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Best Pool Ladder Mat
What is a Pool Ladder Mat?
A pool ladder or step mat is simply a mat or pad that acts as a cushion between ladder base and pool liner so the base of the ladder or your steps don’t push down into the liner itself and cause rips and tears.
Some pool ladders and step bottoms can be sharp. Especially the metal ones. And as far as the metal ones go, they are usually thin metal, so when you place weight on them, the metal bottoms almost act like a knife. And yes, they WILL slice through your liner regardless if you have the very best pool liner ever made.
That’s where pool mats come in.
Best Overall – Decohs 2 Rolls Swimming Pool Ladder Mat – Made of high quality rubber and measures 9×35.4 inches – under $20 (this is for TWO mats)
Best Single Rubber Mat – Skarummer Swimming Pool Ladder Mat – This mat comes in two sizes and is made of non-slip rubber. 9 x 36 inches or 17 x 36 inches – under $15
Best Vinyl Mat – LinerWorld Ladder Pad for Above Ground Swimming Pool – Rubber Protective Mat for Steps, Stairs, Ladders (9″x36″, Deep Blue) – under $20
Cheapest Option – Hydrotools by Swimline Protective Ladder Mat Pad – Made of plastic and measures 9 X 24 inches – under $10
Good Plastic Mat – Swimline Hydro Tools Protective Pool Ladder Mat – Made of plastic and measures 9 x 30 inches – under $15
- Best Pool Ladder Mat
- What is a Pool Ladder Mat?
- My Top 5 Picks
- Above Ground vs In-Ground Pool Ladder Mats?
- DIY Pool Ladder Mat
What’s the Best Material for a Pool Mat?
This is probably the most important question. And from my experience of cleaning pools for close to 25 years, I say but either a rubber or PVC mat. These mats are the best option for any pool situation.
These materials make a great buffer between the pool liner and steps or ladder legs, they don’t change the composition of the pool’s water at all, and they look good in your pool. These types of pool mats may cost two or three dollars more than their plastic counter parts, but they will last a lot longer.
See plastic pool mats will become brittle and break down over time because they are rigid. They will also fade a lot faster than rubber or PVC. So why not just spend a few dollars more for a product that will last as long as your pool, or at least the pool’s liner.
My Top 5 Picks
Decohs 2 Rolls Swimming Pool Ladder Mat
This is my top pick for two reasons, first is quality. These are high quality thick rubber mats and should last a long time. They look good in your pool and won’t float around.
The second reason I like this set most is you’re getting two mats for under $20. That’s less than one low quality plastic mat would cost. So price here is an important factor.
The only thing I don’t like so much is the design they used for the non-slip effect, it reminds me of plate metal. I like the design of the Skarummer Swimming Pool Ladder Mat far more. But that’s personal taste.
Skarummer Swimming Pool Ladder Mat
This is also my close second top pick that’s only second due to its price, the quality is just as good as the Decohs and in my opinion, the best of the best and what I personally use on my own pool. It’s just a bit pricer than the other rubber mats listed.
Again, this is a quality rubber mat made with a non-slick design and looks great in any pool. Personally I think it is the best looking pool pad out of any I’ve seen. But that’s an aesthetic choice.
LinerWorld Ladder Pad for Above Ground Swimming Pools
This is a solid pick as it is nice and thick and looks good in your pool. And best of all it’s made of rubber and is non-slip. If you can’t get either of the two above, then this is what I would go with. Again, I think the actual design is boring, just lines.
So I don’t think it’s the best looking option. But it is totally functional and will do its job well. But it’s also pricer than my first two picks as well.
Hydrotools by Swimline Protective Ladder Mat
This is the best option if you’re simply looking for something cheap and you don’t necessarily need the very best pool pad available. It’s cheap and will work. Short term there should be no problems at all with this. If you’re looking for the cheapest available option, this is the top pick for that specific category. You’ll be happy and fine with the Hydrotools product.
Swimline Hydro Tools Pool Ladder Pad
This is my last pick and the one that I feel makes the least amount of sense to purchase, but if for some reason you can’t get any of the above, then I guess it is okay. But for a plastic option it isn’t the best or cheapest. Yet for some reason Amazon says it’s their number one seller. I feel that should belong to the Skarummer mat. But it is made by the same company as number four above. But please understand these two pads are very different. Yes, they are both made of plastic, but they are different colors, sizes and patterns. So pay attention to what you’re looking for.
Above Ground vs In-Ground Pool Ladder Mats?
Really it doesn’t matter the type of pool you’re using your mat or pads for, it’s really what will rest on them that matters.
Usually for an inground pool, the ladder is fastened onto the side of the pool itself. So you aren’t really using a mat to protect the pool liner form the metal of the ladder or stairs. Rather it just something for you to grip on when you get ready to scale the ladder. So thickness isn’t the highest priority.
DIY Pool Ladder Mat
A pool ladder mat is simply a thick sheet of PVC. The reason you’d buy a pool ladder mat is that they are already cut and colored for the specific purpose of being used as a way to protect your pool from the ladder. So no mess, no fuss sort of thing.
But that doesn’t mean you must use a pool ladder mat. Anything that you can cut to size that is waterproof, soft, won’t float and thick enough to protect your pool is sufficient.
If you really want to DIY, here are a few suggestions…
Old Pool Liner
This is most definitively the best option available. I mean, the liner is already pool safe and ready. You just need to cut it to size. And if it is an old pool liner, than you’re repurposing it which is even better. AND the color should (almost) match if it isn’t bleached out.
And if the liner is thin, simply fold it one or twice.
Again, this option might not be pretty, but for an above ground pool, usually the only thing you need to protect is the very bottom of the ladder. And some ladders only touch the pool with two legs that are only around three inches in diameter. So sticking a piece of tire to the bottoms should be no big deal.
Just be sure to use something like rubber chalking or a waterproof glue. Or simply place the pieces of tire under the legs and let the weight of the ladder do the work.
If you have steps and not a ladder, this might not be the best option. Instead I’d use a rubber mat and cut it to size if I had it.
Anything made of soft PVC can work and not add anything negative to your pool’s water composition. Maybe an old hose if it’s wide enough? Do you have an old PVC or rubber door mat laying around?
These things are everywhere. If you happen to have one or two, use them. They are perfect as they are already “cut to size” for ladders. The only problem is a lot of these will float. But they’ll do in a pinch.
Things I Would NOT Use!
Carpet. Yes, I’ve seen this before. The problem is carpet breaks down and also traps algae and harmful organisms. So using anything that can break down like that not only causes your pool water to get dirtier faster, but it can also help to breed harmful organisms that can make you sick! So don’t so this!!!
At the end of the day, it’s best to simply use something that was specifically made to do its job. You don’t even need to buy the “best” pool mat available, but you should get a mat. They’re cheap, this one by HydroTools is less than $10! And it is totally pool safe.
And if you get it from Amazon here, they’ll deliver it right to your door in 24 hours. I simply can’t think of anything easier. And if you can, let us know here at HQ Pool and we’ll add your wisdom to the article!