If a patch will fix your problem, here is how you decide:
1. Determine the type of tear.
For a tear on a seam, the repair kits may be more useful since they come with a reinforcing filament. For surface tears or long tears, patching by the foot may be more appropriate.
2. Determine the type of inflatable you have.
Commercial grade: These inflatables are very large (larger than 10'), have higher capacities (5 or more children, 1,000 to 1,500 pounds), and are made of vinyl. Vinyl feels like a thin rubber, is waterproof, and has a smooth feel to it. River rafts are made of vinyl. Inflatables sold at retail such as Costco or Walmart are NOT typically made of vinyl. Use Type B patch for vinyl.
Residential grade: These inflatables are smaller (less than 10'), have lower capacities (2 or 3 children, 100 to 300 pounds), and are made of various types of inferior materials. These materials have a softer feel, more like a synthetic fabric or nylon. The material may feel more like a parachute or a stiff synthetic clothing. Inflatables sold at retail such as Costco or Walmart are typically residential-grade. Use Type A patch for these inflatables.