Best Snow Tubes Reviewed & Rated for Quality
There’s nothing that quite compares to riding on a snow tube. Not even normal sleds or toboggans can quite match the exhilarating thrill of spinning and sliding down a snowy hill on a cold winter morning at top speed on top of a snow tube. But, as with all things, some tubes are better than others. Because as simple as snow tubes are, and they are very simple devices, there is still a lot that goes into making one work right. There are a ton of different things that need to come together just right. The material has to be right, the tube has to be a certain size for either adults or kids, the handles have to be installed correctly, and a ton of other stuff that we’ll go over more thoroughly in a second. But for now, it should be stated that for all our snark, we don’t consider a single entry on this list to be bad. If #10 interests you more than number one, then, by all means, go for it. We just wanted to show you what we consider to be the ten greatest options on the market right now.
A great snow tube is at once a simple device and a complicated one because while it doesn’t take much to make one that works, there’s a lot that goes into figuring out how to make one that stands above the rest as something truly special. So what does decide this? Well, that’s what we’re here to find out. We’ve compiled a list of the ten greatest snow tubes, both for kids and adults. So get ready for some winter fun, because we’re counting down the list!
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Criteria Used in Choosing the Best Snow Tubes
As we said, there’s shockingly a lot that goes into making a truly great snow tube. A lot of different plates need to be spinning a certain way all at the same time, or else it just won’t be as good. So when we compiled this list, we made sure to have a set amount of criteria that each and every entry needed to follow to some extent in order to be considered. And when they got on, how well they followed those criteria helped to determine how far up the list they got. In no particular order, here are the criteria we came up with.
You’re going to be riding this down a steep, snowy hill, but the thing to remember is that all of the rocks, twigs, and other things that were there during the summer are still under that snow. And the cold has hardened the otherwise soft dirt into being as hard as concrete. So you want to make sure that the tube either you or your child will be riding on is going to be able to measure up. The key to a durable snow tube is the material used to make it. There’s of course rubber, the original material, and that works fine on its own. But while rubber is incredibly flexible, being filled with air makes rubber more dense as a result, and thus less flexible against physical stress, which makes it more vulnerable.
The most common materials used for high-quality tubes today are vinyl, polyethylene, and in the cases of Bradley tubes, canvas. The durability of these materials relies heavily on their denier count, which is the system by which fabrics are judged for durability. Of course, we looked for materials that had a high denier count.
When judging the speed of a snow tube, we had but one question for each entry: what side is meant to touch the ground, and what was done to this side to make it more effective at this task? The speed of a snow tube relies solely on how tough and smooth the bottom is. Toughness for obvious reasons, since it’s the side most likely to come across something likely to break it. But the smoothness of a tube dictates how much or how little traction and resistance the ground has on it, and snow can be stubborn under the right circumstances. This is why all the higher tier entries on this list all have some kind of extra coating or reinforcement added to their bottom halves. It gives them more of a glide across the ground, making for a faster, more fun experience. And as the #5 pick showcased thoroughly, add the right material in the correct amount, and the speeds you can achieve with a snow tube are unreal.
Obviously, you need a snow tube to be rather large. After all, you’re going to be riding on top of the thing, and if you’re an adult, that means you need a lot of elbow space so you don’t fall off. Fortunately, the entries we screened for this list pretty much had this area covered, separating sizes based on what age a person could feasibly ride on top of them. For sizes like 38”, it’s generally accepted that only kids or teens should be riding. Meanwhile sizes larger than that are given to the adult section. We found this to be the easiest criteria to screen, as everyone was pretty much on the same page here.
So here’s a good tip for you first-timers; do not leave your snow tube out in the sun for too long. At least not if it hasn’t been coated by its manufacturer in highly specific materials and chemicals meant to combat UV rays. Because those rays wreak absolute mayhem on snow tubes, weakening the strength of their construction and making them easier to pop, no matter how tough the materials used to make it actually are otherwise. And you’re wrong if you think the presence of snow removes any danger of this happening. The sun isn’t weaker, the planet is just further away than the rest of the year. So we made sure that every one of the higher up entries had some kind of UV resistant coating or, failing that, some other protection from the elements. For instance, if your tube is made of rubber, or at least has a ton of it in its construction, then leaving it out in the cold overnight is a terrible idea. Rubber becomes stiff and brittle when refrigerated, which is something you don’t want to come up when you’re sledding at top speed down a hill.
The price of these products might be a lot higher than you think at first. At least it is if you want a snow tube that’s actually something worth talking about. Yes, as the list itself has shown, there are plenty of high-quality snow tubes out there for more than reasonable prices, but if you want something that’s, say, professional grade, then you’ll have to pay a lot more. The price of a snow tube all depends on what’s added to it. Whether it’s the material used to make it (polyethylene is a touch more expensive to requisition than rubber) or the features added to it, whether they be higher grade handles, more slick bottoms, certain coatings to add environmental resistance, and so much more we could mention. However, we feel we’ve made our point, which is that the way we judged price as a criterion for this list is whether or not the high price tag actually reflects everything the tube in question gives us.
Top 10 Picks
1. Bradley Snow Tube Sled 57"
Starting off our list, we have the Bradley Snow Tube Sled 57”. This tube actually comes in one of two sizes, either this or the 48”, which we’ll get into later. For the first entry, though, we chose the larger one, for reasons which we’ll go over now.
600 Denier Canvas Top
While the body of this tube is rubber, as is common even today, the top of this tube, the section wherein you are intended to sit while riding in it, is made of something a bit cozier. Instead of the rough, stubborn rubber, the top is instead made of 600 Denier canvas, a soft, comfortable material, that is still as durable as the rest of the tube, so as to avoid any weak spots.
Heavy-duty vinyl bottom
Meanwhile, the bottom of this tube is an equally tough material, a heavy duty slick industrial vinyl that can take anything lying beneath the snow that it just happens to ride over. This is mostly thanks to the material sewn in with it, known as RapidGlide Technology, an anti-friction technology with tensile strength up to 425lb.
Cost and Value
Of course, a tube of such high quality and tough as nails construction doesn’t come cheap. It’s very common to find this tube being sold in the triple-digit price range, in fact. Fortunately, we can say with almost certainty that you will not regret the purchase.
2. Tube in a Box
In our second place, the spot goes the Tube in a Box Original Snow Tube. As the name says, this is, in fact, the original snow tube toy, still continued to this very day. And as the placement of this list would lead you to believe, it still holds up today just as much as it did back in the day.
UV ray resistant
One flaw with snow tubes, or really any kind of tube in general, is that the sun is not kind to them. Enough exposure to UV rays for a long enough time and the tube will just outright pop right then and there. At the very least it will weaken the composition of the tube’s construction. Which is why this tube makes sure to be UV ray resistant so that it can handle the sun’s rays without any issues.
Variety of sizes
A lot of people actually like using this snow tube for the pool, especially those who live in more tropical areas that don’t see any snow at all. And when you’re going from snow tube to pool tube, you need some bigger sizes. Which is why this tube is available in as big a size as 68” wide. Be careful though, the bigger the size, the bigger the pay.
Cost and Value
In smaller sizes, this tube is perfectly affordable. However, like we said, if you want the larger sizes, then you need to be ready to pay a significantly larger fee than you normally would.
3. Tricam BT-45
Finishing up our top three segments, we have our third place pick, the Tricam BT-45 Snow Tube. This is the kind of snow tube you look for when you’re on a tight budget, but you still want something of high quality. Tubes like this are there for you when you’re in a situation like that, providing excellent service for reasonable prices.
Strong weight capacity
This tube may look simple from the pictures, but don’t let that fool you. When fully inflated, this high-quality rubber can withstand weights up to and even exceeding 250 pounds. Making it perfect for you and the kids to go sledding together on a snowy morning, without worrying about the combined weight ruining your fun prematurely.
Rubber coated valve
The last thing you want with the value of your snow tube is for it to end up letting the air out while you’re riding on it. Or potentially worse, accidentally letting other things in while you leave it open after deflating it. Thankfully this, and other tubes like it, have rubber coated air valves that prevent either of those scenarios from happening.
Cost and Value
This is what you go after when you’re on a budget, but nevertheless, want a high-quality tube of reasonable price, this is generally agreed to be the tube that you go with. You can either get this tube in 32” or 45”, and either price is very affordable for the quality workmanship you’ll be getting out of it.
4. Bradley Snow Tube Sled 48”
Coming in at number four, we once again have the Bradley Snow Tube Sled, but this time at 48”. As you can tell, the main difference between these two is size. And with a smaller size, comes a few other differences between them.
When you’ve been riding on snow tubes for a long time, you get very good at holding on for dear life so you don’t fall off, but if you don’t have that experience, you’re in for many pratfalls and viral internet videos made about your embarrassment. Thankfully, Bradley makes sure that all of their tubes are outfitted with sewn-in handles, that will firmly hold you in place when you’re sliding down even the steepest hill.
Some of the best fun you can possibly have with a snow tube is tying it to the back of your car and having it tow the tube behind it as you ride on top through the snow. Which is why this tube comes with an added tow strap, to which you can attach any rope or chain between it and your car for some high-speed snowy fun.
Cost and Value
Being of smaller size, it costs a good bit less than the number one slot, its significantly bigger brother. However, the price is still very high when taken on its own, but like its big brother, it’s worth every penny if you want the best of the best snow tube fun.
5. Fat Tire
Coming in at number five, we have the world famous Fat Tire Snow Tube. World famous because, in Scandinavia, Canada, and even here in the states, professional tube riders consider this tube the only choice if you want the best in speed and durability, to the point that snow parks and resorts are considered some of Fat Tires best customers, since they consider their magnum opus required for their parks. Let’s just see what makes it so special, shall we?
This is, without a doubt, one of the most durable tires in general on the face of the earth. Made even more impressive by the fact that the shell is made from the same 1000 denier nylon material that they use for pretty much every other tube on this list and elsewhere. And yet, through clever use of double stitching, this snow tube can take the kind of forces and collisions that would spell doom for any other snow tube.
And we do mean fast. The reason every pro athlete goes wild for this thing is the sheer amount of speed you can achieve when using it. Which is nothing short of insane, as some athletes have attested, saying that they had to start lower on the hill, simply because if they went any higher, the speeds they’d reach would be impossible to stop. This is all due, of course, to the Xutte 22 oz vinyl bottom that gives this tube a glide you wouldn’t believe.
Cost and Value
Get ready to crack open that wallet, and we hope you paid all your bills because this tube will make your wallet cry. Yes, the downside to being so famous and so wanted by everyone who wants that professional feel is that it has to ratchet up the price to stem the tide. However, if you have the money, consider this tube at the top of your list if the only thing on your mind is pure, adrenaline pumping speed.
In our number six place, we have the GoFloats Winter Snow Tube. This is about as perfect a first snow tube as you can get for your young child who wants to join all their friends on the sledding slope. Sporting cute animal designs, but not reneging on the quality build, this is one awesome start to a love of snow tubing.
Despite its childish appearance, this tube has one advantage over pretty much every tube on this list: the rapid-inflate valve. A unique kind of valve that inflates in literally seconds. And considering this tube is still an average size of 45”, that is definitely something worth being impressed by.
Snow weather treatment
You may notice upon feeling it compared to feeling some of the other tubes on this list is that this one feels a lot thicker than the others. That’s because this one uses a different kind of material that’s thicker, tougher, and allows for the animal designs to be implemented without hurting the structure of the tube.
Cost and Value
The best part about this tube is the price. It’s easily one of the most affordable tubes on this list. And considering that it’s still of very competent quality, that’s a very good deal.
7. Slippery Racer Grande XL
In our seventh place spot, we have the Slippery Racer Grande XL. When it comes to towable snow tubes, most people look to this one as being the absolute best one out there for towing behind a car and zooming down a snowy street. So what makes it so ideal for such a scenario? Well, for starters.
Double reinforced tow rope
Looking at any picture of this tube will tell you why this one is so preferable for tow sledding. Its tow rope is incredibly long, which can make for exciting and thrilling lengths while sledding. And, of course, the fact that it’s made of double reinforced nylon webbing, the same ultra durable material that the handles are made from incidentally, doesn’t hurt either.
Of course, this tube would not be able to take the speeds it boasts to be able to reach if it wasn’t tough on the street-meeting part. Fortunately, the base of this tube is made out of a heavy duty, slick polyethylene base. The polyethylene gives this tube the ability to take almost any kind of impact and gives it a kind of smoothness that lets it almost glide across any surface.
Cost and Value
The big drawback to this tube is the price. This is, without question, one of the most expensive tubes on this list, and on the market in general, even in smaller sizes. Once you get into the larger sizes, that price only grows from there.
8. Lucky Bums
Kicking off our final three entries, we have the Lucky Bums Rugged Snow Tube. if budget and reinforcement are at the top of your mind when looking for a snow tube, then you can definitely do a lot worse than this fine tube. But let’s see what other qualifications this tube brings to the table.
Built for sledding
One design difference you’ll quickly catch with this snow tube is the fact that the handles are both situated on the front. While this makes it unreasonable to sit on top of like with other options, it makes it perfect for sledding, the true purpose of this tube. And for extra safety, the handles are padded and sewn into the tube for durability.
Plastic coated bottom
While not exactly advanced polyethylene, any reinforcement to the bottom of the tube (the most vulnerable part of the tube) is a benefit, to be sure. And the plastic coating that reinforces the underside of this tube is definitely a benefit for when the tube hits some of the rocks and twigs hiding just below the surface of the snow.
Cost and Value
You’ll typically find this tube priced very reasonably, given what it’s offering you in terms of ability and services.
9. Flexible Flyer Paricon
In our second to final entry, we come to the Flexible Flyer Paricon Blizzard Tube. If your kid wants a fun, flashy, colorful tube to ride down the hill and impress all their friends, then this is definitely the one you want to go with. But are aesthetics the only thing going for this tube?
This is easily one of the most eye-catching snow tubes on this list. Sporting a flashy mix of oranges, yellows, and reds, this snow tube will leave your kid the talk of their friends and peers when they go sledding down the hill on it.
Sewn in handles are all well and good, but they can be a bit too flimsy for some people’s liking. So if you want to know that your kid can hold on and stay on, this tube comes with sturdy, solid plastic handles that will ensure your child doesn’t go anywhere.
Cost and Value
The best part about this tube is the price. No contest, this is the cheapest entry on this list, and considering how high quality it is, that fact alone makes this tube exceptional. So if winter is coming up, and your child wants to go tube sledding, then this is the perfect budget option for you.
10. Pipeline Sno
Finishing up our list, we have our number ten entry, the Pipeline Sno Single Rider Snow Tube. Touted as being the ultimate in wintertime fun, we don’t necessarily agree with that notion (in fact we have exactly 9 rebuttals) we can’t deny that this is still a very worthy addition to any child’s winter playtime toolset.
Even when you blow up a run of the mill snow tube all the way, your weight can sometimes cause the two sides to interconnect anyway. And when this happens, you leave yourself vulnerable to hard surfaces and rough landings. But this option has a special air cushion inside that blows up with the rest of the tube, giving you extra cushioning.
Cold crack additive
While the sun will be the biggest thorn in the side of your fun if you leave the tube out in it for too long, the cold can ironically be just as big a nuisance. However, with the cold crack additive that coats this tube, the cold won’t do even a tiny bit of damage to this tube whatsoever.
Cost and Value
Unlike the previous entry, despite sharing a lot of similarities (to the point that we almost mistook it for a different color of the number nine pick when we first evaluated it) it costs up to twice what you’d pay for our previous entry. Which of course, puts this entry lower.