Best Above-Ground Pool Reviews 2017 – Comprehensive Guide

above ground poolCurious what an above-ground pool is? That’s easy to answer. It’s the best tool to enjoy the summer. If you want a cool addition to your yard, then this is the perfect choice. An above-ground pool is much easier to install than an in-ground pool, plus, it costs less.
Above-ground pools are also easy to maintain. Most above-ground pools are smaller in size compared to in-ground pools. This makes them require less amount of chemicals and water. Aside from those persuading reasons, they are also portable. This means that you can take your pool with you when moving to a new house. Thanks to the variety of sizes, they can be installed anywhere outside your house—may it be at the back, in front, or at the side of the house.

MODELPRODUCT DIMENSIONSCAPACITYUSER RATINGPRICEOUR REVIEW
Intex Metal Frame Pool Set
Intex Metal Frame Pool Set
18 ft. x 48 in.
6,423 gallons
4.1/5
$
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Our Review
Intex Ultra Frame Pool Set
Intex Ultra Frame Pool Set with Sand Filter Pump & Saltwater System
18 ft. x 52 in.
6,981 gallons
4.0/5
$$$
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Our Review
Intex Rectangular Ultra Frame Pool Set
Intex Rectangular Ultra Frame Pool Set with Sand Filter Pump
18 ft. x 9 ft.52 in.
4,545 gallons
4.0/5
$$$$$
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Our Review
Intex Easy Set Pool Set
Intex Easy Set Pool Set
18 ft. x 48 in.
5,455 gallons
3.6/5
$$
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Our Review
Bestway 12752 Steel Pro Frame Pool
Bestway 12752 Steel Pro Frame Pool
15 ft. x 48 in.
4,231 gallons
3.6/5
$$
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Our Review

By now, I’m positive you’re psyched up to know what the best above-ground pool is. So, here’s our reviews of the top 5 above-ground pools on the market.

Ready… Set… Swim!


Best Above-Ground Pool Reviews

#1 Intex Easy Set Pool Set 28167EH

Intex Easy Set Pool SetThe Easy Set Pool comes in six sizes: 6’x20”, 8’x30”, 10’x30”, 12’x30”, 15’X48”, and 18’x48”. Prices range from $34.99 to $499.99 depending on the size. The Intex Easy Set Pool is favored among others because of the variety of round pool sizes available. The picture above has a 12’ x 30” size.

Coming from Intex, which has been making above-ground pools for almost 20 years now, this inflatable pool can easily be installed and can hold up to 1,485 gallons of water. Aside from the easy assembly, it is also easy to drain. You just have to connect it to your existing garden hose.

Since every Easy Set Pool comes with an instructional DVD and filter pump, it makes it ideal for the family’s first above-ground pool. In addition, this pool is also easy to carry, which then makes it easy to transfer.

However, you might want to place a ground cloth below this pool because the grass will stick right to its bottom and it would be taxing to clean it. Placing a ground cloth below will make the pool easier to clean.

There is also a concern with its pump. Because of its basic quality, chemicals should be added to keep it clean. The filter in the pump should also be changed at least every two weeks. But if purchasing is a bit arduous, then taking out and rinsing the filter will do.


#2 Intex Metal Frame Pool Set 28211EG

Intex Metal Frame Pool SetIntex has done that great job again with this durable metal frame pool set. Available in 12’ x 30”, 15’ x 48”, 18’ x 48”, and 24’ x 52”, this pool set features Super-Tough laminated PVC sidewalls, Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter pump, Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter, and new dual suction outlet fittings. The picture above has the 12’ x 30” size and can hold water up to 1,718 gallons.

The PVC sidewalls are so durable your kids can even sit on it!The Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter pump allows you to enjoy clean, refreshing water. It even has a one-year warranty. The Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter shuts the pump off if the electrical current is exposed to water, which is a great safety feature. Plus, there is a convenient drain plug that connects to your garden hose to allow water to be drained away from the pool. New dual suction outlet fittings also improve the circulation of water for better water hygiene and clarity.

On the other hand, the filter is small for the pool size and needs to be cleaned often. It may break after three days, too. But this problem can be solved by purchasing a bigger filter for your pool.


#3 Intex Ultra Frame Pool Set 28335EH

Intex Ultra Frame Pool Set with Sand Filter Pump & Saltwater SystemIn case you think the metal frame pool set isn’t strong enough for your family’s swimming activities, then try the Intex Ultra Frame Pool Set that’s three times strong than their Easy Set Pool Set. Like the metal frame pool set, it features Super-Tough laminated PVC sidewalls, convenient drain plug, and new dual suction outlet fittings. The pool measures 18’ x 52” and can hold up to 6,981 gallons of water, which is about 90% of the pool size.

The sidewalls on this triple-strong pool are reinforced with an all-around band to keep the legs of the frame where they should be. It’s also ready for water in just an hour. The convenient drain plug can be connected to a garden hose for draining and the new dual suction outlet fittings improve water circulation, resulting to cleaner and clearer pool water.

This set is totally “ultra” because it includes a set-up and maintenance DVD, Krystal Clear Filter pump and saltwater system, a ladder, a ground cloth, a debris cover, a maintenance kit, and a surface skimmer.

But despite all these features, there are still a few concerns. For one, the sand filter and the pump are inadequate for the size of the pool. Another would be the liner that is thin and doesn’t last long.


#4 Intex Rectangular Ultra Frame Pool Set 28361EH

Intex Rectangular Ultra Frame Pool Set with Sand Filter PumpIf round and oval above-ground pools are too typical and you have an unlimited budget, then an Intex Rectangular Ultra Frame Pool Set is perfect for your family. It is offered in 18’ x 9’ x 52”, 24’ x 12’ x 52”, and 32’ x 16’ x 52”. The pool in the picture measures 32’ x 16’ x 52” and can hold water up to 14,364 gallons at 90 percent capacity. This pool highlights an Ultra Frame Pool, Krystal Clear Sand Filter pump, and a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter.

This easy-to-assemble above-ground pool is made for strength. Its durable steel frames are strong and they are even powder-coated to resist rust, maintaining its original appearance even after numerous uses. The Krystal Clear Sand Filter pump allows you and your family members to enjoy sparkling, clean water in 60 minutes. For additional safety features, it also has a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter that shuts off the pump when the electrical current is exposed to water.

The set includes a filter pump, a ladder, a ground cloth, and a debris cover.

For all that, it still has a bad side. The set doesn’t include a maintenance kit and a skimmer. The instructions for the pump installation were difficult to follow and the ladder is cheap.


#5 Bestway 12752 Steel Pro Frame Pool

Bestway 12752 Steel Pro Frame PoolFor less than $580, you can get this 15’ x 48” pool that’s ideal for your family. It comes from Bestway, the brand that is committed to making innovative, quality products for people. This pool is engineered and designed to withstand the elements to provide fun for years. It features rust-resistant, steel frames, PVC and polyester 3-ply wall, and a flow control drain valve.

The steel frames are locked together using T-connectors and C-clips. All fittings have been designed to lock together easily. The PVC flaps hide the connectors and clips to prevent injury and rust. The pool wall is proven to be heavy-duty. The entire pool is also easy to set up—installing will only take an hour. With the flow control drain valve, it is also easy to drain. Plus, it can hold water up to 4,231 gallons at 90 percent capacity.

However, the inlet and outlet openings aren’t well-reinforced according to customers. The filter hoses seem to drag on them as well. Despite their claim to have rust-resistant steel frames, the polls actually rust after several months. The package may miss some or a lot of parts. Lastly, because the pump and the filter are small for the pool, the water doesn’t circulate much.


Advantages of an Above-Ground Pool

1. A great tool for summer. An above-ground pool not only allows you to enjoy cooling off during warm weather, it also brings you the comfort of home! With an above-ground pool, you don’t have to go to public pools just to relax and play in the water. You won’t get disturbed and pool rules are up to you.

2. Perfect for water therapy. Above-ground pools allow you to undergo water therapy especially if you need to recover from joint problems or any kind of pain for that matter. Above-ground pools that are shallow can be used to retrain your muscles to gain your physical strength back. An above-ground pool can help you recover from arthritis and paralysis. And because the pool is just on your property, you can go in for a swim anytime you’re feeling any joint pain. Autistic children receive great benefits from swimming as well, according to research, especially if they do it with their pets.

3. Takes less space. Most above-ground pools are smaller in size than in-ground pools. This makes them require lesser space from your yard. And because of this, an above-ground pool also requires fewer chemicals than an in-ground pool.

4. Easy to install and portable. Aside from the fact that they can be installed in less than two days even for the largest one of them, above-ground pools also allow you to transfer them to another location when you like. In less than two days, they’ll be prepped for swimming. You just have to set it up out of the box and fill it with water.

5. Saves your taxes. They are temporary attachments to your home which means they don’t add value to your property like in-ground pools are.

6. Easy to store. If you want to store it during winter and you’re lazy to winterize it, there’s another option: you can drain it and allow it to dry for storage.


Buying Guide

Here are the things you have to consider when buying the Best Above-Ground Pool for your property:

1. Price, Brand, and Package

  • If you have a lot of money to spend, then spend more for the quality.
  • Above-ground pools can be as cheap as $150. They may not last long but they’re easy to replace.
  • Among the best brands in the industry are Intex, Bestway, Splash, Embassy, and Blue Wave.
  • I recommend getting a pool from any of the popular brands because it will be easier for you to look for spare parts, filters, and other accessories for your pool.
  • Also, check what comes with the pool. Most pools offer a package that includes a pump, a small sand filter, an overlap pool liner, a ladder, and a pool cleaning kit.
  • If you can spend more, you can upgrade a package that still includes a pump, but instead of a sand filter, you’ll have a cartridge or DE filtration system, the line will be EZ-bead with different pattern choices, an automatic pool vacuum, and a straight stair or drop-in wedding cake style step.
  • Other packages provide automatic chlorine feeders, solar and winter covers, LED lights, and pool-bottom padding.

2. Type of Pool

  • Easy set pools and metal frame pools are the most common above-ground pools.
  • Easy set pools have soft vinyl or PVC walls coupled with an inflatable ring that lifts the pool walls when you fill it with water. For this reason, easy set pools are also called “ring pools.”
  • Metal frame pools, or simply called frame pools, have steel bars to support the vinyl or PVC pool liner. A frame pool has higher walls and requires a ladder. Because it is more durable, it can hold up more water.

3. Size of the Pool

  • First, you have to identify how much space is available for your pool in your yard.
  • Second, you need to consider the type of people who will use the pool. Will the majority be kids? Then a small one will suffice. Will adults use it too? Then choose a bigger one.
  • Third, estimate how many people will use it. If it’s for your family only, then try imagining if you’ll be comfortable if all the members are in a 21’ round pool. If it’s uncomfortable, try other sizes. If you intend to have a pool party with people outside your immediate family, then you probably need the largest size.
  • Round sizes vary from 12’, 15’, 18’, 21’, 24’, 27’, 31’, and 33’, while oval sizes vary from 12’ x 24’, 15’ x 30’, and 18’ x 33’.

4. Materials

  • Above-ground pools that are made of aluminum panels are flexible, which lets the pool handle water movement inside a large pool. However, aluminum still oxidizes and corrodes over time and may break down faster when exposed to rough weather and moisture.
  • Above-ground pools that are made of steel are sturdier than those made of aluminum. Still, they can also break down fast when the quality of the pool is low. They should be treated with different chemicals as well to increase their durability. You need to treat the inside with a resin coat to prevent it from causing you any moisture problem.
  • Above-ground pools that are made of plastic resin last longer than the previous two. They are ideal for temperature control. You have to look for a good anti-UV coating, though, to hold up against tough weather conditions. However, the bottom track is not as sturdy as aluminum and steel. This may cause it to bend and flex during installation.
  • There are also above-ground pools that are resin-steel hybrids. They combine the strength of the plastic resin and steel while eliminating the weaknesses of both. But of course, the price will double.

5. Accessories

  • Cleaners –Above-ground pool cleaners may either be pressure, suction, or robotic type. Automatic above-ground pool cleaners are available on the market and they help you clean your pool more effectively and faster. Maintaining your pool will be easy as ABCs and 123s with their help.
  • Heaters –They give you more time to be comfortable underwater especially when winter just finished or is about to set your pool to temporary hiatus. If you’re far from tropical areas, then you should consider have one.
  • Covers–Covers protect your pool from elements. They also save your electricity bill by not pressuring your heater. That’s because they keep the remaining heat in the water. Plus, they will require lesser time and effort from you to replace the water.
  • Salt systems–Salt systems are recommended for those who have sensitive skin since they can be an alternative to chlorine. They also help you reduce your cleaning and maintenance time by ensuring that your water has a balanced pH level.
  • Light systems–LED lights are the most common ones. Lights assist in keeping your swimmers safe. They also add color and they set the mood for your pool.

Conclusion

Whether it’s summer or not, an above-ground pool is a great addition to your property. What’s better than having to swim around in the cool water on a sunny day? Obviously, eating ice cream. But you could do that after swimming.

Aside from having it in your own zone, it’s great for small and huge parties and even for emergency gatherings. Above-ground pools are easy to install, clean, maintain, transfer, and store. Just because they aren’t permanently installed doesn’t mean the fun is less.

There are so many brands, types, and sizes to choose from. The best thing to do is know your budget first and the size you need. If your budget is not a question, then proceed right to choosing the brand, material, and the rest I mentioned under the buying guide.

The number of above-ground pools available may confuse you but with the help of this guide, I hope I have made it easier for you to decide.