9 Best Above Ground Swimming Pools for 2021

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If inground pools exceed your budget, above ground pool is a great alternative that provides much the same benefits as inground pools.

With so many options available, it’s hard to sort through different ones to find the best above ground pool that will suit your needs.

Hopefully, this guide will provide you with enough details about top-selling above ground pools that are currently in demand and help you make an informed decision.

What is the best above ground swimming pool?

Here is the list of 9 best above ground swimming pools.

1. Intex Ultra XTR Rectangular Pool

Intex Ultra XTR rectangular pool is one of the most popular above ground pools. The pool is slightly higher priced than others, but it comes with many advantages, including its durable build, spaciousness, appealing design, and longevity.

Along with a ladder, ground cloth, and pool cover, this product also comes with a more stylish and contemporary design.

Even with its improved design, the assembly is relatively simple, and most people find they can easily handle the setup on their own without hiring an expert. Its easy lock system allows different parts to snap together with no need to use tools.

You can find this pool in several different sizes, but even the smaller ones have plenty of space.

Overall, this is a high-quality pool that provides better durability than inflatable pools without breaking your bank. It’s relatively easy to install and disassemble, meaning it’s easy to store them away in the offseason, so the pool lasts longer. If you are looking to buy a pool that will last for many seasons, then this is a great choice.

Before assembling the pool, you need to make sure you have plenty of space in the backyard, and the ground is completely flat.

This will require a good amount of effort and time, depending on your ground’s condition.

Some of the reviews mention that the ladder that comes with the pool isn’t exactly solid, so you may want to purchase another one.

2. Intex Ultra XTR Round Pool

The Intex Ultra XTR Round pool is a popular choice among pool owners, with nearly 2,000 reviews on Amazon alone. The pool’s frame is made up of galvanized steel and utilizes a precision-engineered locking system for maximal stability and durability.

The powder coating system protects your pool from easily rusting. The product also comes with everything you need to maintain and enjoy your pool, including a 110 to 120V sand filter pump, pool ladder, ground cloth, and pool cover. 

The ladder is slip-resistant and coated with a steel frame to prevent corrosion. The debris cover is made of durable material and comes with a rope tie to keep the cover stationary. The pump has a flow rate of 2,100 gallons per hour, helping your pool maintain a top-notch condition.

The pool’s water capacity is nearly 7,000 gallons, which is more than enough to accommodate the entire family.

Furthermore, the product comes with a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty, so you don’t need to worry about not receiving the needed support if something malfunctions with your pool.

One potential inconvenience is that you have to start the pump manually, and it doesn’t come with a programmable pump.

That said, you can set how long you want it to run after you start it, so it’s just the starting part that’s a little bit of a hassle.

The ladder can also be a little wobbly for older kids and adults, so you may want to invest in a new, studier ladder if no one in your family is under 5 to 6 years old.

3. Bestway Pro MAX Above Ground Pool

Bestway Pro MAX pool offers five different sizing options. The height ranges from 30 to 48 inches, and the width ranges from 10 to 15 feet.

The frame is oval-shaped and made with rigid material for extra strength. Moreover, it’s coated with a corrosion-resistant material for protection against abrasion and sun damage.

The 3-ply PVC band supports the pool, so it remains sturdy. Additionally, the pool frame utilizes the seal-and-lock system for extra security. The frame materials coupled with the system prevent your pool wall from easily tearing, leaking, bending, and fading over time.

It takes less than 60-minutes to construct your pool, and It’s also quite hassle-free to drain your pool in the offseason with its flow control drain valve that connects to your garden hose.

One complaint I have about the product is that although it’s straightforward to assemble the pool, the instruction only contains pictures, which can be ambiguous at times.

Also, many reviews recommend that you upgrade the pump for easier maintenance of the pool.

4. Intex Easy Set Pool

Intex easy set pool is another budget-friendly pool for those looking to enjoy a pool on a tight budget. It’s especially suitable for small backyards due to its modest size (15-foot by 42-inch) and also ideal for younger kids.

The pool is very easy to install, so you can easily store it away when not in use, which also helps with its longevity. And it includes 1500-gallon filter pumps, so your pool water stays clear of dirt and debris.

This product offers most of what you’d expect from a high-quality pool, and the only potential drawback is its size, which can also be an advantage if you’re getting it for your kids.

Because it’s so affordable, some customers even throw the pool away when the season is over instead of storing it away and purchase a new one when the new season arrives.

Additionally, this pool can also serve as a good test pool for first-time pool owners. It will teach you the basics of taking care of your pool, and you’ll also learn if your family enjoys the pool as much as you initially thought.

Apart from its size, one of the major shortcomings of the pool is that it is not as durable as other Intex products. So if you know exactly what type of pool you want, and you want something that will last a long time, this is probably not the best option.

5. Intex Greywood Premium Steel Pool

Intex Greywood Premium Steel pool is a family-sized pool with a visually-appealing design. The pool has the size of 18-feet by 48-inch and contains nearly 6,500 gallons of water at 90% capacity, so your family will have plenty of space to enjoy the pool.

The product comes with a 120V cartridge filter pump with a flow rate of 1,500 gallons per hour, which helps keep your pool clear. Furthermore, the pool wall is made of 3-layer materials that are puncture-resistant.

You’ll also receive everything you need to set up and maintain your pool, such as a pool pump, ladder, and a pool cover. Additionally, you’ll get an instructional DVD that shows you exactly how to assemble and maintain your pool optimally.

Although the package provides you with every part you need to run the pool, you may want to upgrade a few components depending on your needs.

For example, some customers prefer to upgrade the pump to a larger one for more efficient maintenance. That is not to say the original pump is bad quality, but it really comes down to your tolerance level. 

6. Intex Prism Frame Pool Set with Filter Pump

Intex Prism Frame pool is a popular low-priced pool. The pool is supported by metal frames for extra strength and durability, and it’s suitable for people of ages 6 to older.

Its 10 ft x 30 in size will fit up to four people, which means a family of four can all enjoy the pool at the same time.

The metal frame is powder-coated to resist rust, and the pool also contains 3-ply sidewalls that don’t get punctured easily. Furthermore, the sidewalls are supported by the t-joint system that doesn’t require pins.

The 330 GPH filter pump and 120V cartridge filters ensure your pool maintains clarity at all times. Couple that with its hydro aeration technology that provides a top-notch circulation, and you have a pool that performs as well as other more expensive alternatives.

The total time to set up the pool generally takes less than 45 minutes, which means less time spent on arguing with your spouse during the process.

When it comes time to drain your pool water, you can easily use your garden hose to get the job done since it connects to the drain plug.

Some other features include 1,185 gallon capacity, and 10 x 10 x 2.5 ft (L x W x H) dimensions.

The pool offers great value for its price, but there are a few potential downsides.

First, you’ll likely need to buy a smaller ladder if you have younger kids. You may also notice the pool pump is not as powerful as some of the more pricey options.

That said, it’s still one of the most highly rated pools on Amazon, and for good reasons.

7. Bestway Steel Pro Rectangular Above Ground Swimming Pool

Bestway Steel Pro Rectangular pool is yet another inexpensive pool that’s ideal for young children and dogs. The pool’s sidewalls are built with three different layers: the polyester mesh for the inner layer along with the two outer layers of heavy gauge PVC layers.

The pool is easy to put together, and it comes with a built-in flow control drain valve so you can conveniently drain the pool water using your garden hose.

You don’t have to worry about its durability since it’s built with sturdy metal frames that are resistant to corrosion.

Moreover, you don’t need any tools to assemble the pool. Everything you need to put the pool together comes with the box.

One thing to note is that the pool doesn’t come with filters or pumps, which means you have to purchase them separately.

This can be a little annoying if you prefer to receive everything you need for your pool at once.

The pool is also mostly only ideal for younger kids around the age of three to five. It’s a decent pool as long as you don’t have a big expectation.

8. Coleman Power Steel Swimming Pool

Cole Power Steel pool has the size of 18-feet by 48-inch and comes with a water capacity of more than 6,000 gallons.

Like many other high-quality above ground pools, Coleman uses a seal-and-lock system for tight connection and stability.

The pool is aesthetically pleasing to your eyes with its natural-looking rattan wicker print on the outside liner and unique tile print on the inside.

The reinforced, fortified portholes that come with the pool allow you to keep an eye on your children when they’re dipping in the water.

The major downside of the product is the pool pump. It’s not quite good enough for the size of this pool, so you’ll want to purchase a better pump.

A few reviews suggest that the pool window (portholes) leaks, but it appears to be a non-issue for most customers.

9. Cornelius Aquarian Phoenix Steel Pool

Cornelius Aquarian Phoenix pool features two sizes: A 15-foot diameter and 52-inches deep pool, and a 24-foot diameter and 52-inches deep pool. 

The pool wall comes with a sharp marble design that adds to its aesthetics, and everything is completely made of steel for maximum durability and longevity.

It’s also easy to put all the frames together using just a screwdriver, so you don’t have to stand for hours in the burning sun trying to figure out how to set everything up.

Although the material is durable, it leaves a little to be desired when it comes to sturdiness. The pool is made of one long sheet of metal, which can be slightly flimsy.

Also, you have to purchase liners and skimmers separately since the pool doesn’t come with them.

Best above ground swimming pool buyer’s guide

First and foremost, be sure to double-check your Homeowners Association (HOA) rule before you go ahead and purchase your pool since some housing agencies prohibit properties from owning a private above ground pool.

Let’s now discuss the most important factors to consider when choosing the right above ground pool for you.

Budget

This is the first thing you must take into account before you decide which above ground pool you want.

The above ground pool price can range from just a few hundred dollars to a couple of thousands of dollars.

If you have a limited budget, you’ll have to make some sacrifices regarding the pool’s size and quality.

But just because you have a large budget doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll always want to go with the more expensive options since you may still find a low budget pool that perfectly fits your needs.

Pool size

The pool size is another important consideration for selecting an ideal pool for you and your family.

Some above ground pools, such as the Intex easy set pool, are better for younger kids, while others are just as good for older kids and adults.

If you are unsure about which size to choose, I suggest you go with a larger size. The last thing you want is to buy a smaller pool and wish you had a bigger one. It’s not a big deal when it’s the other way around. Just make sure your backyard has enough room to accommodate whatever size you choose.

That said, if you are certain that only younger kids or dogs will use the pool, it will make the most sense to buy a smaller pool.

Accessories

Many companies sell above ground pools without pumps, filters, or skimmers. In other words, you’ll have to pay extra money to buy them.

You don’t want to make the mistake of buying a pool that barely meets your budget, only to realize you have to spend another few hundred dollars to buy these accessories. In fact, they are more like necessities for your pool since you need them to maintain your pool.

Even if the product you plan to buy sends all of the accessories mentioned above, their qualities may be so poor that you’ll have to buy a new one anyway.

So, I suggest you skim through the reviews to see what people say about the pool pumps, filters, etc.

This will give you a realistic idea of how much you’ll have to spend on your above ground pool.

Durability

Your pool’s durability will vary depending on what type of pool you buy and what materials make up your pool frame.

In general, smaller, Inexpensive pools are built with cheaper material, which isn’t necessarily bad. 

For example, some people are looking for a temporary solution, and they prefer to buy a cheaper pool and throw it away by the end of the season.

And others may want pools that will last for years to come. If you are looking for pools with good longevity, don’t forget to check if the pool is made of durable materials, such as steel.

Ease of assemble

Unless you’re going to throw away your above ground pool after the summer, you’ll have to disassemble it and store it away.

This won’t be a fun experience if it’s a big hassle to take apart your pool.

Read the product’s description to check if you need extra tools other than the tools that come with your product to put together and break apart your pool.

Preferably, you want a pool that doesn’t require any tools to assemble.

Above ground pool FAQs

This section will cover some of the most common questions that relate to above ground pools.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of above ground pools and inground pools?

Advantages of inground pools

1) In-ground pools are permanent, and they can increase the value of your property, especially if you live in a place with a warmer climate.

2) Your property will have a more visually-appealing view when your pool and landscape complement each other.

Drawbacks of inground pools

1) The initial cost of installing an inground pool is substantial. You’ll also have to spend money on chemicals and cleaning for yearly maintenance. Moreover, you’ll see an increase in water and electric bills due to the use of heaters, filters, and refilling of water.

2) There are countless options to consider regarding the shape, materials, decking, and water features. This can be both an advantage and disadvantage depending on your personality.

Advantages of above ground pools

1) One of the main advantages of above ground pools is that it’s much cheaper than installing inground pools. That said, the cost can start to add up if you start buying accessories, such as a pool heater or ladders for your above ground pool. But overall, it’s still a much cheaper alternative if you want to enjoy the pool on a tight budget.

2) It takes very little time to install an above ground pool compared to inground pools. As a matter of fact, some above ground pool takes less than 30-minutes for installation. For the same reason, it’s also easy to remove it from your property.

Disadvantages of above ground pools

1) One disadvantage of above ground pools is that they add no value to your property, so they are not really a good long term investment when you look at it strictly from monetary values.

2) Most above ground pools are quite shallow, making them unsuitable for actual swimming and diving.

What is the best way to maintain an above ground pool?

Maintaining an above ground pool isn’t much different than maintaining any other pool type. You want to ensure you run filters and pumps for six to eight hours a day to keep your pool clear.

It’s important to regularly clean your pool filters and surface to prevent debris from accumulating in your pool water.

You also don’t want to skimp on vacuuming your above ground pool regularly. Otherwise, you’ll end up having to do more work later.

I also recommend investing in a good above ground pool pad to ensure your pool liners don’t incur damage from ground materials.

But above all, make sure you keep your pool chlorinated. Chlorine is the most important chemical for killing bacteria and viruses in your pool water. So without an adequate amount of chlorine present, you’ll be putting your health at risk during swimming. The ideal level of chlorine is between one to three parts per million.

Conclusion

It’s essential you take many things into consideration before you make a purchasing decision for an above ground pool.

Hopefully, all the information you’ve learned in this article helped you to equip yourself with the necessary knowledge to make the right decision.

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