My kids are avid swimmers, but nothing scares them more than being out in the water away from the shore or pool.
It’s like they’ve a phobia of deep-water bodies.
But all that changed when I bought them a floating foam mat
I didn’t know much about the floating water mats until I saw one the other day, and both my sons instantly wanted one.
My sons can be coercive at times, and so I easily gave in.
But aside from that, I also thought they would be a great pick for my kids too.
And was right, it was a hit!
Sure, it was an expensive purchase, but absolutely the best purchase of the summer- maybe the whole year!
First, my kids now have something to climb onto in the water, drastically building their confidence even in the ocean.
My kiddos are now confident leaping off the mat into the sea or ocean in no time.
For me, the floating foam mat is assuring, offering great peace of mind because I don’t always feel confident sending my kids out from the boat, 30 ft water, even with their life jackets on.
The mat creates an extra space where they can get close to the water and even float without soaking an inch or having to jump into it.
It’s a great spot for them to play, especially considering my boat sits a little too high for them to enjoy the water.
Of course, there were other benefits I came to discover once we started using the floating pad.
One of the biggest ones is that it’s easy to set up. See, I used floating islands before, but they were a bit of a hassle to inflate and deflate.
But with the mat, I simply unroll them as I would on a blanket, and even then, I don’t have to worry about inflating or deflating them!
But their greatest benefit is the fun they’ve brought to our family in the water.
We feel so comfortable having Jerry and Mike swimming, even without us not having to get in and out of the water.
Of course, they always have their life vests on, and we watch them from our boat, but it has allowed us to say “yes” to swimming more often.
Now, if you feel you need one of these for your kids or even for water-timid-self, here’s a review of the best floating water mats.
We’ve also included a handy buying guide to help with the selection.
Table of Contents
The Best Floating Water Mats For The Money
#1 Goplus Floating Water Pad Mat - EDITOR'S CHOICE
As I mentioned earlier, we previously owned huge inflatable rafts for the lake.
They looked fun, but we were lucky to get two uses out of them. No matter how much we spent on them, they would get a hole and slowly leak.
But that changed once I purchased the Golpus Floating Water Pad Mat.
It’s the best water toy ever, and I love that it’s made of foam, so I don’t have to fill it with air.
Plus, it floats high enough, so I don’t have to get soaked in water.
But my greatest attraction to the Golpus floating foam mat is that it focuses on durability, and you can see it from the construction.
Goplus floating water pad is unlike any other mat in the market because it’s constructed with a three-layer tear-resistant high-quality XPE foam. Most mats only have two foam layers.
What’s the benefit?
The Goplus floating water pad is super sturdy and good enough for my kids to stand on, do cartwheels and even run around. My two rottweilers are also in heaven after years of being told they can’t get on the water rafts.
Goplus is long-lasting and doesn’t get ripped by my dog’s nails. Plus, the high-quality XPE foam design makes the mat a handy option for use in the lakes, and pool, therefore giving you some fun options.
The material is also hypoallergenic and soft. I love this because it hardly causes any allergic reactions to my kids. Furthermore, the material isn’t scratchy, so it doesn’t leave their skins red and itchy. Instead, it’s soft, more like a pool float noodle.
Another benefit with Goplus’s materials is it doesn’t absorb water and doesn’t easily get deformed. My son uses it all the time, in the water during the day, and it’s dry at night or by evening. He can then use it to relax at home.
Alternatively, they can roll the mat like a pillow once it’s dry. When set up this way, it supports your head effortlessly and relaxes your body.
But for the best use, they prefer taking the mat in the water. It’s safe, smooth, and the bouncy surface guarantees maximum comfort and unlimited fun.
I also love how practical this mat is. For example, Golpus Floating Water Pad Mat has a generous weight capacity of 778 to 889 lbs, so it will easily accommodate your entire family into one mat and leave space for more.
And when you’re done, you discover how packing this mat is a breeze.
Rolling this mat is effortless. It rolls significantly smaller, which is great for storage during winter.
You can also store it in a small area because it doesn’t take up much space.
Portability is also made easy, thanks to the lightweight design and two storage straps. The hook storage straps also come in handy for securing the floating pad after rolling up.
Cleaning the Goplus is also easy as it washes up great with just some Dawn dish soap and water.
Overall, I’m excited about this mat, and I’m glad I made the purchase.
#2 Maui Mat Pad – Best Floating Water Mat for Salt Water Use
Our runner’s up option, the Maui Floating Foam Fun Pad, is the best floating water mat for those who love visiting the ocean beach.
One of the main attractions of the Maui Mat Floating Foam Fun Pad is you can use it on saltwater.
Of course, you’ll want to rinse it after use, but the pad has UVA/UVB protection, so it can handle the saltwater.
The pad may not have the lifespan of pad used in freshwater only but will certainly last longer than those without the UVA/UVB protection,
And that’s not all!
The 2-layer cross-linked polyethylene foam with patented FlexCore technology will stand up to abuse.
Dog nails don’t harm it at all because I always have my dog on it all the time. Of course, rodents like mice may chew and ruin it, but not just by walking.
My kids love this mat because they usually have so much fun on it while it’s tethered on our boat.
It’s sturdy and reliable, yet it remains comfortable by keeping cool even on the sunniest days.
Best of all, it has no roll memory, so it rolls up pretty easily and remains flexible, and lays flat when unrolled.
It’s also quite practical on the water, thanks to a generous weight capacity of 1,300 lbs. Plus, it comes in three sizes, so you can always find an option that accommodates your whole family.
And the best thing is, despite the size, Maui weighs a measly 35 pounds and can be rolled into a much more compact form that fits in most boat lockers.
Rolling up this bad boy is also a breeze, and this is because it doesn’t absorb water like a sponge. Instead, it stays dry.
But it takes at least two people to roll in back up and put on the straps to secure it. It’s quite easy, though, because both my wife and I have pulled it up on our boat without difficulty.
Maui Mat Floating Foam Fun Pad is also portable, with the Hook and Loop straps making it easy to store in small spaces like our vacation bag, storage bag, or closet.
Along with the lightweight material, you can simply carry the Maui Mat Floating Foam Fun Pad wherever you go without fatigue or much pressure on your shoulders.
Beyond the fun factor, the Maui Mat Floating Foam Fun Pad also doubles up as a nice staging and support area for water sports such as fishing, snorkeling, or wakeboarding.
It’s the perfect water accessory, regardless of your water needs.
Cleaning up this mat is also super easy. For us, we discovered that spraying it down with a hose or a pressure washer does the trick. Cleaning is important, especially after a dip in the saltwater.
Overall, while the Maui Mat Floating Foam Fun Pad isn’t the most budget-friendly pick, it’s well-made and worth every penny. I would recommend it.
#3 Rubber Dockie Duckling Mat – Budget Pick
If you feel Maui was above your budget, the Rubber Dockie Floating Mat is a great alternative.
It’s not as premium, but it won’t make you go homeless. Even better, it’ll still provide you with a fun experience in the water.
The Rubber Dockie Floating Mat is also a great recommendation if you’re not sure this is the right product for you and literally have to test the water. It’s for the newbies.
It’s also a lot smaller than most of the mats in our bundle of the best water floating mats, so it’s ideal for smaller families or pontoons. The downside with a smaller size is you can only accommodate a couple of kids at one time.
But the good news is they also have a mat version twice the size of this one, but it’s a bit expensive.
My kids love the Rubber Dockie Duckling Mat because of its bright colors. Aesthetics aside, the bright colors are important as they make the mat a lot easier to spot, should it become untethered from your boat. It also gives more visibility in high-traffic areas.
Rubber Dockie’s construction doesn’t disappoint either. The tough and resilient closed-cell foam with a tear-stop inner matrix prevents full-length laceration of the foam.
It’ll keep your kids safe in the water and won’t require frequent repairs or replacements any time soon.
Meanwhile, the tuff hide outer layer will withstand rigorous everyday use, yet it’s still gentle on the skin, including the elbows and knees.
We’re on our second season with the Rubber Dockie, and it holds up nicely. It can stand up to rigorous abuse and has so far impressed me with how well it works even with several adults on it.
We also love that the outer layer is scratch and fade resistant, and this is necessary for a product meant to be used in the sun and water for extended periods.
Portability is also a plus with this mat.
Rubber Dockie is easy to carry and take to places even when storage is limited.
I’ve the smaller version, the 9 x 6 feet option, and it fits nicely in the back of my Subaru.
The custom hook and loop straps storage straps with metal buckles help with the rolling and storage.
Plus, it comes with a convenient 12-foot elastic bungee tether leash, which I can use to anchor the mat to docks or other stationary objects.
Overall, the Rubber Dockie Duckling Floating Mat is a great budget pick, ideal for beginners or those who need an inexpensive mat.
The good news is that it doesn’t cut corners with the performance, design, or build.
Sure, it’s not premium, but it has what it takes to ensure a memorable experience on the water.
#4 Sowkt Lily Pad Mat – Best Value Floating Water Mat
Sowkt Lily Mat strikes a balance between cost and performance.
It’s one of the value purchases that we really like.
Sure, it’s a “knock-off” of the Aqua Lily Pad, but coming at half the price of the original product, it’s a quality floating water pad.
I love the mat’s versatility because it seems like it’s perfect for everyone, from adults to kids, from sunbathing to water games.
And as with the Rubber Dockie, Sowkt Pad Floating Mat comes in five fun, high-visibility color combinations for added safety in high traffic areas.
Sowkt Lily Mat comes in different sizes, and this further underlines its versatility. Our fav is the jumbo size (18 x 6 feet), which can accommodate up to 1,320 pounds, so my family can spread out with room to spare.
It doesn’t fail on the construction, either. The 1.3” thick tear-resistant XPE foam will withstand anything you throw at it. Whether you need to use it in the ocean for a fumble, pool party, relaxing in a swimming pool, or party in a lake, it seems there’s nothing this Lily pad can’t tackle.
What about the ease of use?
Rolling up the Lily Pad Floating Mat is as easy as it gets. Provided you’re standing on land and not out in a boat in the middle of the lake, you’ll find it much easier to roll this thing up on the deck.
Tethering is also super easy because the Lily Pad mat comes with plenty of add-ons to help with anchoring the mat.
For example, it comes complete with a heavy-duty carabiner, bungee tether leashes, and two extra-long touch fastener straps.
Overall, the Sowkt Lily Pads Floating Mat is the best out there, especially for the cost-performance ratio.
It’s a fantastic all-rounder for any family needing a heavy-duty and reliable floating mat for any situation.
#5 Wow World of Watersports Inflatable Floating Water Walkway – Most Flexible Option
If you’re tired of finding a floating mat with everything but isn’t the right size for you, check the WOW World of Watersports Inflatable Floating Walkway Mat.
While many users love making a floating walkway between towboats when out in the water, I use mine as an inflatable floating mat for playing or relaxing.
I love how sturdy and reliable the World of Watersports Inflatable Floating Water mat is in the water.
WOW, an inflatable water walkway utilizes heavy-duty 30 gauge PVC that has allowed it to withstand some insane abuse.
For example, I usually leave our WOW World of Watersports inflatable mat out for the weekend and haven’t had any issues at all.
It’s also much more durable than a regular pool float, so I’ve no problem bringing my two dogs with me to the lake.
Another good thing with the WOW World of Watersports Inflatable Floating Walkway Mat’s design is I can use it upside down.
The logo is a deal-breaker for my purpose, so I’m glad it can float on either side. It uses the same material all around, so it doesn’t matter which side is faced up.
But the greatest benefit, at least for me, is WOW World of Watersports is that it comes with a connecting zipper system, allowing you to attach it to other mats. It lets me get creative as I like and how big I want my mat to be.
On top of that, WOW World of Watersports offers amazing stability, and when properly inflated, it’s easy to walk across them without sinking.
But remember, the WOW World of Watersports inflatable mat is inflatable, requiring inflation with an electric or air pump.
The good news is inflation and deflation are a breeze and don’t take much of our time. In fact, the ease of setup makes WOW World of Watersports just about one of the convenient options out there.
Of course, as with any other inflatable floating mat, there’s always the risk of punctures or tears with the WOW World of Watersports.
But that shouldn’t be a problem unless you drag the World of Watersports mat on the rocks or sharpies.
Mine has withstood a lot of abuse and remains strong.
#6 Floating Oasis Lake Pad - Best for Family
The Floating Oasis Lake Pad is a nice addition to your water sports gear and the ideal mat for your family.
It measures 15 x 6 feet and has a generous weight capacity of 1,500 pounds, so it’s ideal for relaxing and floating with your entire family or group of friends.
Floating Oasis Lake Pad also delivers on durability, thanks to the multiple-layered polyethylene.
The material is durable and will easily resist any puncture or wear.
It’s resistant to chemicals, too, so when I’m not visiting the lake, we can use it at the convenience of our pool without worrying much about chlorine.
Using the Floating Oasis Lake Pad is also quite fun as both adults and kids can use it to relax or run and play on.
We connect ours to our docks, and the mat gives us huge space for users to lay on in the water to stay cool. We also take it on the boat and connect it when we stop and anchor in the middle of the lake for a quick dip.
The good thing with this purchase is it’s unlike most foam and doesn’t absorb water. It remains dry all through, and this is necessary for more fun in the water.
It’s fantastic for lounging on top of the water and will just let enough water on board to keep you wet and cool.
On top of that, Floating Oasis Lake Pad comes with an array of features that promote a convenient experience on the water.
It comes complete with D-rigs, carabiners, and bungee anchor line for easy anchoring. The Velcro storage straps are handy for portability.
Cleaning this floating water pad is also super easy and convenient. We can do it with soap, water, and a soft cloth. And the best part is that it’s fade-resistant, so it looks like it’s new even after years of use.
Overall, the Floating Oasis Lake Pad is an awesome floating water mat and probably the best floating water mat for families.
Of course, like any other floating water mat, you need to take care of it. Floating Oasis floating water pad doesn’t hold up well to sharp objects.
Nevertheless, it provides hours of fun for your kiddos and doubles up as a great place for adults to relax.
#7 Aqua Lily Pad Bullfrog Floating Water Mat - Best Floating Water Mat for Dog Owners
Aqua Lily Pad is a well-known brand and is known for its quality products.
And today, we’ll review one of its offerings, the Aqua Bullfrog floating water pad.
It’s the ultimate floating water mat and perfect for those who need an opportunity to soak in water in the summer alongside their furry friends.
Sire, Aqua Lily Pad is an expensive purchase, but it utilizes a three-ply material like our first pick, the Goplus.
The “cross-connect” marine grade with closed-cell foam is sturdy and will take a beating like a champ.
It’s probably the reason why we recommend the Bullfrog foam mat for pets.
The material contains additional carbon bonds between the polymer chains and won’t get ripped even under pressure.
You can use the Aqua Lily Pad alongside the big dogs, and it won’t tear from their nails digging into it.
But more importantly, the material is resilient and will provide your kids with plenty of fun times in the water.
It lets them jump, walk, and jump on the pad without it absorbing water or sinking.
On top of that, the material will limit moisture absorption and sun damage, so you can keep it in the sun for long as you like.
The mat also incorporates Aqua Lily’s “Flex-core technology” that guarantees the highest quality and fun factor.
The foam mat also has a spacious platform, sufficient for your entire family and dog to get wet and cool.
This is not to mention the mat is easy to roll and store.
The included bungee cords will make the process easier and more convenient.
Overall, there’s a lot to love about this foam mat, especially if you’ve a dog.
But keep in mind it’s an expensive purchase, but you can always choose the step-up version, the Aqua Lily Original.
The original floating water pad is the most popular version in the market, but it’s only 2-ply, so it’s not as sturdy as the Bullfrog.
The choice is yours.
Best Floating Water Mats Buying Guide
The best floating mats are generally expensive, so you need to be extra careful when purchasing.
Otherwise, you’ll be stuck with an expansive and good-for-nothing purchase.
Cost aside; you also need to factor in some important features that will allow you to purchase floating inflatable mats that are right for your needs.
So, without further ado, let’s jump right in.
But first, let’s see what foam water mats are?
What is a Floating Water Mat?
A water floating water mat, sometimes known as a water pad, is a waterproof foam carpet that floats on the water.
It’s like a floating blanket that allows you to play or walk on the surface of the water.
Floating inflatable mats are the perfect water accessory to cherish your time in the water without getting wet.
You can enjoy time in the water without getting soaked.
How Do I Choose the Best Water Floating Mat?
You must choose the right floating mat to enjoy your time in the water.
Some of the factors to consider include:
Safety is crucial for any play toy.
For a floating water mat, durability and design determine the overall safety. They ensure you don’t have trouble in the water.
For example, check to see the material isn’t prone to puncture, tear down, or leakage in the water.
Also, consider a floating wat with a longer lifespan so you won’t need to repurchase after a few seasons.
We recommend you choose premium material for your floating water mat.
A well-built water mat will let you stand, walk, or even play without worrying about punctures, tearing, or anything.
One of the common materials used on the lake pads is cell foam.
It’s great for lounging and versatile enough for use in the rivers, swimming pools, and lakes.
While still on the choice of material, consider how solid your floating mat is.
Firm inflatable mats will let you experience different adventurous activities.
And unlike the flimsy models that only allow you to lie down, the solid models will let you play, run and walk.
Determining the capacity of your floating water mat is necessary as it determines the number of users it can accommodate.
For example, if you simply need a mat for your kids alone, something small is sufficient.
But if you need a floating water mat for a pool party or big event, you’ll definitely need something larger and with a great holding capacity.
Again, your activities determine the size of the mat you go for.
For example, mats for playing are generally larger than those for simply lounging. Also, if you do activities like yoga, you’ll definitely need something bigger than your body size.
It’s necessary to consider the depth of the mat. Have something easy to get onto.
Get a mat that doesn’t go any deeper than 7 feet, especially if you’ve kids using the mat.
Secondly, consider where you’re going to use your floating mat. Some people like putting mats on lakes and calm water. But if you’re truly adventurous and want to head further into the sea, pick a section without choppy water somewhere closer to the shore.
If you’re like me who doesn’t like keeping an eye on things all the time, pick a mat with low maintenance.
The good thing is there’re plenty of lake pads that don’t require regular maintenance.
But that doesn’t mean you need to let them stay dirty. Remember that the longer dirt and grime remain on the mat, the faster it becomes useless.
So, make a point of cleaning the mat after use. Wash it thoroughly with water before giving it some time to dry.
Foam floating island Vs. Inflatable
Lake pads are broadly classified into two:
1) Foam mats
2) Inflatable mats
Foam Mats are generally more expensive than the inflatable design.
But they last long, especially the tear-resistant XPE foam, though they tend to be heavier.
I love the foam mats because they don’t take long to inflate.
On the other hand, the inflatable water mats are ideal for budget-conscious users.
They remain lightweight, but they don’t last for long because of the potential punctures.
What are the Best Features to Consider on Floating Water Mats?
Here’re some of the features you must look for in a floating mat to get the best one:
Water mats are getting thicker by the day.
Most of them are one and quarter inches to one and a half inches thick, though there are two inches thick options.
Thicker floating water pads are better because they can hold more and even place lightweight chairs on them.
Usually, most water mats come with harnesses and latches to prevent the carpet from drifting away.
You can use the rope or latch to clip the floating island on a deck or boat.
However, the anchor is the most effective way as it has more weight.
Floating lake pads are expensive, but the price depends on the quality of the product.
Inflatable options are generally inexpensive, and their prices may start anywhere from $55 to $199.
In this range, you may also find options from good-quality plastics but in smaller sizes.
From $200 up to $500, you get larger inflatable mats that accommodate up to 7 adults.
If price isn’t an issue, you can step up higher to mats in the +$500 range.
These are thicker, large, and highly buoyant. They can be as large as 22 feet long and accommodate almost 12 adults.
Additional Tips for Using a Water Mat
If you’re going to purchase a water floating mat, you need to learn its usage first.
In this case, choose an ideal area of water without rocks.
It should also have sufficient water depth.
Place the floating island and unroll it on the water. You also need to secure it using a rope, anchor, or a suitable object tied to your boat.
Best Floating Water Mats Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Is it easy to climb a floating water floating island?
A: Yes, it’s generally easier to climb water mats because they don’t have as much thickness as floating islands or other inflatables.
They don’t even require ladders or ropes for pulling you inside.
Q: Are there any risks with floating mats?
A: Quality water mats have no risks.
Of course, like any other water vessel, you need to be cautious using the mats.
Check to see they’ve no punctures, holes, or leakage.
More importantly, if you have kids on board, ensure they always have their life jackets on them. And don’t allow them to swim underneath.
And the good thing with most mats is they’re brightly colored so that other boaters or riders can easily identify and remain at a distance from them.
Q: What size of the floating island should I get?
A: The size should depend on the number of people you plan to entertain.
Also, consider the maximum weight a floating island can hold.
Q: How do I repair a puncture on my water floating mat?
A: Buy inexpensive repair kits for vinyl and PVC products consisting of adhesive and patches.
You can also use the ready-to-stick patches.
Q: Can I use my floating mat in saltwater?
A: It depends.
Not all mats are rated for saltwater use.
The manufacturer will always state whether they can be used for saltwater or not.
However, most mats for saltwater use don’t last for long.
Q: Where can I use my floating water mat?
A: You can use a floating water mat on any water surface.
Whether in a swimming pool, lake, or river.
However, for safety purposes, you need to keep off from locations that are a safety threat. For example, you shouldn’t use them in choppy water or rapids.
Secondly, always use your common sense to determine whether it’s a safe place for you to use the mats.
Q: What’s the difference between a pool float and a water mat?
A: Water mats shouldn’t be confused with pool floaties.
Pool floats are smaller and can only accommodate one or two people at a time.
In contrast, water mats are usually bigger and can accommodate a small group of people.
The two are also different in terms of design.
Pool floaties come in a range of designs like swans, donuts, melons, and so much.
On the other hand, floating pads are like their name suggests- they’re like mats. Think of the oversized version of yoga mats.
The final difference is in their setup.
You need to inflate the pool floaties, while water mats are naturally buoyant and won’t require any air pumping.
Q: How do I clean and store my water mat?
A: We already mentioned this earlier.
Water mats don’t require much attention.
However, it is necessary to spray it with water and wash it thoroughly with soap after use, especially in saltwater.
Use soap, and don’t use a brush that is too tough on the material.
Dry the floating mat after use.
If it develops stains, which is rare, spot treat the stained area using soap and a soft cloth or brush.
Wrap Up: Our Choice
Our review list of the best floating water mats has some pretty awesome options.
If you’re still not decided on what to choose, I recommend the Golpus Floating Water Pad Mat.
This is because it’s an all-around option that will tick the boxes in all the right places.
I prefer it over other models because of its 3-ply construction.
Yes, the Bullfrog has a similar construction, but it’s super-expensive.
The Golpus Floating Mat, on the other hand, offers a similar technology and more at just a fraction of the price.