When enjoying a trip out on the water with the family and kids you may want the best floating water mats available on the market if you want to spice things up a bit and truly make the trip special.
What are Floating Water Mats?
What do the best floating water mats even do in the first place? Well as the name suggests, it is a mat that floats on water, and there is a multitude of reasons as to why you should purchase one.
It gives you the ability to relax on the water, separate from your boat, and this means you get a bit of extra space and fun factor as you can lie or sit down on top of the water as you possibly can. This gives you a unique and relaxing experience that staying on the boat's deck can't give you.
In short, it's fun, and everyone deserves to try it, especially when one just wants to lie down and enjoy the sun and water, or if you're the type that likes to delve into the world of watersports, floating water mats make great launch pads.
The 8 Best Floating Water Mat
A floating water mat sounds amazing now, doesn't it? So here's a list of the best floating mats for boats to help you choose the best floating water mat for you.
The Rubber Dockie floating mat is one of the more popular floating water mats money can buy. But does it deserve the title of the best floating water mat? Let's find out.
The Rubber Dockie is a 9 x 6 feet floating mat and 1.4 inches thick and weighs around 16 pounds. This means that it's easy enough to roll up and store the Rubber Dockie.
The closed-cell foam mat is equipped with the latest tear stop technology, with proprietary tear stop inner matrix to help prevent any full-length lacerations ensuring durability, premium quality cell-foam tuff-hide outer layer prevents scratches and abrasions on users, high visibility green and orange color to help avoid potential collisions, and finally a 12 ft long elastic bungee tether that allows you to anchor the Rubber Dockie to a dock, anchored boat, or any other stationary object.
It also comes with a custom hook and loop straps pair with metal buckles to help you fasten the floating water mat plus the 1-year manufacturer warranty is a nice bonus.
It's as simple as foam mats can get, but for use on a beach, lake, or pool, what more could you ask for.
The Aqua Lily Pad is a floating water mat made from polyethylene foam and nylon. If you ever want to make a floating island/playground on a lake, beach, or pool, that you can stand or lie on, to enjoy being on the water while basking out in the sun, for family and friends, or just for yourself, the Aqua Lily Pad with its 18 x 6 feet design has you covered.
Plus the lily pad makes a great starting off point for your entry into the world of watersports like high-speed tubing, wakeboarding, skiing, etc. Designed to have no roll memory and is lightweight weighing only around 36 pounds, making storage and usage that much more convenient for the end-user.
If you're wondering about how a floating water mat like the lily pad could withstand frequent usage and the ravages that nature can throw at it, well that's because the lily pad is constructed from cross-linked polyethylene foam and flex core making it quite damage resistance and tear-resistant.
The weight capacity of this floating foam mat is nothing to scoff at either, with the ability to carry up to 15oo pounds of distributed weight and together with its 18 x 6 feet size, it has a capacity of about 9-10 adults making it really suitable for your family.
Other things to note are the included storage straps and tether system to help you with carrying it around and deploying it when needed.
If you want something dubbed as the best floating water pad, give the Floating Oasis Lake Pad a try. Like its namesake, this floating water pad is considered by most users to be a floating paradise on a beach, pool, or lake. Coming in at around 15 x 6 feet, 1.5 inches thick, and designed to support a distributed weight of 1500 lbs.
This much raw capacity makes it an amazing in-water springboard for those that like to dabble in the world of watersports. Like most premium floating water mats, the floating foam pad is made from lightweight polyethylene making it tear and puncture-resistant.
Proudly made in the USA you can be sure of the high-quality materials and manufacturing processes used in the making of this floating water pad. Other things to note are that it comes included with a D-Ring, two velcro straps, a bungee tether cord, and the product maintenance and safety sheet.
The SOWKT Floating Water Mat is another 18 x 6 feet floating water mat that has a lot of room for relaxation and recreation. Vivid colors give this floating foam mat high visibility and fewer chances of boats colliding with the water mat and make for a good float for both kids, adults, friends, and family, plus setting it up isn't too difficult either since it only weighs 28 pounds.
The high-quality xpe foam and their proprietary inner net heat sealing make it highly durable and capable of lifting distributed weights of up to 1320 pounds, making it not only beautiful but also practical.
Storage isn't too complicated as it is only 6 feet long and 21 inches in diameter when rolled up and has manufacturer included fastener straps. Convenience and simplicity, the SOWKT floating mat has both.
The whole package in the link includes the 18 x 6 feet floating water mat, a heavy-duty carabiner, a bungee tether leash, and two extra-long touch fastener straps, all that plus the 1-year manufacturer's warranty from the date of purchase makes it a ridiculously good value buy for a floating water mat.
This inflatable floating water walkway from World of Watersports is different from all those other floating water mats previously mentioned since this is an inflatable floating water pad and can potentially become a floating island, more on that later.
The World of Watersports inflatable floating water pad in the link above gives you the option to choose from different sizes of either 6 x 6 or 6 x 10 feet and has a capacity of around 6 adults for the 6 x 10 feet version.
The beams made out of heavy-duty PVC ensures fantastic support when playing, jumping, walking, or lounging on the floating water pad and gives the floating water pad weight of around 13.6 kilograms for the 6 x 10 feet version.
With all that said it sounds as if this inflatable floating water mat has nothing that differentiates it from the rest. But lo and behold this floating water pad has a built-in zipper system that allows you to connect it with other inflatable mats of the same kind.
This makes it possible for you to create a giant inflatable floating island if that's your thing and has configurations with dimensions 6 x 30 feet and 6 x 50 feet. Like a miniature floating island, the inflatable mats are completely walkable provided you don't exceed the weight capacity of a single water mat on that particular area.
If you're in the market for inflatable water mats for use on a lake or any other body of water, then this should be one of your top picks.
The Goplus floating water mat is another 12 feet x 6 feet water mat made from good quality three-layer tear-resistant xpe foam. This means it neither gets easily deformed nor absorbs water after a long period of usage, making this perfect for lake use.
This bouncy, safe, and smooth-surfaced material is lightweight giving this water mat weight of only 15 pounds despite its large size.
This floating water mat also comes with two storage straps for storing and carrying it when rolled. Easy enough clean just with soap and water, and just as easy to anchor to a stationary object like an anchored boat or dock using the two included 4.9 feet bungee tethers.
Its superior load-bearing capacity means that this floating mat can handle 778 to 889 pounds of evenly distributed weight, which comes in at roughly 4-6 persons. If you want some fun under the sun and enjoy yourself on a pool, lake, or beach, this may be the best floating water mat for you.
The Maui floating mat is one of the more visually creative-looking water mats out there. Like most foam mats this is also made from polyethylene and even though it isn't the inflatable mat kind, don't underestimate the weight capacity of one of the most buoyant foam mats out there as it can accommodate around 900-1050 pounds of distributed weight or approximately 6-7 adults.
With dimensions of 14 x 6 feet, you're sure not to run out of space when lounging around on a lake or other body of water. When buying this water mat it comes with storage straps with pad protectors included for safekeeping, as well as a tether system.
The Intex inflatable floating mat is a large water mat. Constructed with vinyl for extra durability and 2 air chambers increasing safety.
It is incredibly sturdy for an inflatable water mat, with enough weight capacity to carry multiple adults on water, floating it on a lake, pool, or beach is no problem for this water mat either.
It comes in blue and comes with four connect 'n float connectors (which are simple to use) that allow you to connect it to other inflatable water mats while simultaneously increasing its area and weight capacity on the water. Floating with no problem whatsoever this makes it one of the most versatile floating water pads out there.
What You Need to Know About Where You Are Planning to Use It
Before choosing from the above list of water mats, you should first focus on their purpose. Where are you going to use it and to what extent?
Are you going to use it on a lake? A pool? A beach? Or a different kind of body of water?
You need to make this clear because water mats are intended to be used on calm waters. These are meant to be stationary after all and would work best on a lake or pool.
Depth is another thing that you should think about because you need to make sure that the water mat is accessible. Somewhere not more than seven feet should be good enough because a mat is as good as useless if you can't reach it in the first place.
Most of the mats mentioned in this list, especially the inflatable ones, usually have some kind of tethering system which allows the mat to be stationary.
So check what is included in the package when shopping for one, and make sure that it has a tether so as to prevent you from floating away and waking up somewhere else after taking a quick nap.
Most floating mats only require the bare minimum in maintenance. Just take them out and use them every now and then plus the occasional soap and water cleaning should suffice.
Inflatable mats on the other hand are a bit more finicky since they need to be air-tight, so you have to be more meticulous when checking for holes or damage in the seals.
Things to Look For or Consider When Buying Floating Water Mats
Considering the financial investment and research effort you're putting into finding the best water pad for you, here are a few things to consider when buying one.
Type & Design
Some lake pads are designed for relaxing activities and thus were made for sitting or lying down. Others are more water sports inclined and are more stable even when standing or running on top of them.
Floating water mats come in a multitude of sizes, and some can even be combined for a much larger surface area. That said, just choose the water mat you think would suffice for your needs. Any smaller and it will feel a bit cramped, any larger and it may add some inconvenience for you when moving and storing it.
This means how heavy the water mat you're going to use is. Most water mats are under 50 pounds with the inflatable types being even lighter. This may be a concern for you if you're the type that likes to set it up solo as it may be a more than one-person job for heavier mats.
Weight capacity is an important factor to consider because this dictates how many people you can carry on your mat.
All weight capacity ratings by the manufacturer and posted on the listings involve distributed weight. This means that the weight is evenly distributed across the area of the mat and not concentrated in one place.
This means that if a mat can carry more than a thousand pounds, then the mat must have a floor area proportionally large to that capacity.
Regardless of whether you intend to go with a foam mat or an inflatable one for the lake, stability is still one of the key factors you should consider in a water pad. Stability dictates the capability of your water pad to be sat on or walked on.
Inflatable pads have a tendency to be more rigid and bouncy which means that constant motion on one side of the mat will have a direct effect on the other side and this could result in inadequate comfort for other users when there are others moving about on the mat.
Foam-type pads do not have this issue as they will bend according to the motion of people walking over them and have a less direct impact on the people lying or sitting on the other side of the mat.
For non-dynamic activities, inflatable types are the best when it comes to being stable as they practically act like small boats. On the other hand for more dynamic activities such as running, walking, and jumping, foam-type pads have the win.
Older water mats used to use some kind of inflatable plastic, while most modern ones use high-density cell foam nowadays. polyethylene mats are good enough for foam mats, as for inflatable ones just pick a durable type of plastic that can withstand punctures.
Foam vs Inflatable
Again this depends on your needs and preferences. Foam mats are already set up, and all you need to do is just unroll them, put them on the water, and anchor them then you're good. High durability and buoyancy are also the qualities of foam mats.
However, that durability and buoyancy come at a price as foam-type mats are denser and more expensive per area than their inflatable counterparts.
Inflatable mats on the other hand take some time to unpack plus they require some extra equipment to inflate them to full size. Although a bit inconvenient, inflatable mats take up less space when stored and are overall lighter than foam mats. That said they are a bit more affordable, and as a consequence of their inflatable nature, they are much more prone to tearing and punctures.
High-quality water mats regardless of whether they are made of foam or inflatable are thicker in nature and made out of tough material. Check the material used in its construction to ensure that you get a quality feel when touching the mat.
Foam-type mats are usually better in terms of durability as high-density foam means that they can be punctured and even torn apart, yet because of material choice, they will still remain buoyant.
That said inflatable pads are durable as well, however once punctured or torn and the mat no longer becomes airtight then this easily escalates into a massive problem.
Portability means the ability to store and transport your mat. If you want the absolute best in portability, then hands down the inflatable type of mat win over foam mats.
This is because an inflatable mat can be deflated and devoid of air then folded into a smaller shape, whereas a foam mat can't get any thinner and must be rolled into a smaller shape.
That said, an inflatable water mat does require an air pump so consider your options carefully.
As we all know money doesn't grow on trees thus should be part of the consideration when choosing a floating mat. Generally, inflatable mats are usually less expensive compared to foam mats of the same size. This price disparity comes from the high quality, high-density material used in the construction of foam-type pads and the complex inner structure design.
Inflatable types are usually made from just a single type of vinyl and are stitched together to form an airtight seal. this simplicity in structure paired with a more commonplace and affordable type of material results in an overall lesser cost for this type of water pad.
This should be your final consideration as it isn't as important of a factor compared to others previously mentioned but as this is very subjective we'll leave the decision up to you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are floating mats so expensive?
Foam-type mats tend to be more on the expensive side due to the foam material that they are composed of.
Not only is it highly durable but also highly buoyant, plus carefully engineered inner structures ensure that the mat is as structurally stable but light as possible. This complexity of manufacturing adds another layer to its overall cost. If you don't want to spend a lot on this, try make one on your own.
How much does a floating mat cost?
Depending on the type and size of mat you intend to purchase, these costs range from less than a hundred dollars for affordable inflatable type pads all the way up to the $800 to $900 for the high-end foam type pads with expansion and connection capabilities.
What are floating mats made of?
Foam type mats, are usually made of closed-cell foam or polyethylene-based materials giving them their signature buoyancy and durability even when under heavy loads. Inflatable types are usually made from vinyl which makes it less expensive but gives the mat a stretchable and more bouncy feeling experience.
How to roll up a floating mat?
Start with one end, hold it tight, and slowly start to roll it as tightly as you can toward the opposite end. Keep in mind that you should be on top of a stable platform because you should keep your weight on top of the mat as you roll it since it has a tendency to act like a spring and bounce back.
How to anchor a floating water mat?
Once you've set up your floating mat, you'd need to anchor it by using a rope, tether, or cord, usually supplied with the mat. The important thing to consider here is that your anchor should be firmly attached to the mat with no chance of being accidentally pulled out and at the same time connect the other end of the anchor to a stationary object.
Although you can pull a mat using a boat, this is not recommended as mats aren't designed for being anchored to a moving object.
In summary, you should first consider your personal use case scenario. Take into account the number of people, their approximate weight, and what you intend to do with the mat either for relaxing activities such as lying or sitting or for more dynamic activities like walking, running or jumping.
Foam-type mats tend to be the better choice in terms of buoyancy and durability with the only caveat being their cost and portability when compared to the inflatable type.
That said, as you will be the future owner of one, consider our list and we hope that you find the right floating mat for you now that you know how and where to look for the best floating water mats.