Best Floating Water Mats/Foam Pads (Reviews)
Last Updated: 4th Mar, 2020
How do you identify a quality floating water mat (often referred to as foam pads)? Is it just the build quality, size, or simply the price point?
To be honest, it depends on several factors! Are you looking to use the mat on a lake or swimming pool? How many people would be using it? Do you intend to keep the mat anchored down or tethered to the boat? And the list goes on.
With all the factors in mind, we have rounded up 6 of the best floating water mats across different categories.
Let's jump right in.
There are few things in life better than relaxing in the water with family and friends on a hot summer's day. When the weather is warm, and the sun is shining, hanging out at a pool, lake, or beach is among the best ways to spend your downtime, and we're sure that you would agree. Well, one thing that makes this even better is the ability to lay down a floating mat.
Whether it be for the kids to run around and play on, or for adults wanting to add another place to sunbathe on. Floating water mats are an ideal way to add another level of fun and relaxation for everyone. They provide a safe environment for games like wrestling. And if you want to simply bask in the sun, the mat will rock you to sleep as if you were on a cloud. Without the risk of tipping over or floating away, that comes with a typical inflatable sunbed.
Below is our list of the top 6 floating water mats and pads to help you get ready for an unforgettable summer of fun.
Our Top Picks for the Best Floating Water Mats
- Floating Oasis Lake 14' Foam Pad- Pro Pick
- Rubber Dockie Duckling 9x6-Feet Floating Mat - Best floating mat for lake
- Big Joe Island Float - Best mid-size mat
- Maui Mat Floating Foam 14' Mat - Large yet lightweight
- Intex Giant Inflatable Floating Mat - Best inflatable mat
- FINIS Floating Island - Best for kids
1. Floating Oasis Lake 14' Pad - Pro Pick
Whenever we write a list like this, we like to include a variety of different products to make sure that we have something for everyone. Our lists typically start with a product that stands out for its quality, durability, and reputation, and this list is no different. The Floating Oasis Lake Pad from the guys over at Floatation iQ shows incredible build quality and is available in a multitude of vibrant colors and designs.
These designs include 'Bird of Paradise', which sports different shades of blue covered in pink flamingos. 'Pineapple Delight', which shows off a green mat covered in different colored pineapples. And 'Ruby Red', which gives the mat a simplistic yet elegant look, covered in different shades of red. The mat is also available in some solid colors with one on each side such as pink and turquoise, red and blue, and yellow and lime.
This 6 foot wide and 15-foot long float is made of multi-layered, lightweight polyethylene foam. It is joined together using a process that ensures they become highly resistant to tears and punctures, giving you peace of mind that it will last for years rather than weeks. And on that note, you will want it to last a while, as the price tag is by no means cheap. Coming in at just under $430, this particular model is by no means cheap, but that is for a good reason as the overall quality of the mat is simply outstanding.
Additionally, the Floating Oasis Lake Pad comes with a D ring for tethering the mat, two nylon straps (108" long x 2" wide), and one bungee anchor line with carabiner. This allows for easy storage and making the mat nice and portable, an important factor for those long drives to the lake.
- Size: 15' x 6' x 1.5''
- Weight limit: 1500 lbs
- Material: multi-layered non-toxic polyethylene (PE) foam
- Made in America
Topping our list, this mat is definitely among the highest quality available. However, the steep price tag makes it less than ideal for your average family who will use it a few times a year. This mat is perfect for anyone who lives somewhere with sun all year round and who will be able to take advantage of the mat regularly.
2. Rubber Dockie Duckling 9x6 Floating Mat - Editor's Pick (Best for most)
Next on this list, we have the Rubber Dockie 18x6-Feet Floating Mat, which also happens to be best-selling mat on Amazon with over 300 positive reviews to its name. The mat is affordably priced yet comes with near similar build quality as our top pick (Floating Oasis Lake Pad). It's constructed from two-ply closed cell 1 3/8'' foam and comes with a tear-stop nylon inner matrix, which further adds to the durability.
Not everyone needs an 18 or 20-foot mat. Large mats may seem like more fun, but they are bulkier and cumbersome to transport. For average families and small groups, a 9-foot mat is more than sufficient and, at the same time, convenient to use. For this reason, this mat our editor's pick. It's ideal for most people and at the same time offers the best bang for your bucks.
This mat is available in one color with one side - bright orange and the other green for safety and visibility. While the color may not be for everyone, the quality and price most certainly are. With impressive tear-resistant technology in between the layers of tuff-hide material, this mat is not only reliable but also easy on the skin. This means you can expect no mat burns in the high likelihood that you slip on your new mat.
The mat includes a 12-foot elastic bungee tether, a pair of custom loop and hooks storage straps complete with metal buckles for secure storage and portability. It also comes with a one year warranty, showing you how confident Rubber Dockie is in their floating mat and its durability. All of this comes to almost $250, with there also being an option for a smaller mat for around $150 less.
- Size: 9'x6' and 18'x'6
- Material: 2-ply 1 3/8 inch foam
- High visibility color scheme
- Included: Mat, 12' Bungee Tether Anchoring System, 2 Custom Velcro Storage Straps
- 1-year manufacturer warranty
This mat is excellent for an average family looking for a good-sized floating mat. The price is far lower than our previous entry and, while this model suffers in terms of color choice and overall size, it is still an extremely high-quality product. All of this makes it a great addition to any trip to a lake or swimming pool.
3. Big Joe Island Float - Best Mid-Size Mat
The Big Joe Island float gets our pick for the best mid-sized mat on the market. It may not be as big as the mats we've talked about previously, but it is still strong and sturdy enough to support a grown adult standing on it, boasting the ability to hold an impressive 250 pounds.
Measuring 4 foot by 6 foot, another great use for this mat is as a floating table to play games, eat and drink on while you relax.
If, however, you want both a mid-sized mat and a larger one, you can buy multiple island floats and join them together using the holes in each corner specifically designed for just that purpose.
The fact that the mat is stiff makes it a great platform, but it does mean that this may not be the best choice in terms of portability. This is because it is harder to roll up and comes with no straps or bags to help transport it around. The mat also only comes in blue and, while this is a minor issue, it is still nice to have a variety of options to choose from, especially when the mat itself costs just under $120.
- Size: 4' x 6'
- Weight limit: 250 lbs
- Material: EPE
Final Note:The Big Joe Island float is a mat ideal for medium-sized swimming pools as something that will be used as a table, a platform, or a sunbed. Its lack of portability makes it a better pick for home rather than something to take out to a lake.
However, it is still possible, and the ability to tether it to other floats makes it a nice addition if there are more floating platforms around. Its price is also lower than most other mats, making it great for any home pool party.
4. Maui Mat Floating Foam 14' Mat - Large yet lightweight
The Floating Foam Mat from Maui Mat is one of the largest floating mats available. Starting off at 6 foot wide and 14 foot long, this model goes up to 6 foot wide by 22 foot long. It supports anywhere from 1000 pounds for the smaller model and up to 1500 pounds for the larger one. The space available on the mat and the amount of weight it can take make it perfect as a lake float. Coming with a hole near the end and a 6-foot tether and reinforcements for the said hole, this float can be tethered to a dock or boat, allowing you to make a great area to play or hang out on the water.
The lighter weight and smaller storage footprint, makes the mat portable and convenient to carry around. Also, the larger size makes it ideal for boat parties and larger group activities.
Using their patented Flexcore technology, Maui Mat has managed to create an extremely strong and durable mat while keeping it as light as possible. In addition to this, they assure you that their mat has no roll memory. This means that when you unpack it, it will lay out flat and flexible instead of becoming stiff and curling at the ends. The whole mat, should you pick the smallest available option of 6 foot by 14 foot, comes to just 25 pounds. This makes it easily portable and able to fit in your car or truck without an issue.
- Size: 14'x6' and 22'x6'
- Weight limit: 1000 lbs (14-foot variant) and 1500 lbs (22-foot variant)
- Material: 2-layer cross-linked foam
- Foam thickness: 1-3/8 inches
- Total weight: 25 lbs
This huge mat is incredibly well made and is about as portable as a 14-foot long mat can get. It's durable and robust enough to hold as many people as you can fit on it, but all of this amazing design does come at a cost. That cost is almost $580!
While it's a great investment if you plan to use it frequently for large family gatherings or parties, it may deter some from purchasing the mat due to the hole it will leave in the bank account.
5. Intex Giant Inflatable Floating Mat - Best inflatable mat
The Intex Giant Inflatable Floating Mat is different than all the other entries on this list because it is, you guessed it, inflatable. While the other entries consist of various sizes of foam mats, Intex has designed, in our opinion, the best inflatable mat around.
Measuring 7 feet wide and 9.5 feet long, this mat is by far the most portable due to the fact that you can deflate it and fold it away to a tiny size. All the while, it remains big and strong enough to hold multiple people at a time.
Available only in blue, the lack of color options is unfortunately not the only downside to this mat. The fact that it is inflatable makes it significantly less durable than its foam counterparts since even a small puncture will ruin the mat. Because of this, we recommend keeping this mat reserved for pools only and not lakes where it could potentially be lost due to damage.
However, aside from the fact that it is a little more fragile, this mat is also far cheaper than foam mats of the same size. Costing only around $45, this mat remains an excellent option for home use, especially in a location where it will only be used for a few months every year when summer comes around.
- Size: 9.5' x 7'
- Weight: 20ga vinyl
- Fits up to 3 adults
- Double air chambers to prevent leakage
While not the best choice to use on lakes, this mat is among the best options for home use and for people who get limited sun every year. The lower price and the ability to deflate this float mean that you can use it for one or two months a year before folding it up and putting it away until the weather warms up enough to bring it out again.
6. FINIS Floating Island - Best for Kids
As the smallest of all the floating water pads on our list, the FINIS Floating Island comes to only 2.9 feet wide and 4.1 feet long. As you may have guessed, it is designed specifically with young children in mind. The aim of this mat is to not only provide young children with a fun platform to play on but also to give them their first introduction to the water. This helps them build experience and confidence in a safe, stress-free environment.
Coming in a vibrant bright yellow color, everything about this mat is geared towards children. This includes holes cut into the mat to allow water to seep through and better introduce children to the water. The mat can also hold multiple children at once and has a soft texture to ensure that the kids are comfortable when using it. Finally, the mat is also extremely flexible, allowing it to be manipulated into obstacles. For example, it can be folded into a tunnel for kids to swim through.
- Size: 6'x4'
- Recommended age: 6 months to 10 years
- Material: EVA high-density foam
Costing almost $100 and being specifically designed with children in mind definitely limits this mats target market. However, they certainly delivered on their goal. This is, without a doubt, the finest available floating mat for children.
Every detail on the mat has been meticulously thought out in order to give young kids a safe and fun way to get used to swimming pools and swimming. It's also surprisingly sturdy for its size, so it can absolutely be used by older kids to play on, even if it is at a somewhat limited capacity.
Floating Foam Water Pad - Buyer's Guide
There are plenty of floating water mats on the market, and we aim to provide a diverse variety of choices for anyone to use in any situation. We understand that it can sometimes be hard to figure out which mat you should purchase when they all seem to be equally as good.
In the buyer's guide below, we hope to provide you with some more information to help you pick out the perfect mat for you so that your money isn't wasted by purchasing the wrong product.
Who will be using it?
The first thing you need to consider is who will be using the mat. If its primary users are children in a swimming pool, a smaller mat will be best suited. If you intend to use it with your adult friends, a larger mat with the ability to hold more weight will be required as adults will also be rougher than children when using it.
Similarly, if it is likely to be used for large family gatherings or parties, you may want to look at one that is stronger and larger as it will need to hold more people at a time.
Where will it be used?
This is especially important as the different models include different types of tethers. If you plan to use your floating mat in a swimming pool, then you would be fine with picking a model that has no tethering as it will not be needed. However, if you plan to use the mat at a lake or in the sea, then you will need to look for one with a stronger tether that will withstand the current and waves it will need to deal with.
The buoyancy of the mat depends on the thickness of the foam. But does that mean you should buy the thickest mat available? The answer is NO. Floating pads are available in 1'' to 2.5'' thickness. However, the thicker the mat, the more difficult it will be to roll, and it would be heavier.
Generally, mats with thickness in between 1 1/4'' to 1 3/4'' are sufficient enough. To give a rough idea, a 9' mat can support up to 8 children or 4 adults, and 18' mats can hold up to 15 kids or 7 adults.
What is your budget?
Finally, you will need to consider how much you are willing to spend. This is extremely relevant to float mats, as they are typically not very cheap. Starting off at under $50, some can reach close to $900, so you can really see the variety in options. If the mat is mainly going to be used by the kids in a pool, you should be OK opting for a cheaper and smaller model, and it may be worth considering an inflatable model.
If, on the other hand, if adults are going to use the floating mat on lakes, then it is definitely worth spending a little extra money to ensure the safety of anyone using it. Along with the fact that you want to keep your mat intact and attached so as not to lose it and your money.
Let's Wrap Things Up
This list has included a fairly wide variety of floating water mats from many different manufacturers in the hopes of providing you with a helpful guide on which mat to buy to get the most enjoyment out of your money. We hope that it has helped ease your decision and would like to wish you happy swimming with whichever option you choose!
If you have any questions or would like us to review another model, leave us a message in the comment section below, and we will be happy to help.