If you’re looking for the best above ground pool, you have come to the right place. This quick guide will help you choose a pool that’s ideal for your backyard and budget.
While many homeowners dream of having a beautiful in-ground pool as a centerpiece of their backyard oasis, most can’t afford it or don’t have enough space. This is where their much more inexpensive cousins, i.e., the above ground pools come into play.
The above ground pools offer almost all the benefits of an in-ground pool. They are an ideal refreshing respite from a hot summer day, kids to splash around in, some quick exercise for adults and fun activity for dogs.
Unless you are a professional swimmer or are training to compete in the Olympics, the above ground pool can do the job for you at a fraction of the cost of an in-ground pool.
However, because of the overabundance of options available on the market, choosing the best rated above ground pool can be a pain in the neck.
This is where this guide can help as we have chosen the very best rated above ground pools based on extensive research and our readers’ feedback. Read on to find the one that will fit your bill.
Best Above Ground Pool on the Market
So what is the best above ground pool?
Well, there is no straightforward answer to that for several reasons.
Firstly, you can find above ground pools in a variety of designs, shapes, and sizes. Secondly and more importantly, there are so many considerations that you need to keep in mind before making the decision.
In other words, the best above ground pool for your friend or your neighbor might not be a good choice for you depending on your budget or your backyard.
Moreover, there are new items introduced to the market every year. Innovation and advanced technology are helping the vendors make new and better products. So, the very best above ground pool that grandfather had, and you loved it might be obsolete by now.
That does not mean that finding the best rated above ground pool is impossible.
All you need to do is get some basic knowledge on choosing the ideal pool, read product reviews of several models and compare the ones that seem to fit your bill. And then choose the one that seems to be the best option.
If that sounds like a lot of work, this guide can solve your problem as it has all the information you need as well as the top 10 recommendations for 2018.
How to Choose the Right Above Ground Pool?
To make sure you don’t have the buyer’s remorse and you get the right product the first time, we have divided the whole process of choosing the above ground pool into 6 easy steps.
1- Take your budget into account
While we start talking about the budget before anything else, it’s not the most important factor when buying an above ground pool.
For an in-ground pool, you can end up spending anywhere between $30,000 to $70,000; you can get many of the best above ground pools for under $1000 or even under $500. Even the most expensive above ground pool with cost you around $5,000.
But this doesn’t mean you can just ignore the price tag on the pool altogether. Ask yourself, what is a good practice and how much you could easily spend without stressing your budget.
The above ground pools are available in different price ranges such as the economy, mid-range, and high end. Normally the major difference between these is the size as the bigger pools also have better quality materials.
2- Choose a location
The best thing about above-ground pool is that you can pack it up and move it if the location you originally selected turns out to be not the best choice. However, considering the location in advance will help you find the ideal size and type of the pool.
Make sure to consider safety, obstacles, and available space. There should be at least 3 to 5 feet of distance between your pool and any obstacles. Try not to place your pool on uneven surfaces or surfaces with dry wells, stumps, septic tanks, or tree roots.
3- Measure the Area
When it comes to the available space, don’t trust your instinct. Spend some time to accurately measure the space and determine the exact size of the pool that will easily fit in there.
There should be enough space left around it as the supporting legs might take extra space. Also, you should be able to roam around the pool easily.
Also, consider the type the pool you’re buying. Is it a round pool or oval, is it square or rectangular?
4- Choose the Pool Height and Shape
Step 3 and this step go hand-in-hand. If you have chosen an ideal location already, this step should be easy. You should know if you are going to get an oval round or square pool.
The only thing that might not be dependent on the location is the height of the pool. Most above ground pools are available in heights ranging between 36 to 54 inches.
5- Decide the Type
There are many different types of above ground pools. However, the three most common ones are steel, aluminum, and resin pools.
Steel made pools are by far the strongest however rusting could be an issue. They are also more cost-effective. The ideal steel pools are galvanized coated to resist corrosion and rusting.
Aluminum pools are ideal for inclement weather. When exposed to open air, a transparent layer of aluminum oxide forms around the body that resists rusting and aging. Their only downside is that they can be victims of pitting caused by oxidation.
Resin pools are the most common ones, they usually have steel walls, and the rest of their parts are made out of a thick plastic called resin. These are the most cost-effective and can last very long. However, over the period of time, their parts can start to fade or crack especially when exposed to extreme weather or ultraviolet rays.
6- Best place to buy above ground pools
The best place to by above ground pools depends on your needs. You can go to a nearby store and get one. However, we believe that you should buy a pool online for several reasons.
First, most vendors offer free shipping. Secondly, you don’t have to deal with the hassle of transporting a giant package to your home. This can be especially annoying if you have a small car.
Also, there is a much wider variety available online as compared to a traditional store – year around. The brick and mortar stores may only carry very few models, and only during spring and summer seasons.
And last but not the least, most vendors offer amazing discounts online – which you might not get in a store – as well as free returns.
Here Are The Best-Selling Above Ground Pools in 2018
|Intex 12ft X 30in Metal Frame Pool Set||12ft X 30in||1,718 gallons|
|Intex 14ft X 42in Ultra Frame Pool Set||14ft X 42in||3, 357 gallons|
|Intex 15ft X 48in Easy Set Pool Set||15ft X 48in||3, 736 gallons|
|Intex 18ft X 52in Ultra Frame Pool Set||18ft X 52in||6, 981 gallons|
|Intex 24ft X 12ft X 52in Ultra Frame Rectangular Pool Set||24ft X 12ft X 52in||8, 403 gallons|
|Bestway 9’10” x 6’6″ x 33″ Power Steel Oval Frame||9'10" x 6'6" x 33"||969 gallons|
|Summer Waves 8′ Metal Frame||8ft X 30in||801 gallons|
|iPool D Set||7’X10’x45''||1,500 gallons|
|Coleman-22-x52-Power-Steel- Frame||22ft X 52in|
|Embassy Pool 4-1800 PARA100, Creamy Tan||18ft X 52in|
1- Intex 12ft X 30in Metal Frame Pool Set with Filter Pump – Editor’s Choice
This is a well-constructed pool that has sturdy laminated PVC walls and comes as a complete kit. Its pump keeps the water clean, and the ground fault circuit interrupter shuts off the unit if the current is exposed to water.
We totally loved the convenient drain plug which you can connect to a garden hose for easy drainage.
It’s not the biggest pools around, but it’s definitely one of the toughest and easiest to set up. And the best thing is, you don’t have to buy any other equipment. So, there is no hassle of incompatible parts.
Just set up the pool, add some sand and pool salt, and you’re good to go.
There are, however, a couple of things you need to keep in mind. First and foremost, make sure you place the pool on a leveled surface. Also avoid sandy, muddy or soft soil. Placing the pool or stumps or septic tanks is also a bad idea. Lastly, don’t fill the pool to the bring – about 90% of the capacity should suffice.
All in all, this is a great pool for the money. It will most likely exceed your expectations for such a low price point. Intex not only ensures to offer the best products possible, but they also keep the prices very reasonable.
- Very affordable
- An all-inclusive, easy to set up kit
- No other equipment needed
- Can accommodate up to 8 adults
- Innovative dual suction outlet fittings ensure crystal clear water by improving water circulation
- The 530 GPH pump is not big enough for the size of the pool. If you want to use the pool a lot, you might want to consider upgrading it.
2- Intex 14ft X 42in Ultra Frame Pool Set with Filter Pump, Ladder, Ground Cloth & Pool Cover
Another amazing product by Intex. It’s an ideal sized pool for a medium to large family. It doesn’t need tons of water or maintenance yet is big enough for up to 10 adults.
What really stands about the Ultra Frame Pool is its tough build with coating for rust resistance and elegant look.
Unlike most other above ground pools, it’ll look very nice in any backyard and offers one of the easiest setup routines. The only thing to make sure is to leave at least three feet on the sides so you can easily attach the necessary equipment later on.
The pool definitely carves a niche between cheap pools and the high-end products of the same line. The 1000 GPH pump is pretty powerful and gets the pool ready for swimming in less than one hour.
- Very easy to set up
- Ideal size for most families – neither too big nor too small
- Comes with everything you’ll need for your pool including the pump, ladder, ground cloth, debris cover, and an instructional DVD.
- Innovative dual suction outlet fittings ensure crystal clear water by improving water circulation
- The warranty is only 15 days from purchase. So don’t buy it unless you’re ready to set. This is one of the pools you shouldn’t buy in offseason, even though it’s very sturdy and reliable.
- The ladder is a little shaky but doesn’t seem to be fragile
3- Intex 15ft X 48in Easy Set Pool Set with Filter Pump, Ladder, Ground Cloth & Pool Cover
Another great above ground pool by Intex, popular for its safety features, speedy action, and super-tough build. Because of its size, this pool isn’t ideal if you have a small family or small backyard.
Features like the ground fault interrupter, massive water capacity, extra hoses, and a powerful 1000 GPH cartridge filter pump make it an ideal choice for larger families or even parties. It also comes with a ladder, ground cloth, and a cover to prevent debris going into the pool.
Just like most other pools by Intex, setup is really easy. Two people can set up your pool in just one hour, while it can take up to three hours to fill up. After that, you’ve to wait another 15-20 minutes for the pump to get the pool ready.
Well, from unpacking to jumping into the pool, it takes less than five hours. That’s pretty amazing for this size of the pool.
Another good thing about this pool is its ideal height. It’s deep enough for a tall adult to swim underwater and safe enough for a 4 year to touch the bottom with ease. However, this pool is only recommended for kids 6 and over.
One last thing, if you live in warmer areas, consider buying a solar cover. You may also consider investing in a strainer to get rid of leaves and other larger organic matter.
- Perfect size and depth
- Decent capacity of 3,736 gallons coupled with 1,000 GPH Clear Cartridge Filter pump,
- Reasonable price
- Comes with all the accessories including a ladder, a ground cloth, and a cover
- Very easy to install
- The pool cover is flimsy and can break very easily
- The ladder can be wobbly
- The connectors to the hose can come loose easily
4- Intex 18ft X 52in Ultra Frame Pool Set with Sand Filter Pump, Ladder, Ground Cloth & Pool Cover
This is one of the high-end above ground pools offered by Intex. It’s also one of the sturdiest ones, supported by virtually unbreakable steel frames that are powder coated for resistance against frosting and cracking. The coating also adds to the beauty of the pool, so it looks nice in your yard.
Unlike some other models, setting up the school might take a little longer. The process is simple, it’s just because of the sheer size of the pool.
The pool comes with Intex’s popular dual suction Outlet fittings for cleaner and hygienic water. It also features Krystal Clear sand filter pump that is extremely quick and gets the pool ready in under 60 minutes.
This is one of the bigger pools and can contain almost 7,000 gallons of water. This is why in Intex includes a more powerful 2,100 GPH filter pump. It also comes with a ladder, ground cloth, debris cover and instructional DVD.
The only issue with the pool is the cover which is very fragile and can break easily. So take care of it, or you will have to buy another one.
- Extremely well built
- Very elegant and luxurious looking pool will embellish any yard
- Ideal for parties with a capacity of nearly 7,000 gallons.
- Comes as a complete kit, so you don’t have to buy any extra equipment
- The ladder is not very sturdy
- Set up can take a while
- It’s a biggish pool so needs more maintenance
5- Intex 24ft X 12ft X 52in Ultra Frame Rectangular Pool Set with Sand Filter Pump & Saltwater System, Ladder, Ground Cloth, Pool Cover, Maintenance Kit & Volleyball
This above ground pool by Intex is the ultimate package for people who love partying and playing fun games in the pool. Not only it’s extremely strong and elegant looking like most of its other cousins, it’s extremely large (8,403 gallons) but also comes with a complete Volleyball set.
That means once you set the pool up, you can bring the beach volleyball to your backyard. This is definitely one of the bigger pools and will need a fair bit of space.
While the price might sound high for an above ground pool, but considering that you get cleaning accessories, a huge 1600 GPH Pump & saltwater system, ladder, ground cloth, debris cover and setup DVD, the price is pretty justifiable.
Since it is a bigger pool, it needed strong and durable steel frames. Intex coated them with powder for increased beauty and rust resistance.
However, all this comes at the cost of higher maintenance and a longer comparatively more complicated setup. But once you set up your pool, fun will never end, and your friends will never leave your house.
- Massive pool, ideal for parties and games
- Comes as a complete kit
- Powerful 1,600 GPH pump
- Reasonable price
- Takes a while to set up
- The cartridge pump isn’t the best and might need to be replaced with a sand filter system if you use your pool a lot
- The packaging isn’t very sturdy and can get damaged
6- Coleman-22-x52-Power-Steel- Frame Above-Ground
Measuring 22 feet radius and 55 inches deep, the Coleman power steel swimming pool is one of the deeper above ground pools available for home users. It’s durable and sturdy yet very easy to assemble.
The pool comes with a cover, a 2500-gallon pool pump, and a ladder for easy entry and exit. Although the pool itself is pretty sturdy and will last for several years to come, the ladder is a different story. Since the ladder is not properly coated, it can catch rust pretty quickly.
Because of its size, this might not be a good choice for small backyards. But if you have a bigger yard, it can be ideal especially if you have a large family or like to throw frequent parties in the backyard.
- Very affordable
- Massive in size
- Powerful 2500-gallon pump
- Beautiful design
- The ladder rusts pretty quickly so you might have to invest in a new one
- Set up is a little complicated
- The legs that support the pool seem pretty flimsy
7- Bestway 9’10” x 6’6″ x 33″ Power Steel Oval Frame Above Ground Swimming Pool
Ideal for small families this is a nice little sturdy pool made of a polyester mesh core with the 3-ply reinforced material. Its tube framing is made of steel, that adds to the sturdiness. Its unique oval shape makes it ideal for smaller, rectangular backyards.
The pool stores under 1,000 gallons and comes with a 330 GPH pump, ideal for its size. Especially for the price point, this is an ideal pool. The setup takes a couple hours at most.
The height of the pool makes it ideal for your kids. However, the pool does not come with a ladder. So you might have to but one. Moreover, instructions to install the pool or not very clear for first-timers, although it is very easy to set up.
- Conveniently sized
- The oval shape makes it ideal for small, rectangular yards
- Easy to set up and needs little maintenance
- Doesn’t come with a ladder
- Installation instructions are not very clear
8- Summer Waves 8′ Metal Frame Above Ground Family Swimming Pool Set w/ Filter Pump
This little pool is amazingly sturdy and can last for a long time to come. It’s 8 feet in diameter and comes with metal frames with a filter system, yet is very affordably priced.
Despite the small size, it takes a little while to set it up. But once it’s installed, the water can be ready in as little as 30 minutes – thanks to the SFS350 SkimmerPlus 110/120V Filter Pump with GFCI and D type filter cartridge. Despite the pump being a little small for the pool, it gets the job done.
Summer Waves is known for their amazing customer service. Although the chances are slim in case your pool gets damaged or starts to leak, they will go above and beyond to help and resolve your issue.
Remember, this is not made for unlevel ground, and it’s ideal for kids six and over. Although younger kids might be able to enjoy in adult supervision.
- Great customer service
- Reasonably priced
- Conveniently sized
- Extremely sturdy build
- The pump is small for the size of the pool
9- Embassy Pool 4-1800 PARA100 Above Ground Swimming Pool, 18-Feet by 52-Inch, Creamy Tan
If you want something different from mainstream above ground pools, this could be an ideal choice for you. The pool has a rugged build and comes in a unique creamy tan color which looks very elegant. In addition to its unique design and color, what sets it apart is its sophisticated taupe-colored resin top connectors.
Measuring 18 feet in diameter and 54 inches tall, this is an ideal pool for adults who like to get some exercise in the backyard.
Don’t be fooled by the affordable price of this pool, this one is built to last. Fortunately, this is very easy to set up but make sure you have leveled the ground properly. Thanks to the easy to follow instructions, you will be able to have the pool set up within an hour or two.
- Easy installation
- Sturdy build, elegant design, and beautiful color
- Affordable price
- Unique design, deep enough for underwater swimming
- Needs more maintenance than an average above ground pool
10- iPool D Set (iPool I with Deluxe Filter Pump and Heater Combination)
This is a unique pool for you too not only cool down in summer but also allows you to do your workout. The other amazing thing about this pool is that it comes with a pump that actually works.
Most other all-inclusive pools have substandard pumps, and you might have to buy a good pump from the market. However, the 2500 GPH filter pump, as well as that 5.5-kilowatt heater that come with the iPool, are as good as any other equipment available on the market.
However, that does not mean that the pool itself is not well built. It’s made of zinc coated galvanized steel frame, and 5 layered Vinyl coated Polyester – the same material as used in River rafts.
In other words, this is one of the sturdiest of above ground pools available on the market.
What really stands out about this is that you can do the intense cardio workout. The unique dual tether system of the pool allows you to do resistance swimming and you can change the resistance by simply turning a knob.
Last but not the least, the manufacturer takes customer service very seriously. If you ever get a defected unit, you can expect to get a replacement by simply reaching out.
- Unique design, ideal for intense cardio
- Sturdy build
- Powerful pump and heater
- Great customer service
- Needs minimal maintenance and very few chemicals for the water to stay fresh
- Slightly expensive for the size of the pool
The best above ground pool accessories
To further improve your above ground pool experience, consider getting these accessories. These can be especially useful as most accessories that come with the pools aren’t that sturdy.
Intex Solar Cover for 12ft Diameter Easy Set and Frame Pools:
This is a sturdy cover available in 10, 12, 15, 16, and 18-foot diameter. It’s pretty sturdy and not only keeps your pool water clean but also reduces evaporation up to 95%.
Intex Deluxe Pool Maintenance Kit for Above Ground Pools:
This is an ideal kit that has everything to keep the water in your above ground pool crystal clear.
HydroTools by Swimline Floating Mini Tablet Spa Chemical Dispenser:
Handy chemical dispenser with adjustable control ring which can hold 1-inch chlorine or bromine tablets for easier dispensing.
Intex 28675EG Krystal Clear 1500 GPH Sand Filter Pump & Saltwater System:
Available in either 1500 or 2150 GPH, this is an all-powerful sand filter pump and saltwater system that comes with electrolytic oxidation.
Confer Above Ground Swimming Pool Curve Base Steps:
Very sturdy ladder that can hold up to 400 pounds of weight. Ideal replacement for most of the flimsy ladders that come with the pool. A 5-year warranty further sweetens the deal.
How to install an above ground pool?
The installation process can be different depending on the make and model of your above ground pool.
Usually, the pool will have a user manual or DVD with it that will have step-by-step instructions. These are very easy to follow, and two people should be able to set up most of the above ground pools in 1-3 hours. However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
- Make sure the surface is perfectly leveled where your above ground pool will sit
- Avoid setting up your pool on wet, mushy areas or on the roots of a tree as they can damage the vinyl
- Make sure there is at least three feet of free space around the pool after set up
- Select a place where you can easily plug in the pump and heater into an outlet
- Once installed, try to keep the pool covered when not in use
What Are the benefits of Using Above Ground Pool?
While above ground pools might not look as elegant as their in-ground counterpart, they offer so many advantages that they can be an ideal choice for most homeowners.
The initial cost, as well as the maintenance cost of the above ground pool, is just a fraction of an in-ground pool. You could save thousands of dollars in just one year.
Also because of the smaller size and simple shape, they need fewer chemicals and fewer maintenance equipment. Especially in colder climates, the above ground pools consume much less electricity than the in-ground pools.
Ease of installation and maintenance
You will have to get help from a specialized construction agency which could cost thousands of dollars and several days to construct an indoor pool. On the other hand, you can install your above ground pool yourself in just a couple of hours.
Also, you will need professional services to maintain the in-ground pool, which is not the case when you have an above ground pool. You need less water and fewer chemicals to keep the water looking crystal clear.
Above ground, pools are much safer especially for dogs, small pets, and children. the chances of them falling into the pool are extremely minimal. Building a small deck around the pool and adding a fence with a latched gate can increase safety. Although you can do the same with an indoor pool, yet the possibility of accidents is still higher.
Chose a bad location for your above ground pool? Moving to a new house? Above ground, pools are portable enough to accompany you wherever you go. All you have to do is empty and clean them, fold them and take with you wherever you go.
Above Ground Pool vs. In Ground Pool
The biggest difference when choosing in-ground verses above ground pools is the price here’s a quick breakdown of the cost of the two types:
- Patio: $3k-9k
- Electric equipment and hookup: $2k
- Grading and landscaping: $50 per square foot (national average)
- Accessories: $2k-5k
So in total, you could end up forking out $30k-$70 depending on size and design.
Here’s a breakdown of above ground pool:
- Price of the kit: $3k-6k
- Installation: $1-2K (unless you want to DIY)
That means you’ll be spending between $3 and $8, which is nothing compared to in-ground pool’s cost.
The above ground pools are a clear winner when it comes to safety, maintenance, portability, and ease of installation.
On the other hand, in-ground pools have a longer lifespan, i.e. (9-20) years depending on the type than the above ground pool (7-12 years). In-ground pools are also more customizable, and you can have them designed in any shape, size, and depth you want.
The in-ground pools give a very nice look to your entire backyard, whereas the above grounds pools don’t look as nice. Also, the in-ground pools can also add value to your house although not as much as their cost. However, they usually also increase the taxes on your house.
Coleman Pools vs. Intex Pools
If you are stuck choosing between the two of the most popular about pool brands, i.e., Coleman pools versus Intex pools, here is a quick heat to head comparison of the two.
While both companies offer amazing quality products, each has its pros and cons.
For instance, the Coleman pools are very easy to maintain and are available in attractive designs. Most of their models come in adjustable sizes and are very easy to install. They offer good privacy and allow you to swim in. The only problem is most of their products have a shaky ladder – no big deal though.
On the other hand, the Intex pools are extremely affordable and offer easy installation. However, they are ideal for short-term commitment especially if you’re planning to live in your house for only a few years.
Intex pools are also known for their simple design and very lightweight equipment. We also loved how they offer all in one product, which means that you don’t have to buy anything once you get their kit. The only drawback all the Intex Pools we noticed is that their pump is usually not the best quality.
Above Ground Pool FAQs
When to buy an above ground pool?
The best time to buy your pool is off-season, which is fall. You’ll get your favorite pool for a much lower price as stores want to clear the inventory.
What is the best pool shape round or rectangular?
The above ground pools come in many shapes, the ideal shape depends on the location it will sit in. Round is more popular for parties while rectangular will give you more area to swim in a straight line.
What is the best pool brand?
There are many popular pool brands; we’ve compared two of them in the previous section. Always go for a well-known brand that backs up their product with warranty.
What is the best time to set up/open my above ground pool?
To prevent the development of algae, open your pool when the temperature is at least 60 degrees or higher.
When to close my ground pool?
When the temperature stays below 60 for three days in a row.
What is the ideal depth of above ground pools?
The pools can be 36, 48, 52 and 54 inches deep. The ideal depth depends on who will use the pool, i.e., adults or children. However, the water level should be at least 6-10 inches below the brim.
How to drain out water from my above ground pool?
You will need to use the hose connectors or a pump to clear out water from your pool. Make sure the water doesn’t get anywhere near the pool’s location, or it’ll saturate the soil.
Why some people cover their above ground pool?
It’s a good practice actually. You should cover the pool in winter, or the harsh weather could damage it. You may also cover it after every use, especially if you’ve small pets or children in your home.
When should I replace the liner of my above ground pool?
Either after 5-9 years or as soon as you spot a leak.
What is pool shocking, should I shock my above ground pool?
Adding three to five times more choline or other sanitizers to pool to keep it clean and safe is called shocking. Ideally, it should be done during the night or on a cloudy day. Otherwise, some of the chlorine could be lost because of harsh sunlight.
Above ground, pools are probably the cheapest way to turn your backyard into an oasis. They also provide a convenient and affordable escape from harsh summers. Not to mention, they can be a quick way to get your cardio workout.
Just like any other product manufactured under the sun, above ground pools have their pros and cons. If you’ve read this complete guide, you should know what some of the best above ground pools are.
More importantly, you can size these up against your very needs and expectations to pick the one that best suits you. Thanxx Pooldone