An inflatable children's pool is an inexpensive way to bring hours of entertainment to the family while getting some relief from the summer heat. Without an air compressor, though, it'll take longer to bring the entertainment and relief to the family.
Many inflatables are sold with small hand pumps, which can spare your lungs, but not your arms. If the children's pool you have did not come with a hand pump, check whether you have any other inflatables that might have. The other type of hand pump is the upright push pull pump with hose that rests on the floor and offers a little more power to the pump. If using the upper body does not appeal to you, bellow-style foot pumps can inflate an object with the rhythmic pressing of your foot -- so choose the tempo for your background music carefully. The majority of manual air pumps come with a selection of nozzles to adapt to the object you are inflating.
Small Electric and Battery Power Pumps
Small electric pumps offer an auto inflation option without the high prices of an air compressor. There are 110-120 volt AC pumps that vary in price and size depending on the strength. The high end are high volume low pressure pumps, with an air output of 3.0 pounds per square inch, and are perfect for larger inflatables. The smaller pumps that cost less than $20 are better for small to medium inflatables such as a pool. The battery operated 12 volt pumps can be connected to a car battery or cigarette lighter for direct use or recharging. The even smaller battery pumps resemble mini hairdryers, powered by household batteries, such as AA.
Manufacturers such as Black and Decker and Dirt Devil make a corded hand vacuum that, along with their dust busting abilities, have the function and attachments to inflate objects. It's a perfect tool for multitasking parents to inflate the pool and hoover out the car while keeping an eye on the little ones splashing around. You can also use a regular vacuum cleaner that has a reverse switch, or a leaf blower, a funnel or plastic bottle and some duct tape. The larger end of the funnel or cut plastic bottle goes on the vacuum hose or leaf blower, sealed with duct tape, and the small end goes on the inflatable's valve to inflate.
Most service stations have air, but connecting the nozzle from the air pump to an inflatable valve takes some imagination. Luckily, someone's imagination has already been active. The Air Daddy Air Valve Adapter has universal fittings that allow connection from a gasoline station air pump or other air compressor, to any valve on an inflatable. It's 7 1/2 inches long and weighs next to nothing, making it easy to carry. Remember the inflated version of the pool does take up more room than the deflated version, so if you have opted to take it to a gasoline station or a friend's house to borrow their air compressor, consider the ride back.
- George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images