How to find the best above ground swimming pool for your family
Above ground pool reviews often have the details about the pool’s dimensions, material, colors, and accessories and when searching for the perfect pool, these details are important, but there are other things to consider before you make a decision. Many reviews are meant to ‘market’ the pool and make money. We provide these above ground pool reviews to help you find the pool that meets all your needs and includes important safety options and durability.
In this article, we include the pros and cons of each pool and information about the manufacturers. While many companies sell an ‘above ground pool package,’ it may not provide the essential details like what kind of filter, how long the liner is guaranteed to last, and the pool kit’s overall performance. An above ground pool is a large investment for you and your family. Make sure it’s affordable, safe, and will bring enjoyment for years to come!
Intex 15ft X 48in Metal Frame Pool Set
15-Feet by 48-Inch
Intex 15ft X 42in Easy Set Pool Set
15-Feet by 42-Inch
Splash Pools Above-Ground Round Pool Package
24-Feet by 52-Inch
Intex 12ft X 30in Metal Frame Pool Set
12-Feet by 30-Inch
Intex 15ft X 48in Easy Set Pool Set
15-Feet by 48-Inch
Here are two of our favorite picks for your family's fun in the sun!
This above ground pool creates an oasis for your family! Sumer fun is just out your back door with the large-sized Intex pool. Made with high quality PVC material, you can enjoy years of use and enjoyment. Swimming is more fun when you can enjoy your own backyard above ground pool!
- Comes with a Ground Fault Interrupter in case water comes in contact with electricity
- Holds 3,284 gallons of water
- Filter is a Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter pump, 1,000 gph (110-120V).
- Includes Ladder. Ground Cloth, and Debris Cover.
- 180 x 180 x 42 inches
- 92 pounds shipping weight
- Easy setup take sunder a half-hour
- Tough and durable PVC sidewalls
- Drain plug connects to a garden hose to drain water away from pool
- Dual suction outlet fittings provide better water circulation for superior water hygiene and clarity
- Inflatable top ring can dry out from the sun causing splits and air leaks
What to Look for When Shopping for an Above Ground Pool
While there are many options to choose from when looking for an above ground swimming pool, the most important factor is the strength of the pool wall. Your swimming pool needs to have a strong and long-lasting wall and liner so it won’t rot or collapse. A more well-known pool wall is a ‘rolled wall pool.’ This is the most common type of pool wall. A rolled wall pool is actually a single sheet of coiled steel or at times, aluminum. Most swimming pool walls are made from steel. If the steel is too thin or is not properly treated during manufacturing, it is more likely to rust and develop weak areas that split or cause holes to form. Quality American-made steel pool walls can last 20 years or more if it is properly designed. Aluminum pool walls are more enduring but typically cost a bit more. If the difference in price is a few hundred dollars, aluminum is worth the investment.
Another type of pool wall is the inflatable pool with a flexible, PVC material wall. These pools are a warm season pool that must be taken down in the freezing temperatures of winter. The simplicity of these pools is great for a backyard without a large area for a more permanent pool that requires ground preparation. They setup easily and can be filled all within one day. A inflatable above ground pool typically has a rim around the top that is inflated to give the pool its shape and stability. There is no frame or steel to setup and they do have an option for a filter.
This splash pool package gives you all you need to start the summer fun! Its rolled steel wall is sturdy and the pool holds up through winter weather as long as it is properly treated with winter chemicals and covered with a winter cover. Enjoy the large 24 foot size so everyone has room to play and swim! This pool will bring hours of fun for your family.
- 52-Inch deep Round Pool
- 1 Horsepower Sand Filter
- 24 ft wide by 52 inches high
- 7-inch enamel painted hot dipped galvanized steel top ledges
- 35-year limited warranty
- 683 pounds shipping weight
- A-Frame Resin Ladder with Safety Barrier
- "All-Weather 20 gauge Vinyl Liner
- Standard Thru-the-wall Skimmer
- Plenty of room for a slide!
- Does not have to be taken down in winter
- Some customers feel the ledge is too thin
What Options to Choose For Your Above Ground Pool
When you want the best value, an above ground pool ‘package’ is usually a good buy. But you want to be sure the package includes all the components you’ll need to set up and use your pool. Below are the main items besides the pool, liner, and filter when considering an above ground pool package:
- Winter Cover (for a permanent pool)
- Chlorine Floater
- Initial Chemicals for Setup
- No Diving or Jumping Signs
Try to negotiate all of these products when you purchase your new pool. The No Diving and No Jumping signage and decals should always come with your pool package. There are safety measures included in your product manual and there should also be precautions on using the ladder and getting in and out of the swimming pool. You will also need to research your state and county’s codes for pools and safety. Be sure to do this before you purchase an above ground swimming pool. Above ground pool codes are there for a good reason! More than 350 children in the United States drown in a family swimming pool each year and 77% of these drownings are children under five-years-old.
What Shaped Swimming Pool is the Best?
A round pool provides more pool for your money in terms of swimming area and costs less to fill with water. A 15-foot round pool provides more swimming area and holds almost 7,000 gallons of water, where the oval pool takes 15,800 gallons of water to fill. Round pools are easier to keep clean because of better water circulation. An oval pool is more prone to ‘dead spots’ where algae can form and the skimmer can’t always catch the floating debris.
Round pools are easier to install and safer because of the consistency of the frames or material. Oval pools require additional supports for the straight walls and to accommodate the curbed ends. They often cost more to have installed. While you may see an oval pool as providing more swimming area, the most popular sized pool is a 24-foot round pool.
If you just want an easy to install above-ground pool for the kids to enjoy the summer days, this Intex Metal Frame Pool is the answer. 3 to 4 children can swim freely in this 12 foot wide circular pool and if they add a few more friends there's still plenty of room to play and have fun. At 1,718 gallons of water you can fill this pool up in less than a day and not cause your water bill to soar!
- Super-Tough laminated PVC sidewalls
- Krystal clear cartridge filter pump to enjoy clean, refreshing water
- Equipped with a ground fault circuit that shuts off the pump if electricity makes contact with water
- Drain plug that connects to a garden hose so water drains away from pool
- 24 feet wide 52-Inch deep Round Pool
- 58 pounds shipping weight
- A-Frame Resin Ladder with Safety Barrier
- All-Weather 20 gauge Vinyl Liner
- Sets up quick
- Enough room for kids to enjoy swimming
- Doesn't require perfect ground leveling
- Customers complain of leaks on first time use
All About Pool Liners
Above ground swimming pools offer several different liner types and multiple color and pattern choices. While the type of liner makes a significant difference in how long the liner will remain trouble-free, colors and design are totally personal choice.
Overlap liners are the original type of liner above ground swimming pool manufacturers offered. This type of liner is set in the pool after the wall is up and any extra material hung over the wall. The liner may hang over enough to be seen under the top rail and many people don’t like the look of it. Overlap liners are a bit less expensive than other liners, and come in handy if your pool is a bit irregular. The vinyl is very flexible for uneven areas of the pool wall.
Unibead or J-Hook Liners
The newest type of pool line is the Unibead or J-Hook liner. The name J-Hook implies the actual top of the liner, which has a thicker piece of vinyl at the top of the liner that’s shaped as a ‘U.’ It attaches to a hook at the top of the wall, spaced equally, so the liner actually ‘hangs’ inside the pool wall. Unibead is a shortened version of universal bead. It’s made the same way as the J-Hook liner but has a square or rectangular ‘bead’ where the ‘U’ is located. The Unibead requires you make a cut in the liner so you can attach it to the pool wall. But don’t worry; it’s made to be cut and has guides to keep you on track. Unibead of J-Hook liners only hang about an inch over the pool wall and are easier to install versus overlap liners where you have no guide.
Beaded liners have a thicker vinyl edge at the top with a beaded pattern. This edge fits into a track at the top of the wall of the pool allowing the liner to hang down. The track has to be added to the wall if not already installed in the factory. The drawback of a beaded liner is it not having an overhang or U shaped top. Without an overhang area, a small gap is created between the liner and the pool wall allowing water to seep in and cause corrosion. This system is also prone to the liner coming loose due to the beaded edge being a bit flexible. Correcting a loose liner is difficult after the pool is filled with water.
Determining the Size and Shape of Your Pool
The size of your yard and type of landscaping features will determine the size and shape of your new above ground pool. You’ll need to allow for at least three-feet between your pool and any objects, bushes, or fencing. Avoid being close to dry wells, trees with traveling roots, septic tanks, power lines, or gas lines. Be sure to measure the area you have designated for your backyard pool. This will help you determine if a round of oval pool will work best and what size is the largest you can purchase. Take into consideration any trees near the pool that may shed a lot of pollen, leaves, or flowers that can cause a blockage in your filter.
The height of your pool will matter if you have very small children. Although they will soon outgrow the pool, you may have relatives with toddlers who would be reluctant to use the pool if it is too deep. The typical pool height is 48, 52, or 54 inches. Whether or not you choose a round pool or oval above ground pool depends on the outline of the area for your installation. A wide open space is more yielding to a round pool where a narrow area would be better for an oval pool. The size around or length and width of an oval pool is determined by the actual space you have.
You should plan on buying a swimming pool that won’t be overbearing wherever you place it in your yard. If you go with a very large pool, there may not be room left for a pool deck, ground level deck, or sitting area. Keep in mind you also need to have the proper waterproof electrical outlet nearby and the ground should be easily smoothed out for a level platform without any grades.
The Main Types of Above Ground Swimming Pools
Steel or Aluminum Above Ground Pools
We’ve talked mainly about these more typical pool options and their configurations. Made with either steel or aluminum, they can be a rolled wall type or a slat wall type pool. What material and configuration you choose will depend on your budget. These are the most popular above ground swimming pools on the market.
Resin Plastic Above Ground Pools
Above ground pools made with resin instead of steel or aluminum are by far more longer-lasting pools. Resin material holds up to brutal temperatures and long wear use. As long as a resin pool is properly coated with a UV protecting coating, they will hold up outdoors for years.
Solid Core Above Ground/Semi-in-ground Pools
An above ground swimming pool that’s growing in popularity with consumers is the solid core and semi-in-ground pool. These pools have a ‘sandwich’ pool wall that is made of several two-inch thick wall panels instead of rolled steel or aluminum. These pools are much more solid than any other semi-in-ground pools and although they are as long-lasting as a full in-ground pool, their typically three times less the price.
than a 1/8″ rolled steel wall like the ones above. These solid structurally insulated walls give these pools the strength and longevity of an in-ground pool without the hefty price tag. the walls are connected together via channel strips. This gives the pool a perfect circular shape and more structural integrity. While that is much more expensive than a traditional rolled wall above ground pool, It is built like an in-ground 3X that price!
Inflatable Above Ground Pools
The last type of above ground pool is the inflatable swimming pool. These pools are not meant to remain up at the end of the summer in areas where the fall and winter drop below freezing temperatures. They require a flat surface but no ground preparation is needed. The pool’s sidewalls are inflated and then the pool filled with water. They are typically made of a PVC material that’s very pliable and although make a quick, inexpensive summer pool, they can sag under the weight of even a small child and allow the child to fall in easily.
There's a perfect way to keep your children busy during the summer months off school; buy them a backyard above-ground pool! This Intex 15 foot round, inflatable pool can be setup by almost anyone with ease and be ready to go in 15 minutes. It comes with a sturdy ladder and filter to keep the water clean and sanitized. This pool is not mean to stay up during the freezing winter months, but is easy to drain and fold up for next year.
- 15 feet wide by 48 inches tall
- Water capacity: 736 gallons
- Krystal clear cartridge filter pump, 1, 000 GPH (110-120V
- Drain plug that connects to a garden hose so water drains drained away from pool
- Long lasting pump
- Ready for water in 15 minutes
- Super-tough laminated PVC sidewalls
- Comes with Ground cloth and Debris cover
- Includes a Ladder
- Inflatable top ring can dry out from the sun causing splits and air leaks
Salt Water or Chlorine Options for Above Ground Pools
While chlorine systems can require too much chemical additives for some people, saltwater pool systems still contain some chlorine. Saltwater pools allow lower levels of chlorine to be used because it's added to the entire system and doesn't get added directly to the water as with chlorine tabs or sticks.
A saltwater generator and filtration system produces hypochlorous acid that is used for sanitation. Electrolysis breaks down the salt by sending electricity through the salty water and sending the filtrated water back into the pool. A saltwater pool contains almost the same amount of a person's tears; or one-tenth the saline of ocean water.
While chlorine pools cause eye irritation and skin dryness, saltwater pools allow swimmers to open their eyes under water without stinging and do not leave their skin dry and scaly. The price for a saltwater pool system is considerably higher than a chlorine pool, but it is worth the upgrade.
Why Choose an Above-Ground Pool Instead of An In-ground Pool?
An above-ground pool is at first, a much less expensive addition to your home and costs a fraction of the price to have an in-ground pool put in. Although an above-ground pool is not made from concrete similar to most in-ground pools, many people report having their above-ground pool last up to 40 years with proper maintenance.
Above ground pools also require less than half the water and are easier to keep clean. Leaves and debris come from above instead of being swept in by the wind like an in-ground pool. And with less water and less dirt, you'll not need nearly as much chemicals to treat your above-ground pool. The other savings comes in your property taxes. Because above-ground pools are never considered a 'permanent' structure on your property, your taxes will not likely go up.
Above ground pool owners can decide on many choices for liners, pool wall designs, ladder types, slides, and endless choices of pool toys, pool lighting, and overhead games like water volleyball. If you want the summer to be simple and stress-free, an above-ground pool provides a perfect backyard 'stay-cation!'