool float hold?
Manufacturers typically have a weight listed on the box or in the product listing. For most pool floats, this is between 200 and 250 pounds. If you weight significantly more than this, you’ll need a pool float designed specifically for heavy adults.
Is it OK to leave pool floats in the pool?
Leaving a pool float in the water will drastically reduce it’s life span in two ways: water (chemicals), sun, and heat will weaken your float, and you have the potential to grow mold in the float’s seams and cracks.
Take the extra minute to pull out your floaties and turn them upside down to drip dry when you’re done with them. Leaving them in the shade is also a good practice.
How do I clean a pool float?
Simply mix 1tbsp of bleach into one gallon of water and scrub down your floats or other equipment. Let them sit for a few minutes and then either hose them off or dry them with a towel. Regular care for your floats will ensure that they last much longer.
How do I store my pool floats?
The main killer of pool floats is moisture and heat. Make sure you lay your float out flat to dry completely before sending it to storage. And, when it comes time to put it away, keep it away from your basement furnace. Try rolling your float up (instead of folding) and stick it in a cool dry place to await the next swim season!
If you follow those tips, you should be set up for years of success! Pool floats are not something that needs to be replaced every season. Before we decided to upgrade and buy our current floats, we had the same ones for almost 4 years and they were still going strong.
So grab a floatie, and beverage, and enjoy the summer!