How To Choose The Best Floating Water Mat (Simple Guide!)

How To Choose The Best Floating Water Mat

Are you having a hard time choosing which floating water mat is the right one for you and your family? With tons of available floating pads out there, it can be hard to decide which one to choose. They may all look the same at first glance, but they do have a lot of differences when inspected closer.

Choosing the right floating water pad for the whole family and your friends will make your next water adventure more fun and exciting. But what makes a great floating mat? If you do not have an idea on how to choose one, here are some of the things you need to know on how to choose the best floating water mat.

What Is A Floating Mat

Floating mats or floating water pad is a waterproof carpet that allows both kids and adults to walk, lie down, or even play while on the water’s surface. They are waterproof foams that come in different styles and sizes. They are somehow similar to the regular pool float but they are bigger and more expensive. A floating mat is also somehow similar to floating islands, but the mats don’t normally have seats, arms, and molded-in backs.

There is also an inflatable version of the water mat. Foam mats are normally heavier than inflatable floating water mats, however, they tend to be more durable. They can also be more expensive although they can last longer than inflatable mats. The advantage of an inflatable floating water mat is that it is more affordable. It is also easy to inflate the mat and is more lightweight.

You can use a floating pad in a pool, river, lake, or bay. All you have to do is throw it onto the water and enjoy. To keep the water mats from drifting away, an anchor, tether, or latch is used. When using an anchor, it should be weighted and is typically attached with a bungee tether leash to the mat. You can simply throw the anchor on the beach or water. A tether or latch is normally used to clip the floating pad to a boat, other floating mats, or any object to make it stable.

Some inflatable floating mats also have a connecting zipper mechanism so they can be attached to other floats.

Things to Consider When Choosing Floating Water Mats

Things to Consider When Choosing Floating Water Mats

To make it easier for you to decide which floating water pad to choose, there are several things to consider to make sure you get the right one. Here’s a guide to making sure you get the best floating water mat for your family and friends to enjoy.


The safety of everyone is the first thing you need to consider when choosing a floating water mat. Being on water can be dangerous, especially if you plan to place the water mat on the deeper part of the sea. Be sure that it is durable and you choose the right design based on how you plan to use it.

Check if the mat features puncture resistance and is tear-resistant as well as the quality of the material it is made of. Depending on where and how you will use it, choose a product that has an anchor, tether, and grommets. You can also choose a design with vibrant colors if you plan to use it on open water for high visibility. This way, in case something happens, people or watercraft can easily spot you.

Since a floating water mat is designed to serve as water platforms, look for something that is buoyant and stable that will not flip over or cause users to fall off. This is very important especially if you have kids with you on the water mat.


Most floating water pads are expensive, so best to invest in one that is highly durable and won’t easily tear. You don’t want to keep spending on an expensive mat that keeps on tearing apart only after a few uses. You can also look for a water mat that has a warranty. This way, in case it gets broken the manufacturer can still replace it.

Just be sure to read their warranty guidelines to make sure the damage is covered by their warranty.

size and capacity of floating matMaterial

The material used for your water floating mat is another important factor to consider. Choose something that is made of high-quality XPE foam. Many floating water mats are made from XPE foam because they are waterproof and resistant to aging and can be used in different environments.

Floating water mats can be expensive than other water accessories you use for floating and even the inflatable ones. This is also because it is made of closed-cell foam. They are extremely buoyant and durable. However, the inflatable ones are also great but they may not last long.

Generally, the inflatable water floating mat is either made of vinyl or PVC. Find something that has a higher gauge as they are more durable, stable, and buoyant.


In general, a floating mat is thick and usually has a thickness of 1 1/4 inches or 1 1/2 inches thick whether they are inflatable or not. However, there are also thicker mats with a thickness of more than 2 inches. The thicker the mats, the more they are stable and can hold a bigger capacity. Thicker pads are also great for carrying lightweight chairs.

A thick mat is also more buoyant so, it can give you better peace of mind that even if your kids jump and play on it they won’t fall easily.


The world of watersports has been using floating water mats as a great addition to their adventurous activities. This is why it is best to choose a floating mat that is solid and stable. The more stable your mat is the easier it is for you to float, sit, and lay without worrying about falling.

The best water mats are those that will allow you to do various activities and not just lay down. Choose something that is stable enough that you can run and play and at the same time lets you relax comfortably when you choose to lie down and just bathe in the rays of the sun.

There are also inflatable models that have stabilizer fins to keep them stable. You may want to add this criterion when searching for the right floating water mat for your family.

Flaoting mat toddlerSize and Capacity

There’s no fun choosing a floating water mat that is meant to carry a single or just a few people. If you plan to bring one on your next vacation, choose something that is bigger and has a better weight capacity. This way, many can enjoy it and you get to do more activities. There are tons of activities to enjoy in the world of watersports so might as well pick one that would allow you to make the most out of it.

The most common size for a water mat is around 18 x 6 feet, but there are bigger sizes than this. A water mat that has a size of 9 feet can accommodate up to three adults. However, an 18 feet long mat can board around 12 people. You may also want to choose something that can be attached to another mat so, in case you want to bring more people with you, it can easily be attached without hassle.


Of course, as much as possible you would want to choose something that is easy to carry. You already have so many things to bring on your next vacation and you would like something that is easy to carry and will not eat a lot of space in your car. A standard water mat can fit in in most boat lockers.

It is also ideal to choose something that is easy to store. Most of the time all you need to do is roll up the mat and hold it with velcro straps, hook and loop straps.


The purpose of the anchors is to keep your mat from drifting away. Find something that can easily be connected to a boat or docks. Anchors can be weighted or can be attached to a stable object make sure it can hold firmly to prevent the mat from being carried away from the water current.


Look for something that is low maintenance, but it doesn’t mean that you’ll let your water mat go filthy. Some mats don’t need to be washed or cleaned after every use. This is perfect for those who do not have time to do this after each use. As long you keep them clean and dry before putting them inside a storage bag that should be fine.

Read the labels and find out how to keep them clean and store them properly. A water mat that is low maintenance only needs soap and water to clean them. There are also some that only require a water pressure or hose to remove the algae and debris.

Price of pontoon matPrice

It is no secret that floating water mats are more expensive than a swim mat or other water accessories used in the world of watersports due to the material used and the size. But there are also affordable ones, especially inflatable water mats. Depending on your budget, you can find a decent floating water mat for a price of $60.

There are also mats that can range from $200-$400. These are usually thicker and bigger mats. Best to choose something that has the right size for your family, especially if you are looking for something affordable. Inflatable foam mats are also a good option, you just need an air pump to inflate them easily.

Always keep in mind that not because they are expensive, it means that they are durable and vice versa. There are cheaper ones that are also more durable than expensive floating pads.

Other features to look for and consider

  • Choose a mat that has no roll memory so it can easily lay flat on the water once unrolled.
  • There are also floating water pads that have a cooling system so they won’t feel hot even when used under the sun for hours.
  • Dual-purpose grommets would also be a nice feature on your floating foam mat. Some grommets are designed not only to anchor your mat but also as a cup holder.
  • Some floating water pads can be slippery, best to check if they have an anti-slip surface.
  • If you want to bring in your pets, look for a high-quality foam water mat that is scratch resistant and won’t tear even if your pet’s paws walk on it or scratch it.
  • An all-around foam mat that can be used for different water activities and occasions. Something that can be used on pools, lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water.
  • Look for a mat with bright and vibrant colors that are also reversible.
  • Check the manufacturer’s reviews online to make sure they are high-quality and worth the price.

Some Of The Best Floating Water Mats To Checkout

Some Of The Best Floating Water Mats To Checkout

Still can’t decide on the kind of floating mat you want to purchase? If you are still having a hard time choosing, below is a list of some of the best floating water mats that you may want to check out. They have been divided into two categories – foam mats and inflatable mats.

Check them out and find out if something will interest you.

Foam Water Mats

Sowkt Lily Pad Floating Mat

Lily Pad floating mat from Sowkt made it on the list of one of the best floating water mats out there. Why? Because there is more than enough space for the whole family. It has a weight capacity of 1,320 lbs and has a size of 18 x 6 feet.

Other things to love in this Sowkt floating water mat:

  • Lily pads have 3-layers of premium XPE foam
  • Has heat seal and inner net for extreme durability
  • Has two hooks and loop straps so it is easy to transport and store
  • Includes a heavy-duty carabiner and 12-foot bungee cord for boat docking
  • Available in two sizes – 12′ x 6′ and 18′ x 6′
  • Has 1-year warranty

Rubber Dockie Floating Mat

The Rubber Dockie floating water mat is made in bright orange and green combination for high visibility when in the water. Lounge on the beach or lake in this floating mat that is available in two sizes.

Things to love:

  • Has a fade and scratch-resistant outer layer
  • Has a 12ft elastic bungee tether to safely anchor on other stable object and docks
  • Made from closed-cell foam
  • Has tear-stop inner matrix, tear-resistance, and has a tuff-hide outer layer
  • Has 1-year warranty

Big Joe Giant Floating Water Pad

This giant floating water mat from Big Joe is durable and sturdy and can hold up to 1,500 lbs. One of the best things about this floating water mat is that the grommets can also be used as cup holders. How cool is that?

Other things to love:

  • Great for big families with its 15 x 6 feet size
  • Easy transportation and storage. Just roll up and use the velcro strap to secure it
  • The grommets are functional for easy anchoring

GoPlus Floating Water Pad

One of the best features of this water floating mat is the roll pillow design that can support your head as you rest on the water floating mat. It’s a good water bouncer that has a smooth surface so you can lie comfortably under the sun.

Other things to love:

  • Has 3 layers of composite XPE foam
  • Odorless and environmentally-friendly
  • Available in two sizes – 12′ x 6′ and 18′ x 6′ both are 1.5 inches thick
  • It is not deformed easily and does not absorb water
  • Can hold up to 10 people
  • Can be used on swimming pools, seaside, lakes, etc.

Inflatable Floating Mats

Wow World of Watersports Inflatable Floating Walkway

This inflatable floating mat from Wow World of Watersports allows you to connect as many mats as you can with its connecting zipper system and create your very own water islands. Wow World of Watersports is one of the best inflatable water lounges out there because of the following:

  • Its vertical I-beams can support up to 6 standing adults
  • Made of heavy-duty PVC construction
  • Dries fast and easy to store
  • It has two pieces of 6ft rope that you can tie on each end
  • Available in 6 x 6 feet and 6 x 10 feet

Intex Giant Inflatable Floating Mat

The best thing about this inflatable floating mat is that it is more affordable than most brands. So, if you are looking for a budget-friendly floating water mat, this may be a good option for you. This water mat can hold up to 600lbs or at least 3 adults but it also has connect N’ float connectors so you can easily attach or connect it with another floating water mat.

Other things to love:

  • Folds small for easy transportation and storage
  • Has 20-gauge vinyl surface
  • It has two chambers and has multiple air pockets

Airhead Gang Plank

Walk, play, and relax with this Airhead floating water mat. It has a reversible color scheme, you can choose to use either the royal blue side or the regal white side. The 4 grommets can easily tether this floating water mat on your boat, docks, or at the bottom of the lake. However, unlike Big Joe Giant Floating Water Pad, you can’t use the grommets as cup holders.

Other things to love:

  • Constructed with 30-gauge PVC for durability
  • It can accommodate up to 6 adults
  • Has zipper connection system so you can easily attach to other Airhead inflatable mats
  • It has 2 stabilizer fins for added stability

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best floating water mat?

The best floating water mat may vary from each user’s preference. However, the Rubber Dockie is a great choice for big groups as it has a weight capacity of 1400lbs. For inflatable models, the Wow World of Watersports is a nice choice.

Why are floating water mats so expensive?

Floating mats are expensive, especially those that are made with foam because of the material used. Foam mats are made of normally made of closed-cell foam to make them durable and buoyant.

How much does a Lily pad cost?

The Sowkt Lily pad’s price varies depending on its size. The 12′ x 6′ costs $399.99, the 18′ x 6′ costs $499.99.

What are floating water mats made of?

Most floating water mats are made of XPE foam, while there are also made from vinyl and PVC.

Are water mats easy to clean?

Yes, they are. All you need is some soap and water to clean them. Some mats don’s even need soap, you can just use a water hose to remove the dirt on your mat. No need for special cleaning tools to keep them spotless. Just make sure they are dry before you keep them in the storage to prevent molds and bacteria from building up.

Which is better, foam mats or the inflatable ones?

Well, it will depend on the user’s preference as both have their pros and cons. Foam mats are more expensive but are more durable. An inflatable mat, on the other hand, is less expensive and lighter than a foam water mat.

Are water mats safe to use?

Just like with any other water toys or accessories, it is always safe to take extra precautions, especially when using in open waters. But generally, they are safe to use as long as you follow the maximum weight capacity, they are durable, and are tied safely to a boat or docks.


Thoughts on mat

So, do you now have a clear picture in your head of the kind of mat you want? Floating water mats are a great addition the next time you hit the beach or lake. Whether you choose a foam mat or an inflatable mat, make sure that they are worth your money. Your safety is your top priority so make sure that you get something that is durable, buoyant, and enough to accommodate your whole family or your friends.

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Picture of Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.
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