Although there are more than 10 million private swimming pools in the USA, it may surprise you to learn that only 3% of them are above-ground pools.
An above-ground pool deserves more consideration because of the benefits it brings to pool owners.
This can be an excellent choice for renters who cannot alter the property’s physical condition.
Property owners may want to explore what it’s like having to maintain a swimming pool; therefore, the above-ground pool introduces owners to pool ownership.
Finally, perhaps most significantly, an above-ground pool is less expensive than in-ground installations.
Because an above-ground swimming pool can be the right entertainment and exercise option for many people.
Let’s explore not only pool ownership but also some of the best above-ground pool reviews.
Top Choices in the Above Ground Pool Market
Let’s look at the two best above-ground pools in 2021. They are both 10 feet x 30 inches, which is considered a small but easy to care for swimming pool.
These pools are also easy to set up, require no special tools, and come with the pumps you’ll need for purifying the water.
For less than $300, you could be swimming in less than an hour with either of these choices.
Bestway 56407 10 x 30 Steel Pro Above Ground Frame Pool Set
This Caribbean blue pool uses a frame link system, supporting the soft walls with a sturdy, interconnected frame.
The frame is rust and corrosion resistant. Beside, it will not scar or weaken the PVC pool liner.
One of the best features of this pool is how easy it is to set up.
Thread the PVC support band through the extra-wide loops at the top of the liner for additional support.
This pool will withstand UV damage during long summer days, so you’ll be able to reuse the frame season after season.
Additionally, Bestway has redesigned the chemical dispenser not to take up any of the swimming area.
Gone are the days of releasing a gusher of water over the pool sides when you have to put up the pool.
When you’re ready to empty the pool for the season, use the flow-controlled drain valve.
Intex Prism 10 x 30 Above Ground Frame Pool Set
The highly recommended Intex Prism above ground pool begins with a powder-coated metal frame that holds up an aquamarine-colored puncture-resistant pool liner.
The unique liner provides additional strength by including not one but two specially woven layers as part of the 3-ply design.
The frame easily links together in a continuous t-joint system requiring no pins, no special tools, and no sweat when installing your pool.
Using Hydro Aeration Technology, you’ll be able to drain the water from your pool with ease, so you can divert the treated water away from areas that shouldn’t be exposed to chemically-treated water.
Six More Choices You Can’t Pass Up
Although the small Bestway and Intex Prism pools are two of the best above-ground swimming pools choices, other choices have become popular in 2021.
Here are six more above-ground pools that deserve a second look.
Intex 86″ x 23″ Rectangular Frame Child Safe Splash Pool
This pool comes with the same strengthened Intex 3-ply pool liner as the larger models, and the liner nestles safely inside an alloy steel frame.
The pool holds 439 gallons of water, which is about 5x the size of a standard bathtub.
This one is suitable for young children to play in, but it will also accommodate six adults.
Coleman Power Steel Deluxe Series 18′ x 48″ Round Pool
Purchase the Coleman Power Steel Deluxe above-ground pool, then you’ll get an entire setup kit that includes the pool itself, a filter pump, ladder, and pool cover.
As one of the larger above-ground pools on the market, this pool holds nearly 6,100 gallons of water in a steel frame and Tritech-enhanced wicker-look liner with triple thickness.
This pool stands up to heavy use and looks good.
Bestway Power Steel 14′ x 8’2″ x 39.5″ Pool Set
This small Bestway pool comes in three sizes.
Each model sports exceptionally well-designed and patented construction frames that offer greater sturdiness than many other above-ground pools on the market.
Like most Bestway pools, the chemical dispenser is hidden, so it won’t be in your way while swimming.
The pool includes the chemical dispenser, pump, filter cartridge, and access ladder.
Intex 32ft X 16ft X 52in Ultra-XTR Rectangular Pool Set
Holding a little more than 14,000 gallons of saltwater, the Intex Ultra-XTR pool is a backyard behemoth among above-ground pools.
It’s also a favorite among pool owners because of its durability, good looks, and excessively efficient pump.
This rectangular pool set includes everything you need to set up your pool and enjoy hours of swimming fun.
It comes with a sand filter pump & saltwater system, maintenance kit, ladder, ground cloth, and pool cover.
Summer Waves P2000830A Active 8′ x 30″ Outdoor Round Frame
If simple is what you’re looking for, try the Summer Waves round above-ground pool.
It’s small enough to assemble quickly and big enough to accommodate two children and two adults.
The purchase price includes not only the pool frame and liner but also a GFCI filter pump and filter cartridge that attaches to the exterior pool wall.
Bestway 56545E SteelPro 7.25 x 4.9 x 1.4’ Rectangular Pool
This Bestway micro pool may be just the right size.
It’s small enough to set up quickly but big enough for fun.
It’s perfect for kids and dogs alike because the height is only sixteen inches high.
This above-ground pool does not include a filter pump, but you can add one or drain and refill the pool by removing the legs to let the water out.
Making the Most of Your Above Ground Swimming Pool
If your Home Owners’ Association (HOA) or rental agreement will permit above-ground swimming pools, you’re ready to embark on planning your above-ground swimming pool installation.
Location, access, and maintenance are all part of the considerations you must make before taking that first dip.
What pool features should I be thinking about?
Dreaming of owning a swimming pool offers endless speculation about which features you need for your enjoyment.
A small above-ground pool accommodates 1-4 persons, and these pools are perfect for a small backyard and for dogs. For larger families, consider upgrading to a medium pool, which can accommodate five people, or a large pool, in which eight or more can enjoy the water.
Many families prefer the medium-sized pool because it combines favorite features, such as taking up the least amount of space while accommodating more swimmers.
For many people, above-ground pool vs. in-ground pool maintenance is a topic of concern. It needn’t be. Maintaining an above-ground pool can be just as easy as maintaining an in-ground pool. Sometimes, it’s even easier.
Smaller pools, for example, can be drained and refilled. Larger pools require water testing, chemical balancing, and cleaning, much like their in-ground counterparts.
However, although you should test the water regularly, an above-ground pool won’t require the volume of pool chemicals that an in-ground pool needs.
Additionally, pool suction cleaners for above-ground pools are less expensive than the cleaners recommended for in-ground pools.
Got any above-ground pool setup ideas?
Not everyone puts a deck around an above-ground pool. Some owners are content to access their pool with liner by climbing up and down the pool ladder. The challenge with this can be that debris like grass and leaves gets tracked into the swimming pool. Of course, you may have a pool vacuum, but these above-ground swimming pool suction cleaners are better suited to removing silt rather than leaves.
When installing your pool with liner for the first time, be sure to smooth out the liner on the bottom. Once the pool is filled with water, you won’t be able to smooth out the wrinkles. The bumps and ridges make cleaning the pool bottom much more difficult.
To save your pool’s filtration system, you are better off putting a deck or some hardscape around at least the entry/exit point of your above-ground pool. Even though you can step over the edge of a 30″ pool, you’ll be glad to be stepping in with clean feet.
The deck is a platform or elevated structure that encircles your swimming pool or nestles partially against it. Often constructed of wood or polymer wood, decks extend to the edge and sometimes over the edge of above-ground pools—plan for at least 3 square feet dedicated to the entry-exit area where your steps are.
For the larger pools, you also should install a railing or fence to limit pool access. Include a childproof/dog-proof self-closing, self-latching gate for added protection against drowning. Additionally, some people like to build platform stairs for stepping into the pool. These are much easier on the feet than the hanging steps that come with the pool.
Furniture such as chairs, tables, and lounges need dedicated space that is not in the walking path around the pool. You could even install a pool slide if you have enough room. Again, allow for at least 3′ of space between the furniture and the pool.
Although your pool may have metal sides, you can cover the sides with wood, stone, or other materials. Because a sizable above-ground pool is about 4′ deep, you may even consider building a counter/bar along the side that has no decking.
Ideally, your filtration system should be in a location that is protected by weather and yet convenient to access. Placing the equipment next to the above-ground pool and under the deck seems like a logical choice.
Finally, the last thing you want for your above-ground pool is a miscalculated swipe along its underside with a weed eater. Keep grass from growing next to your above-ground pool by installing a flower garden or a rock bed around the perimeter.
Your only limitation is your creativity and your budget.
Which Brand of Above-ground Pool Is Best?
Two brands of above-ground pools come up consistently in reviews regarding cost and quality: Bestway and Intex.
Bestway has been producing above-ground pools since 1994. The company is committed to designing and manufacturing well-built pools (and other recreational products, including spas and camping gear). This company’s mission is to see to it that you have fun. They want you to spend less time setting up your equipment and more time enjoying it.
For five decades, Intex, formerly known as the Wet Set, has been leading the market with innovative designs that deliver affordable, high-quality products that are safe and fun to use. The company prides itself on customer service, and Intex has also committed to reducing reliance on fossil fuels.
How Can I Fill The Gap Between an Above Ground Pool and The Deck?
Some above-ground pool owners prefer not to fill in the pool and deck gap, and they haven’t had a mishap.
However, if that gap worries you, you can fill it with industrial-type vinyl or plastic extrusions.
Most home improvement or flooring stores sell them. You’ll likely want to caulk the extrusions in place, so they don’t move when bumped.
Be sure to use an outdoor waterproof caulk made of silicone for better durability.
What Can I Put Under My Above-ground Pool?
Above-ground swimming pool product pictures often display crystal clear pools sitting on top of a lush lawn. You never get to see what’s under the pool. The truth is that your pool rests on sand.
Your above-ground pool needs a good foundation. Before installing your pool, you’ll need to prepare a bed for it to rest on. For this, you’ll need clean soil and mason sand. The dirt must be well packed.
Then spread the sand out as a soft bed. Some installers use the sand to level the pool bottom, especially if the pool is on a hill, but the sand is meant to be a soft bed for the pool.
After you’ve prepped the dirt and sand, lay out the ground cover for added protection of your pool liner.
What Do I Do With The Above-ground Pool In The Winter?
Winterizing your pool will depend on your location. Above-ground pool owners who live in the south find that they can use their pools almost year around.
Not everyone is so lucky. If you live in an area that Freezes or gets a considerable amount of snow, you must winterize your pool.
This maintenance staff is a critical part of above-ground pool ownership because it will protect your investment. Freezing water will cause expansion, and when your above-ground swimming pool becomes a giant block of ice, the ice will slice the pool liner.
It may even breach the walls. Your once inviting swimming pool will be reduced to a pile of vinyl and metal when spring arrives to thaw everything out.
How do I Winterize My Above-ground Pool?
How you winterize your above-ground pool will depend on several factors, including your climate and pool size.
For smaller pools, the process is simple: clean the pool, empty the water, and pack everything up until the following season.
If your above-ground pool must stay in place because of its size or the decking around it, you’ll follow a different process. Once the outdoor temperatures drop into the lower 60s, it’s time to get started.
First, clean the pool and test the water. You want the water and the pool with liner in the best shape possible to make it through the winter. Remove all debris and test the water’s alkalinity calcium and chlorine levels, pH, and salt if you have a saltwater pool.
Add chemicals as appropriate to purify the water before you allow it to go dormant for the winter.
Next, disconnect and remove any accessories such as the pump filter and steps. If you have a saltwater pool, you’ll need to remove the system entirely until you’re ready to use the pool again.
Then partially drain the pool. This is to prevent over-expansion if your pool freezes. Just before you place your pool liner on top of the water, toss a partially filled inflatable pillow (or pool ring) into the pool.
Don’t fill it all the way, or it could pop in the freezing temperatures.
Finally, use clips to attach your pool liner securely to the exterior rim of the pool.
What are the Parts Of An Above Ground Pool?
This question comes up frequently because some assembly is required with an above-ground pool, as you may have guessed.
- Base/Top plates: The plate stabilizes the pool.
- Base Rail/Rim: The rim provides a solid support structure to hold the liner in place.
- Wall: The exterior sides of the pool. Not all above-ground pools have walls.
- Joiner: The connection system for attaching braces and stabilizers.
- Vertical uprights: The vertical poles that hold up the pool sides.
- Stabilizers: Braces that keep the pool in place, especially while you’re filling it.
- Connectors: The attachments that connect the stabilizers and braces.
- Coving/Coping These are the protective rims on the base rail and joiners, respectively.
- Pad: Also known as the ground cover, this pad acts as a cushion between the ground and the pool bottom.
- Liner: This “pool part” of the system, in which the water goes.
- Basket: The device that catches leaves in debris when the pool circulates water through the filtration system.
- Pump: The machine that filters the water.
- Filter: The device that traps small particles and purifies the water.
- Skimmer: The device that removes debris from the pool’s surface.
And here’s a final piece of advice regarding these parts: Hang on to the packing slip or write down the parts you’re using and their numbers in case you need to order replacements. You’ll need the model name and part number.
Thanks to the variety of options and the ease of installation among top-rated above-ground pools, your dreams of owning a swimming pool are that much closer to becoming a reality.
Once you decide on the above pool best suited to your family’s needs and budget, you can customize your backyard oasis with a dream deck and luxurious landscaping for maximum outdoor enjoyment.
You may find yourself wondering why you hadn’t taken the plunge sooner!