Beach ball, a swimming pool party toy

When the summer sun is shining, sometimes even the beach is too much effort. You want to relax right now, and if you’ve taken the precaution of installing a pool (or the cheaper precaution of knowing someone who did) you can do exactly that. The swimming pool is the icon of conspicuous luxury, and a triumph of human technology over Mother Nature. If she can’t be bothered to install the beach in your backyard, you’ll build it yourself! The ability to float away from it all without leaving the front door is extremely attractive, as are some of the friends you suddenly have when people know you have a pool (see the cheaper precaution above!)

The downside is a whole year’s maintenance for those few fun days. We have a guaranteed two-prong program to improve that:

  1. Use it more often.
  2. Use it better when you do.

We can’t help you with the first (but recommend that you simply start each sunny day in swimming trunks instead of clothes — you’ll find it much easier to relax), but the second is what a Smartlife is all about. We’ve found some gadgets which provide more tools to “utterly dominate an area of water” than a nuclear submarine. Plus, they’re infinitely more fun to live with.

1. Aqua Sounder

Aqua Sounder

Aqua Sounder

The Aqua Sounder is so pointlessly fun you’d swear technology had forgotten it’s meant to do work for us. The techno-sphere surfs across the waves to play music and make you feel better, the exact opposite of every other techno-sphere in history (Death Star, Technodrome, that big white ball which kept eating the Prisoner).

2. Super Luxurious Pool Chair

Normal inflatable pool chairs turn relaxation into bomb-disposal, because even after the struggle to get into that one perfect pose where you aren’t slipping or falling even the slightest twitch can tumble you back into the water. This “relax or I’ll dump you” approach isn’t very effective, which is why Frontgate made the most luxurious pool chair in history. It’s so spiffy it’s not even a chair — it’s apparently a “chaise” — and so nice you won’t get upset with them for such pretension.

Extra-Large Floating Pool Chaise

Extra-Large Floating Pool Chaise

It’s so amazingly luxurious that it comes in three colors and the default is sparkling golden. No slippery, squeaking tubes here, the chaise is big enough for an adult male and more stable than most sea-going vessels. TWO embedded drinks holders confirm that this really is for proper, uninterrupted bliss.

Extra-Large Floating Pool Chaise In "Action"

Extra-Large Floating Pool Chaise In "Action"

3. Beer Pong Raft

At the other end of the energy spectrum is the portOpong, an inflatable beer pong raft. It’s a ridiculously fun idea, and couldn’t be better suited to college if it were an inflatable homework-completer. Which would still be a worse investment (the truly smart know that you learn far outside the classroom than in).

PortOPong In Pool

PortOPong In Pool

The heavy-duty raft can hold twenty-two 20 oz containers, including spare drink/ball storage, and it deflates for easy transport. You couldn’t bring a better-suited item to a pool party if you invited Michael Phelps in his super-shark swimming togs.

PortOPong On The Beach

PortOPong On The Beach

4. Solar Breeze

Solar-powered autonomous robots now dominate the water, and they’re not out to exterminate us — they want to save us some chores. The Solar-Breeze is an eco-powered aqua-roomba. Having to clean a pool is a cruel reversal of the point of having one, extra (and annoying) work instead of utter relaxation. And just like sci-fi movies teach us, that sort of problem is exactly why we invented robots.

Solar Breeze

Solar Breeze

The Solar Breeze cleans gunk off your pool before it becomes foul, unlike underwater filtration systems which only catch it after it’s ruined everything. It gently works all day, every day, for free, making sure the pool is pretty on exactly the kind of day you’ll want to use it.

5. Submergency

A fast and fun game for kids and adults just-acting-like-kids-because-we’re-in-the-pool alike! The brilliantly conceived Submergency is an adjustable-flotation ball with a timer, for the ultimate game of underwater catch. The ball can be set to float, sink, or stay where it is, making it the underwater upgrade of tossing a ball around. The built-in countdown is great fun for games, and doubles as a cheap lap clock when you’re training.

Submergency Clock

Submergency Clock

Image credit: Chiyacat / iStockphoto

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