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Top 4 Above Ground Pool Slides | Inflatable & Hard Shell Options

An above-ground slide can become your favorite pool accessory. We researched which slides are worth your attention and why — the answer awaits in our article.
Top 4 Above Ground Pool Slides

The pool is one of the best attractions for both adults and children. It is a place where you can splash in the cool water on a hot summer day, play different games and just have fun. But what can make it even better? Of course, it is a pool slide, usually an above-ground one. With them, children (and sometimes adults as well) will come up with even more games and have as much fun as possible.

There are not many such slides on the market, but there are still enough to choose from. We decided to research the best models to understand all their pros and cons in this article to help you choose. You can start with a short comparison table or jump straight to a detailed review of each model we choose. 

Note: This review (as well as others on our site) is completely independent and unbiased. We do not receive compensation from brands if you choose any particular model. Amazon’s affiliate program pays a small commission regardless of your choice, so we do our research as fairly as possible — so that the reader is satisfied in the first place. 

Comparison table: top 4 above-ground pool slides

In general, above-ground pool slides can be divided into two large categories: inflatable and hard shells. They are different and each type has its pros and cons (we will talk about this in detail below). Because of this difference, we decided to separately identify the two best models in both categories and compare them with each other as it is not logical to compare the inflatable slides with the hard shell. 

ModelСharacteristics
Inflatable pool slides
Winner category:
Best pick for kids

Wow Sports Pool Party Slide

Wow Sports Pool Party Slide
Features
Material: PVC
Weight: 1 Pound
Dimensions: 108 x 84 x 50 inches
Slide Height: 4’2″
Weight Limit: 550 lbs
Built-in Water Sprayer: No

Benefits
- Kids’ favorite choice
- Widest slide
- The highest weight limit
- Suitable for adults

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Winner category:
The easiest assembly and sturdiest inflatable pick



Intex Inflatable Play Center
Features
Material: PVC
Weight: 37 Pounds
Dimensions: 131 x 81 x 46 inches
Slide Height: 3′ 10″
Weight Limit: 176 lbs
Built-in Water Sprayer: Yes

Benefits
- The most durable among the inflatable slides
- The simplest assembly
- The best value for money
- It is easy to move around

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Hard shell pool slides
Winner category:
Best pick both for adults and kids

S.R. Smith Typhoon Pool Slide

S.R. Smith Typhoon Pool Slide
Features
Material: Rotationally molded polyethylene plastic
Weight: 225 Pounds
Dimensions: 120 x 22 x 88 inches
Slide Height: 7′ 4″
Weight Limit: 275 lbs
Built-in Water Sprayer: Yes

Benefits
- The best slide if adults want to use it with kids
- The most beautiful design according to customers
- Sturdy and safe construction
- Right or left curve is available
- Goes with a 3-year warranty

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Winner category:
The tallest and sturdiest hard shell pick



S.R. Smith TurboTwister Pool Slide
Features
Material: Rotationally molded polyethylene plastic
Weight: 430 Pounds
Dimensions: 162 x 79 x 103 inches
Slide Height: 8′ 7″
Weight Limit: 275 lbs
Built-in Water Sprayer: Yes

Benefits
- The tallest and biggest on our list
- The strongest construction
- Fits both children and adults
- Right or left curve is available
- Comes with a 3-year warranty

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What’s significant when choosing a pool slide

Even though pool slides are not the cheapest purchase, the requirements for them are not as stringent as, for example, the choice of Jacuzzi. This is since pool slides do not have many functions in general. So what is important to consider if you decide to buy an above-ground pool slide?

  • The first and foremost thing is kids should like it. A cool pool slide means that kids consider it awesome. Well, you’re probably buying it mostly for your kids, so this point is obvious.
  • The next point is easy assembly. You would not believe how many people are disappointed in the pool slides purchased because they simply could not install them. In addition, not all slides are installed once and for all. If you purchase an inflatable slide for the pool, you are likely to deflate it after the swimming season, and will re-inflate in a year. 

There are at least two things you can do to make sure you can handle the assembly.

The first is to read reviews of the model you like. People have probably told there what the installation process was like (maybe even shared some lifehacks).

As for the second — review the instructions and installation videos (if there are any). If everything looks more or less clear, great. And if you reread the same point several times and don’t understand anything, it may be better to choose another model with clearer instructions. 

  • In third place in importance is sturdiness. This is directly related to safety because you should be calm for your child when he goes down the slide dozens of times. The sturdiness of an inflatable and a hard shell slide is slightly different, but we certainly took that into account in our research and review.

    Classic good material for an inflatable slide is PVC Polyvinyl chloride, sometimes also called vinyl. It can be rigid or flexible (the latter is used for slides). PVC is fine because it is resistant to weathering, chemical decay, corrosion, and abrasion. And if we talk about hard shell pool slides, you’d better choose ones made of rotationally molded polyethylene plastic. It is durable, stable and sturdy. These are qualities you usually seek in hard shell pool slides.
  • You may be surprised, but our next point is that the slide must be suitable for adults! Every adult was a child once, and the love of children’s fun has not disappeared in most adults, but just… gone to sleep. And when you see your kids frolicking on the pool slide, you will definitely want to roll off it yourself. That is why slides that have a fairly large weight limit are much more appreciated by customers. We suggest considering options with a weight limit of 200-220+ pounds if the men in your family like pool slides. Or if you assume they might like them. 
  • Finally, it is important to many families that the slide is big and high enough. In this case, even teenagers will enjoy such a slide, and it will remain relevant for quite a long time. So, if you expect to buy a slide for very young children or do not particularly care about the height, 3′-4′ will be quite okay for you. But if you want to feel a little excitement and your kids love heights, look out for 7′+ options. These slides will be both a pool decoration and a place to get energized and excited. 

Among other points that may be important to you, we highlighted these:

  • The mounting kit goes with the slide kit (available not in all pool slides)
  • Stunning design
  • Affordable price
  • Clear instructions
  • Great corporate responsibility & customer service
  • The surface of the slide is smooth and gentle
  • It is easy to move around

Detailed Review

In this part, we will tell you in detail about every above-ground pool slide for swimming pools and how they differ from each other. All the options presented in this article are worthy, but the choice depends on your budget, wishes, and preferences.  

Our inflatable favs

Inflatable slides may not seem like a very durable or sturdy option, but this is more of a stereotype than the truth. Yes, they can be pierced, but it is not so easy to do, because their material is quite strong. But let’s cut a long story short and proceed with a review of our models. 

Wow Sports Pool Party Slide

Winner category: Best pick for kids

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Pros

  • The best slide according to the children
  • The widest slide (it is convenient to ride off several people next to each other)
  • Has the biggest weight limit
  • 8 out of 10 adults liked it as much as kids

Cons

  • It will need to be slightly inflated again after 2-3 weeks (depending on how often you use it).

If you seek the perfect inflatable slide for kids and plan to ride with them occasionally, Wow Sports Pool Party Slide is a brilliant choice. It is big enough to fit several people at a time, and it has a weight limit of as much as 550 lbs. So you don’t have to worry about not being able to roll off of it into the pool. You will also have no problem inflating it — it will not take more than ten minutes with the small shop-vac along with the setup. 

We also have a couple of handy tips to prolong the life of your slide and possibly keep you out of trouble. So, place the slide so that it protrudes slightly over the edge of the pool. Otherwise, if you (or your child) are a little heavy, you might land right on the pool deck. Also, if your pool deck is a little sharp (like travertine), you might want to put a plastic tarp over it to reduce wear and tear on the slide. 

Finally, let’s talk about the downsides you may encounter. Little by little the slide will deflate from time to time — it will have to be inflated a bit to get it back in good condition. This might happen every two or three weeks depending on how much and how often you use it. 

Punctures in the slide — yes, it happens, but in rare cases. You’ll have one patch in the kit, but we recommend getting a set of quality patches for the future. They will reinforce any weakness in your slide and will stay completely invisible. 

Some feedback on this pool slide:

This is a nice quality pool slide. Our four grandchildren have been actively playing on it for the second season. It withstands all their activities and holds up well! It is large for kids, and on the one hand, it is comfortable for them. Two can easily climb in and roll together, and there will still be room. On the other hand, the slide stands on the pool deck and obscures the view when not in use.”

Helen, AL

Intex Inflatable Play Center

Winner category: The easiest assembly and sturdiest inflatable pick

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Pros

  • The sturdiest among the inflatable slides and serves a long time
  • The easiest installation (also among inflatable options)
  • The most affordable price
  • It doesn’t weigh much and is easy to move when needed

Cons

  • This slide is shorter than the others on our list
  • The weight limit here is 176 lbs, so it does not fit adults as others on our list

If you’re looking for a slide that will require minimal hassle and be as durable as an inflatable slide can be, settle on an Intex Inflatable Play Center. Even though you need to inflate several individual pieces, you can do it in a few minutes with a simple electric pump. It is most convenient to install near the pool, but if necessary, you can drag the slide wherever you want. 

The price of this slide will be a pleasant exception for you because usually pool slides cost quite a lot due to their popularity. 

However, keep in mind that this slide is slightly smaller than the previous one, and is designed for less weight — not many adults can ride it. As with the Wow Sports Pool Party Slide (review), the slide comes with a small patch for puncture cases, but a set of patches wouldn’t hurt either. 

Some feedback on this pool slide:

This slide turned out much better than I had hoped! It was easy to set up, even though I was prepared for the challenges. It had already been ridden by about 20 kids from 4 to 13 years old. My son is 7, and I was worried that he and the older kids would be bored because the slide isn’t very tall. But they all love it and have found lots of ways to make it fun and interesting. It made it through the ordeal, and it is still standing, so I am happy!

Leila, SC

Our hard shell favs

Hard shell slides are a purchase for years to come. They look expensive and beautiful and adorn any pool. At the same time, they are usually more massive than inflatable slides and therefore suitable for children of different ages as well as adults. 

S.R. Smith Typhoon Pool Slide

Winner category: Best pick both for adults and kids

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Pros

  • Brilliant choice for both children and adults due to the 7′ 4″ height and large weight limit (275 lbs) 
  • 4 out of 5 owners said it had the most beautiful design in the in-depth interviews
  • It has a fairly robust and safe build
  • The right or left curve is available as you wish
  • Comes with a 3-year warranty

Cons

  • It’s pretty hard to install by yourself, you might need to call a specialist

If you love pool slides as much as the kids do, and you want a powerful, safe design, look to the S.R. Smith Typhoon Pool Slide. Not only it is beautiful, but it’s also quite durable. So both adults and children can safely ride it and have fun. S.R. Smith Typhoon is a little lower than its sister S.R. Smith TurboTwister Pool Slide, but nevertheless, it delights children and adults alike. Four out of five users in in-depth interviews mentioned that this slide was faster than any they had seen before.

There may be some difficulties with the installation, although most families have managed without the help of professionals. You can simply follow the instructions and videos on YouTube, but note that you will need some specific tools. This is a heavy-duty concrete drill and a wet hammer drill bit with a diamond core bit. You can rent them or still call professionals who will do the installation themselves.

Some feedback on this pool slide:

This slide is big enough and all I can say is that everyone who has tried it has loved it! It is a lot of fun for everyone in the family, from 4 to 60 years old. It is well constructed and sturdy. The size of the box was a little intimidating upon delivery, but installation was relatively easy. The bolts to secure the deck caused a bit of a hassle, but we installed it with some extra effort. 

The chic design fits our pool. The high sides and sturdy steps help parents feel more comfortable with the little ones climbing up and rolling down. We survived the summer without injury and are already looking forward to the next one!

Lucy, GA

S.R. Smith TurboTwister Pool Slide

Winner category: The tallest and sturdiest hard shell pick

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Pros

  • This slide is the tallest and biggest on our list
  • The construction is the most durable of all S. R. Smith pool slides 
  • Thanks to the height of 8’7” adults can easily ride it, as well as children
  • The right or left curve is available as you wish
  • Goes with a 3-year warranty

Cons

  • The mounting kit that comes with the slide kit is not of high quality
  • It can be a little scary for young children under the age of five

If you want a luxe Porsche in the world of pool slides, this is S.R. Smith TurboTwister Pool Slide. Its 8’7” height is impressive and will require enough space to fit it in front of your pool. We’ll be accurate — you’ll need 13’6” by 6’7” deck space minimum. 

Most likely this slide will be the main decoration of your yard, as well as a favorite place to play for children and adults. It will hold 275 lbs, so you don’t have to worry about durability and safety. Installation of this slide is a little easier than the S.R. Smith Typhoon Pool Slide (according to our research), but it’s best to set it up with two people. 

We have a little helpful advice that applies to this slide. A great accessory for the slide would be a foam mat that fits on the base of the slide. This will add comfort to use but is not required. 

What about the cons? Some people have complained that the hardware included with the slide is downright junk, and they had to buy better bolts to be sure of the durability. Also, because of the height of the slide, parents are a little worried about letting 4-5-year-old children in there, although there were no accidents. However, most users were still absolutely satisfied with everything. 

Some feedback on this pool slide:

“We bought this slide a couple of months ago and are very happy so far. Installation was a two-man job. I doubt it could be handled alone. The fittings are fine, they seem to be of reasonable quality. Overall, we are satisfied with this purchase, I think the kids will spend all summer on it. The only thing I’m a little concerned about is the steepness of the ladder. My 5-year-old struggles a bit, and I’m a little worried that she will fall or slip off the slide. Other than that, this slide is exactly what we wanted for our two kids. High slide, great speed, perfectly made”.

Josh, LA

Inflatable VS Hard shell pool slide: how to choose?

Inflatable VS Hard shell pool slide: how to choose

First of all, I want to say that any slide will make your child happy. I can remember myself as a child, and I just adored going to visit friends who had pools with slides. They seemed like the luckiest people in the world to me, especially in the summer. When you’re five or seven, it doesn’t take much to be happy, does it?

However, inflatable and hard shell slides are too different to overlook. I will briefly talk about their pros and cons, and it’s up to you to decide.

Inflatable above-ground pool slides

Pros

  • Installation is simple and requires only a pump and a few minutes
  • The price is almost always affordable
  • They are quite easy to store and do not take up much space. 
  • They can be transported without much effort and can even be taken with you to the country house or the beach

Cons

  • They are relatively easy to puncture and therefore more likely to need repair
  • Their design tends to look a little cheap or childish (but that’s not necessarily a disadvantage for everyone)
  • They must be deflated after the swimming season is over and then inflated again

Hard shell above-ground pool slides

Pros

  • They look beautiful and expensive
  • More durable than inflatables
  • More sturdy and durable
  • They don’t require any maintenance, they can just stand by your pool for years

Cons

  • It’s quite an expensive option
  • They are harder to install than inflatables (but you only do it once)

As you can see, each option has its pros and cons. If your budget is limited, and the children are very young, an inflatable slide is quite suitable for your needs. If you can afford a little more and want to buy for many years, then pay attention to the hard shell options

How to install a pool slide safe and adequately?

How to install a pool slide safe and adequately

If you have decided to buy a hard shell slide for the pool, the question of assembly is sure to worry you. Such slides are installed according to the same principle, and it is not that difficult if you read the instructions and follow them.

To make the process safe, I recommend that you get a partner for the job. It will be faster, easier, and safer for two or even three of you to install the slide. 

You will need about this set of tools (you will probably find missing tools from neighbors or you can rent them for a few hours):

  1. Ratchet handle
  2. 9/16″ socket head
  3. 9/16″ wrench
  4. 1/2″ socket or wrench
  5. 1/2″ concrete drill bit
  6. 1/4″ drill bit
  7. Phillips screwdriver
  8. Electric drill
  9. Lint-free cloth
  10. Pistol grip clip (optional)

Now a little bit about the actual installation process. First of all, check the documentation and all the parts of the slide that you have. Call the company to clarify this issue if something is missing. All the parts must comply with the instructions.

Next, reread the instructions in their entirety, preferably twice. This way you will understand the order of all the actions and what to do next. If you are a visual person and need video instruction, you can watch a video on how to install S.R. Smith Typhoon Pool Slide or S.R. Smith TurboTwister Pool Slide. Now you are ready to assemble your slide.

Summary

A pool slide will make life better and more fun for you and your kids. Depending on your desires and abilities, there are inflatable and hard shell options on the market, each category has worthy models

Consult with your kids, consider durability, size, and ease of installation, and decide based on these criteria. Also, we advise you to take a larger or medium-sized slide, there is almost a 100% chance that you’ll want to ride it too. We wish you a bright summer and the best slides for your pool! 

Winner category:
Best pick for kids
Winner category:
The easiest assembly and sturdiest inflatable pick
Winner category:
Best pick both for adults and kids
Winner category:
The tallest and sturdiest hard shell pick
Wow Sports Pool Party SlideS.R. Smith Typhoon Pool Slide
Wow Sports Pool Party SlideIntex Inflatable Play CenterS.R. Smith Typhoon Pool SlideS.R. Smith TurboTwister Pool Slide
Price range: $$
Price range: $$
Price range: $$$
Price range: $$$

FAQ

🤨Can an above-ground pool have a slide?

Yes, above-ground pools can have slides. You have to calculate the height of your pool and the height of the slide so that everything fits exactly and it is safe for you.

💰Can you buy slides for pools?

Pool slides are quite popular now, as they are a great way to keep kids occupied all summer long. Moreover, even adults enjoy this entertainment. There are several decent models for every budget: Wow Sports Pool Party Slide, Intex Inflatable Play Center, S.R. Smith Typhoon Pool Slide, and S.R. Smith TurboTwister Pool Slide.

🌊How deep does a pool have to be for a slide?

36 inches is the minimum depth for the edge of the pool. As you get closer to the middle, it should smoothly get deeper and reach 44-54 inches.

🔨What are water slides made out of?

An inflatable pool slide is usually made of PVC, and a hard shell is made of rotationally molded polyethylene plastic.

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