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Splash Time: 5 Of The Best Above Ground Pools

If you really want your own swimming pool but don’t want the massive cost and upkeep it entails, an above ground pool might be just for you! At a fraction of the price and maintenance time, an above ground pool is equally as fun to use.

Keep reading to find out what our top picks are for the best above ground pools for everyone.

Pool Heaters for Above Ground Pools

Our Top Picks

Best Overall:
Bestway Steel Pro MAX Round Above Ground Pool

Budget Option:
Intex 26711EH Prism Frame Round Above Ground Pool

Best for Small Backyards:
BestWay Power Steel Above Ground Pool

Best Overall

Bestway Steel Pro MAX Round Above Ground Pool

Bestway Steel Pro MAX 14' x 33

The award for absolute best above ground pool goes to the Bestway Steel Pro MAX Round Above Ground Pool! This spacious yet sleek pool is a breeze to set up and will last you a long time. It can withstand all sorts of roughhousing from both humans and pets without popping or springing a leak.

Another feature that makes the BestWay Steel Pro MAX our choice for the best above ground pool is its relatively low price point. As far as above ground pools go, the Bestway Steel Pro MAX is at the lower end of the price range. With such high-quality parts and a super long life, it’s a tough pool to beat.

One thing to keep in mind about the Bestway Steel Pro MAX is that the pump it comes with might be too small to get the job done.

This is a pretty easy fix, though. All you need to do is buy a second pump or upgrade to a more powerful one!


  • Super durable
  • Reasonably priced
  • User-friendly assembly


  • Pump is too small
  • Tarp cover is a little flimsy

Budget Option

Intex 26711EH Prism Frame Round Above Ground Pool

Intex 26711EH 12 Foot x 30 Inch Prism Frame Round Above Ground Outdoor Backyard Swimming Pool Set with 530 GPH Filter Pump and Easy Set-Up

If you’re looking for the best above ground pool on a budget, then you’ll meet your match with the Intex 26711EH Prism Frame Round Above Ground Pool!

The Intex 26711EH is a spacious and sturdy pool that won’t require hours and hours of maintenance. It’s small enough to easily maintain but large enough to splash around in! As the best above ground pool on a budget, the Intext 26711EH will definitely give you the most bang for your buck.

If you’ve never assembled an above ground pool before, it’ll probably take you a while to assemble this one. The Intex 26711EH doesn’t come with written instructions, so you may need to do some internet research if the assembly process isn’t going smoothly.


  • Cost effective
  • Sturdy liner


  • Doesn’t come with written instructions
  • May need to upgrade the filter

Best for Small Backyards

BestWay Power Steel Above Ground Pool

Bestway: Power Steel 9'3

In search of the best above ground pool but afraid that your yard is too small? The BestWay Power Steel Above Ground Pool is the perfect solution!

This pool is the ideal shape to fit in the nooks and crannies of your backyard. It would even make a beautiful addition to your deck or patio! Just make sure that whatever surface you plan to assemble your pool on is completely level, and you’ll be good to go.

However, the BestWay Power Steel’s impressive length is what really makes it the best above ground pool for small backyards. Even though it’s fairly compact, it’s so long that you’ll be able to fit multiple adults in the pool. Whether you buy the smallest rectangular pool or size up to its oval-shaped cousin, you’ll be able to stretch out and enjoy yourself!


  • Can fit multiple people despite its compactness
  • Rectangular shape fits well in small corners, on patios and decks


  • Filtration system isn’t strong enough
  • Doesn’t come with a cover

Bestway Steel Pro Rectangular Metal Frame Above Ground Pool

Bestway Steel Pro 13 Feet x 7 Feet x 32 Inch Rectangular Metal Frame Above Ground Outdoor Backyard Swimming Pool, Blue (Pool Only)

The Bestway Steel Pro Rectangular Metal Frame Above Ground Pool is the best above ground pool for swimmers of all ages!

This pool will provide a fun and safe environment for kids to hang out. It’s large enough and deep enough for kids to play in but isn’t so big that you won’t be able to spot them in the pool.

As an added bonus, the Bestway Steel Pro is pretty easy to put together, so you and your family will be able to enjoy your pool in no time!

Unfortunately, the best above ground pool for kids doesn’t come with all the accessories you’ll need to keep your kids safe when the pool isn’t in use. We highly recommend purchasing a pool cover that you can secure tightly around the edge of the pool when you’re done swimming for the day.


  • Perfect size and depth for kids
  • Leak-proof even after use


  • Instruction sheet is incredibly unclear
  • No additional equipment or accessories included

Intex 28167EH Easy Set Inflatable Swimming Pool

INTEX 28167EH Easy Set Inflatable Swimming Pool Set: 15ft x 48in – Includes 1000 GPH Cartridge Filter Pump – Removable Ladder – Pool Cover – Ground Cloth

The final option in our round-up of the best above ground pools is the Intex 28167EH Easy Set Inflatable Swimming Pool! If you like the convenience and ease of an inflatable above ground pool, then the Intex 28167EH is the perfect choice.

Unlike some of its non-inflatable counterparts, this above ground pool comes with a full set of the basic tools you’ll need to maintain it. The pump, filter, and hoses included will set you up for success!

Another factor that makes the Intex 28167EH one of the best above ground pools is its durability. Even though inflatable pools are generally made of thinner materials, this one stands the test of time in relation to its competitors. With the proper upkeep, the Intex 28167EH will provide you with many summers of fun!

Keep in mind that because this pool’s liner is a little thinner than others, the bottom of the pool can be pretty hard. Luckily, all you have to do is put down a tarp or some padding before you set up the pool, and you’ll avoid those stubbed toes and bruises.


  • Upkeep is less involved
  • Comes with all the basic equipment you’ll need


  • Cover rips easily
  • Seams can develop leaks after a couple years of use

Above Ground Pool Buyer’s Guide

Swimming Pool

There are a handful of important factors that you’ll need to think about when picking the absolute best above ground pool for your own personal situation. Specifically, budget, size, longevity, installation time, and materials are all crucial to consider.


Above ground pools range in price anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to over a thousand, so you’ll have to decide how much cash you want to drop for the best above ground pool!

The price of an above ground pool depends a lot on the other factors on this list: how big the pool will be, how long it will last, and what it’s made out of. In addition, pool accessories and equipment for upkeep can also add up fairly quickly.

Insurance costs and homeowners’ association fees are a hidden, but just as important, cost to think about, too. Depending on what kind of rules your neighborhood has about backyard pools, you may have to pay an additional HOA fee.

Similarly, because a pool creates an added risk to your backyard, you may need to invest in insurance that will cover your above ground pool in case of emergency.


The best above ground pool is one that fits your space! In particular, it’ll need to fit in your yard with at least a few feet to spare on each side of the pool. Therefore, you should measure the area of your yard and subtract some square footage when choosing a pool size.

In addition to the safety aspect of having a pool at least a few feet smaller than your yard, you should also consider having enough added room for accessories like a ladder. Add-ons like ladders will require a little more room around the pool to comfortably use.

The number and age of people using the pool is another important thing to keep in mind when thinking about pool size!

For example, you may want a smaller pool if you have younger kids or a larger pool if multiple adults will be using it.

Importantly, make sure that your pool size doesn’t violate any zoning or neighborhood regulations.

Some neighborhoods, cities, and towns have restrictions on how big a backyard pool can be, so make sure you look into any potential regulations before making a purchase.


Only the best above ground pools are long lasting! The higher quality an above ground pool is, the more likely it is to stick around for a while.

The less expensive above ground pools, and particularly the inflatable ones, will last around five to seven years maximum with good upkeep.

For more expensive, hard-sided above ground pools, you can sometimes replace certain features of the pool in order to keep using it longer. Since pool liners are especially prone to breaking down, above ground pools with sturdy or replaceable liners typically tend to last longer.

Installation Time

One of the big upsides to above ground pools as opposed to in-ground pools is that installation is so much quicker and easier! However, while installation is usually a one-time or an annual event, it can still be fairly involved.

Your exact installation time will depend on your experience level, but it can usually take anywhere from a few hours to a few days.

For the largest above ground pools, you may want to hire professionals for safe and speedy installation. This will cut down on your own frustration and make purchasing the best above ground pool a little easier.


The best above ground pools come in all sorts of different materials! Which material you ultimately choose depends a lot on what you want the pool to look like and how long you want it to last.

In general, the decision comes down to inflatable versus hard-sided pools. Inflatable pools are generally made out of polyvinyl chloride, and hard-sided pools are typically made out of resin, aluminum or steel.

What kind of frame or support mechanism do you want your pool to have? What type of liner should your pool contain? These are both important questions to ask in addition to thinking about the materials of the pool structure itself.

Frequently Asked Questions

Swimming pool with metal frame for home and garden. Frame swimming pool in the yard. Solar banner.Installation of the pool. The concept of summer holidays and recreation.

After reading our round-up of the best above ground pools, you may still have some lingering questions. Hopefully these frequently asked questions will give you the answers you need to choose the best above ground pool for you!

How should I prep my yard for an above ground pool?

While the best above ground pools can survive a little wear and tear, it’s hugely important to prepare your yard so that it’s safe both for the pool and for the people who will be swimming in it.

First of all, make sure that the ground where the pool is going is relatively flat and even and that there aren’t any large sticks or rocks where the pool bottom will be.

Taking these precautions will ensure that there’s less potential for even the best above ground pool to snag on something and rip. It will also reduce the chances that your pool will collapse or start to slide because of hilly, uneven ground.

However, if you notice a little bit of unevenness and there’s no better spot to put the pool, you can put sandbags on that area of the ground before setting up the pool to ensure that the pool is level.

Next, check out the moisture and texture of the soil that the pool will be sitting on. If the ground is too soft, you’ll need to pick a different spot or do something to change the soil moisture levels. Otherwise the pool could start sliding or sinking into the soft ground.

Even if the ground is flat and dry, it’s still a good idea to put down a tarp or ground cover before installing your pool for an added layer of protection. This may also provide a little bit of a cushion for the bottom of the pool!

Finally, be sure to trim any trees or bushes close to the spot where your pool will be set up. If left untrimmed, the branches of smaller trees and plants could poke into the side of the pool. With overgrown taller trees and plants, your pool could be susceptible to falling leaves and other debris.

Can I keep my above ground pool outside all year?

Even the best above ground pools take a while to set up. Accordingly, it may seem easiest just to keep your pool up once summer has ended. Depending on the type of pool you have, this might be okay!

Specifically, hard-sided above ground pools can stay up all year round with the proper winterizing procedures.

The winterizing process for an above ground pool includes important steps like removing all equipment from the pool that’s not necessary to keeping it safe throughout the winter as well as securing your pool cover with cables for added staying power.

Unfortunately, all other types of above ground pools have to be drained and disassembled once summer is over. This is especially true of inflatable above ground pools, which are unable to hold up to the rapid drop in temperatures while still inflated.

How long will my above ground pool last?

An above ground pool is definitely an investment, so it makes sense that you’ll want it to last for a long time. Luckily, with the proper amount of care and the right equipment, you can enjoy your above ground pool for years to come!

The best above ground pools will last an absolute maximum of approximately 15 years. Although not just any above ground pool can hold up for over a decade, you may be able to keep your pool going for that long with a few key repairs.

For example, pool liners are prone to breakdown because of all the wear and tear they experience from humans and from the elements. Accordingly, you’ll probably have to replace the liner at least every five years or sooner if you notice a hole or rip.

It’s important to note that this estimate is only for hard-sided above ground pools. Because liners are directly attached to the walls of inflatable pools, you can’t replace the liners for inflatable pools.

This is why inflatable pools generally only last a few years before you’ll need to stop using them. Once the liner goes, it’s time to throw it out!

Another important maintenance rule for preserving the best above ground pools is protecting the sides, and especially the support poles, from becoming rusty. The metal exterior of an above ground pool is completely exposed to all sorts of weather, so it’s especially prone to rust and erosion if left untreated.

Choosing the Best Above Ground Pools

If you enjoyed learning more about above ground pools and want to explore similar content, check out our Backyard Living page for tons more inspiration