9 Best Above Ground Pools – Reviews & Buying Guide

Best Above Ground Pool

Let’s be honest, we all love the idea of having a swimming pool at home. However, the conventional method of setting up a pool by constructing it into the ground is very expensive, takes more time and forms a permanent structure that cannot be moved.

Above-ground pools eliminate all this by being way cheaper, easy and faster to set up and can be moved, say if you are shifting to a new house.

For this reason, most people prefer buying such pools and if you are looking for one, there are many varieties of them, which can be very confusing to select from.

To help you in this, this article looks at 10 of the best above ground pools that are available in the market, from which you can pick the one that suits your needs. 

You can also read other product reviews such as pool heater, pool cover, pool skimmer, pool filter, pool pump

Product Name

Image

​Features/Benefits

Rating

Current Price

1. Intex Metal Frame Above Ground Pool Set


Intex Metal Frame Above Ground Pool Set

4440-gallon capacity above ground pool with durable steel frame support legs and a tough, inner 3-ply laminated vinyl liner

4.0

2. Intex Ultra Frame Rectangular Above Ground Pool Set

Intex Ultra Frame Rectangular Above Ground Pool Set

Rectangular above ground pool with a volleyball set (2 poles, a net, and a ball) and a deluxe cleaning kit for maintaining the pool

4.1

3. Intex Ultra Frame Above Ground Pool Set

Intex Ultra Frame Above Ground Pool Set

Circular Intex above ground pool with a Krystal clear cartridge filter pump and uses hydro aeration technology for improving the water clarity and freshness

4.0

4. Bestway Deluxe Splash Frame Kids Above Ground Pool

Bestway Deluxe Splash Frame Kids Above Ground Pool

An affordable above ground pool that is suitable for kids due to its 26-inch height, and has a strong and durable 3-ply polyester construction with a rust-resistant galvanized metal frame for support

4.4

5. Intex Easy Set Above Ground Pool Set

Intex Easy Set Above Ground Pool Set

Easy to set up above ground pool, with a super tough laminated PVC construction and a ground fault interrupter for safety purposes

3.3

6. Wilbar Meadows Round Above Ground Pool

Wilbar Meadows Round Above Ground Pool

A durable above ground pool that has a steel construction plus an inner 100% virgin vinyl overlap lining, and a wide mouth skimmer for filtration

3.7

7. Summer Waves Elite Wicker Above Ground Pool

Summer Waves Elite Wicker Above Ground Pool

10862-gallon round pool having a comprehensive accessory set and a CP2000 C cartridge filter pump with GFCI for protection against electrocution

4.1

8. Splash Pools Round Deluxe Above Ground Pool Package

Splash Pools Round Deluxe Above Ground Pool Package

Relatively expensive above-ground pool with durable steel-vinyl construction and a wide mouth skimmer for removing large debris

3.4

9. Heritage TA Complete Above Ground Pool

Heritage TA Complete Above Ground Pool

Very expensive above ground pool with a capacity of 15000 gallons and comes a 1 HP pump that runs a backwashing filtration system containing a 19-inch sand filter

3.4

1. Intex 28241EHBest Overall Above-ground Swimming Pool

Editor's Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Intex Metal Frame Above Ground Pool Set
  • Size: 180 × 48 inches
  • Shape: Circular
  • Water capacity: 4440 gallons
  • Material: Vinyl

Intex’s metal frame above ground pool is our overall best because it has some very useful features and accessories.

Considering its structure, the pool has a rust-resistant steel frame, which acts as the support legs to keep the inner 3-ply laminated vinyl lining in place.

For filtration and circulation, the pool comes with a Krystal clear cartridge filter pump that pulls the water using dual suction outlet fittings and gives an overall flow rate of 750 GPH.

This speed is quite adequate, considering that the overall volume of the pool at the recommended 90% fill level is 4440 gallons.

However, there is a smaller 144 × 30-inch pool has a smaller 530 GPH pump, while a larger 216 × 48-inch pool features a larger 1500 GPH powerhouse, and this gives you some options to choose from, depending on the size that you want.

In terms of accessories, this product comes with a ground cloth for installation, a removable ladder for climbing over the 48-inch-high walls and a debris cover for keeping the water clean.

Pros:

  • Rust-resistant steel frame legs
  • Tough, 3-ply laminated vinyl liner
  • Powerful 1000 GPH Krystal clear cartridge filter pump
  • Available in 3 sizes
  • Comes with a ground cloth, ladder and debris cover

Cons:

  • Does not come with a skimmer
  • No maintenance kit

2. Intex 28365EHBest Rectangle Above Ground Pool

Editor's Rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)

Intex Ultra Frame Rectangular Above Ground Pool Set
  • Size: 288 × 144 × 52 inches
  • Shape: Rectangular
  • Water capacity: 8403 gallons
  • Material: Vinyl

If you fancy enjoying some sport while in your pool, then Intex’s Ultra Frame rectangular pool is the best option to consider. This is because as part of its accessories, the pool comes with a volleyball set, which consists of 2 poles, a net, and a ball.

Other than these, the unit also comes with a removable ladder with slip resistant steps, a ground cloth, a debris cover, a Krystal clear sand filter pump and saltwater system, and a deluxe cleaning kit, which includes a leaf rake, a curved wall brush and a vacuum head for cleaning the pool.

Construction wise, the pool is primarily made of a tough, puncture-resistant, 3-ply vinyl material, which is then supported 52 inches above the ground by a stainless-steel frame to form a 288 × 144 rectangular basin that holds up to 8403 gallons of water when filled to 90% capacity.

Other features include a dual suction outlet system for better water circulation, hydro aeration technology for water freshness and faster filtration, and a setup and maintenance DVD for guidance purposes.

Pros:

  • Features a volleyball kit to make it more fun
  • Comes with several other accessories
  • Tough and puncture resistant 3-ply vinyl material walls
  • Stainless steel frame for support
  • Dual suction outlet system for better water circulation and faster filtration

Cons:

  • Does not come with a skimmer
  • Requires a large amount of space to set up

3. Intex 26309EHDurable Intex Above Ground Pool

Editor's Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Intex Ultra Frame Above Ground Pool Set
  • Size: 168 × 42 inches
  • Shape: Circular
  • Water capacity: 3357 gallons
  • Material: Vinyl

Intex’s Ultra Frame unit is quite similar to their own Metal Frame pool above in terms of shape, but this one is smaller in size. It measures 168 inches in diameter and 42 inches in height, which gives it a water capacity of 3357 gallons when at the recommended 90% fill level.

Although this gives you less water to play around with, it makes the pool more stable and coupled with a puncture-resistant, 3-ply vinyl construction plus a rust-resistant stainless-steel frame for support, this makes the setup very strong and durable.

For filtration, a 750 GPH Krystal clear cartridge filter pump does the job, and it can cycle through the entire pool in less than 4-1/2 hours.

Apart from filtration, the pool also incorporates the use of hydro aeration technology, which improves the clarity of the water by mixing it with air so as to oxidize any iron or manganese in the water, leaving it fresh and clear.

Pros:

  • Puncture-resistant, 3-ply vinyl construction
  • Stainless-steel supporting frame
  • Krystal clear cartridge filter pump for circulation and filtration
  • Hydro aeration technology for improving water clarity and freshness

Cons:

  • Relatively small volume
  • Does not come with a maintenance kit

4. Bestway Deluxe Splash Frame KidsBest Affordable Above Ground Pool

Editor's Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

Bestway Deluxe Splash Frame Kids Above Ground Pool
  • Size: 118 × 79 × 26 inches
  • Shape: Rectangular
  • Water capacity: 871 gallons
  • Material: 3-ply polyester

Bestway’s Deluxe Splash Frame unit is the most affordable, yet also the top-rated above ground pool, which means that there is something about it that stands out.

Well, what makes it special is that it is specifically designed for toddlers. The pool is only 26 inches high and this makes it pretty safe for the short guys because they can enjoy the water without requiring floaters and with less risk of drowning.

The only problem is that this reduces the volume of water to play around with to only 871 gallons, and this consequently makes it the smallest above ground pool in this review.

Construction wise, the pool is made of a 3-ply polyester inner lining, which is strong enough to handle any rough handling by the kids, and is supported by a sturdy, rust-resistant galvanized metal frame for additional strength. This makes it the overall best above ground pool for kids.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Very safe for kids due to its short height
  • Small footprint; requires a small space to set up
  • Tough 3-ply polyester construction
  • Durable rust resistant galvanized metal frame

Cons:

  • Holds a small volume of water to play with
  • Might be very short for adults

5. Intex 26167EHEasy to Set up Above Ground Pool

Editor's Rating: 3.3 out of 5 stars (3.3 / 5)

Intex Easy Set Above Ground Pool Set
  • Size: 180 × 48 inches
  • Shape: Circular
  • Water capacity: 3736 gallons
  • Material: Vinyl

Intex’s Easy Set above ground pool might look a bit out of shape because it lacks metallic-frame support but this makes it very easy to set up.

This is made possible by a super tough, laminated PVC (vinyl) construction, which holds the entire 80% filled pool with 3736 gallons of water and the swimmers inside with ease.

You only have to level out the pool on level ground then inflate the top ring and that’s it. Next step is to fill it up with water. However, the set does not include a pump for inflating this ring and thus, you must buy it separately.

The set does come with a number of accessories though, and these include a filter pump with either a type A or C filter cartridge, a removable ladder, a debris cover, a ground cloth, and a DVD setup manual to help you put up your pool.

For safety, the unit is equipped with a ground fault interrupter, which automatically shuts off the pump if electrical current is exposed to the water.  

Pros:

  • Very easy and fast to set up
  • Super tough, laminated PVC construction
  • Comes with a couple of accessories
  • Ground fault interrupter for safety

Cons:

  • Looks out of shape because of lacking metallic-frame support
  • Does not come with a pump to inflate the top ring

6. Wilbar Meadows RoundGood Above Ground Pool

Editor's Rating: 3.7 out of 5 stars (3.7 / 5)

Wilbar Meadows Round Above Ground Pool
  • Size: 288 × 52 inches
  • Shape: Circular
  • Water capacity: 13000-14500 gallons
  • Material: Vinyl, Steel

Wilber Meadow’s round above ground pool is a very solidly built unit, featuring 52-inch tall corrugated steel walls, which hold a 100% virgin vinyl overlap liner on the inside. This ensures that the pool can comfortably hold 13000-14500 gallons of water, plus the swimmers inside.

For further strength in support, this unit has sixteen 5-1/4-inch-wide steel supportive uprights that are spread out all-round the pool’s circumference, and have a Krystal Kote protection for durability purposes.

The steel construction is topped off by a 6-inch-wide top rail, which also has a Krystal Kote protection, giving you a very durable and reliable ledge around the pool.

For filtration, this unit comes with a wide mouth skimmer, in which there is a pre-drilled cutout along the walls to fit it in place.

Other features include a steel interlocking top stabilizing bar, steel bottom tracks and plates, and a blue-liner with a glistening-water-effect on the walls and pebbles plus seashells on the floor, giving a natural, sea-like setting for you to swim in.

Pros:

  • Very durable steel construction
  • 100% virgin vinyl overlap liner to hold the water above the steel walls and floor
  • Wide mouth skimmer for filtration
  • Steel interlocking top stabilizing bar
  • Blue colored vinyl with a glistening water effect on the walls and a pebble-seashell floor

Cons:

  • Does not come with a pump for water circulation
  • Quite heavy due to all the steel

7. Summer Waves Elite Wicker Best Above Ground Pool Set

Editor's Rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)

Summer Waves Elite Wicker Above Ground Pool
  • Size: 264 × 48 inches
  • Shape: Circular
  • Water capacity: 10862 gallons
  • Material: PVC

Summer Waves’ Elite Wicker above ground pool comes as a very comprehensive set, containing the 10862-gallon round pool itself, a SureStep ladder for climbing above the 48-inch walls, a pool cover, a ground cloth and a deluxe maintenance kit for cleaning the water.

Apart from these, the unit also comes with a CP2000 C cartridge filter pump, which is equipped with GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter).

GFCI gives a layer of protection to the people swimming inside by turning off the pump automatically if electrical current is exposed to the water, preventing any electrocution.

Structurally, the pool is made of a 3-ply polyester mesh and heavy gauge PVC material, which is then supported by a strong and rust-resistant metallic frame.

Setting up this material is quite easy and takes only about an hour without requiring any tools throughout this whole process.

Pros:

  • Comes with very essential accessories
  • Pump with cartridge filter for cleaning the water
  • GFCI for protection against electrocution
  • Strong and durable 3-ply construction with rust-resistant metallic support
  • Easy to set up

Cons:

  • Occupies a quite a large amount of space (264 inches diameter)
  • No skimmer

8. Splash Pools TA 2452DT-PKGTough Above Ground Pool

Editor's Rating: 3.4 out of 5 stars (3.4 / 5)

Splash Pools Round Deluxe Above Ground Pool Package
  • Size: 288 × 52 inches
  • Shape: Circular
  • Water capacity: 14662 gallons
  • Material: Vinyl, Steel

Splash Pools’ round deluxe pool is a relatively expensive, but also a strong and tough unit because it features an all-around steel frame that is galvanized through hot-dipping it into zinc, and this protects it from rusting through oxidation.

The pool also has 6-inch vertical supports that are also galvanized using the same dipping method, and are painted white for aesthetics and further protection from the elements as they support the vertical walls of the structure.

Other steel parts include the 7-inch top ledges, and top and bottom rails, which are also coated in zinc.

On the inside, a vinyl liner is used to hold the water against the underlying steel walls, and this ensures that there are no leaks while the steel provides strength.

In terms of size, this product is available in 4 of them, but each one comes with a 1 horsepower pump (with a backwashing filtration system that is capable of filtering sand), a through-the-wall wide-mouth skimmer and an A-frame ladder for climbing over the 52-inch walls.

Pros:

  • A durable all-around steel frame that is galvanized through hot-dipping in zinc
  • Vinyl inner layer for waterproofing
  • Available in 4 different sizes
  • Comes with a 1-HP pump with backwashing filtration
  • Wide mouth skimmer for removing large debris

Cons:

  • Relatively expensive
  • Quite heavy due to the steel structure

9. Heritage TA 331852GP-DXPHigh Quality Above Ground Pool

Editor's Rating: 3.4 out of 5 stars (3.4 / 5)

Heritage TA Complete Above Ground Pool
  • Size: 396 × 288 × 52 inches
  • Shape: Oval
  • Water capacity: 15000 gallons
  • Material: Vinyl

Heritage’s TA is a large and expensive above-ground pool, measuring in at 396 × 288 inches in an oval shape, with a height of 52 inches. This gives it a capacity of up to 15,000 gallons of water, which is quite a lot and can host quite a number of people inside.

Construction wise, this product also incorporates a lot of galvanized steel into its structure, then covers it off with a blue vinyl layer that is swirl-printed at the bottom to give a visual depth of the waters you are swimming in.

Filtration is done using a wide mouth skimmer, which is fitted through the wall, and a backwashing filtration system that is run using a 1 HP pump, and it contains a 19-inch sand filter for getting rid of any sand.

For accessories, a heavy-duty resin ladder with flip-up anti-entry comes with the set, while an instructions DVD is included for easy installation. 

Pros:

  • Very large water capacity. Holds a lot of water to play in
  • Strong and durable steel structure
  • Wall mountable wide mouth skimmer
  • 1 HP pump with backwash filtration
  • Comes with a heavy-duty resin ladder

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Requires a very large space to set up

Above vs. In-Ground Pool

Above vs. In-Ground Pool

Swimming pools can either be above-ground or in-ground. To get a good comparison between the two, we will look at 3 differentiating factors.

#1. Cost

In-ground pools are usually very expensive and will cost on average $30,000-$70,000 depending on the materials used for construction (vinyl, fiberglass or concrete).

Above-ground pools are way cheaper to buy, costing up to about $7,000 maximum, although you have to factor in other additional costs such as installation (if you can’t do it yourself) and deck construction if you do not prefer using a ladder to jump in and out of the water.

This means you are looking at a maximum, $12,000, which is still cheaper than an in-ground pool.

#2. Maintenance

Both types require more or less the same level of care and cleaning. However, the larger the pool, the more maintenance work that is required and consequently, the higher the operating costs.

With in-ground pools tending to be bigger in size, if you decide to build a big one, you must be prepared to put more effort into maintaining it.

#3. Durability

An average above ground pool can last up to 15 years with proper care, but its liner must be replaced every 4-5 years because it wears out quickly from exposure to the sun’s rays and the elements.

In-ground pools are much more durable, with fiberglass pools lasting up to 20 years but vinyl inground pools also require a liner replacement every 4-5 years, while concrete ones require resurfacing every 10-12 years, which can be very expensive.

How to Buy the Best Above Ground Pool

How to Buy the Best Above Ground Pool

#1. Size

When shopping for an above ground pool, the first thing to consider is its size. Bigger pools are definitely better to have because you get more water to play around with, but there are downsides to this.

Bigger pools have a larger footprint and thus, require more space to set up. They are also more expensive to buy and maintain.

Buying Guide: If you are on a tight budget, always go for the smaller pool because everything about it will be affordable. However, if you have enough space in your backyard and can afford a big pool, go ahead and spoil yourself.

#2. Shape

Above-ground pools come in 3 main shapes: round, rectangle and oval. For the same volume, round pools usually occupy more space and therefore, might not be ideal if you have a small backyard.

On the other hand, rectangular pools are more space saving, while oval pools come somewhere in between the two. However, round pools are usually cheaper because they have fewer parts that hold it together.

If space and cost is not an issue, then choose the shape based on personal preference.

#3. Material

A pool’s material is also a big factor to consider because it determines the strength, weight, and durability of the unit.

With PVC/vinyl, you get a very lightweight above ground pool, in which most of them are supported by steel frames, but others stand on their own.

For strength and durability, their triple-layered design or 3-ply as it is popularly known makes them considerably firm.

With steel and PVC material combined, the pool becomes very heavy but at the same time, very strong and durable.

However, even though steel is considered rust-free, exposure to water, sunlight and the elements may take its toll and cause some degradation and this may affect its strength over time.

Therefore, if you decide to go for a steel walled pool, you must pay special attention to it so as to avoid any form of rust.

#4. Frame Style

A pool’s material is held in place or strengthened using an outer frame and thus, this should also be considered. Basically, a frame consists of the plates, bottom rails, top ledges, and uprights, and can be made from steel, resin or a combination of both.

  • Steel frame: very popular in many above ground pools, but also very heavy. Although steel is rust resistant as described on paper, exposure to water and sunlight might cause it to erode at a slow pace.
  • Resin: resin is non-resistant and maintains a tight hold despite being exposed to the elements. It also gets less hot in the sun as compared to steel, but it is very expensive, and this translates to a more expensive pool.
  • Hybrid: a hybrid frame gives you the benefits of both steel and resin, with steel being used in the parts that need support while resin takes care of the parts that are exposed to water. This makes it the best option to consider.

#5. Pool Accessories

Accessories are always an added plus. With above ground pools, you should check whether the set comes with items such as a non-slip ladder, maintenance kit, ground cloth, pool cover and of course, a filter pump for circulation and filtration.

These accessories are absolutely essential and without them in the set, you may have to buy them separately, giving you further additional costs.

Conclusion

As you can see, selecting an above ground pool might not be that simple if you do not have all the relevant information. You need to understand the differences between the different types of these pools, as well as the defining factors of each before making a decision.

However, after going through the content above, you should be able to make a wise and informed decision about the best above ground pool that you will buy next.