The Coolest Swimming Pool Slide You've Ever Seen
Updated: Aug 4, 2020
SplinterWorks out of the U.K. makes the coolest luxury swimming pool slide in the world
If you're in the market for a pool slide that's both #functional and #artistic and you don't mind dishing out some serious dough, you should consider a #custom #designed #pool #slide from SplinterWorks. They make the coolest looking, #handmade, and most durable swimming pool slides that meet both U.S. and U.K. #safety regulations.
Finally, someone put some thought and effort into swimming pool slides. Until recently, 100% of the indoor and outdoor pool slides I've ever come across look like either something they would sell at #Kmart or the ones you find at #Disney, #Seaworld, and #Busch #Gardens.
I've actually never seen a backyard pool slide that I really liked. They're tolerable at best and most of them look like cheap pieces of plastic with ladders attached to them. Even commercial grade water slides look out of place to me, in your backyard. They have cool tubes, sure, but usually require huge structural supports and an entire staircase that looks more industrial than anything else. And sometimes the actual structure holding up the tube along with the staircase is twice the size of the slide itself.
Even custom slides intended to blend in with the landscape and hide behind natural rocks in an attempt to look native, look deliberate to me. The color of the slide matches the landscaping and rock work but in my opinion they tend to look less hidden and more "man made" than anything else. Plus now you have a mountain of rocks in your yard.
It's hard for me to believe that in this day and age, swimming pool slides don't look as cool as they are fun. They remind me of the first Toyota Prius, Chevy Volt, or Honda Insight before the Teslas were released - sorry drivers. But it's because they're mostly utilitarian. They're designed to be practical more than anything else and they're just not very pleasant to look at.
To be fair, every once in a while there's a slide on a project that I can tolerate but it usually involves some eccentric, over the top feature like a see-through tube running through the middle of the pool similar to Atlantas' Leap of Faith Water Slide - although I don't like the pyramid structure - or some well thought out architectural feat integrating slide, landscape and architecture like one of SAOTAS recent Miami Beach projects.
Why I like SplinterWorks
SplinterWorks pool slides look cooler than any other pool slide I've ever seen, are extremely durable, and can be enjoyed by children and adults. They also meet and exceed all of the U.S. safety regulations and come with a 5 year warranty.
They're really the only slides in my opinion that don't aesthetically suck and they're definitely nothing like your typical backyard swimming pool slide. They have super cool curves and radius' that give them a free-flowing and uninterrupted feel which almost makes them look like they're moving in place. The steps, railings, and supports are also integrated directly into the structure so you don't have to see any unsightly protrusions. This makes the slides look more like a single seamless structure rather than having two separate components with steps on one end and the slide on the other - like most slides.
SplinterWorks slides are also very artistic. They're architecturally inspired, organic, and most of all, shiny. Their metallic finishes alone set them apart from any other pool slide. Most slides are made out of plastic or acrylic and pail in comparison to the visual qualities of metal. The bright, reflective nature of the steel give the slides a contemporary appearance and make them ideal for a myriad of design applications. In my opinion, they're pretty "bad ass." They're also given a polished, brushed or enamel finish which really makes them pop, especially in the sun.
Each slide is a one-off, too. They're custom made by hand, built from scratch and designed to be totally unique. In fact, they're made by guys sitting on stools with hammers bashing squares of metal into shape, welding them together and then polishing out the welds. And even if you want a SplinterWorks slide identical to one you've seen on the web, they'll make sure they give you something similar without replicating someone else's, which is pretty cool. If I'm paying for a custom, architecturally inspired product, it's nice to know mine is unique to me and no one else will have one like it. It's also worth noting that they're currently made in China to keep costs down as quality stainless steel can become quite expensive, but they're also made by a specialized team who makes sculptural steel structures for multiple high end Western clients in the U.S.
Modern steel manipulation techniques are also pretty advanced nowadays making it fairly easy to cut, weld, form and fabricate the metal which is why they can make such cool sculptures. So I wouldn't let the old "Made in China" tag give you the wrong impression.
And what's great about having something artistic and sculptural in the form of a pool slide is that adults can enjoy them as well. They're pleasant to look it and actually enhance your backyard compared to most slides that you pretty much just have to tolerate. And since kids don't really care what the slide looks like as long as they have something fun to slide down, as an adult you have to deal with looking at a big ugly "toy" slide every day and you don't really get to appreciate it unless you plan on throwing on your bikini/swim trunks and giving it a whirl every once in a while. So it's nice to have something that also enhances the environment similar to a sculptural art piece that's visually enjoyable to look at and you can talk about with friends while the kids play on it.
Plus, as of late SplinterWorks has been putting out some pretty radical slide design concepts that the world has never seen before. Like this concept above. They also have a few others like the "Halo" concept that incorporates a complete circle as the base. They are trying to get away from the traditional slide designs that segment base, ladder and slide and I have to say, they're killing it.
SplinterWorks slides are extremely durable and even have a patented internal cooling system so they can be installed outside, anywhere in the world. They're fabricated from 316L marine grade stainless steel to resist corrosion from pool water and stand up to high temperatures from the outdoors. 316 stainless has a higher chromium content than other metals which gives it a higher temperature oxidation resistance and high temperature strength making it widely used in outdoor applications. It also doesn't get as hot as lesser grade metals because it's generally a poor conductor of heat and has naturally reflective qualities so it absorbs less sunlight and thermal energy resulting in a cooler surface.
The polished, brushed or enameled finishes that SplinterWorks gives their slides also increase the slides long-term performance. The more you polish stainless the tighter and smoother the crevices on the surface become which enhances the metals ability to resist heat and corrosion. So the more the surface is polished, the better it will look and the longer it'll last.
Polishing stainless also reflects more UV rays keeping the surface of the slide cooler. To give you an idea, a polished, mirror-like finish on a SplinterWorks slide can reflect up to 97% of photons which significantly reduces heat and cools more rapidly. And although it's virtually impossible to entirely remove surface heat, SplinterWorks slides remain comfortable enough to enjoy outdoors even in some of the worlds hottest environments with projects currently installed outdoors in Florida, Hawaii and Hong Kong.
The slides also have a fully patented internal cooling system for further protection from the heat. The process cools the slide from the inside as well as the outside as it draws water up internally to the top of the slide and then distributes it back down the exterior. It's not a requirement but if you want the option for water jets to run down the tube of the slide for an added enjoyable, watery effect, Splinterworks makes sure that the water they draw up to the top of the slide is used to cool the temperature of the metal before distributing the water back down the slides exterior as a water jet. It's truly an elegant solution to help mitigate heat.
SplinterWorks slides are compliance tested following the British Safety Standards for the U.K. as well as the CPSC requirements in the U.S. and as an added benefit, they also voluntarily choose to follow the nonessential safety standards set forth in the U.K. that aren't required in the states, simply as good practice.
The slides are very practical as well with the added safety features designed directly into the slide. They have grips on the steps for your feet with drain holes so water doesn't sit and you don't slip, and they have rolled sides to serve as easy-to-grab hand rails.
And since each slide is custom, SplinterWorks has to constantly be cross referencing both the British and American safety standards because the engineering is unique to each piece, and therefore a new challenge each time.
Who should buy this?
Whether you have an existing pool or you're planning on building a new one, if you don't want your typical everyday backyard pool slide or even an industrial looking commercial grade slide, and you're interested in something more artistic to enhance your poolscape, you should look into a custom designed SplinterWorks slide.
They're the best option if you want something cool and unique and and you don't mind dishing out the extra cash. An entry level slide will run you around $45,000.00 but they’re typical slides are closer to the $60,000.00 - $80,000.00 range. If you’re looking for something more involved, they also have some current projects pushing $160,000.00. - yes, you read that right.
These prices may be seemingly expensive but when you consider the cost of a large commercial grade slide, you’re probably spending around the same amount. Not to mention projects incorporating slides of this magnitude are typically new construction or renovations of a new luxury home estimated in the millions of dollars. But if you're not far off from these price ranges and you still want to hold out for something special, Splinterworks is also working on some standard slide options and testing out alternative materials like concrete which should give you some additional design options as well as bring the overall cost down. They're also venturing into the commercial market starting projects for public pools and private communities so they can handle a residential or commercial application.
Custom slides are also a great option for those who like to be involved in the design process of their new pool slide or even as part of their new home they're having built. So if you like to have a say in how your pool slide comes out, SplinterWorks slides will involve their clients throughout the design phase.
If you're interested in a slide from SplinterWorks, a 10% deposit, 2-3 month design time, and 16-20 week manufacturing time will get you the slide of your dreams. These are all estimations of course depending on the complexity of your project but 6 months from the initial phone call to having something to slide down is a safe bet regarding a lead time. They’ll even fly out to oversee the installation depending on how involved the project is but most of SplinterWorks slides can be easily installed in one day.
It's worth mentioning that a Splinterworks slide is still just a slide and offers the same physical experience as a standard slide for a much heftier price tag. They do however come with the obvious visual benefits but you'd really have to want something special in order to justify paying for one.
If you're looking for something more affordable or you don’t really care what your slide looks like or you plan on getting rid of it in a couple years anyways, then some of the online retailers like S.R. Smith are a better option. Their slides range anywhere from $1,000.00 - $5,000.00 and up to $30,000.00 for a commercial grade slide and they'll more than suffice for some backyard fun.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
Because Splinterworks slides are made out of steel they need to be bonded to the rest of the pool. All metal within 5'-0" of a pool requires bonding which is just one more thing to worry about. It's not a huge concern but it's an additional step that isn't required for fiberglass, thermoplastic or acrylic slides.
SplinterWorks slides are also extremely expensive compared to most standard pool slides. They're closer to the starting price of a small commercial grade slide around $30,000.00 and easily 6 times more expensive than the starting price of a standard quality plastic slide thats about $5,000.00. You could buy 8 or 9 quality pool slides online for the price of a single SplinterWorks slide which is definitely worth the consideration. They do however offer attributes not seen in most slides so you'll have to determine if the trade off is worth it for you.
The lead time on a SplinterWorks slide might also be a setback for most. It takes about 6 months for you to receive a finished product from the day you call and can take longer if there's some back and forth during the design process. I imagine most people might not want to wait this long for a slide but unfortunately that's the nature of custom designed products. And all things considered, 6 months isn't too bad for a custom designed, completely unique, hand crafted, safety regulated, functional product. Most designers have a couple months lead time before they can even start on your project so 6 months isn't uncommon for what you're getting.
It's also worth mentioning that if you have a new house or pool being built and you get to SplinterWorks early in the process, the lead time won't seem nearly as long with the pool or house still being built. But, if you're not interested in waiting, you'll have to look for another option or settle for a standard slide but in the world of custom pool slides, it's pretty slim pickins.
S.R. Smith slides
Companies like S.R. Smith make a handful of standard quality pool slide options for kids of different age groups. They offer a couple different slide and color variations including commercial grade slides and even landscape slides through their newly acquired Inter-fab site. They also have a "build your own" option for landscape slides which basically allows you to choose from 7 different slide sections in order to create custom configurations.
I realize most people probably won't be able to justify or afford paying for a one off SplinterWorks slide so if you don't have an unlimited amount of money, S.R. smith slides are a great alternative. They're excellent slides if you simply want a reliable pool slide and don't care too much what they look like. They're also much less expensive than a completely custom, one-off, stainless steel slide but don't expect anything fancy. They're purely utilitarian and get assembled in pieces but they're also all 100% safe and fully comply with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Standard for Swimming Pool Slides, (16 CFR 1207). They even have a huge safety sticker on each page to remind you that safety is one of their top priorities which is never a bad thing. According to their site, they also come with a 3 year warranty and can hold up to a 250lb person so they're more than sufficient for kids and even some adults.
S.R. Smith slides are durable options that offer the same experience as most slides if something dependable, fun and affordable is all you're looking for. They range anywhere between $2,000.00 - $5,000.00 for their standard options and around $30,000.00 for their commercial grade slide. - Don't hold me to any of that.
You can't purchase a slide directly through S.R. Smiths site so you'll have to find a distributor but they also have a "where to buy" page that lets you enter your location to assist in finding you a dealer in your area. I've also seen some of their slides on Amazon.
Commercial grade slide
There's a number of commercial grade slide manufacturers online that offer standard and customizable options but I like them about as much as I like S.R. Smiths options regarding their aesthetics. I'm actually on the fence about which type I dislike more because the commercial slides are much larger and have industrial looking qualities to them. They usually have entire staircases with railings and landings in order to meet codes and don't match any part of your backyard. They look completely out of place in your backyard. In this case, the slide in the picture above also ruins an otherwise amazing view. Not to mention these slides start to compete with SplinterWorks slides in price although you're probably getting much more slide for your money. In my opinion, I'd much rather prefer something free-flowing and wavy that glistened in the sun and looked super cool especially being on the coast like that. - but that's just me.
Companies like Dolphin Waterslides offer both standard and custom landscape slide options made from fiberglass. These slides are usually intended to blend in with their surrounding while also offering a fun and playful feature but in my experience, you typically only end up with the fun and playful part. For some reason, these slides never end up looking like they're apart of the landscape and look more "man-made" and forced that anything else. They also require a significant change in elevation since the slide is running horizontal and takes up a lot of space. And the vertical space they take up, usually comes in the form of large "mountainous" rock work that in my opinion, doesn't look very good.
To be fair, these slides are still very popular in places like Oklahoma, Texas and Arizona where backyards have a lot more room than modern zero lot line properties in Miami. They're great slides if you're an outdoorsy type of person also and you like all the big, monolithic looking rock work weather it be real or fake. It's just never really been "my style" and the majority of the ones I come across aren't my favorite.
Splinterworks slides come with an unbeatable 5 year warranty. And they should considering the quality and expense but still, 5 years is pretty impressive for any outdoor product.
Splinterworks slides don't require any maintenance but if you're looking for something to do they recommend cleaning regularly with fresh tap water to avoid build up of deposits but it's still purely cosmetic.