Most homeowners love above ground pools because they provide a lot of fun and are non-permanent.
And there are many types, models, and brands of these facilities you can find on the market today.
That only means you can have a hard time picking the right one for your backyard.
With that said, it can be easy to buy an above ground pool if you know the leading models out there.
Here we have a discussion that looks at above ground pools from the consumer reports point of view.
This article will answer the question of what is the best above ground pool on the market today.
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.
Review of the Top 8 Above Ground Pools for 2021
We begin by looking at the top-rated above ground pools on the market today.
1. Intex 118 by 78 by 29.5 Inches Rectangular Frame Pool
For under $200, you can own the Intex 118 by 78 by 29.5 Inches swimming pool and install it in your backyard.
It comes in a rectangular shape and is ideal for family, including kids and grownups.
Note that the adults can lounge inside the pool while the kids swim around.
One astonishing thing is the easy setup design that gives you enough time to relax in the pool and less worrying about the setup.
You can bet it is a strong structure due to the metal supports that help keep the liner in place.
The metal part is coated to prevent rust that can occur when this metal touches water.
Also, you can use this pool without worrying because the walls are made of super-tough laminated material.
Another thing is the attractive blue color that reflects on the water to give you a beautiful pool.
The pool requires about 800 gallons of water to get full, making it the perfect unit for kids to splash around.
It is also simple to drain the water when you want to keep the facility inside your store.
2. Intex 12’ by 30” Metal Frame Pool Set
Most brands cannot match the Intex Metal Frame pools, and there is a reason for that – the use of quality materials.
The model comes with filter pump that guarantees you of a clean facility whenever you want to swim.
And the best part, you get an instructional DVD that guides you when installing the pool.
It is among the most precise units for adding water as it gets ready for water within 30 minutes.
Another great thing is the SUPER-TOUGH liners that ensure your entire family uses the pool.
You also get a pool with amazingly strong metal frames that can withstand the water pressure.
The model is quite affordable as you require under $300 to purchase it and have it at your backyard.
What many users love about this pool is the ease of assembling and the beautiful look.
Furthermore, it guarantees the user of the much-needed fun no matter the time of the year or day.
You get a durable product that is perfect for adults and one that offers value for bucks.
The best thing is there is less water splashing, and you have confidence you swim in a clean facility.
3. Bestway 10-Foot by 30-Inch Fast Set Round Pool Set
Bestway Fast Set Round Pool comes with pump to ensure that the water circulates and prevents algae development.
It is a small swimming pool that provides enough space for a family of four to relax inside when filled with water.
The small size makes it the right unit for dogs and for small yard.
One incredible thing is you get to save water because it requires less than 400 gallons of water to get filled up.
What more, that package includes a 330-gallon filter pump and filter cartridge that lets you use the facility once you set it up.
You also get a quality PVC repair kit that you can use to seal any leak that occurs due to an accident.
And that is not all because the package includes a DVD that guides you when installing and maintaining the pool.
The pool gets ready for water within 15 minutes, meaning that you do not need to waste time.
Ensure that you get this pool for your kids to have a cooling place during the hot days.
You can use this pool for months without needing to replace it thanks to the repair kit.
4. Intex 8ft x 2.5ft Easy Set Inflatable Swimming Pool
Intex 8ft x 2.5ft is the pool for the money if you want a facility where your loved one can play during the summer.
The model comes in blue color that adds the much-need attraction to your backyard, and it does not take up a lot of space.
Your kids might never want to leave this pool during the day as it offers an effective splashing play area.
One thing to note is the system only requires you to inflate it when installing.
There is no waiting for hours, typical with frame pools before you fill the water.
You should also note that the package includes an instructional DVD that guides you when cleaning and maintaining.
Another notable thing is the filter cartridge that helps clean the water to ensure that your kids play in a sanitized facility.
Note that the system is recommended for kids of over six years due to its ability to hold more water.
It is wise to realize that the pool comes with hard sides that can resist easy tearing, which occurs with most kid’s pools.
Get this model for your child during the summer days to have a place they can relax.
5. Intex Easy Set 12’t by 30” Round Pool Set
One pool that does not require you to build deck around is the Intex Easy Set Round Pool Set.
The product has a filter pump that circulates the water to assure you of a clean facility.
You also get a DVD that guides you when installing the pool, cleaning, and maintaining it.
It is a system that adds joy to your backyard because you can relax in the water with your entire family.
One feature that we need to mention is the ease of assembling and installation – you can achieve that without calling an expert.
The pool is also rated as one of the most reliable units you can find on the shelves today.
You can bet the unit cost under $500, making it a perfect unit for anyone looking for a play station.
Its package includes repair kits that you can use to seal any leak that might occur when using the pool.
That only means you can prolong its useful life and have value for bucks thanks to the durability.
You should consider picking this product if you want a simple model that gets ready for water within 15 minutes.
6. Bestway 18’ x 48” 56463 Steel Pro Frame Pool Set
Bestway Steel Pro is the right unit for you if you want a system that comes with cover.
That means you can prevent leaves, bugs, and other materials from falling inside when you do not use the pool.
The model is made of quality PVC material and 3-ply polyester sidewalls to guarantee you of support.
It is further reinforced with rope wraps around the base to keep the legs firmly planted on the ground.
These features make it an excellent unit for the entire family use, and it goes for under $1000.
Another great thing is the rust-resistance metal frames that can withstand water and other pool chemicals.
The unit holds about 6,092 gallons of water when it is 90% full, making it the perfect place for swimming laps.
One great feature is the flow control drain valve that makes it easy to drain the pool when you want to store it.
Its package also includes a ground cloth that allows you to place the pool on the grass.
You also get a ladder, meaning you can quickly get into and out of the pool.
The other thing we should mention is the 1,500-gallon filter pump.
7. Intex 15’ by 48” Metal Frame Pool Set
You might not always have a level surface, and that is why the Intex Metal Frame Pool Set is perfect for unlevel ground.
The model is made of metal-frame and comes with a medium size that lets you have quality time with your family.
It is a long-lasting unit that features a quality steel frame and is coated to help prevent rusting.
That makes it the right unit to use for saltwater and any other place that requires you to treat the water with chemicals.
One great thing about this unit is the easy setup that does not require you to get a tool.
You only need to join the different joins and snap them.
Another thing is the large size that ensures you get enough space to relax during the hot days.
Another notable thing about this facility is the ability to last for years without getting damaged.
What that means is you can have value for cash when you pick this model for your family.
You might take time when setting it up, but this is a more advanced swimming pool than the inflatable ones.
8. Splash Pools 24’ x 52” Round Deluxe Pool Package
Most people want a pool they can use with heater, which is not a product you can get for under $600.
But it would help if you did not worry because the Splash Pools Round Deluxe Pool Package lets you use a heater, and it cost under $2000.
The model is made of substantial hot-dipped seven inches galvanized steel ledge that is painted to prevent rust.
That means you get a pool that can last for years without rusting or getting damaged from frequent use.
Another notable thing is the resin ladder that provides you with easy access and exists in the pool.
Pools with ladders are relatively safe as these accessories help to prevent accidents.
The system also comes with a 1 HP pump and motor that circulates the water around to guarantee a clean facility.
Besides, it makes use of a standard Thru-the-Wall skimmer that helps to collect any debris that might fall in the water.
You get an installation guide that can come in handy when placing the pool in your backyard.
It is a swimming pool designed to allow for the whole family to use and enable everyone to enjoy a swim.
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
Q: When to buy an above ground pool?
A: 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.
Q: What is the best pool shape round or rectangular?
A: 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.
Q: What is the best pool brand?
A: 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.
Q: What is the best time to set up/open my above ground pool?
A: To prevent the development of algae, open your pool when the temperature is at least 60 degrees or higher.
Q: When to close my ground pool?
A: When the temperature stays below 60 for three days in a row.
Q: What is the ideal depth of above ground pools?
A: 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.
Q: How to drain out water from my above ground pool?
A: 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.
Q: Why some people cover their above ground pool?
A: 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.
Q: When should I replace the liner of my above ground pool?
A: Either after 5-9 years or as soon as you spot a leak.
Q: What is pool shocking, should I shock my above ground pool?
A: 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.
It is easy to find the best above ground pool if you know what to look for and the top brands on the market today.
Today we have reviewed some leading brands and models that might give you the service you desire.