Best above ground pools are popular choices for families that don’t need inground or permanent pools.
These pools are also more affordable than the inground models and are just as fun as the permanent swimming facilities.
They vary in set-up, cost, size, and material, and different consumer reports show they are ideal for summer.
Today we have a review of the top above ground swimming pools you can find out there.
We have also provided you with a buying guide to help you choose the best from the thousands you find out there.
Review of Top 4 Above Ground Pools for 2021
Our product team has independently researched and tested the best pools you can install in your yard.
These are the top models you can purchase conveniently from Amazon and have them delivered at home.
Bestway 56407 Steel Pro Above Ground – 10ft x 30in
Bestway 56407 is an above-ground pool with a filter pump and offers endless summer fun for adults and kids.
It is an affordable model, making it the ideal alternative to the more expensive Steel Pro Above Ground Pool.
With that said, the model still provides stability and durability more remarkable than an inflatable pool.
Its frames are superior and made of corrosion and rust-resistant material and are protected from UV rays.
You can also count on the abrasion-free construction of the frame. And the durability of the 3-ply PVC band around the pool.
The pool is made to last and is still light enough to enable you to take it apart during the winter months.
And you don’t need to worry about being exposed to the sun as the model is fade-free and tear-resistant.
The model allows for a tool-free installation and has a Chemconnect for dispensing the chemicals.
Intex 86” x 23” Rectangular Frame Above Ground Pool
You are assured of having an outdoor child-safe splash pool when you choose this Intex model.
It is the best size above ground pool for a family of 4 that wish to escape the summer sun.
The product offers a water capacity of 439 gallons and is easy to assemble, taking only 30 minutes.
Another notable thing is the robust and durable steel frames that support the water and users’ weights.
These frames are powder-coated to prevent rust while offering the beauty you require for your facility.
It also has laminated sidewalls reinforced with a band all-around to keep the frame legs firm on the ground.
Many pool owners love this swimming pool for its convenient drain plug that connects to a garden hose when cleaning.
The pool’s package includes an installation DVD, a 30-day warranty and perfect for 6+ years of kids.
Intex 10ft x 30in Prism Frame Pool Set with Filter Pump
Intex 10ft x 30-inch is a superb tool for small yard and comes in handy when dealing with the summer heat.
It is a perfect above-ground facility for adults and kids of 6+ years and can fit up to four swimmers.
The pool is sturdy enough to withstand the 1185 gallons of water due to the metal frame.
These frames are coated with powder to prevent rust and corrosion, making them a durable product.
Its side walls are made of 3-ply to help resist puncture and reinforced with at-joint.
Many pool owners love this model for its easy set-up, affordability, and draining.
You get an instructional DVD, filter, and filter pump as a part of the pool’s package.
It is the perfect above-ground pool for any pool owner looking for a facility to set up within 45 minutes.
Intex 10ft x 30in Metal Frame Pool with Filter Pump
This is the best pool for your money as it provides the desired swimming sessions and remains durable for years.
It is made of a durable metal frame coated with powder to prevent rust and corrosion.
The product is affordable and easy to set-up than the complicated steel wall facilities.
Besides, it is more durable than the inflatable swimming pools and takes less than 30 minutes to get ready for the water.
It was designed by Intex to provide convenience and value for years to a family of four.
Another notable thing is the super-tough PVC walls.
This PVC has a higher molecular value and is not affected by oil, gasoline, or saltwater, making it a suitable model for saltwater.
It is also super-tough enough to prevent damage from abrasion, sunlight, and impact.
You get the Intex 330 GPH Filter Pump when you choose this above-ground swimming pool.
Above Ground Swimming Pool Review: 6 More Excellent Products
Any of the swimming pools in this review can provide you with the fun summer you desire.
Summer Waves 14ft Elite Frame Pool with Filter Pump
Beat the summer heat with this 14ft swimming pool by Summer Waves. It is fitted with a potent GFCI skimmer filter system to keep the water clean.
Other great extras of the product include a step ladder and a cover for keeping the leaves out.
It is a pool that only needs water, and your family gets to enjoy a comfortable and relaxed summer.
The model also features strong oval-shaped frame tubes for keeping it firmly under the water pressure.
Besides, it comes with a snap-in design to allow for easy and quick set-up without using any tool.
Coleman Power Steel Deluxe Series 18’ x 48” Metal Frame Round Above Ground Pool
Coleman 18ft x 48 provides the best size above ground pool for a family of 6 and comes with a ladder, pool cover, and filter pump.
The model can hold up to 6,092 gallons of water when 90% full, giving your kids plenty to splash around.
It is also among the most durable products you can find on the market today as it is made of a 3-ply liner.
What that means is the pool quickly resists puncture and other damage that can occur on the wall.
Another great thing is the rust-free steel frame that holds the wall together and prevents falling.
It is a superb pool.
Bestway 56061US Steel Pro MAX Above Ground Swimming Pool
This is a 12ft x 30ing above ground swimming pool made of DuraPlus reinforced 3-ply liner.
The model is durable and resists puncture that can occur when kids are swimming.
It also boasts of a rust-free steel frame connected with a FrameLink system to add to the strength.
That system makes it easy to assemble the above-ground pool without using a tool.
You can add enough water in the pool for the children and adults to splash all day, around 1,710 gallons when 90% full.
The package includes a 330 gallons filter pump for keeping the water clean and ready for use.
Bestway 5654E Steel Pro 7.25×4.9×1.4 Ft Rectangular Above Ground Pool
Bestway 5654E is an outdoor family pool that gives endless summer fun for children and adults.
It is more affordable than the steel-wall pools and more durable than inflatable ones.
The model offers a superior frame design to withstand water pressure and knocks on the wall.
Its frame is made corrosion-free and rust-free and is protected from UV light.
Extra strong walls ensure the model was built to last and provides up to three separate layers.
The model is easy to set-up and drain. You don’t require any tool to achieve the two.
Bestway 56631E Power Steel Above Ground Swimming Pool
The pool measures 9.3ft x 6.5ft x 33 inches, making it the ideal model for a family of 4-6.
It guarantees you endless summer fun and is ideal for kids of all ages, as well as adults.
The model comes with a superior frame design to withstand the water pressure, and the frame is corrosion-free.
Besides, its powder coated to prevent damage from the UV light, and the walls feature the 3-ply PVC technology.
It was designed to resist leaking or bending thanks to the Seal & Lock system patented frame.
You also get the Chemconnect for keeping the water sanitized without using a floater.
Summer Waves Elite 14’ x 42” Premium Frame Above Ground Swimming Pool
It is another above-ground pool by Summer Waves that can make your summer more fun.
The model comes with a filter pump system for circulating the water to keep it fresh and ready for use.
It was designed using deluxe material to guarantee long life and easily resist UV light.
You can easily set-up this above-ground pool without using any tool, and it is easy to drain.
This is the perfect swimming pool for a family of four and provides services for years.
Things to Consider Before Purchasing an Above-Ground Pool
Above-ground pools open the door for a relaxing summer, a lifetime of memories, and fun parties.
Buying this facility can be tricky. Here are the things to consider when purchasing your facility.
Types of Pools
There are different options for both the above-ground and inground swimming pools.
- Inflatable Pools – They are portable pools and recommended for a family with small kids. These pools go from under $100 and are easy to damage.
- Traditional Above Ground Pools – The cost of these pools starts from under $500 and are more durable than the inflatable models. They are slightly more permanent.
- Fully/Semi-Buried Above Ground Pools – These are pools you can sink 2-3 feet under the ground. They resemble the inground pools but go from under $10,000.
- In-Ground Pools – They are the most expensive models and can cost over $30,000 to construct.
Map Out Space
The above-ground pools start from 10-12ft, but the side buttresses can add about 3ft.
Some homeowners’ associations and municipalities have size restrictions for backyard pools.
- Leave more room than what the regulation requires to be on the safe side.
- Ensure the area is flat. Excavate if the site is sloppy.
- The pool should be 6-10ft from a GFCI-protected power source.
Follow the Local Laws
Find out if you need a building permit when installing your above ground pool.
Some regions require you to fence around the pool to prevent kids from accessing this water body.
Others require you to install alarms that alert you when someone disturbs the water.
- Nothing can replace adult supervision, even if you place the best fence and alarm around the pool.
Think about the people who will use the pool when determining the perfect pool’s depth and size.
Will the pool hold many adults? Is it just for kids? How old are the users? Are they tall?
Choose the Frame
One vital part of an above ground pool is the frame. It holds the wall firmly and prevents the liner from collapsing.
The frame can be made of hybrid material of resin and steel, steel, or resin.
Some Things to Note:
- Steel is galvanized steel or aluminum dipped in zinc to prevent corrosion.
- These steels are lightweight and sturdy enough to withstand UV light.
- The resin is usually rust-free, stays cool, and resists warping but cracks easily.
Perfect Pool Size
Here are some pool sizing options for different shapes of above-ground facilities:
- Round Pools – They start from 12ft in diameter, and a 24ft model is perfect for 4-5 people.
- Oval Pools – The most common models are 15ft x 30ft.
The depth of an above ground pool depends on its wall height. You can find heights of 48-inch, 52-inch, and 54-inch.
Round or Oval Pool Tips:
- The shape should depend on the backyard’s size.
- Oval pools might appear large, but they are small – a 24ft round pool holds more water than a 15x30ft oval pool.
- A round pool is more affordable since it has fewer parts.
Choose the Right Liner
The above-ground pool liner is what holds the water. Choose a decent thickness of 20-25 mils.
Any liner of $200 is quality enough to last for years.
Set Your Budget
You can end up paying $1000 to $300 for a complete above-ground swimming pool kit.
The kit includes track, top cap, posts, and exterior wall. A resin frame is more expensive than a steel one.
Above-ground pools with deck, safety fence, and landscaping can end up costing more.
With that said, the total cost is usually way lower than that of inground swimming pools, which starts from $15,000.
Consider the Extras
These can include a filter and pump system to keep the water clean and free of harmful substances like algae and debris.
Why Above Ground Pools Are Better than Inground Pools
Above ground pools vs. inground pools: which one is better? Their differences come in maintenance, costs, safety, aesthetics, and more.
But here is why the above-ground model is better:
- Much More Affordable
The cost includes the purchase price, accessories, plumbing, decking, and more.
An inground model is always more expensive than an above-ground one and averages around $130,000 for a 12×24 feet concrete pool with a privacy fence and vinyl cover.
The 19ft above ground model can cost around $3,500 to $4,000 and add $1,500 for vinyl cover and privacy fence.
The inground model becomes even more expensive when you consider you cannot DIY like the above-ground pool.
- Safer than In-Ground Model
Both the inground and above ground pools come with a certain level of risk. With that said, the above-ground model is safer than the inground one.
The above-ground model has walls and a ladder. Small kids cannot access it with ease.
You need to pay more to add safety measures to the inground pool with things like self-closing locks and hardcovers.
Other safety measures include safety alarms, having a wall, and always supervising the children in the backyard.
How Do You Install an Above-Ground Pool?
You can install this type of pool yourself, but it is advisable to seek professional help.
Here are the steps to follow:
Step 1: Clear the Installation Area
Choose the area to install the above ground pool and clear the sod from where it will rest.
- Follow the area codes and regulations when choosing the location.
Step 2: Level the Site
The second step is to level the site. The higher end of the ground should be level with the lowest side.
You can use a skid steer or bobcat to measure the level.
Note the Following:
- The pool’s weight pushed the ground outwards and down.
- Never build your pools on dirt.
Step 3: Take Care of the Drainage
You might need to make provision for the drainage site. It can turn the yard into a swamp or dry it with ease.
Step 4: Time to Frame the Foundation
Use full-sized stones and blocks to provide support to the pool sides. The blocks should be leveled to allow the frame to rest firmly.
Step 5: Install the Bottom Support Material
The base under the liner acts as the buffer between the harsh terrain and the pool’s vinyl material.
A pool base also absorbs stone, rock, insect, and animal debris.
Step 6: Install the Pool Liner
Ensure the pool liner has few wrinkles – if possible, remove all the wrinkles.
Step 7: Assemble and Install the Frame
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when assembling the frame. The vital thing is to ensure the pieces fit the uniform shape.
Take care to ensure the bolts and screws are tight and check all the cover caps.
Step 8: Take Out the Excess Material
Distribute the sod and dirt evenly around the yard or find a way to dispose of the excess material.
You also need to find a store or place for placing the empty packaging material and cartons.
Step 9: Follow the Electrical System Codes and Requirements
You might need to get a permit for an above ground pool and display it. And ensure the wires follow the local electrical codes.
Above Ground Pools: FAQs
Our team has put together some FAQs about the above-ground swimming pools.
Are Above Ground Pools Permanent?
The above-ground pools are temporary structures that you can install within hours.
You still need to do some ground leveling, but this doesn’t mean it is permanent.
The pool can last for about 10-year and then become unstable.
Are Above Ground Pools Hard to Maintain?
Above-ground pools are easy to maintain. They are also affordable and easy to set-up than the inground models.
How Do You Maintain an Above-Ground Pool?
Here are some of the things you should do when maintaining your above ground pool:
- Test the water chlorine level regularly to ensure that it is perfect for killing microorganisms, bacteria, and algae.
- Conduct weekly shock treatments using chlorine to kill contaminants such as bacteria and algae.
- Test the water pH level to ensure that the water chemicals remain effective.
- Leave the pump on about 8-hour a day to circulate the water to prevent algae growth.
- Clean and replace the filter regularly to enable them to capture debris and other material effectively.
- Clean the skimmer baskets and pump regularly to capture leaves, bugs, and other material effectively.
- Vacuum your above-ground pool often to prevent algae growth and to allow the chemicals to work better.
- Add a solar blanket when not using the pool to prevent debris and rain from accessing the water and prevent evaporation.
- Winterize your above ground pool properly.
Why Cover an Above Ground Pool in the Winter?
It is not a must to cover your swimming pool during the winter. However, these covers help to:
- Prevent algae growth
- Maintain water balance to prevent pool’s surface damage
You are recommended to use a winter pool cover, and most pool owners winterize their facilities.
Can Above Ground Pools Go on Concrete?
You can install your pools on concrete without any problem. However, you should always go for sand, soil, or grass before you go for concrete.
How Do You Drain an Above-Ground Pool?
You can drain your above-ground for various reasons like storage, maintenance, and others.
Here are the steps you should follow:
- Get a submersible pool pump and place it at the bottom of the pool – center.
- Disconnect the circulation system from the pool.
- Start the pump and start to drain the water.
- Be around to ensure that the process flows freely.
- You can remove any remaining water by eliminating the pool liner from the frame.
- You don’t need to drain the pool completely when conducting repair or maintenance.
What Should I Put Under My Above Ground Pool to Level?
You can put different materials under an above-ground swimming pool like a sand pad, solid foam, commercial pads, and concrete pads.
If the pool is unlevelled, you can use sand to level it. Here you need to lay sand layers of 1-2 inches on the desired spots.
Use a tamper to harden the sand and create an even surface. Your pool will be resting on level ground within minutes.
Which is Better Intex or Bestway Pools?
It comes down to what you need and preferences when deciding whether you buy an Intex or Bestway pool.
These companies use high-quality materials to make their pool and have invested in professional constructions.
Bestway brand provides detailed information when it comes to durability features.
Both manufacturers provide easy to assemble and install pools. Their assembly is almost the same.
However, Intex has a better installation guide than Bestway’s one.
One significant difference between the two types of the pool is the oval nature of the Bestway’s pools. The Intex’s are often round.
The Intex pool pumps last about 2-season longer than the Bestway brand, but they all perform the same.
Another thing, the Intex pools are more robust and more flexible. You also get to choose from different sizes and varieties of Intex pools.
Some people say the Intex brand is better than Bestway, but they are all quality manufacturers.
- Bestway and Intex pools are both excellent products that consumers love.
- Find out the model that best meets your needs instead of figuring out which one is better.
Are Above Ground Pools Worth the Money?
Perhaps the main benefits of the best rated above ground pools are their low maintenance cost and buying price.
They are more affordable than the inground models and more durable than the inflatable pools.
You also get to choose from different sizes, shapes, and brands.
They are worth every money and can provide you with endless summer fun.
These pools are also ideal for both kids and adults.