The success or failure of your above ground swimming pool is determined by the quality of the liner you use. This is always the case whether you buy a pool that raises itself when it fills up or a framed one.
The thickness and smoothness of your liner, together with its warranty and color, will help you have an enjoyable swimming adventure or a costly one.
This guide has been written to help you get the best above ground pool liners for your pool model and make.
Let’s get straight to the details…
Best Above Ground Pool Liners Buying Guide
We hope that you will get all the information you require when buying a pool liner for your above ground pool from this guide.
Things to Know
If you have never replaced your liner before or you want to install a liner for the first time, it will come in handy if you know the work of the linear.
Beyond its obvious benefit of holding water, this product is integral to the general structure of your swimming pool. The liner helps to distribute the water evenly across your pool in order to keep the structure intact.
What are They Made of?
Swimming pool liners are made of vinyl sheets that are welded together to fit the shape of your facility, depending on its size. You can access these liners when you remove the rails and caps of your swimming pool. These caps might come in multiple parts and be attached using multiple screws – it will depend on the manufacturer.
Types of Liners: Overlap or Beaded
Pool liners come in 2 different styles:
- Overlap Liners
They are the most commonly used liners and are easy to hang over the wall of your pool. They come with plastic coping for locking them in place. These liners are more affordable than the beaded ones.
They hang on a channel called bead channel and attaches to the top wall of your pool. They come in different sizes – the standard ones fit most above ground pools. They are easy to install and comes in three main subclasses:
- J-Hook or V-Bead – They hook onto the upper part of your swimming pool wall. They don’t need a bead channel.
- EZ-Bead –They start out as J-Bead, U-Bead, or V-Bead for easier installation and also fit into the bead channel.
- Universal Bead – Also called UniBead, a Universal Bead starts out like J-Beads but can change to a standard-bead.
Question of Measurement
Whether you want to purchase an overlap liner or beaded one, ensure that you measure the different sides of your swimming pool and know these dimensions. Measure from inside wall to inside wall as opposed from the top caps or rails. Also, note whether your swimming pool has a 48, 52, or 54 inches wall height.
What is With the Warranty?
The average liner lasts for about 10 years, so why do some liners come with a 25 years warranty?
First, you need to note that a virgin vinyl liner can be punctured easily. So, there is no major difference whether you get a 10, 15, or 25 years warranty. These warranties only cover manufacturer defects such as vinyl seam separation. You cannot get a replacement in case of a puncture.
The Determining Factor: Thickness
Liner sizes are usually classed in 2 main thicknesses: 20 and 25 gauge. If a liner is labeled as standard, this means that it’s a 20 gauge product.
The difference between 20 and 25 gauges might not seem critical, but it might be the difference between having a product that lasts for years and the one that lasts only a few months.
You need to answer these questions when determining the right thickness of the liner for your pool.
- How do you want to install your linear? Directly of sand/dirt or do you have a protective plastic sheet on top of the sand?
- Do you have kids? They might bring sharp objects into your pool.
- How long are you intending to keep your pool? Will you move after a few years and leave it behind?
Why Does the Color Matter?
Above ground liners come in an array of patterns and colors, and to a large extent, the style of the liner doesn’t influence its function. However, it is vital you know these facts of pool liner patterns.
- A plain blue liner shows wrinkles, waterlines, and dirt more easily as there is no detailed pattern to hide them.
- A liner with small patterns, like tile, that are reoccurring across the whole surface can be dizzying to look at.
- A liner that is dark will make your pool warmer because it retains heat.
- A liner with pictures of sharks or fishes might be fun originally, but the images might come off in the near future.
After considering all the factors that we have discussed above, now it’s the perfect time to consider the easiness or hardness of installation.
There are a few things that you should know about a DIY project.
- Plastic strips – They hold your liner in place when you have installed the top rails.
- Cove – They are installed at the bottom corners of your pool before you install the liner to provide a nice cushioned slope.
- Gaskets – These will depend on your skimmer as well as the return jet.
Top 5 Above Ground Pool Liners Reviews
Below is a review of the top 5 above ground pool liners on the market today.
Coping Strips (Plastic Clips for Overlap Pool Liner Replacement) – 12 Inches x 18 Inches Above Ground Pool Liners
Coping strips are quality linear which are ideal for all above ground swimming pools. The products’ plastic clips hold your pool liner in place on the wall before you install the top rail. The liners are non-corrosive to ensure that they last for decades, thus saving you replacement cost.
The products come in 2 main colors of white or black – it will depend on the one you prefer. These professional grade strips and clips come with installation manual to guarantee you that you get an easy time when installing them.
- Professional grade.
- Corrosion-free products.
- Come in different colors.
- Offer only a slight bend.
In The Swim 24-ft Round Overlap (Boulder Swirl 20 Gauge) Above Ground Pool Liner
One of the best-designed pool liners on the market today is the In The Swim 24-ft Round Overlap Above Ground Pool Liner. This product provides great performance that you have always wanted and it lasts for decades. With its eye-catching style, you will surely love to spend time in your pool.
The only good thing about this liner isn’t the design but also its superb quality. This product provides 100% sunlight protection which means that it cannot be damaged by the harmful UV rays. The liner is easy to maintain and comes with a 15 years warranty – this just shows how the manufacturer believes in this linear.
- Easy to install.
- 15 years warranty.
- UV protected.
- Allows wrinkles when being installed.
Harris 24” Round Overlap (Boulder Swirl 25 Gauge) Above Ground Pool Liner
This overlap pool liner is made of professional-grade virgin vinyl. The product boasts of a beautiful design construction that lasts for decades to ensure that you don’t visit the market to get another liner any time soon. The best feature, you can use this product with flat grounds measuring 48 inches to 52 inches in sidewalls.
The linear features a pad, which prevents rocks, sand, and grass from entering your pool. Just like the 20 gauge, this 25 gauge liner comes with a 15 years warranty. It is also very easy to set up without the need of hiring a professional.
- Prevents UV rays.
- Easy to install.
- Durable product.
- An extremely light liner.
SmartLine Stone Harbor (12 Ft x 24 Ft 25 Gauge ) Above Ground Pool Liner
This linear comes in pretty pleasing patterns of different shades of blue that results in a marble-like product. This shape provides a simple but vintage looking liner. Whether a replacement or first-time installment, this liner is easy to install and provides durability while not costing much.
The liner works best with swimming pools with flat surfaces measuring 52 inches and comes with hooks for armature installation. The product also comes with a universal gasket kit that works with any skimmer. This kit helps to prevent corrosion.
- Universal gasket set.
- Easy to install.
- Pretty pleasing design.
- Gasket might cause leaks after a while.
24 ft Round Overlap Above Ground Pool Liner
This liner is made from professional-grade pool vinyl. It is an effective overlap pool product that fits 48, 52, and 54 inches pool walls. The best feature, this liner boasts of maximum construction that is UV and other pool chemicals protected. The product is made with a lap seam make as well as the state of art seaming.
With this pool, you are assured of getting many years of services since it comes with a 25 years warranty. It is easy to install and also very affordable.
- 25 years warranty.
- Professional-grade material.
- Chemicals and UV protected.
- Needs to be inspected before you install it.
Our Top Pick of Above Ground Pool Liner
Having looked at all the features of the liners we have reviewed above, we can recommend you to try the Coping Strips (Plastic Clips for Overlap Pool Liner Replacement) – 12 Inches x 18 Inches Above Ground Pool Liners. This is a quality product that offers different pros including non-corrosive, comes in 2 colors of white or black, made of professional grade strips and clips, and come with installation manual.
Above Ground Pool Liners Secret
The majority of above ground pool liners on the market won’t fit your swimming pool. At least not the way you want. You will buy off the rack.
Manufacturers are allowed by law to advertise a swimming pool as a 24 round pool, as long as is true measurement is 10% more or less. This rule is also applicable to all swimming pool materials including pool liner thickness. The manufacturer can lie legally within 10%.
Therefore, if you purchase a liner rack for a 24 round, and your facility true diameter is 23 ft. 9 inches, the liner will be too big and end with wrinkles. Worst case, you get a liner that is too small.
With that in mind, it is important to take a tape measure and measure the true measurement of the liner you want to buy. It is also a good thing to ask for a custom-made product than to buy a liner that is too small for your swimming pool.
FAQ on Above Ground Liners
Q: What is virgin vinyl?
A: Although thickness matters when buying a pool liner, you should only buy liners made of virgin vinyl – meaning without recycled material. Virgin vinyl means that your product is made of 100% pure or new vinyl. Virgin vinyl expands and contracts evenly, and thus fits well.
Q: Why do different brand produce liners of similar patterns yet with different names?
A: This is often caused by the suppliers (who often print these products as opposed to the brands) who sell these patterns to different brands. The brands can later name these patterns accordingly. They are purchasing vinyl from one supplier. However, note that just because the patterns are similar it doesn’t mean that the liners are of equal thickness.
Q: What is gauge?
A: It is used as a true measurement in some industries, but shouldn’t be used as Mil or be used to describe a liner. Pool manufacturers don’t use 20, 25, or 30 gauge to describe the thickness of a liner; it is used by salespeople and stores. Therefore, it is a measure that is often used (legally) but you shouldn’t use it to determine the thickness of your liner.
The Bottom Line
What is the best above ground pool liner to buy? There is no particular brand that can be said to be the best in the industry. Of important invest in a high-quality liner that will last for years to come. This will save you lots of money in the long-run.