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In the summer of 2020, home water toys have become all the rage, thanks primarily to what’s going on in the world. Aldi, as it does every year, has been putting up summer Aldi Finds designed to beat the heat, but unlike previous years, it’s struggled to keep up with the mad rush of consumers hoping to score something for their kids, or maybe for themselves.
When Aldi decided it was going to sell a giant sprinkler, we made plans to review it. Unfortunately, the sprinklers disappeared off shelves so quickly we didn’t have a chance. However, a few weeks later, a good friend contacted us letting us know that she’d previously purchased the dino version but for various reasons wasn’t going to use it. She offered to sell her unopened, unused dino to us, giving us the chance to finally do the review we’d hoped to do.
Aldi sold two Summer Waves sprinklers: the Summer Waves Unicorn Giant Sprinkler, and the Summer Waves Dino Giant Sprinkler. Both are Aldi Finds, meaning that they were only in stores for a short time. In 2020, the sprinklers cost $39.99.
Summer Waves is a brand owned by Polygroup Holdings Limited, a Hong Kong-based multinational manufacturer of artificial Christmas trees, Christmas lights, inflatables, and pools. Summer Waves is probably the most familiar name in the Polygroup portfolio: the brand can be found just about everywhere, from big box stores to dollar stores to, occasionally, German grocers.
While Summer Waves products are sold in many places, I could not find any other outlets that sell this exact sprinkler. Target sells a Sun Squad Unicorn Sprinkler and Amazon sells a lot of unicorn sprinklers, but none of them are identical to the Aldi ones. I don’t know to what degree the Summer Waves Unicorn and Dino sprinklers are Aldi exclusives; it’s probably enough to say that they’re not in many other stores. Aldi’s price on this giant sprinkler is as low or lower than most other sprinklers of its type.
A Word About the Unicorn
We did not get our hands on the unicorn, which is unfortunate because it was the one we’d hoped to review. There are some differences between the two, but when possible we’ll talk about parts of the unicorn that are similar to the dino. They are shaped differently, but the way they handle water and air is similar. That means that some of the pros and cons we saw with the dino will be relevant to the unicorn.
Inside the Box
On the front page of the manual, among all the warnings and disclaimers, is a 2-year limited warranty, something that isn’t explicitly mentioned on the box or on Aldi’s website. According to the manual, using the warranty requires the original receipt, is valid only to the original purchaser, and is “limited solely to the repair or replacement of the product.” The warranty is also considered invalid “should the Purchaser modify or repair the product themselves or by unauthorized persons,” along with several other reasons. In addition, “normal wear-and-tear” and “acts of God” are not covered by the warranty.
We have several questions. Does that mean applying the repair patch invalidates the warranty? If a refund is not an option, what if the manufacturer has no more replacements and the defect is beyond repair? What constitutes normal “wear-and-tear?” Are there any shipping costs associated with warranty work, either in sending back a defective one or receiving a new one? We don’t know, and since we’re not eligible for the warranty — we bought it from someone else — for us it’s a moot point anyway.
Hours: Mon to Friday – 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM EST
651 S. Stratford Suite 100
Meridian ID 83642 USA
Service Email: Warranty(at)polygroup.com
Also, Aldi does have a refund policy on Aldi Finds, even in the summer of 2020. So if you have a defective product, you may be able to get your money back.
Setting It Up
The manual gives pretty basic setup instructions, which boil down to:
- Take the product out of the box and make sure all the parts are included.
- Fill water into the base through the drain plug, around 1/3 of the volume of the space, then seal the plug.
- Inflate the base and the horizontal body through the air valves.
- Seal the valve with the valve lid and press the valve into the unit to get a flat surface.
- Connect the garden hose with the water hose connector.
In practice, setting up the giant sprinkler is more complicated than that. For starters, on the dino there are three places where you have to put water in: the two legs and the tail. (I assume for the unicorn it’s the four feet.) The water is meant to weigh the sprinkler down. The problem is that the drain plugs face toward the ground and are finicky to use, so it takes some time to get them filled and set up properly. I was also concerned about damaging the plastic either through overfilling the water or handling the water-filled feet.
Next is filling things with air. On the dino, there are five separate air spaces: the two feet, the two legs, and the body. Each has its own air valve, and you have to fill each of them individually. It probably goes without saying, but you will need a pump of some kind. The body, especially, is so large that I can’t imagine trying to blow it up simply with my own lungs. Also, the valve on the main body — located at the tail — is a larger air valve, as opposed to the more standard air valves on other parts of the dino that you see with smaller inflatables.
I used an Intex plug-in electric pump I’ve had for a while. I have to admit that I was uneasy about using a plug-in pump around a sprinkler that was already wet — and surrounded by some water — from putting water in the feet. (A hand pump or battery pump will be slower, but may also be safer.) The manual warns against using an air compressor, which it says will destroy the product. It’s probably easiest to inflate the two feet first, then the legs, and finally the body. I had to go back and add a little air to the various parts to make the dino stand upright.
When fully inflated, the dino doesn’t stand the advertised 7 feet tall. It’s closer to 6 feet with a long tail that, if measured from tail to head, probably is around 7 feet. But it may be more fair to say that the dino is 7 feet long than 7 feet tall. I can’t speak to how the unicorn measures out.
Plugging It In
Once I had it set up, I plugged in the hose. I don’t have a quick-connect hose — I’m using an older Gardenline hose — so I simply screwed it in. And just to get this out of the way … yes, the hose does plug in between the legs, although it is a little off-center.
We turned on the hose and noticed a couple of things. First off, it seems like a little water pressure goes a long way. Even just turning the hose on a little, we had a pretty decent spray, and when we turned it on a lot, we had a lot of spray. The connection between our hose and the sprinkler leaked some regardless of the water power we put out.
In addition, some of the water from the sprinkler bounced off the dino’s nose. We’re not sure if that could be fixed by adding more air, and it felt pretty full of air as is.
Our daughters mostly liked it. It’s a fairly detailed inflatable, and there is a novelty to running under the spray coming out of the mouth. It’s definitely a novelty, though. You can easily get bigger and better spray from any number of conventional sprinklers out there, so the appeal to this is simply about running under a giant animal that is shooting water. Is that worth $40? Our daughters were of the opinion that they weren’t sure it was, although they did have some fun with it.
How Long Will It Last?
That is the question.
In general terms, I can’t see how this is a product that will take a lot of punishment. The air cavities are so big that it’s not hard to see how easily they could be damaged, either on the surface or across one of the sprinkler’s many seams. Setting it up, playing with it, and taking it down are all potential ways it could get hurt, and even a small hole or break could effectively ruin the entire sprinkler. There’s just not a lot of margin for error.
Our dino isn’t without a defect, either. As best as we can tell, one of the legs appears to have a small leak. Over time, the air flows out of the leg, and eventually he doesn’t stand up anymore. We looked closely and listened but couldn’t identify a source of the leak. We don’t know if it’s a seam or a tiny hole on the surface.
As I mentioned earlier, the sprinkler does have a warranty, and Aldi will issue refunds on Aldi Finds. If your sprinkler has problems, you may be able to do something about it.
The Summer Waves Giant Dino Sprinkler and the Summer Waves Giant Unicorn Sprinkler are big on novelty. If you want a large inflatable animal that shoots water … well, it shoots water. But is it worth $40? That probably depends on the consumer. We’re skeptical, especially given how easily this can get damaged: our tested version, in fact, does leak air a little from one of the legs, and we can see a number of ways in which this sprinkler could end up tearing, breaking, or simply wearing out.
The kids will probably get some entertainment out of it. Whether it’s $40 worth of entertainment is an open question.