When the temperatures creep up, the thought of a nice, refreshing dip in the pool dominates your brain. It’s time to get one!
There are plenty of affordable above ground pools to choose from, but since there are so many models, sizes, and features to take into consideration, the shopping process can feel a bit overwhelming.
In our detailed guide, will simply the process for you and help you choose the best above ground pool for your yard and budget. Read on to see a list of the top 10 pools and read our detailed reviews of the five best models.
Top 10 Above Ground Pools Table
Important Things to Consider Before You Purchase an Above Ground Pool
When you’re willing to spend some money on something like a pool, you need to make sure that it is money well spent.
In this section, we’ll go over some of the most important things you need to pay attention to as you compare and contrast models.
- Shape. Rectangular and oval pools have more space for you to swim laps (if the pool is long enough) and for playing water sports while round pools are best for lounging.
- Size. Obviously choosing something that will fit in your yard is the first thing to take into consideration, but when it comes to size, also think about how many people are likely to use the pool.
- Is a Pump Included? To keep your water clear and to help prevent algae growth, it’s important to have a pump with a filtration system. Some pools come with them, but if it isn’t included, we suggest you purchase one separately.
You can choose from sand filters (great because sand is natural and does a great job at filtering out small debris) and cartridges (which you’ll need to replace and hard to recycle).
You’ll need to pay attention to the frame materials and the material of the pool walls as you compare models. There are advantages and disadvantages to each kind.
- Frame. For the frame, manufacturers use either steel, aluminum or resin.
Steel is strong but susceptible to rusting and aluminum – while strong – can dent and deform. Aluminum, unlike steel, does not rust.
Keep in mind that both get hot to the touch, and if the pool is sitting under the hot sun all day, it is easier for someone to get burned. Resin doesn’t have that problem – it gets warm but not scalding hot.
- Walls. Most of the pools in our guide are from Intex since they have so many affordable models. Many are made of hard PVC, but there are also soft-sided pools made from various materials.
Pools with hard walls are sturdy and resistant to puncturing, but they are also a bit heavy and bulky to assemble or disassemble.
Soft-sided pools are lighter but easier to puncture.
Top 5 Best Above Ground Pool Reviews
This pool from Intex is big, so if you have 8+ people who will use it on a regular basis, it is worth the investment for your summer fun.
The kit comes with everything you need, including a debris cover, a sand filter pump, ground cloth and pool ladder. The filter is pretty powerful and can pump 2,100 gallons of water per hour. Since the water capacity of this pool is 8,403 gallons, the complete filtration process in a still pool will take about four hours. The sand can sit in the filter for five years before you need to change it, which means that it easily outperforms the cartridge filters.
The frame is made of powder-coated steel tubing and provides the large pool with plenty of support (we wouldn’t want any other material hold up a pool this size).
They say it can be assembled in 60 minutes, which we would say is more or less true if you already have experience putting up pools of this nature.
As a complete kit, this is a fairly priced pool for the size, but if you need something smaller, Intex has some other great choices in our top five.
For kids and teens who want to splash around the pool together, this round, 18-foot model from Intex is a great choice.
It features the same great pump from the previous model and also comes with a ladder, debris cover and ground cloth. It’s basically the same pool, just a different shape.
While it does come with everything you need, we can’t say that the ground cover was that sturdy (very thin) and the ladder doesn’t seem like it will hold up well with regular use.
Setup is rather easy, and the steel frame is very sturdy. Overall, for the quality and price, we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to others. If you don’t want to have to worry about purchasing pumps and other accessories separately, a kit like this is ideal.
This pool is very basic, and the price reflects that. If you’re not interested in spending a ton of money on a pool but still want something that you can slip into when the weather gets warm, it’s a great choice.
It will hold 872 gallons of water and measures over nine feet in length. The frame is made from PVC piping, so while this isn’t the strongest material out there, it is sturdy enough to support a pool of this size.
We recommend this for families with younger children based on the size. It isn’t very high, but since it is so affordable, it’s great for those of you who want to graduate from the kiddie pool to something bigger. Just remember that you’ll need to purchase a pump separately. Intex’s 1000 GPH pump works great with this one.
Moving back to another Intex pool, they have a smaller round pool that will work if the 18-footer was too larger for your yard or your pool needs.
While we do prefer the other round pool of theirs that we looked at earlier, not everyone can spring for that one, and this would be the next best choice from the same company.
You’ll notice that the pump is a little different: this one has a cartridge filter rather than sand, and while we do prefer sand filters, this does a decent job of keeping the pool clean.
You still get the ground cloth, the ladder, and the debris cover, making this a pretty good deal.
At 15 feet wide, you can easily fit 8 guests in it or maybe a few more if you’re having a party for kids.
Does it take the 45 minutes they suggested to set up? More or less. If you’ve never assembled a pool before it might take longer, but this one is pretty straightforward to assemble.
Bestway Steel’s pools is a good alternative to the previous pool if you prefer a soft-sided model. They are lighter and easier to store/assemble, and it’s the same diameter as the previous pool so you can fit the same amount of guests in it.
This pool does not include a pump. The previous pool did, plus they gave you the pump, ladder, and cover for the same price. We can’t say it’s the best above ground pool for the price, but it is nice once you get it set up.
Remember that as a soft-sided pool, you have to be careful about puncturing it. The material is a layer of polyester mesh that is sandwiched between two layers of heavy-gauge PVC, but since the material is thinner than the hard-sided pools, you’ll have to be careful around it.