You’re at the right place if you’re looking for the best above ground pool pad that will protect your above ground pool from destructive materials.
After using and discarding tens and hundreds of different pool pads, I’ve come up with a list of pool pads that actually work and won’t end up wasting your hard-earned money.
If you want extra tips on how best to choose the right pool pad, don’t forget to check out the buyer’s guide near the end of this article.
With that said, let’s get right into it.
What is the best above ground pool pad?
Here is the list of the 6 best above ground pool pads that are tried and tested.
1. Rhino Pool Liner Pad
The Rhino pool liner pad makes the top of the list. This liner pad’s fiber is resilient and durable, making it an effective protective coat for your pool floor. The Rhino pad will do an excellent job of protecting your pool liner against cuts from rocks, roots, glass, nutgrass, and debris.
If you’ve ever witnessed a steel-walled above ground pool start to corrode, you’ll probably appreciate your pool pads more. Pool pads produce water vapor to eliminate the water at the pool’s bottom, stopping corrosion in advance.
But don’t mistake this as meaning that the pool pad isn’t useful for other types of pool grounds. If you own grass or concrete under pop-up pools, your pad will still serve as a good protective barrier.
Moreover, the pool pad creates an extra cushion, making it enjoyable for you to walk around your pool instead of suffering from sore feet after your pool session.
Although the pad may not appear very thick, its ability to guard your liner is exceptional, thanks to its high density and low compression construction qualities. Plus, the material is capable of retaining heat for the maximum comfort of your feet.
The fabric is made of 45% post-consumer and 45% industrial recycled material. These allow moisture to pass freely, providing resistance to mold and mildew.
Besides, the pad comes in three shapes, which include oval, round, and rectangle. And its size ranges from 10-ft to more than 33-ft.
It also comes pre-cut to fit your pool for your convenience. But in case the shape is slightly off, you can easily trim it to fit your pool.
As said earlier, you’ll have to do a little bit of work to trim the pad if it doesn’t match the shape of your pool. But that’s the same for any pool pad. Apart from that, it’s difficult to find anything bad to say about this product.
2. Blue Wave Round Liner Pad
If you want to buy a quality liner pad from a trustworthy brand, then the Blue Wave liner pad is a great choice.
This pad will be a considerable upgrade if you’re still using an old foam floor that barely provides any protection.
The Blue Wave pool pad is as tough and durable as any other pads in the market and provides supreme protection against sharp objects. Although the pad feels thin, it’s strong enough to resist puncture from most sharp objects that roam your pool floor.
But just because it’s tough doesn’t mean it lacks the soft side. The pad will provide you enough cushioning, so it’s a breeze for you and your kids to walk around the pool.
The pad’s size ranges from 12-ft to 33-ft, so you shouldn’t have any problem finding the one that fits your pool. There’s also no need to cut and tape this pad since it’s already cut and seamed to fit your pool size.
I personally like how the pad stretches quite easily, and it’s easy to place it on your pool bottom without tape or velcro.
If you buy this pad, one tip I have for you is to remove larger stones from the ground before installing it. Since the pad is somewhat thin, you’ll still feel big stones on your feet if there are some on your pool floor.
Overall, I rate this as one of the top above ground pool pads, especially when you consider how affordable it is.
The color is white, so it’ll be quite visible when it gets soiled. It’s also important to have realistic expectations. You’ll be disappointed if you expect your pool bottom to feel like you’re walking on memory foam. But you’ll be happy with the product if you want your pool bottom to feel softer than how it is now.
3. Liner Life Pool Pad
The Liner Life pad is another very popular above ground pool pad on Amazon. The pad is specifically made to resist puncture from grass and roots.
Just like the previous two pads, this also comes pre-cut to fit your pool, which means less manual labor for you. The pad is designed to fit most pool shapes and sizes. So you won’t have to do any extra work as long as you don’t own a very uniquely-shaped above ground pool.
The pad will protect your pool’s vinyl liner effectively, helping you reduce the number of times you’ll have to change the liner, which will save you money in the long run.
The durability of this pad is excellent since it’s made of polyester geotextile material. The pool pad’s sizes range from 12-ft to 30-ft. And the size goes up in about 2-ft increments, so it shouldn’t be difficult for you to find the one that fits your pool bottom well.
The pad feels thicker compared to the ones we previously reviewed. So if you prefer your pad to have a bit of girth, I recommend this over others.
When your pad arrives, be sure to lay it out on the floor for a day or so for it to flatten. You can also put something on top of it to prevent the pad from crunching up or flying away.
4. Elephant Guard Armor Shield Padding
The elephant pad is another highly durable pool pad, thanks to its tear-guard weave material, and the pad comes in sizes of 12-ft to 24-ft.
I want you to know that this pool pad is supposed to be placed under the vinyl liner. In other words, it serves as undergrowth protection.
When you lay this on your pool bottom, it will feel soft but not squishy.
Make sure you use a sand base and place this under the vinyl liner. If you’re looking for a pool pad that also comes with a noticeable cushioning, I suggest you go with other options. With the Elephant pad, you’ll barely feel it’s even there (as intended). That said, it’ll still feel much better than bare ground.
5. GLI Armor Shield Pool Pad
GLI Armor Shield pool pad boasts over 1,000 reviews on Amazon, and it’s undoubtedly one of the most popular pads among pool owners.
The size ranges between 10 to 27-ft, and it comes in all shapes. The pad is made of polypropylene geotextile material that’s resistant to damages caused by the debris.
Plus, the pad does a good job of reducing convective heat loss and provides a nice surface for your feet to rest.
The installation process is as simple as unfolding the pad and laying it down on your pool bottom. When you first get the pad, let it sit in the sun for a bit. Make sure to read the label, so your pool pad is facing the correct side when you lay it down. You can also spray some water to help the pad flatten more quickly.
Overall, this pad provides nice protection for your pool liner while offering a bit of cushion for the comfort of your feet.
There are a few complaints from customers that the pad is cut a little unevenly. But by and large, most customers are extremely happy with the pad. Just make sure you thoroughly check the pad to confirm it’s in good condition when you first receive it.
6. Horizon Ventures Underpad
The Horizon Ventures underpad is made of water-resistant synthetic polyester felt, and it works similarly to a carpet underpad, providing cushion and protection for your pool liner.
Because it’s made of thick, synthetic material, it’ll last as long as the life of the liner. The size of the pad ranges from 15 to 33-ft.
This pad comes with all the basic perks of a quality pool pad, such as liner protection, heat loss prevention, and pre-cut sizes.
It’s also one of the most affordable pool pads for its size, making it a great option for those who are on a tight budget.
Although the pad provides a good shielding against debris, it feels quite thin. It’s also not mildew-resistant, which may be a deal-breaker for some.
7. Gorilla Pool Pad
The last one on the list is the Gorilla pool pad, and this pad really is as durable as the name suggests.
The pad’s resilient geotextile fabric allows moisture to pass through, safeguarding your pool against mold and mildew.
And this pad will work just fine whether you plan to install it on top of soil or sand bed,
Some people find that the material is a little too thin for their liking. Your pool’s bottom will still feel softer with this than without. But there are other pads, such as the Rhino or Blue Wave pads, that will do a better job of cushioning the bottom.
Best Above Ground Pool Pad Buyer’s Guide
Let’s discuss the most important factors to consider before buying an above ground pool pad.
Most pool pads are pre-cut, so you don’t have to do any extra work for them to fit your pool. That said, you do want to make sure you pick the correct sizes and shapes.
Pool pads generally come in three shapes: Oval, round, and rectangular. And sizes are usually between 10-ft to 33-ft.
So before you buy pool pads, always confirm that both the size and shape match your pool.
Your pad choice can vary depending on how much you care about buying a pad with good cushioning,
If you don’t want much padding for your pool bottom and you strictly only care about the protection, then something like the Elephant Guard pad will more than suffice.
But if you want a pad that’ll make your pool floor noticeably softer, you’ll want to go with other alternatives, such as the Blue Wave liner pad.
Having said that, don’t expect any pool pad to provide extreme cushioning. You’ll certainly notice a difference, but it won’t be a magic pill.
Mold and Mildew Resistance
This may or may not be a concern depending on where you live. If you live in a humid climate, you’ll want to get a pad that’s mold and mildew-resistant.
One thing you want to look out for is the pad materials’ ability to let moisture pass through.
Most quality pool pads provide resistance against mold and mildew. But there are some pool pads, such as the Horizontal Ventures pad, that aren’t capable of resisting mildew, so I recommend you do a bit of research beforehand.
If you live in a warm and humid area during the summer, I recommend choosing something like the Rhino pool pad that provides complete protection against these fungi.
Some pads come with heat-retaining ability, while others don’t.
If this is something you care about, be sure to thoroughly read the product’s description to confirm that the pad comes with this quality.
Pool pads, such as the Rhino, Elephant Guard, and Horizon Ventures pads, are all excellent at retaining heat.
You’ll want to pick a pool pad that’s suitable for the ground where your above ground pool is on.
For example, the Elephant Guard pad requires you to have a sand base as a prerequisite. The Rhino pool pad, on the other hand, works well with any ground type.
As a side note, make sure you even out your pool’s bottom before installing your pad. It’ll yield a much more satisfactory result.
If your pool water can easily penetrate through your pool pad and come in contact with metal, you’ll begin to see corrosion.
For this reason, you want your pool pad to be able to resist water effectively to minimize potential damage.
The Rhino pool pad produces water vapor to eradicate water from the bottom of your pool, eliminating the possibility of corrosion.
You wouldn’t want your pool pad to last only a short period before it becomes useless.
The ideal scenario is for your pool pad to last as long as the pool liner.
For this to happen, you must pick a pool pad that’s made with quality material.
One example of this is geotextile material. Geotextiles are fabrics that are usually made from polyester or polypropylene. These are permeable textiles that aid in improving soil stability as well as drainage.
It’s a strong synthetic fabric that’s also very durable. So if durability is your primary concern when choosing pool pads, be sure to look out for geotextile in the product’s description.
Unlike pool cleaners or filter pumps, there isn’t a huge gap in prices between different pool pads. Most are between a few tens of dollars up to a hundred-something dollars, depending on the pad’s size.
So, I wouldn’t worry too much about getting the cheapest possible deal for your pool pad. It’s much better to buy a better quality one if it means just paying a few extra bucks.
Above Ground Pool Pad FAQs
Here are the most commonly asked questions about above ground pool pads.
What is an above ground pool pad?
Above ground pool pads are extra layers of fabric materials that are placed between your pool liner and the floor. They protect pool liners from getting cut and punctured by rough materials, such as rocks, roots, and other debris.
Since they’re primarily used for protection, they’re made from durable materials, such as geotextiles.
But that doesn’t mean these fabrics will feel hard on your feet. In fact, most pool pads will feel soft due to the good level of cushioning that they provide.
Do you really need an above ground pool pad?
The short answer is yes.
Above ground pool pads serve as a valuable protective barrier for your pool liner. Although most pool liners aren’t overly fragile, it’s never a bad idea to install pool pads as an extra protective layer. Your pool pad will increase your pool’s longevity, and you’ll be glad you installed it.
Besides, you probably don’t want to feel a bunch of rocks and rough materials on your feet when you walk around your pool. Pool pads come with the added benefit of softening your pool bottom, so you and your family can have a more enjoyable experience.
How do you install above ground pool pads?
The installation process for above ground pool pads is quite simple.
You don’t need any technical expertise nor plumbing experience to install the pad.
In fact, if you pick the correct shape and size for your pool pad, half the battle is done.
When the pad arrives, lay it on the ground. And let it bathe in the sun, so it flattens out a little. You can also sprinkle some water on it to expedite the process.
Make sure your pool ground is flat and level.
Next, I recommend you place the sand on the base of the pool. It isn’t absolutely necessary to use sand, but it’ll make your pool bottom feel softer.
You then want to flatten the sand.
And finally, you’ll want to place your pool pad on top. You likely wouldn’t need to worry about cutting the pad if you picked the correct size.
As you’ve probably noticed, many pool pads share a lot of the same characteristics. But there are also subtle differences that you want to keep in mind when choosing a pool pad.
Most of these are outlined in the buyer’s guide section, which you may want to revisit later.
Overall, I believe the Rhino pool liner pad will be the best choice for most above ground pool owners. Not only is it an excellent protective barrier for your pool liner, but it also feels great on your feet.
Besides, the pad doesn’t give room for mold and mildew to grow, which is important if you live in a humid climate.
Pool pads may seem like an insignificant component of keeping your pool in good condition. But in reality, it enhances your pool experience. And more importantly, it increases your above ground pool’s longevity, so you save more money down the road.
So it’s in your best interest to carefully select the one that will best suit your above ground pool.
I wish you the best of luck!