How Much Does an Above Ground Pool REALLY Cost?

above ground pool cost

Many people opt for an above ground because it’s cheaper than a traditional in-ground pool.

While in-ground pools can cost anywhere between $10,000 and $100,000 depending on size and type, you can get yourself a complete above ground pool for under $1,000.

Of course, the final costs depend on the type and size of the pool as well as installation and extras such as a pool deck. A robust above ground pool with the deck can cost you as much as $15,000.

Generally, you’ll spend less on an above ground pool even after adding installation costs.

In this article, we discuss all the costs involved in setting up an above ground pool. These include average purchase prices as well as costs of installation and add-ons like ladder, deck, and heaters.

If you’ve already decided that you want an above ground pool, read our in-depth guide to the best above-ground pools to find the right one for your home. 

How Much Does an Above Ground Pool Kit Cost?

Bestway Rectangular Frame Above Ground Pool - 18’x9’x48″

Most above ground pool manufacturers just sell the kit; they don’t install the pool.

A complete kit typically includes parts to assemble the main pool, fittings such as valves and suction/return lines, a filter pump and various accessories including a ladder, ground cloth, and pool cover.

The price of the kit depends on several factors.

Types of Above Ground Pool

You can spend as little as $50 or as much as $4,000 depending on the kind of pool you want.

Vinyl or PVC inflatable pools such as Intex Easy Set or Bestway Fast Set are the cheapest with the smallest sizes costing less than $50.

These are best for kids, for temporary use or as family wading pools. They are easy to set up (zero installation costs, usually) but don’t last long, with most lasting 1-3 seasons only.

Steel framed pools tend to be bigger and sturdier. A complete kit that includes the liner and steel frame starts at around $100 for smaller pools to between $700 and $1,500 for 24’ and 32’ steel framed pools.

Steel framed pools provide the best balance between durability and price.  

Resin and metal above ground pools are the most expensive with prices starting at about $1,000 and going up to $5,000 for large sizes. Though expensive, these pools are very durable.

Size of Above Ground Pool

Size is another major factor that will determine how much you spend on an above ground swimming pool.

Obviously, the larger the pool, the more expensive it’s going to be.

Above ground pools typically start at 8 feet. These are usually vinyl inflatable pools. They cost about $50 and top out at around $300 for 18-foot inflatable pools.

You can also get a small 8’, 10’ or 12’ steel frame above ground pool for between $100 and $150.

If you want a bigger above ground pool that can hold your entire family, you’ll spend between $300 and $700 for a15ft to 20ftsteel frame pool.

Most above ground pools between 8 and 18 feet are 30 inches deep (with a few exceptions). If you want an above ground pool you can comfortably swim in, find one that’s wider and deeper.

We recommend a 26” to 32” pool with a depth between 48” and 52”. For such a pool, you’ll spend at least $900 and up to several thousand dollars for a 32” metal pool.

If you want a large above-ground pool without spending too much money, look for a steel-framed pool. Though not as hardy as a metal or resin pool, you can still get 7-10 years out of it or up to 15 if you replace the liner.

Accessories and Parts

What’s included in the kit also determines the price tag.

Generally, it’s better to get a complete kit with all the necessary parts. It may cost you more, but it saves you the trouble of hunting down compatible parts online or at a local store.

A basic kit will have just the parts you need to assemble the pool. For an inflatable pool, this is just the liner. For a steel frame pool, this includes the liner and parts to assemble the frame.

Most, but not all, above ground pools also come with a filter pump and the valves and fittings you need to connect the pool to the pump.

Note: Depending on the size of the pool, you may need to buy a more powerful filter pump. Companies like Intex usually provide an underpowered pump.

Most also come with a ladder, usually made from steel.

Beyond these basics, additional accessories may increase the cost of the pool.

How Much Does it Cost to Install an Above Ground Pool?

splash pools oval deluxe

Maintaining an above ground pool is not expensive.

Some of the cleaning and maintenance tools you may need include a wall-mounted skimmer, hand-held skimming net, a pool brush and vacuum, and an automatic pool cleaner.

An above-ground pool also needs chemical balancing just like an in-ground pool. We recommend getting a pool chemical and testing kit. You can get a good one for less than $100.

Note that you’ll spend more on pool maintenance if you decide to use professional pool services. But with an automatic pool cleaner, a wall brush, and a testing and chemical kit, you can do all the maintenance yourself and save money.

Does the Pool Need Ground Preparation?

above ground pool cost

Most inflatable and steel framed pools are designed to sit on your backyard with minimal preparation. You just need to find a flat area and remove small rocks and other sharp objects from the ground.

However, if the pool is big or if you cannot find a level area on your backyard, you may need to prepare the ground before installation.

This may require buying additional supplies (e.g., sand) and paying a pro to level the ground.

For large steel-framed and metal pools, the manufacturer may recommend preparing a sand or concrete pad for the pool to ensure it’s stable.

If your backyard slopes significantly, you may need to have the pool installed partially in the ground.

Costs can range from a couple of hundred dollars to thousands of dollars depending on how much ground preparation is required.

To avoid any surprises, ask a pool expert for advice before buying the pool. Ask them to come and survey your backyard.

Depending on the type and size of pool you plan to buy, they’ll advise you whether you need any extensive ground preparation so you can budget for it in advance.

Type of Pool

above ground pool cost

Inflatable and steel framed pools are the cheapest to install (if you prefer professional installation vs. DIY) since they require minimal ground preparation and are quick to assemble.

Resin and metal pools cost more to install since they require extensive ground preparation and take more time and effort to assemble.

As for size, a bigger pool will take more time and preparation to install, and thus set up costs will be higher.

The shape of the pool matters too. Oval pools typically cost more to install compared to round and rectangular pools.

Installing a Deck?

A deck adds more functionality to the above ground pool. In addition to swimming, you can also relax near the pool with family and friends.

A deck also provides added aesthetic value to the pool. In other words, it makes the pool look better. Without a deck, some above ground pools seem like a giant tub dropped in your backyard.

A pool deck significantly adds to your overall budget. Depending on the size and material of the deck, you can spend anywhere between $1,000 and $10,000 just on the deck.

The average cost is about $15 to $30 per square foot of decking depending on materials and design.

If you want to save costs, install a deck just on one side of the pool. That will cost you between $1,000 and $3,000.

A 2-sided deck will cost about $5,000, a 3-sided one around $6,500 and a complete wrap-around deck can easily cost more than $10,000.

With a pool deck comes the need for pool furniture. These include chairs, lounges, and other items. Don’t forget to add the cost of these to your budget.

Pool Accessories

assembly kit

Accessorizing your pool will also add to your budget. It’s up to you how much you are comfortable spending on accessories.

Here are some common pool accessories.

Heater: A pool heater allows all-day and year-round swimming. It’s also great if you use your pool for therapeutic swimming. Costs range from $100 for solar pool heaters to $1,000+ for electric heaters.

Powerful filter pump: If the included filter pump doesn’t seem to be circulating the water quickly enough, a more powerful pump will help. A 2,500 GPH (ideal for pools with 4,000 gallons or more of water) Intex Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter Pump costs less than $200.A 3,000 GPH Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump costs about the same.  

Saltwater system: If you’d prefer to use little or no chlorine, you’ll need to change to a saltwater system. A small one costs about $100 while a large one for a 25,000-gallon pool costs about $900. But first, make sure you can use a saltwater system with your pool. Check the manual or ask the manufacturer.

Skimmer: A skimmer catches floating leaves and debris to keep your pool cleaner and reduce the burden on your primary filter. A wall-mounted skimmer costs between $20 and $50.

Automatic pool cleaner: An automatic pool cleaner makes pool maintenance much easier and less time-consuming. You’ll spend around $70-$250 for suction or pressure-side cleaner and around $300-$600 for a robotic pool cleaner.

Other accessories include a pool cover, ground cloth, sturdy ladder, pool steps, and a maintenance kit.

How Much Does it Cost to Maintain an Above the Ground Pool?

above ground pool cost

Maintaining an above ground pool is not expensive.

Some of the cleaning and maintenance tools you may need include a wall-mounted skimmer, hand-held skimming net, a pool brush and vacuum, and an automatic pool cleaner.

An above-ground pool also needs chemical balancing just like an in-ground pool. We recommend getting a pool chemical and testing kit. You can get a good one for less than $100.

Note that you’ll spend more on pool maintenance if you decide to use professional pool services. But with an automatic pool cleaner, a wall brush, and a testing and chemical kit, you can do all the maintenance yourself and save money.

Frequently Asked Questions About Above Ground Pool Costs

above ground pool cost

How long do above ground pools last?

It depends on the type of pool. An inflatable pool lasts 1-3 seasons while a steel frame or metal above ground pools can last 7-15 years with good maintenance.

How much is an above ground pool with a deck?

An above-ground pool with deck costs between $2,000 and $12,000 depending on the size of the deck, design, and materials used.

Can you put an above ground pool in the ground?

Yes, some above ground pools can be put in the ground, usually only partially. This is done when the ground is sloped or just for aesthetics.

Check with the manufacturer whether the pool can be installed in the ground and the safest way to do it.

What is the best above ground pool?

Read our above ground pool buying guide to find the best above ground pool for your home. 

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