Swimming is a great recreational tool. The fact that not everyone gets a chance to reside next to a beach or dig an underground pool makes permanent above ground pools even more vital. The good news here is that there is no shortage of permanent above ground pool. The manufacturers have invested heavily for various designs, type and configurations of these important products.
We have models that can decades and others with a few years of life span. All this depends on the materials and the design. For example, the steel frame pools last several years whereas the inflatable blow-up pools don’t last as much. The good thing with these pools is that they are easy to maintain and manage. They also feature a plethora of customizations that make them the best gracing your yard.
Unfortunately, no manufacturer doesn’t want to sell their product. That’s why they will label the strengths and omit the weaknesses to convince you. Our aim in this article is to guide and help you purchase a quality permanent over ground pool. We have selected for you the top best models from hundreds of models from different brands. We will outline the pros and cons of every product to make your selection process even easier.
Types of Permanent Above Ground Pool
There are four different types of above ground pools and they can be very confusing during shopping. To help you differentiate them, we look at their differences and characteristics;
Inflatable above ground pool
Perhaps you see this type of pool every day on big-box retailers. All you are supposed to do these pools is just inflate the ring and start filling water. As the water volume continues rising, the ring also starts floating pushing the walls further to establish the whole volume. These pools can be as big as 18 inches round by 48 inches deep.
These are the easiest to set up, and you can have your pool ready within minutes. Also, the easier they are to set up, they are also easy to disassemble. If you decided to move them, they don’t leave any mark behind where they were placed.
Steel frame above ground pool
Also known as Coleman pools, they come with steel frames with a top rail, supporting posts and footing. The metals used are commonly aluminum and steel, which means these are the strongest pools.
The frames snap together with pins to make a support structure for the wall. Once fully filled, these pools can expand up to 22 inches round by 52 inches depth. You can also set them into a rectangular shape if you want. Installation is as easy as with the first type. Here you have more size options for different ages.
Traditional above ground pool
These above ground pool are more permanent adopting kind of a traditional structural design. They have metallic or resin frames and sometimes both known as hybrid. They consist of several posts surrounding the pool wall and bottom track where to fill water.
Unlike with the previous types, the traditional above the ground pool consists of a separate pool wall and pool liner. The wall is made of metal whereas the liner is made from a variety of materials. it can extend up to 36” X 54” with an optional oval shape.
Semi-in ground pool
These are new entrants to the market. The owner has the option to install them as either fully above ground pools, partially or bury them to look like the in ground pools. Their only difference from the traditional pool is that the wall panel is insulated up to 2”. They can also assume different shapes including oval, free form look etc.
Benefits of a Permanent Above-Ground Pool
Even though permanent above ground pool might look limited than their counterparts, they have several advantages. Especially people with small space in their backyard can make use of these pools to access the benefits of standard pools. The other advantages associated with these pools are;
The total cost of buying and operating a permanent above ground pool is way below that of the in-ground ones. So, you don’t want to spend several dollars on a pool; these are the best to invest in. You can be sure to cumulatively save several bucks that you would otherwise spend on your pool.
Because they are small in size, above ground pools need few accessories and chemicals. Additionally, if you live in colder climates, you’ll need fewer amounts of electricity. You also need fewer amounts of water and treatment chemicals to maintain the pool water crystal clear.
Ease of installation
The permanent above ground pool installation is straightforward and you don’t need any professional assistance. On the other hand, to install in-ground pools you’ll need the help of a specialized construction agency. The maintenance is also complex for in-ground pools unlike with the above ground.
The possibility of accidents in in-ground pools is higher than the above the ground. Therefore, your kids and pets are safer with the above ground pools. The safety is even more enhanced by covering the pool or erecting a fence around. Even though you can do the same with the inground pool, it more manageable here because of the small size.
The good thing with above ground pools is that you can always move with them wherever you are going. You can also change their positioning when you want if probably you made a bad choice for the site.
To move them, simply empty the water, clean and repackage them and you travel with them to anywhere. This not possible with the inground pools and you have to invest again to construct a new pool when you move.
The 10 Best Permanent Above Ground Pool
From our analysis, these are the 10 permanent above ground pool that stand out amongst the hundreds in the market;
1. Summer Waves 24ft x 52” Elite Wicker Round Above Ground Frame
If you are looking for a medium family above ground pool, this can make a good choice. With 24 feet in diameter, this pool is large enough to accommodate quite a large number of family members. It has a capacity of 12948 gallons which is a massive capacity for an above ground pool.
The pool is made of sturdy and durable materials to withstand extreme weather conditions. The triple-layered polyester and heavy rust-resistant material ensure that the body is as strong. You don’t have to worry about the frame of this pool as it is of steel thus hardest to break.
There are several additional benefits you get when you purchase this above ground pool. One of them is the many free accessories that accompany the pool. These include the maintenance kit, filter pump, ground cloth, ladder, and pool cover. The pool is also stylishly designed and thus will add elegance to your backyard space.
- Comes with several free accessories
- It is built with three polyester layers making it very durable
- Can accommodate a medium size family very well
- It has a beautiful design
- There are different sizes
- Build with rust resistant materials
- The accompanying pumping system isn’t good enough
- You may need a professional assistance to set up
2. Intex 26367EH Ultra XTR Set Above Ground Pool
This above ground pool incorporates the features found in in-ground pools to make your experience the best. It feels more like an in-ground pool due to its galvanized rectangular steel frame with a height of 52 inches. This is enough space even for adults to swim comfortably. The pol features an encapsulating inner and an outside coating to prevent rusting. The rectangular shape looks so classy coupled with dark grey liner and water blue tile print.
The installation kit comes with everything you need to set up the pool. it includes the frame, filter pump, salt water system, a ladder, and solar cover. The entire setup process can take up to 90 minutes and you’ll be good to enjoy your pool. Being a salt water model, it provides lower chlorination levels. This uniquely designed pool with a strong frame also includes galvanized steel with a precision-engineered locking system. Thus, enhances the quality, durability, and sturdiness of the pool. It is also rust resistant and this is one of the factors that contribute to the long durability.
- Being a saltwater model, doesn’t smell or face the effect of heavy chlorination common with the standard chlorine pools
- Its solid frames give it that inground feeling
- Comes with a complete installation kit and accessories
- It is built with rust resistant materials
- It is sturdy and durable
- Comes with a quality liner
- The installation process needs many people and its intensive
- The liner is heavy and you must maneuver it several times to smoothen
3. Wilbar Impressions Oval Above-Ground Swimming Pool
Removing your above ground pool after the end of summer is always a boring task as you know you’ll definitely have to return it. Fortunately, this is not the case with the Wilbar Impressions oval above ground pool. Once you set up this pool, you don’t have to dismantle it. It can withstand the test of time bearing all the elements of weather because it’s made of quality materials. The constructing material includes resin, galvanized steel. It is not just strong, durable; the pool’s bedrock pattern gives it such a beautiful look.
- Both sturdy and attractive due to its bedrock pattern
- Very durable
- Can remain standing all year long
- Covered by a 10-year warranty
- Features a predrilled hole for a skimmer
- Doesn’t have a physical user manual
- Doesn’t come with a skimmer
4. Intex 14ft X 42in Ultra Frame Pool
This is engineered for strength and features an ultra-frame supported by strong and durable powder-coated steel frames. The coating makes the frames not only resistant to rust but also elegant. If you are also concerned about beauty, this is one pool that will give you exactly that.
Coming with several accessories including the Krystal clear cartridge filter pump, the pool gives you the opportunity to enjoy incredible services. It also has a dual suction to boost the water circulation that guarantees clean and healthy water. A few conditions though, you not set this pool on a wet, muddy, or loose ground to avoid malfunctioning.
- It is easy to assemble
- Features strong sand and salt filtration system
- Comes with several accessories for better performance
- It has a dual suction
- It is durable and corrosion resistant
- The accompanying filter may contain holes that you may have to replace
- You may notice rust on certain parts of the frame
5. Intex 15ft x 48in Metal Frame Pool
It may not always be possible to have a flat surface, and that’s where this pool comes in. The unit is very durable and is designed for medium-sized families. Its steel frame has been coated to prevent rusting and lengthen durability. It is among the best models that you can use with salty water or any other place where you want to use chemicals for water treatment.
One of the outstanding things about this unit is that you don’t need any special tool to install. All you need to do is joining the custom-designed joins and snap them appropriately and you have your pool. It is also large enough to accommodate you well when relaxing.
You may spend a sizeable amount of money, but one thing is sure; this model is durable and it’s worth every coin. It will last years and thus you’ll have the value for your capital. Its draining is very simple as it has a plug-in drainage system.
- It is easy to set up and fill up with water
- Features a great drainage system
- It is durable
- Can be set up on rugged surfaces
- Comes with a one year warranty
- Cannot work well on loose soil
- The accompanying pump isn’t powerful enough
6. Power Steel 14′ x 48″ Frame Pool Set
You’ll need almost everything you need to keep your family entertained on a sunny day. It comes with 14 inches by 48” steel frame and presents a better option for inflatable above ground pools. Its superior frame is coated to prevent rusting. For additional strength and stability, three additional layers of polyester are added. Stable joint connections are also secured with a seal and lock system.
Additionally, this pool gives you more fun time by attaching them to connect the chemical dispenser. It replaces the traditional chemical cleaner on the valve and ensures that the pool water remains clean and disinfected. You won’t need special tools to set up this pool and you set it up within minutes and start enjoying.
- Very resistant to leakages
- Has chem connect dispenser to wade off chemical contaminants
- It is easy to set up
- Features three layers of polyester
- The accompanying pump is too small for the pool
- Too many holes which are not good for water inflow
7. Bestway 56597E Pro MAX Above Ground Pool
The pool features are patented pool frame with a seal and a lock system that is highly resistant to bending and leaking. The pool can support both adults and children of varying ages. The frame coating prevents it from corrosion damage and abrasion. Therefore, you can be sure that your system will last as many years as possible. In addition, a 3 ply PVC support band is included to ensure enough stability on the pool frame.
You don’t need any special tools to install this above-ground pool in your backyard. With the flow-controlled drainage valves also, the work of emptying the pool is easy in case of excess water. The pool materials do not fade easily and are also tear-resistant. Therefore, you get this pool and you are sure to enjoy it for years with your family.
- Made of patented coated durable frame
- It features auto controls valves for drainage purposes
- It is easy to assemble
- Made of tear resistant material and do not fade easily
- You have to spent extra money on filters and ladder
- The pool is poorly designed
- Its prone to leakages
8. Bestway Power Steel 18 x 9 x 4 Foot Above Ground Swimming Pool
Want a pool that will give you a typical sense of inground pools? This Best way model covers you well. Constructed with a corrosion-resistant frame and 3 layered polyesters, it is one of the strong quality pools. Several features also are included to make the user of this pool enjoy more than just splashing. There’s a Chemconnect dispenser that helps to keep the water clean from contaminants.
The draining work is even easier with the presence of built-in flow drain valve. All you need to do to drain the pool is connected to the garden valve and water will just flow on its own. The size is also good for accommodating a single person or a few numbers of adults and a bunch of kids.
- Its frame is corrosion resistant thus durable
- Has a chemconnect dispenser to clean chemical contaminants
- It has a built-in flow drain valve which makes the draining work easier
- Consists of 3 layers of polyester material
- Gives you that inground pool feeling because of its large size
- It is not recommended for children under the age of 3 years
- Doesn’t include a ladder or solar cover
- It comes with a poor-quality filter
9. Summer Waves Elite Rectangular Metal Frame Pool Package
This Rectangular shaped above ground pool holds a large amount of water both horizontally and vertically. If you get this model, you can be sure of more than just splash and swimming. The pool has a supportive frame that doesn’t corrode or rust easily.
The pool comes with a free ladder and a few other accessories so that you don’t incur any additional cost. With a size of 12X24 feet, this pool can accommodate a medium family for a summer fun session.
- Comes with several accessories such filters and ladder
- Large enough to accommodate both children and adults
- Elegantly designed
- The installation process is easy
- The accompanying pump isn’t enough for the pool
- Emptying the water can be problematic
10. Intex 16ft X 48in Ultra XTR Pool
Several measures applied on this permanent above ground pool ensure that it can withstand several elements for years. One of these features includes a galvanized frame. This is to ensure that the frame doesn’t easily corrode or rust. Also, a precision locking system is set accompanied with inner and outer metal coatings.
With a water capacity of 5,000 gallons, that volume is incredible for even adult swimmers. The two years warranty also adds to the stock of greatness of this already self-marketing pool. You can easily set up this pool within less than 60 minutes and be ready for water within 45 minutes.
- The building materials are rust resistant
- Has large capacity of up to 5,000 gallons
- It has a precision locking system
- Comes with several accessories such as cover, ground cloth etc.
- Its ladder has a flimsy design
- You may need to pay for professional help for installation
Key Features to Look Before Buying Permanent Above Ground Pool (Buying Guide)
You need to ask yourself what are the pointing features that will tell you the best fitting above ground pool? If you consider the following features and find any pool that all of them are okay, that is your best choice;
Capacity and measurements
The two factors are different even though you may think they are the same. The measurement alone may not give you all the important capacity details. For instance, you may find a pool of 15 feet in diameter and think that it is too large only to realize later on that it’s too shallow.
Basically, you should consider who target users are, the activities that you want to carry out etc. if the target groups are children, and you’ll need a shallow pool with extra enjoyment extensions. For example, there should be swimming, splashing and floating stations. If it the adult, you’ll need a deeper pool with additional features that support adult recreation.
Purchase an above ground pool with a shape that best rhymes with your backyard space. You should also ensure that after fixing the pool, you’ll have free space all around the pool. The shape isn’t only a matter of aesthetic; actually you’ll find certain neighborhoods regulating the shapes of the pools. Therefore, in such scenarios you should ensure that your choice doesn’t violate such regulations.
The shape also determines the amount of water that the pool will hold. An oval pool measuring 15 X 30 feet holds less water than a 24” circular pool.
Depending on the size and type of a pool, you’ll need to think of the required maintenance need. This is necessary for large pools that take several gallons of water. Such above ground pools need intensive care to prevent algae growth and contaminations.
Think of all the accessories required to keep the pool clean versus the benefits. Then, make your decision based on the operational cost you would want to put on the pool.
Budget and cost
This doesn’t mean you for a cheap pool. Odds are, if you purchase a cheap product, it will either break down within no time or may need lots of money to operate. Therefore, you need to consider the cost of a pool versus the durability and the cost needed to run the pool. This includes the accessories you need, electricity cost, water among others. Ensure that the total cost doesn’t go beyond your budget lest it becomes stressful.
These very important components of permanent above-ground pools. They are what prevent the pool from leaking. Therefore, you should make careful consideration when choosing a pool. There is a variety of pool liners you can choose from. Some of them include; overlap liners, beaded liners, and expandable liners.
Intex vs. Summer Waves vs. Bestway Above Ground Pools
Each of these three above the ground pools are considered as the best permanent pool. To understand them better, let’s weigh them on various basic criteria. The size, physical construction& capacity and appearance;
Summer waves are the smallest measuring 8 X 30 inches whereas the other two measure 10 X 30 inches. Funny enough, the summer waves is the heaviest with 42 pounds the others trailing at 38 pounds. Therefore, we can say that the Intex and Bestway are the most portables of the three above ground pools.
Physical construction & capacity
Bestway and the Intex are built of polyester and steel. On the other hand, the summer wave uses metal and polyester. In terms of capacity, the first two have a capacity of 1185 gallons and the latter 801 gallons of water. This is a massive volume of water that supports a large number of people.
Additionally, all of them operate at the rate of 330 gallons per hour and at least 110V power to run the pump. It is perhaps good to point out that none of these pools are good for your pets as their capacity are too massive.
How to Install Your Above Ground Pool?
The installation procedure for above ground pools differs from one model to the other. The instructions are contained in the user manual or disk that comes with the pool. The instructions are detailed and clear to follow. One person or at most three should be able to set up an above ground pool within 3 hours maximum. However, regardless of the pool you purchase, there are some common steps for all of them. These include:
- You should choose a flat ground where you want to set the pool. You should also ensure that there are no electrical lines or water pipes passing through the site you pick. If possible, ensure there are no walk-through paths.
- To protect the vinyl on the bottom part of the pool, don’t place the pool on a wet ground or places with tree roots. These can easily tamper with the bottom part to cause leakage. For better protection, it is advisable to set up wall foam to maintain the balance of the pool.
- Ensure there is a free space around the pool of at least feet or even more. Space should be enough to allow you to plug in the pump and heater when needed.
Above Ground Pool Accessories
To keep your above ground pool clean and even last longer, maintenance is an important thing. This is not possible without a number of important accessories that you must ensure that you have especially if you have a larger capacity pool. The following are the basic accessories you should not miss;
Pump equipped with filters: This is used for removing residues and debris from the pool. You can also use the pump to circulate the water uniformly.
Treatment chemicals: These are important to keep your pool healthy. The chemicals such as chlorine helps to prevent bacteria and algae growth in the water. You may also need to include chlorine generator in your accessories.
Test strips: used for determining the chemical concentration in water by measuring the pH and the chlorine contents.
Surface skimmer: this skimmer is also referred to as a net. It is necessary for removing water insects and materials floating on water like leaves.
Cover: Important to keep off contaminants from entering the pool. However, this depends on how long you want to keep your pool operational. A cover is also important as it helps prevent water evaporation when not used.
Pool alarms: These are crucial for enhancing safety for the pool users. This is even more important when you have children using the pool. The alarm can be used to report any accidents and call for help in case of anything.
Tips for Pool Safety
Every year, people report several incidences that endanger people’s lives due to a lack of keenness. The following are some of the basic practices you can adopt around your above the ground pool to be safe;
- Keep check on the water pH and you notice it moving beyond the acceptable level, take the proper action to keep it balanced.
- Provide a lighting system for use during the night. This will help to avert any form of accident at night.
- Remove anything you attach to the pool when swimming. These could be ladders, rope etc. This is health to ensure kids do not try to use them and end up drowning.
- Never drink alcohol when at the swimming pool. Several people reportedly meet their death at the swimming pool when they are drunk.
Is it worth it to get an above ground pool?
Yes, above ground pools are worthy because they offer the same service that you would get with expensive inground pools. So, they are a cheap way of getting an otherwise expensive service.
How long do the above ground pools last?
The lifespan of an above ground pool depends on several factors. One is the quality of the materials used for the design and also how the owner uses it. If well maintained, they can go for several decades.
Is a round or rectangle pool better?
Round pools are preferred over the other shapes because of several reasons. One of them is because they are easy to set up. If you don’t plan to hire a person to install the pool for you, then the round ones are the best choice.
They are also relatively cheaper. When you calculate the surface, area offered by the round pool at a certain cost and compare with others, it is always higher.
How deep should my above ground pool be?
Different above ground pools have varying depths. Therefore, the decision lies with you depending on what you want to do with the pool. Like who do you want to use the pool and how? The depths range from 48 to 54”.
What is the best time of year to buy a pool?
During winter. This is to so as to try and take advantage of that season because most people don’t need pools at that time. So, what happens is that most retailers sell their products at slightly reduced prices or put them on offers.
Is it hard to maintain an above ground pool?
No. However, it depends on the size and the type of pool. But as long as you have the appropriate accessories, maintenance work should be easy.
How do I drain the water from my above ground pool?
There are two methods you can use to drain your above ground pool. The first one is connecting your garden hose to the pool valves and draining water away. The other one is using the submersible pump if available.
Should I keep my above ground pool covered?
Yes. Covering the pool is important to keep of contaminants such as dust, insects, and debris. Additionally, it helps to prevent the sun from draining the water.
If your backyard space cannot allow you to dig an inground pool, you have the option above ground pools. These are incredible products that will make your summer less oppressive. With the information in this guide, we hope that your search for the best above ground pool will be the easiest. You can as well short list your choice from our top 10 best models and you’ll have yourself a good deal.