Best Above-Ground Swimming Pools

There is nothing better than a cool dip on a hot day! While in-ground swimming pools are expensive to install and maintain, above-ground swimming pools are a fantastic alternative to escaping the summer heat.

Above-ground swimming pools are an affordable alternative and are easy to install and maintain. They provide just as much as an in-ground swimming pool and they can be dismantled and taken with you if you move.


Above-ground swimming pools are an affordable alternative for cooling off in the summer. Diving by
eltpics / Flickr / CC by NC 2.0

Types of Above-Ground Swimming Pools

There are several different types of above-ground swimming pools on the market, ranging from steel-framed and inflatable to aluminum and resin.

Inflatable

Inflatable swimming pools are super easy to set up and take down by inflation and deflation. They are available in a variety of sizes, very affordable, and easy to maintain. They may be susceptible to leaks and overspills though.

 Inflatable swimming pools are easy to set up. Little girl dipping her feet in the water by Ivan Radic / Flickr

Steel-Frame

Steel-frame swimming pools are your best bet if you are looking for durability and lifespan. These pools have a steel frame on which tear-resistant PVC walls are placed or a steel wall and are designed to resist deformation. They are stronger than aluminum and resin pools but can rust over time so be sure to get a galvanized steel frame to prevent rusting.

Aluminum 

Aluminum pools are designed to resist corrosion and are strong and more affordable than steel-framed above-ground swimming pools. However, they can be susceptible to oxidation without the proper coating, so it’s best to get aluminum pools coated before use.

Resin

Above-ground swimming pools made from resin (a type of plastic) are built to last in outdoor elements and offer lots of fun. They can be susceptible to fading and cracking over time.

Important Factors to Consider When Buying an Above-Ground Swimming Pool

Aside from the obvious factor of size, there are several important factors to note when buying an above-ground swimming pool. You’ll want one that’s easy to set-up and maintain and durable, as well as one that fits your budget.

Size and Shape

The size and shape of the swimming pool will depend on the space in which you plan to place the pool. Oval and rectangular pools tend to be the largest and can hold up to 5, 300 gallons (20,000 liters).

You will also need to leave a few feet of space on all sides of the pool for easy access and maintenance and a space that can water spillage if it occurs. If you have limited space available, a circular swimming pool is your best bet.


The size and shape of the swimming pool is an important factor when purchasing an above-ground swimming pool. Inflatable Swimming Pool by
Lee Simpson Flickr / CC by NC ND 2.0

Installation and Maintenance

Some above-ground swimming pools like inflatable pools are easy to set up, maintain, and drain and deflate if needed, however, some more complicated pools may be complicated to install and need the help of a professional.

Smaller, inflatable pools are perfect for seasonal swimming as they can be stored during the winter, whereas larger steel-framed or aluminum pools cannot be taken down as easily and will require more year-round maintenance.

Price

Above-ground swimming pools are a cheaper alternative to in-ground swimming pools. Prices for above-ground swimming pools can range from as low as $15 to around $4,500, depending on the brand and type.

Features

Many above-ground swimming pools are available in sets that include all the necessary components for setting up, using, and maintaining your pool. These components may include a ground cloth, a pool liner, a filter pump, and a debris cover. Larger models may also come with slip-resistant ladders for getting in and out. Many above-ground pools feature dual-suction outlets for easier cleaning, and built-in chemical or salt dispensers.


Many above-ground pools have built-in chemical or salt dispensers to keep them clean. 

Safety

Safety is essential when it comes to swimming and swimming pools, particularly with children. Above-ground swimming pools may be safer than in-ground swimming pools in terms of entry, but above-ground swimming pools still pose a safety threat. The ladder can be removed while the pool is empty, or a fence can be added around the pool for extra safety measures. As always, supervision is essential when using any form of a swimming pool.

How Do You Clean an Above-Ground Swimming Pool?

Above-ground swimming pools are cleaned in the same way as in-ground swimming pools, using skimmers, hoses, nets, and a pool vacuum. A pool skimmer draws water and any floating debris from the pool’s surface and sucks it through a filter, while a pool hose attaches to your filter or pool vacuum and sucks out both floating and bottom debris. You can also use an adjustable pool net to manually fish out leaves, bugs, and other debris.


Above-ground swimming pools are cleaned using skimmers, hoses, nets, and a pool vacuum.

Best Above-Ground Swimming Pools

Beat the heat with a cool dip – here are some of our top picks for above-ground swimming pools.  

Intex Ultra XTR Pool Set with Sand Filter Pump – BEST OVERALL

The Intex Ultra XTR Pool Set with Sand Filter Pump comes out tops for the best overall above-ground swimming pool. The round swimming pool is 192 inches (16 feet) in diameter and 48 inches high and holds over 5,000 gallons of water.

It has a galvanized steel frame that is strong, stable, and ultra-durable. The frame connects with a precision-engineered locking system to ensure stability and both the frame and pool are coated with a protective powder coating to prevent rust. Its contemporary design with a dark gray laminated pool liner, blue tile print interior, and white copings make it an attractive addition to the garden.

The swimming pool comes with a ground cloth, a slip-resistant step-ladder, a cover with a rope tie for added security, and an Intex Krystal Clear Sand filter pump with a built-in timer with preset cycles. The 120V filter pump has a flow rate of 2,100 gallons per hour, and the pool takes between 45 and 60 minutes to fill once set-up.

Pros

  •         Excellent stability
  •         Galvanized steel frame with protective powder coating to prevent rust
  •         Sand filter built-in timer with preset cycles makes it easy to maintain
  •         Comes with a ladder with slip-resistant steps and a cover with a convenient rope tie
  •         The contemporary design makes it attractive

Cons

  •         Not suitable for a small garden or yard

 

Bestway 56680 Steel Pro – BEST BUDGET

Bestway 56680 Steel Pro is the best above-ground swimming pool if you are on a budget. The round above-ground set has a strong steel frame and is made from a durable, tear-resistant PVC material with a three-ply support band. The steel frames are coated with a rust and corrosion-resistant material to protect the swimming pool from abrasion and UV damage.

The 12-foot swimming pool has a 710-gallon capacity and is ideal for smaller gardens and yards. It comes with a filter pump, and a filter cartridge and has a flow rate of 330 gallons per hour. The filter has a built-in Chemconnect chemical dispenser, making it easy to maintain and keep clean. This pool is excellent value for money.

Pros

  •         Excellent value for money
  •         A strong steel frame makes it very sturdy and stable
  •         Good size for small gardens and yards
  •         The rust and corrosion-resistant frame and tear-resistant PVC material offers good durability
  •         A built-in chemical dispenser makes for easy cleaning

Cons

  •         Fairly small in size

 

Intex Ultra XTR Rectangular Pool Set – BEST FOR SIZE

If it’s a large above-ground swimming pool you are looking for, then the Intex Ultra Frame Rectangular Pool is the one. The swimming pool comes in various sizes ranging from 216 x 108 inches (18 x 9 feet) and 288 x 144 inches (24 x 12 feet) to 384 x 192 inches (32 x 16 feet) and is 52 inches deep.

This pool features high-quality engineering and is extremely sturdy thanks to powder-coated steel frames that reinforce the walls. A triple-ply liner that is puncture-resistant ensures no abrasion or UV damage, and a slip-resistant ladder makes the swimming pool easy to get into and out of.

The Intex Ultra Frame Rectangular Pool has a sleek contemporary design and dual-suction outlets and a Krystal clear sand filter pump that keeps the water sparkling clear without any effort. The pool can hold up to 14, 364 gallons of water and takes about 90 minutes to fill from empty.

The swimming pool set comes with a ground cloth, a Krystal clear sand filter pump, a slip-resistant ladder that also provides extra stability, and a debris cover. This swimming pool comes with a choice of chlorination or saltwater filtration systems.

Due to its vast size, the pool needs to be set up on solid ground and shouldn’t be placed on sand, mud, or any soft or loose soil.

Pros

  •         Available in various sizes
  •         High-quality engineering makes it very sturdy and durable
  •         Powder-coated steel frames prevent rusting
  •         Dual-suction outlets and a Krystal clear sand filter pump keep the water clean and clear
  •         Comes with a choice of chlorination or saltwater filtration systems

 

Cons

  •         The large size may not be suitable for small properties
  •         Cannot be placed on sand, mud, or any soft or loose soil

Summer Waves Quick Set Inflatable Pool – BEST INFLATABLE

The Summer Waves Quick Set Inflatable Pool is a great above-ground swimming pool if you are looking for a small quick and easy-to-set-up pool for cooling off in summer. Designed for super-fast installation, it can be set up in a matter of minutes and can hold over 600 gallons of water.

Unlike most inflatable pools, the Summer Waves Quick Set Inflatable Pool comes with a filter pump, which keeps the water circulating and clean and has a built-in chlorinator and a D filter cartridge for easy maintenance.

Pros

  •         Super-easy and fast installation
  •         Perfect for smaller gardens
  •         Has a filter pump and built-in chlorinator for easy cleaning
  •         Great value for money

Cons

  •         Fairly small
  •         Due to being just 30 inches deep, the water may become warm on hot days

Coleman Power Steel Vista Series II Swimming Pool – BEST STEEL FRAME

The Coleman Power Steel Swim Vista Series II Swimming Pool is the best choice for an above-ground swimming pool with a very sturdy and stable frame. The large circular pool is 216 inches (18 feet) in diameter and 48 inches deep and can hold an impressive 6,100-gallons of water.

Despite its size, it is very easy to set up and dismantle and it has a nice-looking design with an exterior rattan print and interior walls with a mosaic tile design. The corrosion-resistant steel frame is locked together with a Seal & Lock System which promises ultra-stability and durability, and reinforced portholes are built into the walls as an aesthetic extra.

The outer lining is made of puncture-resistant Tritech which is resistant to abrasion, puncturing, and UV damage.

Pros

  •         Super-easy, tool-free installation
  •         The puncture-resistant Tritech material is resistant to abrasion, puncturing, and UV damage
  •         Very secure due to corrosion-resistant steel frame and Seal & Lock System
  •         Contemporary design with rattan print exterior and tile interior

Cons

  •         Large in size so not suitable for smaller properties

 

Lake Effect Fallston 24ft Round Above Ground Swimming Pool – BEST LOOKING

The Lake Effect Fallston 24ft Round Above Ground Swimming Pool is a beautiful looking above-ground swimming pool with dove gray outer walls lined with a brilliant blue wave print running up the sidewalls and a bedrock pattern on the bottom.

The solidly constructed galvanized steel frame is coated with resin inside and out to prevent rust and provide extra durability, and interlocking rails and strips ensure the swimming pool is stable.

The 24-foot round pool can be used all year round and the vinyl lining is laser cut to keep it from wrinkling. The vinyl liner needs to be placed in the sun for an hour before installing to allow it to stretch to cover the pool’s floor and walls.

Pros

  •         Attractive contemporary design
  •         Sturdy galvanized steel frame for stability
  •         Resin-coating to prevent rust

Cons

  •         No filter pump
  •         Expensive

Final Thoughts

Above-ground swimming pools are a great alternative for refreshing dips and swims to stay cool during the hot summer months. There are a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and types to choose from for gardens, backyards, and more, so you shouldn’t be too hard-pressed to find the perfect pool for staying cool.

Happy swimming!