How to Inflate a Pool Float: Worst to Best Methods

how to inflate a pool float

Picture this: it’s a beautiful, sunny day, and you’re getting ready to relax by the pool with your favorite pool float. But before you can bask in the sun and float your worries away, there’s one challenge you have to face: inflating your pool float. Gah, how annoying.

Inflating a pool float can be frustrating and time-consuming, especially if you’re only using your mouth. Even with a manual pump, it’s pretty annoying. Luckily, there are several options available to make this task easier and faster so that you can start enjoying your time in the water. Whether that’s using an electric pump, a shop-vac, or even a hair dryer with a water bottle, there’s various ways you can get the job done.

From the simplest techniques to some more creative solutions, these methods will cater to your individual situation and preferences. Let’s get started.

Ways to Inflate Your Pool Float

With Your Mouth

If you don’t have any tools available, then you’ve always got yourself. Inflating your pool float with your mouth is the old-fashioned method, but it’s also the most accessible one.

To do this, simply locate the air valve on your float and open it. Take a deep breath, put your mouth tightly over the valve and blow air into it.

This method might take some time and effort, especially for larger floats, but if you’ve got powerful lungs and no tools, you can still make it work.

As you’ll learn from the methods below, there are way easier and better ways of inflating your pool than using your mouth.

With a Manual Pump

Manual pumps, such as bike pumps, hand pumps, and foot pumps are a step up from using your mouth, but it still isn’t a good option.

With any of these pumps, attach the nozzle to the air valve on your pool float, and then operate the pump until your float is fully inflated.

Bike, hand, and foot pumps can provide a good workout and can be found at most stores that sell outdoor equipment. A little bit of sweat equity never hurt anyone, but it’s still better to use your brains instead of your brawn.

With a Leaf Blower

You can use a leaf blower to inflate your pool float, though this typically requires two people. Have one person hold the air inlet against the blower’s nozzle, and the person holding the blower can then turn it on.

If you can find a way to funnel the air from the leaf blower directly to the air inlet, such as by attaching the top end of a 2L soda bottle to the leaf blower, then this can actually be a decent method.

Otherwise, the leaf blower method will be highly inefficient and imprecise without some kind of funnel, but it still beats using a manual pump or your mouth.

With a Shop-Vac

Next, a shop-vac can also be used to inflate pool floats quickly. Many people have a shop-vac in their garage already, so if you do as well then you already have a powerful tool at your disposal.

You’ll need to remove the vacuum’s filter and use the blowing function. Attach the shop-vac’s hose to the air valve on your pool float and turn it on. This is particularly helpful when you have several pool floats to inflate at once.

With an Electric Air Pump

An electric air pump is one of the quickest ways to inflate a pool float. Plugin or battery-operated, these pumps work well for most inflatables.

Simply attach the pump’s nozzle to your pool float’s air valve and turn it on. Be careful not to overinflate the inflatable. Electric air pumps are generally affordable and widely available at stores or online.

Also, make sure to inflate your pool float away from water. Water and electricity don’t mix well, so I advise you to keep as much distance between the two; inflate it first, then bring it to the pool.

If you know you’ll be inflating pool floaties a lot, then it’s probably a good idea to invest in one.

With an Air Compressor

Air compressors are great for inflating many items, including pool floats. Attach your air compressor’s nozzle to your pool float’s air valve and fill it to the desired level.

Air compressors can be expensive, but if you already have one on hand, this can be a very quick and effective way to inflate your float. Once again, be wary of overinflating.

With a Blow Dryer and Water Bottle

One creative way to inflate a pool float without a pump is to use a blow dryer and a water bottle.

First, take an empty water bottle and cut it in half. Keep the top half and tape the drinking hole of the water bottle against your pool float’s air inlet valve.

Then you can stick the hair dryer into the large opening of the water bottle and turn it on. After a few seconds, your pool floatie will be fully inflated, no fancy equipment required.

This DIY solution is clever, and it’s an excellent option if you don’t have any other inflation tools on hand.

How to Blow Up a Pool Float Without a Pump

How to Clean a Kiddie Pool Safely and Effectively

Blowing up a pool float without a pump can be a bit tricky, but it’s definitely doable. Here are a few creative methods to help you get your pool float inflated and ready for some fun in the sun.

Using the hair dryer method: Out of all the ways to inflate a pool mentioned above without using a pump of any kind, my favorite is the hair dryer and water bottle method. It’s so simple, effective, and accessible and that’s why I love it. But if you don’t own a hair dryer for some reason, then there is also:

The plastic bag method: You can fill up your pool with a plastic bag, preferably a large one such as a black garbage bag. Fill the garbage bag with air by waving it around, squeeze the opening shut with your hands to trap the air, place the pinched part over the air inlet, then squeeze the air from the garbage bag into the pool floatie. It’s not the most elegant solution but it beats manually blowing air with your mouth.

Check out the video below to get an idea of this concept of transferring air from one air bladder to another. And no, you don’t need to buy the product; any large plastic bag works.

How to Avoid Overinflating the Pool Float

It’s important to avoid overinflating your pool float, as this can cause damage and reduce its lifespan. Despite knowing this, many people make the mistake anyway. Here’s how you can avoid it.

First, the goal is not to get rid of all the creases. Even when a pool floatie is fully inflated, there will probably be some creases still. That’s fine, so stop using this as the barometer for whether a pool float is inflated or not.

Next, try inflating your pool float in stages. Start by partially inflating it, then take a moment to look for signs of overinflation. Common indications include tight seams, a distorted shape, or a visibly stressed surface. If you notice any of these signs, stop inflating and release some air.

Additionally, consider using a pump with a built-in pressure gauge to help monitor the inflation process. This can help you avoid overinflating your pool float by letting you know when to stop.

Another tip is to use your body weight as a guide for inflation. Press your hand down on the float, and if it sinks about halfway, that’s usually the sweet spot for maximum comfort and durability. Be cautious not to inflate the float too much so that it becomes too firm, as this may lead to rupturing.

Lastly, remember that temperature variations can affect the air inside your pool float. Inflating your float in cooler conditions or storing it away from direct sunlight, when not in use, can help prevent overinflation caused by heat expansion. If you’re inflating your float outdoors on a hot day, you may want to slightly underinflate it, as the air inside will expand once it’s exposed to the sun.