Relaxing in a swimming pool is an excellent way of beating the summer heat. Many people might want an in-ground pool as the centerpiece of their backyard, but they are just too expensive.
That's where above-ground pools come in. They are just as advantageous as in-ground pools without the hefty price tag. Unless you’re a professional swimmer preparing for your next event, an above-ground pool should do just fine.
The market is filled with various above-ground pools, and it can be confusing to figure out which ones you should go for. That's why we have come up with our list of the best above ground pools with a buying guide.
Review Of 10 Best Above Ground Pools In 2021
1. Intex 15ft X 48in Metal Frame Pool Set (Best Overall)
Intex is known for providing affordable and well-built pools, and this Intex metal frame pool is another excellent offering from Intex. The price tag is certainly a huge advantage, and we can see many people flocking to buy this unit.
However, the affordable price tag hasn't compromised on the quality and features. Thanks to its laminated sidewalls, this unit has a premium look and is very sturdy. The sidewalls also feature a patented Super-Tough structure that maintains the frame legs in position. The size is also very spacious for half the price of what other competitors are providing.
In our Intex metal frame pool reviews, we were also impressed by the assembly process. You'll need help, but it's pretty straightforward in comparison to similar models. It even comes with a DVD to simplify the installation process.
The Intex 15ft x 48in Metal Frame Pool Set features a special design with steel framing that enhances the durability and safety of the unit. This unit comes with three different sizes to accommodates various needs.
Another advantage of this pool is that it comes with a lot of useful accessories like a filter pump, pool cover, drop cloth, and even a ladder. However, few users have warned that, the ladder is little wobbly. Therefore, you need to balance yourself when using it for getting in and out of the pool.
In our expert opinion, it’s easily one of the best above ground pools we’ve tested and a reliable solution to the summer heat.
- Well-built and durable
- Very easy to assemble
- Deep enough for swimming
- Can accommodate 10 people
- Comes with various accessories
- The ladder is wobbly.
- No skimmer
- The pump isn't very effective
2. Intex 32ft X 16ft X 52in Ultra Frame Rectangular Pool Set
With this Intex Ultra Frame pool set, you're getting a pool that's well-built, spacious, and beautifully designed. Thanks to its graphite liner, water-blue tile print, and a classic rectangular design, this pool will not look out of place in your backyard.
It’s the perfect unit for your whole family to beat the summer heat. It features a unique steel frame design that evenly distributes weight and optimizes shape, enhancing the durability and longevity of the pool. Whatever your kids throw at it, it can undoubtedly handle it.
This unit is fairly easy to assemble and can be ready for water in about 90 minutes. Because of the powerful filtration system, this pool is also low-maintenance.
In our testing, we were stunned by the durability of this unit. With a combination of hi-tech outer and inner powder coating and galvanized steel, this unit is resistant to rusting. The composite t-joints are also particularly engineered for durability with metal frame protection. It's also puncture-resistant.
This Intex pool set also comes with various accessories like pool cover, ladder along with Krystal Clear sanitation and filtration system. If you’re looking for the best above ground saltwater pool, this unit is a great investment.
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- Great design
- Very spacious for swimming
- The sand filtration system works really great
- Durable and long-lasting
- Easy to maintain
- The parts are easy to replace
- The pool cover is of sub-par quality
- Must be setup in a level ground
- Premium Price
3. Best Budget: Intex 12ft X 30in Easy Set Pool Set
The Intex 12ft X 30in Easy Set Pool Set is another excellent affordable pool set from Intex. Assembly is super easy. All you have to do is lay out the unit on level ground, inflate the pool's top ring, and fill up the pool with water to enjoy.
This unit is ready for water in about 10 minutes. In our review, it took us about an hour to assemble this unit. You'll need some helping hands, but the process is very simple. This unit also comes with a 110-120V filter pump, which is also easy to install-simply hook the hoses, and you're ready to go. We found the filter pump quite impressive.
Powered by a dual-suction outlet fitting, this above-ground pool also ensures proper water circulation for maintaining water hygiene. If you want to drain water away from your house or pool area, there’s a convenient drain plug that you can connect to a garden hose.
This unit also comes with a DVD to help you with the assembly and maintenance. Despite its low price tag, this unit is also durable. Thanks to Super-Tough sidewalls, we’re certain you’ll be using this unit more than two summer.
- Suitable for kids and pets
- Great Price tag
- Easy to assemble
- Pump works well and easy to connect
- Wide enough for splashing
- You need a perfectly leveled ground to use this pool
- Not deep enough
- The pump only lasts one season
4. Best Round: Intex ultra frame pool 16x48
The Intex Ultra XTR pool is easy to maintain, set up, and is also well-built. If you have a level ground, this unit will be very suitable for you. It has a unique frame, and thanks to the combination of precision engineered locking-system and galvanized quality, this above-ground pool gets full points for stability, durability, and quality.
The installation process is straightforward. In our testing, it took us about 90 minutes to set it up. However, you'll require help of 3 individuals to assemble this unit. The assemble pieces seamlessly and securely fit together. There's no need to purchase separate locking pins. If you want to drain water from the pool, you can easily connect the drain plug to a garden hose.
We also found this above-ground pool set to be very durable. It's constructed with 3 separate material layers and laminated PVC sliding. It’ll certainly last a long time.
This unit has a height of 48 inches and a water capacity of 7,947 gallons. The Intex Ultra XTR pool set also comes with various accessories like pool cover, pump, ladder, and ground cover. The 10 inch sand filter works nicely to keep the water clean and safe.
Overall, it's a great size pool for a family of seven. Although, its little pricey, considering the quality, features and useful accessories, we think, the Intex Ultra Frame Pool is a great investment for summertime fun.
- Comes with easy to follow instruction
- The pool itself is very sturdy
- The pump works really good
- Rust resistant
- Doesn’t include a skimmer
- Assembling is difficult.
5. Bestway 56597E Pro MAX
The Bestway Steel Pro Max is an excellent combination of durability and affordability. This oval-shaped above-ground pool is sturdy and constructed with a durable steel frame that is also corrosion and rust-resistant.
We also found the unit very easy to install. You don’t need any tools to set up this above-ground pool from Bestway. If you want to empty the excess water, you can easily do so with the flow-controlled drain valve. The Seal and Lock System ensures that each joint is connected securely and is also resistant to leaking or bending.
Constructed with tri-tech and heavy-duty PVC materials, you'll be hard-pressed to find such a durable unit at this price point. This unit also features a 530 GPH filter pump that ensures that your water is crystal clear and safe.
We found the unit to be very low-maintenance, and it'll take only about an hour to fill it up with water. This above-ground pool can hold up to 27,000 gallons of water so you can swim comfortably. We find it very suitable for kids and pets as well.
- The pool frame is rust and corrosion-resistant
- Require less time for setup
- Great locking system
- Easy to assemble
- Easy to take down
- You’ll need a stronger pump
- Size might be an issue for some people
6. Intex rectangular above ground Baby pool 28270E
If you want a hassle-free but functional pool, then the Intex Rectangular Metal Frame Pool is a great choice. It's perfect for small families up to 5 people and can hold up to 439 gallons of water. It has a rectangular shape design so the kids or pets will be able to practice few swimming laps.
With dimensions of 24-foot x 12-foot x 52 inches, you can easily fit this above-ground pool in your small backyard. This pool also has a simple design allowing it to blend with your pool surroundings seamlessly. We find this pool very useful for small parties.
Another noteworthy feature of this pool is that it's easy and quick to assemble. It also comes with clear and comprehensive instructions making the installation process even simpler.
This above-ground pool from Intex can be ready for water in just 30 minutes. It's also very well-built and durable. It has strong and durable steel frames that are powder-coated to ensure longevity, and laminated sidewalls keep the frame legs of the unit secured.
- Perfect for a small family or a small party
- Great for small backyard
- Comes with steel frame design
- Well-built and durable
- Easy to set up
- Great filter
- You'll need to buy a pump separately
7. Best For Easy Setup: Intex 15ft X 48in Easy Set Pool Set
Undoubtedly, one of the best above ground pool from Intex that’s functional and easy to set up. It's powered by a 110-120V cartridge filter pump and features dual suction outlet fittings. All of this means, an optimum water circulation and great filtration.
If you want to set it up, all you have to do is inflate the unit's top ring and fill it with water. This above-ground pool is ready for water in just 20 minutes. It also requires very little maintenance and is easy to clean. After you install it, cleaning it only once a week should be sufficient. You can leave it on for the full season if you want.
The pool is fairly large and is best suited for a medium sized family. It features laminated PVS sidewalls and puncture-resistant materials for durability and longevity. We were surprised that this pool was sturdily built despite its affordable price tag.
The "ground fault interrupter" is another nice addition of this unit. If the electricity exposed to water accidentally, the pump will turn off automatically. Its indeed a great safety feature that can save you and your family members from the unexpected hazard.
This pool comes with a debris cover, a filter pump and a ground cloth for the added safety. In addition, it also comes with a ladder, so if you have kids, they’ll have no issues climbing into the pool.
- Perfect for kids and pets
- Comes with few safety features
- Well-built and sturdy
- Ready for water in just 15 minutes
- Requires low-maintenance
- The thin liner may require patching
- No shut off valve system
8. Intex 10ft X 30in Prism Frame Pool Set
With the Intex Prism Frame pool, you’ll be able to enjoy hours of fun with your family and friends. It has an impressive design that'll look great in any backyard setting.
It measures 15-feet in diameter with a 4-foot Height, which is pretty standard size for most families. In addition, it can hold 1,185 gallons of water, making it suitable for you and your family.
It comes with almost everything you need to get started. We found it really easy to assemble, although you'll require some helping hands to get the job done precisely. It's ready for water in just 30 minutes. It's also relatively easy and quick to take it down for the winter.
Featuring a stunning design with sturdy 3-ply and puncture-resistant materials, this unit is more durable than many expensive units. The powder-coated steel frames add to the durability of the pool. Another great feature of this above-ground pool is that it comes with a Krystal Clear pump that’s not just effective but also easy to install and clean.
- Low maintenance above-ground pool
- Easy to set-up
- Deep enough
- Sturdy and long-lasting
- Filter is small
- Not for large groups
9. Bestway 56631E Power Steel Above Ground Pool Set
If you want a large and durable above-ground pool for your backyard, then the Bestway 56631E Power Steel Above Ground Pool Set is a great choice. Built with durable sidewalls and tri-tech materials, we have no doubt you'll be using this pool for a long time.
It also features premium grade materials that can sustain the worst conditions, including exposure to chlorine and ultra-violet rays. It has a simple classic rectangular shape ensuring that it doesn't look out of place in your backyard.
This pool set is also very easy to assemble and requires minimal tools. In our testing, it took us about 2.5 hours to set it up. However, installation is not a one-person job. The bottom of the pool liner also comes with rope wraps to ensure that it stays in position.
Draining this pool is also easy and, thanks to the flow drain control valve. This unit comes with a pool cover, ladder, ground cloth, and a SAND filter pump.
- Great depth and size
- Well-built and sturdy
- Great design
- Easy draining system
- Filter pump is weak
- The ladder is a little unstable
10. Summer Waves Elite Above Ground pool
If you’re looking for Summer Waves Elite reviews, you’ll be pleased to know that this is a solid option. It has a 16-foot diameter round design and holds 5,246 gallons of water, allowing you to swim comfortably.
It has a grey wicker herringbone print design that'll add a stylish touch to anywhere you place it. This unit also blends in easily with the surrounding. Despite its large size, this above-ground pool can be ready for water in just 45 minutes.
This above-ground pool from Summer Waves features a heavy-duty PVC material and triple-layer polyester mesh construction contributing to the durability and longevity of the product. The galvanized steel frame is also rust-resistant, adding to the sturdiness of the unit.
Another impressive feature is the filter pump. It's a unique combination of filter pump and skimmer that easily attaches to your pool’s sidewalls to prevent tripping and easy-maintenance.
- Luxury look
- Easy to set up
- Low maintenance
- Great design
- Filter pump work’s great
- The pool cover is sub-standard
Above Ground Vs. Inground Pool: What're The Differences?
The first significant difference is price. Inground pools are significantly more expensive than above ground pools. In fact, for the cost of an affordable inground pool, you could probably get a premium top of the line above ground pool and still have some left-over money.
Another difference is the installation process. It's far simpler, easier, and quicker to install an above-ground pool than an in-ground pool. For an inground pool, the simple fact that excavation is required makes it far complicated. Generally, a local pool company must be consulted for installation, and the process can take weeks or even months, depending on your pool.
Many people also find in-ground pools to be more appealing to the eyes than above-ground variants. If you have an above-ground pool and people say it looks like an inground pool, it's a compliment.
Renovations and repairs for in-ground pools are also very expensive as the unit is a permanent fixture. However, with above-ground pools, if you don't need it, you can simply take it down or replace it.
Why Should You Invest In An Above-Ground Pool?
If you want to invest in an above-ground pool, you’ll be pleased to know that it comes with various advantages such as:
1. Budget Friendly:
The biggest factor is cost-effectiveness. You can get a high-quality above-ground pool for less than half the money you’ll spend on an in-ground pool. If you can enjoy swimming while spending less money, why look elsewhere?
2. Available In Various Sizes And Shapes:
With above-ground pools, you don't need to worry about space allocation. They come in various sizes and shapes and will fit perfectly in your backyard. Additionally, you don't have to worry about construction or digging.
3. Easy To Install And Closure:
Another advantage is that installing an above-ground unit is quicker and easier. With in-ground pools, you'll have to wait for weeks or even months to enjoy swimming. However, installing an above-ground unit can be done in a few hours. These pools are also easy to close for winterizing.
4. Comes With Portable Design:
Above-ground pools are also portable. If you don’t like where it’s set up, you can simply move it to another location. If you’re moving to a new home, you can even bring it with you. There’s no need to buy a whole new unit.
Types Of Above Ground Pools:
There are various types of above-ground pools available on the market, and you'll have to decide which type you require before purchasing.
If you want a sturdy and durable pool, steel frame pools are the ones you should invest in. They are resistant to rusting and are generally cost-effective as well. They are constructed from various metals like galvanized steel, zinc, and aluminum. Best steel frames are galvanized coated and resistant to rusting and corrosion.
Resin pools are very common, and they typically feature steel walls, and the rest of the pool is constructed with resin. Resin pools are very cost-effective and can last a very long time. However, if exposed to ultraviolet rays or extreme weather for a long time, resin pool parts can start to crack or fade.
Radiant pools are also called semi-inground pools. They use the same technology utilized for airplane construction. Radiant pool walls are more durable than concrete, polymer, and steel. They are also customizable, and you can choose from various shapes and sizes. Radiant pools are also energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.
Best Above Ground Pool Brands
There are numerous brands that produce above-ground pools, but obviously, some stand out more than the rest. The below-mentioned brands are the best in the field due to their expertise and quality products.
With more than forty years of history, Intex is known for providing high-quality above ground pools across various price points. Their Easy Set, Prism Frame, and Metal Frame pools are renowned in the industry. They also provide various pool accessories.
Bestway provides numerous above-ground pools and accessories. Their units are well known for their durability and design. Their Steel Pro Max and Sat Set pools are popular choices.
Summer Waves pools are also a top contender in the industry. Other than the durability and quality of their above-ground pools, they are also known for their unit’s design and color, which are different from the typical blue variants flooding the market.
Above Ground Pools: Ultimate Buying Guide
Now that we are done with our list let's get to the buying guide. This guide provides you with important information about what to look for in an above-ground pool.
Shape: Round vs Oval vs Rectangle
Generally, above-ground pools are available in three shapes: rectangle, circle, and oval. Considering how much space you have and the purpose of use, the shape of the pool can be an important factor. Each shape has its own advantages.
Rectangle pools are great for swimming and circle, and oval shapes are excellent for relaxing. A circle pool is more budget friendly and easier to maintain than its counterparts.
Round or Oval Above Ground Pools : Which One Is Best? Watch the following video to choose your pool's shape.
Make sure that your unit also comes with an effective filtration system. It's used for eliminating dirt and germs from your pool and ensuring that you have a healthy and safe pool environment. In our experience, most pools don’t come with effective filters, so make sure that you pay extra attention to this feature.
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Like we've mentioned above, above-ground pools come in various types, and each has its advantages. The most common ones are resin, steel, and radiant above-ground pools. Steels are the least expensive, and radiant and resin are more durable options.
Accessories: (Pump, Filter, Cover)
Many above-ground pools come with various accessories like filter pump, ladder, pool cover, etc. However, it's not just the number of accessories that matter but also the quality.
Purchasing an above-ground unit with numerous high-quality accessories will undoubtedly be a huge advantage. You don’t have to pay extra cash on accessories.
N.B: If you want to enjoy your swimming during the cold weather you should ensure proper heating of water. In this respect, you should go for a best heater for your above ground swimming pool.
When it comes to the size of your pool, there are some factors that you must take into consideration like the size of your yard and how many people will be using it at once. Smaller sizes are suitable for a family of 3-4 people. However, smaller units are difficult to play pool games in or swim laps.
The bigger the pool, the more you’ll be able to do in your backyard. On an average, pools measure 14x28. This is plenty of room for personal exercise, family swims and pool parties and are suitable for most backyards. However, bigger sized units have their limitations. They are harder to clean, maintain and take longer for installation.
Above Ground Pool Size Chart:
Warranty is also another crucial factor. If you’re going to invest a lot on an above-ground pool, make sure that it comes with a solid warranty. The warranty is a representation of how much the manufacturer trusts the product. Its standard for most pools to come with a one-year warranty. However, some pools have a longer warranty and some units even feature limited lifetime warranty.
If you face issues with your unit, the manufacturer will take care of it. Generally, the warranty only applies to the frame and not the liner. If the brand has exceptional customer service, its an additional advantage. They can help you out with any problem you may face with your purchase.
Above-ground pools come with various price tags. If you’re going for a budget option, you’ll have to make certain compromises. Affordable pools generally range around $50-$150 and are easy to install and maintain but you’ll have to sacrifice on their durability. For a mid-range pool which typically ranges between $100-$300, you can get more durable units with metal frames.
Premium options often cost $1000+ and features aluminium and steel walls. They’ll certainly last a long time. However, it all comes to your requirements. Don’t pay a lot for features you don’t require. If a low-budget, modestly sized pool works perfectly fine for you, there’s no need for to splurge on expensive units.
In our review of the best above ground pools, we were genuinely impressed by all the units. We are confident none of them will disappoint you. There is no perfect above-ground pool, and it ultimately comes down to your preference.
The top plum in our list goes to the Intex 15ft X 48in Metal Frame Pool Set due to its durability, functionality, and design. You can also go for the Intex 10ft X 30in Prism Frame Pool Set if you’re looking for an affordable option.
Note: We also recently reviewed above ground pool pump. See our top pick here.