Best Above Ground Pools: Buyer’s Ultimate Guide

0
55
best above ground pool

Are you tired of spending big money every year on swimming pool memberships? Is an in-ground pool out of your budget? If you answered ‘yes’ to both question you should consider finding the best above ground pool.

The first-ever above ground swimming pool dates back over a century ago to 1907. The Roebling Construction Company built it for the Philadelphia Racquet Club. Cruise ships that featured portable pools included the White Star Lines’ Adriatic and its sister ship the Titanic, which famously sank in April 1912.

Swimming pools became mainstream in the United States after World War II. They were featured in Hollywood films and became a status symbol of the post-WW2 economic boom.

Today backyard swimming pools have become very commonplace. In the US alone over 10.4 million residential swimming pools exist. Meanwhile, New Zealand has the highest per capita figure at 200,000 pools.

Table of Contents

How to Choose the Right Above Ground Pool?

intex above ground pool

1. Take your budget into account

As when purchasing other products for your home/yard it’s critical to set a budget to find the best above ground pool. Review your monthly budget and figure out the amount of money you can realistically afford to spend on a brand new swimming pool.

Should go over budget? If you find the perfect model and it’s a little more than you’ve budgeted then it probably won’t be a big deal. Spending two, three, or 10x your budget is another story. Sticking to your budget as much as possible is just as important as setting one.

How much should you expect to pay?

The average range is $3,650 to $15,000. Keep in mind these costs include factors like professional installation. It really depends on a wide range of factors so it’s important to take them into account.

2. Size

Size is the biggest factor that affects the cost. Larger pools have more volume and thus require more electricity, upkeep etc.

What factors should you think about? Make sure to consider the pool’s functions. If you’re just using it for your small family to cool off during hot summer days then a small pool would be enough.

On the other hand, if you’ll be using it for lap swimming and games like volleyball/basketball/polo you should certainly consider a larger size.

3. Shape

This is somewhat related to the pool’s size so it’s worth considering when shopping for a swimming pool that’s within the budget you’ve set. Installation for round pools is easier. This is also a good option for small families, couples, and singles.

Meanwhile, oval pools are more efficient in terms of your yard’s free space. They also are practical if you want to do activities like lap swimming vs. just cooling off on the hottest day of the year.

4. Installation

If you plan on having the pool professionally installed you should tack on $1,000-$3,000. That includes various labor costs for leveling ground, dumping/spreading sand, and installing electricity.

5. Tree / Bush Removal

It’s important to provide enough clearance so your swimming pool isn’t affected by nearby trees/bushes. Things like falling leaves can make it tougher to maintain the pool.

In fact, such vegetation can be a mixed bag. They can add aesthetic value around the pool while increasing maintenance. So it’s a matter of weighing the pros like extra shade, with cons like removing lots of colorful leaves in the fall.

6. Permits

Depending on local laws you might be required to secure a permit before installing swimming pools that are on ground.

7. Insurance

Your rates might increase when installing a pool so make sure to contact your insurance company about the issue. Even if you take every safety precaution possible remember the old saying that “stuff” happens in life.

One major issue to take up in terms of the costs of above ground pools is they’re much cheaper than in-ground pools. Yes, the latter can help to boost the value of your property. However, the total costs including installation are much higher.

So you could consider some key issues. They include how much you’re willing to invest and how long you expect to use the pool.

8. Choose a location

The old saying “location, location, location” certainly applies when picking a location for the best above ground pool. It starts with surveying your front or back yard.

Besides having enough space to install the pool you should also make sure the terrain is level. What if the area is uneven? In that case you could level it out yourself or hire a professional to do it. Just make sure to consider the extra time, effort, and cost that would be involved.

You should also factor in how close the pool would be to your house. This is due to a few key issues. You’ll need to supply water and electricity to the pool so you should consider how easy it is to run hoses and wires to the pool.

Another issue related to the pool’s location is any zoning restrictions that might apply. For example, if the would-be pool is too close to your property line this could go against local zoning laws. That could require you to pay a big fine or take down the pool unit. Both results would end your pool party before it starts.

9. Measure the Area

A big issue is picking a pool that your yard can accommodate. Make sure there’s enough elbow room so your family/friends won’t feel cramped when they take a dip in the pool on a hot day.

Avoid just trying to “eyeball” whether your yard is large enough for a pool with particular dimensions. Use a tape measure and tool to mark out the space in the yard where the pool would be installed. This will tell you exactly whether or not a particular unit can fit in your yard.

After you’ve measured out the space outline the walls of the future pool with a hose/rope. You’ll then have a visual to help you pick a particular above ground pool for your home.

This step is highly recommended for various reasons. Many owners of above ground swimming pools share they wish they had purchased a larger unit than they did. You’ll certainly want to avoid buyer’s remorse when picking any item and especially big-box products like swimming pools.

Make sure the pool will also literally provide some extra wiggle room. Each side should have 3+ feet of clearance. This will help to include the supportive uprights. When factoring in the total space required for the pool factor in other items like the pumping system and pool ladder.

There other items you might want to add to your above ground pool that also take up extra space. They include fencing and decking. There’s also a heating system like heat pump, gas, or solar.

These are all add-ons that can add tons of value to your pool. Decking can provide an area around the pool for sitting/relaxing, while fencing can offer more privacy in housing areas like townhouses and duplexes.

There are also other amenities like wood/stone patios and storage units for your pool equipment/accessories. There are also landscaping installations you might want to add later so make sure to factor in enough space for them.

Do you “need” all these bells and whistles for your swimming pool? You might not add all of them but it’s better to leave room for add-ons you might want to add later.

It can be tough but try to plan for any tweaks/expansions you might add in the future. You should still try to think about any possible changes you might want to make in the future. That can help to guarantee your yard has enough space for the pool plus any ancillary items like add-on decks or fences.

10. Choose the Pool Shape and Height

Shape

Here’s one of the biggest issues to take up when picking the best above ground pool. In terms of the shape the most common type of swimming pool is round. The largest round pool usually has a diameter of 33 feet. Meanwhile, oval pools usually are a maximum of 18 feet x 40 feet.

As with many other options there are pros and cons of both round and oval/rectangular-shaped pools. The big plus of round pools is cost. For example, a round pool that’s able to hold the same volume of water as an oval pool will have a price tag that’s 25% to 50% the price. It’s not really headline news to save $1,000 by picking an oval pool.

Besides the cost of the unit itself the installation costs of setting up round pools can be around half the cost of a similar oval-shaped pool. So when combining the two factors this can result in big savings.

An X-factor to consider is a round swimming pool is easier to install. So if there are any issues during the process they’ll generally be easier for the installer to fix than with oval pools. If the needed repairs are big ones this could cause your total costs to spike.

So what causes the difference in price? It might seem logical to guess that the quality of oval pools is generally better than oval pools. That’s not really the case.

What’s the difference? It has more to do with the perception that oval pools are made with sturdier materials, have a better design, or are longer-lasting. Survey says: X! In fact, it’s just about the buttress structure of oval swimming pools.

As we learned in elementary school a circle has no sides. Meanwhile, an oval pool has straight sides that require a structure so the wall doesn’t get pushed out after filling the pool with water.

This system is known as a buttress system and it must be well-built and heavy-duty. The extra parts are pricey and must be lined up, which causes the overall cost of the pool to be significantly higher.

So does this mean the oval pool will last longer? No, it has the same basic design including the wall, frame, and caps. The only difference is the buttress system, which is different but not better.

You could experience even bigger savings if you made the pool a Do It Yourself (DIY) project. The main problem with this approach is requires some know-how and experience to get the best results. Without the experience of building/installing swimming pools it’s highly advisable to hire the service of a professional.

Height

The heights of above ground pools are typically 48, 52, or 54 inches. This is the measurement from the ground up to the top of the pool wall.

Which one should you pick? Deep above ground pools are usually more popular since it provides a larger volume of water for swimming. On the other hand, pools with short wall heights have lower price tags. It’s also a good option if you have young children so it’s another factor to take up.

11. Decide the Type

Types of Pools

Steel Pools

Here’s one of the options when picking the best above ground pool. As with other issues there’s some debate about whether this is the best option. A steel-wall pool is projected to last 30 years.

Here’s the problem. After that time you’ll have to replace the pool due to rusted metal. There are also other issues you’ll have to deal including dirt buildup behind the steel, bowing-in walls, and loose coping. 

There are various other issues you’ll likely have to deal with. For example, if the water level is too low the steel will expand when the ground starts freezing. This could ultimately result in the pool collapsing or getting bent up.

The main plus of the steel walls is it’s delivered as a kit so it just has to be assembled when it arrives at your home.

Aluminium Pools

There’s one big benefit aluminum provides over steel: no rust. This involves the oxidation of iron. It won’t be a problem with aluminum since it contains no iron to rust.

That said, aluminum can still corrode. So the fact that it won’t rust isn’t as big of a plus as it might seem at first.

When picking an “aluminum” pool you can also pick between all-aluminum and aluminum/resin units. The second type is less common and includes resin top rails. One drawback of this type of pool is the price is relatively high considering the walls are still made of aluminum.

There’s also extruded aluminum pools. It includes inter-locking sections that must be pieced together. The aluminum is sturdier, thicker, and more non-corrosive than regular aluminum.

Resin pools

Besides aluminum or steel hybrids you can also pick an all-resin pool. There’s an issue with the term since resin itself is a plastic. So technically speaking it still requires some steel components like screws and connector plates.

A more common option is hybrids that are part steel or aluminum. In fact, aluminum/resin hybrids are the most common models on the market today. They usually have steel walls with the other parts having different combinations of steel/resin.

The most common type includes mostly steel, along with resin rails/caps. The main drawback of this option is the value you get for the price isn’t outstanding since the walls are aluminum.

Inflatable pools

As with the other types of above ground pools an inflatable pool has various pros and cons. On the plus side these units are very portable so they’re easy to take with you when you’re on vacation at a beach house, for example. Another major benefit is the costs are generally much lower than other models on the market.

On the down side, these pools are often simply “toys” that are designed for one child. Another drawback is since they’re made of cheaper materials you should be ready to replace the unit sooner than other materials like aluminum or steel.

If you’re looking for a basic pool for your child to cool off and play in you can find many units in the under-$50 price range here.

Best place to buy above ground pools

Best Place To Buy Above Ground Pools

You can search for the best above ground pool at various brick & mortar retailers. They include department stores, toy stores, outdoor stores, and sports stores.

One of the main benefits of this option is you can sometimes see a floor model that’s been assembled. This provides a plus in terms of checking out the form and function of the unit.

That said, there are many benefits of shopping online like at the world’s largest online retailer Amazon. Here are some of the top perks:

Shipping

This is one of the reasons Amazon recently became the second US-based company to be worth $1 trillion. The cost of online shipping can be quite high depending on your total bill.

Amazon helps you save on shipping ways in various ways. The shipping rates themselves are quite low vs. industry standards and you can also get free shipping through its paid subscription service Amazon Prime. Besides that you can also purchase non-related items, which is another way to save on shipping costs.

Shipping speed is another plus. Most items are shipped within two days, while you can sometimes even get one-day or even same-day deliveries.

Selection

Amazon’s selection of products is super-duper ginormous and that includes above ground pools. For example, some of the many categories include:

  • Framed Pools
  • Inflatable Pools (full size/top ring)
  • Kiddie Pools
  • Side Wall Pools

Within these categories you can select a unit based on different sizes, shapes, features, colors, and prices. Can you also find many options at physical stores? Yes but the selection is smaller due to factors like limited floor space.

Convenience

This is one of the main benefits of shopping online at websites like Amazon. Unlike brick & mortar stores these businesses don’t “close.” So you can shop for a swimming pool early in the morning, middle of the afternoon, or late at night. It’s definitely a plus when you want to buy and receive an item as quickly as possible for an event, birthday, etc.

Consider the time and effort you can save, for example. You can shop via your PC/Mac, smartphone/tablet or Internet of Things (IoT) devices like Amazon Echo.

You won’t have to dress up, wait in traffic, deal with pushy salespeople, and then wait in line to buy your item. All you need is your device and web connectivity. It’s that easy!

Prices

You can often find lower prices for various products at Amazon including above ground pools.  There are often discounts, sales, and promotions. You can also enjoy free shipping through Amazon Prime, which is definitely a plus when purchasing a large/heavy item like a swimming pool.

Best Selling Above Ground Pools in 2018

Product ImageProduct NameSizeWater Capacity
iPool D iPool D SetSet7’X10’x45''1,500 gallons
Intex 12ft X 30in Metal Frame Pool Set12ft X 30in1,718 gallons
Intex 15ft X 48in Easy Set Pool Set15ft X 48in3, 736 gallons
Intex 14ft X 42in Ultra Frame Pool Set14ft X 42in3,357 gallons
Intex 18ft X 52in Ultra Frame Pool Set18ft X 52in6,981 gallons
Intex 24ft X 12ft X 52in24ft X 12ft X 52in8,403 gallons
Coleman-22-x52-Power-Steel- Frame264 x 264 x 52 inches2,500 gallon
Bestway 9'10" x 6'6" x 33" Power Steel40 x 23 x 13 inches969 gallons
Summer Waves 8' Metal Frame35.6 x 14.1 x 10.4 inches
Embassy Pool 4-1800216 x 46 x 52 inches

1. iPool D Set 

iPool D Set (include Deluxe Filter Pump and Heater)

Features

A high-quality swimming pool starts with a solid frame and liner, which helps explain why the iPool D is the best overall pick. The steel frame is made of galvanized steel and zinc-coated. It also includes a 5-layer polyester liner that’s vinyl-coated.

These are both key features that add to the unit’s durability. The frame is the most important component of a swimming pool in terms of durability. However, the liner is also important since it’s somewhat pricey to replace.

Besides being durable, this swimming pool is a small unit so it’s small enough to be installed in your garage or basement. It has a 6-square meter (64.6 sq. ft.) footprint.

This provides more versatility since you won’t need a ton of space to install the unit. If you have a small house/yard this is of the utmost importance.

The iPool D Set not only is durable and compact but also cost-effective. A big plus of this swimming pool is the size means the maintenance costs are lower.

For example, you’ll have to add fewer chemicals to the water, which can exponentially save you money each year you own the pool. This can free up money for more pool accessories.

Next, the dual tether system allows you to increase/decrease resistance by turning a knob. What’s the big deal? It helps to avoid things like noisy motors and splashing jet streams.

Convenience is certainly one of the most important features to look for when picking a swimming pool to provide the best results.

There’s also the Raypack heater that’s US-made and designed specifically for iPool so it can be used throughout the year. The heater is one of the most important accessories of above ground pools since they help to maintain water with a high enough temperature.

The easy assembly is certainly an important issue in terms of a swimming pool’s convenience. iPool D Set can be assembled by 2 people in roughly an hour. This gives you the chance to start cooling off and take some mini laps.

Besides the swimming pool itself various items are also bundled including

  • Filter pump (2500 gallons per hour)
  • Stainless steel ladder
  • Heater (5.5 kilowatt)
  • Vinyl cover
  • Floor sheet
  • Repair kit

This basically provides you with everything you need to get your pool up and functional. It can also help to save you lots of money you’d normally have to spend to buy the items separately. That’s likely a situation you’ll want to avoid and especially if you’re on a shoestring budget.

Pros

  • Heated pool
  • Quality product
  • Indoor/Outdoor
  • Good for all ages
  • Good value
  • Customer service
  • Good functionality

Cons

  • Seams weak
  • Heater requires special wiring

2. Metal Frame Pool Set (12 ft. x 30 in.)

Intex 12ft x 30in metal frame pool set

Features

This unit from Intex is the best choice for the best overall value. One of the main reasons is the 3-ply material. The pool is made of puncture-resistant material, which improves the durability and longevity of the unit so you can save money. It’s not the sturdiest pool in the world but provides a solid amount of strength and durability.

Meanwhile, the ultra-sturdy PVC sidewalls help to provide both durability and safety. It provides a good balance of quality and value. The sidewalls connect the cartridge filter pump

Next, the Krystal Clear pump filters 530 gallons per hour (gph) and produces 110/120V. This isn’t the most powerful pump but it’s The pump also includes a filter cartridge that’s easy to clean for extra convenience.

The filter is easy to install and just involves hooking up the hoses. It also includes a 1-year warranty to protect your investment. This is a plus since sometimes it adds value by protecting your investment.

Other components of this pool also make this unit the best option in terms of value. The dual suction fittings boost water circulation, which results in improved water clarity/hygiene. Pool’s pump/filter are critical for good water circulation.

Another big safety feature is the ground fault circuit interrupter. This safety feature that turns the pump off in the case electrical current contacts water. It helps to prevent electrical accidents.

The drain plug connects to a garden hose in order to drain water away from the pool or your house area. This is a plus to protect your pool and home The water capacity is 1,700+ gallons.

Besides the pool’s actual components easy set-up also adds value. The company claims the product can be set-up and ready to be filled with water in half an hour. This is a plus over other units that take more time.

Pros

  • Easy to add accessories
  • Easy maintenance
  • Good value due to price
  • Light enough to carry box
  • Enjoyed by kids
  • Liner is thick
  • Assemble in half hour
  • Fit for 8 adults

Cons

  • Could be deeper
  • 1 Year Warranty
  • Leak after draining
  • Quality of poles

3. Easy Set Pool Set

intex 15ft x 48in easy set pool

Features

Intex’s Easy Pool Set is the best option if you’re looking for a budgeted above ground swimming pool. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars for a decent pool your friends and family and enjoy.

Meanwhile, the ultra-sturdy PVC sidewalls help to provide both durability and safety. It provides a good balance of quality and value. The sidewalls connect the cartridge filter pump

Next, the Krystal Clear pump filters 530 gallons per hour (gph) and produces 110/120V. This isn’t the most powerful pump but it’s The pump also includes a filter cartridge that’s easy to clean for extra convenience.

The filter is easy to install and just involves hooking up the hoses. It also includes a 1-year warranty to protect your investment. This is a plus since sometimes it adds value by protecting your investment.

Other components of this pool also make this unit the best option in terms of value. The dual suction fittings boost water circulation, which results in improved water clarity/hygiene. Pool’s pump/filter are critical for good water circulation.

Another big safety feature is the ground fault circuit interrupter. This safety feature that turns the pump off in the case electrical current contacts water. It helps to prevent electrical accidents.

The drain plug connects to a garden hose in order to drain water away from the pool or your house area. This is a plus to protect your pool and home The water capacity is 1,700+ gallons.

Besides the pool’s actual components easy set-up also adds value. The company claims the product can be set-up and ready to be filled with water in half an hour. This is a plus over other units that take more time.

Pros

  • Easy to add accessories
  • Easy maintenance
  • Good value due to price
  • Light enough to carry box
  • Enjoyed by kids
  • Liner is thick
  • Assemble in half hour
  • Fit for 8 adults

Cons

  • Could be deeper
  • 1 Year Warranty
  • Leak after draining
  • Quality of poles

4. Intex Ultra Frame Pool Set

intex 14ft x 42in ultra frame pool set

Features

The unit is designed for strength. It’s made of steel frames that are powder-coated to provide rust-resistance and aesthetics. The unit is designed for durability/luxury.

Meanwhile, the ultra-sturdy PVC sidewalls help to provide both durability and safety. It provides a good balance of quality and value. The sidewalls connect the cartridge filter pump

Next, the Krystal Clear pump filters 530 gallons per hour (gph) and produces 110/120V. This isn’t the most powerful pump but it’s The pump also includes a filter cartridge that’s easy to clean for extra convenience.

The filter is easy to install and just involves hooking up the hoses. It also includes a 1-year warranty to protect your investment. This is a plus since sometimes it adds value by protecting your investment.

Other components of this pool also make this unit the best option in terms of value. The dual suction fittings boost water circulation, which results in improved water clarity/hygiene. Pool’s pump/filter are critical for good water circulation.

Another big safety feature is the ground fault circuit interrupter. This safety feature that turns the pump off in the case electrical current contacts water. It helps to prevent electrical accidents.

The drain plug connects to a garden hose in order to drain water away from the pool or your house area. This is a plus to protect your pool and home The water capacity is 1,700+ gallons.

Besides the pool’s actual components easy set-up also adds value. The company claims the product can be set-up and ready to be filled with water in half an hour. This is a plus over other units that take more time.

Pros

  • All of the parts are replaceable
  • Large size
  • Pump is good
  • Easy to set up and takes about an hour
  • Very sturdy pool
  • No air/water leaks
  • Fast shipping

Cons

  • Problems with filter
  • Instructions aren’t very good
  • Packaging not strong enough

5. Ultra Frame Pool Set (18 ft. x 52 in)

intex 18ft x 52in ultra frame pool set

Features

The pool’s frame is designed for strength. It’s powder coated to provide rust-resistance. The frame is built for strength/luxury so it’s very durable based on the price tag.

Meanwhile, the ultra-sturdy PVC sidewalls help to provide both durability and safety. It provides a good balance of quality and value. The sidewalls connect the cartridge filter pump

Next, the Krystal Clear pump filters 530 gallons per hour (gph) and produces 110/120V. This isn’t the most powerful pump but it’s The pump also includes a filter cartridge that’s easy to clean for extra convenience.

The filter is easy to install and just involves hooking up the hoses. It also includes a 1-year warranty to protect your investment. This is a plus since sometimes it adds value by protecting your investment.

Other components of this pool also make this unit the best option in terms of value. The dual suction fittings boost water circulation, which results in improved water clarity/hygiene. Pool’s pump/filter are critical for good water circulation.

Another big safety feature is the ground fault circuit interrupter. This safety feature that turns the pump off in the case electrical current contacts water. It helps to prevent electrical accidents.

The drain plug connects to a garden hose in order to drain water away from the pool or your house area. This is a plus to protect your pool and home The water capacity is 1,700+ gallons.

Besides the pool’s actual components easy set-up also adds value. The company claims the product can be set-up and ready to be filled with water in half an hour. This is a plus over other units that take more time.

Pros

  • Pool is easy to set up
  • Good for cooling off in summer
  • Can be set up within an hr. w/ 2 people
  • Each of the parts can be replaced
  • Sand filter is effective
  • Very fast shipping

Cons

  • Looks bigger than real size
  • Need to watch YouTube videos
  • Packaging could be stronger.
  • Liner might leak

6. Ultra Frame Pool Set (Rectangular, 24 ft. x 12 ft. x 52 in.)

intex 24ft x 12ft x 52in ultra frame pool set

Features

This Intex pool includes laminated PVC sidewalls that are ultra-tough. There’s also a drain plug to connect to water hose. This helps drain H2O away from pool/house region.

The Krystal Clear sand filter pump/salter system is designed for above ground pools. The system has six functions including:

  • Backwash
  • Close system
  • Rinse
  • Re-circulate
  • Drain
  • Filter

It includes 24-hr. timer w/ 1-12 hr. pre-set cycles to provide auto operation.

The removable ladder includes high-impact/slip-resistant steps. The steel frame is coated with corrosion-resistance. These ladders are for Intex units and have a max. weight capacity of 300 pounds.

The debris cover is made of a durable material. A rope is included to prevent wind from blowing off the cover.

The volleyball set is great accessory for playing the sport with friends/family. The set includes net, poles, and ball. It’s easy to install and the poles mount onto the pool.

There’s even a cleaning kit that includes wall brush, leaf rake, and vacuum head. You can vacuum debris on the pool floor into filter.

There’s also a skimmer net that’s deep mesh/durable. The wall brush can quickly remove grime/algae from the pool walls/floor.

Finally, the instructional DVD is bundled to provide info about setup/maintenance.

Pros

  • Makes skin soft
  • Very durable material
  • Saltwater filtration pump
  • You can swim laps
  • Alternative to inground pool
  • Good for kids

Cons

  • Pump sometimes breaks
  • Customer service
  • ‘Low salt’ notification
  • O-rings break

7. Power Steel Frame Pool (22 ft. x 52 in) by Coleman

coleman 22x52 pool set

Features

The Coleman pool doesn’t require many tools so it’s a good option for backyard pools. In that case you’ll likely want to avoid a lot of hassles assembling the pool.

The steel frame was designed for maximum strength/durability. This is important for factors like the unit’s durability/strength. It’s also a critical safety issue since a durable pool is less likely to collapse.

The Krystal Clear sand filter pump/salter system is designed for above ground pools. The system has six functions including:

  • Backwash
  • Close system
  • Rinse
  • Re-circulate
  • Drain
  • Filter

It includes 24-hr. timer w/ 1-12 hr. pre-set cycles to provide auto operation.

The removable ladder includes high-impact/slip-resistant steps. The steel frame is coated with corrosion-resistance. These ladders are for Intex units and have a max. weight capacity of 300 pounds.

The debris cover is made of a durable material. A rope is included to prevent wind from blowing off the cover.

The volleyball set is great accessory for playing the sport with friends/family. The set includes net, poles, and ball. It’s easy to install and the poles mount onto the pool.

There’s even a cleaning kit that includes wall brush, leaf rake, and vacuum head. You can vacuum debris on the pool floor into filter.

There’s also a skimmer net that’s deep mesh/durable. The wall brush can quickly remove grime/algae from the pool walls/floor.

Finally, the instructional DVD is bundled to provide info about setup/maintenance.

Pros

  • Fills up in under 24 hrs.
  • Good pool for different ages
  • Large pool
  • Sets up on dirt
  • Sturdy steel frame
  • Established brand

Cons

  • No shut-off valve
  • Liner can’t be replaced
  • Legs bend over a time period

8. Power Steel Frame Pool (Oval, 9’10” x 6’6″ x 33″) by Bestway

bestway 9'10 x 6'6 x 33 pool set

Features

This pool includes 3-ply material that’s been reinforced. There’s also a mesh-core made of polyester that’s contained within 2 laminated polyvinyl chloride (PVC) layers.

This makes the pool more durable, which extends how many years you and your friends/family can use the pool over the years.

The Krystal Clear sand filter pump/salter system is designed for above ground pools. The system has six functions including:

  • Backwash
  • Close system
  • Rinse
  • Re-circulate
  • Drain
  • Filter

It includes 24-hr. timer w/ 1-12 hr. pre-set cycles to provide auto operation.

The removable ladder includes high-impact/slip-resistant steps. The steel frame is coated with corrosion-resistance. These ladders are for Intex units and have a max. weight capacity of 300 pounds.

The debris cover is made of a durable material. A rope is included to prevent wind from blowing off the cover.

The volleyball set is great accessory for playing the sport with friends/family. The set includes net, poles, and ball. It’s easy to install and the poles mount onto the pool.

There’s even a cleaning kit that includes wall brush, leaf rake, and vacuum head. You can vacuum debris on the pool floor into filter.

There’s also a skimmer net that’s deep mesh/durable. The wall brush can quickly remove grime/algae from the pool walls/floor.

Finally, the instructional DVD is bundled to provide info about setup/maintenance.

Pros

  • Rigid frame keeps water in
  • Good for kids learning to swim
  • Deeper than other oval pools
  • Install on concrete slab
  • Low price range

Cons

  • No ladder
  • No cover
  • Instructions unclear

9. Family Swimming Pool Set (8 ft.) by Summer Waves

summer waves 8 foot pool

Features

Goldilocks might say the swimming pool’s size is “just right.” That’s because it’s small enough for your family to set up in your backyard. On the other hand, it’s large enough for you and your friends to have tons of summer fun.

The Krystal Clear sand filter pump/salter system is designed for above ground pools. The system has six functions including:

  • Backwash
  • Close system
  • Rinse
  • Re-circulate
  • Drain
  • Filter

It includes 24-hr. timer w/ 1-12 hr. pre-set cycles to provide auto operation.

The removable ladder includes high-impact/slip-resistant steps. The steel frame is coated with corrosion-resistance. These ladders are for Intex units and have a max. weight capacity of 300 pounds.

The debris cover is made of a durable material. A rope is included to prevent wind from blowing off the cover.

The volleyball set is great accessory for playing the sport with friends/family. The set includes net, poles, and ball. It’s easy to install and the poles mount onto the pool.

There’s even a cleaning kit that includes wall brush, leaf rake, and vacuum head. You can vacuum debris on the pool floor into filter.

There’s also a skimmer net that’s deep mesh/durable. The wall brush can quickly remove grime/algae from the pool walls/floor.

Finally, the instructional DVD is bundled to provide info about setup/maintenance.

Pros

  • Excellent customer service
  • Effective skimmer
  • Inflatable ring pools
  • Sturdy lining
  • Very durable
  • Easy to set up in about an hr

Cons

  • Filter system pump
  • Actual pool depth
  • General quality/durability

10. 4-1800 PARA100 Swimming Pool (18 ft. x 52 in) by Embassy Pool

Embassy Pool 4-1800 PARA100 Above Ground Swimming Pool

Features

The pool’s frame is made of durable enamel steel. That includes 9-inch top rails/verticals. The pool’s steel wall is constructed of galvanized copper-bearing metal.

The combination of these two metals helps to boost the pool’s durability, which in turn boosts the value.

The Krystal Clear sand filter pump/salter system is designed for above ground pools. The system has six functions including:

  • Backwash
  • Close system
  • Rinse
  • Re-circulate
  • Drain
  • Filter

It includes 24-hr. timer w/ 1-12 hr. pre-set cycles to provide auto operation.

The removable ladder includes high-impact/slip-resistant steps. The steel frame is coated with corrosion-resistance. These ladders are for Intex units and have a max. weight capacity of 300 pounds.

The debris cover is made of a durable material. A rope is included to prevent wind from blowing off the cover.

The volleyball set is great accessory for playing the sport with friends/family. The set includes net, poles, and ball. It’s easy to install and the poles mount onto the pool.

There’s even a cleaning kit that includes wall brush, leaf rake, and vacuum head. You can vacuum debris on the pool floor into filter.

There’s also a skimmer net that’s deep mesh/durable. The wall brush can quickly remove grime/algae from the pool walls/floor.

Finally, the instructional DVD is bundled to provide info about setup/maintenance.

Pros

  • Neutral color
  • Enamel steel frame
  • Instructions easy to follow
  • Durable
  • Packaging

Cons

  • Must be winterized
  • Smaller pool
  • Ground leveling required
  • Manufacturer not well-known

The Best Above Ground Pool Accessories

Intex 28675EG Krystal Clear 1500 GPH Sand Filter Pump & Saltwater System with E.C.O.

intex 28675EG Krystal Clear 1500 GPH Sand Filter Pump

There are various reasons this unit is a good option to keep pool water clear/sparkling. Sand is natural/cheap and effective at filtering water.

Another plus is you’ll only have to replace the sand filter every 5 years or so. This can save you time, effort, and money. If you can reduce your pool’s maintenance cost this will in turn lower your overall investment, which is definitely a plus.

This unit’s system provides electro catalytic oxidation (ECO). It’s well-known for being able to keep swimming pool water clean/safe. Meanwhile, it can also eliminate harshness of old-school chlorine.

This filter pump/saltwater system is designed for above ground swimming pools with a capacity ranging from 2,600 to 8,500 gallons, which is a flexible range.

This filter system is also convenient since it provides one low-cost/maintenance system for keeping pools comfy, clean, and safe. This in turn will provide a better experience for swimmers.

The Intex Sand Filter Pump also includes a 2-year warranty. This also adds value to the accessory since it protects your investment.

Pros

  • Very effective for Intex pools
  • Easy setup
  • Saves time/money
  • No filters/sand required
  • Makes pool very clean

Cons

  • Might crack within one season
  • Customer service
  • Timer within 24 hours.

Adjustable Pool Safety Ladder by Confer Plastics

Safety above ground pool ladder

A swimming pool ladder should provide features like sturdiness and stability, which are provided by this unit.

This Confer Plastics ladder is adjustable and fits pools ranging from 48-inches to 55-inches tall. This provides flexibility since you can use it for pools with walls of different heights. It makes the process of selecting a ladder for your above ground pool easier.

The Pool Safety Ladder features large 18-in x 5-in. This makes it easier to ascend/descend the stairs with confidence and thus reducing the chance of accidents.

Another big safety feature is the extra-big platform. This is another plus since you’ll also be safer when standing at the top of the ladder. This area is just as important as the stairs themselves in terms of safety.

Yet another safety feature is the Roll Guard Barrier. This is lockable and the lock is included.

Pros

  • Good for above ground pool
  • Sturdy ladder
  • Excellent value
  • Easy setup
  • Safe ladder

Cons

  • Sometimes not stable
  • Hard to turn around on
  • Not a sexy design

Solar Cover (12ft Diameter Pools) by Intex

above ground pool Solar cover

This Solar Cover reduces evaporation and up to 95%. This figure is quite high. It provides double value since you can retain the water’s heat while preventing droplets from turning into vapor. You’ll not only have warm water for night swimming but also more of it!

There are also drain holes, which is an effective feature that helps to prevent the accumulation of water on the cover. This could cause various issues like the cover dropping into the pool.

The bundled carry bag helps to provide easy storage. It’s certainly a plus to protect the cover for the times you’ll need it. It’s also effective when you need to store/transport the pool. In that case you might want to bring the cover with you and this feature allows you to do it more conveniently.

Finally, if you’re looking for “green” components for your swimming pool this is a good option. That’s because the cover works by retaining heat over the pool.

It’s especially effective in hot climates where the temps are high in the day and cool at night. If you want to do some night swimming without dealing with cold water this cover eliminates the need to use power-consuming heaters.

Pros

  • Keeps out sand/debris
  • Economic solution
  • Good for hot climates
  • Easy to take out

Cons

  • No warranty
  • Sometimes only lasts for months

Deluxe Pool Maintenance Kit by Intex

deluxe above ground Pool Maintenance Kit by Intex

If your Intex pool’s filter pump has a 800+ gph filter pump then this maintenance kit is a good option. It’s critical to maintain your pool regularly and one way to do that is with this maintenance kit. It will help to keep your pool in good shape during and before/after swimming season.

The pool vacuum is effective in removing debris off the pool floor then through its filter. This helps to provide a more comfy and safer experience for you, which is important when owning any pool including an above ground pool unit.

You can connect the vacuum to the pool’s outlet connector via a 24 ft./7-in hose. This provides more convenience. You won’t have to worry about finding an outlet around your home, which can be tough when you install the pool a mile from your home, for example.

The maintenance kit also includes a deep mesh/durable skimmer net. This is a plus for removing things like branches, twigs, and other debris off the pool’s water.

This tool won’t remove all of the contaminants in the pool so it’s important to have a powerful/effective pump/filter. That said, a quality skimmer can help to collect large items floating on the pool’s surface.

Pros

  • Keeps pool floor clean
  • Quality wall scrubber
  • Good value
  • Quality maintenance kit

Cons

  • Not high-end
  • Not bundled with pool

Spa Chemical Dispenser by Swimline

spa Chemical Dispenser for above ground pool by Swimline

Swimline is the inventor of the first-ever giant Swan Float. The company was founded 45+ years ago in 1971 and has become one of the world’s largest makers of swimming pool liners, games, toys, and maintenance equipment. 

Swimline produces various types of pool maintenance. This includes equipment needed to support all the needs of your above ground swimming pool. This helps to maintain your pool effectively so the form and function are optimized.

The dispenser contains 1-inch of chlorine/bromine tablets/sticks. It also contains an adjustable control ring for easy use.

Pros

  • Leaches chlorine
  • Good for hot tubs
  • Works well with small Intex pools
  • Very effective/affordable
  • Reduces chlorine bill

Cons

  • Dispenses too quickly
  • Sinks to bottom over time
  • Bottom of floater falls apart

How to Install an Above Ground Pool?

After picking the best above ground pool and getting it home your next mission (if you choose to accept it) is to set it up.

One option is to hire a trained professional. This is the best option if you  doubt whether you have the knowledge/experience to get the job done.

It’s better to pay the costs to have a professional install the unit if it means you’ll avoid the hassle of the pool getting damaged before you even fill it up with water.

If you want to make the installation a DIY project then make sure you get the job done right. Here are some tips to achieve that mission:

Collect all the tools you need for installation

Make sure you have the right tools from your toolbox. This will prevent the need to waste time finding or buying tools you need to put the swimming pool together.

Another step to consider doing is separating the different types of materials. You should also separate the materials and tools so you can access what you need.

Before you start the installation process make sure you’ve selected a good place to install the pool. It must be a level area so you you’ll need to level out an uneven area first.

If the project is too onerous due to situations like a steep slope you should consider hiring a professional or picking another area.

You should also pick a space that’s big enough for the above ground swimming pool. Make sure to first measure the potential installation space to be 100% sure the swimming pool will fit there.

You should also add three feet around the total perimeter of the pool. This will help to account for other items like the ladder.

You should also check for possible obstructions around, over, and under the swimming pool. That includes overhead utility lines and nearby trees/bushes. Some of these items can cause a nuisance while others can actually cause safety issues.

Yet another issue is a logistical one. Make sure the swimming pool meets all local and state/provincial codes. Failing to take this step could require you to take down the swimming pool after installing it, which would result in wasted time and effort.

After taking these preliminary steps you’ll be ready for the main event. Here are the main step-by-step instructions to follow:

  1. Measure and mark
  2. Clear the space
  3. Level the land
  4. Install rails
  5. Connect every bottom rail
  6. Block the bottom plates
  7. Add pool base
  8. Install the pool wall
  9. Create the cove
  10. Mount uprights
  11. Tamp sand/pool base
  12. Install liner
  13. Attach stabilizer rails/top plates
  14. Attach top rail
  15. Fill with water

These are the basic steps to take when installing an above ground pool. It’s critical to follow the specific directions for a particular model in order to get the best results.

What Are The Benefits of Above Ground Pools?

Cost

Even though most of us can’t afford to build a $5.5 billion in-ground pool an above ground pool is definitely a cheaper option. This is due to various factors including the pool itself. If you pick a kiddie pool, for example, you can find several products in the under-$20 category here.

The price savings is due to many factors. PVC is a lot cheaper than steel/aluminum, for example. Other factors including low maintenance costs and low/no installation costs also make above ground pools a plus. Meanwhile, the installation of in-ground pools often costs thousands of dollars based on factors like the type/size of the pool.

Easy installation / Maintenance

The installation of some above ground pools involve inflating them, which you probably won’t need a professional’s help for. However, even if you hire one the process is generally much easier due to there being no need to dig holes, lay concrete, and so on. This not only makes the installation process easier but also cheaper.

The maintenance is also easier. Inflatable pools will be the easiest to maintain and will typically involve some basic cleaning or patch work. The situation is much different in the case of inground pools. In-seaons you’ll have to test pH levels, clean the pool/water weekly, shock the water, and run the filtration system.

Safety

It’s important to note that accidents can still happen in above ground pools. So make sure to follow a particular pool model’s safety warnings and general ones for all above ground pools.

That said, as a general rule they’re safer than in-ground pools for various reasons. One of the main ones is since there’s no pool deck around the swimming area it’s less likely for people to fall into the pool.

In fact, more drowning/near-drownings happen in in-ground pools. It should be noted that there are more inground pools so the ratio is closer than the figures show.

Portability

This is especially true for certain types of above ground pools like inflatable units. However, even in cases like moving to your summer house for several months an on ground pool is a practical option in terms of portability. You can cool off in the privacy of your yard instead of spending big bucks for pool memberships.

This is a big factor in certain situations. If you travel/move a lot then you might want to bring a portable pool with you anywhere you go. It’s a lot easier to haul an above ground pool with you vs. building a brand new in-ground pool each time you move.

Above Ground Pool vs In Ground Pool

Above Ground Pools Vs Inground pools

Should you pick the best above ground pool or an in-ground pool? They both have pros and cons so it’s important to consider both of them. Here are some of the top benefits of in-ground pools:

Customization

When picking an above ground pool you’ll have some basic options like round/oval, steel/aluminum/resin and the the size. So in a sense you can “customize” the pool via the model you pick.

However, if you want true customization you should consider an in-ground pool. You’ll have more options in terms of the shape, depth, color, and features. This is definitely a plus in terms of your personal preference. It will be easier to own a swimming pool with a particular look and feel you want.

In the case of in-ground pools the units are already constructed. So it’s simply impossible to get the same customizing options related to extra pool features and controlling the view from your home’s back windows.

Durability

This is another key issue and especially when you build an in-ground pool out of concrete. An above ground pool is more vulnerable to things like leaking, breaking, collapsing, and accidents. These are all situations you’ll certainly want to avoid when picking a pool for your home.

If you pick an in-ground pool you’ll be installing a structure that’s built and designed to last year after year. That includes factors like wind, rain, snow, and freezing temperatures. As with other home improvements you’ll want to protect your investment as much as possible. Simply picking an in-ground pool is one of the most effective ways to achieve that goal.

Safety

This is greatly due to the issue of durability. When your friends and family swim in your pool you’ll want to be as safe as possible. That’s much more likely when they’re doing the breast stroke or butterfly in a cement in-ground pool rather than an aluminum on above ground pool.

Aesthetics

As a general rule home-owners think that in-ground pools are more attractive than above ground pools. Both types can improve how your landscape looks. However, if you want to create a classier look it could be argued an under-ground pool is better and especially compared to colorful inflatable pools.

Value

More specifically an in-ground pool can increase the value of your home/land. This depends on various factors including the the pool’s quality, materials, condition, etc.

There are a few things to keep in mind. A swimming pool could increase your home insurance rates as a liability. That’s due to the possible accidents that could take place in or around the pool. The cost of installing/maintaining a pool can also be quite high and especially if that’s done year-round.

Still, in some situations an in-ground swimming pool can significantly boost your home’s value. For example, if 99.9% your most of your neighbors have one and you don’t it could lower your home’s resale value.

The bottom line is you should do your homework. Consider factors like the current and future housing market in your area. Another issue is how long you plan to stay in the area. The average price tag for a concrete pool is about $40,000. So if you might move next year there’s a small chance you’ll recoup the pool’s cost.

Coleman Pools vs. Intex Pools

Coleman Pools Vs Intex Pools

When picking an above ground pool one of the main options is the brand. That includes industry leaders like Coleman and Intex.

Coleman

Coleman is a US-based company that produces a wide range of products for outdoor recreation including camping gear.

William Coffin Coleman founded the company in 1900 in the US state Oklahoma while it’s headquartered today in Chicago, Illinois.  Coleman is now a subsidiary of Newell Brands.

One of the top-selling pools available today is Coleman’s Power Steel Frame Swimming Pool. The unit is durable, easy to install, and very affordable.

The Power Steel technology is ultra-strong. Meanwhile, the pool is designed to keep the unit strong/safe for several years.

This tech is available in round or oval shapes. Other options include various sizes and depths.

The Coleman pool includes accessory kits that are easy to find. The components bundled with the pool include a pump, ladder, and cloth.

Intex

Intex was founded 40+ years ago and offers a wide range of affordable products including above ground swimming pools.

The company’s core value include affordability, quality, and customer service. For over a decade Intex has worked with its suppliers to reduce the amount of fossil fuels used.

A popular unit from Intex is the Prism Frame Above Ground Pool. One of the key features is the affordable price tag. You can also do DIY installation.

The Prism Frame is rust-resistant due to its powder coating. As a result the pool frame will be sturdy for a long time.

There’s also a 3-ply liner that’s very durable and puncture-resistant.

Another plus is the swimming pool is bundled with an installation kit. That includes a pump and DVD with detailed instructions. You’ll have everything you need to install the swimming pool.

Both of these units also have some drawbacks worth noting. It might be tough to reach the Coleman Customer Service. In addition, the ladder is a bit unsteady so you might want to build steps leading up to the pool.

How about the Intex unit? It also has a shaky ladder that feels somewhat dangerous. You might want to add a new ladder or deck. You also might want to upgrade to a better pump.

Which company did it better? The Colman pool is generally a better option in terms of quality. However, if you’re on a tight budget you should consider the Intex pool due to the affordable price tag.

Above Ground Pool Frequently Asked Questions

Above Ground Pool FAQ's

Is round or oval/rectangular shape the best pool shape?

It depends on your situation. A round pool is smaller so is better for small yards. It’s also a better option for singles, couples, and small families. A rectangular/oval unit is usually more expensive because of its design. However, this doesn’t mean a rectangular pool has a better overall quality.

Which pool brand is the best?

The term “best” is relative. However, some of the top brands include Coleman, Intex, and Splash. Each company’s models have pros/cons so it’s important to learn the details of the different swimming pools.  Different companies are also known for certain general features. For example, Intex pools are popular in part for their low price tags.

When should I set up an above ground pool?

As a general rule wait until the air temperature is consistently 70-degrees Fahrenheit. This is a good time to start enjoying the benefits of a refreshing dip in the pool. It’s also easier to set up the bool in warm/sunny weather so check the day’s forecast before you start assembling the unit.

When should I close an above ground pool?

If the weather is inclement you should definitely consider this option. While there are some exceptions most people don’t like to swim in rainy/snowy weather. You should definitely close up the swimming pool during a thunderstorm since the combination of lightning and water is very dangerous.

What is the best depth for above ground pools?

One thing to consider is the middle depth. This depth shouldn’t be much higher than 1 foot deeper than the rest of the pool. You won’t really have to worry if it’s under that figure since expandable liners are available with today’s pools.

How can I drain water from an above ground pool?

The first step is to find out where you can dump the water. Because of the chemicals you might be required to dump it in the sewage system. Then start a siphon, which can involve a few different options like a garden hose. Then drain the water.

Why some people cover their above ground pool?

There are various reasons. This helps to reduce water evaporation and chemical use. It can also help the pool to retain heat.  Covering the pool also keeps out debris like leaves and grass. You’ll also require less maintenance like vacuuming. It also helps to protect your investment.

When should an above ground pool’s liner be replaced?

These liners usually include a 20-30 yr. warranty. However, in most situations you’ll have to replace above ground pool liners every 6-10 years. There are various factors involved including the liner’s material and quality.

What is water shocking and should I shock an above ground pool?

This is also called super chlorination. It involves adding extra chlorine to the pool in order to sanitize it. This helps to kill bacteria and get rid of contaminants. You should shock your pool’s water when there’s a buildup of contaminants. This will help to keep the water clear and safer.

What’s the best way to fill an above ground pool?

It depends on the situation. You could use city/municipal water from house, well water from well/softener system, water delivery service, or fire department water. You should consider various factors including water sources available and the different costs.

What’s the required maintenance for a pool?

There’s various maintenance you should do daily, weekly, and monthly. For example, every day you should run the filter for 12-18 hours, keep water level at mid-skimmer, test pH level, empty skimmer/pump baskets, inspect filter pressure, and observe pool cleaner. There are also various steps to take for weekly/monthly maintenance.

I am Nicholas Stanley a swimming pool enthusiast with more than 22+ years of swimming pool construction and maintenance in corporate, residence and spa. I have initiated this website Pools point to share my experience by trustworthy product reviews, pool related how-to guides, DIY tips ans tricks to maintain the pool. I want my readers and customers to be aware of all the technicalities of pool and pool related equipment's.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here