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A swimming pool in the garden is a little piece of paradise on earth: on warm days, the cool water refreshes the young and old. The great advantage of an above ground pool is that you can jump into it at any time – without queuing at the cash register as in a swimming pool and also paying to share the in ground pool with dozens of other bathers. Our guide tells you everything you need to know about getting the best above ground pool and having them properly installed in the garden: On your marks, set – splash!
Best Above Ground Pool: Top 9 Models
In our review of the best above ground pools, we will recommend to you some of the best quality products on the market.
1. Intex Ultra XTR Rectangular Above Ground Pool
Intex above ground pool is the best brand in the industry. Do you want a deep pool so you can dive, float and relax? The Intex Ultra XTR rectangular above ground pool is the best for this as it is very spacious thanks to its large capacity. It’s a rectangular pool available in round and rectangular shapes as well as in various dimensions.
The Ultra XTR rectangular pool specifically has a saltwater system, a gray outer liner, a dimension of 24 feet x 12 feet x 52 inches, and a capacity of 8,403 gallons at 90 percent, much larger than what is usually found on the market.
Having such a large water capacity will allow you to swim, float and submerge as much as you want. In addition, the structure of the Intex Ultra XTR rectangular pool offers unmatched resistance, as it is constructed with fine and durable materials; specifically, a pool liner with 3-layer Super-Tough PVC technology. Its metal structure is made up of an interconnected galvanized steel frame with an antioxidant finish so that the water does not wear down your pool.
- Very spacious above ground swimming pool
- High water capacity
- Super strong 3-layer PVC siding
- Made with a durable galvanized steel frame.
- Intex Hydro Aeration Technology kills bacteria and microbes
- Includes safety ladder for quick and easy access to the pool
- Pool features a debris cover
- Ideal for saltwater pool
- It takes some time to fill the pool
- Not strong enough for dogs
2. Intex 26331EH Ultra Frame Pool Set with Pump, Ladder, Pool Cover & Ground Cloth
Many consumers consider Intex to be one of the best above ground pool brands. The brand’s reputation is proven with the Ultra Frame tubular model. Its round-shaped basin and its fairly comfortable dimensions with hard sides offer a safe swimming area.
By its design, the above ground outdoor swimming pool has the advantage of being resistant and relatively deep. Its capacity is 6, 981 gallons at 90 percent. The Intex Ultra Frame Pool is also easier to install, in 60 minutes flat, it will be water-ready. The pool is also made of vinyl, which gives it strength for long-lasting use.
- Kids ages 6 and above can use it
- Powder-coated steel frame for rust resistance
- Comes with cover and ground cloth
- Includes sand filter pump
- Set up and maintenance instruction in DVD
- Ideal for owners with dogs as they can’t jump in
- Pump delivered is not powerful enough; you’ll need a more powerful pump for Intex pools
- Requires a very level and solid ground
3. Intex 26167EH Easy Set Pool with Filter Pump and Ground Cloth
When you think about swimming in the best above ground pool, you want a pool like the Easy Pool Set that is easy to install. If the kids get impatient and ready to jump into the pool, choose a pool with easy-to-assemble benefits. Most inflatable pools come with air pumps; so does this!
The Intex 26167EH is so simple to install. First, put it on the ground, inflate the top ring, and then fill it with water for swimming. Installing the Easy Set takes just 15 minutes, four times faster than the Intex Ultra Frame rectangular set takes you.
The Intex easy set pool is an under $500 pool that comes with Krystal Clear cartridge filter pump. Everyone wants to have a sparkling pool with more clarity. Fortunately, the Intex pool set has sophisticated additional features like Hydro Aeration technology.
- Comes with a filter
- Would be a good choice for up to 8 people
- Features a pool cover and ground cloth
- Easy to set up
- Features an air pump
- Leakages reported in the top rings of some products
4. Bestway 56463 Framed Steel Pro MAX Swimming Pool Set
The model is a round pool available in various sizes. Its anti-corrosion-treated steel tubes have powder-coated protection. The product is equipped with a Duraplus™ pool liner, with three layers: 1 layer of polyester between 2 layers of ultra-resistant PVC. Its back and pool walls feature a very elegant mosaic decoration.
The pool is delivered with a cartridge filter with a filtration capacity of 1000 GPH. However, you may have to replace it with a sand pool filter pump for better efficiency.
This Bestway Steel Pro MAX pool set offers a very practical solution for swimming in the garden in the summer swimming season. The round pool frame is made of steel material which is resistant to UV radiation and chlorine. It’s a round above ground pool with a water capacity of 6,092 gallons (90%).
The high-quality steel frame is strong, durable, and corrosion-resistant. And it’s good to know that all of the models in the product roundup are available for under $600.
- Heavy-duty 3-layer walls
- Powder-coated steel frame
- Resistant to chlorine and UV rays
- Include a filtration pump
- Cartridge filter pump not efficient for the pool’s size
5. Intex 28200EH Metal Frame Above Ground Swimming Pool
The Intex above ground pool set offers unbeatable strength with a sturdy metal frame and overlapping sidewalls. Since it is spacious, you feel like you are inside an above ground pool that is larger. Intex smartly designs the pool for the user to have ease of installation and ease of cleaning.
The sturdy Intex metal frame pool weighs 40 pounds while the 12 feet by 30-inch version weighs 51 pounds and allows 6-8 people to swim in it. While setting up the pool, be sure not to place it on the ground, mud, or any soft surface, as the weight of the pool would be enormous.
- Designed for ease of assembly
- A drain plug for emptying pool with a garden hose
- Available in a slightly larger size
- Metal frame provides more stability and support
- Doesn’t include a pool cover, ladder, and protective tarp
- Can only take in 1718 gallons of water
6. Intex 26795EH Prism Frame Above Ground Swimming Set with Filter Pump, Ladder, and Pool Cover
The Intex Prism Frame pool can hold 2,873 gallons of water in its dimensions of 16 ft x 8 ft x 48 in, enough for everyone to have fun. It has a metal structure that guarantees greater stability and a reinforced mounting on the ground of your garden.
To prolong its durability, the above ground pool has been designed with a triple-layer siding that offers better resistance during use. Then, it includes a 1000 GPH Krystal Clear cartridge filter that will keep the water clean at all times, so you don’t have to worry about frequent maintenance.
- Can hold a lot of water enough for the whole family
- Includes the Hydro Aeration Technology
- Ideal for 4 or 5 people
- More stable metal structure compared to other models
- Triple-layer siding for strength and durability.
- Includes a safety ladder for easy access to the pool.
- Still a bit too small for a big family
7. Summer Waves P10012361 Quick Set Inflatable Above Ground Pool with Filter Pump and Cartridge Filter
Although not quite as popular as products from Intex and Bestway, the Quick Set isn’t far off in terms of quality. Summer Waves is an alternative brand that is now giving the leading brands a run for their money.
One of the best inflatable pools on the market, the round-shaped bowl pool, and its fairly comfortable dimensions offer a safe swimming area. What makes it so special and different from other models we’ve seen before is the polyester mesh sidewalls, the wicker design, and heavy-gauge PVC walls which make it attractive and improving your backyard’s decor.
By its design, the inflatable above ground pool has the advantage of being resistant. Its capacity is 1,815 gallons. The equipment is also easier to install, in 10 minutes flat.
- 10 minutes installation time
- Made of special wicker design
- Consists of super durable and heavy-duty PVC walls
- Easy to inflate
- A sand filter pump could be more efficient
8. Coleman Power Steel Swim Vista Series II Above Ground Swimming Pool
As it is a somewhat high pool, the Swim Vista Series II pool includes a special removable ladder so you can go up and then dive from there.
The debris cover that is provided for use after assembling the main structure is made of a fabric with a kind of braiding which makes it rigid.
It includes a pump for the water supply. You just have to install a garden hose and open the tap to start filling it. For when you already want to empty it, its design contains a kind of cap that you will only have to uncover so that it can begin to empty. Having a pool day at home has never been so comfortable before.
- Corrosion-resistant steel frame
- Seal and Lock system
- Large capacity pool that can contain up to 6,092 gallons
- Includes a filter pump and pool ladder
- A more efficient pump could have been supplied
9. Intex Rectangular Frame Pool
The Intex above ground rectangular pool is a small-sized kiddie pool that has a capacity of 800 gallons, ideal if you have a limited garden space. Best of all, its low price does not affect its durability either, as it is made with super tough laminated vinyl siding that is resistant to extreme play.
It should be noted that this kiddie pool is also available in different sizes and capacities for a smaller price difference. In addition, the pool requires a filter pump to keep the water clean and free of germs and bacteria. Sold for under 200 dollars, the rectangular pool is the most budget-friendly model on our list.
- Easy and quick to assemble
- A perfect solution for small backyard
- Available in small and large sizes
- Enough space to install a ladder
- Simple installation
- Pool is a bit small for adult access
- Safety ladder not included
Things to Consider to Buy The Best Above Ground Pools
Unlike an in ground pool, above ground pools are affordable, easy to install, and ideal for small spaces. Before buying a new above ground pool, there are some important parameters to consider. You have to take into account aspects such as size, shape, capacity, and others that we will mention in the rest of this guide.
Types of above ground pools
The constituent material of above-ground swimming pools allows them to be classified into three main types:
The inflatable pool
An inflatable pool is often considered a children’s pool. It is shallow in depth and is available in various sizes. It’s also the easiest above ground pool to install. Just inflate it and fill it with water and it will be ready to use in a matter of minutes.
Of all shapes (oval, rectangular, round pools, and more), the inflatable pools are easily removable. Of course, the structure is quite fragile and deteriorates quickly: It’s better not to lean too much on the edges. Despite this, it remains the best above ground pool to enjoy the joys of water at a lower cost.
The tubular above ground pool
A little more advanced than the previous type, the basins of this swimming pool have a structure made up of steel frame structures fitted into each other. Once assembled, this structure serves as a support for fixing the consolidated PVC fabric covering.
The rigidity of the device is ensured by a frame attached to the body of water in the basin. Also free-standing, the tubular above-ground swimming pool has the advantage of being aesthetic and being able to blend perfectly into the outdoor decor.
With this model, the user changes dimensions while remaining within a controlled budget. The swimming pool is usually available in large sizes without requiring a complex installation. Children who have grown a little can learn to swim and play properly in it.
The rigid above ground pool
This is the most advanced version of above ground swimming pools. Sold as a kit, the rigid above-ground pool is made up of modular panels available in different types of materials (wood, concrete, aluminum, resin, steel frame). They are to be assembled step by step to form the structure of the pool.
These allow a wide variety of shapes and sizes of the pool. While being above ground, this pool usually remains in place all year round. It offers a better aesthetic advantage and the modular panels are covered with a covering that can be tastefully decorated to better integrate it into your garden environment.
Depth and length
The pool must be chosen based on the category of users. This prompts the question: What is the deepest above ground pool that you can buy and which depth is ideal for adults and children? The Intex 26367EH Ultra XTR Set has perhaps the deepest dimension on the market: 52 inches. For adults, you can have a large pool of up to 52 inches. However, for kids-only pools, you should choose a pool with a depth of around 30 inches for the kids to be able to swim safely without using rubber rings. The length also depends on the space you have in the backyard and the water freedom you want to have.
Small pools, however, are easier to handle and install, as well as to maintain, and can be obtained at lower prices. The only concern being that normally only four people can enjoy them at the same time.
The water capacity is a function of the size and depth of the above-ground pool. Larger pools have more water capacity. In some cases, the pool is not as long, but on the other hand, deeper. This is an important factor to take into account before choosing one because it is according to the capacity of the water that you can dive, swim or float in it.
The small above-ground pools have a capacity of 3000 to 4000 liters (800 to 1000 gallons) enough for several children or a 2-person bath. You can also find some medium pools between 5,000 and 10,000 liters (1300 to 2600 gallons) that are good for many adults and many children. And there are also larger models from 18,000 to 21,000 liters, which are perfect for accommodating many members of the family.
Pump and filter
The pool pump and filter are of vital importance for an above-ground pool because they are elements that keep the water clean at all times. Most filters are set up for circular motions that help channel the water better and make it difficult for bacteria and microbes to keep in the water. However, keep in mind that the pool filter should be cleaned regularly to ensure that it continues to do its job.
Metal (aluminum, galvanized steel pools) is one of the best materials used for the structure of tubular basins. This material lends itself to different types of very solid and easy to disassemble finishes. For more strength, opt for modular concrete panel structures, but they are less easy to dismantle.
PVC is very resistant and suitable for free-standing pools. Finally, wood is a very decorative and pleasant material. It is also better at preserving the temperature of the water.
Some of the other features to watch out for are the following:
Your pool should come with a filtration system, a tarpaulin (to protect the basin from dust and debris), a safety ladder, and a groundsheet.
Protection and security
In our best above ground pool reviews, you will surely find models of greater height. In particular, this allows children to avoid accidents when they are not supervised. A safety ladder that will facilitate entry may or may not be included in the purchase; So if you think you need it, please make sure the purchase offers it.
Ease of installation
When comparing above-ground pools, consider the likely time required for installation and removal. Nothing is more boring than taking more time to assemble your pool than having fun in it. So make sure installation is quick and easy and takes no more than 30 minutes to start enjoying it.
Frequently Asked Questions
What above ground pools can be buried?
Not all above ground pools can be buried. For models made with a thin sheet of plastic or even steel, they can collapse with the side pressure of the dirt. So, the pool must be thick in structure and made of resistant metal or plastic. The recess for the pool must be bigger than the pool size and after setting the pool up in the hole, do not fill it with dirt or other pressure items that can cause the structure to implode.
The pool is then backfilled with lean concrete and usually stands on a concrete slab. Most “prefabricated pools” made of fiberglass-reinforced plastic can be buried. The pool can also be equipped with a deck made of wood or concrete.
Buried options are also a great way of having a pool with a deep end. It’s possible with some flexible round above ground pool structures. But the rigidity of the structure is something you really have to consider.
Can I leave my above ground pool up all year?
Yes, you can leave your above ground pool up all year without disassembling but you will need to learn how to winterize it. So that your swimming pool is not degraded during the winter, you must start to undertake a preparation in due form. For that, you must start by cleaning your swimming pool well, by removing all the impurities that you observe with a landing net, and by brushing all the walls. You can proceed to a treatment using specific products for water. You will then lower the water level. Do not forget to pay special attention to the filter and the pump: These elements must be removed and stored away for the winter.
Finally, you must install a debris cover on the above ground pool which must also be specifically designed for wintering on your pool. It will prevent leaves and other impurities from accumulating in your pool. For optimal protection, make sure that the size and fixing system is suitable for your pool.
How many years do above ground pools last?
If you get a good-quality pool, expect it to last between 7 to 15 years. However, the lifetime can be well determined by the use and maintenance. A pool system must be well winterized or packed up ahead of winter for it to last several summers. When used and maintained properly, your pool system should be able to last for up to 20 years.
Can above ground pools be heated?
Most water heating systems are ideal for above ground pool facilities. Hence, you can heat your pool with heaters of various types. There are bubble covers, heat pumps, heat exchangers, electric heaters, and solar heating options for above-ground swimming pools.
What is the easiest way to level ground for a pool?
The easiest way to level the ground before installing your above-ground pool is by filling it with sand. You can water the sand to make it more compact. It is also possible to level with a concrete slab, depending on the type of pool.
Leveling with a concrete slab is a job that requires specific know-how. Preparing concrete, pouring it, and smoothing it are not such simple steps as they seem. Especially, since you have to be reactive because concrete dries quickly. A concrete slab requires more work, but it is a necessary condition to protect yourself against unfortunate incidents. Some builders of above ground swimming pools (large sizes and panels) require it.
Now you know everything about buying the best above ground pools installing and maintaining them in the garden. So it’s up to you whether you can refresh yourself in the cool water this summer. Remember to factor in the number of users and the size of your backyard. To find above ground pools with the best quality, you have to consider the durability of the pool and the presence of functional, safety, and aesthetic accessories such as the filter pump, a ladder, pool covers, ground cover, and a flow control drain valve.