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Although it is possible to inflate your paddling pool in the classic way by mouth, the process is very laborious once the pool reaches a certain size.

Especially since there are other approaches to the problem, which also make it possible to enjoy the cool water in the spring or summer.

First things first: making the right preparations

In the following sections, we will explain some methods of how to optimally fill a paddling pool with air, but it is necessary to carry out a certain number of basic preparatory steps in advance. These will guarantee a smooth process.

First, you should check the surface on which the paddling pool will be inflated for sharp-edged objects, such as stones, and remove them if necessary, so that there is no damage to the material.

Or check out our guide on how to prepare the ground for any above ground pool.

Next, spread out the pool in a way that leaves no room for overlaps or creases.

In a final preparatory step, locate the valve as well as inspect it for its characteristics before opening it. Depending on the type of valve, it may be difficult to either release or receive air. Other specific peculiarities that should definitely be considered are always possible depending on the particular model and individual manufacturer.

Option 1: Inflate paddling pool with double action pump

The use of a reciprocating pump is the classic way to fill a paddling pool with air and works very reliably even with larger air chambers. After fixing the pump with the feet, the process of inflation takes place with the help of an up and down movement of the respective piston.

Some reciprocating pumps also allow not only to inflate the paddling pool, but also to suck out the air again, which greatly facilitates the dismantling in the fall.

This double action hand pump is great for inflating the pool:

Advanced Elements Double Action
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Option 2: Inflate paddling pool with foot pump

Also proven for years is the use of a foot pump, which can also be used in just about any place, including beaches, for example, when an air mattress is to be inflated.

This air pump, which is often represented in society, is available, among other things, at discounters, but of course, moreover, in specialized stores. However, this option has the disadvantage that the material of the foot pump may show signs of wear after a few years, which makes it necessary to replace it.

Franklin Sports Foot Air Pump for
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Option 3: Inflate paddling pool with electric air pump

An electric air pump does all the work when filling the paddling pool with air. It impresses with its speed, but has the significant disadvantage that, on the one hand, a connection to the mains must be within reach, and on the other hand, as with many electrical devices, signs of age can occur, making a new purchase necessary.

However, the electric air pump is again far ahead of a piston pump in terms of effortless handling when inflating the paddling pool.

With this electric air pump, inflation is child’s play:

Etekcity Electric Air Pump Air
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Option 4: Inflate paddling pool with vacuum cleaner

A versatile alternative to using an air pump, whether manual or electric, can be found in just about every household. There are several options for using a vacuum cleaner to inflate your paddling pool.

For example, if you have an (industrial) vacuum cleaner with a blowing function, you need to remove the attachment from the head of the device and then attach it to the valve of the paddling pool with insulating tape or a similar material.

Another option is to remove the vacuum cleaner bag and hose and attach the latter to the outlet of the bag and the valve of your paddling pool, as in this case there will be an air flow. In addition, the air slots can also be used for inflation if you connect those to the paddling pool valve with the help of a bag and the vacuum cleaner hose, although this method may not be as efficient as the other two.

Option 5: Paddling pool inflation with garbage bag

A resistant as well as air-impermeable trash bag can also be used to fill a paddling pool with air with a little time investment. In a first step, the trash bag is inflated as completely as possible through a waving motion and after that fixed around the valve of the wading pool. Kneeling on the garbage bag with some care, the air escapes into the pool and inflates it, but this process must be repeated a few times.

Option 6: Inflate paddling pool with hairdryer

Also, an alternative to the use of an air pump is to inflate the paddling pool with the help of a hairdryer, which has a cold hairdryer option as well as ideally a particularly narrow attachment.

For faster results, it is recommended to stick the hair dryer to the valve of the paddling pool with an appropriate material, such as painter’s tape, before setting it to the highest setting. However, this method necessarily requires the presence of an electrical outlet.

Option 7: Inflate paddling pool with bicycle pump.

Usually, a bicycle pump is sold with several attachments, so one of them could also fit on the valve of your paddling pool. In the unlikely event that this is not the case, it may be possible to fix this tool with insulating tape or a similar material so that no air escapes to the outside during the inflation process.

Option 8: Inflating the paddling pool with a mouth

If you don’t have any of the above-mentioned tools at hand, the paddling pool must be inflated with your mouth. To avoid running out of breath so quickly during this process, the following steps are recommended.

First, locate the valve of the paddling pool and check its properties, because, for example, from valves without protection, the air will escape instantly if it is not closed immediately.

Subsequently, take a deep breath so that the chest and also the belly bulge outward. The process of blowing into the valve of the paddling pool is repeated about five times and then interrupted by a pause while the breath should return to its normal rhythm.

What is the best way to inflate the pool?

Above ground pools can be inflated according to the same principles as paddling pools. The difference is usually that an inflatable pool is much larger, and therefore pool inflation takes correspondingly longer.

 For this reason, we do not recommend the options of inflating by mouth, bicycle pump, garbage bag, vacuum cleaner or hair dryer. 

You can quickly inflate the pool by using a double stroke pump, a foot pump or an electric air pump. The fastest way to inflate the pool is with an electric air pump.

With this electric air pump, inflation is a breeze:

Etekcity Electric Air Pump Air
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Let the air out of the paddling pool

In order to be able to store the paddling pool inside for winter storage at the end of the swimming season, the air must escape from it. Before you can let the air out by pressing, rolling and folding the paddling pool, you need to open the valve. This classic procedure must be repeated a few times, unless the paddling pool has an integrated air pump, in which case it only needs to be operated.


The options for promptly ringing in the pool season in your paddling pool range from the use of a classic piston pump to the use of a trash bag. In case none of these options are available, with the right breathing technique and possible help from a second or third person, you can also inflate the wading pool by mouth.

Just as important as the actual process of inflation are the respective preparations to prevent damage to the material of the paddling pool, for example, by ensuring that the surface is free of sharp objects. With the help of these measures, nothing stands in the way of a relaxing time in the cool water of your paddling pool.

Next: check out how to clean a kiddie pool.

Larry has been a true water rat since childhood. Pure pleasure turned into a passion. That's why he is the first point of contact for friends and acquaintances when it comes to pool-related problems. He is an integral part of the PoolHandbook editorial team.