Best Above ground Pool Reviews 2016: Ultimate Buying Guide

This page is for discovering some best above ground pools by reviewing every single product. You will find here above ground pool reviews, three main types of above ground swimming pool: Hard-sided pool, soft-sided pool and portable above ground swimming pool. We hope you can answer the question “What is the best above ground pool to buy” by on this blog.

Soft-sided Above Ground Pool Comparison

Intex Easy Set 12-Foot by 30-Inch Round Pool Set
  • Intex 12ft X 30in Easy Set Pool Set
  • Size: 12-Feet by 30-Inch
  • SUPER-TOUGH laminated PVC sidewalls, 110 - 120 Volt Filter Pump with 530 gallon per hour flow rate, Set-up and maintenance DVD included
Intex 18 x 48 Easy Set Pool Set
  • Intex 18ft X 48in Easy Set Pool Set
  • Size: 18-Feet by 48-Inch
  • Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter pump, 1,500 gph (110-120V), Ladder, Ground Cloth, Debris Cover included
Bestway 57120US Fast Set Pool Set, 15-Feet by 36-Inch
  • Bestway 15-Foot by 36-Inch Fast Set Round Pool Set
  • 15-Foot by 36-Inch
  • 530 Gallon Filter Pump and Filter Cartridge, Ground Cloth, Pool Cover, Ladder, Heavy Duty PVC Repair Patch Kit included
Intex Oval Frame Pool Set
  • Intex 18ft X 10ft X 42in Oval Frame Pool Set
  • Size: 18-Feet by 10-Feet by 42-Inch
  • Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter Pump with 1,000 gph (110-120V), Ladder, Ground Cloth. Debris Cover, SUPER-TOUGH laminated PVC sidewalls included

Hard-sided Above Ground Pool Comparison

Intex Rectangular Ultra Frame Pool Set, 18-Feet by 9-Feet by 52-Inch
  • Intex Rectangular Ultra Frame Pool Set, 18-Feet by 9-Feet by 52-Inch
  • Size: 18-Feet by 9-Feet by 52-Inch
  • 1,200 gal. sand filter pump, ladder, ground cloth and pool cover included
Intex 12ft X 30in Metal Frame Pool Set
  • Intex 12ft X 30in Metal Frame Pool Set
  • 12ft X 30in
  • Krystal clear cartridge filter pump 530 gph (110 - 120v) included
Quality 10'x30
  • Intex Metal Frame Pool Set, 10-Feet x 30-Inch
  • 10-Feet x 30-Inch
  • Filter pump included
Bestway 56087US Steel Pro Frame Pool Set
  • Bestway 12-Foot by 30-Inch Steel Pro Round Frame Pool Set
  • 12-Foot by 30-Inch
  • 330 Gallon Filter Pump, Filter Cartridge, Heavy Duty PVC Repair Patch Kit included
Splash Pools Above Ground Round Pool Package
  • Splash Pools Above Ground Round Pool Package, 24-Feet by 52-Inch
  • Warranty: 35-year limited
  • 24-Feet by 52-Inch
  • 1 Horsepower Sand Filter, A-Frame Resin Ladder with Safety Barrier included
Intex 32-Foot by 16-Foot by 52-Inch Rectangular Ultra Frame Pool
  • Intex 32-Foot by 16-Foot by 52-Inch Rectangular Ultra Frame Pool
  • 32-Foot by 16-Foot by 52-Inch
  • Pump, Ladder, Deluxe Maintenance Kit, Pool Cover and Ground Cloth included
Intex 24-Foot by 12-Foot by 52-Inch Rectangular Ultra Frame Pool
  • Intex 24Ft X 12Ft X 52In Ultra Frame Pool Set
  • Size: 24-Foot by 12-Foot by 52-Inch
  • Krystal clear filter pump and saltwater system, Ladder, Ground cloth, Debris cover, Deluxe pool maintenance kit, Volleyball set included

Above Ground Pool Overview

Possessing a swimming pool in your residential premises may be a status symbol; but for all you know, a pool is where you may always share the fun and excitement for one and all. Furthermore, whichever may be your reason for availing a pool, everything sinks towards a common thought and rule— it is one of the best escape for relaxation, cooling off, and recreation; if not, an ideal outlet to simply spend private quality time with family and friends, or just with your swimming passion.

With a burning interest of availing and owning one, your thoughts will certainly be in confusion, especially upon swamped by several product brochures to compare for the perfect one, or merely becoming clueless about specific considerations to pick upon! Worry not, as this comprehensive guideline directs you properly and well, before you splash your cash for an above ground pool model.

  • Primarily, you will come to learn the basic principles and essential systems of a pool’s functions.
  • This will crucially serve as your jumping pad into discovering your purchasing considerations.
  • Along the process, you will identify its proper applications, as well as its beneficial features, equipments, accessories, and safety precautions.
  • Additionally, you will be knowledgeable about all the above ground pool variations, allowing you to arrive at rational conclusions vis-à-vis their important points of comparisons.
  • Finally, this above ground pool buying guideline enables you to determine one of the more significant purchasing aspects— how much would you stay within your planned budgets, or stretching your hands diving deeper into your pockets!

best above ground pool

Above ground Pool’s Principles: Benefactions and Functions

Why choose an above ground pool model in the first place? Foremost, it is actually the wisest and best option to purchase— economically, conveniently, and whatever ways:

  • Practicality – Above ground pools satisfy practically every swimming requirement— from a mélange of lap pools and spas to fun pools and fancy dipping baths, including huge commercial swimming vats— for only a fraction of the total expenses of constructing an in-ground model.
  • Flexibility – Above ground pools are flexible and versatile to meet your needs and demands accordingly. Any time, you can transfer its location, especially when you move to another community. Besides, when your swimming necessities call for modifications, you may easily downsize or upsize or downsize correspondingly.
  • Affordability – Above ground pools are obviously less expensive at all fronts, from installation to maintenance works, offering ease and facility for probing and repairing leakages.

For a quick dip, immersing yourself in the basic working principles of the container-and-water system, you ought to follow principally the water flow. Essentially, the flow pattern commences with the motor-pump suctioning water to aid its entrance into the plumbing system thru a main drain or surface skimmer— the pool’s circulatory water system component that skims off debris by drawing surface water through it and constantly brings new surface layers of water. Water passes through the pump; thereafter, to a purifying filter. An option along its route is a heater. Lastly, water is reverted to the pool by a return outlet.

Full Poles to Pull for a Pool: Considerations in Choosing/Buying

For as long as knowing the full poles or, the points to consider and their contraries, it is so simple to choose and buy, or pull a pool. Just as in any major decision making, it is necessarily important to engage in information gathering. As such, the time-tested formula for researching constitutes responding to the five W’s— who, what, when, where, and why— prior to purchasing:

  • Who mostly uses it?
  • What shape, size, and material type suits best your interests?
  • When is the ideal time purchasing; or, when will you be able to buy?
  • Where would be its best location?
  • Why must you buy; or, why purchase to a certain dealer?

Who: Pool Usage

Knowing for whom— kids, family, and friends— or how the pool shall be used— parties, exercise, relaxation and recreation— and, the quantity it accommodates leads you to answer the next question about the pool’s required shape and size.

What: Pool Shape, Size, and Type

  1. Shape – The available space of your premises is also a factor to determine your pool’s suitable shape and size. Typically, pools mostly come in either round or oval designs, and some rectangular forms. Round pools provide more swimming space, facilitate an easier set-up, and are more economical than oval-shaped pools. Oval pools obviously require greater ground space; and, a greater space means a bigger size, needing extra sidewall bracings.
  2. Size – The rule of thumb for figuring out your desired pool size is basing a ratio of one swimmer per 15 sq. ft.
    Thus, with a predetermined number of users or swimmers, you can recognize how big or small is your pool’s area. Conversely, upon setting specific dimensions for your pool, you will know exact accommodations.
  3. Type – Fixed above ground pools typically has a vinyl liner held by a framework made of steel, resin or aluminum. Usually the principal types of structural materials are steel and resin.
  • Steel – Steel-structured pools are the most durable pools lasting more than 20 years. Steel is commonly the material used for top rails, bottom tracks, uprights, and wall frameworks. Since the material has multiple protective coatings, steel pools are corrosion resistant.
  • Resin – Resin-structured pools have the highest quality materials; thus, the most expensive, yet, have the most advantages. Unlike steel and aluminum pools, resin pools neither corrode nor retain heat, and need the least maintenance that provides you with more savings in the longer terms. While the walls of resin pools comprise steel, a heavy-duty and high quality plastic makes up all the other structural components.
  • Aluminum – Aluminum-structured pools weigh the lightest; however, not durable since they gradually oxidize that eventually leads to thinning the surfaces and create minute holes inside the pool liner. Nevertheless, they can be easily set-up, disassembled and rearranged whenever.
  • Stainless Steel – Aside from the pool’s top rails, bottom tracks, uprights, and walls, usage of stainless steel also commonly applies to panels, wherein the hoses and the water filters situate. Beware of retailers selling steel wall sections in lieu of stainless steel; else, that portion of your pool’s wall will surely rust.

When: Buying Season

The law of supply and demand applies for the best times or seasons to buy a pool. Above ground pools have discounted prices during fall. It is after the summer season when a pool production slowdown occurs, as people most likely will not be taking a plunge until the next summer season

Another best time, but not as popular as the fall season is spring. This after the winter season when people seems using a pool sans waiting for the warmer season; and, when pool manufacturers sell cheaper previous model year pools.

Where: Pool Location

A pool’s location does not pose an issue when you have greater available spaces. However, picking the right spot should have a minimum distance of 5 feet away from your house and property boundaries; and, in proximity to waterproof outlets, especially when a pool comes with a built-in electric pump. Area preparation highly requires leveling with zero slopes and gradients.

Why: Intent to Buy/Pool Dealer

Your intents of purchasing a pool reflect the responses of who uses the pool and its usages. Always consider the magnitude of urgency of its need lest a pool just becomes ghost elephant in your backyard.

When purchasing one, avail it only at legitimate pool shops where you can have easy access to pool consultancy, chemical requirements, installation, service and other support services.

best above ground pools

Pool of Pools: Various Types of Above ground Pools

There are several various types of above ground pools, commonly classified as:

Hard-Sided Pool

Hard-sided above ground pools come in either circular or oval shapes, with frameworks made of steel, and sidewalls fitted with resin.


  • sturdier and more durable than inflatable varieties, as their posts and framework’s top rim and posts are either constructed with metal
  • endures more natural wear and tear compared against soft sided pools
  • entails larger dimensions, and flexible for depth customizations


  • requires more intensive labor during area preparation assembling/ installation, as well as dismantling than inflatable types
  • structural works and construction is more complex than soft-sided types


Soft-Sided Pool

Soft-sided above ground pools are usually available in rectangular forms, and typically in circular shapes with inflatable types. Materials used for such inflatable pools could be synthetic fiber, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic, tarpaulin, and rubber.


  • while some soft-sided pools are inflatable, metal frames somehow support their sidewalls
  • flexibility and ease of installation on either gravel, dirt, sand, grass, and concrete surfaces
  • shorter time to assemble and disassemble, and easily kept in storage during the winter season
  • considerably more affordable than hard-sided varieties
  • easier maintenance as compared to hard-sided kinds


  • poor in quality as compared to hard-sided pools
  • generally flimsier and smaller than hard-framed types
  • other versions do not come with essential accessories such as, pump, ladder, filter, or other add-ons, which you have to purchase separately
  • cannot endure normal wear and tear, and are easily vulnerable to damages and leaks


Portable above ground pools have become popular as they involve installations suited to accommodate various capacities of people at a time. Thus, they mostly come in an assortment of sizes, commonly shaped elliptically.


  • best option when longer periods of maintenance schedules are not possible
  • easy set-up and installation
  • simple structures and very affordable, especially when you do not want to invest with them at first
  • capable for installations at even the tightest of available spaces


  • tougher to keep clean and difficult to maintain
  • damage the repute of the pool industry with their renowned poor quality
  • low-grade and low-end major equipments and accessories, which easily break down or do not perform efficiently and are not reliable enough to purify and clean its pool water

best above ground swimming pool

Pool’s Full Essentials: Features, Equipments, and Accessories

Primarily, pool equipments are significantly essential to help protect the pool in general and secure its users in particular by filtering, purifying and cleansing your pool water. Overall, they provide for a good swimming experience and maximum pool efficiency and optimum pool usage.

Some above ground pools come with do-it-yourself (DIY) pool kits that consist of essential pool components requiring you to set up your pool in just a short time.
Usually the kit includes the major pool essentials such as a pump, filter, ladder, cover, and sliders.

Depending upon the pool brand, a pool kit additionally contains sanitizing materials, a solar blanket, and maintenance kit; and, even add-on accessories such as, lighting, fencing, heaters, cleaners, and kid-friendly game equipments that offer more fun and safety.


A durable and reliable pump aids suctioning water thru a skimmer, which acts as a water cleaner prior to reverting it to the pool. Alternately, its strainer basket augments collecting volumes of minute debris. Although pool filters do the same purposes, these are not interchangeable equipments. There are specific pumps exclusively designed for above ground pools.


The importance of the filter’s function is what makes the pool and swimming generally pleasurable. As it keeps the pool water clean and purified, it results with a smooth and consistent water flow, including undisturbed backwashing.


Pool ladders provide easy and safe access to, and egress from your above ground pool. The choice of a variety of ladders, usually made of either stainless steel, resin, plastic, vinyl or, aluminum, depends upon its placement and water depth. However, installing a pool deck substantially lessens the ladder’s number of steps required to access the pool.

Pool covers

Pool covers or blankets prevent contamination of the pool water with foreign materials, and help maintain the water cleanliness. They come in four options depending upon your purpose for covering your pool— leaf-net, winter, solar, and other pool blankets for safe swimming.

Pool Slides

Pool sliders offer all the fun and excitement to make the most of your pool activities, especially with children. They come in a variety of heights, from a low of three feet to as high as eight feet.

Pool heater

Pool heaters obviously help extend swimming periods when producing warmer water temperatures. Albeit less of a safety feature, solar pool heaters incline to be more economical and heighten environmental awareness, which are effective equipments for using solar energy to heat your pool water. Such tools reduce monthly maintenance costs while entailing quicker payback in energy savings for as short as three to five years.

Pool Cleaners/Vacuums

Automatic pool cleaners vacuum all the dirt, oil films, and other grimes from your pool with nary any assistance from anybody else. These are efficient tools to scrub clean sidewalls and bottom surfaces of the pool.


Pool chemicals such as biguanide, chlorine, and salt all help maintain the pool water’s cleanliness. However, each has its own specifications and differences as follows:

  1. Biguanide
    Function: It sterilizes the water with the use of hydrogen peroxide, beneficial to swimmers having allergies to chlorine.
    Note: Ensure compatibility when blending with other chemicals lest undesirable sludge form in the pool water.
  2. Chlorine
    Function: It purifies the pool water by either adding chlorine pills to a floating dispenser or the filter.
    Note: Requires weekly replenishment during the summer as chlorine easily evaporates during such weather. Moreover, chlorine may irritate the hair, eyes, and skin.
  3. Salt
    – Function: It cleans the pool water thru a self-rejuvenating system, wherein a device uses extracts chlorine from salt.
    – Note: It entails a large initial investment.

Pool Resources to Pay for a Pool: How Much Does It Cost You?

Aside from providing you ideas with the foregoing estimated costs for each of the various types of above ground pools, the following provides you a better understanding and knowledge about how and what may be your further investments upon purchasing an above ground pool.

Estimations for any type of above ground pool constitute two principal components:

  • Pool Kit Cost
  • Set-Up Cost, especially in cases of larger pools

Some pool kits come with clear-cut instructions and procedures, you may somehow do it yourself. The quick and easy way to install, use, and disassemble is just the perfect benefaction that above ground pools provide.

Adding more expenses is procuring above ground swimming pool accessories. However, considering better hygiene maintenance and safety measures offered by such accessories, your investment certainly pays in the long haul.

Consumers must always consider asking the inclusions with your chosen pool prior to purchasing. In this way, you can always come well-prepared getting an idea for the comprehensive costs and plan your budget beforehand.

As you have always been dreaming of possessing someday your own exclusive splash zone, you no longer have any more reasons getting confused and disappointingly groan. All the latest wave of considerations and options are within this ultimate above ground pool guideline, which would definitely never drain your savings, but truly realize your dream and shine.

While swimming pools provide several benefits and may be extremely relaxing at the same time, purchasing a pool must be among your best investments. Exercise prudence when taking your first plunge in choosing and purchasing. The above ground pool, aside from its many varieties to choose from, is the most practical, economical, flexible, affordable and convenient of all; thus, becoming one of the most popular types of swimming pool.

Nevertheless, it is worthy to note that every above ground pool is unique. Remember what truly works best for you to seek. Have in mind those above ground pool essentials that provide you the optimum functions or fashions, as well as beneficial contributions with respect to your preferences, interests, needs, and passions.

Furthermore, bear in mind to trust and rely upon your own instincts, your inner guru! After all, they say that common sense is always your best tutor, aside from you! Lastly, never hesitate to shoot questions in mind since most of the probable answers are just within the pages behind— floating or submerged— and only urge you to dive for them and review or rewind!

Now, the water is pure, inviting and so fine! Have a nice dip, while relying upon this ultimate above ground pool guideline! You need not even hire professionals to set your pool up; but rather, you can actually do it yourself!