If you live in a hot area or somewhere that gets hot in the summer, having a place to swim makes such heat bearable and often can be fun. In-ground swimming pools, as you’re probably aware, are costly to install and maintain. Above-ground pools are a more cost-effective option. They’re also easier to put together and maybe just as entertaining as their in-ground equivalents.
While smaller, you can still have space to play a ring toss game or add a wading pool and even a kid-friendly pool. Our guide looks at the best above-ground swimming pools to cover your needs. By the end, you’ll find pools that can be a permanent solution where you can add slip-resistant ladders or build a deck around them for easy access.
By the end of our above-ground pool reviews, you can use the above-ground swimming pool guide to highlight features you need to be wary of when buying a kiddie pool or inflatable swimming pool for all the family. (Learn How To Vacuum Above Ground Pool)
Why You Need a Good Above-Ground Pool
You can find many reasons why you may need above-ground pool options. Here are some common reasons people find above-ground pools a suitable choice.
The best above-ground pools are an excellent choice for families on a tight budget that doesn’t want to sacrifice quality. These high-quality pools enable you to get your ideal pool—one that will last for many years—at a reasonable price point for your family.
Looking for the best above-ground pools, you’ll find lots of choices, and you’ll find different sizes, construction materials, and much more. However, when you buy an above-ground pool, you have full control over the look and layout of your pool.
More options give you flexibility with your budget, space, and features. For example, do you need to add a water slide or swim laps or something like a sable inflatable pool you can pack away?
Ease of Installation
A portable pool fits the bill if you need a quick pool. You can install the best above-ground pools fast so you can swim sooner. (Learn How Much Liquid Chlorine To Shock Pool)
For the skilled, you can get above-ground pools as self-installation kits. These come with all you need, such as a metal frame, removable ladder, and more, and can be erected without permits.
To limit the danger of accidents, every type of swimming pool should have safety features such as 48-inch high fencing. If safety is a concern, then remember that most above-ground swimming pools have a higher entrance point of around 52′′ or 54′′ inches, which naturally makes them safer than in-ground pools. Accidental falls are less likely because of the higher entry point.
Many above-ground pools are easy to maintain because of their size and structure. As a result, they may require fewer chemicals and less expensive upkeep, saving you time and money in the long run.
Top Above Ground Pools Reviews
1. Summer Waves 10ft x 30in Quick Set Inflatable Above Ground Pool with Filter Pump
The Summer Waves Quick Set Inflatable Pool is made of tough triple-layer PolyLaminate PVS with polyester inner mesh sidewalls.
Fill the pool with water using your garden hose and inflate the top ring to complete the setup. The pool will rise as the water level rises, making the process quick and uncomplicated. Next, drain the water, deflate the top ring, and it’s ready to store when the season is done.
When fully completed, the round pool has a 10’ diameter and a depth of 30 inches. It also comes with a built-in chlorinator and an RX330 pool filtration pump. The pool, when full, has a 608-gallon capacity.
While the pool is too shallow for adults to swim laps in, it is deep enough to cool down, splash around, and enjoy your summer with family and friends.
This simple to assemble inflatable pool will give your family all the fun of a backyard above-ground pool for a fraction of the price.
- Low price point
- Fully set up in minutes
- Safe for child use
- Comes with a pool filter
- Pool cover needs separate purchase
- Smaller than some alternatives
With a guide price of under $90, you get one of the best above-ground pools you can find that anyone can set up. There is no steel frame to assemble, so find a flat area and lay down a ground cloth for protection. It is easily one of the best above-ground pools for any home and garden.
2. Intex 18ft X 9ft X 52in Ultra XTR Rectangular Pool Set with Sand Filter Pump, Ladder, Ground Cloth & Pool Cover
Engineered for strength, the Intex ultra frame pool is supported by a durable galvanized steel frame that is powder-coated to offer corrosion-resistant steel.
Once you connect the Krystal clear sand filter pump and the dual suction outlet fittings, you can enjoy sparkling water, and the saltwater system pool is ready in 60 minutes. Once assembled, the pool features a 90% fill of 4,545 gallons.
The Intex 18ft Ultra frame rectangular pool is one of those bigger models from Intex>. It also comes with laminated PVC walls and steel frame. The whole family easily fits into this above-ground swimming pool which offers lots of room for splashing and playing.
Setup is more complicated on the Intex pool and requires a few pairs of hands. However, once up, the Ultra XTR Rectangular Pool offers all you need. The rectangular pool measures 18ft X 9ft X 52in.
- Included pool vacuum and tools
- Durable PVC material walls
- High-performance hydro aeration filter
- 2-year warranty
- May need extra support in soft areas
- Needs several people to assemble
With a guide price of just above $1150, the Intex metal frame pool costs more, but you have all you need for many seasons of splashing around. You have the pump, ground cover, ladder, and debris cover, which is more than you get with some in-ground models.
3. Intex 26377EH 32ft x 16ft x 52in Ultra XTR Rectangular Swimming Pool with 28003E Maintenance Kit, Ladder, and 120V 2,800 GPH Sand Filter Pump
The Intex Ultra Frame pool has a gray outer liner and a blue tile-print inner liner for a classic, clean appearance.
The filter sand only requires periodic backwashing and replacement every 5 years, making it a low-maintenance saltwater system. It takes 90 minutes to set up and is ready to use. For strength and longevity, laminated PVC siding with three independent material layers is used.
The pool size is 32 feet by 16 feet and is more than large enough to fit the entire family and all friends. In addition, the Intex Rectangular Ultra 3216 rectangular corrosion-resistant steel frame makes for a fantastic rectangular pool with many outstanding features.
Although the kit includes a capable 2600 GPH pump, you may wish to add a second chlorine generator to handle the pool’s 15,000 gallons of water. It’s more expensive than smaller pools, but you get a lot of pool for your money. This one is so big that it competes with in-ground pool options.
- Large enough for family & friends.
- Included pool vacuum, tools, and debris cover.
- Extremely sturdy & durable.
- Hydro aeration technology.
- Needs 3 individuals to assemble
With a guide price of over $2500, you are paying more than many other above-ground models here, yet you get lots of form and function from the galvanized steel framed pool.
If you need the largest above-ground swimming pool you can get, then out of all the steel pools, the Intex saltwater pool has lots to offer.
4. Bestway 15ft x 48in Steel Pro Frame Above Ground Pool w/Cartridge Filter Pump
Kids and adults enjoy swimming and splashing in the Bestway Steel Pro above-ground pool. You’ll find rust and corrosion-resistant coatings applied to the pool frames to protect the pool from UV rays and abrasion damage. (Find the Best Solar Pool Covers)
A 3-ply PVC support band surrounds the pool for added wall stability, and the pool’s structural integrity is ensured with a sturdy yet lightweight PVC material.
The Bestway Steel Pro pool is more expensive than comparable models and lacks many features, yet you luckily get a 1000 Gph cartridge filter pump and repair patch kit.
You can connect your garden hose to the valve, so you can drain without flooding your yard and lawn. The size of the round pool is 15 feet in diameter and has a height of 48 inches.
- Sturdy construction.
- Comparable to an in-ground pool.
- Rust and corrosion resistance.
- Polyester 3-ply sidewalls.
- The pump can be overloaded
- Poor warranty cover
With a guide price of just above $450, you can find the Bestway pool costs more than other options, and it lacks features such as a ladder, ground cloth, and debris cover. It won’t break the bank for the size and can last a decent amount of time, yet it loses out by not adding necessities to make it a quick swimming affair.
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5. Coleman 18’ x 48’ Power Steel Swim Vista Series II Swimming Pool Metal Frame
With its rattan finish covering a super-sturdy frame, this Coleman above-ground pool makes a bold statement.
You’re getting something intended for relaxing, paddling, and splashing rather than swimming laps, as with all smaller circular pools. Although this pool is only 18 feet across, it is 48 inches deep for a luxurious experience.
This pool is one of Coleman’s groundbreaking range of porthole pools, so parents can spot what kids are doing when in the pool. (Find the Best Above Ground Pool Liner)
The steel frame is treated with a special coating to prevent moisture from harming it over time so that it won’t rust. You’d expect everything from a normal pool set in terms of extras, including a saltwater system filter pump, ladder, and debris cover. (Read Sand For Under Pool Guide)
Setting up the pool should be simple and quick, and you won’t need equipment or abilities.
- Easy installation
- Corrosion-resistant frame
- Wicker finish for a soft look
- Reports of leaks from some pool windows
- An extended warranty may be required to cover liner issues
With a guide price of under $1200, you get a great-looking pool with a raft of features. While not the largest, there is more than enough space to kick back and relax. It could benefit from an upgrade from the built-in filer; chemical dispensers can m, make a difference in water clarity.
Best Above Ground Pool Buying guide
Types of Above-Ground Pools
Above-ground pools are composed of various materials and available in various forms and sizes, impacting their installation, maintenance, and longevity. The amount of room you have in your backyard, the temperature, and how permanent you want the pool to be should all be considered when choosing the right pool.
Inflatable swimming pools are the most affordable and straightforward to maintain and set up. Of course, you’ll need an air pump to inflate them, but there’s not much else to it. Setup can take less than an hour, depending on the pool size. Although most inflatable pools may not require a filter or chemicals for maintenance, those that do may need to be emptied, cleaned, and refilled between uses.
Inflatable pools come in various sizes, ranging from 24-inch wide by 3- or 4-inch deep baby pools to 92-inch wide by 22-inch deep models. Many round, above-ground pool inflatable pools are designed with small children in mind. They’re an excellent option for individuals on a budget because they’re significantly less expensive than other pool varieties. When not in use, inflatables are extremely simple to store.
Above-ground pools with steel frames are sturdy and long-lasting. Vertical supports and side rails are included in the structure, while the pool’s sidewalls and bottom are composed of durable plastic, vinyl, PVC, or, in some circumstances, resin. Steel’s enhanced strength allows for a larger, deeper pool. To maintain a healthy swimming environment, pools around this size need a filter or chemicals. In addition, these types necessitate more ground preparation than inflatable variants.
Steel has some disadvantages. It’s bulky, hot in the sun, and prone to rust. Steel that has been powder-coated or galvanized is more resistant to rust than steel that has not been powder-coated or galvanized. The frame must be routinely inspected as part of routine pool care for nicks and other wear and tear that could lead to rust.
Many steel-frame pools are semipermanent because they are difficult to dismantle and store. As a result, steel-frame pools are ideal for people who intend to keep the pool in place all year, or at least for the duration of the swimming season.
Resin pools comprise a robust, durable resin frame that many prefer to steel. It is lighter and more rust-resistant than steel or aluminum. In addition, it’s sturdy, won’t dent or warp, and doesn’t get heated like steel.
A resin-framed pool is large enough to need a filter and chemicals. Thus upkeep is like steel or aluminum frames. Steel or aluminum frame pools are usually cheaper. However, their durability and rust resistance make them a worthwhile purchase for year-round swimmers.
Choosing the Best Above-Ground Pool
The best above-ground pool depends on the size, shape, depth, liner type and thickness, and existing landscaping. Also, consider how much upkeep you want to do in the pool.
Ground and Location
Pools need yard planning. Some localities have rules about how close a pool can be to a property line or a power pole. Avoid locating the pool near trees, electricity wires, concrete, or other objects that could damage or shed debris into it. The ground must also be level. Uneven ground increases the pressure on some parts of the pool, weakening the overall construction.
Pool Size and Shape
These might be square, oval, or circular. When choosing, consider the space. Allow 2 or 3 feet of space around the pool for pedestrians. The measurements should also show the ideal shape. Shaped pools have more usable space. Round pools have fewer seams. Ample structural support is required on the straight sides of oval pools.
The right pool depth depends on who uses it. Young children can drown in 1 or 2 inches of water. Some kiddie pools come with 5 or 6-inch high walls and hold 3 or 4 inches of water. Older swimmers need deeper pools. Above-ground pool wall heights range up to 52 inches. Most manufacturers advise 90% filling, and with higher walls, the pools can hold more water, adding depth and requiring more regular filter replacements and debris removal.
Liners protect, keep water in and help maintain the overall structure of a pool. Overlap, beaded, J-hook (uni-bead), and inflatable liners are available. Some liners, such as expandable versions, operate better for larger pools than others. The liner must be flexible to fit the pool’s design and robust enough to hold water without being too thick. A 20mm thickness balances strength, flexibility, thickness, and weight.
Above-ground pool buyers must plan their time. The easiest to set up is inflatable pools. This takes less than five minutes. Other designs, including plastic or semi-round pools, require a similar setup. To avoid punctures, level and sand the ground and add a cloth if required.
Safety and Permits
Some cities require permits, while others have the same safety regulations as in-ground pools. The pool may also need to be set back from the property line. Consult the proper authorities to ensure a smooth pool installation.
Small, disposable inflatable pools require almost no maintenance. After each usage, dump and dry them. The issue is any pool that uses hundreds of gallons. For saltwater pools, a pump and filters are required to circulate water and remove the trash. You may also need to use shock treatments to keep algae at bay. Regularly check chlorine and pH levels.
Swimming pool owners should factor in the cost of additional accessories when purchasing an above-ground pool. A net skimmer is required to remove leaves and other debris from the pool. If the pool is going to be up for a long time, it will need a cover.
Can you make an above-ground pool look nice?
A lap pool with elegant wood paneling and a few strategically placed pool lights can double as a water feature. If you want a more resort-style aesthetic, consider adding a bubbling fountain to your above-ground pool.
What is the most popular size above-ground pool?
The most common round pool is 24 feet long and can fit four to five people. The most common oval pool size is 15×30. Pool depth is determined by wall height. Above-ground pools have three standard wall heights: 48”, 52”, and 54”. Water retention increases with pool wall height.
Is it cheaper to build a pool above ground?
Above-ground pools are by far the most affordable alternative. However, an above-ground pool has the disadvantage of adding no value to your home. They share certain challenges with in-ground pools, namely water evaporation and maintenance.
How do you secure an above-ground pool?
Installing a pool fence around the entire pool area is one of the most significant and easiest security measures. You may easily prevent accidental pool entry by installing a pool barrier fence around your pool. In addition, secure your pool by enclosing the pool, deck, and any stairs leading to it.
When searching for a pool, you often need something for a quick dip more than swimming laps or lengths. So it was here the Summer Waves 10ft x 30in Quick Set Inflatable Above Ground Pool with Filter Pump rose to the top.
While smaller than others, it has fewer restrictions and functions as a large adult kiddie pool. It erects itself as it fills, and all you need to do is inflate the upper ring and watch the water level.
While it lacks a ladder, it is the best above-ground pool that will last you for years and can deliver the most family fun.