In-ground pools are expensive to build and they are not feasible in every location, which is why there’s the alternative: above ground swimming pools. The best above ground swimming pools offer an experience very similar to in-ground pools and have the added feature of generally quick assembly.
With so many brands and options to choose from, picking out the right above ground pool can be difficult. That’s why we’ve analyzed above ground pools on the market and compared their features, creating a well-rounded list of above ground swimming pools reviews.
By comparing features such as pool size, material, the convenience of use, etc., this review will help you find the best above ground pool for your specific needs, such as our top pick, the Intex 15ft Metal Frame Pool Set.
- 1 Top 12 Best Above Ground Swimming Pools Reviews
- 1.1 Intex 15ft x 48in Metal Frame Pool Set
- 1.2 Cornelius Pools Phoenix 18′ x 52″ Frame Above Ground Pool Kit
- 1.3 Intex 18ft x 10ft x 42in Oval Frame Pool Set
- 1.4 Intex 24ft x 12ft x 52in Ultra Frame Rectangular Pool Set
- 1.5 Intex 18ft x 48in Easy Set Pool
- 1.6 Bestway 12752 Steel Pro Frame Pool (15-Feet by 48-Inch)
- 1.7 Intex 16ft x 8ft x 42in Prism Frame Rectangular Pool Set
- 1.8 Summer Waves Elite Wicker Print 16′ x 48″ Above Ground Frame Pool Set
- 1.9 GLI Above Ground Pool Fence Base Kit
- 1.10 Bestway 56477E Power Steel Rectangular Frame Pool Set (24′ x 12′ x 52″)
- 1.11 Cornelius Pools Phoenix 24′ x 52″ Round Steel Frame Above Ground Swimming Pool
- 1.12 Summer Waves 8′ Metal Frame Above Ground Family Swimming Pool Set
- 2 Tips on Choosing the Best Above Ground Pools
- 3 Tips on Maintaining an Above Ground Pools
- 4 Factors To Consider When Buying The Best Above Ground Pools
- 5 Above Ground Pools F.A.Q.
- 6 Conclusion
Top 12 Best Above Ground Swimming Pools Reviews
The first pool in review, the Intex 15ft x 48in Metal Frame Pool Set, is the best budget above ground pool available. Topping the list of best above ground swimming pools, this product by Intex is an affordable and reliable above ground option produced by a reputable and well-known brand in the pool industry.
Also, the pool pump accompanying this pool is reported to be efficient and quiet, keeping water healthy in a non-disruptive manner. And as it goes when you’re the best of the best, you tend to come with a lot of perks;
The Intex 15ft x 48in Metal Frame Pool Set is ideal for those with flat areas of lawn or yard to place the pool. The pool is a great option for families and people who intend to have guests using the pool due to its large diameter.
The pool cover included with the pool is a tight-fitting cover that holds firmly to the edges of the pool, allowing you to prevent debris build up whenever you wish.
All in all, this pool is the best on the market for varying reasons, from affordability to convenience of set up and strength for the price.
The next review is of the Cornelius Pools Phoenix 18′ x 52″ Frame Above Ground Pool Kit, the best hard sided above ground pool available. This pool is among the best above ground pools consumer reports mention. Unlike the previously reviewed pool, this above ground pool has solid walls and is less of a throw-it-together quickly product.
Although it’s a more involved set-up, this pool by Cornelius is still easily assembled by the buyer/s. This pool also has a less of a standout appearance and is designed to elegantly fit your yard.
The Cornelius 18′ x 52″ Above Ground Pool Kit is the option for those looking for more of a permanent above ground pool option. This pool is designed to last many years and is large enough for the whole family to enjoy together.
While set-up is time consuming, there’s no need to call in any professionals to help assemble this pool.
If you want a permanent pool but aren’t looking to cough up the enormous amounts of money to build one in-ground, this pool is for you. It serves the same purpose and has an appearance fit for any yard.
Intex debatably manufactures the best quality above ground pools. They’ve created another gem with the Intex 18ft x 10ft x 42in Oval Frame Pool Set. Oval above ground swimming pools provide a different experience than that of round pools. The oval shape is more akin to the general shape of in-ground pools and presents more of that dynamic in terms of swimming space.
The best above ground pool for the money, the Intex Oval Frame Pool Set shares similarities with the previously reviewed Intex Metal Frame Pool Set. It too comes with a bevy of features and is sure to satisfy.
The Intex 18ft x 10ft x 42in Oval Frame Pool Set is perfect for folks with tighter backyard spaces and narrower areas to try to fit an above ground pool. With an inflatable edge surrounding the pool and an included ladder, this pool is a very safe option for families and people with young children and guests.
Intex has done another incredible job with this oval framed pool, including many features and added incentives for buying, such as included pumps, ladders, and debris covers.
Living up to the Intex name, the 18ft x 10ft x 52in Oval Frame Pool Set is a phenomenal above ground pool option for any yard or space, and specifically for tighter spaces.
Coming in at number four, the Intex 24ft x 12ft x 52in Ultra Frame Rectangular Pool Set is the best rectangular above ground pool. This above ground option by Intex holds the closest resemblance to the typical shape of and experience with in-ground pools. Considered to be the luxurious option for above ground pools, this pool has a sleek, contemporary look.
The pool, like its Intex counterparts, is sturdy and reliable.
The Intex 24ft x 12ft x 52in Ultra Frame Rectangular Pool Set is the perfect pool for those who want a large, in-ground type of swimming space without the in-ground hassle. This pool is easily large enough for pool parties and get togethers with its 8,403 gallon capacity.
Like all Intex models reviewed so far, the pool comes with everything you need to get started, including the instructional set-up DVD.
With its simple and easy construction, you’ll have this pool up and running in no time to enjoy the spring and summer sun. If you’re looking to go big, but in an affordable way, this pool is the one for you.
Intex has a knack for creating affordable above ground swimming pools. So as it goes, the next pool in review is the Intex 18ft x 48in Easy Set Pool. This Intex pool can be differentiated from its Intex counterparts by its lack of supportive framing. Instead of being framed by steel bars, this pool simply inflates around the rim and gets filled with water.
As the water fills the pool, the walls grow as the water fills in to support them. Like all Intex models, you’re getting more than just a PVC sack.
This Intex Easy Set Pool is ideal for those looking for a way to swim without getting too fancy with it. The no-frame design makes the pool incredibly easy to set up and take down. To set it up you simply inflate the rim, lay out the pool where you intend to have it, and begin filling it.
It’s a very hassle free pool set-up. For families looking for an easy, non-burdensome pool option for the spring and summer months, this Intex Easy Set Pool could be for you.
Next up in the best above ground swimming pools reviews is the Bestway Steel Pro Frame Pool (15-Feet by 48-Inch), and it is possibly the best inexpensive above ground pool on the market. This pool is similar to the Intex pool of the same dimensions reviewed at the number one spot. It does, however, differ slightly.
The pool walls, while still composed partly of PVC, encase a layer of polyester mesh to create walls that are simultaneously sturdy and lightweight. The Bestway Steel Pro Frame Pool requires no tools for set-up and is rather easy to assemble.
The Bestway Steel Pro Frame Pool is a good option for those looking for an affordable above ground pool with no hassle assembly and storage. The pool lacks the included features that make many of the previously reviewed pools appealing, such as ladders and covers.
The lack of included ladder does knock this option down a peg from its competitors but shouldn’t be a problem for folks looking for a deal.
The lightweight sidewall material also makes this a great above ground pool option for those looking for simple set-ups. Not only this, but the material is foldable such that storing the pool in its off months will be no problem at all. The steel framing reassures the the pool is durable and built to last.
Coming in at seven in the reviews is another Intex pool, the 16ft x 8ft x 42in Prism Frame Rectangular Pool Set. This above ground option by Intex is great for people looking into large above ground swimming pools.
Built much in the same fashion as the other framed Intex options previously reviewed, this pool is sturdy and comes with many of the same amenities. Designed with modernity in mind.
While this Intex Prism Frame Rectangular Pool is large in shape, its water capacity is less than that of many of the other options on the list. This pool also has one of the lowest (in inches) water levels of any of the pools reviewed to this point.
Regardless, the pool is still spacious enough for an enjoyable dip. In fact, its shape is even ideal for those who have narrow yard space or obscure yard settings that make the typical oval and larger rectangle pools hard to fit in.
Like the other Intex pools reviewed, the pool is easy to set-up and comes with an instructional DVD to help you out if you get stuck. If your yard is too small (in width) to hold pools like the sizes mentioned previously, this option could be your answer while still providing plenty of swimming space.
While above ground pools are enjoyable and a great way to affordably enjoy swimming, they have to be truly exceptional to be considered awesome above ground pools. This next option, the Summer Waves Elite Wicker Print 16′ x 48″ Above Ground Frame Pool Set, is exactly that.
This above ground pool option may be the most aesthetically pleasing option available and the least plain looking pool on the market. The pool’s sidewalls are printed to appear as a large, wicker basket-like container, giving it a truly unique appearance. Though this pool does more than just look good.
The Summer Waves Elite Wicker Print 16′ x 48″ Above Ground Frame Pool Set is a fantastic above ground pool option for those looking to go the traditional, round pool route but in a little bit of style. The wicker appearance of the pool allows for it to quietly fade into the landscape of your yard, rather than standing out with light blue walls, like many of the options reviewed do.
The pool is large and sturdy enough to enjoy with the entire family or all of your friends. Its appearance is certainly a plus as well. It’s also the only pool reviewed to this point that includes a maintenance kit; that will definitely come in handy when simple repairs need to be done down the road.
As we can infer from the Summer Waves pool, good looking above ground pools are out there, you just need to find them. This next product, the GLI Above Ground Pool Fence Base Kit is one such way to improve the appearance of your above ground pool.
The Fence Base Kit is perfect for small pools to the biggest above ground pool. Not only does adding a fence improve the up front appearance of your above ground pool, it also makes it much safer. It prevents accidental drowning or other accidents related to non-enclosed pools.
The GLI Above Ground Pool Fence Base kit is a great product for those looking to improve their above ground pool’s aesthetic and safety. The kit from GLI is also enough to satisfy most insurance requirements, as an added bonus. Creating a safer space for your above ground pool is a no brainer. With this fence kit, the price of safety is more than reasonable.
While you may need a little help in assembling the fencing, it is meant to be easy to install by any buyer. Coming with instructions and requiring no extra tools, this kit is certainly fit for DIY assembly. Also, GLI provides separate kits and it is to be clarified, this kit only contains sections from Kit A.
The pool slotted here at number ten is another Bestway product. The Bestway Power Steel Rectangular Frame Pool Set is a great option for those looking for a large, rectangular swimming space for multiple people.
Constructed much in the same way that the Intex rectangular pools are, the walls are supported by a steel framing system. The pool also takes on a light grey color, giving it a contemporary yet non-invasive appearance.
This pool by Bestway is a great option for those looking to create a large swimming space in their yard. The rectangular shape helps to give the above ground pool an in-ground pool type of feel. It also creates plenty of space to entertain the whole family all spring and summer long.
The Bestway Power Steel Rectangular Frame Pool Set is an ideal buy for those looking for durability as well as ease of set-up. The lightweight walls are not only easy to control when building the pool, they are incredibly sturdy and built to withstand the associated pressures of swimming activities.
With its contemporary style, this above ground pool is fit for any space and will not stand out like a sore thumb.
This next pool in review is the larger counterpart to the Cornelius Pools product reviewed at number two. The Cornelius Pools Phoenix 24′ x 52″ Round Steel Frame Above Ground Swimming Pool is round, just as the previously reviewed Cornelius pool is, though it is about six feet larger in diameter.
Constructed with the same aesthetic appeal and intended to fit nicely into any yard, this pool is highly durable and its steel sidewalls are galvanized.
The Cornelius Pools Phoenix 24′ x 52″ Round Steel Frame Above Ground Swimming Pool is ideal for those looking for a stylish above ground pool for their yard. This is the perfect pool for people interested in the Cornelius brand and style who also would like a large swimming space.
Additionally, with 52 inch walls, this pool, like its smaller counterpart, holds one of the highest water levels out of all of the products reviewed here.
If you’re looking for style that won’t degrade your backyard’s aesthetic, high durability, and spacious swimming, this is the pool option for you. While it’s not the cheapest on the market, this pool is meant to last years and is able to fight the elements without rust or corrosion occurring.
No above ground pool review would be complete without presenting a product for those with very little space to use. The Summer Waves 8′ Metal Frame Above Ground Family Swimming Pool Set is the best small backyard above ground pool.
Not all yards are able to accommodate the somewhat large 16′ diameter or long rectangular pools. That’s why Summer Waves has this convenient product. Due to its round shape, it is similar in construction to many of the previously reviewed round pools.
For those with little space, or little people, this pool is the perfect above ground option for you. Spanning only eight feet in diameter, this pool is great for young children and teaching them the basics of swimming while maintaining a safe environment. While still suitable for adults, the pool is not ideal for larger people and may not be fit for the whole family to enjoy at once.
However, not all spaces allow for being picky with the above ground pool you get. Sometimes, the smaller option is all that will work. Again, if you’re pressed on space, this is the above ground pool option for you. If you’re looking for an affordable way to allow your children to go swimming in the spring or summer, this pool is for you.
Tips on Choosing the Best Above Ground Pools
- Do your homework: Buying an above ground pool is more like buying a car than, let’s say, a basketball. What we mean by that is that there is a lot that will go into your decision about which pool you buy. You cannot simply walk into a store, see one you like, buy it, and leave. Well you could, but there’s a high chance it doesn’t work for your yard.So, do your homework. Know how much yard space you have, how much space you would like to dedicate to the pool, what type of swimming experience you desire, etc. Both round and rectangular above ground pools are great, but both provide a different swimming experience. Additionally, you want to be sure you’re dealing with the best above ground pool brands, such as Intex, who dominates these above ground swimming pools reviews. Also, part of doing your homework would be to consider the included products that come with each above ground pool, as we have here in these above ground swimming pools reviews.
- Ask others: Many, many people have chosen to go the above ground pool route because it’s typically much cheaper and less of a hassle than in-ground pools. With that in mind, you should definitely be asking around for some advice and help. You can ask people you know with above ground pools, you can ask others if they have relatives or friends with above ground pools, and you can even peruse the internet for advice on above ground pools from online communities.Asking others for advice and help is a safe bet for gaining valuable information and perspective when it comes to anything. The case is no different for above ground pools. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there with the hopes of finding useful information to help you make a decision about an above ground pool.
- Stay within your capabilities: Many of the above ground pools reviewed here suggest avoiding sand, mud, and other soft surfaces when installing your pool. This next tip is to go for a pool that is within your capabilities. When we say capabilities, we are talking about everything from your yard’s ability to hold certain pools and your own ability to assemble and maintain an above ground pool. Know your own limits, both personally and regarding your home, in order to find the right above ground pool.
Tips on Maintaining an Above Ground Pools
- Run the pool filter: When the pool is open for the season, it’s best to run the filter for at least 12 hours a day. Some recommendations state that they should run for eighteen hours a day, though 12 should be enough for most pools. By running the pump so long, the water will continue being cleaned and filtered throughout the day, leaving less debris and cleanup to take care of.
- Maintain pH and chlorine levels: The pH level in your above ground pool should be between 7.4 and 7.6. The chlorine level in your water should be anywhere between 2.0 and 4.0 ppm (parts per million). There are both pH and chlorine solutions available on the market for chemically balancing your pool. You will likely need some sort of testing kit or reader to determine your pH and chlorine levels as well.
- Use a skimmer: While a pool filter will sift out much of the little contaminants in your pool water, using a skimmer frequently is the best way to prevent large debris build up around your filter. If you’ve placed your above ground pool around a tree, you’ll want to religiously skim the pool for leaves. Skimming can be a bit tedious but it goes so far in helping to prevent unnecessary build up and unwanted water conditions.
- Maintain a certain water level: The next tip for maintaining your above ground pool is maintaining the water level. Rains tend to add to the volume of your pool and too much extra water could prove to be detrimental to your pool’s infrastructure. Each above ground pool model is only meant to carry a certain amount of water. Therefore, you want to ensure that your water level is never above the suggested height. Similarly, you’ll want to prevent the water level from dipping too far below the suggested height. This too could cause damage to the pool by weakening its structure. With drain valves fitted onto most models, maintaining the water level shouldn’t be too difficult a task. However, be sure to keep an eye on the chemical composition of your water as you increase or decrease the water volume.
- Use a cover: By having the ability to cover the pool during the night hours and when there are storms, you can prevent a large swath of debris, insects, and other contaminants from entering your pool water.
Factors To Consider When Buying The Best Above Ground Pools
- Your yard space: The first factor to consider when buying an above ground pool is one that has been mentioned in other ways thus far, your yard space. This is the most important factor when buying an above ground pool because it will determine the shape and size of pools that you are capable of fitting into your yard. Not only do you have to be sure you have enough space for certain shapes and sizes of pools, you also need to determine how much of your space you are willing to dedicate to the pool. For instance, you may have the space for a round, 24 foot pool, but it could end up being situated in the dead center of your yard and it might take up most of it. This is why your space is the first factor to consider.
- Swimmers: The next factor to consider is who will be using your pool. If you intend for the pool to be kid friendly, you’re likely going to want one of the shallower options available. However, if you’re looking for a large pool for adults to enjoy, a deeper, larger pool is likely the way to go. The swimmers that will be occupying the pool are important in deciding which model is best suited for your needs.
- Time and effort: Another huge factor in the buying process is how much time and effort you are willing to put into constructing the above ground pool and maintaining it. For those who don’t expect to spend too much time cleaning the pool, a smaller pool would better suit you or you can spend some in automatic pool cleaners. Most of the models available are simple to assemble are can be done with no professional help. Some models will require a more handy-man type of approach, though. This circles back to getting a pool within your capabilities. Only consider pools that will fit into your schedule and plans in terms of construction and maintenance.
- Style preference: The last factor to consider before pulling the trigger on an above ground pool option is your style preference. Many of the above ground pools reviewed come in an obnoxious, blue color that stands out quite a bit. There are aesthetically pleasing models available on the market, however, just as we saw with the Summer Waves Wicker Print pool. How the pool will look in your yard can be just as important to you as how it functions.
Above Ground Pools F.A.Q.
Should I get a round, rectangular, or oval pool?
- Well, space permitting, this choice is entirely preferential. Of course, you may not have space for the large round models, in which case a rectangular or oval pool may be the best option for you. If you desire a pool that will allow you to take a refreshing dip without occupying too much of your yard, one of the narrower, rectangular shaped pools could be best. If you have the space, choose what feels right to you. Just keep in mind that the varying shapes of pool provide varying swimming experiences.
Should I pursue a more permanent model or a deconstructable model?
- There are both semi-permanent and non-permanent models of above ground pools. We would recommend the semi-permanent options, like the Cornelius pools, for people who intend to make the pool the focal point of their yard. For those who simply wish for a pool they can throw together and take apart every swimming season, the steel framed, easy to assemble models are more fitting. The underlying question here is how central do you wish for your pool to be to your yard and your space?
Are above ground pools suitable for children?
- Most above ground pools will recommend that the youngest a swimmer be is six years old. While it would never be safe to allow young children to swim alone, above ground pools don’t differentiate from above ground pools too much here. The one advantage above ground pools have is that they typically do not reach a depth of more than four feet. Also, the small, eight foot round pool reviewed would be great for children with adult supervision. No pool is suitable for children to swim alone, but all models are suitable for children swimming under adult supervision and with safety measures in place (floaties, etc.)
In-ground pools are nice and all, but they are massively expensive and quite a doozy to maintain and take care of. That’s why above ground pools are a popular option for those seeking at-home swimming experiences.
While they still need to be maintained, above ground pools are typically smaller (water capacity) and require less investment in maintenance and upkeep, making them intriguing options for the frugal among us.
Determining which models are the best above ground swimming pools can be quite the task. After all, you’re shopping for a product that requires constant overseeing and maintenance. However, the work that comes with determining which above ground pool is right for you shouldn’t prevent you from obtaining that spring and summer oasis for your yard.
It’s our hope that with the information provided by these above ground swimming pools reviews, you are armed and ready to begin the process of finding the right above ground pool. With the season knocking on the door, it’s time to get that pool as soon as you can!