Although everyone should install their above-ground pool on a flat surface free from sharp objects as much debris as possible, it can be easier said than done. Sometimes the odd stone can be a pain, not only as you walk in the pool but for the lifespan of the liner. A small tear can spell disaster which is why a lot of people look to protect theirs as much as possible.
The easiest method is to use an above ground pool pad. Not only do they make it more comfortable for everyone using it but there is a peace of mind that comes with a padded layer under the floor of the pool. Not all products are as reliable as one might hope them to be, which is why we have created a list of the best above ground pool pads.
Quick Summary of Best Above Ground Pool Pad
Editor’s Choice: Liner Life GP18R Pre-Cut Liner Pad for 18′ Round groundcloth, White
At 18 ft this is a good-sized above ground pool pad that is pre-cut and ready to go. It is made from polyester geotextile to make it incredibly strong and resistant to tears in a way that other materials are not built to withstand. The cushioning makes the pool as a whole more comfortable, so any kids who are walking on the surface will benefit from the added protection.It also protects the ground underneath so no footrpoints start to make their mark and the vinyl layer of the pool will be protected from tears. Essentially it is heavy-duty felt that stops any dsharp objects from cutting through and causing inconvenient repairs or damage that cannot be fixed.
- Heavy felt material gives plenty of protection
- Stops footprints from emerging in the sand underneath
- Makes the pool more comfortable
Best For Comfort: Horizon Ventures HV/LA-18 Round 1 Piece Underpad Above Ground Pool
Arguably the most comfortable cushioning on the list thanks to the synthetic polyester felt layer it provides. The water resistance it provides is useful and there is no need to cut it since it is ready to go. Consider it a carpet underpad that helps to make the pool more comfortable to walk on, protecting against any pebbles or rocks underneath.This is great for your comfort, but also for the lifespan of the pool. Since it protects the liner, expect there to be no tears or leaks once it has been fitted over a safe area. It is still a good idea to try and remove any sharp objects before installing a pool but the thickness of the material means it will last for ages. Ideal for round or oval-shaped above ground pools it also helps to retain heat that would otherwise be lost from the cool ground.
- Synthetic polyester felt
- Makes the pool more comfortable to walk on
- Thickness ensures it will last a long time
- Perfect for round or oval pools
Best For Different Sizes: Blue Wave 18-Feet Round Liner Pad for Above Ground Pools
Blue Wave is certainly a brand that is synonymous with pool care which is why it is no surprise to find them on the list of top above ground pool pads. This 18-feet product helps to protect any liner from sharp objects that can otherwise cause damage. It lasts as long as the pool itself, and cushions the pool making it better for walking on and is made from durable materials. The thickness also helps to make sure that any sharp objects won’t cause a tear.Also, it is easy to cut to size if you want a neater pool area and is available in multiple sizes with everything from the smaller, 15-feet options to 33-feet. The liner pad is tougher than foam so expect better protection from rocks and roots.
- Plenty of size options
- Cushions the pool
- Durable material
- Stronger than foam
- On the thin side
Best For Smaller Pools: Intex Pool Ground Cloth for 8ft to 15ft Round Above Ground Pools
Anyone with a pool on the smaller side can benefit from this ground cloth that can be cut to size or protect the area around the pool as you get in and out. The sheet itself is durable enough to give the user the confidence that their pool liner is ptoected for as long as the pool lasts. It feels comfortable underfoot when folded and works to stop sharp objects from digging in.It is to be used with an easy set or above ground pools with metal frames and the durable material. When folded, it gives added protection and the tarp-like material is both waterproof and near impossible to tear.
- Easy to use
- Durable material
- Not as padded as other products
Best For Large Pools: Bestway 58102 Ground Cloth, 175-Inch by 100-Inch
Made with big pools in mind, this is an excellent option for anyone who has a permanent above ground pool that covers a lot of ground. Essentially, that is exactly what this product does and the 175 x 100-inch ground cloth helps to make sure that any sharp objects don’t dig in, causing damage to the liner, and hurting anyone’s feet.One of the most durable products on our list, it is strong from corner to corner. Although there could be more padding, this tarp-like material won’t tear, it just won’t give as much comfort under the foot as some of the foam or fabric style pool pads. Still, it is easy to use and install, folds out quickly and will stop stones from causing irreparable damage.
- Strong liner
- Large 175 x 100-inch ground cloth
- Easy to use
- Not as padded as other options
Best Tarp: Summer Waves 15′ Ground Cloth for Above Ground Pools
A simple yet effective above ground pool liner, it is 15 ft in diameter but easy to cut to size should you have something smaller. Although it is essentially a tarp liner that doesn’t provide much in the way of cushioning, it is important to have something between the pool and the liner such as a tarp.Anyone installing an above ground pool on hard ground will need a softer layer to prevent tears and giving extra padding where it is most needed. This might be a simple product, but for a lot of above ground pool owners, it is an essential item for keeping their liner safe.
- Large 15 ft liner
- Tarp quality, good for adding another layer
- Helps to prevent tears
- Not as soft
Above Ground Pool Pad Guide
To protect your pool from the soil underneath, you need a layer that separates the two. This is where a quality above ground pool pad comes in handy. There are usually pretty inexpensive so you won’t have to invest a lot to extend the lifespan of the pool for much longer than it would last without one.
Still, you need to know what makes the quality products so good or you will end up with an ineffective pool pad. To help make this purchase easier, we have created the. following above ground pool pad guide.
What To Look For In An Above Ground Pool Pad?
The design of the above ground pool pad is vital as some are too flimsy to be effective. With this in mind, you must go for a product made of tough materials to ensure it can last many summers.
The most common materials used are the geotextile variety. This is one of the most durable and resistant to tears. It can withstand impacts against sharp objects so any rocks that find their way underneath are not a problem.
You can also find some good pool pads made out of polyester geotextile. These are another good option although it is slightly more lightweight and not quite as durable.
Because a pool pad is going to come up against a fair amount of pressure, it needs to be able to hold firm and keep everything in place.
Any leak in the pool can be devastating to its performance. The cheaper the pool, the more susceptible it is to breaking and even dry grass can harm the bottom of the pool. Stones and pebbles and even glass can go unnoticed when you place the pool in your chosen spot in the backyard.
This is where a tough material that is known for its leak protection is important. Usually, the main material used is combined with thicker materials to make them more durable.
Because it can be difficult to lay an above ground pool on a flat surface, there can be all sorts of bumps underneath your foot, even the odd pebble. This is where a pool pad can come in handy.
The cushioning you get can make the pool more comfortable to walk on.
This might seem obvious, but it is something to look out for in an above ground pool pad. Not all pads give such good resistance which can mean it is less effective at keeping your pool safe and leak-free.
Sometimes referred to as the vapor barrier, a pool pad will stop any water from escaping and impact the iron frame. This will cause rust and degradation over time so you can see why it is so important.
Another important thing to make sure you get right is the size of the pool pad. Some can be customized so you get the exact measurement fo your pool but unlike a pool cover, you can get away with purchasing a product that is too big and cut it to size if necessary.
The box your pool came in should have the measurements or the find the manual so you know exactly what you need before you guess based on the shape of the pool.
Easy To Install
Most pool pads are pretty simple in how you use them but remember to put one down before you put the pool together. Some products are easier to fold out than others and whilst they aren;t heavy, it can be useful to have a second pair of hands around to straighten the pad out.
Heat Loss Prevention
Although this is not as effective as with pool covers, some products can help to maintain the heat in the pool by adding another layer between the pool and the ground. This should be secondary to the amount of protection it provides but it might make the pool more enjoyable when the temperature starts to drop.
Why Do You Need An Above Ground Pool Pad?
Even in ground pools have layers of protection you cannot see but this is arguably more important in an above ground pool. A pool pad provides an added layer of protection between the liner of your pool and the ground.
It keeps the liner safe from sharp objects underneath and provides a layer of comfort under your foot so you’re not treating on the firm ground or any pebbles.
A quality above ground pool pad can ensure that the pool itself lasts longer than it would without one as it is more resistant to tears and punctures.
What Is A Gorilla Pool Pad?
This is a type of pool pad that features a pre-cut material that is often regarded as one of the best types. Because it is made a little different from the foam type layers that are common in a lot of products, it has better resistance to sharp objects.
A lot of people say it is tough enough to withstand just about any sharp object.
Will A Pool Pad Leave Footprints?
Some pool pads are guilty of leaving indents after you have stepped but not all. This is where the foam is not as responsive so it does not relax back into shape.
When you buy a quality product, this is less likely to happen and although it is not a massive hindrance, it is still the sign of a lower quality product.
Can You Use Tarp Under A Pool?
When combined with sand, you can use a tarp under your pool but it does not give you such reliable or strong amount of protection against sharp objects.
Although it is easy to cut to size, and affordable, it is not the best way to protect your pool as there is little tear resistance or comfort compared to a true pool pad.
This is why we recommend making an investment in your pool and spending a little on a quality pool pad.