Choosing the best beach ball for summer fun

Tossing a beach ball from the sandy shore or poolside is as classic as summertime gets. The multi-colored stripes are timeless and playful, evoking nostalgia for all who toss the ball. But with so many varieties available, how do you know which beach ball will last for many summers to come?

Elements such as materials, inflation style and size affect which beach ball is right for you. So do your style, party plans and budget.

What to look for in a beach ball

A few quality features can ensure your water toys stay inflated, suit your play style  and are durable enough to withstand lots of tossing and punching.

Material

Most beach balls are made from polyvinyl chloride, or PVC. This lets them stay thin and lightweight while also offering strength and durability. Not all manufacturers use the same level of quality assurance, so check the reviews. Look for reliable beach balls that stay inflated, seal correctly, are thick enough to prevent pops and are weather-resistant.

Design

Beach balls come in a wide variety of designs. From stripes to polka dots and glitter to graphics, you can find many options to complement your decor, preference or party theme. If the design includes premium elements such as loose confetti or LED lights, they may come at a premium price.

Size

Most beach balls list their sizes by deflated measurements. They lose about 30% of their length when they go from flat to round. For example, a 24-inch beach ball measures roughly 17 to 18 inches across when fully inflated.

  • Mini: Mini beach balls typically measure less than 9 inches in diameter. They are the lightest option, easy to hold in one hand. Mini beach balls are useful for games like dodgeball, volleyball and catch.
  • Regular: Most traditional beach balls measure around 20 inches deflated but can range from 12 to 24 inches. They are ideal for tossing in small groups, at pools or the beach.
  • Jumbo: Oversized beach balls are ideal for larger crowds or playing rolling ball games outdoors. Follow safety instructions, as jumbo beach balls are generally designed for laying or sitting on, though they may resemble exercise balls. Since jumbo balls are so large — sometimes larger than a tall adult — it’s best to inflate them with a pump. When deflated, they generally measure 36 inches or longer, up to 12 feet long.

Inflation style

You can inflate beach balls either by blowing air through a mouthpiece or using a hand pump. Smaller balls, naturally, are easier to inflate. Pumps are recommended for larger beach balls, especially jumbo balls.

Best beach balls

Outdoors-Best Icnice Glow-In-The-Dark LED Beach Balls, 2-Pack

Icnice Glow-In-The-Dark LED Beach Balls, 2-Pack

Light up your playtime at night with these remote-operated multicolor LED beach balls. The waterproof 16-inch beach balls offer 13 colors and four lighting modes. Sold by Amazon

Outdoor-Best 4E’s Novelty Beach Balls, 3-Pack

4E’s Novelty Beach Balls, 3-Pack

For a traditional aesthetic, opt for these classic beach ball designs. The 20-inch toys feature recognizable rainbow stripes and a simple inflation nozzle. Sold by Amazon

Outdoor-Best Top Race Mini Beach Balls, 25-Pack

Top Race Mini Beach Balls, 25-Pack

Make sure everyone at the party gets a beach ball with this 25-pack of mini beach balls. These classic designs make great decorations, toys and party favors. Sold by Amazon

Outdoor-Best Ninostar Star Wars Beach Balls, 3-Pack

Ninostar Star Wars Beach Balls, 3-Pack

Pop culture and sci-fi fans can enjoy themed beach balls too with these detailed “Star Wars” designs. The set of 14-inch balls includes R2-D2, BB-8 and the Death Star. Sold by Amazon

Outdoor-Best Big Mo’s Toys Beach Balls, 12-Pack

Big Mo’s Toys Beach Balls, 12-Pack

For a multi-pack of medium-sized beach balls, this 12-pack is a great value. It includes a dozen 12-inch beach balls with a classic rainbow design. Sold by Amazon

Outdoor-Best Intex Jumbo Inflatable Pool Ball, 42 Inches

Intex Jumbo Inflatable Pool Ball, 42 Inches

A jumbo beach ball offers the chance to mix up water play with a larger-than-life toy. This polka-dotted ball measures 42 inches and features multi-colored dots all around. Sold by Amazon

Outdoor-Best Emoji Party Pack Inflatable Beach Balls, 12-Pack

Emoji Party Pack Inflatable Beach Balls, 12-Pack

Introduce even more fun at the beach or at the pool with this 12-pack of emoji-themed beach balls. Measuring 16 inches each, they feature classic emoji faces on bright yellow balls. Sold by Amazon

Outdoor-Best Pangda Inflatable Globe Beach Ball, 2-Pack

Pangda Inflatable Globe Beach Ball, 2-Pack

Have fun while learning world geography with this two-pack of inflatable globes. The 16-inch globes feature every continent, ocean, country and capital, with major cities clearly labeled. Sold by Amazon

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Katy Palmer writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
 

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