Swimming Pools 

The Best Above-Ground Pools in 2021 for the Backyard

We’ve placed together this “Above Ground Pool Buying Guide” to assist you in determining the top option for you and your family

By Allen Hayward

Blue Waters and its associates may earn a share if you purchase a product through one of our links.

It is hard to choose the best pool because there are so many choices available. It can get confusing to figure out which pool is best to suit your particular needs.

In this review guide, we’ve compiled a list of the best pools. Each one of them provides unique benefits to the user. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to own an swimming pool either. With the help of this review guide, you can find the best above swimming pool for your property. Some of these pools are less than $500! What a bargain!

Benefits of Above Ground Swimming Pools

1) Inexpensive 

If you want a decent family-size pool for an affordable price, then an above swimming pool is the best option. Not only are above ground pools cheaper than in-ground pools, but most of them are also constructed to last for a long time.

2) Several Choices Available 

When you go shopping for pool models, you’ll have several choices available in terms of the material, shape, and size of the pool. The chances are that you’ll find a pool which is priced right for your budget and matches the style and layout that you’re looking for.

3) Fast & Simple Installation

An ground pool is much easier and faster to install than an in-ground pool. Some people can install their ground pools in as little as a few hours. Bigger pools may take a couple of days tops. Either way, this is much faster than installing an in-ground pool, which can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to install. 

4) Very Safe

Above ground swimming pools require users to enter from a higher point. This makes these pools much safer because there is virtually no chance of anyone accidentally slipping or falling into the water. And if you remove the ladder when you’re not home, you don’t need to worry about young children falling into the water and drowning either.

5) Easy Maintenance

In most situations, above ground pools require very little maintenance. You don’t even need to use as many chemicals either. This saves you money, time, and energy.

Top Above Ground Pools

Let’s examine some of the top rated above swimming pools being sold today. The factors which make them the best include their warranty, features, services, brands, benefits, and/or price

  1. Intex 14ft X 42in Ultra Frame Pool Set with Filter Pump

Why we chose it

Our best pool choice. The Intex Swimming Pool is very easy to install, and it’s even easier to maintain. It is a popular small pool which is affordable and suitable for up to 4 people. You can assemble and disassemble this pool quite easily too. This is great if you want to move your pool around to different places regularly. Just deflate the pool, dry it out, pack it up, and store it.

The pool has durable sidewalls made from heavy-duty vinyl. This durability allows the pool to last for a minimum of a couple of sessions. There is no pool cover, filter pump, or ground cloth included with this 8’ x 30” model.

  1. Intex Ultra Frame Pool Set 

Why we chose it

Our second best pool choice. The Intex Ultra Frame Pool Set is 14 feet, which is big enough to accommodate up to 4 people. It comes with all your essential pool items, including a debris cover, filtration pump, ground cloth, and removable ladder. 

The pool set contains “ultra” frames made of durable steel that is resistant to rust. The frame has very wide legs which stabilize the pool, especially on soft ground. If a few people set up the pool together, they can do it very quickly. For those who’d rather keep the pool set up in one place for the entire year, you can do that too. Although, it is not recommended. 

  1. Intex Metal Frame Pool Set – 12’ x 30” 

Why we chose it

Our third best pool choice. The Intex Metal Frame Pool Set is simple to install and set up. There are several add-ons available which make the whole process easy, including the maintenance. Small families and couples will find this pool to be just the right size for them to enjoy it. 

The metal frame is durable and tough. Not only is it aesthetically attractive, but it is also rust resistant because of its powdered coating. Saltwater sanitation systems can be accommodated due to the robust design of the pool. You will also appreciate the included ground cloth for the pool and the debris cover which helps keep the water clean.

  1. Bestway Steel Pro Frame Pool Set – 12’ x 30” 

Why we chose it

The Bestway Steel Pro Frame Pool Set is made with strong steel frames and “T” connectors that fit them together. They’re also designed to be resistant to rust too. Injuries are prevented with the included safety clips. Even though there is no ladder included with the pool set, the pool is not that tall anyway. It should be easy for most people to just climb into the pool without any problems.

The pool size is big enough to accommodate up to 4 people. Unfortunately, it is not big enough for swimming. But if you want to cool off and relax in an affordable pool, then this is the one to purchase.

  1. Intex Ultra Frame Rectangular Pool Set – Model 32’ x 16’ x 52”

Why we chose it 

The Intex Ultra Frame Rectangular Pool Set is a whopping 36’ x 16’. It is made to be durable and long-lasting too. If you have a lot of space in your backyard, this large pool set will fill it perfectly. Its rectangular shape is quite unique because it lets you swim laps in your backyard.

Its solid steel frame is resistant to rust. You expect the pool to stay in great condition for several years. There is ultra-strong PVC material on the sidewalls which prevent things like leaks and tears. Other helpful accessories are included too, such as a ladder, cover, ground cloth, maintenance kit, and filtration pump.

  1. Summer Waves Brand Metal Frame

Why we chose it 

The Summer Waves Metal Frame Pool is 10’ x 30’. It has a durable metal frame design and is 10 feet, which makes it perfect for children to use. Maintenance will be easy, especially since it comes with a filter system and skimmer. It won’t be hard to keep your water looking clean throughout the summer.

If you’ve never owned a pool before or you simply want a pool that is easy to install and maintain, then the Summer Waves pool is what you need.

7 Splash Pools Oval Deluxe Pool Package – Model 30’ x 15’ x 52”

Why we chose it

The Splash Pools Oval Deluxe is a big pool with a durable metal frame construction. When you look at the pool, it will appear as a higher end swimming pool but at a much less price.

There are plenty of add-ons included with the pool set. If you have a big family or want to have a lot of people in a pool that doesn’t cost so much, then you will want this pool set. You’ll just need to hire a professional installer to handle the installation.

The Top 8 Review Considerations to Make Prior to Buying Above Ground Swimming Pool

Now that you’ve read the reviews of these highly rated swimming pools, the next step is choosing the best one for you. But before you do, consider these 8 things first. This will ensure you make the right choice.

1) Pool Size 

You’ll want the top pool model that you choose to be of the right size. This will make things more comfortable and easier for you. For instance, if you’re on a tight budget, then a bigger pool requires more money, time, and energy to maintain. A small pool, on the other hand, is easier to maintain for people in this position.

Of course, small pools won’t be suitable for big families. Therefore, it all depends on what your current position is and what your needs are. You must also consider the size of your property and the area on it where the pool will be installed. The excavation size should always be bigger than the pool size. This makes installation so much easier.

2) Pool Shape 

Size is a bigger consideration than the shape. However, the shape is important too because it affects your ability to swim. There are 3 shapes to choose from; rectangular, ovular, or circular. If you want to swim laps, then a rectangular pool is the best choice. Ovular and circular swimming pools are better for children and relaxation. 

3) Pool Material 

Pay attention to the material of your swimming pool model. If you choose a durable, high-quality material, then it means the pool will last longer. It also means you won’t need to perform as many repairs and maintenance tasks. As a result, you will save money and time. There are lots of different possible materials used to make pools, such as stainless steel, aluminum, soft vinyl, resin, and PVC.

4) Level of Safety

If you care about safety, then you’ll want a higher pool to prevent children from accidentally slipping into it. Make sure you take away the ladder when the pool is not being used. This ensures your small children won’t use it when you’re not around. 

5) Add-Ons

A lot of pools are sold with add-ons and accessories. These package deals are worth watching out for because you can save a lot of money by not having to purchase these items separately. Look for bundled items like debris covers, filter pumps, pool ladder, and ground cloths. They help with the upkeep and maintenance of the pool.

6) Do-It-Yourself Pools

You can find a real bargain if you purchase do-it-yourself swimming pools. However, they can also be difficult to install if you’re not experienced at installing swimming pools. Unless you have the knowledge to perform this job, you will need a professional to install it for you.

7) Price

Everyone thinks about the price before they purchase anything, especially an  pool model. You’ll find different types of pools which have different prices. As you do a price comparison, pay attention to the features and benefits of these pools. Try to find one which satisfies your needs as well as your budget. 

8) Brand

Try to find an pool with an acclaimed brand name attached to it. In most cases, these branded pools will come with a good warranty deal or superb customer support. You may even be able to get free or cheap replacement parts if needed.



Maintaining a Portable Above Swimming Pool

There are very easy pool maintenance tasks to perform which will boost the longevity of your above ground swimming pool. These pools don’t even require that much maintenance anyway, but you still need to do some maintenance to ensure the pool stays strong for a long time. Sometimes, this can be challenging if you’re not experienced at it.

One necessity is to have a filter pump installed. This helps clean the pool water by filtering out debris and contaminants. It also keeps the circulation of the water steady as well. If you want to protect the pool liner and metal frame, you could always have a cove constructed. However, the primary pool maintenance task will be adding sanitizing chemicals to the pool water which balance its pH levels.

There are other maintenance tools and accessories which help too. For instance, a debris cover takes the pressure off the filter by preventing debris from even getting into the water when it’s not being used. You must have good drainage in your pool area too. This will stop water seepage from occurring. 

If you can maintain your above ground swimming pool properly, it may be able to last for over 10 years without any big issues. Think about how much your investment would pay off in this circumstance.

Maintenance is a responsibility which must be honored if you want your above ground pool to have a long lifespan. Think about all the summers of relaxation and coolness that it will provide you, your family and friends. This makes it worth it.

Below are some helpful pool maintenance tips to ensure that your above ground pool remains healthy and safe for a long time.

1) Use a Filter and Pump

If you want the water of your above ground swimming pool to stay clean, then you need to use a water pump and filter. This keeps the water circulated while ridding it of nasty algae, bacteria, and other unwanted contaminants. Be sure to clean the filter too regularly

2) Brush & Vacuum

If you have a big pool, then there may be certain areas of it which have inadequate water circulation. This promotes the growth of algae and other nasty contaminants. That is why you should brush and vacuum the floors and walls of your pool at least once per week to keep everything clean.

3) Test the Water

Your pool water needs to be tested regularly to ensure it is safe and clean to swim in. A digital test strip reader device can do this for you. You’re looking to ensure the levels of sanitization and pH are good in the water.

4) Chlorine Tablets

Chlorine tablets are used to balance the sanitization levels of the pool. These tablets dissolve slowly in the water as soon as you put them in it. This ensures they last for a long time and sustain the proper sanitization levels. If you want the sanitization to be continuous, put the tablets in the feeder, skimmer, or floater device.

5) Shock Treatment

The more a swimming pool is used, the more debris and other contaminants that build up in it. This can lead to irritations, such as skin and eye inflammation. A shock treatment on the water is needed to prevent future breakouts like this. Shock treatments work to eliminate contaminants in water that is regularly used. It also clears up the water more too.

The 5 Main Types of Swimming Pools for a Backyard for Sale

Below are the 5 main types of above ground swimming pools. Their differences pertain to their functionality, price, and durability.

1) Semi in Swimming Pool

You could call this a semi above ground pool too. Basically, it is a pool where the bottom half is buried in the ground, and the upper half is above ground. This pool has a 0.25” thick tongue as well as groove aluminum slats, which keeps the pool extra durable.

If your backyard has an incline or slope, then a semi-in-ground swimming pool is a suitable choice. It is also good if you want to construct a deck too.

Also, you can use a salt water sanitation system for the semi-in-ground pool. Since the pool walls are made of thick aluminum, the salt will not cause it to rust. Of course, this type of pool is a little pricier than your standard above ground pool. But it is still much cheaper than an in-ground pool.

2) Hybrid Swimming Pool

The Hybrid version is constructed of steel and resin. This means it is almost as strong as a steel pool and has many of the same traits as a resin pool. The resin components of a good hybrid above ground swimming pool provide a modernized aesthetic appearance. The coping rails and uprights are constructed from steel. Most of the other components are resin-based. Certain models have steel coping rails which can be switched to adjust to saltwater applications.

3) Resin Swimming Pool

Aqua Liter is the company that invented the resin above ground pool. They’ve been around for nearly 30 years, but they’ve improved greatly over this time. The best resin above ground pools are constructed with Synflex resin. The cheaper models have bad quality resin. You need to be careful of the bad quality ones because the resin will crack easily in cold or windy weather conditions. And if it’s exposed to heat, the material will soften. The great thing about Synflex resin is that it’s very durable and is resistant to all types of temperatures and weather conditions.

If you have saltwater sanitation applications, resin pools are accommodating to those. Also, resin pools are some of the most affordable above ground pools you can purchase.

4) Rolled Wall Aluminum Swimming Pool

The walls and components of a Rolled Wall Aluminum Swimming Pool are constructed from 1 long aluminum sheet. This means it will not rust if you use saltwater sanitation systems in it. The durability of rolled aluminum ensures your pool will last for a long time.

A Rolled Wall Aluminum Swimming Pool is cheaper than a semi-in-ground pool. So, if you’re interested in using salter sanitation systems without the expense of a semi-in-ground pool, then go with the rolled wall pool type instead.

5) Steel Permanent Swimming Pool

Most swimming pool owners and installers prefer steel above ground swimming pools. Their steel strength and resin top caps make them ideal for most properties. They’re also very durable for this reason too.

If you’re looking for an affordable above ground pool model that is strong and long-lasting, then steel is the only way to go. It is also good for accommodating bigger pools which generally hold lots of people. Of course, there are several grades of steel to watch out for; such be sure to check that out too. Some steel components are thicker than others.

Strength is the main factor of a steel above ground swimming pool. Of course, newer models have protective coatings to preserve it even further, such as Tru-Kote, Zicguard-275, Poly-Enamel, Texture-Kote, and Dura-Tex.

Overall, steel above ground pools are easy to install, affordable, and strong. You can’t go wrong here.

The Top Above Permanent and Portable Swimming Pool Brands 

Below are some popular brands of the best above pools for you to consider too. Each one has special benefits and features which set them apart from the rest.

1) Coleman Pools

Coleman Pools brand is a reputable American company that is best known for creating high-quality above swimming pools. Most people trust the Coleman brand name and associate it with affordability, durability, and style.


Sizes are adjustable

Easy maintenance

Good aesthetics

Easy Installation

Spare parts are available for repairs



2) Intex

Intex is a reputable American company which is known for creating premium above ground pools and recreational gear. They make lots of different types of pools, each with their own unique shapes, price, design, and size.


Prism frame makes it durable and fortified

Easy installation

3-ply liner is popular and helps prevent punctures


Could be more sturdy

The water pump is not as powerful as others

3) Bestway

Bestway is an above ground pool brand seen in Costco. It is a cheaper brand than the more popular Intex and Coleman brands. It still uses high-quality materials for its pools too. They’re also designed beautifully with safety in mind for children to use.

4) Summer Waves

Summer Waves is a new above ground pool brand which is increasing in popularity. It is affordable and has a high number of positive reviews from customers.

No matter which model or brand you choose, you will get an affordable and quality above ground swimming pool. Just study their benefits and see which one appeals to you the most.

How much maintenance is required?

Every swimming pool needs maintenance. The bigger the pool, the more maintenance that is needed. The smaller the pool, the less maintenance needed. Vacuuming, chemicals, and brushing are common ways to keep a pool clean.


Overall, if you’re looking for an affordable, safe, durable, and attractive swimming pool that is easy to install, then an pool is ideal for you. They can fit most people’s budgets just fine, and there are more choices available too.

The best pool models mentioned in this article are meant to give you some good choices without requiring you to do the research on your own. You can take the advice or not, but just remember to examine the features of these pools to determine which one is right for you.


error: Content is protected !!