With warm weather finally here we are all looking for a way to have fun and stay cool. One of the popular trends has been to use a floating water mat or water pad as a fun water toy the whole family can enjoy.
I did not know much about floating water mats until I saw one the other day and both of my daughters instantly wanted one. Like any parent, I had a ton of questions about how they work, the safety, and how in the world to store such a device.
I did a ton of research and asked a lot of friends and forums for advice on picking out the best floating water mat and here is what I learned.
What Is A Floating Water Mat?
What is a floating water mat? A floating water mat, sometimes called a water pad, is a waterproof foam carpet that helps you walk on or play on the surface of the water. You only need to throw it on water and enjoy a relaxing day floating in the river or pond.
*If you already know what they are, you can go straight to our top floating water mat picks using this link.
It’s a perfect accessory to cherish your time in the water without getting wet. People who don’t like to jump into the water can have the ultimate calm, soothing experience and fun using this floating mat.
It’s the best investment you can make to have some fun with your peers and family.
How to Choose the Best Floating water mat?
It’s important to choose the right floating water mat to enjoy your evening at the beach or during daytime recreational water activities. Pump-up water mats can be quite tricky for most people.
Various water mats are available in the market that requires you to inflate the air using your lungs’ power (i.e., by mouth) or an air pump to convert it into a floatable structure.
If you are a person who loves the idea to float on the water without soaking an inch into the water, this is essential for water excursions. You have a plethora of choices for water mats.
The new versions of these mats now come with premium cell foam that is tear-resistant. This means that they will not let you down when you are in the water. Moreover, the large ones are best because it has space for more than one person.
Other factors which you should consider before purchasing a floating mat for yourself include:
The first thing you need to check in a floating mat is its durability and design. It ensures that you will not face any trouble in the water.
For instance, you must check that the material is not prone to puncture, tear down, or cause holes while you are floating on the water.
Moreover, ensure to buy a mat with a longer life span; if not, you will need to repurchase it after some time as the water mat will last only for a season or two.
So check its quality and limitations, including puncture resistance, tear resistance, and longevity. For your safety, you can also choose the one with a lock or hook.
A water mat is always well-built so that you can stand, walk, or lie on it. You can even play on the mat while standing.
Commonly, people use floating mats with cell foams that are great for lounging. Moreover, they are suitable for rivers, pools, calm bays, and lakes.
If you are looking for a mat to cherish every second on the water, and to do whatever activity you like while relaxing on the mat, choose the premium material.
Consider the firmness of the water mat for experiencing various adventurous activities. The solidity of the floating water mat will help you lay, float, and sit without falling.
If you pick high-quality designs, you can run, play, walk, or enjoy other varieties of water sports. Moreover, the most common models only offer you a single activity that is lying down.
This factor is important if you are a person who wants to float on water with people you love. It’s better to think before hunting a water mat how many people you want to float with you in water.
If you are a person who goes to lakeside or pool with the whole family, you will need a big mat.
The large mats offer to fit many people, and at the same time also give you plenty of space to enjoy various activities. Not to mention, the larger ones provide better buoyancy than the compact floating mat.
Before choosing a mat, compare different products that come in many sizes. It will help you select a floating water mat with maximum comfort, space, and flotation.
However, the large capacity mats also have a disadvantage that you need more space to store them.
If you are a person who doesn’t like to keep an eye on things all the time, you should pick the mat with low maintenance. There are plenty of water mats available in the market that don’t require regular maintenance.
However, it doesn’t mean that you let the dirt stay on the water mat. Always keep in mind that the longer dirt and grime remain on the mat, the faster it will become useless.
So, clean the water mat with a sponge and soap to remove grime, dirt, and debris from it. Then wash it thoroughly with water and leave it for some time to dry.
Foam vs. Inflatable
Foam mats are costly compared to the inflatable designs. However, they are also heavier and have longevity. The best part is that inflating the foam mats is not time-consuming.
On the other hand, the inflatable models are perfect for the budget-conscious people. While they are also light in weight, inflatable mats don’t last for longer periods because of the potential punctures.
What Best Features You Need In Your Floating Mat?
The following are some features that you must look for in a floating water mat to get the best one.
Water mats, whether foam or inflatable, are getting thick with the production of new models. Generally, mats are one and a quarter inches to one and a half inches thick.
You can also find a mat with more than two inches thickness. Thicker pads are great because you can also place lightweight chairs on it.
Water mats usually come with a harness, anchor, or latch to prevent the carpet from drifting away. You can use the rope or latch for clipping the mat on to another boat, deck, or stable object.
Generally, the anchor has more weight and attached with a rope to the mat. You need to place the anchor either on the beach or into the water for stability.
The price depends on the quality of the product. The inflatable water mats prices may start from $55 to $199.
In this price range, you will get a mat made of good quality plastic, but in smaller sizes that have space for 2-3 adults.
From $200 up to $455, you can find a foam floating mat, which is 9 X 6 feet to 18 X 6 feet long.
If you can afford it, you can go for the mats ranging anywhere between $456 and $829.
In this price, you can find thicker, larger, and highly buoyant foam mats that can be more than 22 feet long. Plus, these mats can accommodate almost 12 adults and children.
Additional Tips to Use a Water Mat
If you are going to purchase the best water mat, you need to learn its usage first. In this case, choose an ideal area of water, without rocks and uncertain blocks.
Also, make sure to choose the field with adequate water depth. The depth of water depends on your ability to swim or the deepness you prefer. You can experience multiple depths to get the right one for you.
Place the floating pad and unroll it onto the water. Then, secure the water mat with a rope, anchor, or a suitable object tied to a boat or dock.
Is It Easy For You To Climb On A Mat?
Water mat doesn’t have ladders or something like that, so you need to climb on it. You can pull the mat towards yourself and push down aside to get your leg up on it.
Moreover, you can add some fun by hoping onto the surface of the water mat from a dock or boat if the mat is tethered or anchored to them.
Generally, people feel it easy to climb on the floating mat and don’t find the need to hop onto its surface.
Are There Any Risks?
You can easily see a floating water mat from far away. This is because the manufacturers make these mats using bright and vibrant colors that shine on the surface of the water.
Mostly floating mats come in colors like yellow, green, and orange so that a boat can identify them and remain at a distance from your water mat.
Moreover, the water carpet or mat also has buoyant, and some have features to cup your body when you lie down on it.
So, you don’t have to worry about falling asleep while relaxing. Also, if you purchase a good quality product, it is less likely to tear down or puncture.
Floating water mat is the best water toy to have some fun with your friends. It allows you to experience different recreational activities on the surface of the water. Make sure to choose the right one to have the ultimate experience.
Recommended Floating Mats
There were many different floating water pads that were recommended to me. Several people got theirs at Sam’s Club or Costco.
I looked at our local Costco and they did not have them in the store or online,. I am not a Sam’s member so that ruled all of those options out for me.
As a result, I looked at West Marine and also Amazon. From everything that I have learned, these three floating water mats should be at the top of our lists.
Personally, #1 or #2 fit my needs, but I put #3 on the list as a budget-friendly option. The foam mats are expensive and take up a lot of room, so having a budget and space-friendly option seemed like it should be on the list too.
Best Floating Water Mat Options:
Water Mat Pick 1: 9×6 Water Mat – Holds 440lbs (5 Star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
Water Mat Pick 2: 18×6 Water Mat (Bigger Size) (4.5 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
Budget Option: Inflatable Water Pad for under $100 (4.5 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)