There are four seasons in this life: Fall, winter, spring and pool season. And, it’s not hard to see why it’s most people’s favorite. For starters, the temperatures are better. And, you can snag a little vitamin D, get in a mini-workout (if you choose) and generally just relax and unwind. (That phrase, “It’s five 0’clock somewhere,” definitely comes into play here.)
But, pools are a considerable amount of work and require a generous splash of gear, from cleaning gadgets and chemicals to toys and ways to sneak in a little shade. This is a supersized list of essentials every pool owner (or aspiring owner) should consider. Besides the essentials, I’ve got fun floaties, cool lighting and both wine glasses and snack trays you can enjoy right. in. the. water. (Mind = blown.) Take a deep dive with me as we wade through 67 pool must-haves; we’ve even got a pool or two to get you started!
You will love our editor’s curated product picks! FYI: We are an Amazon affiliate partner and may get a share of the sale of your purchase (at no cost to you).
You Do Have Room For A Pool
First things first: If you don’t have a pool, you’re going to need one. (Just call me Captain Obvious.) This inflatable version is oversized and perfect for kid and adults. With a 312-gallon water capacity, this version is two times thicker than most inflatable pools on the market, reducing the risk of punctures. It sets up quickly so you can be neck-deep in a matter of minutes.
If this looks like some kind of futuristic robot, that’s because it is. This is a cordless robotic pool cleaner that cleans for up to 90 minutes, self-parks when a cleaning cycle is over and shares its status via four three-color LED indicator lights. I can plainly remember my dad spending what felt like hours vacuuming our pool; fast forward to the 21st century and this machine can do it for you. (Sorry, Dad!)
Staying on top of your pool maintenance will save you a lot of headaches going forward. These test strips work in as little as one second, testing the makeup of your water from total alkalinity to pH to chlorine. The color chart on the exterior of the bottle shows normal values so you can adjust as needed. For less than $12, these 150-count strips are well worth the money.
Brush It Off
Are you someone who enjoys scrubbing the $h!t out of stuff? (I’d like to introduce you to my Mom, if so.) This pool brush is perfect for cleaning pool walls, bottoms and corners, and attaches easily to a standard pool pole with the safe “ez-clip.” When pool season it over, move it inside to scrub your bathroom or put it to work raking leaves off your roof. It’s a multi-tool!
Any Season Is Football Season
Football fans, rejoice! At the time I wrote this, we’re only 92 days away from football season. The football fans in your house will enjoy tossing around this waterproof football that has sure-grip technology so you can get a good handle on things. This purchase comes with a small pump for inflating the ball quickly so the game can get underway.
Grab A Chair
Are you even in the pool if you don’t have a float chair? These are awesome for a number of reasons including the comfy pillow addition and not one, but two cup holders. These are great for keeping you below the surface but upright so you can watch the kids or engage in conversation. You’re not likely to flip these over either; they’re stable and easy to get on and off of.
Speaker Of The House
Some pool finds are necessities; others are just for fun. This Bluetooth speaker with LED lights falls into the latter category, allowing you to take your tunes anywhere and add a little pizzazz to your pool area. If you want, you can also take calls with this gadget, although why would you want to? Grab a frosty marg and turn on “Do Not Disturb.”
All of that gear has to go somewhere and these pool storage bins are a great (and highly-rated) option. The mesh enclosure lets pool toys air dry to shun mold and mildew, and the bin design lets you store a lot without gobbling up your pool deck space. Put thee together quickly without tools and roll them around your deck wherever you want.
Floating drinks are a total summer “do.” Make them happen with this 12-pack of inflatable drink holders in fun designs like flamingos, doughnuts and palm trees. Reusable and eco-friendly, these lightweight floats work from the pool to the lake and in every body of water in between. These would also make adorable party favors for a summer-themed birthday bash.
Little ones sometimes need their own safe space to splash and play. This inflatable play center has a juicy fruit theme that extends from a pool area to a slide to a built-in splash pad. It also includes a strawberry toy, ring toss game and balls that fit in the fruit pieces on the sides of the pool. Right now, this item is nearly 30 percent off, too.
It can be tricky to know just how much chlorine to put into your pool, particularly if you are a first-time pool owner. This floating dispenser holds up to three tablets with a four-level adjustable dial to control how much of the chemical is released into your water. This unit floats on top of the water without sinking so it can be removed at a moment’s notice.
A hammock is the ultimate in relaxation for a backyard and someone finally figured out that a pool hammock would be next-level chill. This one has a four-in-one design, meaning you can use it as a hammock, chair, drifter or exercise saddle. The best part is that it folds up to next to nothing so you can throw it in a beach bag.
When you have a bit more money to drop on pool cleaning, give this plug-and-play, in-ground robotic pool cleaner a whirl. This system uses different algorithms to ensure your entire pool is sparkling, with an anti-tangle swivel cable so it can move with ease. With multiple filter options, dual scrubbing brushes tackle dirt and debris, cleaning your entire pool in three hours.
Whatever Floats Your Boat
I live on the Gulf of Mexico, where the water is calm more often than not. (Seriously, it’s like a bathtub most of the time.) This pool chair float is one of the easier ones I’ve used, with two seating positions and a soft fabric cover. The mesh design allows these to air dry quickly and it can be folded up for easier transport.
Float Your Boat
I love a little something different when it comes to water environments around your house. These floating pool lights add ambiance and color to your pool with three brightness options and four color-changing modes. Similar to the size of a baseball, these are USB-rechargeable and have a long battery life. Choose from a single orb (that’s no fun) or up to an eight-pack to customize your space.
Keep It Above Ground
Your kids want a pool but, more than that, you want a pool. Make them think you bought it for them when you snag this above-ground pool set that includes the filter pump, ladder and chemical dispenser. This oval-shaped option comes in a variety of sizes to fit your space and can be set up and taken down in less than an hour.
A Head Start
Maybe you already have the hose and you just need a vacuum head. If that’s you, this head attachment for both inground and above-ground pools is for you. Weighted with an extra-large rectangular cleaning area, this unit cleans quickly and efficiently. It’s also compatible with virtually all hoses and has a rotating swivel feature for added convenience. Wheels on the base make maneuverability a breeze.
Stop Bugging Me
Nothing can ruin your outdoor fun like a mosquito snacking on your leg (or arm or neck or … you get the idea). This mosquito repellent is a must-have, pool or not. It uses no candles or flames, is DEET- and scent-free, and comes with. a 12-hour refill. Once started up, it creates a 15-foot zone of protection using heat-activated technology — no cords or batteries required.
Fido would like to cool off, too! This foldable pet pool is great for your pups (and kids) because it’s easy to store and even easier to move as you see fit. There’s no inflating required and a bottom/side drain makes it easy to refresh the water as needed. Pro tip: Trim your pup’s nails before letting them inside to prolong the life of your pet pool.
Pool noodles are the OG of swim toys, aren’t they? They’ve seemingly been around forever and don’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon. This set includes five 52-inch hollow foam noodles you can use for everything from swimming assistance to floating and beyond. The bright colors make it easy to spot your little swimmers from a distance, too.
Skim The Surface
There’s nothing worse than prepping for a relaxing float in the pool only to discover leaves and debris at the bottom, making everything feel dirty. This wall-mounted surface skimmer sucks up those leaves and debris before they have a chance to sink. In-ground pools often come equipped with a skimmer basket but above-ground and inflatable pools do not. It’s a worthwhile investment if you have one of those, now for 44 percent off.
Ring The Alarm
While you’re being Safe Sally, add this smart floating pool alarm to your arsenal. Sure, it’s a little pricy but you can’t put a price on the safety of your loved ones. Compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant, this has Wi-Fi connectivity and app control for wherever you are. If someone were to fall into the pool, a (really) loud siren will go off to alert you.
Come To The Table
This. This. right. here. is what luxurious pool days are all about. This floating tray holds drinks and snacks and, did I mention that it floats? There’s really no reason to ever get out of the pool — except maybe to load it up with refills. Made using premium foam, this tray is built to last for use at the pool, beach, lake and more.
Nothing But Net
A skimmer net is like stage one of pool ownership, letting you scoop leaves and other debris right off the surface of the water. This net comes with four connecting pole sections, making a 60-inch-long grip once fully assembled. The fine mesh net allows you to pick up even the smallest debris, slicing through the water easily for the quickest cleaning possible.
These Chemicals Are Shocking
If there’s one thing you’re going to discover about pool ownership, it’s that chemicals are going to be a required part of your maintenance. This start-up kit has everything yu need to get started for in-ground and above-ground pools, including stain remover, shock, algaecide, clarifier and more. It’s a great, all-in-one solution for less than $30 (currently 10 percent off).
At A Good Clip
Pool supplies don’t have to be cumbersome or expensive to make a difference. That’s the case with these beach towel clips that’ll help keep your towel firmly in place on your chair (instead of blown over into the yard). Shaped like flamingos, these add a little extra something to your space, and because they’re so small, they’re travel-friendly, too.
Take Your Temperature
There’s only one right way to test the temperature of your pool water and it’s with this adorable floating pool thermometer in a fun flamingo design. The temperature reading range goes up to 120 degrees, making it useful for hot tubs as well as pools. This includes a rope tether to keep the thermometer from floating out of reach.
Have A Ball
The whole point of having a pool is to have fun, and this ball catch set delivers that in spades. Complete with two paddles, two balls and a convenient carrying case, this is a game that kids of all ages (even the big kids) will enjoy. Choose from blue/yellow, blue/green, pink/green or a combo set of two colors. Show the kids mom’s still got it with this one.
You probably don’t want your kids playing beer pong, but this inflatable pool lounge could just as easily be water pong or Kool-Aid pong if you sell it the right way. Enjoy cup holders, a 10-cup set-up on each end and the versatility of using this gadget as a pong game, float for multiple people or a lounge chair just for you.
We’ve talked a lot about pool fun, but I’d be remiss not to mention pool safety, too. This safety fencing is an absolute must if you have little ones (or have neighbors with little ones) and comes in lengths from 12 to 108 feet. Installation is easy with complete hardware and clear instructions; all you have to do is drill the necessary holes.
A pool without atmosphere is just a pool. Luckily, you can add atmosphere for less than $30 with these solar floating pool lights. These look much more high-end than you might expect out of Amazon (don’t diss Amazon now) and have three lighting modes to set the mood. Because these are solar-powered, they can be left in the pool all the time and enjoy the light at night.
Throw In The Towel
Is there anything worse than a pile of wet towels? They won’t dry, they can’t be used again and they’re probably a breeding ground for bacteria. This towel holder puts everything in its place … if you can get your crew to use it. This towel holder has three adjustable bars and built-in clips to secure the towels. An accessory table on top is perfect for sunglasses or sunscreen.
The average price of a jet ski is roughly $14,000. The average price of this ride-on racer is less than $25 and has a pool-fed mega water blaster so you can take out your enemies. Designed with an easy-to-grip shape and a comfortable seat, this is going to become your family’s new favorite. I recommend buying two of these inflatables to minimize fights.
Wine And Dine
I was today years old when I discovered there are floating wine glasses out there and suddenly my life is complete. This set of two is shatterproof, BPA-free, crystal clear, and holds a generous 18 ounces of, you know, water or … something … stronger. The stemmed flat base means you can use it out of the water, too.
Toy With Something
When you can’t decide which pool toys to buy, why not buy them all? This toy set includes 30 different options for play including diving rings and stickers, “toypedos,” fish and octopus toys, and six treasures they’ll love tossing in the water and then finding. Right now, this set is 28 percent off, the lowest price in the past 30 days.
Cast A Wide Net
I hate volleyball. O.K.? There I said it. I blame it on an overzealous P.E. teacher when I was in school. With that said, I’m always down for a game of pool volleyball and your crew will be, too. This set (now 20 percent off!) includes a floating net, water volleyballs and even a pump to inflate things quickly.
Light It Up
Night swims are some of my favorite memories as a child, but sometimes you want to be sure that nobody is swimming at night. These solar lights have three lighting modes plus a motion-activated security mode to keep your eye on what’s happening around your pool. The wider lighting angle delivers a larger coverage are and, since they’re solar-powered, it won’t add anything to your power bill.
Grab A Towel
Have you ever gotten out of the pool, looked around, and realized you don’t know whose towel is whose? This four-pack of cabana stripe beach towels is perfect for summer with its vibrant colors. Better yet, these are highly absorbent, quick-drying and oversized so you can wrap them all the way around you. At $42, you’re only paying about $10 a towel, which is a great deal.
Why clean with a rag when you can clean with volcanic rock? These pumice stones are great for a ton of things, from cleaning pool tiles to removing hard water rings to scrubbing your grill. You’ll get a pack of 20 here so you’ll have plenty for a variety of tasks. Choose from gray, blue or white, but you’ll get the same great results with any of them.
Cover It Up
Not only does a good solar cover protect your water from leaves and debris but it can actually help warm your water more quickly. This round version is perfect for easy-set and frame pools (in a variety of sizes) and is an economical choice at prices between $33 and $93. This one has nearly 30,000 reviews so you can buy with confidence.
Cover Your Tracks
If you have a rectangular pool, this solar cover is for you. Described as a “heat-retaining blanket” for in-ground and above-ground pools, this minimizes water evaporation, increases temperature and helps retain heat long-term. The coolest part is that you can trim this cover to fit, a great solution if you have a uniquely-shaped pool. Choose from blue or clear options.
Give Me A Ring
I can remember removing the solar cover from our pool as a kid and it certainly was not as cool as these UV-resistant, circular solar covers that are easy to store and clean. These sun rings are composed of two sheets of vinyl that convert solar energy into heat, making your water warm (and keeping it that way). These are great for both saltwater and freshwater pools.
The Eyes Have It
I can’t even count the number of times my eyes have been irritated because I simply cannot keep them closed underwater. How do people do that? I need to know where I’m going! This six-pack of swim goggles will cover everyone in the fam. They’re made of skin-friendly silica gel and have an anti-fog coating so you truly can see where you’re going.
Baby Shark, Doo-Doo, Doo-Doo
Why are people so fascinated by sharks? Living at the beach, I still see tourists amazed that there’s the potential for sharks in the water. (Hint: The ocean is their home.) This remote-controlled shark toy isn’t exactly like the real deal (thankfully) but adds a touch of fun to your backyard pool. Sharks can go forward, backward, left and right, but I promise they won’t bite.
Arm In Arm
Back in my day, we called these “water wings.” Amazon calls them arm float rings. I think we can agree they’re essential when you have little swimmers to look after. Because of the wear and tear that can happen with these, you’ll get a set of six to last you throughout the summer, and right now, they’re 20 percent off.
Just For Kicks
Help your littlest water bugs get comfortable in the water with this swim kickboard. A great training tool, this board is lightweight and super buoyant to help them build confidence in the water. These have adorable designs, too, from the blue whale pictured to a unicorn to a feisty little crab. It’s well-liked by shoppers, too, with a 4.5-star rating.
Put A Ring In It
These swim-thru rings look like they belong in a Cirque du Soleil performance, but they’re made for your backyard. Now 43 percent off, these rings are reinforced with an upgraded connection port to make them stronger and resist breakage. Adjust the diameter to your liking, and take them apart simply to transport them on vacation or to the pool party down the street.
Climb The Ladder
You’ve bought an above-ground pool … now what? Well, you’re going to need a ladder and this corrosion-resistant metal frame with heavy-duty plastic steps is a great option. One reviewer called it, “the best inexpensive ladder with a top square step to turn around on.” With double-sided steps, swimmers can come and go from the water simply and safely.
We’ve already talked about volleyball in the water and football in the water so how about basketball in the water? This splash hoop includes a poolside basketball hoop, two balls and a pump to inflate things quickly. This has a near-perfect five-star rating across nearly 6,000 reviews. Right now, this set is eight percent off, making it a great time to buy.
Cause For Alarm
If you’re looking for an inexpensive wireless alarm system, look no further. This two-pack comes with remotes so you can arm and disarm as you choose. Add this to your pool gate or exterior door leading to your pool deck to prevent a potential tragedy. These are magnetically triggered so an alarm will sound as soon as the armed door is opened.
Go Under Cover
It’s a pool cover! Haven’t we talked about these before? I think we have. Regardless, this is a very well-priced option for a 10-ft. easy-set pool, priced at just $14.99. Reviewers are throwing around words like “perfect,” and “super easy set-up” and “great value,” when it comes to this cover option, which will protect the water from debris and, yes, help increase water temperatures.
Cover The Spread
If you have an inground pool, this is by far my favorite pool cover because you can walk on it, kids can play on it and pets can walk across it without issue. (In fact, they show an elephant standing on it in one photo so even your pet elephant can get in on the action.) This will also protect your pool during the months you’re not using it.
Reel It In
You know all of these pool covers we’ve talked about? Most are going to require at least two people to place and remove them. With this reel set, even a child can help roll up the pool cover with very little effort. This contraption works for all shapes of pool from 14 to 18 feet wide, and is best for in-ground pool systems.
If there’s one thing — just one thing — on this gargantuan list that I’d like to have (pool or not), it’s this outdoor daybed with a retractable canopy. This daybed is the ideal place for lunch after a swim break or to read a book and relax. The cushions are washable and there’s actually separated seating so you can share … if you want.
You Need Some Privacy
Do you have all of those wet footprints in your house when swimmers are coming and going? This pop-up canopy can eliminate at least part of that when people are changing out of wet suits. (You’re on your own with the bathroom situation.) Lightweight and ultra-compact, these are easy to set up and put away. It even has hooks for hanging clothes and an abundance of storage pockets.
While you’re lounging on your spectacular daybed, give your kids their own space with this kid-sized double chaise lounge. Priced at 37 percent off at the moment, this comes with its own cupholders and a canopy to provide some shade. Tie-back curtains create the cutest window-style sides, and hidden storage gives them space to stash their shades or toys.
Your Personal Valet
You don’t have to live in a resort community or even visit a resort to have a resort-style experience. This rolling towel valet puts fluffy beach towels at your fingertips poolside. Towels too wet? There’s even a spacious hamper where yu can toss dirty ones. This is made from UV- and fade-resistant wicker with a durable steel frame that’ll hold up for seasons.
Every pool area should have an umbrella, and this offset hanging market umbrella is a worthwhile addition to your outdoor space. This has an easy-tilt adjustment, a large wind vent at the top for air flow and a cross base and pole knobs for support and stability. Can’t you just picture yourself having sandwiches by the pool while lounging in the shade? Make mine ham and cheese, please.
Lights, camera, action? These fully submersible pool lights with remote have 16 color-changing LED lights and work on all types of surfaces thanks to their magnetic bonding method. A remote control lets you shake things up with six different modes, 16 colors, three timer modes and multiple brightness levels. There’s even a memory function in case you forget your settings.
Pitch A Tent
If you’ve ever put outdoor furniture together, you already know how appealing a pop-up gazebo sounds. This one lets a single person set up and close the canopy in just one minute. (I’m not even lying.) Once up, it provides more than 165 square feet of space, enough room for up to 12 people. Zippered mesh walls help protect you from flying critters.
Light Your Path
Light the way to the promised land (that’s your pool area, don’t you know) with this 12-pack of solar ground lights. Waterproof and solar-powered, these lights are brighter than the typical options and will stay illuminated for up to 10 hours after four to six hours in the sun. These are wireless, too, making them easy to install and place just about anywhere.
Inside The Box
I love a good multi-use product and this 22-gallon storage seat is a genius concept. Hidden beneath the lid, you’ll find storage space for pool toys, grill supplies, patio cushions and more. But, when the lid is closed, it provides yet another seat — and an attractive one at that. There’s no worry over the weather either; rainwater flows right off the box to keep your gear dry.
If you loved that last box, you’re going to lose your mind over this one. This is a full 90-gallon resin deck box, which is essentially four times the size of the other. You’ll have room for just about everything in your backyard and yes, you can even sit on it. It’s rated to hold up to nearly 600 pounds.
Keep Your Cool-er
If you treat yourself to just one thing on this list, make it this 80-quart outdoor patio cooler with wheels. It has room for up to 110 12-oz. cans, keeps drinks cold for up to 36 hours, and has a fully removable hinged lid for quick access. I love that there’s an integrated bottle opener and cap catcher, a drain plug and a bottom shelf for added storage.
You didn’t think I was finished talking about automatic robot pool cleaners, did you? I think I have PTSD from watching my Dad when I was a kid. Either way, this one has integrated smart technology with obstacle avoidance, a cordless design, and an easy-to-empty filter tray. You can grab this right now for 17 percent off the retail price.
Hold The Phone
If I had a dollar for every person I’ve known who has dropped their phone in the pool or the ocean, I’d have a lot of dollars. That’s why I’m recommending this waterproof phone pouch that’ll keep one of your more expensive investments safe and sound. This bag will hold both iPhones and Androids (even the big boys) and, at less than $7, is a worthwhile investment.
These Balinese water floats are a party waiting to happen. No more flimsy inflatables; these things are made tough and they can hold everything – drinks, sunscreen, you name it. And they’re not just for the pool, oh no! You can have a floating bar in your hot tub or even a breakfast tray in the bathtub. Planning a BBQ? Use these as a floating cooler? Yep, these floats are the real deal: waterproof, stylish, and perfect for summer!