There are few things that can beat having your own pool at a warm summer day. Installing a in-ground pool can be expensive and time consuming. If you want the benefits of a in-ground pool, for a fraction of the price, and without digging up your backyard, an above ground pool is perfect.
Pools come in all prices, shapes and qualities. Having worked in the industry, and installing both above and in-ground pools, I’ve gained a lot of experience when it comes to which brands to trust and which to stay clear off.
Note that the price isn’t always correlated with quality. Sometimes you can get less for more, or more for less. At our site you will find first hand reviews of the most popular above ground pools.
Today you can buy everything you can imagine online often a lot cheaper than you would normally have to pay in a regular store. Pools are no different. In fact, pools and other ‘niche’ products are often 20-70% cheaper online than what you could expect to pay ‘offline’.
Even though these pools come in large packages, delivery isn’t an issue — nor is the installation process. It’s pretty straight forward, but it can take a day or two if you go for the really big pools — and we advice you gather some friends and family to help you out with that part.
Top 10 Best Above Ground Pools for 2019
1. Intex Ultra Frame Pool Set
Designed and manufactured By Intex – the leading brand in the industry, this is one of the best above ground pools in the market due to its size, durability and its unique cleaning capabilities.
First – it’s a large pool – ideal for a medium to large family. At its 90% capacity, it can hold 5,061 gallons of water, which will ensure that there is enough water for up to 8 adults.
It is a very strong pool – The pool’s frame is made of steel, laminated PVC sidewalls, and an anti-rust coating which can hold up for years to come. It has a much longer lifespan than other pools.
It has a great advantage (which is a must in my opinion) – the option to add a Saltwater system. It’s a system that keeps your water clean without the use of harmful chemicals. Much healthier option than other pools, and a must in my opinion.
It is a full set which comes with a sand filter pump, which makes the water as clean as possible in as little as 60 minutes. Such fast water cleaning speed is achieved by the power of the pump, which is 1,200 GPH (110 – 120V).
In addition, there are dual suction outlet fittings, which enhance the circulation of the water. As a result, it guarantees the cleanness of water. You are free of worry that the water inside this pool will be unhygienic.
This is all-around great, luxurious pool set. The only precaution you have to take is to not place this pool at any loose soil, such as mud or sand. If you set it up at a stable ground, you are guaranteed years of fun.Pros
- Quick and easy set-up and tear-down, only two people required
- When set-up properly, there are no worries about the pool ever collapsing or bending out of shape
- The rust coating prevents the frame from degrading and the pool’s exterior construction makes it simple to add an extra coating if desired
- Extra strong walls
- A great Slat system alternative.
- Drainage and cleaning of the pool is made simple as the drain plug can be connected to an everyday garden
- The ladder is not the sturdiest construction, great for kids but not so much for adults.
- Must be placed on an even surface
- Unlike other sets, doesn’t include a cleaner
2. Intex Easy Set Pool Set
If you are looking for an affordable yet a high quality pool, then the Intex Easy Set Pool Set is a great option for you to consider.
18 feet in diameter and 48 inches deep, this pool set is a great way to keep your family, or the entire neighborhood cool this summer. At 80% full, the Intex above ground pool has a 5,455 gallon water capacity – which is more than enough.
It is one of the most durable pools in the market – triple strength laminated PVC sidewalls and dual suction outlet fittings which makes it extra strong to support a large number of people in the pool.
What sets this pool apart from other models is its Ground Fault Interrupter. It automatically shuts off the pump whenever if discovers that an electrical current is exposed to the water. This is extremely important for the safety of your family, which I didn’t find it in other pools!
It comes with an amazing Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter pump that can process 1,500 gallons per hour to keep the water clean and clear. With a ground cloth cover and debris cover as added protection, you can keep clear water hygiene around the clock.
Finally, Set up is easy and by following the included instructional DVD, the pool can be water ready in just 30 minutes. Simply lay out the liner, inflate the top ring and fill the pool up with a standard garden hose.
Safe, Built to last, easy to assemble, and large enough to fit the neighborhood, this pool can be a great addition to your backyard this season!
- Safe – Comes with ground fault interrupter safety feature to protect swimmers
- Pool set is all in one with pump, ladder, ground cloth, debris cover and instructional DVD
- Tough puncture resistant sidewalls provide long-lasting durability season after season
- Set up and break down are easy and can be completed in thirty minutes
- Drain plugs are able to be attached to garden hose for easy drainage
- The pool needs to have a level base
- Cannot be set up on sand, mud, or soft soil
3. Summer Waves Elite Wicker Print 16' x 48" Above Ground Frame Pool Set
Summer Waves Elite Wicker Print Pool Set is another very interesting above ground pool sets. We believe it has what it takes to become some's best choice to cool themselves on a hot summer day. It has something that might attract many potential owners - you can set it up as fast as in 45 minutes.
The thing that pops out as soon as we look at this round aboveground pool is its wicker design external wall. It is constructed of a triple-layer polyester mesh, which gives is that modern garden-furniture look to go nicely with your patio chairs and table.
The black edition is the most popular one, however, it is also available in brown, grey, and white colors. Thus giving you quite a lot of options to best match the rest of your patio. The inner wall's top inch or so matches the external wall as this part is meant to be above the water level. The rest of the inner wall is covered with a thick durable light blue liner.
Summer Waves Elite Wicker pool has a 16-feet diameter and in 48 inches tall. Evidently, it is not one of the largest above ground pools, but you'll be able to squeeze it into your smaller yard. Luckily, it is still big enough to offer you a much-needed refreshment, which is the whole point.
Besides the pool's durable metal frame and the above-mentioned wall, the set includes a 110/120V filter pump with GFCI, a ladder, a ground cloth, a pool cover, a skimmer, and deluxe maintenance kit. Which makes it a rather impressive package, especial considering the price.Pros
- Very easy to set up
- Very sturdy
- Unique design
- Thick and beautiful liner
- The set includes a pump and a cover
- Pool cover tends to slip off
- The ladder is not very sturdy
- It can be placed only on a leveled ground (might demand a land work)
4. Intex 24ft X 12ft X 52in Ultra XTR Rectangular
Another product by Intex once again promises one of the best build qualities available.
Its frame is coated by encapsulating powder coating. As a result, it is extremely rust resistant. The frame itself is made from top-notch galvanized steel, which is deemed to hold up for many seasons. At 90% capacity, it can hold up to 8,403 gallons of water.
In addition, it comes with a lot of accessories, like a filter pump, pool ladder, cover, and ground cloth. First of all, the pump can maintain a flow rate of an astonishing 2,100 gallons, which will make water ready for swimming in 60 minutes. The pump attaches to a 12-inch diameter tank which is corrosion resistant. It plays together with the quality build of the pool.
Besides, this pool has the cutting edge technology in Hydro Aeration, which offers one of the best circulations and filtrations on the whole market. Combined it with the pump, the water inside is staying clean no matter what.
If you are a sport fan, it’s worthwhile getting the deluxe option as it includes a volleyball set and a maintenance kit which is highly useful.
Talking about other accessories, they are excellent addition. The pool cover comes with rope ties, which makes it impossible to get blown away by the wind. It ensures that your pool will be free of debris. In addition, there is a ground cloth, which is a 26.5ft long rectangle, and it makes the bottom of this pool protected. This pool is made to last for years.Pros
- High-Quality Build with Durable laminated PVC sidewalls
- Great Filter Pump
- Extra and useful Accessories such as a volleyball set and a maintenance kit
- The pool is a bit shallow from others models
- The ladder is a bit narrow shaky
5. Intex 12ft X 30in Prism Frame Pool Set with Filter Pump Review
If you are looking for a small yet quality above ground pool, Intex Prism Frame pool might be the right choice for you. It prides on one of the easiest setups and it also won't take long for it to fill up with the water thanks to its small size. As such you can have it ready for chilling in no time.
With a 12-feet diameter and 30-inch hight, the size of this pool is not impressive unless you have limited space in your backyard, then it might just be a perfect fit.
Intex is a reputable pool brand, so you can expect to get high-quality materials, which will make it last for multiple seasons. It has a strong powder coated metal frame and a 3-ply puncture resistant liner, that together store and hold up to 1,718 gallons.
It comes with a 110/120V cartridge filter water pump with a flow rate of 530 gallons per hour. It is not a strong pump, but considering the pool's size, it is enough to keep it clean and ready to cool you down.
Even though the Intex Prism pool isn't all that difficult to assemble, it comes with an instructional DVD to give you that extra clue. The manufacturer's extra warning is not to set this pool on any soft or loose soil conditions.
This pool's rather outstanding feature is the Hydro Aeration technology incorporated into the cartridge filter pump. This improves the water circulation noticeable and as such noticeably improves the water clarity.
Due to the Intex 12ft X 30in Prism Frame Pool's small size, it might not be the best choice for swimming when it comes to adults, but it might a perfect place to teach your child how to swim.Pros
- Can be set up in 30 min
- 3-layer puncture free liner
- Pump with Hydro Aeration technology for cleaner water
- not to be placed on the soft ground
- limited capacity
6. iPool D Set (iPool I with Deluxe Filter Pump and Heater Combination)
If you want to exercise daily and get into shape that this is the ideal pool for you!
iPool D Set has a very unique design with curved rods that hold a Velcro harness which hold you in the same place . By using it, this 7' by 10' pool suddenly turns into an endless swimming lane.
If you are recovering from an injury or want to learn swimming, you can get this above ground pool without the need for an Olympic swimming pool.
This pool's total footprint of only 8.5' x 11.5' enables you to position it either outside or inside as it won't take up much space. It has a very sturdy and durable frame, which is made out of powerful zinc-coated galvanized steel. iPool's liner is produced out of a five-layer vinyl-coated polyester weave, like the one used to make river rafts.
Another upside to this pool is that it comes with a heater. This feature makes it suitable to use even during the cooler days or months. This feature can also turn it into a therapeutical pool, to be used by the athletes as a recovery tool after certain surgeries. The power of the heater is 5.5.kW. It is also equipped with a 2500 gallon-per-hour filter pump.
Besides the above-mentioned features, the set includes a stainless steel pool ladder, a vinyl pool cover, a ground mat, and a basic repair kit.
Since there is not a single product on the market that would come without any downsides iPool D Set is no exception. Customer tend to complain about issues regarding its heater.Pros
- very strong and reliable exercise/swimming harness
- useful pool heater
- compact design and small size (if you don’t have a lot of space)
- Perfect for swimming rounds
- heater tend to fail from time to time
- some customers find it a bit difficult to install the heater
- Due to it size, not suitable for a large number of swimmers
7. Wilbar Meadows 24-Feet-By-52-Inch Round Above Ground Swimming Pool Rev
Wilbar Meadows without a doubt deserves its place among the best above ground pools. In addition to offering its users a pleasant refreshment on those hot days, it can also frost the yard. Not only is the look of this above ground pool very appealing, but it is also quite large compared to his above ground brothers.
With its 24-feet diameter and 52-inch height, it offers a rather impressive capacity and can easily freshen up all your backyard party guests. Furthermore, swimming in 24-feet diameter circles is not much more different than swimming in a straight line, making Wilbar Meadows pool a great choice for swim lovers.
If you are looking for an above ground pool to reassemble after the summer and put it away, Wilbar Meadows is not the one for you. However, if you are looking for a more affordable permanent pool solutions, then you must add it to the list. It is much more affordable than inground pools, yet it also offers that professional look and feel.
The pool's side wall is formed by three types of components, the plates, the uprights, and the top ledges, assembled together to form a sturdy and firm frame. All of the mentioned parts are made out of resin-coated galvanized steel, which makes the pool wall resistant to rust despite standing outside all year long. Further, the steel plates have a stone-like surface which adds that special elegance to the pool.
There are two additional features worth mentioning. The Wilbar Meadows comes with a beautiful and quite unique bedrock-pattern liner, which adds an impressive visual effect to the whole experience of swimming it this pool. To get a perfect fit from the vinyl it is best to install the liner on a day with outside temperatures of 70-80F and after it will have been sitting on the sun for about an hour or two.
The second impressive feature is its wide-mouth skimmer, which will do its best job to keep the surface of the pool as clean as possible.Pros
- Wide-mount skimmer
- Unique looking liner
- Strong rust-free steel wall
- It is large enough to enjoy the swim
- Setting it up requires some time and skills
- Rust may appear over time
- Lack of clear setup instructions
8. Bestway Power Steel Round Above Ground Pool Review
As a customer, you can always expect good quality from Bestway. As such, Power Steel round above ground pool is no exception. It has what it takes to give you the ability to refresh yourself on a hot summer day and becoming your new favorite above ground pool.
It comes in 3 different sizes, 16 feet by 48 inches, 18 feet by 4 feet, and 18 feet by 52 inches, where the first numbers represent the pool's diameter and the second one its hight. The most popular choice out of the three is Bestway Power Steel 18 x 4. To fill up the largest one you will need 6,869 gallons of water.
All three sizes, but especial the two with 18 feet diameter, make Power Steel a family pool. There is more than enough space for the entire family and even friends you might have over for the barbeque. For those who don't mind swimming in circles, it also enables a good swimming exercise.
As we can expect from Bestway, the materials used are of high quality. The steel support is resistant against corrosion and rust. Furthermore, it comes with a 3-layer durable sidewall and wall bands for additional support. Both of which are made of Tritech material, which is basically a high-quality layer of polyester mesh between the two layers of strong and durable PVC. As such, the pool is able to properly resist wear and resist any weather conditions.
This is not a set, as such it doesn't come with a pump, a skimmer, or any extras that are usually included in the sets. Though, it does have some nice built-in features. One of them is a Seal & Lock System, which enables a secure pipe connection for additional sturdiness and careless fun in the pool. In addition, it comes with a practical drain plug that enables a hose adapter to be connected to it for a stress-free draining and with an antimicrobial cartridge.Pros
- Rust and corrosion resistant steel frame
- Seal & Lock System to prevent bending and leaks
- Decent size, even for swimming
- Some customers reported pools liner to not being as resistant to UV as they expected
9. Splash Pools Round Deluxe Pool
- Considering this pool's structure, which is definitely on the high-quality end, it can be easily listed as one of the best above ground pools. Splash Pools Round Deluxe Pool is rather big for the above ground pool, as such it can serve as the main attraction of any party or as a place where you get a good exercise in. Considering its large circumference, swimming in circles is not a problem in Splash Delux.
- The pool is excellent for lap swimming.Splash Pools Delux Round pool comes in three different sizes, all of which are 52 inches high. The smallest and most popular choice has an 18-feet diameter, while the two larger options have 24-feet and 27-feet diameters.The side wall of this pool is a lot different than of the most other above ground pools, which mostly have soft walls.
- It has a strong and sturdy painted hot-dipped 7" galvanized steel ledge that is constructed of plates and beams to make it a whole.Furthermore, the pool comes in a package that includes a 1-horsepower motor pump, a standard through-the-wall skimmer, a sturdy resin free ladder, and a setup video that makes installation as easy as possible.One major plus side of this pool is definitely its elegance.
- Thanks to its design and materials used, it looks stylish and way more professional than typical above ground pools. Its blue durable vinyl liner matches very nicely with its colored heavy-duty steel fence.Unlike other, more simple above ground pools, this one cannot simply be placed on the ground (unless you have a perfectly level and smooth surface). Since it has a more solid structure that even enables winterizing it without draining the water, it requires a well-prepared surface.
- Elegant looks
- Large size
- Easy-to-remove ladder
- It can be winterized without draining it completely
- It requires proper ground work prior to installation
- Its steel beams have a slight tendency to rust
10. Steel Pro Frame Pool Set Review
Steel Pro Frame Pool set is definitely one of the best choices when it comes to budget friednly above ground pools. Unlike many other budget above ground pools, Steel Pro offers high-quality and rather durable materials considering the price range, which may not be surprising since it is produced by a reputable brand Bestway.
It comes in three different dimensions, 12 feet by 30 inches, 12 feet by 48 inches, and 18 feet by 48 inches, where numbers in feet represent diameter and numbers in inches the hight of the pool. As such, it gives the customers an option of choosing the one that best suits their needs or the space they have available. 30-inch one is the one that families with small children normally go for, while 48-inch one offers great refreshment for grown-ups.
In relation to the above measurements, Steel Pro Frame has the capacity of 1,710 gallons, 2,708 gallons, and 6,092 gallons.
As the name of the product suggests, it comes in a set. Despite being marked as a budget pool, it has a lot of cool features. The set includes the steel frame (which is rather obvious), three-layer durable heavy-duty PVC/polyester side wall, a flow control drain valve for easy draining, and a heavy-duty PVC repair patch kit to be used in case of any unwanted tears.
Each size of Steel Pro Frame pool also comes with a filter pump and filter cartridge for maintaining clean water during the use. The capacity of the pumps are 330 gal, 530 gal, and 1,500 gal accordingly.
In addition, if choosing the largest size, there is also a step ladder, a ground cloth and a pool cover included in the set.
To make pool set up easier for you, they also enclosed a DVD with detailed pool setup and maintenance instructions.Pros
- very simple and quick setup
- easily reassembled and stored
- more durable than other budget above ground pools
- you might struggle to keep your water clean compared to more advanced pools
- it is less durable than higher-end pools
Above Ground Pool Buying Guide
Unfortunately, people often think that getting a pool is an unattainable goal. They think it’s too expensive or too hard to maintain when in reality, technology has made pools not only affordable but also easy to take care of. So, what is the best above ground pool for you? Well, there is no straightforward answer to that for several reasons.
1 - Consider Your Budget
The first thing you need to consider when looking for an above ground pool is your budget. In ground pools typically retail anywhere from $30,000 to $70,000, but above ground pools are significantly cheaper than that. Still, there are a variety of things to consider when selecting a budget for the best above ground pool for you. You can get above ground pools for under $500, but as with anything in life, sometimes you get what you pay for. Some above ground pools can reach up to $5,000. That is why it’s important to look at the quality of a pool and determine what features are must havesin a pool. Set a specific budget and then look for a pool that has the features you absolutely must have.
2 - Determine the Location of the Pool
Your next step is going to involve venturing out into your back yard to determine where you are actually going to place the pool. Above ground pools are able to be relocated, but selecting a location in advance will give you an idea of what size pool you should look for.
You will want to consider a few things when selecting the location. You will want to place the pool on an even surface, which means you should avoid tree roots, wells, stumps, or septic tanks with external venting. You will also need electricity to the pool, so consult an electrician to determine the viability of running electricity to the location you are considering. In addition, you will want at least 3 to 5 feet between the pool and any obstacles. Finally, placing pools under trees is also something to avoid, since leaves and other debris will frequently drop into the pool.
3 - Measure the Area to Determine Desired Height and Shape
After you have determined where you would like to place your pool, you will have to measure the available space. Use a measuring tape—seriously invest in one if you don’t already have one!—and measure the space that you have available. You should be able to move around the entire pool easily and make sure there is room for supporting legs, pumps, ladders, etc.
With that information, you will then look into what size and shape of pool is the best option for you. If the space is more oblong, maybe an oval pool is right for you. If you have tighter corners, a square above ground pool might be the best option. Once you determine the size pool you want, it might even be wise to spray paint the outline on the ground to make sure everything fits nicely.
You will also need to select the height of the pool at this stage. Pools range from 36 inches to 54 inches and keep in mind that the higher the pool, likely the more expensive it will be. That’s something to keep in mind when you are trying to select the right above ground pool while still staying in your budget.
4 - Pick Your Pool Type
After you have a size and shape in mind, you will need to determine what type of pool you want. There are three different types: steel, aluminum, and resin pools.
Steel pools are the strongest, but you might experience an issue with rusting over the years. They are more cost effective, though, because they are a bit cheaper. Just be sure to choose one with a galvanized coating to ensure rusting is limited.
Resin pools are another option and these are the most common pools because they are inexpensive and last the longest out of all the types of pools. These pools have a steel frame with the rest of the components made of resin to ensure there is no corrosion or rusting.
Aluminum pools are another option. These pools are great for inclement weather locations because the transparent layer of aluminum oxide is resistant to rust and aging.
Finally, there are inflatable pools. These are extremely cheap, but there are not going to last for more than a season or two and often cause more headaches than they are worth. For a sturdier, long lasting pool, you will want to choose a steel, resin or aluminum pool for your back yard.
5 - Start Shopping for the Best Above Ground Pool!
After you’ve gone through the above steps to determine your budget, where you will put your pool, what size pool you’d like, and what type of pool you are interested in, there is only one thing left to do—start shopping for the best above ground pool! But where do you find above ground pools? What is the best place to shop for above ground pools? Local pool stores are one option, but with one, maybe two in close proximity to your home, you are limited on options and price comparisons.
That is why more people are turning to online shopping. Whether you shop online through pool supply stores or at a behemoth like Amazon, you are likely to find better deals and a much wider selection online. Plus, if you shop somewhere like Amazon, you can also get the benefit of reading reviews to determine if a pool lives up to it’s reputation.
Why Buy an Above Ground Pool?
You might wonder why you should buy an above ground pool instead of a in ground pool. In ground pools might be more aesthetically pleasing than the alternative, but above ground pools actually have many advantages. Keep reading to see exactly why above ground pools should be taken into consideration.
One of the biggest advantages that above ground pools has over an inground pool is that they are less expensive. In ground pools are much more expensive because you need to hire a contractor, have the ground dug out and the pool filled and finished. With above ground pools, you can spend hundreds instead of tens of thousands to add them to your backyard. In ground pools might not be in your budget, but an above ground pool certainly might be!
Another benefit that above ground pools offer is that they are much easier to install. When you look into in ground pools, you must hire a professional contractor or pool installation company to do the work for you. That not only drives up cost, but it can also lead to lengthy delays. Instead of waiting weeks or even months, an easy set above ground pool allows you to have a pool delivered and installed within days.
First Time Owners
For the first time pool owners: If you’re not entirely sure if this is for you, or if you have small kids and you’re not sure if they would like to use the pool for many years to come, installing a above-ground pool is cheaper and easier than having people build you a in-ground one. Many beginners aren’t sure if they can keep up with the maintenance, and this is a cheap and easy ticket to the pool world.
Finally, above ground pools are much more portable than in ground pools. They are able to be installed and broken down every year, which means you don’t need to worry about lengthy and costly weatherization procedures year after year. If you want to rearrange your backyard to accommodate an extended porch or new play set for the kids, you can easily do that with an above ground pool. They can be disassembled and reassembled in just a few hours and that is simply not the case with in ground pools.