From the inflatable types to those a little more sturdy, there are plenty of above ground pools to choose from when you need a cool down. A great option for the summer months, they cost a fraction of the price of an in-ground pool and offer the same amount of fun. Anyone with a pool used to be the envy of the neighborhood, now just about anyone can have their own.
With so many great options, it can be hard to find the ones that last. With this in mind, we have selected a handful of the best above ground pools on the market. Each one has something different to offer, and there is a pool for every budget.
Quick Summary of Best Above Ground Pools
Editor’s Choice: Intex 18ft X 9ft X 52in Ultra XTR Rectangular Pool Set
With everything you need for a cool dip on a hot day, this is the best above ground pool for many reasons. The 18 ft. x 9 ft frame ensures there is plenty of room for a swim and at 52 inches deep, kids and adults can both enjoy the warm weather. The sturdy frame is uniquely designed and ensures the structure is secure when in place.With powder coating on the metal parts, it is resistant to rust and it comes with a 2-year warranty. There is a sand filter pump included as well as a ground cloth, ladder, and pool cover to keep debris out when not in use. All this combines to make it one of the best value options, but also one of the highest quality. With a capacity of 4,545 gallons, there is plenty of room to enjoy a splash in the backyard.
- Large 18ft x 9 ft pool
- Rust-resistant structure
- 2-year warranty
- Lots of accessories included
- 4,545 gallon capacity
Best Value: Intex 15ft X 48in Metal Frame Pool Set with Filter Pump
One of the most popular above ground pools available, this option from Intex has a good amount of room and is 48 inches deep. It is easy to assemble and features rust-resistant metal poles to keep everything in place. You get a filter and pump included and it takes around 45 minutes to assemble before it is ready for the water.Speaking of, it has a capacity of 4,440 gallons. Included are a pool cover, ground cloth, and a ladder so there is everything you need to get started. We like the convenient drain system that allows you to connect a hose and dispose of the water wherever you please. With a setup and maintenance DVD, it is a great set for those on a budget.
- 4,440 gallon capacity
- Includes a pool cover, ladder, ground cloth, filter, and pump
- Convenient drainage system
- Easy to assemble
- Color can fade a little fast
Best For Kids: Bestway 56498 Deluxe Splash 9.8′ x 6.7′ x 26
Because the size is not as big, it is not as useful for adults but the shallow depth makes it one of the best above ground pools for kids. The rectangular size ensures they can get some good lengths in and the PVC material is both hard-wearing and lightweight, and makes it more affordable than a lot of the other options.The frame is strong because of the seal and lock system that ensures it won’t break or bend. You don’t need any tools to set it up and there is a neat drainage system that allows you to remove the water via a flow controlled valve. Bestway says it only takes ten minutes to assemble with two people and although this might be a little ambitious, it shouldn’t take much longer.
- Ideal for kids
- Strong frame
- Fast set up
- Good value
- No filter pump
Best Inflatable: Intex Easy Set Up 10 Foot x 30 Inch Pool
Although only the top ring needs to be inflated, this is one of the easiest above ground pools to assemble. Filter pump isn’t included with the pool. You might not be doing lengths in the compact size but it is deep and wide enough for you to enjoy a relaxing float. Intex says it takes just 15 minutes to assemble before it is ready for water and when it is good to go, the laminate PVC sidewall is strong and sturdy. The max capacity is 1018 gallons and it has the same convenient drainage system as other Intex models so you can connect a hose and empty it with ease.
- Easy to assemble
- 1018-gallon capacity
- Filter pump isn’t included
Best Oval: Splash Pools Oval Deluxe Pool Package, 30-Feet by 15-Feet by 52-Inch
The generous size of this oval above ground pool means you will be throwing pool parties all summer. Its 30 ft x 15 ft metal frame is supported by 6-inch thick verticle supports with top and bottom rails made from galvanized steel. There is also a moveable ladder that allows you to keep young ones out when you are not using it.With a wide mouth skimmer and a sand filtration system, it gives you everything you need for some fun in the sun. It is pricer than a lot of the other products out there, but if you are looking for a large above-ground pool then it is definitely one to consider. Despite this, it is still not completely protected against leaks but if it was, the price would probably be even higher.
- Huge 30 ft x 15 ft pool
- Has everything you need to get going
- Sturdy design
- Can be pricey for some
Best Design: Summer Waves 16ft x 48in Elite Wicker Print Above Ground Frame Pool Set w/Pump
Not everyone wants a big blue pool in their backyard, and this is one of the best alternatives. The wicker design blends into a lot of outdoor spaces and the matching pool cover and ground matt make sure it always looks great. The walls are 48 inches tall and the diameter is 16ft so there is plenty of room for a paddle.It is also made from durable materials, with the galvanized steel poles being rust-resistant no matter what the weather is doing. They say it takes around 45 minutes to assemble and when it is ready for water it can hold up to 5,246 gallons. You get a ladder and a maintenance kit as well as a pump so you have everything you need for lots of summertime fun.
- Generous 5,246-gallon capacity
- Attractive wicker print design
- Durable materials
- Takes 45 minutes to assemble
- Includes pump, ladder, assembly kit, and more
- Pool pump could be a little stronger
Above Ground Pool Guide
Although you might not have the budget for an in-ground pool, there are many benefits to buying the above-ground version, including price. Anyone with a small budget can get their hands on a quality product, and most options come with a complete set of accessories. Still, there are plenty of other considerations before you buy, including ease of assembly among others.
To make this purchase simple, we have created the following buyer’s guide.
What To Look For In An Above Ground Pool
This is always the first thing to consider when looking for an above ground pool. Of course, the whole structure needs to be secure but we prefer to see a removable ladder that helps to stop young ones from climbing in. Also, a pool cover can help deter a child.
Pump and Filter
Without these, you will either spend most of your time emptying and refilling your above ground pool and causing your water bills to soar in the process. If you leave water stagnant then it can house harmful bacteria and is generally unsafe to swim in.
Most products come with the appropriate pump and filter included which saves you from having to find the right one for your pool. They are not always as high in terms of quality when compared to some that are sold separately but will usually do the job just fine.
This is a major consideration as not only do you want to have as much fun as possible, but you have to consider your outdoor space. Even if you have plenty of room to offer you might choose against buying a pool that is too big as it means it takes more effort to maintain.
The standard size for a lot of above ground pools seems to be around 14×28 which is manageable and still has enough room for pool games and floating as the sun shines.
An above-ground pool should be sturdier than your average garden pool. An inflatable pool, for example, might not be as robust and is susceptible to puncture.
More than this, an above ground pool should be secured by steel poles that are rust-resistant although they cost more, they last much longer than a lot of the alternatives.
There are some decent inflatable above ground pools available and the advantage of picking one of these is that they cost a lot less but naturally, they are not as hard-wearing.
A lot of the reputable above ground pools include some neat extras with their products. There are the essentials such as a filter and pump but a ladder, pool guard, and ground matt are common additions.
The more you get in the set, the less you have to pay elsewhere and it means your above ground pool is ready to go when it arrives.
Not everyone wants a big pool in their backyard for well over half the year when they can’t use it. As long as the product you have purchased is not so big then the effort is not worth disassembling, you can often pack it down and store it until next summer.
If this is the case then be sure to keep the box it comes in.
How Much Does An Above Ground Pool Cost?
Although you can pick up a budget above ground pool for a reasonable price, you should look for something that is going to last longer than a single summer.
If money is restrictive, then you should consider purchasing an inflatable pool These often cost less than $100 and give you a decent amount of room.
If you are looking for something sturdier then you will need to step into the next price bracket. The better above ground pools cost around $250 and above with the upper end going well into the thousands.
How Long Does An above Ground Pool Last?
Although some cheap models might not make it through the first summer, a typical time for an above ground pool to last is around 5 to 15 years.
Of course, there are several factors that influence this, including the quality of the materials, the area you place the pool, and whether or not you leave it out all year round.
What Type of Above Ground Pool Should I Choose?
This varies depending on who lives in your home. If you have kids then you might consider something with more room as they will no doubt want the space to swim lengths, not to mention these pools can accommodate more people at the same time.
If you just want something to cool off in and float around by yourself or as a couple then you might not need so much room.
How To Maintain An Above Ground Pool
Assuming you have all the necessary equipment such as a filter and pump, it is relatively easy to maintain an above ground pool.
Allow your pool filter to run for around 8 hours a day to ensure you always have clean water and check that chlorine levels are optimal. There are guides for this that will show you the right level and how much chlorine you might need to add each time.
It is useful to have a pool net to hand to scoop up any debris and insects that are not known for their swimming ability. Keep the surrounding area clean and move any debris away to help it last as long as possible. Check how the pump is functioning and vacuum the floor of the pool.
Where To Place An Above Ground Pool?
The placement of your pool is vital to its longevity. Installing it over an area with sharp stones is not a good idea, and keep it away from trees.
This is for the sake of the cleanliness of the pool, but also the safety of those using it as a weak branch could fall away and cause a serious accident.