Looking for a simple solution to give your backyard an instant vacation feel right at home?
Above-ground pools are a perfect option. And with summer kicking off, we're all beginning to long for those sunscreen-slathered days. An above-ground pool is the go-to choice if you're looking for an affordable option that doesn't require a full backyard makeover. However, these types of pools can require some extra attention as they damage easier than a built-in pool.
The benefits of above-ground pools are varied, from price to portability, and everything in between. And, the options aren't limited — they come in all shapes and sizes for any type of backyard. They're typically easy to install, clean, and maintain. Most above-ground pools also require fewer chemicals (which means less money) to keep up and run than in-ground pools do. Are you thinking of installing an above-ground pool this summer? Here's our take on the 10 best above-ground pools on the market.
How the Products Made the Top 10
With tons of pools to choose from, we narrowed down the top 10 list so that you're guaranteed one that's perfect for your backyard. Here are the main factors we took into account when selecting the best above-ground pool:
- Price: You may be looking for an affordable option just to get through the scorching hot summer, or you might be ready to splurge on a durable, long-lasting, and expensive above-ground pool. Whatever the case may be, we wanted to offer a wide price range depending on your specific needs.
- Size: This depends on the size of your backyard and who's going to use the pool. The list offers small- to medium- to large-sized above-ground pool suggestions.
- Ease of installation: How much time are you willing to invest in the setup of your new above-ground pool? Depending on how much time and "construction" experience you have, we've provided options ranging from simple to difficult installation processes.
Top 10 Above-Ground Pools
- Intex Ultra XTR Pool Set with Sand Filter Pump
- Bestway Power Steel Outdoor Oval Frame Above Ground Swimming Pool Set
- Coleman Power Steel Vista Series II
- Intex Easy Set Inflatable Above Ground Swimming Pool
- Googo Inflatable Above Ground Swimming Pool
- Bestway Steel Pro MAX Ground Frame Pool
- Summer Waves 10 ft. x 30 in. Round Above Ground Pool
- Intex 12 ft. x 30 in. Above Ground Swimming Pool
- Summer Waves Elite 18 ft. x 48 in. Metal Frame Outdoor Backyard Above Ground Pool Set
- Intex 15 ft. x 48 in. Above Ground Pool
Best Above-Ground Pools Compared
Filter Pump? (Y/N)
Starts at 14 ft x 12 ft 52in and goes up to 32 ft x 16 ft x 52 in (both round and rectangular shapes)
14 ft x 8'2 in x 39.5 in
22 ft x 52 in
10 ft x 30 in
92 in x 56 in x 20 in
12 ft x 39.5 in
10 ft x 30 in
12 ft x 30 in
18 ft x 48 in
15 ft x 48 in
Intex Ultra XTR Rectangular Pool Set with Sand Filter Pump
Hydro Aeration Technology
The large rectangular size may be restrictive to certain backyards
DIY setup and maintenance are doable but quite a bit of work (as the ground must be super level)
Backwashing and replacement required only every five years
Galvanized steel enhances durability
Coating ensures rust resistance
Durable cover that fastens firmly and combats debris
With this pool's unparalleled water clarity, you can jump in and still be able to see your feet. It features an Intex Krystal Clear sand filter that pumps with innovative Hydro Aeration Technology®. This top-of-the-market tech improves filtration, water cleanliness, and air freshness surrounding the pool.
An above-ground pool made from super durable material is highly sought after for obvious reasons: The more durable it is, the more summers you'll be able to use it. It has a galvanized steel frame that's rust-resistant, as well as a puncture-resistant liner, making it great for families.
This pool is labeled as child-friendly for kids aged six and up. There are also grips on the ladder to prevent slipping for extra safety, rounding out its family-friendly appeal.
Bestway Power Steel Outdoor Oval Frame Above Ground Swimming Pool Set
Smaller size than other options on the list
Ladder doesn’t come with a platform, which can be difficult for kids to navigate
Fortified wall support
Corrosion-resistant steel frame
ChemConnect dispenser evenly distributes chlorine across the pool
This pool is mid-tier in terms of its price, coming in at under $500. While it's not the largest above-ground pool on the market, it is one of the easiest to assemble. (In fact, it requires zero tools to either set up or take down). As long as you've got one or two people to help you set it up, you should be good to go in hours.
It's also durable as it has fortified wall support, a corrosion-resistant steel frame, and a puncture-resistant liner. While it may be smaller in size than you'd like, it's definitely affordable, and that's always a plus!
Coleman Power Steel Vista Series II
Gray wicker frame
Need to upgrade for a sand filter (if desired)
One of the more costly options on the list
Seal & Lock System provides strength
No tool set-up
Durability allows you to leave it up all year
Applauded customer service
This modern gray wicker-printed above-ground pool will match a variety of yard aesthetics and patio furniture sets. It's equipped with peep-through portholes in the sides to allow kids to wave as they swim by. This feature can give parents peace of mind that their kids are playing safely.
The pool is also super sturdy, as it has reinforcements built around it so you don't have to worry about taking it down in the off-season. On the inside, it has a detailed, unique tile print, as well as a puncture-resistant liner to prevent wear and tear throughout the summer.
Intex Easy Set Inflatable Above Ground Swimming Pool
Less than 15-minute set-up
Filter pump and filters sold separately
Needs occasional refilling
Pool goes up automatically as the water rises
Drain plug for easy emptying
At under $100, this is by far the least expensive option on our list of best above-ground pools. It's inflatable, which makes it easy to set up, and will be ready to fill with water in no more than 15 minutes. It even comes with a DVD video containing step-by-step instructions to make it virtually impossible to mess up the set-up process!
This pool is also puncture-resistant, and one of the more kid-friendly options on our list because of its shallow 30-inch depth. When the season is over, it's easy to drain, deflate, and pack away before you need it again the next summer.
Googo Inflatable Above Ground Swimming Pool
Electric pump for inflating not included
Easy to use, store, and carry
Only fits a few people
Built from a durable and environmentally-friendly material that reduces risk of punctures
Cushioned bottom, making it both comfortable and safe for kids
At 20 inches deep, this is the most shallow above-ground pool on our list, which makes it great for younger kids to splash around safely all summer. Plus, it's easy to set up — when using an electric pump, it only takes three minutes. It's compact and inflatable, too, meaning you can pack it down quickly or even bring it over to the neighbor's house so others can join in on the fun.
Inflatable pools tend to raise alarm because of the material, however, this above-ground pool is made from durable, environmentally-friendly material and PVC walls that are 50% thicker than most on the market. This is reassuring because it reduces the risk of holes and punctures.
Bestway Steel Pro MAX Ground Frame Pool
Withstands extreme conditions due to thick metal frame
Pricy for its depth and general size
Filter, cover tarp, and ladder included
Minimal 90-day warranty
Easy to assemble and disassemble
Easy to drain (by attaching to a garden hose)
Round shape conserves space in a yard
If you live somewhere that typically has a tropical climate, this may be a great above-ground pool for you thanks to its corrosion-resistant steel frame that combats the wear and tear from things like UV rays and chlorine. It's also held together by a signature FrameLink System, it's easy to build (requiring no tools), and it's extra sturdy once fastened.
One of the other great perks of this above-ground pool is that it's a one-stop shop. With it, you get a filter, cover, and ladder (did someone say, safety?). That, combined with the 3.5-foot depth, makes it most suitable for adults and older children. When you're ready to take it down for the season, it has a Flow Control Drain Valve for easy draining.
Summer Waves 10 ft. x 30 in. Round Above Ground Pool
Galvanized steel frame prevents rust
Requires a tarp underneath (although the instructions don’t specify this)
Easy to assemble (less than one hour)
Kid- and adult-friendly
Fits in small garden spaces
Subtle gray wicker print design
Reviewers on Amazon say this above-ground pool matches their yard aesthetic perfectly because of the subtle gray herringbone color. The other top qualities to mention are its size and shape. It's 10 feet by 30 inches (one of the smaller options on our list) and has a round shape, which means you can fit it in most yards, no matter how big or small. Its clever size will fit the whole family, and its 30-inch depth is safe for kids.
This above-ground pool also comes with a ladder, cover, pump, maintenance kit, and a skimmer so you won't have to run out to the shop when the pool needs a good clean.
Intex 12 ft. x 30 in. Above Ground Swimming Pool
Fits a maximum of six people
Filter, cover, and ladder not included
Laminated side walls reinforced for additional strength
Instructional DVD included
Requires less parts than other options
This pool is both easy to set up and one of the more affordable options on our list. And, even though it's budget-friendly, it doesn't compromise on the build. It's made of durable steel and the parts use innovative 'T-joint' engineering, which makes the set-up process straightforward — you can build it in under an hour.
Another unique feature of this above-ground pool is that its drain plug is compatible with a standard garden hose to drain water away from the pool without a ton of maintenance. All in all, the pool's price is comparable to inflatable pools on the market, yet it's much sturdier.
Summer Waves Elite 18 ft. x 48 in. Metal Frame Above Ground Pool Set
Charming herringbone wicker pattern
All necessary parts for set-up and maintainence included
Large size limited to spacious backyards
Ready for filling in less than an hour
Durable steel and PVC design
Sturdy ladder (stays in place without floating when getting in and out of pool)
Pump attaches to sidewall to prevent tripping
While it's on the pricier end of our selections, this pool is well worth it if you want all the accessories and a big enough size to comfortably fit several people. It comes with a filter pump, cover, ladder, ground tarp, skimmer net, and sophisticated maintenance kit to cover all your bases for pool ownership.
The design also prioritizes safety — the ladder remains firmly in place and the pump fastens to the sidewall to prevent tripping.
Intex 15 ft. x 48 in. Above Ground Pool
Dual suction outlet keeps pool water clean and clear
Cannot be set up on loose soil or other conditions
Ready to fill in 45 minutes
Ladder tends to be a bit wobbly
Super sturdy and UV-stabilized laminated sidewalls
Maintenance DVD included
Filter pumps 1,000 gallons per hour
Negative ions improve air quality surrounding pool
This is Intex's more affordable model, coming in at a slightly smaller, round size compared to its alternatives. However, it still keeps up with the excellent water quality found in all of the brand's pools. Patented HydroAeration Technology by Intex keeps your water clear and the air around the pool fresh.
It's so easy to set up that if you get another person on board to help, it should be ready to fill up with water within 45 minutes or less. The 48-inch depth of this above-ground pool is perfect for kids to swim safely, and for adults to have enough space to take a proper plunge.
What to Think About When Purchasing an Above-Ground Pool
Pool Size, Shape, and Depth
One of the first things to think about when you're deciding on an above-ground pool for your yard is the size. Not only do you have to think about the square footage of your backyard, but it's also important to think about the layout. If you have quite a bit of backyard space to play around with, you can probably go for a rectangular or square pool, whilst if the area is a little bit tight, circle-shaped pools may be a better fit.
When it comes to dimensions of above-ground pools, it's also important to take depth into account. You should look for pool depths according to who will be swimming in the pool — if kids will be your primary swimmers, you can likely opt for a pool with a shallower depth; if teenagers or adults will be using the pool more often, you'll probably want to find something deeper.
Ease of Installation
For the most part, above-ground pools can usually be installed in a single day, generally in no more than a few hours. Thankfully, none of the pools we've chosen should need any outside assistance!
Safety first! Some important features to look for are fencing, ladders, and handrails to prevent slipping when getting in and out of the pool, along with top-quality filtration systems to keep the water crystal clear, clean, and ready for use.
How Long Do Above-Ground Pools Last?
Most above-ground pools last around five years, if not more. The lifespan of your above-ground pool depends on a couple of things like the quality of the pool itself and how well you maintain it. If you want to get the most time out of your pool, you should plan to do maintenance monthly (especially when frequently used). This could mean replacing the liner, swapping out old parts for new ones, and cleaning the water. We also recommend looking for a pool with a warranty, just in case.
If you're looking for a way to upgrade your backyard this summer, an above-ground pool is the ultimate option. And, with the flexibility to remove it from your backyard, it makes for a solid short-term investment without any permanent home changes.
Which above-ground pool is best?
The above-ground pool that's best for you depends on your budget and the amount of backyard space you have to play around with. You'll also want to find one that's constructed from durable materials so it can be used season after season.
Which above-ground pool lasts the longest?
While inflatable pools can last for multiple seasons if you maintain them properly, pools made from more durable materials like steel last the longest.
Is it worth it to buy an above-ground pool?
Whether you live in a warm climate, enjoy spending your summer days chilling in your yard, or need to find a way to entertain your kids, there are many worthwhile reasons to bring vacation to your backyard with an above-ground pool.