Are you ready to find the best above ground pool for 2019? Not everyone has the room or the money to put in a permanent pool, but an above ground one can be the perfect alternative. Most of them are smaller so you don’t have to have a massive backyard to make room for it. They also tend to be less expensive so those who are on a budget have a larger selection of options to choose from. This kind of pool can also be moved so it works great for those who are renting.
The main issue is that there are so many options on the market that choosing one can take a lot of time and effort. That’s why we wanted to offer a list of the best above ground swimming pools on the market today. You can take a look at the product comparison and information below to narrow down your options and find the pool that best fits your needs. We’ll share the details of each, so you know what you’re getting before you ever make a purchase.
We’ll also share some information about the most important things to consider when selecting an above ground pool, reasons to choose this sort of pool, and how you can make the most of the above ground pool that you choose to purchase. We’ll even share a few maintenance tips, so you ensure your pool is safe and clean at all times. But first, take a look at the nine best above ground portable pools you can buy today.
Table of Contents
The Best Above Ground Pool
Intex 16ft x 48in Ultra XTR Pool Set with Sand Filter Pump, Ladder, Ground Cloth & Pool Cover
The Ultra XTR Pool Set from Intex comes with everything you need to set up an above ground pool including a removable ladder, a sand filter, a debris cover, and a ground cloth. This pool is 16 feet by 48 inches to offer plenty of room for numerous swimmers at one time. It has a uniquely designed frame that is made of galvanized steel to offer high durability, stability, and quality.
This above ground swimming pool is rust-resistant so you can expect it to last. It has inner and outer powder coating to prevent issues related to rust. It also comes with a two-year warranty, so you know it’s going to last through a few seasons without an issue. This is a simple pool to set up and it can be ready for water in less than an hour. It can hold up to 5,061 gallons of water at 90% capacity.
The removable ladder that comes with this pool has slip-resistant steps and is made of corrosion-resistant steel. It is created for the 48-inch pool wall and has a weight capacity of 300 pounds. The filter features a 10-inch diameter corrosion-resistant tank and has a flow rate at the pump of 1,200 gallons of water an hour. It also has a debris cover with a rope tie and a durable ground cloth to keep the bottom of the pool safe.
- Offers a unique design to enhance stability, durability, and quality of the pool
- Inner and outer powder coating resists rust and increases longevity
- Comes with extra items like a filter pump, pool ladder, pool cover, and ground cloth
- Features a two-year manufacturer’s warranty for ultimate peace of mind
- Filter and pump may not be strong enough for use over a long period of time
Intex 18ft x 52in Ultra XTR Pool Set with Sand Filter Pump, Ladder, Ground Cloth & Pool Cover
Another great pool from Intex is the Ultra XTR Pool Set in an 18 foot and 52-inch configuration. This is a larger pool that can fit more people and hold more water than our first choice above ground pool. It uses the same unique frame design that ensures quality, stability, and durability through a precision-engineered locking system. It also uses both inner and outer powder coating to prevent rust in the pool.
The liner that comes with this pool is durable and long-lasting because of the three-ply, puncture-resistant material used to make it. It also comes with durable leg endcaps to ensure the best stability and grip. These can easily be fitted onto the pool frame posts. There are also dual suction outlet fittings to increase the level of water circulation, which improves the clarity and cleanliness of the water. It has also been created for quick assembly and should be ready to fill with water in only an hour.
The ground cloth that comes with this pool is made of a durable material to add additional protection to the bottom of the pool. There is also a cover you can put on when the pool isn’t being used which includes a rope tie to keep it from blowing off in the wind. The filter pump is 12 inches in diameter and has a water flow rate at the pump of 2,100 gallons per hour. A pool ladder with a weight capacity of 300 pounds is also included.
- Comes with pool cover, ground cloth, pool ladder, and sand filter pump
- Offers the ability to add water within 60 minutes through an easy setup process
- Inner and outer powder coating increases the pool’s resistance to rust
- Features a two year’s manufacturer’s warranty
- Some have experienced issues with the pool liner coming in damaged condition
Intex 12ft x 30in Metal Frame Pool Set
Another pool from Intex is the 12ft x 30in Metal Frame Pool Set. As you can see, this brand offers a large number of above ground pools that are known for being the best of the best. This family size pool comes with everything you need including an instructional DVD and a filter pump. It is made with durable laminated PVC walls and comes as a kit. The pump ensures the pool water stays clean while the ground fault interrupter will turn off the unit if it is exposed to water.
This pool comes with a convenient drain plug that can be connected to a garden hose for an easy option to drain the pool. While it may not be the largest pool on the market, it’s very easy to set up and is one of the strongest you will find. Since it comes with all the equipment you need, you won’t find yourself searching for compatible parts. All you have to do is set the pool up, add water, and get swimming.
This pool has a very sturdy frame and comes with a super tough liner, so you won’t need replacement parts for a long time. It is very affordable and can accommodate numerous adults who want to enjoy the water together. It also uses dual suction outlet fittings to keep water circulation going to keep the water clean and clear.
- Easy to assemble above ground pool is ready to fill in 30 minutes
- Offers plenty of room so the entire family can enjoy swimming together
- Comes with high-quality, extremely strong metal frames for long life
- Features Intex’ high-quality pool liner to prevent leakage
- Some have experienced the pool pump not lasting as long as expected
Bestway Deluxe Splash Steel Frame Kids’ Swimming Pool
This rectangular splash frame pool by Bestway is the perfect size for families with young children who want a shallow depth. The depth of the pool is low enough that children leaning to paddle better can do so without so many safety concerns. It also has a steel frame that was created to be super strong so it will last for years.
One of the best things about this above ground pool is how simple and quick it is to put together. The frame is created by taking steel poles and connecting them to T connectors and C clips. It takes only around 15 minutes to get the pool set up so you can add water to it. The clips and connectors hold the outer wall and liner into place to create the rectangular pool.
This pool also includes a built-in flow control drain valve for simplicity. You can attach it to a garden hose to fill the pool or to drain it after a pool party. This pool weighs less than 45 pounds and can hold 872 gallons of water at 90% capacity. There are also no tools need to put it together so nearly anyone can do it.
- Super quick installation lets you get everything ready for water in less than 15 minutes
- Pools walls are constructed of TriTech material that is durable and lightweight
- The steel frame is made of corrosion-resistant materials to last a long time
- Offers built-in control drain valve for easy filling or draining of water
- Some consumers have experienced issues with not receiving all parts
Lake Effect Meadows Reprieve Round Above Ground Swimming Pool
The Lake Effect Meadows Reprieve Above Ground Pool is made of a resin coat steel galvanized for ultimate professional. The copper-bearing wall is coated on both the inside and outside to resist rusting and offer a pool that will last a long time. It has a bedrock pattern lining that gives the look of staring down at seashells and pebbles under your feet. It is created for year-round use with exact-fit components that prevent corrosion.
The lining is cut and hand folded in North America so there is minimal wrinkling and creasing. Before you install the lining, you will want to lay it out in the sun for at least one hour. This helps warm up the lining, so it stretches out properly when you add water to the pool. It is recommended that you add water between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
This pool comes with everything you need to get an above ground pool going at your home. It comes with a 25 gauge bedrock overlap liner, a widemouth skimmer, and coping strips. The interlocking stabilized rails fit over the line and pool wall to lock them in and ensure they last.
- Created of resin-coated strong steel that is galvanized for protection
- Bedrock pattern liner looks great and is hand folded to prevent wrinkling and creasing
- Features an all year ready design with all exact fit parts that lockout corrosion
- Comes with a long-lasting foundation system to handle heavy weights
- Some have experienced issues with bottom rails being too short
Intex Ultra XTR Rectangular Above Ground Frame Swimming Pool Set with Pump
If you are looking for a rectangular pool that has space for the entire family, this one is going to be your best option. It’s 32 feet long by 16 feet wide and 52 inches deep so it’s for way more than just wading and kids. The pool has a great look with a gray outer liner and a blue tile print on the inner lining to enjoy while you do laps or float around.
This pool is easy to set up and can be ready for water in just an hour and a half. It also has limited maintenance needs, so it works well for someone busy with many other things. The manufacturer offers a two-year warranty so you know the product is high-quality and will stand the test of time. This above ground pool also comes with encapsulating outer and inner powder coating to prevent rusting.
This pool is a kit and it comes with a ground cloth, a debris cover, a sand filter pump, and a pool ladder. The pool offers true water depth and can be filled up to 45 inches for swimming and splashing. It also has dual suction outlet fittings to help improve the circulation of water to keep things clear and clean when swimming.
- Offers a classic, clean look with a blue tile print inner liner and gray outer liner
- Simple maintenance that needs only routine backwashing and replacing every five years
- Set up is simple and easy so the pool is ready to fill in only 90 minutes
- Comes with encapsulating outer and inner powder coating to resist rust
- Some have experienced rips or holes in the above ground pool cover
Bestway 56631E Power Steel Above Ground Pool
This Bestway 56631E Power Steel Above Ground Pool is composed of a stainless steel frame that keeps rust away using a lock and seal system. This keeps water from getting past the walls and into the inner portions of the pool. The pool walls are made of PVC mesh while the liner has many layers of protection to prevent leaks or foundational compromise.
The pool does come with a pump so there’s no need to buy one separately. However, there is not a ladder, so you need to get one elsewhere for safety and convenience. Other accessories are not included so you will need to purchase them separately. The Chemconnect chemical dispenser comes with an antimicrobial filter to keep your water fresh and clean.
Compared to some of the other above ground pools on the list, this one can be a bit more challenging to assemble. You will likely want to have someone to help you and it may take some time to get everything fitted together. However, this is a reasonably sized above ground pool that will fit into most household backyards to offer fun in the summer.
- Requires few tools to assemble and includes a convenient drain valve for the end of the season
- Features seal and lock system to guarantee airtight pipe connections and prevent rust
- Comes with a Chemconnect chemical dispenser with an antimicrobial filter
- Made of TriTech material with a polyester mesh core and PVC outside
- Some have experienced issues with receiving the incorrect pool model
Intex 10ft x 30in Round Metal Frame Backyard Above Ground Swimming Pool
This Intex above ground pool measures 10 feet long and 30 inches deep, which means it can easily fit in smaller spaces that other pools aren’t appropriate for. It makes for a great addition to the yard to have a great time outdoors in the summer. This pool as created with a metal frame and comes with a filter pump and a filter cartridge so you can ensure the water is clean all season long.
When it comes time to drain the pool, it’s very easy since there is a drain plug that a garden hose can connect to. It also comes with an instructional DVD to give you information about set up and maintenance. It also comes with a maintenance kit to get you started and prevent the need to buy expensive products to get your pool going and keep it in good shape.
- Created to be easy to assemble and use and can fit in most yards due to small size
- Comes with a 330 GPH filter pump and a Type H filter cartridge to keep the pool free of contaminants
- Wall is made of PVC and resistant to salt, gasoline, oil, abrasion, and impact
- May be too small for some people to appreciate
GLI Above Ground Pool Fence Base Kit
Rather than being a full pool set, this product is a fence base kit that sits atop a pool to make it safer and more secure than it otherwise would be. This is an eight-section base kit with each section measuring 64.5 x 1.5 x 24 inches in size. In addition to the actual fence pieces, it comes with installation instructions, fence posts, and all the hardware you need for installation.
This sold fencing helps keep intruders out of the pool and can prevent accidental drowning. It is made of a rigid vinyl that is UV protected and maintenance-free. It can be mounted on any above ground pool using the included mountain brackets that attach to the pool itself. There are also two and three sections kits if needed to fit your specific pool.
- Fence base kit helps keep your pool safe and secure at all times
- Maintenance-free, UV protected, rigid vinyl construction for durability
- Comes with all posts, fencing, hardware, and installation instructions
- Some have experienced defective materials in the fence kit
Top Reasons to Choose an Above Ground Pool
Above ground pools are freestanding pools that sit either on top of the ground or a few inches in the soil. This kind of pool is different from a built-in, permanent pool since it is easier to install and does not require the same level of maintenance. An above ground swimming pool is semi-permanent and can be left up year-round, but also can be removed when needed.
This type of pool has a rigid, thin wall that is held together by metal pipes found at the top and bottom. These are typically resin or aluminum to be compatible with saltwater. This pool requires equal pressure on each side, which is why many of them come in a round shape. However, there are oval pools as well as rectangular ones.
Built-in pools can add to the market value of a home and are often bigger than an above ground pool, but there are several advantages to the latter, as well.
Above Ground Pool Cost
The largest advantage of choosing an above ground swimming pool is that the cost is likely to be much less. This is partially due to the lower cost to install the pool but also applies to the smaller costs of maintenance. There’s no need to worry about paying to dig a hole for the pool or to add tiling. Smaller pools also have a smaller chemical cost and less need for maintenance equipment.
The pool itself is going to have a less expensive initial cost and will also cost less on an annual basis. Choosing an affordable pool is important and if the pool meets your budget, this will make you even happier that you chose to purchase an above ground pool.
Above ground pool technology has come a long way in recent years and even the best quality pools are less expensive than they used to be. This makes choosing an above ground pool a very smart investment for many people.
Features Included with the Swimming Pool
Since above ground pools have surged in popularity, their design has also improved. Many of these pools offer great features that you would expect to see on built-in pools.
Those who enjoy exercise may enjoy having a water treadmill feature that lets them swim laps. Others might enjoy having fountains or waterfalls in their pool. There are even deep above ground pools that can have diving boards and other features to make spending time in your backyard even more exciting.
Level of Safety with an Above Ground Pool
Another thing that makes above ground pools so popular is the safety features they offer. For one thing, you need to use a ladder to get into the pool which makes it much less likely that a pet or child will make it into the pool on accident. This helps make your backyard and home safer for everyone around. The pool can also be covered when you are not using it.
Maintenance Needed for This Type of Swimming Pool
Most of the above ground pools on the market offer features to make maintenance as simple as it could possibly be. There are many that include filtration systems to clean the pool while you are enjoying a swim in it. There are also often pumps with a clear outer shell so you can see how clean it is at any time. There’s no need to guess if it’s time to change the filter, all you have to do is look at it and see.
Swimming Pool Installation Requirements
While all the above things are advantages of an above group pool, one of the biggest is the installation process. It is much easier than an in-ground pool when there’s no need to dig a pit or do expensive tile work. This sort of pool can be installed quickly and easily without the need for a construction team.
Not only is it simple, but it can be done in just a few hours. If you choose a small above ground pool, it also gives you the chance to enjoy swimming even with a small yard. For those who rent a home, it also gives you the fun of swimming without a commitment.
Types of Materials Used for Above Ground Pools
There are many different types of materials that can be used to manufacture an above ground pool. Most of them are going to have a liner that is created of vinyl, which acts as a soft barrier between the other materials and your skin.
The outer part of an above ground pool can be made using various materials including aluminum and steel. The best option is having a lightweight outer layer that is also durable and strong, so the pool is simple to set up but can handle plenty of use once it’s ready.
The majority of above ground pools you will see have a support system, as well. This adds additional reinforcement to the pool and ensures the walls stay rigid. Most companies use tubular steel that is coated to handle rust and the elements.
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What Components Come with an Above Ground Pool Purchase
While it isn’t always the case, many above ground pools come with everything you need for the installation. A package might come with a ladder, pump, debris cover, ground cloth, and full instructions for setting things up. Any of the items below that are included will be one less item you need to purchase to get your pool running:
- Pool pump – This includes a filtration system that is used to keep the water in your pool free of debris and clean.
- Ground cloth – This adds a barrier between the ground and the bottom of your pool; this helps extend the life of the pool and keep it clean.
- Debris cover – Offers a cover for the pool that should be used each night; it can prevent leaves and other items from getting in the pool to clog the pump and filtration system.
- Ladder – This is typically folded up or removable and allows you to control who can enter the pool; it also prevents small children from reaching the pool without help.
- Instructions – Many companies offer a DVD or video with instructions about how to set up the pool; reading the entire instructions or watching the full video is essential before starting the installation process.
Choosing the Perfect Portable Swimming Pool for your Home
There are hundreds of different above ground pools on today’s market so choosing the right one can take some time and effort. Most of the pools are “easy set” which means they offer a sturdy and durable metal frame along with soft vinyl or PVC walls. There are inflatable rings at the top that hold up the pool walls when you start to add water.
Other above ground pools have metal frames. This is going to be the sturdier option which also tends to hold much more water. This is a more durable option and will come in several different shapes. There are steel bars on these pools that support the pool liner.
Before you buy an above ground pool at random, there are many things you should think about. These factors will tell you which pools are right for you and which might be best to pass on by.
Size of the Above Ground Swimming Pool
If you pick a pool of the right size the first time, it will make your life easier and ensure you can enjoy the relaxation you want. If the pool is overly large, it will take more effort to maintain which means taking up both money and time. However, a pool that is too small may not accommodate your needs so you may not use it as you thought you would.
Those who have a household with one to three people might be fine with a small pool, but there are certain limitations. As an example, playing pool games or swimming laps can be more difficult in a small pool.
As you move up in size, you will have the option to do far more things in your pool. Just to give you an idea of size, the average pool is around 14 feet by 28 feet. This isn’t massive but it does give plenty of room for family swims, pool parties, or personal exercise.
While bigger pools have many advantages, keep in mind that they also take longer to clean, to set up, and to maintain. They also tend to be more expensive and will take up more room in your yard. You will need to decide what factors are more important to you when choosing your above ground pool size.
Different Above Ground Pool Shapes
You will also need to consider the shape of pool that works best for you. There are many but the most common are rectangular or circular. The shape you choose will depend on how you intend to use the pool. Those who wish to swim laps will likely prefer a rectangular pool, while those who want to hang out may be fine with a round-shaped pool.
A round pool is going to take up less space than a rectangular pool will, but more people can typically get into a rectangular pool. You could also choose a square above ground pool that is easy to lounge in but will take up less space.
Materials Used to Construct the Portable Pool
It might seem like the material the pool is made of wouldn’t matter too much, but it can have a huge effect on the pool. When you choose a high-quality material, there will be less upkeep, less maintenance, and fewer repairs to worry about. This can save you both in cost and in time. Pools for above ground are made from a large assortment of materials such as soft vinyl, stainless steel, PVC, aluminum, and resin.
Above Ground Pool Safety Features
Safety matters, especially if you have children or pets running around in your yard near a pool. The good thing is that even less expensive pools will come with a ladder that can be removed to prevent access into the pool. This is often more than enough to ensure the pool is safe at all times. Some more expensive models will come with other features. You will need to decide whether the extra safety features are worth the additional costs.
Deciding Whether to Choose an Above Ground Pool Package
It can be a great idea to look for bundled packages since they are cost-effective and come with everything you need to get your pool ready to go. While you may end up paying a bit more, it often ends up being less expensive than buying all the accessories separately. This doesn’t mean you should always choose a package deal if the pool isn’t one that fits your needs, but often it is a good choice.
Above Ground Pool Price Level and Budget
As with any other product, the price of your above ground pool is going to play a large part in your buying decision. Since there are tons of brands on the market and all sorts of options, you want to be sure the pools you look at have the elements you want so you can easily compare prices. Matching the features that you need with other options can help you make the best decision on the right above ground pool.
Considering Brand Names with Above Ground Swimming Pools
In many cases, going with a well-known brand is the best choice with an above ground pool. This is because many reputable brands offer a better warranty and customer support than a brand that is new on the market. When you pick a known brand, this can mean more readily available and inexpensive spare parts for upkeep and maintenance.
The Process to Set up an Above Ground Swimming Pool
When you purchase a pool, you should get a detailed list of instructions that explain how to set it up. Depending on the pool, the process can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour and a half. You can choose to do this on your own or hire someone who is experienced with placing pools depending on your preference and budget.
Keep in mind that setting up a pool often requires more than a single person. If you can get two or three people to help you out, the process will go a lot more quickly. Those who don’t have volunteers to help may be able to handle the process on their now, but it is going to take a lot more time to do so.
The first step toward putting the pool up is preparing the foundation. You don’t want to set your above ground pool on unstable ground such as loose dirt or sand. Rocky ground and slopes are also to be avoided since these things can make the pool shift or can even puncture through the bottom of the pool. The best option is to find a location without grass which can grow into the pool or create a dead spot in your yard.
If you don’t have an area without a slope where you can position the pool, you need to make a level space to place the above ground pool. This can be done by creating a wooden platform for the pool to sit on or by using paving stones. It is also possible to dig out a flat area where you will be placing the pool.
You also want to be sure the ground under and around the above ground pool has adequate amounts of drainage. This is something you should not ignore because the pool can cause water to collect in your yard. This is much easier to prevent ahead of time instead of fixing after the fact so get it done early to prevent more work down the line.
Next, it’s time to lay the foundation for your frame. This can be done with stones or patio blocks. These will be sunk into the ground so you can support the posts. These items should be below the posts and buttresses of the pool and should all be placed in a level manner.
At this point, you can start assembling the pool itself. The way to do this will vary based on the pool you chose. This is why it is so important to pay attention to the instructions that come with the unit and follow the steps to the letter.
Creating a cove for your above ground pool involves having a six to eight-inch wedge of sand that is built around your pool walls. This offers an extra protective layer between the pool’s line and the metal frame. This additionally helps keep the liner from slipping.
Now you want to inspect the pool liner by spreading it out and looking for tears or holes. Let the liner heat up from the sun which will make it easier to maneuver. After it’s 3warm, you can install it in the pool. You want to be sure there is no air between the ground and the liner.
Before you add water, make sure to smooth the surface of the pol by pushing it toward the wall. After this point, you can fill the pool up with water and start using it. That’s all there is to it. You can enjoy the water with your entire family or even host a pool party at your home.
How to Get the Most Out of Your New Above Ground Pool
Handling basic maintenance on your pool will increase the amount of time that it is in good shape. While an above ground pool needs less attention and care than an in-ground pool, that doesn’t mean you can put off taking care of your new pool and expect it to stay in the same shape as it was when you bought it and set it up in your yard.
One of the first things you want to do with a new above ground pool is install a filter pump and making sure there is proper water circulation to keep contaminants out of the water. Building a cove can be done to protect the pool liner and frame from wear and tear or slipping. Using water chemicals will help keep water at the appropriate pH level for a healthy and safe environment.
There are also other things you can go to keep your pool in perfect shape during the warm months. Keeping a debris cover on top of the pool when it’s not being used will prevent debris from falling into the pool water. Having adequate drainage is also important since it prevents water seepage which can cause problems with your yard.
When you choose the best above ground pool and keep it well-maintained, it can last many years and offer fun and relaxation for your family. We’ll share a few tips to keep your pool looking good and lasting longer below:
- Filter and pump – The pump and filter of your pool are some of the most important components for keeping your pool water clean. Adjusting the jets on the intel can help channel water in a circular direction, which makes it harder for algae and bacteria to grow. You should also clean the filter on a regular basis to keep the water clean.
- Vacuuming and brushing – Some areas of the pool are going to have less water circulation, which can allow algae and bacteria to grow. The floors and walls of the pool should be vacuumed and brushed about once a week to keep the water fresh.
- Water testing – Choline tablets should be used to help regulate sanitization levels in your above ground pool. Stabilized and processed chlorine will last longer and dissolve slower to keep up the sanitization levels. These can be kept in a feeder, skimmer, or a floater for constant sanitization.
- Shock treatment – The more a pool is used, the more debris and contaminants can build up. This can result in skin or eye irritation. If this is happening, it’s best to use a shock treatment to kill the contaminants. If you use the pool a lot in the warm months, you may want to shock treat it about once a month to keep the water looking clear.
Now that you have all the information you need about the best above ground pools and what goes into having this kind of pool, you should be well-equipped to make a decision about which pool is right for you. The truth is that there are many great above ground pools on the market, so all you need to do is find the one that works for you. You’ll be enjoying the sun from the water before you know it!
Ryan is an extreme kite surfer. When Ryan isn’t shredding in on the waves he spends time with his riding his bike, canoeing, and surfing.