I Bought an Inflatable Family Pool for Summer and I’m Not Even Sorry

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Buying an inflatable family pool isn’t complicated but there are a few things to know about the process. Here’s how we set up our pool, the supplies we bought, and how long it took to set up.

2020 was a master class in going with the flow and there’s no telling what will happen next. Some days are really really hard and other days, I’m super proud of myself for a moment of genius.

One such moment was early in April when I realized that life, as we know it during summer, might look very different that year.

mom on a float in the pool
Image Credit: Andrea Updyke

I felt a strong need to secure a source of water for our often 100° North Carolina days, so without much fanfare, I took my determination to Amazon and bought my (self) kids a 12-foot inflatable pool.

I’ve never owned a pool that needed any kind of care, so this process was a bit of a learning curve.

Please follow the recommendations on your own packaging and don’t just take my word for it. That said, I wanted to share my experience because I *think* we have it right.

If you are considering a temporary backyard pool for summer, check out my tips and get ready to relax!

What to Know Before Buying an Inflatable Family Pool

When I started my search for a pool, I had exactly 2 things in mind. Number one, It had to be big enough for me to float alongside my kids as they play. And two, it needed to be affordable.

Maybe our pool will last more than one summer, and maybe it won’t. But I didn’t want to break the bank on something so temporary.

feet up in the pool
Image Credit: Andrea Updyke

We decided on the Intex Easy Set pool because at 12′ x 30″ and under $100 it checked all the boxes.

Plus it came with a filter pump to help keep the water clean.

intex easy set pool
Image Credit: Amazon.com

We weren’t sure exactly how durable this pool would be, but I have to say it’s surprisingly great for the price and after a couple weeks we are still loving it.

That said, it has been pretty chilly this month so we’ve only been in twice (both times freezing but still fun).

Like I said, our pool had a filter pump and one filter. It’s recommended that you change the filter approximately every 2 weeks so it’s not a bad idea to keep a couple refills on hand.

If you go with a smaller pool, you won’t need a filter, but then you’ll have to empty and refill the water repeatedly.

I wanted to do that as little as possible.

replacement filters
Image Credit: Amazon.com

Setting Up Your Inflatable Family Pool

The main thing you need to know about pool setup is that your yard must be 100% flat. There really is no room for error here and even the slightest slope makes a huge difference.

Trust me, we learned this the hard way.

We thought the area we chose was flat but once we started to fill it with water, it quickly became clear that we were wrong. We had to drain most of the water just to move it about a foot and start over. Not fun.

From start to finish, our setup took about 4-6 hours including filling the pool and setting up the filter.

The filter had quite a few parts to assemble and we didn’t love the instructions. If you have never assembled a pool filter, allow a little extra time and patience for this part.

Does a Temporary Pool Need Chlorine?

The bigger your pool, the more beneficial it is to treat it. When you are talking thousands of gallons of water coming out of your hose, you want to change that out as little as possible.

But you also don’t want to go overboard with the chemicals.

I grabbed some pool testing strips, chlorine tablets, and a floating chlorine dispenser and that setup is working great.

pool test strips
Image Credit: Amazon.com

In fact, I just tested our water this morning and it’s still in good shape. The chlorine tablet was mostly dissolved so I added another one.

A quick note about chlorine. If you need to shock your pool to get it up to speed, you won’t want to swim in it right away.

Definitely follow the instructions on whatever you use, but generally speaking, you should add your chemicals later in the day and let them work overnight.

floating chlorine holder
Image Credit: Amazon.com
3 inch chlorinating tabs
Image Credit: Amazon.com

Additional Pool Accessories

Since our pool is set up in the backyard, which is full of trees, a cover was essential.

I decided on a solar cover, which would also help keep the water temperature a little warmer. That is once our NC weather gets it together!

This solar cover is basically a giant circular piece of bubble wrap. You lay it on top of the water bubbles side down to maximize warming.

THIS IS NOT A SAFETY COVER. It will not support ANY weight whatsoever so always be sure children are supervised.

solar pool cover
Image Credit: Amazon.com

I don’t think a vacuum is necessary for a pool like this but you’ll definitely want a skimmer. We got this one because it’s small and simple and we can just keep it in the water with us.

Since we are right under a tree even with a cover, leaves and small sticks or bugs still find a way in.

pool skimmer
Image Credit: Amazon.com

And now for the fun part! Being in the water is awesome, sure. But floating is better. I have spoken.

These pool floats are perfect for parents who want to cool off and chill out with the kids. And yeah, I guess the kids can have a turn too. Or they can get their own.

Bonus points for cupholders! Bring on the summer sippers!

sun searcher pool float
Image Credit: Amazon.com
Float 2 pack
Image Credit: Amazon.com

That’s it! We are officially ready for our stay-at-home summer.

Are you planning to get a pool? Let me know if you have any questions!

*Post updated from May 12, 2020.

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About Andrea Updyke

Andrea Updyke is a married mom of two boys living in Raleigh, NC. She is a published author and blogger of more than 18 years and loves to celebrate the little things that make life awesome.

Whether she's sharing tasty recipes, traveling or hanging with the family, Andrea's goal is to help make your days a little easier and a lot more fun! Email inquiries to andreaupdyke@gmail.com.

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  1. I live in Southwest Georgia. I decided this year that I would put the pool inside our screen tent. We have used it almost every day this summer and it has been amazing to not have to clean it of debris daily. Still get the occasional bug and skim it out but otherwise it’s an idea that’s working great.

  2. Did cover warm up your pool? We live in Virginia on NC line,looking into pool but. I can’t stand the cold so we need a way to heat water to 85 degrees or so

    1. @Teresa, I do think it helped some but our pool was mostly in shade so it would have been better in full sun! One thing it did help was keeping debris out.

  3. I have a 12/30 pool like urs and I hav pin holes I put patches on but it still defaltes ! Is there anything else I can do besides patches the rim has to be pressure every 2hrs

  4. Hello, my name is Raven and I read your post about your pool. I have two kids a seven-year-old and a two-year-old and I really want to buy the same pool you got. A few questions are do you keep the floating chlorine tablets in it 24 seven or do you take them out while swimming and put them back at night? How do you know whenever you need to shock the pool and what’s that for anyway? What am I supposed to do if the pool gets cloudy? These are all The things I’m scared about having to deal with since I am a full-time worker. Thank you so much for taking the time to respond.

  5. We have the Intel 30”x10’. We found pool filter cleaner at Lowe’s. Clean filter after use of pool. We have had problem w leaks at outer bottom edge. Spent a fortune on Gorilla tape to fix leaks. It’s great to have pool. 2/7-yo spend 2 hours daily in it. Learned a lot about PH balance.

    1. Ahh sorry to hear about the leaks but I’m glad it’s still working for you! We had a tree branch puncture ours and we have it repaired mostly but still have a little breech. Going to work on it some more at the end of the season.

  6. Hello, I am thinking about getting the same pool. I have a 6 and 7 year old, will they be able to swim? Do you need to put up a fence around the pool? Are you going to repair the grass under the pool? Thank you!

    1. My boys typically splash around and dunk under the water. It’s about 2 feet deep so more of a plunge pool for us. We are giving up on the grass for this season for the cause. We don’t have a fence but if our kids were younger it would definitely be something to consider. Have fun!

  7. I was given one from a friend and unfortunately the ring has a leak.. it doesn’t affect the pool at all as the water keeps it up.. although having a neck rest would be nice.. as it is I float on a mattress…we have searched everywhere..it must be in the seams somewhere.. I agree they are wonderful.. now very hard to get ..it would be nice to have the ring inflatable so next year we may invest in a new one having had the opportunity to learn with this one..

    1. Sorry to hear about the leak! If you can find the source, I recommend using Flextape. Since I wrote this, a tree branch fell and punctured the side of the pool wall and the Flextape helped a ton! Because of that incident this pool prob won’t make it another season but I’m still happy with it. And aside from that freak accident it would be even better!

    2. @Cheryl Lawson, the best way to find the leak is with a spray bottle of dish soap and water. Inflate the ring as best yu can, spray your liquid on and rub it about a bit. If it bubbles you forget nd your hole. Circle it with a marker and move round the whole ring. Hopefully you’ll only find the one, and then you can fix the issue. Good luck x

  8. I wonder if this would fit well on the back patio, my yard is a mess right now and kinda sloped. Now you have me thinking more. I came here to remind myself which one you bought!! 🙂 q