In-Ground vs Above Ground Pools

man in pool

Last Updated on March 10, 2022 — is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

In-Ground vs Above Ground Pools

Do you like this article?

Owning a swimming pool is a great feeling. It gives you hours of entertainment, healthy exercise and a place for friends and family to gather. Pools can even increase the value of your home and should always be looked at as an investment.

But which do you choose, an inground pool or above ground. And what are the differences between them both long and short term.

I’ve gone over 10 important differences between the two as a way to get a larger view of pool ownership. Hopefully after reading this article you’ll be able to choose which type of pool would be best for your specific situation.

What are the differences between the in-ground swimming pools and above ground swimming pools?

1. Time of construction

An in-ground swimming pool has to be planned well in advance since they are often concrete, and a lot of work goes in to building one. Once it is constructed, making changes to it will be very difficult.

You can construct an in-ground swimming pool even near an existing building. But this process will be very long, complex and annoying to those living there.

Compared to this, above ground swimming pools are very flexible. You can plan them whenever you need and wherever you need. Many types of above ground swimming pools are available to sit your expectations. Just buy the right one and install it where you want.

2. Location​​​​

In-ground swimming pools are built in fixed locations. So, if you want to plan any activity around it, you have limited choices. A pool party far away from the kitchen? Tough luck!

Above ground swimming pools don’t have this issue at all. You can take them wherever the action is happening, as long as you have a portable above ground pool that is. The hard sided above ground pools are not meant to be moved around at all.

But as far as location, the above ground pool wins here. This is because it can be moved around at any time. If you choose a place and it doesn’t work out or look right, you can just change it. Not something you can do with an in-ground pool.

3. Price

As the construction is permanent in nature and involves many processes, in-ground swimming pools are expensive to build. Not many can afford them.

Above ground swimming pools are available at a fraction of the cost you need to spend for building an in-ground swimming pool. They can be installed at a cheaper cost too.

Above ground swimming pools are available at a fraction of the cost you need to spend for building an in-ground swimming pool. They can be installed at a cheaper cost too.

4. Size and shape

In-ground swimming pools are constructed at the time of building construction. This means, you have a great flexibility in terms of what size and shape your swimming pool can be. People make them in a shape that they want.

However, above ground swimming pools are pre-constructed in a factory. This means, their sizes and shapes are fixed. You may have to choose from the given set of options instead of going for something unique.

In few cases, you may be able to order a specific size and shape from your manufacturer. But that is going to take time and additional cost.

5. Maintenance

An in-ground swimming pool is constructed with number of filter and cleaning mechanisms which makes daily maintenance a bit easier than an above ground pool. But of course you still need to vacuum the pool just as you would any pool type.

Above ground swimming pools are basically large tanks of water like any other pool. The do require the same basic maintenance that an in ground pool would.

As far as maintenance goes, both are about the same. The one difference that stands out to me is that all of the equipment needed to maintain your in ground pool can be hidden, like a pump room. Whereas for an above ground pool, everything is visible. And cleaning an above ground pool is a bit more cumbersome than an in-ground pool where you can use something like an automatic pool cleaner.

6. Rigidity

As the materials used for conducting an in-ground swimming pool are similar to the ones used for the building, it is relatively rigid. Users of the swimming pool need not take any special precautions, except those mandated by the size and depth of the swimming pool.

Above ground swimming pools are made with light and durable materials to support the flexibility. However, they are to be used with respective instructions provided by the manufacturer to ensure the usage doesn’t spoil the swimming pool. Users are to be instructed about this to ensure the swimming pool is in right order.

7. Lifetime

In-ground swimming pools are made to order. Hence their lifetime purely depends on the materials used and how it is maintained. No warranty can be given to them because there is no manufacturer who can assure certain years of use and a replacement if something goes wrong. Any maintenance has to be dealt as a unique problem.

Above ground swimming pools are manufactured in a factory. Hence, the manufacturer is able to provide you with a guarantee of a certain number of years. If anything goes wrong, some manufacturers just replace the entire swimming pool. They also have a great maintenance network to handle any possible issues.

8. Reconstruction

If an in-ground swimming pool has a problem and needs to be reconstructed, it is as good as building a new one. Small problems can be fixed easily, but large changes with respect to size and shape will require considerable time and resources. Sometimes a pool liner will be installed so the pool doesn’t need to be re-tiled.

Compared to this, above ground swimming pools are very flexible. As they are assembled from many parts, reconstruction may just mean changing some parts. Even if the whole pool needs to be reconstructed, it may be possible to use certain common parts like an new above ground pool liner.

9. Safety

Safety is an important issue when it comes to a pool. Authorities have given clear norms in terms of ensuring safety in in-ground swimming pools. Ask the people using these pools need to follow these practices to ensure they take care of their own and others’ lives.

Above ground swimming pools are competitively safer. As their properties such as depth, amount of water are smaller, risk is also reduced. However, there are certain safety rules that need to be followed in any kind of swimming pool.

10. Accessories

There are definitely pool accessories that are common to both types of pools. For example, all pools need a pool ladder or set of steps. They will also need a pool cover, preferably a solar pool cover unless you have a pool heater installed.

In-ground swimming pools have a set of accessories to improve the swimming experience. For example, you can add lounging chairs, umbrellas and other decorations.

Above ground swimming pools also have their own set of accessories. For example, LED lights fixed on their side give a great look.

Understanding these differences will help you make a good decision on which type of swimming pool to build.


And there you have it, 10 differences between above ground and in-ground pools. As you can see, there are some serious differences when it comes to In-Ground vs Above Ground Pools.

Leave a comment