Cons: shorter, narrower, thinner, smaller splash pool than the competition
The Bottom Line: go with the Whamo brand
Well, you know how it goes. Last summer when we had incidents with the Banzai Wild Waves Water Park I vowed never to use Banzai products again. However we had a heck of a time finding a Slip 'n Slide locally. Our Whamo brand Slip 'n Slide from the previous year finally bit the dust when my son ran it over with the Power Wheels so needed to be replaced. Against my better judgement I bought another Banzai product, the water slide. This time the dimensions were on the box up to 16' long, but that is deception again. The Whamo is 18" so I thought 2' was not a big deal. But the Banzai is 16' total, the Whamo is 18' sliding surface so there is more than 2' difference. It is enough that it is noticable when you set it up.
The very first thing I noticed though, was again the much thinner plastic. Then I noticed the much smaller splash area. As I was taking note of the smaller splash area I noticed it was also all 1 piece. The Whamo brand one has 3 seperate sections to blow up. So if you get a hole it is easier to find. We did last year and the 1st time were able to patch it, the 2nd time, because it was a side, we still used it without that side (I was going to patch it until my son ran it over). The Whamo one the splash sides are also about twice as tall.
I bought the Banzai Water Slide just hoping to get my $6 worth. It was on clearance at Toys R Us and I just wanted something until I could find a double lane one. I have 5 kids, 3 of which use the slide, and the baby thinks it makes a great crawl through the sprinkler and sit in the pool at the end. So we felt we needed something bigger. So far it has not broken so I am thinking we just might get that $6 worth but I have no confidence that it will have a long life span. It faded in the sun on the very first day.
As for functionality, it does work. The tube sprays the water as intended though once you turn it on you do typically have to go back and make sure the water filled tube is aimed toward the slide and not leaning the other direction. We do not turn the water up very high on these so that the water is going mostly onto the slide not over it. So we do not really make a tunnel of water to go through as the way we do it it is too short but it keeps the slide wetter that way. Since the water spray is basically just a tube with holes there is not a lot of difference between the 2 brands. The big difference is that the Banzai one lacks anything aiming to fill the splash pool so it just fills up from run off and the last couple holes landing in it a little bit. But since the splash pool is so much smaller this works just fine.
Set up, as in most slip and slides, is very straight forward. You lay it out and then you stake it down. The Banzai only uses 2 stakes at the beginning. Since our Whamo had 2 at the end hidden under the ends of the splash pool I worried that it would not stay in place. But the water in it holds it in place just fine. When left in the sun the sun heats up the thinner plastic though. Not only does this fade it very easily but it makes any folds stick together. So the next time I went to use it the edges were stuck folded inward a couple inches and I had to go along the entire length and peel it apart. Of course since it had been sitting like that it "remembered" the position so wanted to flip back over until it was wet enough and had been played with a while. This was not a big deal though and did not require constant fixing. But it did take an extra couple minutes at the start that the Whamo one did not.
In addition to a 16' water slide ending in a splash with inflated sides you also receive a body board to ride on. It is narrow and thin, not like in the picture. I was shocked at how narrow it is. It does make it easy to hold onto but it is not even as wide as their body which does not make for much landing surface. This is certainly saying something since the main users are only 2 and 4. It is also thin so does not offer much cushion. Since my kids are used to not having anything though, when they do use it I am sure it is better than nothing so it does serve it's purpose. I also think that it has held up pretty well considering kids jump on it.
Amount Paid (US$): 6 Type of Toy: Other Age Range of Child: 6 to 8 Years