intex ultra frame pool

10 Best Above Ground Pools For 2022: 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

small above ground pool
  • Intex Easy Set (6ftx30ft) Above Ground Pool

  • Star rating
  • Best for Backyards
  • Dimensions (L x W x H):
    10 x 14 x 18 inches

  • Shape:
    Round

  • Volume (Gallons):
    234 ga

  • Material:
    3 Ply Polyvinyl Chloride

  • 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:
    Round

  • Volume (Gallons):
    6,092

  • Material:
    PVC liner and steel frame

  • Setup(DIY)

above ground swimming pools for sale
  • Bestway Power Steel (14’ x 8’2” x 39.5”) Above Ground Pool

  • star rating
  • Best for Adults
  • Dimensions (W x H):
    168.11 x 98.43 x 39.37 inches

  • Shape:
    Oval

  • Volume (Gallons):
    1,915 gallons

  • Material:
    Alloy Steel, 3 ply Polyvinyl Chloride

  • Setup(DIY)

best above ground pool
  • Coleman (18’ x 48”) Above Ground Metal Frame Pool

  • star rating
  • Best for Small Families
  • Dimensions (L x W x H):
    216 x 216 x 48 inches

  • Shape:
    Round

  • Volume (Gallons):
    6,092 gallons

  • Material:
    Alloy Steel, Metal

  • Setup(DIY)

    (except heater)

Intex
  • Intex Ultra Frame Rectangular

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

  • Shape:
    Rectangle

  • Volume (Gallons):
    14,364

  • Material:
    PVC liner and steel frame

  • Setup(DIY)

above ground salt water pool
  • Intex (10ftx30”) Outdoor Above Ground Pool

  • Star rating
  • Best for Compact Spaces
  • Dimensions (L x W x H):
    120 × 30 inches

  • Shape:
    Round

  • Volume (Gallons):
    1,185 gallons

  • Material:
    Rust resistant steel and 3 Ply puncture resistant material

  • Setup(DIY)

    or Professional (recommended)

rectangle above ground pool
  • Bestway (9.8’ x 6.7’ x 26”) Rectangular Above Ground Pool

  • star rating
  • Best for Kids
  • Dimensions (L x W x H):
    118 x 79 x 26 inches

  • Shape:
    Rectangular

  • Volume (Gallons):
    872 gal

  • Material:
    Alloy Steel, Metal, Polyvinyl Chloride

  • Setup(DIY)

round above ground pools
  • Intex (12ftx30in) Prism Frame Above Ground Pool

  • star rating
  • Best for Large Families
  • Dimensions (L x W x H):
    144 × 30 inches

  • Shape:
    Round

  • Volume (Gallons):
    1,718 gallons

  • Material:
    Metal, Polyvinyl Chloride

  • Setup(DIY)

Summer Waves Pool
  • Summer Waves Metal

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

  • Shape:
    Round

  • Volume (Gallons):
    1,715

  • 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:
    Round

  • Volume (Gallons):
    6,981

  • Material:
    PVC liner and steel frame

  • Setup(DIY)

Best Above Ground Pool Reviews

The Intex Easy Set is an inflatable top ring above-ground pool for anyone looking for a fun pool time in their own backyard. With its 6×30-feet construction, it is suitable for most backyards. 

Whether the kids want to have fun or the parents, this Intex pool can easily have two adults and kids.

Construction ​

The Intex Easy Set features heavy-duty polyvinyl chloride construction in bold aqua color. The material is puncture-resistant with triple-ply layers for maximum durability. 

It is sturdy enough to hold the weight and pressure of the water with several swimmers. Plus, the material is resistant to weather elements, allowing it to last for a few summers. 

Set-Up ​

Setting this pool up is very easy. You just need to blow up the top ring using an air pump. Once the ring is inflated, the pool is ready for the water. 

As the pool fills up, the top ring rises higher, allowing the pool to maintain its structure. The entire process takes very little time as you’ll have the pool ready in 10 minutes. 

Some users report that the ring needs frequent re-inflating to keep it firm. You have to be very careful about keeping the ring inflated. If it deflates by accident, the pool will collapse.

Draining the Intex Easy Set is also very easy. Simply connect the garden hose to the drain plug and let the water drain out to your place of choice away from the pool. 

Pros

Cons

specifications

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.

Pros

CONS

specifications

If you don’t want to be hassled with an inflatable above-ground pool, the Bestway Power Steel combines the sturdiness of steel with easy installation. 

This big pool makes for a good choice for both adults and kids serious about swimming. It can hold up to 1,915 gallons of water with its steel frame and PVC band support. 

Construction ​

It features a sturdy, 3-ply PVC pool liner, with a steel ledge and upright posts to support it. For further stability, there is a 3-ply PVC band surrounding the pool. The frame is treated with a rust and corrosion-resistant coating and protects the pool from UV and abrasion damage. 

The entire frame is held together by a patented Seal & Lock System that ensures a secure connection without bending or leaking under tremendous water pressure. A Chemoconnect chemical dispenser keeps the water sanitized.

6,981 gallons of water.

Set-Up ​

This above ground pool kit comes with: 

  • A Tritech liner 
  • Poles and joints for the steel frame 
  • Pool ladder
  • Antimicrobial filter cartridge 
  • Filter pump 
  • Chemoconnect chemical dispenser 

While the Bestway pool is easy to set up as a DIY project, you will need help lifting and transporting the box because it is heavy. 

Once unboxed, you won’t have any difficulty figuring out what part goes where. Unfold the pool liner and put together the frame to set it up. The company’s Seal & Lock system and pin-clip design joints ensure secure connections with no bending or leaking. 

Although it is possible for one person to set it up, Bestway still recommends 2-3 people for the job.

Pros

CONS

specifications

The Coleman Above Ground Metal Frame Pool is a decent-sized pool for small families. It is 18 feet in diameter and about 48 inches deep, making it perfect for both adults and kids. 

The pool is held together by a corrosion-resistant steel frame that encloses the Tritech enhanced 3-ply pool liner. The pool exterior is thoughtfully printed with a realistic stone pattern to match most backyards. 

Construction

This metal frame above-ground pool model consists of a sturdy, anti-corrosive steel ring supported by upright posts to help support water pressure. The pool liner is also reinforced 3-ply puncture-resistant and extremely strong PVC.

Set-Up ​

Like other models on our list, this Coleman pool is also very easy to install. It might be too heavy for a single person; however, two or more persons can easily assemble it in as little as an hour. 

The steel frame is held together by Coleman’s Seal & Lock System. It not only provides remarkable strength but also makes connecting and disconnecting the frame pretty easy. 

The package contains: 

  • Steel frame components 
  • Pool liner 
  • Ladder 
  • Pool cover 
  • Filter pump 

Even if you don’t want to disassemble and store away during winters, the included pool cover will help prevent accidents. 

Pros

CONS

specifications

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.

Construction

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.

Pros

CONS

specifications

The Intex Outdoor Above Ground Pool is an excellent addition to any backyard because of its compact size. This round pool easily fits inside most backyards without looking ugly or out of place. 

The cool blue color adds to the aesthetic, while the sturdy steel frame helps it hold the water pressure without collapsing. This pool can easily hold up to 1.185 gallons of water.

Construction

This above-ground pool features an alloy steel frame. The top ledge is held up by sturdy upright posts for stability and support. There is a PVC band around the bottom for added integrity that fits the posts to keep them firm and rigid. All the steel components are powder-coated to prevent rusting. 

The pool liner is a 3-ply Tritech enforced PVC material designed to withstand intense water pressure as well as weather elements without leaking or collapsing.

Set-Up ​

This Intex model is extremely user-friendly. You can easily assemble it as a DIY project. In fact, according to Intex, the assembly is so easy that you can have the pool ready for filling in as little as 30 minutes. However, because of its high weight, you should ask for help while moving the box. 

The fully assembled pool measures 10 feet in diameter and 30 inches in depth. Despite being a compact option, it has enough space for a 4-6-person family to enjoy the fun. 

Pros

CONS

specifications

If you want a durable and stable above-ground pool for your kids but are not inclined towards inflatable or steel-walled units, the Bestway Rectangular Above Ground Pool is the right choice. This steel-framed unit with a soft yet durable PVC liner is lightweight, but it provides good structural integrity to the pool. 

It can hold up to 872 gallons of water, plus its 118-inch length makes it perfect for both children and adults.

Construction

The Bestway Rectangular Above Ground Pool features a durable steel frame treated with rust and corrosion-resistant coats to prevent weather damage. The lightweight PVC liner goes over the frame to form the pool’s structure. 

There are 8 vertical posts supporting it for added stability, while a 3-ply PVC support band surrounds the entire pool. 

Set-Up ​

Like many pools on this list, this Bestway above-ground pool also features a patented Lock and Seal locking mechanism to securely attach the different parts of the frame. This feature secures each joint, so it does not bend or collapse under water pressure. 

The pool also boasts a pin clip design to ensure better rigidity and stability of joints. 

Setting this pool up is easy enough and takes only 10 minutes if 2-3 people assemble it. 

Pros

CONS

specifications

The Intex Prism Frame Above Ground Pool is a decent-sized, reasonably priced option. It provides plenty of space for swimming without making things appear too tight. With its 12 feet diameter, it is suitable for large families. 

Construction

This Intex above-ground pool boasts simple construction designed to last a few summers or more if you take care of it. The set consists of a sturdy, powder-coated metal frame designed to survive constant contact with water, weather elements, and water pressure. 

The pool liner is soft, and durable 3-ply Tritech reinforced polyvinyl chloride. The pool can hold up to 1,718 gallons of water and is sturdy enough to withstand all the weight effortlessly. Plus, there is a band all around for stability. 

Set-Up ​

The steel frame comes together with the lock and seal technology holding the joints. It enables them to withstand pressure without bending or coming apart. 

It takes about 30 minutes for two people to set it up. It can comfortably fit 6 people at a time, making it an excellent choice for large families.

Pros

CONS

specifications

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.

Construction

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.

Pros

CONS

specifications

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.

Construction

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.

Pros

CONS

specifications

Above Ground Pool Buying Guide

A swimming pool is a homeowner’s ultimate dream. However, not everyone is lucky enough to own a luxurious in-ground pool. 

This is where above-ground pools came into being. However, not every above-ground pool is suitable for every home. Here is a buying guide to help you identify the right one for yourself. 

What is an Above Ground Pool?

As the name suggests, an above-ground pool literally sits on the ground. It is a semi-permanent structure that sits in your backyard. It is usually 4-6 feet deep and measures around 12 to 30 feet in diameter. 

It is a less expensive option for anyone looking to get a pool in their backyard without the long hassle of in-ground pool construction. It is very easy to assemble and ensures great fun for the entire family in the summers!

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.

The Different Types of Above Ground Pools

Above-ground pools are available in various sizes, shapes, and designs. From simple blow-up pools to bedecked models, here are some common types of above-ground swimming pools:

Above Ground Inflatable Swimming Pools

Inflatable swimming pools are the most common and the simplest type of above-ground pools. They are easy to set up and are readily available in various sizes at most big box stores. Plus, they are a popular choice for families who don’t have much space in their backyards. 

These pools feature inflatable walls. Once fully blown, you just have to fill them with water and enjoy wadding around. 

Inflatable pools are usually for kids. They are also very portable as you can deflate and set them up anywhere; in the backyard, on the roof, or even on a sun deck. 

While they are the cheapest type of above-ground pools, they are actually quite high maintenance. You cannot keep them inflated because the walls are not made to withstand environmental elements. They can easily tear, leading to leaks. 

Because of their low volume, these pools come without a pump or a filter, and the best automatic pool cleaners are not compatible with them, so you have to replace the water daily and ensure the pool’s cleanliness. Despite all the care, most inflatable pools don’t last very long. 

Inflatable Top Ring Pools

These are an upgraded version of inflatable pools. Instead of the whole pool being inflatable, these pools feature an inflatable ring that you blow up first before filling it with water. 

The blown-up ring starts floating as the water level rises, allowing the walls to expand and reach their maximum size. The ring on top increases rigidity and support to the pool. 

Inflatable top ring pools are usually round and are available in sizes as big as 18 feet and as deep as 48 inches. They typically have heavy-duty vinyl walls, which makes them sturdier and allows them to hold more water. 

With top ring pools, you don’t have to worry about cleaning and constant draining, as most of these either come with a filter pump or the option to connect one. So, filling them once will be enough for the season. 

But even though these pools have a maximum depth of 4 feet, they are categorized as wading pools and not as proper swimming or diving pools. They are still smaller than traditional in-ground pools, making them more suitable for families with kids. 

Above Ground Metal Frame Pools

An above-ground metal frame pool is similar to inflatable rings pools and features a metallic top rail instead of an inflatable ring. It also contains upright pool posts or bracing and some type of footing for better support and durability. 

These pools are either round or rectangular and run about 52 inches deep and up to 22 feet wide. Some models are as big as any in-ground pool. 

Their installation can be easy or tricky, depending upon how handy you are with tools. Usually, the metal frame components snap together, providing the structure for the pool liner. 

The liner is heavy-duty vinyl that can easily hold tons of water with the help of an external steel frame to provide robust support and rigidity. 

Metal frame pools are pricier than the other two types discussed above. However, they are easier to maintain as they come with pool accessories like a filter pump and ladder for easy access. 

They are easy to relocate if you want to set one up somewhere else. Plus, the various sizes make it easy for you to choose a size that works for your application. 

Above Ground Metal Sided Pools

Above-ground metal-sided pools are more permanent fixtures that you can spot in some backyards. They feature metallic boundaries with a top ledge and upright posts. Sometimes there is also a bottom track for the pool walls to set in. 

These pools also come in various sizes and measure up to 36 feet round and 54 inches deep. You can also find them in rectangle and oval shapes. They also have a separate pool liner offered in various thicknesses, materials, and patterns, with different installation processes. 

Above-ground metal-sided pools are quite sturdy and last for decades. Their installation can be an incredible DIY project. But if you are unsure, hiring professional help is the best way to go because these pools are very heavy and need a solid and stable surface. 

Semi In-Ground Pools

Semi in-ground pools are the newest addition to the above-ground pool category. They can be installed as a traditional above-ground pool, a partially buried pool, or a completely buried pool that greatly resembles an in-ground pool. 

They are a great choice for homes that feature a sloping backyard. Most homeowners choose to have them half-in-half-out with an aluminum sliding to provide support to the pool while protecting it from corrosion. 

The strong walls can withstand ground forces and weather elements, allowing you to keep them up all year round. They are also low maintenance as most pool cleaners, and pool vacuum heads work with them.

These pools come in standard round shape, oval, or any other free form. But their installation may cost you more. This is because you’ll need to hire professionals for excavation and to build a solid base before installing the actual pool and its frame. 

Plus, you’ll need electrical connections for the filter pump and other pool accessories. 

Above Ground Resin Pools

Similar to above-ground metallic sides pools, above-ground resin pools are also heavy-duty structures with a resin frame, a top ledge, and upright posts for adequate support to the pool. 

Some resin pools also have a true radius top rail for a more graceful appearance. Add a bottom track, and it will become a value-adding feature in your backyard. 

These pools are also great for saltwater because of resin’s rust-proof nature. Plus, unlike metal, it stays cool to touch, so you can comfortably lay your hands on the ledge even during the hottest weather. 

When choosing a resin above-ground pool, be sure to focus on the quality of resin, as low-quality resin pools can easily crack if the weather gets too hot or cold. 

Installation is another aspect that you should consider as these pools are also heavy, which means DIY installation is not possible. 

Steel Wall Above Ground Pools

A steel wall above-ground pool is a good choice if you want a strong, sturdy, and long-lasting above-ground pool. Since steel can bear a lot of weight, these pools tend to be big. 

And to prevent the pools from rusting, the steel is treated with a protective coating like zinc. They tend to cost less than resin or metallic above-ground pools. Plus, since they are big, many homeowners opt to have them installed in their backyards. 

What to Know 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.

Shape

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

Material

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.

Price

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 Clean & Maintain Your Above-Ground Pool

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

Semi in-ground pools are the newest addition to the above-ground pool category. They can be installed as a traditional above-ground pool, a partially buried pool, or a completely buried pool that greatly resembles an in-ground pool. 

They are a great choice for homes that feature a sloping backyard. Most homeowners choose to have them half-in-half-out with an aluminum sliding to provide support to the pool while protecting it from corrosion. 

The strong walls can withstand ground forces and weather elements, allowing you to keep them up all year round. They are also low maintenance as most pool cleaners, and pool vacuum heads work with them.

These pools come in standard round shape, oval, or any other free form. But their installation may cost you more. This is because you’ll need to hire professionals for excavation and to build a solid base before installing the actual pool and its frame. 

Plus, you’ll need electrical connections for the filter pump and other pool accessories. 

Above Ground Resin Pools

Similar to above-ground metallic sides pools, above-ground resin pools are also heavy-duty structures with a resin frame, a top ledge, and upright posts for adequate support to the pool. 

Some resin pools also have a true radius top rail for a more graceful appearance. Add a bottom track, and it will become a value-adding feature in your backyard. 

These pools are also great for saltwater because of resin’s rust-proof nature. Plus, unlike metal, it stays cool to touch, so you can comfortably lay your hands on the ledge even during the hottest weather. 

When choosing a resin above-ground pool, be sure to focus on the quality of resin, as low-quality resin pools can easily crack if the weather gets too hot or cold. 

Installation is another aspect that you should consider as these pools are also heavy, which means DIY installation is not possible. 

Steel Wall Above Ground Pools

A steel wall above-ground pool is a good choice if you want a strong, sturdy, and long-lasting above-ground pool. Since steel can bear a lot of weight, these pools tend to be big. 

And to prevent the pools from rusting, the steel is treated with a protective coating like zinc. They tend to cost less than resin or metallic above-ground pools. Plus, since they are big, many homeowners opt to have them installed in their backyards. 

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

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

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.