We tested out a designer kiddie pool made for adults—here’s how it went
It’s fancy and affordable, but is it worth it?
Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.
I can’t tell you how many inflatable pools, slides, and floats I have gone through over the years. In fact, one summer, we blew through three Slip ‘n Slides alone, each tearing after about half an hour of play. Suffice it to say, longevity just isn’t something I associate with buying these backyard hot weather saviors, so when it comes to elaborate, expensive inflatables for summer, well, I don’t even bother.
However, I have a young child and getting through the quarantine summer of 2020 required some serious home entertainment options, so we did splurge on this L.O.L. Surprise! Inflatable River Race water slide with a blower made out of inflatable polyester fabric by Little Tikes. Best investment ever.
This year, as I dragged out the L.O.L. slide for its second season and then browsed online for some more items for backyard fun, sweat meanwhile slithering between my shoulder blades during a heatwave, I stumbled upon the adorable Minnidip inflatable pools at Target. I couldn’t resist buying one for my house.
Have circumstances steered me wrong or oh-so-right? Let’s find out.
First, what is a Minnidip inflatable pool?
Minnidip is a woman-owned brand created by Emily Vaca. This “designer collection of inflatable pools for grownups” are meant to provide the youthful joy of splashing around and cooling off in a kiddie pool with the visual appeal and functionality that a more mature taste can appreciate.
While the “adult kiddie pool” is Minnidip’s primary product line, Vaca’s company also offers a range of items including scalloped-edged pools, dog pools, baby pools, pool floats, splash pad sprinklers, and a ball pit. Minnidip even has exclusive inflatable furniture. In our efforts to test out Minnidip’s claims and quality, we went with its core product: the three-tiered luxe inflatable pool with the Sunkissed Terracotta pattern.
Minnidip claims that its pools are made of heavyweight, durable, soft-touch vinyl and that they have wide air valves for easy inflate and quick deflate. Minnidip says you can even inflate the pool with a hairdryer set to cool. Lastly, there’s a drain plug on the bottom of the pool for supposedly easy water release.
What I like
Minnidip has fun patterns and a look any adult could love
When it comes to how these pools look in the backyard or on your roof deck, Minnidip’s luxe, designer description is on point. The basic pools have three tiers that each inflate separately with their own air plugs.
I got the Sunkissed Terracotta, with its peach-y arched pattern. It’s subtle yet fun, and for others who like a bolder look, Minnidip offers that too, from the bright and flowery Stop and Smell the Rosé to the tropical That’s Banana Leaves.
This pool has a great shape
I absolutely love the shape and size of this inflatable pool—it’s perfect for an adult-sized person, when sitting down within it, thanks to its three inflatable tiers making it taller than most kiddie pools. It measures 5.5 feet across and 1.5 feet tall, making it deep and wide, simultaneously.
Also, once the pool is filled with water, the top tier curves down a bit, containing the water like a pot would. To sit in it on a hot day is simply wonderful, especially if the water is icy cold from the hose. Its sides have give, but are sturdy enough to keep you propped upright if you lean back and put all your weight into it.
The air plugs make inflating the pool easy
I used an air pump similar to this one to inflate my Minnidip pool. Minnidip claims that its pools’ wide air valves make it easy for you to inflate and quickly deflate the pool. And I found this to be true, with one exception: They may just be too wide. Getting the air pump’s inflate-port out of the pool’s plug and closing the plug without losing a ton of air proved to be pretty difficult. I ended up having to cover the plug with my thumb, put down the pump, and then close the valve using both hands.
What I didn’t like
The water release drain plug is problematic
I encountered two problems with the pool’s water release drain, which is located on the floor of the pool.
First off, my foot kept hitting it, and it hurts. It also bothered my daughter on another occasion while she was jumping in and out of the pool with a friend. But, this is a fairly minor complaint.
The bigger problem with the water release drain is that it is nearly impossible to use it to release any water, even though Minnidip claims that it should be easy. Once the pool is full of water, tugging the plastic tab up to release is hard to do because of the pressure created by the weight of all that water. What’s more is that if you do manage to get it open, water doesn’t run out of it like you want it to. Again, the pressure of the water’s weight pushes the pool into the ground and effectively seals it, and the open plug top gets sucked back down to cover its opening.
This means your options for emptying the pool are to try and flip it over with the water in it—impossible—or to step on the sides of the pool while the water rushes out. This latter solution opens the door for damaging the soft sides of the inflatable pool.
The pool lasted less than a week before getting a hole in it
Minnidip claims that it is made with heavyweight, durable, soft-touch vinyl—a nontoxic PVC.
From the first touch, this pool feels great, much sturdier than other brands I’ve tried in the past. It’s soft, too, so you’ll enjoy sitting in it and not sticking to it. Unfortunately, after about a week of typical use by myself, my daughter and her friend, this Minnidip inflatable pool got two tears in it.
I am defining “typical use” as a fill and removal of water daily, sitting and jumping into it, and outdoor overnight storage on my lawn.
The first tear is a small hole in its middle tier, about half a centimeter wide. I have no idea what caused it. We never had sharp objects around the pool and it was laid out on a pretty lush lawn.
The second leak, which is deflating the top tier, was much more difficult to find, and in fact, I never managed to. Again, I don’t know what caused it, but I suspect it has to do with the seams. On Minnidip’s website, it offers a disclaimer for its tufted inflatable pools to not over inflate for fear of tearing at the seam, but there is no such disclaimer for its three-tier adult kiddie pools.
At any rate, two holes means zero pool. After one week, I can no longer use it.
Should you buy a Minnidip inflatable pool?
I want to say yes to this so bad. I love the look, feel, and shape of this Minnidip inflatable pool, and sitting in it that first day was pure joy. But, like a potential date, I can’t in good conscience suggest that you invest in something for its looks only, when it just may turn around and abandon you while you’re still getting to know each other.
If you’re looking for options and have a larger backyard, we like Intex’s Prism pool, but it’s more akin to an above-ground pool than a kiddie-sized splash place.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.