Newest Review: ... the £29.99 for the pool. The box said that the pool was 106" x 69" x 20". I've never been good with figures so I was quit... more
Member Name: sandemp
Bestway Splash and Play Rectangular Family Pool
Advantages: Large enough for everyone to join in the watery fun, tough
Disadvantages: Uses a lot of water
The pool itself is supplied in a reasonably sized cardboard box that features a handle for easier carrying. A word of warning, the pool is slightly too heavy for Argos' carrier bags, so don't rely on using one to carry it. The pool is formed of fairly thick vinyl with two separate air chambers each of which has it's own intake nozzle. What particularly impresses me about these nozzles is that they are each formed of three interconnecting nozzles of differing sizes, this means that no mater which pump you have there will be a hole that corresponds. The only problem with the intake is that the design makes blowing the pool up by lung power alone nigh on impossible. While it would probably have been a much speedier task to pump the pool up with an electric pump, I used a dual action foot pump and it took me about half an hour to fully inflate it.
Once inflated the pool is an impressive size, from outer wall to outer wall it is 269cm by 175cm , with the wall standing 51cm high. The base sheet is formed of white vinyl, while the walls are blue with a white top. Looks-wise it looks pretty good, not especially fancy, but not cheap either and what I particularly like is that the maximum fill level is clearly marked. Filling the pool takes a lot of water, I really wouldn't attempt to fill it using a bucket, using a hose pipe, it took well over half an hour to fill it just below the maximum fill line. When it comes to emptying the pool out there is no outlet or plug hole, so it needs to be tipped out, generally I simply use a watering can to empty most of it out putting the water to good use and then tip the final dregs away. Even when deflated using a pump that will remove all the air, it is never possible to fold it down small enough to fit back in the box.
Even if not filled all the way up to the maximum fill line, there water is more than deep enough for an adult to sit in and cool down, it comes up to my tall two year old's waist and when I sit in the pool it comes up to my chest. Of course there is a downside to this amount of water, and that is that it takes a long time to warm up in the sun. I filled the pool in the morning and the water was still pretty chilly at 2pm, only really warming up by about 4pm. The pool certainly lives up to it's family title, yesterday Mummy, Daddy and the little one all managed to get in together, with Mummy and Daddy both being able to sit and stretch their legs out, while there was still over half the pool left for the little one to play in. The sides of the pool are tall and strong enough to lean against while sitting next to them, but too tall for our two year old to climb over unaided. The base of the pool is a little on the slippery side, the little one does occasionally lose his footing and end up on his bottom, when the water ends up almost up to his neck. Although only the three of us use the pool, there is plenty of room for another couple of people, which means it'll be perfect when the little one's adult brothers and sisters come to visit.
While I wouldn't say that the water is deep enough for older children to actually swim in, it's the perfect depth and size for the little one to practise floating on his back and front. It's deep enough for him to be able to float and yet not so deep that he can't touch the bottom with his feet and therefore great for building his confidence. In fact it's large and deep enough for me as an adult to float on my back, I just wouldn't be able to go anywhere.
While our pool hasn't had to survive being jumped on by boisterous, older children, it has so far coped well with the use we've put it to. So far the seams have all held well, the base has remained rip free and there are no punctures (one small puncture repair patch is included). The pool manages to hold the air well too, remaining fully inflated over a period of days and the vinyl has held it's colour in the sun well.
Overall this pool has proved an excellent investment, prior to purchasing it our two year old was using a toddler pool, which he was finding restrictive and obviously as adults we couldn't get in with him. This pool proved a great hit with the little man, he loves spending time in it splashing and paddling around and it has proved just as much a hit with Mummy and Daddy, who love being able to cool down and share the fun. Although the minimum recommended age is six years, I am quite happy for my two year old to play in here as he is very closely supervised whenever he is in the garden and there is usually an adult in the pool with him. I actually love that while the pool is large enough for us all to get in, it's not so wide that I cannot reach my son from the outside edge should he fall. Personally I would supervise any child under the age of about ten or so in this pool anyway and don't feel it's any less safe than a toddler pool that can give a false sense of security (a child can drown in just a couple of inches of water).
If asked if I would recommend this pool I would have to answer yes, but with a couple of provisos. Firstly you would need to ensure that you have enough room for it, in our garden it fits perfectly, but it may be too large for a smaller garden. Then you have to consider the amount of water it takes to fill it (982l to 75% full), this is a lot of water in a time of drought and will take a lot of buckets if you have a hosepipe ban (near enough 100 10 litre buckets). I would feel very guilty at using this amount of water if it wasn't for the fact that I re-use the water on the garden. So I'm giving the Bestway Splash And Play Rectangular Family Pool four stars out five, with it losing that one star simply because it does use a lot of water at a time when we are being asked to frugal with water and many areas have a hosepipe ban.
Summary: A great family pool to have fun and cool down in, but it uses a lot of water