Top 5 Best Inflatable Play Centers ~ (2024 Reviews & Guide)

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Why limit your kids to a boring kiddie pool when there’s the best inflatable play center just one click away? Inflatable kiddie pools are great and all since they’re easy to set up and help to get your kids outside, but inflatable play centers turn the fun level up a few notches. With an inflatable playhouse, your kids have more options instead of just swimming.

In this guide, we put together a collection of our absolute favorite outdoor inflatable play centers your kids will love to enjoy all summer long. With all the games and features that these play centers offer, your kids will have hours of fun rather than minutes.

Below is a list of several of the features you’ll find on a good inflatable play center for toddlers and children:

  • Water Slides
  • Ring Toss
  • Ball Games
  • Sprinklers & Sprayers
  • Waterfalls
  • Ball Pits
  • Bounce Houses
  • Inflatable Toys

Basically, inflatable play centers are made to let children’s imaginations fly while they get some good exercise along the way. Our top picks are great options for family use, birthday parties, family gatherings, backyard BBQs, and as supplements to pool parties.

Inflatable Play Center Reviews

Now it’s time to see which inflatable playhouse is perfect for your family. In the following reviews, you’ll find everything you need to know about each of our top picks before making your final choice.

#1) Intex 57149EP Candy Zone Inflatable Play Center

Intex manufacturers a variety of fun inflatable play centers, and the Candy Zone model is our top pick for small children and toddlers. Intex recommends it for use with children ages 2 and up. First, this play center has a lot of visual appeal that toddlers will love. Plus, there are enough features to keep them occupied with more activities than just swimming.

The combination of lollipops, jelly beans, taffy, and a chocolate slide mesmerizes most children. As far as features, the set includes 2 inflatable lollipops, 6 balls for the Candy Fun Ballz game, an arch water sprinkler above the slide, and of course the chocolate slide for them to play. Also, we like that there’s extra padding at the bottom of the slide.

Lastly, the play center features a drain plug for easy draining, a repair patch kit, and the lanes on the side of the pool to roll the balls down. One last thing to keep in mind is that this play center does not require a blower to stay inflated, and it does not include an air pump. If you don’t own an air pump, it’s possible to inflate it quickly with an air compressor, air mattress pump, or a shop vac with a blower function.


  • The open design makes it easy to monitor toddlers
  • A small slide that’s the perfect size for children 2-5 years old
  • Children love rolling balls down the rails
  • The most fun design of the available Intex play centers
  • A lot better for holding attention than a basic kiddie pool
  • More affordable than play centers that require blowers


  • No air pump included
  • There are multiple sections to blow up individually
  • Likely not to last as long as a play center built with commercial-grade materials

#2) Blast Zone Magic Castle Inflatable Playhouse

Now, let’s take a different approach with our top dry inflatable play center pick. The Blast Zone Magic Castle is perfect for both birthday parties and casual home use. Additionally, it’s great for both backyard outdoor use and indoor use if you have enough room for it. That means your kids have an inflatable play center to use all year long.

At just 48 lbs, it’s light enough to be portable and less of a hassle to store than heavier models. Unlike an Intex inflatable play center, the Magic Castle is built with heavier-duty materials. The commercial-grade vinyl materials with double and quadruple stitching are built to last for multiple seasons of use. Also, keep in mind, this play center requires a blower to stay inflated, and Blast Zone does include one.

A couple of drawbacks to choosing this playhouse are no pool for children to swim, and the balls aren’t included. Outside of that, this is a heavy-duty playhouse made for use with up to three children at a time. The max user weight is 100 lbs and gross weight up to 300 lbs, making this a great choice for children 3-12 years old (manufacturer recommended age).


  • Made with durable commercial-grade materials that won’t fail after 1 year
  • UL-listed blower included
  • Max user weight of 100 lbs and recommended for up to 3 children at a time
  • At 48 lbs, it’s easy to pack and unfold
  • Blows up in just minutes
  • Kids love the built-in slide


  • Does not include the balls
  • Putting it inside its storage bag may require some patience
  • Requires extra clearance around it for safety

#3) Action Air 9417N Shark Inflatable Play Center

Meet the ultimate fun zone for children. Compared to the inflatable Candy Zone, this play center is more action-packed for older children above 5 years old. However, it’s also great for children below 5 years, and the recommended age range by the manufacturer is 3 to 10 years old. The first thing to be aware of is that this play center does require a blower rather than being inflated.

The advantage of choosing an inflatable play center that requires a blower is that it’s up and running a lot quicker. Plus, once your children finish, it’s much easier to deflate. Next, this inflatable play center has some cool features to make sure your kids get enough exercise. There’s a small climbing wall, water slide, splash cannon, and mini pool for wading & cooling off on hot days.

Additionally, the set includes a water tube and a shark fin in the mini pool to play ring toss. A couple of final considerations are that this play center does have a larger footprint and requires more energy & water than a smaller Intex inflatable play center. Be sure to consider those points before choosing between the two.


  • Inflates/deflates very quickly (much quicker than play centers that use air pumps)
  • Includes a heavy-duty air blower
  • Good for up to 4 children with a max weight of 200 lbs
  • Children Product Certificate (CPC) compliant
  • A longer water slide than Intex models
  • Built with sturdy materials


  • Drying it out after use and storage requires ample time
  • Setting it up and packing it requires 2 people in most cases

#4) Little Tikes 620072X1 Jump ‘n Slide Bouncer

Another excellent inflatable bounce house play center for children to enjoy is this one by Little Tikes. The overall design is similar to the Magic Castle, yet there are a couple of differences that may lead you to favor one over the other. First, the design of this play center is more open, which is nice if you want your children to get more sun while they play. On the flip side, the netting on the Magic Castle provides a bit more shade to keep them cool.

Second, the slide on this play center is bigger and better overall. On this model, the slide is wider for multiple kids to enjoy, and the inflatable rails go all the way down the sides to keep the little bouncers safely contained. Regarding size, this model has a slightly larger footprint than the Magic Castle.

However, this play center is not quite as heavy-duty or durable as the Magic Castle. Little Tikes recommends no more than 3 children at a time and up to 250 lbs (the Magic Castle is up to 300 lbs). Other than that, this inflatable play center does require a blower to stay inflated, and it’s included. We also like the nice large carrying pack that’s included with this playhouse.


  • At 37.5 lbs, it’s easy enough for one person to pack/unpack
  • Includes a nice carrying bag with a strap
  • Up to 3 children and 250 lbs
  • A bigger, better slide than the Magic Castle
  • Includes a blower
  • Built for indoor/outdoor use


  • You may find that the blower is loud when used indoors
  • Regular use will be noticed on your electric bill
  • The netting isn’t as heavy as the Magic Castle

#5) Intex 57159EP Surf ’N Slide Inflatable Play Center

Last up is a hybrid inflatable play center/slip n slide that all kids find irresistible. Unlike a simple inflatable pool play center, this hybrid model brings more flair to the table with its slip and slide feature. The set includes two inflatable surf riders to make it easier for kids to take turns and share. Compared to the Candy Zone play center, this model is better for older children, and Intex recommends it for kids ages 6 and older.

In addition to the inflatable surf riders, the slide measures about 15′ long to ensure kids won’t get bored too quickly because of a short ride. To keep the slide moving, the play center features a water delivery system using a built-in sprayer. Simply connect any standard garden hose to get moving.

A couple of final highlights are the extra padding provided by the landing mat, large side handles for easy moving, climbing steps & handles, and a wall at the end to contain the water rather than having it constantly dump onto your lawn. Finally, the recommended max weight is 176 lbs, and there’s a repair patch included.


  • More fun than a standard slip n slide
  • Does not require a sloped yard
  • Climbing handles and convenient side handles
  • Includes two inflatable surf riders for easier sharing
  • Built-in water delivery system connects to a standard garden hose
  • There’s no denying that kids absolutely love it


  • Not intended for children under 6
  • No air pump is included and requires an air pump to inflate
  • Durability issues

Bottom Line

When selecting the best inflatable play center for your children, it’s important to always consider the recommended age range and weight limit. By doing this, you give yourself the best chance of getting your money’s worth and keeping your children safe while they play.

No matter the season, there are great options in this guide for kids to enjoy all year long. Inflatable bounce houses are better for year-round use, while inflatable play centers with pools are perfect for kids to enjoy during the spring and summer months.

Intex is the clear leader in the wet play center space, though, we do wish they upgraded their materials to commercial-grade to get more guaranteed use. The tradeoff is the lower upfront cost compared to commercial-grade inflatable play centers, so be sure to consider how long you expect the play center to last before choosing one.

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