intex ultra frame pool

The 10 Best Above Ground Pools For 2021: : Reviews & Buying Guide

Looking for the best above ground pool?

You’ve come to the right place.

With so many sizes, styles, and brands in the market, not to mention the wildly different prices, it can be challenging to choose the right above ground pool for your needs.

In this in-depth buying guide, we will compare and review the best above ground pools from Intex, Bestway, and others.

We will also give you helpful tips on what to look for when shopping for a new above ground pool and how to maintain the pool after you buy it. So, read on this detailed intex pool review and make your choice wisely.

What's In This Buying Guide

Table of Contents

The 10 Best Above Ground Pools

The 10 Best Above Ground Pools Compared

Intex Easy Set pool
  • Intex Swimming Pool

  • Star rating
  • Best for young kids
  • Dimensions (L x W x H):
    8′ x 30″

  • Shape:

  • Volume (Gallons):

  • Material:

  • Setup(DIY)

Bestway Steel Pro pool
  • Bestway Steel Pro

  • star rating
  • Best steel frame pool
  • Dimensions (L x W x H):
    18′ x 48″

  • Shape:

  • Volume (Gallons):

  • Material:
    PVC liner and steel frame

  • Setup(DIY)

Intex Ultra Frame Round Pool Set
  • Intex Ultra Frame

  • star rating
  • Best saltwater pool
  • Dimensions (W x H):
    18’ x 52”

  • Shape:

  • Volume (Gallons):

  • Material:
    PVC liner and steel frame

  • Setup(DIY)

Fitmax iPool D
  • Fitmax iPool D Set

  • star rating
  • Best small exercise pool
  • Dimensions (L x W x H):
    11.5′ x 8.5′ x 45″

  • Shape:

  • Volume (Gallons):

  • Material:
    PVC liner and steel frame

  • Setup(DIY)

    (except heater)

  • Intex Ultra Frame Rectangular

  • star rating
  • Best large rectangular pool
  • Dimensions (L x W x H):
    32′ x 16′ x 52″

  • Shape:

  • Volume (Gallons):

  • Material:
    PVC liner and steel frame

  • Setup(DIY)

Splash Pools oval
  • Splash Pools

  • Star rating
  • Best oval pool
  • Dimensions (L x W x H):
    30′ x 15′ x 52″

  • Shape:

  • Volume (Gallons):

  • Material:
    Vinyl liner, steel wall and steel frame

  • Setup(DIY)

    or Professional (recommended)

  • Intex Ultra Frame With Volleyball Kit

  • star rating
  • Best for volleyball
  • Dimensions (L x W x H):
    24′ x 12′ x 52″

  • Shape:

  • Volume (Gallons):

  • Material:
    PVC liner and steel frame

  • Setup(DIY)

Intex prism
  • Intex Prism Frame

  • star rating
  • Best value
  • Dimensions (L x W x H):
    15′ x 42″

  • Shape:

  • Volume (Gallons):

  • Material:
    PVC liner and steel frame

  • Setup(DIY)

Summer Waves Pool
  • Summer Waves Metal

  • star rating
  • Best budget
  • Dimensions (L x W x H):
    12′ x 30″

  • Shape:

  • Volume (Gallons):

  • Material:
    PVC liner and steel frame

  • Setup(DIY)

Intex Ultra XTR
  • Intex Ultra XTR

  • star rating
  • Best looking
  • Dimensions (L x W x H):
    18′ x 52″

  • Shape:

  • Volume (Gallons):

  • Material:
    PVC liner and steel frame

  • Setup(DIY)

Best Above Ground Pool Reviews

If you are looking for a pool your kids can enjoy, we recommend the 8ft by 30in Intex Easy Set swimming pool.

It’s small enough to fit most backyards but big enough for a family of 2-4, adults included.

Construction ​

All Intex Easy Set pools are made from heavy-duty vinyl.

The sidewalls are pretty tough and can easily withstand the weight and pressure of the water for several summers. They are also resistant to damage from sunlight and impact from objects.

Set-Up ​

Thanks to its compact size and lightweight material, the Intex 8’x 30” Easy Set pool is easy to set up.

It comes complete with a 330 GPH filter pump. The only thing you’ll need to purchase separately is a ground cloth.

Intex recommends setting it up on the flat ground. Make sure the power cord for the filter pump can reach a GFCI outlet and that your garden hose can reach the pool.

The Intex Easy Set pool uses an inflatable ring at the top to maintain the pool’s structure and hold the water in. Inflate the ring before you add water.

Several customers noted that you might need to re-inflate the ring every now and then to keep it firm.

NOTE: For safety, the pool will not collapse if the ring deflates by accident.

Overall, it takes about 10 minutes to prepare the pool for filling.

When it’s time to drain the pool, connect a garden hose to the drain plug at the bottom to drain the water away from the pool area.




Steel framed pools are sturdier, more durable, and can hold more water compared to Vinyl-only pools.

The Bestway Steel Pro 18’ by 48” pool is perfect for most families. It holds around 6,000 gallons of water with support from the heavy-duty liner and a non-rust steel frame.

Construction ​

The Bestway Steel Pro consists of a vinyl liner and a steel frame.

The liner is made from a Tritech material. This is a type of material consisting of 3 layers: two layers of laminated PVC sandwiching a polyester mesh core.

The 3-ply design provides additional strength, protection, and durability.

On the outside, a steel frame keeps the pool rigid. The steel used is rust and corrosion-resistant.

A 3-ply support band wraps around the exterior of the pool to provide extra support and hold the frame legs in place.

Set-Up ​

The Bestway Steel Pro is designed for quick DIY set up. You don’t need any tools, and everything you need is included in the package.

Spread out the provided ground cloth first then place the empty liner on it. Attach the metal frame and finish by setting up all connections before filling the pool as directed in the manual.

The pool comes with a filter pump, so you don’t need to buy it separately. You’ll also get a pool cover to keep out debris and a ladder for easy access in and out of the pool.

However, customers say the pool cover and ground cloth are of low quality. You might prefer getting your own thicker ground cloth or tarp and solar cover.

At the end of the season, connect a garden hose to the drain valve for easy mess-free draining.




If you’d rather not swim in a traditional chlorine pool, a salt-water pool is a healthier alternative.

The Intex Ultra Frame pool comes with a salt-water system that produces a milder and healthier form of chlorine to keep your pool clean and safe.

You don’t have to add chlorine tablets to the pool.

The pool is large, making it a good choice for big families.

On the downside, it is expensive. But it’s worth the price if you want a large high quality and durable salt-water pool for your family.

Construction ​

A pool this large needs plenty of support.

The Intex Ultra Frame pool has two main parts that contain the water and ensure durability: a 3-ply heavy-duty liner and steel frame that’s powder-coated to provide rust protection.

The pool holds 6,981 gallons of water.

Set-Up ​

Despite its size, the pool is relatively easy to set up; it’s just that you need more time compared to smaller pools.

Two people can set it up in about an hour.

You don’t need any tools, nor do you need to hire a pro. If the manual is not enough, watch the instructional DVD included or check out various YouTube videos.

In addition to the liner and the metal frame, the package also includes the following parts and accessories.

It’s essential to set up the pool on level ground. You may need to level the installation area.

Note that the pool takes a while to fill up. Consider using a pool filling service. It might save you on your water bill.




Looking for the next piece of equipment to add to your gym? Why not a swimming pool.

That’s right; you can set up an exercise pool right in your garage, basement, or dedicated gym room.

We recommend the Fitmax iPool D Set. It provides low-impact resistance swimming and has a heater for year-round use and therapy.

The pool has a total footprint of just under 100 square feet (including the pool itself, the harness frame and the ladder). You can set it up indoors or in your backyard.

How The iPool D Set Works

The iPool D Set is a water gym as well as a heated therapy pool.

Instead of swimming around like in a standard pool, you swim in place with a dual-tether harness around your body. You can increase or decrease swimming resistance by adjusting the position of the harness using a knob.

It’s like a treadmill but for swimming.

It’s great for low-impact exercise, especially for people with injuries or joint problems.

The Fitmax iPool D Set includes a heater so you can use it even in cold weather. You can exercise all year round.

You can also heat the water for treatment for pain, inflammation, swelling, and other health problems.

It takes about 2-4 hours to heat the water to 80F.


The liner is a 5-layer material consisting of polyester coated with vinyl. This makes it exceptionally resistant against tears, punctures, and leaks.

A zinc-coated steel frame provides sturdy support, ensuring durability and safety.

Set-Up ​

Here’s what’s included in the package.

The iPool D Set takes a bit longer to set up compared to other pools. That’s because there are more parts to set up.

The first step is to find the right place to set it up. Ideally, figure this out before you order the pool.

Fitmax recommends setting it up in an area measuring at least 9’ x 12’ x 7’. If you set it up indoors, make sure the floor can support a weight of at least 1 ton.

If you set it up outside, find a flat area with no objects that can puncture or damage the pool.

Setting up the pool takes about an hour with two people working together.

You’ll need to assemble the pool liner and steel frame, the harness and the ladder.

Installing the pool is DIY project except for the heater. Because it needs to be hardwired, you’ll need to have an electrician install it for you.




If you want an above ground pool that’s almost as big as an in-ground pool, we recommend the 32ft by 16ft Intex Ultra Frame rectangular pool.

With a depth of 52” (4.3ft), it’s also as deep as some in-ground pools.

The generous dimensions provide a lot of swimming space for your family. It’s also the best pool if you often have other family members and friends over for swimming.


Considering its size and capacity (over 14,000 gallons), solid and sturdy construction is essential.

The liner is a 3-ply heavy-duty material that’s highly resistant to tearing and puncturing.

But what really holds up the pool is the ultra-strong galvanized steel frame. It feels light but is incredibly strong.

It’s also resistant to weather elements thanks to the powder coating that keeps out rust and corrosion.

Set-Up ​

Despite its size, the Ultra Frame rectangular pool is relatively easy to set up. You set it up like any other steel-framed pool. Only that this one will take longer to assemble and fill.

Start by finding a suitable spot for the pool. Because of its weight when full, avoid areas with soft, loose soil, sand or mud. It should also sit on completely level ground.

The pool comes with a ground cloth. Lay this cloth on the ground and under the liner to protect it from grass and other things that can damage the pool.

The frame is easy to assemble thanks to the lightweight design of the metal pieces and the easy locking system.

With the liner and frame standing ready, the final part is to finish all connections between the pool and the included sand filter pump.

Note that you’ll need to locate the pool near a GFCI outlet to power the sand filter pump.

The filter uses Hydro Aeration technology, where it mixes air with the pool water. This gives your pool a sparkling look. It also improves filtration by clumping together fine particles, which causes them to sink to the bottom and makes it easier to remove.

With everything set up, fill the pool with a garden hose or call pool filling services for a faster fill-up.

Now all you need to do is balance the pool’s chemicals, set up the included steel ladder, and enjoy your new swimming pool.

Our only complaint is that the pool doesn’t come with a drain plug adapter to connect to a garden hose for easy draining. You’ll have to buy it separately if you don’t want chlorinated water all over your lawn when emptying the pool.




Rectangular pools, not your thing? We recommend the Splash Pools large oval pool. It’s almost as large as the Intex Ultra Frame and just as deep.

However, it’s more than twice the price of the Intex Pool.

That’s because it’s mostly made from steel. Instead of just having a liner, the pool walls are steel.

It also has a steel frame for extra support and a 7” wide steel top ledge.

This is one of the sturdiest and most durable above ground pool you can buy. It’s expensive but worth it for those who want a pool that will last for years.


On the inside is a vinyl liner.

Unlike other above-ground pools, however, the liner is not there to support the weight of water. That’s the work of the galvanized steel pool wall, the steel top and bottom rails and the 6-inch vertical supports around the pool.

The steel wall has a Crystex coating that provides weather protection to prevent corrosion and rusting.

The manufacturer stands behind their product with a 15-year warranty, much longer than what you get with vinyl-wall pools.

So you can be sure that it will last for long.

Set-Up ​

The pool comes in 9 very heavy packages. In fact, it’s delivered on a pallet with a total weight of about 860lbs.

Here’s what included along with the pool.

You can certainly install the pool yourself with the help of at least three more people. But it will take you a lot of backbreaking work and likely the entire day.

You have to prepare a concrete pad to make sure the pool rests on a solid level surface. You also have to lift the heavy pool parts into place as you assemble the pool.

It’s easy to make a mistake, damaging the pool and maybe even voiding the warranty. Considering the price tag, it’s probably not a good idea to risk it.

I highly recommend hiring a pool installation company to handle it.

It will add to the overall cost, but you’ll be sure it’s been done right.




This is the smaller version of the 32ft by 16ft Intex Ultra Frame rectangular pool set.

It’s still fairly big at 24ft by 12ft.

It’s also lots of fun and not just for swimming but also playing. The pool includes a volleyball set for more fun with friends and family.

The volleyball kit includes a floating volleyball net and the ball itself.


Like other Ultra Frame Intex pools, this one consists of a 3-ply heavy-duty liner and a powder-coated steel frame.

Set-Up ​

Two people can set up the pool in an hour.

Everything you need is included with the pool. This includes a sand filter pump, a salt-water system, a ground cloth, a pool cover, and a ladder.

Make sure the installation area is completely level and can hold the weight of pool and water. You can set it up in the lawn or prepare a concrete pad.




Looking for a decent size above ground pool that isn’t too expensive? We recommend the 15ft Intex Prism round pool.

It’s affordable but provides plenty of space for swimming, a sturdy steel frame, and a powerful filter pump.

It’s perfect for anyone looking for a pocket-friendly family-sized above ground pool.


The Intex Prism Frame pool has a simple but sturdy construction consisting of a 3-ply liner and a steel tubing frame.

The steel parts are powder coated to prevent rusting and corrosion.

Set-Up ​

The Prism pool is easy to set up. It takes two people around 30 minutes to get it ready for filling.

Once you find a level ground, layout the included ground cloth to prevent grass and other objects from poking the bottom of the pool liner.

Next, you just need to assemble the liner and the steel frame. If you encounter any problems, watch the included instructional DVD.

The pool also comes with a 1,000 gph cartridge filter pump that uses Hydro Aeration Technology to improve filtration and give the pool a sparkling look.

You also get a removable steel ladder and a debris cover (though you might want to replace with a better quality solar cover).




It’s not quite wide or deep enough to take a proper swim, but the Summer Waves above ground pool is perfect for kids – and even adults – to splash around in.

It’s small enough to fit in most backyards or driveways, but large enough for a family of 4.

It is surprisingly affordable, especially for a pool with a metal frame, and that is big enough for an entire family.


The liner is a 3-ply puncture and tear-resistant material while the frame is made from rustproof steel.

It looks and feels sturdy. It’s likely to last for years.

Set-Up ​

Setting up the pool on your own takes 20-30 minutes.

You just need to find a level ground near a GFCI outlet. It doesn’t come with a ground tarp so you may want to get one before setting up the pool.

It also doesn’t include a pool cover. But you can get an affordable solar cover online that protects against debris while keeping the pool warm.

The pool comes with a filter pump and a built-in skimmer to keep the water clean.




If you are looking for an above ground pool that will complement your landscaping, get the Intex Ultra XTR Pool Set.

The round 18-footer looks particularly good for smaller backyards.

The grey finish blends in well with the lawn and flowers.

Unlike other above-ground pools where the steel frame and feet splay outwards, the Round Intex Ultra XTR pool uses neat vertical steel columns that give it a modern minimalist look.

The steel ladder complements the pool’s overall design.

Size-wise, the pool is wide and deep enough for swimming. It can easily fit a family of 3-6 with pool toys included.


The pool consists of a 3-ply liner that’s resistant to tearing and puncturing.

Most of the support comes from the steel frame that rings the perimeter of the liner.

The pool is powder-coated both on the inside and outside to prevent color-fading and keep out rusting and corrosion on metal parts.

Set-Up ​

It takes about an hour to set up the pool. Everything you need for installation is in the package including:

It’s essential that you set up the pool on level ground to ensure stability and prevent damage. If you can’t find a flat spot on your lawn, use some sand to create a level platform.

Another idea is to lay the pool on plywood. It provides a level surface without any risk of punctures from grass or rocks.




Why Choose an Above Ground Pool?

Intex Above Ground Pools

If you are torn between an in-ground pool and an above-ground one, there are many good reasons to go with the latter.

It’s cheaper to buy and install, it’s less of a hassle to maintain, and it doesn’t require as much space as an in-ground pool.

Here the best reasons to choose an above ground pool.

1. It’s Cheaper

According to Fixr, an in-ground pool can cost you anywhere between $27,000 and $90,000 depending on the type of liner, size, and additional features such as a pool fence. 

In contrast, large above ground pools cost between $1,000 and $3,000. Smaller pools cost less than $1,000.

2. Wider Choice of Models and Layout

You have more size, design, and layout options with an above ground pool. You can choose a round, oval, or rectangular pool and get a pool with a black, white, or a beautifully patterned exterior.

In-ground pools do come with options, but many of them add to your total cost. For instance, curved pool designs such as oval and kidney-shaped pools often cost more than rectangular in-ground pools.

For above-ground pools, there isn’t much of a price difference.

3. Easy and Inexpensive Installation

You can’t design and build your own in-ground pool. The professional and labor costs are part of the reason in-ground pools are expensive.

In contrast, setting up an above ground pool is usually a 1-2 hour DIY project.

And since most pools come with a complete installation kit, you’ll probably spend nothing setting up the pool.

4. Secure and Safe

One factor that drives up the overall cost of building an in-ground pool is the need for safety measures. This usually involves building a pool fence, installing a pool safety cover or both.

Those are extra expenses you have to factor into your budget.

Because it’s above the ground, an above ground pool is safe for kids and pets. Most don’t need a safety cover.

When the pool is not in use simply retract or remove the ladder to ensure no one goes in.

5. Ease of Maintenance

Because they are often smaller, contain less water and get less dirty, above ground pools are much easier to maintain.

They require fewer chemicals. Manually cleaning the pool also takes less time and is less tiresome.

If you don’t want to do any manual cleaning, you can also buy an above-ground robotic pool cleaner to do the cleaning for you.

6. Smaller Footprint

If you have a small backyard, an above ground pool is the best option for your family.

It takes much less space, and you can easily relocate or remove it if necessary.

Types of Above Ground Pools

There are several types of above ground pools based on size, design and construction. Here are the most common varieties.

Inflatable Pools

These are the simplest, smallest and cheapest types of above ground pools. They are typically designed to be wading pools for both kids and adults. You cannot swim in it. 

Because they have a low volume, most inflatable pools don’t have a filter nor a pump. You have to replace the water daily (if you are not adding any chlorine), or every two weeks (if you add chlorine). 

While cheaper than other types of above ground pools, inflatable pools don’t last very long. 

Top Ring Inflatable Pools

If you are looking for an affordable above ground pool that’s better quality and more durable than an inflatable pool, get a top ring inflatable pool. The most popular is Intex Easy Set. 

These pools have a heavy duty vinyl wall and an inflatable ring at the top. Only the ring, not the entire pool, needs to be inflated. It adds structure and support to the pool. 

Because of their stronger build, top ring inflatable pools can hold more water with some being as big as 15 feet wide. Most come with a filter pump (or have the option of adding one), meaning you don’t have to constantly drain the water. You fill the pool just once for the swim season. 

Most top ring inflatable pools are still smaller than other above ground pools, with many being just 10 feet wide. So they still count as wading pools that are not suitable for swimming. 

Both inflatable and top ring inflatable above ground pools are especially great for kids. They are not too deep and it’s easy to get in and out of the pool. That’s why most kiddie pools are either inflatable or top ring inflatable. 

Metal Frame Above Ground Pools

The next step up from inflatable pools are metal frame above ground pools such as the Intex Ultra Frame above ground pools. 

Metal frame pools have a heavy-duty vinyl liner that holds the water, and an external steel frame to provide robust support and rigidity. 

The use of a metal support frame, allows these pools to hold a lot more water. You can get a metal frame pool that’s as big as a standard in-ground pool (32’ by 16’). If you want an above ground pool you can actually swim in, get a metal frame pool. 

Of course, metal frame pools are pricey, more challenging to set up and require a big space. They also require the same level of maintenance as an in-ground pool. This means cleaning the filter, balancing the water and cleaning the bottom and sides of the pool.

Most metal frame pools come with a filter pump, though you can also use your own pump if the one included is not powerful enough. 

Metal Sided Above Ground Pools

The next step up from metal frame pools are metal sided pools. These above ground pools have a solid steel wall, making them incredibly strong and durable. 

If you want an above ground pool that will last for decades, get a metal sided pool. It’ll cost you several thousand dollars, but it’s worth it. 

Keep in mind that you’ll probably need professional installation if you get a metal sided pool. They are very heavy and need a solid and stable surface (e.g., a concrete slab). 

Other Types of Above Ground Pools

Another premium option that is very durable is a resin above ground pool. It’s corrosion-proof, but is susceptible to UV damage. It’s also expensive, usually even more expensive than steel pools. 

You may also come across aluminum above ground pools. They are corrosion-resistant, but can corrode and develop leaks. 

The biggest advantage of aluminum above ground pools is that they are light, and thus easier to set up or move compared to steel sided pools. 

Above Ground Pools by Shape

When considering shape, there are three types of above ground pools: round, rectangular and oval. 

Top ring inflatable pools are typically round, while metal frame, resin and metal sided pools can be round, rectangular or oval. 

Saltwater vs. Chlorine Above Ground Pools

Two types of above ground pools you’ll come across are saltwater and chlorine pools. 

Chlorine above ground pools are the most common. You add chlorine to the water to keep it safe and clean. 

But some people experience problems with the high level of chlorine in the pool. It can cause skin reactions, brittle hair and other issues. 

A saltwater system is an alternative to chlorine pools. Saltwater above ground pools come with a saltwater system that generates low levels of chlorine, just enough to disinfect the water, but not too much that it affects your health or fades the pool liner. 

Saltwater pools are pricier, but they are easier to maintain as you don’t need to add chlorine to the water. 

8 Factors to Consider Before Buying an Above Ground Pool

Intex Prism Frame Pool

Size of pool

The ideal size depends on how many people frequently use the pool. For kids, an 8’ pool will do. For small families of 3-5, get a 12’-18’ pool. For large families, we recommend a 24’-32’ pool. Also, consider the amount of space in your backyard when choosing the right pool size.


This one is mostly down to aesthetics and personal preferences. The most common options are rectangular, round, and oval.


Small and cheap pools consist only of vinyl. These are mostly ideal for kids, and they don’t last long.

The best above ground pools for most people are those that have a PVC lining and a supporting steel frame. They are affordable and last long.

The most expensive above ground pools have a metal siding. They tend to be bigger, and of course, they are more durable.

Safety concerns

If you have kids or pets, get a high above ground pool that they can’t enter whether intentionally or by accident. Make sure it also comes with a removable or retractable ladder.

If you want to get an above ground pool for your kids, find one with a shallow depth that they can safely splash and swim in.

Accessories and add-ons

Some of the best accessories to look for include a ladder (ideally a metal one), a ground tarp/cloth, a pool cover, and a skimmer. 

The pool should also come with a filter pump. Check the capacity of the pump – it’s usually given in GPH or gallons per hour. Some manufacturers like Intex tend to include underpowered pumps that are too small for the pool size. If that’s the case, you’ll need to buy a bigger pump. 

The same applies to the pool cover and ground cloth. The ones included by manufacturers don’t last long. You may want to buy your own solar cover and ground tarp. 

DIY or professionally-installed

DIY is the best route for most people since you don’t have to spend extra hiring a pro. Luckily, most above-ground pools are designed for DIY installation.

Professional installation is ideal for large metal above ground pools since they need a lot of preparation and care.


The price depends on the size of the pool, materials, and any extra add-ons.

Kiddie pools cost less than $100, vinyl and metal frame pools cost between $500 and $1,500 depending on size, and large metal pools can cost as much as $3,000.

Extra features such as a salt-water system, a powerful pump or a skimmer can make a pool more expensive.

Brand reputation

Considering the price and the safety issues involved, you don’t want anything to go wrong with your above ground pool.

Buying from reputable brands not only assures you that you are getting a quality product, but it also ensures you get good customer support if a problem occurs.

Accessories and Upgrades for Your Above Ground Pool

pH kit

These accessories and upgrades will ensure you get the best from your above ground pool.

Solar cover: A solar cover does two things – it keeps debris out of your pool and keeps the pool warm.

A powerful filter pump: Most above ground pools come with a weak filter pump or none at all. Get one that’s more powerful to circulate pool water more efficiently. This will keep your pool clean and healthy. We recommend a sand filter pump. It’s easy to maintain and does a great job keeping the water clean.

Pool chemical kit: This is important in maintaining your pool’s chemical balance. Regularly test your pool’s chemicals and balance them as necessary.

Cove: An above-ground pool cove keeps the liner from slipping and extends its lifespan.

Deck: Upgrade the entire pool area by building a deck around the above ground pool. This provides a nice poolside spot to relax with your family.

Above ground robotic pool cleaner: Instead of wasting your weekends and manually brushing and vacuuming the pool, let a bot do it for you. You can even set the robotic pool cleaner to clean automatically at certain times.

How To Maintain an Above-Ground Pool Properly

Pool equipments

Above ground pools generally, require less maintenance than in-ground pools. Here are the most important aspects and components that need regular attention.

Water Circulation

Run the pool filter for 12-18 hours every day to maintain proper water circulation. This prevents the growth of algae and bacteria and actively filters out debris and sediment that get into the water.

Pool Pump & Filter Maintenance

Your pool pump and filter do a lot of work to keep your pool clean.

Regularly check the pump to make sure it’s working properly. Listen for any unusual noises and check for any clogging in the outlet and inlet.

Clean the filter regularly as well.

If you have a sand filter, you’ll need to replace the sand after 5-7 years.

Pool Cleaning: Brushing & Vacuuming

Clean the pool at least once a week.

Start by skimming, then vacuuming and finish by brushing the floor and side to remove stubborn dirt and algae.

If you have a robotic pool cleaner, you don’t have to clean the pool manually. Though with some pool cleaners, you’ll still need to brush the walls.

Pool Water Testing and Balancing

It is best to test your pool water every day. If that’s too frequently for you, do it 2-3 times a week. Here are the things to test.

Depending on the results you get, add a pH decreaser or increaser, and use chlorine tablets to stabilize chlorine levels.

Note that if you have a salt-water system, it’s not necessary to add any chlorine. But it’s still a good idea to test levels of free chlorine as well as alkalinity to make sure the salt-water system is functioning properly.

Check your manual for specific chemical balancing instructions.

Shocking Your Pool

Shock your pool at least once a week, or once every fortnight if it’s not used often.

Also called superchlorination, shocking your pool kills bacteria, algae, and other contaminants. It also removes chloramines, byproducts of chlorine that can cause eye and skin irritation.

The 5 Main Types of Above Ground Pools

splash pools oval deluxe

Semi In-Ground Pools

Half in, half out – that’s a semi in-ground pool.

A semi in-ground pool is an excellent choice for homes with a sloping backyard. The pool is buried partly in the ground with an aluminum siding providing support and protection from corrosion.

Semi inground pools are more expensive than adequately above ground pools but still far cheaper than traditional in-ground swimming pools

Resin Above Ground Pools

Resin pools have a heavy-duty construction that can withstand any type of weather and last for years. A resin pool is rustproof, which adds to its durability and makes it perfect for a salt-water system.

Another advantage of resin over metal is that it stays cool to the touch in hot weather. You can comfortably lay your hands on the railing.

Additionally, resin pools have a true radius top rail, which gives them a more graceful appearance compared to metal pools.

But be careful about the quality of the resin. Low quality resin pools can crack in very hot or cold weather.

Note that a resin pool still has a steel wall since the resin can’t hold the weight of water on its own. But all other parts are resin.

Steel Above Ground Pools

Steel walled above ground pools are strong, sturdy, and very long-lasting. Because steel can take on a lot of weight and pressure, steel pools tend to be bigger.

To prevent corrosion and rusting, steel above ground pools usually have a protective coating such as zinc.

Steel pools are generally cheaper than resin, hybrid, and aluminum above ground pools.

Aluminum Above Ground Pools

An all-aluminum pool has all the parts made from this lightweight but strong metal including the walls, railing, and bottom.

The pool can have a wall made from one continuous sheet of aluminum or several sections that interlock. The latter is stronger and is often marketed as a semi-inground pool.

The main advantage of aluminum pools is their ability to resist weather damage, and they don’t rust, corrode, warp, or crack.

They last very long and generally look better than steel pools. But they are more expensive than both resin and steel pools.

Hybrid Above Ground Pools

The hybrid above ground consists of both resin and steel. The walls and bottom are usually made from steel while the caps and top railing are resin.

Hybrid above ground pools strike a good balance between strength and price. They are strong and durable – and look good as well – without being too expensive.

Other Types of Above Ground Pools

Best Above Ground Pool Brands Sold Online

Summer Waves Above Ground Pool

If you are wondering which brand to buy from, the following four are the best and most trusted manufacturers of above ground pools.

Their products are usually high quality, and they provide good customer support.

Coleman Pools

Coleman, an outdoor gear US company, offers a sturdy and well designed above ground pools. Their pools are generally easy to install and maintain.

However, they tend to be more expensive compared to other brands.


Intex sells a wider variety of above ground pools, and their product is cheaper. Their pools are super easy to install and maintain.

But Intex above ground pools is not as sturdily constructed as other brands. Even the accessories such as the pump, ground cloth, and pool cover tend to be of lower quality than those from other brands.


Bestway above-ground pools are cheaper than those from Intex and are easy to install. They have a wide variety of steel-framed pools.

But similar to Intex, their accessories are not the best. The filter pumps are weak, and the ground cloth and pool cover are thin and flimsy.

Summer waves

This is another good option if you are looking for affordable steel-framed above ground pool.

Above Ground FAQs

above ground pool cost

When is the best time to buy an above-ground pool?

To get the best deals, time your purchase after summer. Towards the end of September and the months following, prices of above ground pools drop as demand also goes down.

But you can also get a good bargain at the beginning of summer as retailers and companies try to woo customers with deals and discounts. You’ll just have to do a bit more research to find the brand with the best deals.

How long do above ground pools last?

Depending on the material and construction quality, above ground pools last 7-15 years.

Inflatable vinyl-only pools last the shortest period while steel, resin, and aluminum pools are the most durable.

If you have a steel-framed pool, the frame can last for up to 15 years, but you’ll have to replace the liner after 5-9 years.

How much does it cost to install above ground pools?

For most pools, the installation cost is zero. That’s because most are designed for DIY installation.

But for heavy metal and resin pools, you can spend anywhere between $1,000 and $3,000 on leveling, setup and filling the pool.

How deep are above ground pools?

Depth of above ground pools ranges from 30 inches to as much as 60 inches depending on pool size.

Shallower pools are ideal for splashing while deeper ones are the best for those who want to do some serious swimming.

Can you bury an above ground pool?

It depends on the material and design of the pool. Before you bury it, ask the manufacturer whether it’s safe to do so or check the manual.

Only steel or aluminum walled pools can be partially buried.

How do I heat an above ground swimming pool?

The easiest and cheapest way to heat an above ground swimming pool is using a solar cover or blanket.

What kind of maintenance do above ground pools need?

The same maintenance as in-ground pools just on a smaller scale. You’ll need to balance chemicals, run the filter pump several hours a day a vacuum, and brush the pool.