Many households can’t afford to have a beautiful in-ground pool as the centerpiece for their home, either because they don’t have the resources or adequate space. In such an instance, the only other option is an above ground swimming pool, which offers all the benefits of an in-ground pool. They provide quick exercise to both humans and pets, and they’re a joy for kids to splash around in. What’s even more beneficial is that an above ground pool is also ideal for people who aren’t professional swimmers or those training to compete in the Olympics. However, due to the variety of models in today’s market, making the right choice for your home can prove to be extremely tough. This is where we come in. Below is a list of the best above ground swimming pools, along with a buying guide to help you make an excellent choice.
The Best Above Ground Swimming Pool
The Intex company has manufactured a series of above ground swimming pools over the years. They pride themselves in the production of only the best most durable pools, designed and molded from the finest materials by the brightest of minds. No stone is left unturned during the design process and every swimming pool launched has already been tested countlessly to be assured of their safety. The first member of the above ground swimming pool series of Intex to be recommended is the Intex 15ft X 48IN Metal Frame Pool Set.
This metal frame pool set is purchased as a complete package that includes the swimming pool, a cartridge filter pump with Krystal clear features, a ground cloth, ladder, and a 3-ply material together with a debris cover. This swimming pool is designed to have triple strong laminated sidewalls that are also super tough. An all-around band has been used to reinforce theses sidewalls to keep the frame legs firm and always in place. Setting up this swimming pool is exceptionally easy as it comes with an instructional DVD that is simple to understand and follow. In roughly 45 minutes, the Intex Metal Frame Pool Set will be ready for water after installation.
Super-tough laminated sidewalls
Capacity: (90%) 4, 440 gallons
- Weight145 pounds
An included sand filter is easy to maintain
The large size can accommodate lots of swimmers
Pool frame is solid
Included ladder is shaky
This is the older model may be discontinued, making parts hard to come by
Requires large space
One of the most common complaints about above-ground pools is that they don’t look great. Whichever way you look at, a big blue or grey pool is going to stand out in your beautiful yard. The Summer Waves Elite Wicker Print Above-Ground Pool is the answer to your prayers. The attractive wicker pool walls make it the focal point of your yard, instead of making it look like a mess. There aren’t many pictures of it in-situ, but the ones we’ve seen look fantastic.
This is one of the more expensive above-ground pools on this list, mainly because of the premium aesthetic and large diameter. At 16 feet across, this is a huge semi-permanent pool. There’s plenty of space for you and your family and friends to enjoy the water on a hot sunny day. The walls are made from three layers of heavy-gauge PVC and polyester mesh. They aren’t completely puncture-proof but you won’t have to worry about knocking into them.
Dimensions – 16’ x 48”
Wicker print design
Made from polyester mesh & PVC
Steel frame with PVC strap
1,500-gallon filter pump
- BrandSummer Waves
Wicker design looks amazing in the garden
Big enough to fit the whole family in
Quick to set up
The filter could be upgraded
If you’re looking for an affordable way to enjoy your very own pool this summer, check out the Fast Set 10′ x 30″ Above Ground Pool Set. There’s no avoiding the fact that the price tag is the most attractive thing about this pool set. It can’t compete with the $1000 + above-ground pools on this list but we still think it’s a fantastic option. At the end of the day, you can still splash around with your kids on a hot summer’s day. Let’s face it, they probably won’t notice the difference.
Made of durable and lightweight PVC, this pool is built to last. We’ve heard reports of customers getting three or more summers out of one of these pools. When you break down the price, that’s an amazing deal. It’s super quick and easy to set up – you can do it on your own or get your kids to help. It also includes a 330-gallon water filter pump that takes out the dirty water and sends it back clean. For more amazing additions to your home, check out our guide to the best pergola kits.
Dimensions – 10’ x 30”
Made from PVC
960 gallons when 80% full
330-gallon water filter pump included
- BrandFast Set
- Weight22.1 pounds
Made from durable materials
Easy to set up and fill
Would be better with a larger pump
Away from the Intex brand, we come face to face with yet another fantastic manufacturing company and another leading brand, Bestway. They have introduced their line of above ground pools which feature the use of sturdy and robust materials as well as construction methods. They offer a variety of sizes to suit different home and family sizes, and they come in several shapes for your convenience. The Bestway brand is one of a kind and has received countless positive reviews from users all around the world.
If you need an above ground swimming pool that doesn’t require a lot of time for set up and installation, the Bestway Steel Pro is your best option. Built to perfection, this frame pool set is made with precision and care to ensure that nothing but the highest level of durability is delivered to users. This swimming pool can accommodate up to 4,231 gallons of water. It features a thick, 3ply and used in protecting your sidewalls and offering more support. For simple draining, the Bestway Steel Pro features a flow control drain valve, and this prevents water from being stagnant.
Water capacity (90%): 4, 231 gal
Flow control drain valve
- Weight90.7 pounds
Speedy setup time
Weak water filter
Some missing parts
Doesn’t include a ladder
The Bestway brand comes our way once more with their highly recommended above ground pool, the Bestway Power Steel 18′ x 52′ swimming pool. This small above ground pool features a design so sturdy and efficient, and no other brand can be compared to it. It has been built by professionals for smaller family sizes and features a unique shape that can blend beautifully into your backyard scene. Made from heavy-duty and robust materials, this swimming pool comes with a frame that delivers on maximum durability, even after years of use.
The Bestway Power Steel pool is an above-ground unit made with rust-resistant metal frames. It features a tri-tech pool liner made from a combination of 3-ply sidewalls and heavy-duty PVC. Despite its design being for small family sizes, the water capacity of this unit amounts to over 6,500 gallons of water. It comes at a height that is great for both kids and adults and is also equipped with a simple seal and lock system to keep your pipe connections safe and secure always. With added accessories such as a type iii-a/c filter cartridge, a filter pump, pool cover, and ground cloth, this above ground pool has everything you need for an excellent setup. Instructions are simple and straightforward, with a minimum amount of time required to complete the installation process.
Tri-tech pool liner
Seal & lock system
Corrosion-resistant metal frames
Water capacity (90%): 6, 869 gals. (26, 000 L)
- Weight213 pounds
Ideal for small, rectangular yards
Doesn’t come with a ladder
Installation instructions are not very clear
Our final recommendation and the last swimming pool model from the Intex company is the Intex 16ft X 48in Ultra XTR Pool Set. This set comprises a sand filter pump, pool cover, a ladder, and ground cloth. It possesses some of the features identified in other Intex models with a few unique elements that set it apart. The frame of the Intex XTR metal above ground pool is uniquely designed with high quality galvanized steel, and this material, together with the high precision engineered locking system enhances the durability, stability and overall quality of this pool.
The XTR accommodates up to 1,200 gallons of water per hour with a total water capacity of 5,062 gallons of water. It comes with a two-year extended warranty from the manufacturer which has helped it sell in many countries across the globe. All metal portions of this above ground pool are designed and protected from rust with an encapsulating powder coating. The pump of the Intex XTR is elementary to clean and doesn’t take up too much of your time. Users around the world attest to the drainage efficiency of this pool. They also recommend it for families with pets, as its PVC sidewalls are durable enough to accommodate them.
2-year Manufacturer’s Warranty
Includes 110-120V sand filter pump
Ready for water in 45 minutes.
- Weight218 pounds
The pump is simple to maintain.
Washable ground cloth
PVC sidewalls are three times durable.
Requires a well-leveled ground
The filter pumps are not strong enough
You don’t need to spend thousands to have summer fun in your very own pool. There are a bunch of soft-walled above-ground pools that give you the same fun with a much smaller price tag. Don’t get us wrong, the Summer Waves 15ft x 36in Swimming Pool isn’t a paddling pool though. It’s about as close as you can get to the premium above-ground pools on this list without taking out a huge bank loan.
One of the most important things to consider, when you’re buying a soft-walled above-ground pool is the durability. The last thing you want is the pool to burst and cover your yard in thousands of gallons of water. Fortunately, this swimming pool is super tough. The pool walls are three-layers thick and are made from heavy-duty PVC and polyester mesh. This design makes them puncture-resistant, so they should stand the test of time.
Dimension – 15’ x 36”
Made from PVC & polyester mesh
10 minutes to set up
Capacity – 2640 gallons
RX600 filter pump with GFCI
- BrandSummer Waves
- Weight51 pounds
Quick and easy set up
Cheaper than hard-wall pools
Customer service isn’t great
Bestway is known for making some of the highest-quality above-ground pools in the business. This model – the Bestway 56687E – is part of Bestway’s Pro MAX range, which means it’s better than an inflatable pool but a lot cheaper than their steel-walled models. We’d highly recommend this pool that doesn’t want to invest thousands in having a pool fixture. You can set this up in a day and take it down at the end of the summer (if you want to).
This pool might not have steel walls but it does have a super sturdy steel frame. It’s both resistant to rust and corrosion and features a 3-ply PVC support band that gives additional stability to the pool wall. The pool walls are actually made from lightweight but super tough PVC.
Dimensions – 15’ x 42”
Sturdy steel frame with PVC support band
PVC pool walls
May come with pool accessories
Seal & Lock System
- Weight116 pounds
Sturdy frame and walls
No tools required
Not sure if it comes with a ladder, pool pump, etc.
Unhelpful customer service
This next pool from Summer Waves is probably the biggest pool you can get for this price. When you consider the size (16 feet x 48 inches), it’s actually really affordable. It’s designed to be semi-permanent, which means you can leave it up throughout the summer months and then dismantle it in winter (you don’t have to, but it is recommended).
This pool features a uniquely shaped frame that makes it stronger than other metal-frame pools. It also has a PVC band that wraps around the entire frame and keeps everything tight. The pool walls are also made from PVC but some customers have questioned the durability. It seems that in 90% of cases, the walls are tough enough but a couple of customers have complained about pools ripping. Just make sure you follow the guidelines when you’re setting the pool up.
Dimensions – 16’ x 48”
PVC stability strap
Comes with SFX1500 SkimmerPlus filter
Cover, ladder, ground cloth and maintenance kit included
- BrandSummer Waves
- Weight188.9 pounds
Comes with all pool accessories
Not the most durable
Some reports of defective products
The Ultra Frame Rectangular Pool Set from Intex is an above ground swimming pool unit engineered for ultimate strength. It comes with the regular accessories such as a ladder, ground cover, sand filter pump, and a pool cover. It also features the Krystal Clear Sand Filter pump, meant to keep your water clean and sparkling at all times. The frame of this pool is designed and built from robust and durable steel frames, coated with powder to save them from corrosion and rust while enhancing their aesthetic.
After this small above pool is installed, it will be ready for water in under an hour. It carries up to 4,500 gallons of water and uses its powerful drain to dispel water from the pool area. This swimming pool has set a new standard for luxury in the swimming pool market, thanks to its contemporary appearance and increased strength. It is both stylish and functional with improved water circulation and better water hygiene being provided through its new dual suction outlet fittings. The Intex Ultra Frame Rectangular pool set must be set up on stable ground at your backyard to help family and friends have countless moments of fun.
Strong, durable steel frames
Krystal clear sand filter pump
Water capacity: (90%) 4,545 gallons
Super-tough laminated pvc sidewalls
- Weight244 pounds
Easy cleaning and is maximum durability
This includes a dvd for proper installation
Convenient drain plug
Not ideal for sandy and muddy areas
Liner gets damaged easily
Above Ground Swimming Pool Buying Guide & FAQ
As there are many above ground swimming pools available on the market, knowing which one to choose can be a little confusing especially as they all come with different features. That’s why our buying guide below is here to assist you.
How We Chose Our Selection Of Above Ground Swimming Pools
Brand - When purchasing an above ground swimming pool, it is always a great idea to go with a well-renowned brand, since these companies mostly have product warranties and guaranteed that it will cover your swimming pool. Our list features two major brands that are recognized globally as leading manufacturers of above ground swimming pools, Bestway and Intex. These credible brands have readily available spare parts that result in cheaper and easier maintenance of your swimming pool at all times.
Reviews - Our team pays attention to the comments made by individuals who have used any of our recommended products before. all feedback is essential in knowing the durability and efficiency of every product, which is why comments from various online platforms were read and analyzed.
Price - When making any purchase, price always plays a big part in the decision process. There are several above ground pool manufacturers producing pools with identical features. Sometimes the rates differ because of the brand name or some additional accessories that come with the product. To ensure that our list reaches out to a vast range of users, most of the products enlisted above are extremely budget friendly.
Safety - When it comes to safety, above ground pools are better than regular pools since they feature a higher entry point. We looked out for products with accessories such as ladders, to ensure that no one enters the pool by accident.
Features To Look For In Above Ground Swimming Pools
Filter - Three types of filters are often used in above ground swimming pools, and they’re also available in a variety of sizes. When selecting the best swimming pool for your home, it is imperative to go for a filter system that best suits the pool you’re going for. The most common filter used is the sand filter, but if you need a filter that delivers clearer pool water, we recommend the Diatomaceous Earth (DE) filter, as it’s known to remove even the finest of particles. Many brands also use cartridge filters since their operational concept is simple. Very similar to the water filters under our sinks, these filters feature a larger area for filtration than the sand filter. They are, however, more expensive to maintain as compared to the other two types of filters.
Heater - Swimming pool heaters are a great investment for your pool since they can help extend your swimming season from August to November. Some pool heater models enable you to swim with family and friends all year long, though these types may be costly. Pool heaters come in different sizes.
Size - It is not advisable to rely on your instincts with such a task since there are many requirements to be considered while sizing your backyard for the best swimming pool. Before you decide on the best size of a swimming pool for your home, accurately measure the space in your backyard for a swimming pool. During the measuring process, be sure to leave ample space around for the supporting legs and move around the pool.
Pump - The pump of an above ground pool is a part of the pool that keeps the water circulating within your pool. Water is pulled through and back out of your filter as it circulates and if this process is halted, your swimming pool will become a stagnant body of water, attracting insects such as mosquitoes.
Steps - This accessory is often included in a pool set for the models that are high and require some form of climbing. They are also known as ladders, and they are often made from rust-resistant metal. When selecting your above ground swimming pool, be on the lookout for brands that offer a complete package, including a ladder. These brands are more cost-effective as they provide you all the necessary tools needed to enjoy your pool.
Shape - Consider the type of pool you want to purchase, whether its rectangular, square or oval. This can only be done after you have settled on the ideal location. Oval pools are great to swim in while rectangular pools are more functional and can be used for swimming laps. The shape of your pool isn’t as important as the size, but it is a factor that must be considered to ensure that you benefit greatly from it.
Cover - Pool covers are an essential factor included to help keep debris out and water in. there are different kinds of pool covers. Some covers are designed specifically for use during the winter, and others are made from mesh.
Types Of Above Ground Swimming Pools
Blow up - Also known as inflatable above ground pools, this type of swimming pool is commonly recommended for use by children. They require some form of filling, with gas to enable them to stand and accommodate water. They are easy to store and are also cost-effective. They are easy to set up, even though a tear or hole can be drastic.
Frame - The frame above ground pool features a sturdy and tough metal framing system that serves as the structure of your pool. It features metal legs which can be assembled and disassembled for your convenience. The setup for these kinds of pools is extremely straightforward with DVD guides and user manuals available to help you.
Steel - These are the toughest and most common type of above ground swimming pool. They are the most cost-effective option, even though their major problem is the occurrence of rust and corrosion. To create the ideal steel swimming pool, ensure that the frames are galvanized coated to resist rusting and corrosion.
How To Install An Above Ground Swimming Pool
Many models come with an instructional DVD or a user manual. The installation process will differ, depending on the model being considered. These rules make the setup process extremely easy to complete in a short while. Be sure to locate your pool on the level ground and avoid mushy areas as much as possible. After set up, make sure that there are at least three feet of free space for easy movement, keeping it well covered whenever it is not in use.
Above Ground Swimming Pool FAQ
Q: How many years does above ground pool last?
A: On the average, above ground swimming pools are operational for up to 15 years, before their structural system starts to falter. The liners placed in these units stay functional for up to nine years before the need for a replacement. These numbers tend to vary depending on the brand of a pool since manufacturers use different materials and construction methods to produce their swimming pools.
Q: Can an above ground pool be repaired?
A: Some damages are simple to repair in any above ground pool. Some of the repairable damages include gaping holes where the skimmer is. The damages caused by winter, however, cannot be repaired and may require users to purchase a new pool. An example of these damages includes the buckling of your pool wall.
Q: Can you paint the inside of an above ground pool?
A: Yes, it is possible to paint the interior of your above ground swimming pool. There are some paints formulated especially for use on above ground pools. These pool paints can be used to cover the vinyl pool liners in the pool. It is advised that when selecting a pool paint, you must look out for one that adheres well to humid conditions to prevent any leakages.
Q: When is the best time to buy an above ground swimming pool?
A: Generally, cheaper deals for above ground pools come out in October. The prices of these pools tend to vary throughout the year. During the summer and late spring, these rates increase, while the winter season sees a decline in prices. You can purchase your pool in winter, once you have storage space for the unopened box.
Q: Are pool chemicals safe?
A: Pool chemicals often contain oxidizers. These substances can cause any organic material to combust even without an ignition. This makes pool chemical a significant fire risk. Chemicals such as chlorine often react with other compounds to form new mixtures that may result in illnesses such as cancer, asthma and even allergic reactions. There are new innovative technologies that seek to make pool chemicals safer than ever before, and these substances are made from non-toxic elements that won’t pose any harm to the users.