Best Above Ground Pools to Buy in 2020–Reviews & Top Pick

You have come to the right place if you are looking for the best above ground pool.

An above-ground pool is an affordable option to make your backyard a fun place. You can be up and swimming within 48 hours. Better yet, above ground pools are available from different vendors, plus they come with excellent specs to accommodate your swimming needs and wants.

Today’s update is a review (includes our top pick) of some of the best above ground pools. Let’s get right into it.

Reviews of the ten best above ground pools for the money

Did your pool get ruined by the storm? Looking at a swimming pool but not looking to add another project? Are kids getting older? Is it your first time with an above ground pool, or are you in the market for something to last a few years?

Your requirements notwithstanding, our reviews cover 10 of the highest-rated above ground swimming pools, as suitable for specific situations and different categories of people.

Best Overall: Intex 18ft X 9ft X 52in Ultra XTR Rectangular Pool Set

Have you had a bad experience with an above ground pool and are trying to avoid a repeat? The Intex 18ft Ultra XTR pool set is your answer.

Specs

  • Shape: Rectangular
  • Dimensions: 18ft X 9in X 52in
  • Water depth: 45in
  • Water capacity: 4545 gallons
  • Water flow rate: 1200 gallons per hour (Gph)
  • Material: Steel & PVC
  • Accessories: Ladder, ground cloth, debris cover, set-up & maintenance DVD

Features

  • Rust-resistant coating
  • Puncture-resistant liner
  • Seal and lock system
  • Aero-hydration technology
  • Easy lock system
  • Suction outlet fittings
  • Timer
Pros
  • Genius design
  • Solid built
  • Simple maintenance
  • Decent size (perfect for a family of four or five)
  • Space efficient (perfect for people with a narrow yard)
Cons
  • Costly
Built for strength and performance, the Intex 18’×9′ is great for summer fun. It is a perfect choice for anyone looking for an above ground pool that doesn’t leak, has all parts intact, one that doesn’t get damaged in under two years. In short, a worry-free above ground pool.

Runner up: Bestway 56477E Power Steel

Do you suspect our top pick will not meet your needs? Here’s another top option to try. Featuring all the amiable features you like in our top pick, but at a lower price, the Bestway 56477E pool set is a complete package of everything you need to cool off after a long hard day.

Specs

  • Shape: Rectangular
  • Dimensions: 24ft x 12ft x 52in
  • Water capacity: N/A
  • Material: Steel & PVC
  • Water flow rate: 1500 gallons per hour (Gph)
  • Accessories: sand filter pump, ground cloth, ladder, and filter cartridge

Features

  • Seal and lock system
  • Pin-clip joint design
  • ChemConnect chemical dispenser
Pros
  • Fully accessorized
  • Roomy
  • Genius design
  • Simple maintenance
Cons
  • Instructions need improvement
With the seal and lock system preventing leaking and bending, joined by the clip design providing stability and support. Not to mention its vast size and the corrosion-resistant steel frame, which ensures the durability of the Bestway 56477E above ground pool.

Don’t forget this package is over a thousand dollars as of the time of this writing plus parts may need to be upgraded. Other than that, the Bestway 56477E is the choice above ground pool to beat the heat.

Best permanent above ground pool: Intex 32×16×52in Ultra Frame

Looking for a set-it-and-forget-it above ground pool? 

It is true that the size of the Intex ultra frame pool adds a layer of complexity to the installation. This turns out to be a very good reason why this type of above ground pools should stay up permanently. 

Needless to mention that the Intex (32ft) has all it takes to meet your swimming requirements for years to come without diminishing performance.

Specs

  • Shape: Rectangular
  • Dimensions: 36ft X 18in X 52in
  • Water depth: 
  • Water capacity: 13500 gallons
  • Water flow rate: 2800 gallons per hour (Gph)
  • Made of: Steel & PVC
  • Accessories: Ladder, ground cloth, debris cover, set-up & maintenance DVD

Features

  • Rust-resistant coating
  • Puncture-resistant liner
  • Aero-hydration technology
  • Easy lock system
  • Suction outlet fittings
Pros
  • Fully accessorized
  • Solid design & built
  • Simple maintenance
  • Homogeneous size
  • Clear manual instructions
Cons
  • Needs a larger space for installation
  • Proper site preparation required
Overall, the Intex 32′ Ultra Frame Pool Set is an excellent choice. It’s of a great size and quality, powerful, and efficient…perfect for someone looking for a pool to go all year round.

Best for swimming laps: Intex 24ft X 12ft X 52in Ultra Frame Pool Set

Does swimming in circles now sound like a routine? Would you rather do some laps? 

At a length of 24ft, a family of five or a group of adults up to seven can comfortably splash and stretch in the Intex Ultra Frame pool set.

Specs

  • Shape: Rectangular
  • Dimensions: 24ft X 12in X 52in
  • Water depth: 45in
  • Water capacity: 8403 gallons
  • Water flow rate: 2100 gallons per hour (Gph)
  • Material: Steel & PVC
  • Accessories: Ladder, ground cloth, debris cover, set-up & maintenance DVD

Features

  • Rust-resistant coating
  • Puncture-resistant liner
  • Aero-hydration technology
  • Easy lock system
  • Suction outlet fittings
  • Timer
Pros
  • Nice size (can hold a group of up to seven adults)
  • Solid design & built 
  • Simple maintenance
  • Space efficient (perfect for people with a narrow backyard)
  • Clear and easy-to-follow instructions
Cons
  • Costly
Expensive but considering, in particular, its size and depth, the Intex 24′ is your best bet if you are looking for an above ground pool for swimming laps.

Best for kids: Homech Family Inflatable Swimming Pool

How difficult are you finding keeping the kids entertained with no public swimming pools or rec centers? Or maybe you want grandkids to join in the Summer water party but worry they are not of age.

Either way, the Homech inflatable lounge pool is the solution you are looking for. The Homech inflatable lounge pool, made with kids in mind, offers tons of features to let kids splash on their own or join in the family fun with less worry about security and safety. 

Specs

  • Shape: Rectangular
  • Dimensions: 120″ X 72″ X 22″”
  • Water capacity: 312 gallons
  • Material: PVC
  • Water flow rate: N/A

Features

  • Curve water valves (2)
  • Air chambers (3)
Pros
  • Affordable
  • Nice design
  • Sturdy
  • Roomy (can hold up to two adults or between 3 – 5 kids aged nine and below)
  • Quick inflation
  • Easy deflation
  • Space efficient
Cons
  • Not fully accessorized
If it helps to mention, buying an electric pump (if you don’t have one) is very critical to the use of this inflatable lounge.

Other than that, the Homech inflatable kiddie pool is a simple, practical pool made out of sturdy materials and selling at a great price. 

Check out the Homech inflatable lounge if you want to keep your little ones entertained in a homogenous inflatable pool right at your backyard.

Best above ground saltwater pool: Intex 26367EH Ultra XTR

Don’t want to mess with chlorine chemicals? A saltwater system is an incredible alternative. With salt-based pools such as the Intex 26367EH Ultra XTR Pool Set, you’ll be diving in soft, refreshing waters. Not only that, and while salt-based above ground pools have a higher initial cost, useful life spreads across several years, plus they are relatively maintenance-free.

Specs

  • Shape: Rectangular
  • Water depth: 45in
  • Dimensions: 12’×24’×32″
  • Water capacity: 14000 gallons
  • Water flow rate: 1600 gallons per hour (Gph)
  • Made of: Steel & PVC
  • Accessories: pool ladder, ground cloth, pool cover, maintenance kit & volleyball set

Features

  • Rust-resistant coating
  • Puncture-resistant liner
  • Aero-hydration technology
  • Easy lock system
  • Suction outlet fittings
Pros
  • Fully accessorized
  • Solid design & construction
  • Huge size
  • Dual filtration systems
Cons
  • Costly
Intex claimed this set is rust-treated. However, using saltwater in a steel framework can lead to rusting. 

Besides its saltwater pump system, the Intex 26367EH Ultra XTR pool can hold eight or more people at a time. Additionally, its (45in) depth is ideal for lap swimmers. Still, everything needed to get started splashing comes complete with the package.

Are you thinking about getting an above ground pool that uses a salt-based vs. sand-based filtration system? Check out the Intex 26367EH Ultra XTR pool set.

Best Value: Intex 15ft x 42in Prism Frame Above Ground Swimming Pool Set

Want a reasonably priced swimming pool that will last years with minimal maintenance? At a depth of 36in and diameter of 15ft, this pool is deep enough for adults and kids to paddle around yet small enough not to dominate the backyard. The best part, and just like the Bestway 56631E, our budget pick, the Intex 15ft×42in swimming pool, is currently less than $300 on Amazon.

Specs

  • Shape: Round
  • Dimensions: 15’×42″
  • Water depth: 36in
  • Water capacity: 1185 gallons
  • Water flow rate: 330 gallons per hour (Gph)
  • Made of: Metal and polymer

Features

  • Rust-resistant coating
  • Puncture-resistant liner
  • Aero-hydration technology
  • T-lock system
Pros
  • Affordable
  • Spacious (can fit up to eight adults)
  • Sturdy 
  • Simple set-up
  • Easy maintenance & storage
Cons
  • Not accessorized
With the Intex (15ft×42in) above ground pool at the core of reasonable pricing and excellent performance. For less than $300 and for everything else the Intex 15′ offers, it is a great option if you are looking for an above ground pool that will give you maximum value for a small budget.

Best budget: Bestway 56631E Power Steel

Are you looking for a quality above-ground pool without the hefty price tag? As you’d soon see, the Bestway 56631E Power Steel scores high in critical areas to include design and construction, usability, durability, and functionality. Best of all, Bestway 56631E Power Steel is currently priced under $300 at Amazon.

Specs

  • Shape: Round
  • Dimensions: 9’3″ x 6’5″ x 33″
  • Water depth: Unknown
  • Water capacity: Unknown
  • Water flow rate: Unknown
  • Made of: Steel & PVC
  • Accessories: Cover, ground cloth, and sand filter

Features

  • Rust-resistant frame coating
  • Seal & lock system
  • ChemConnect dispenser
  • flow-controlled drain valve
Pros
  • Affordable
  • Sturdy
  • Quick assembling
  • Space efficient
  • Looks good
  • Easy maintenance
Cons
  • Ladder not included
  • Instructions need improvement

Because a ladder doesn’t come with the Bestway 56631E above ground pool, stepping over the railing to get in and out is normal. As inconvenient as it appears. On the other hand, this can be a safety measure ensuring kids can’t get in without someone to lift them. Although there is still an option to buy a pool ladder separately. 

Similarly, if you don’t like the pump, you can upgrade to a bigger pump or buy a salt system. And for the manual instructions of the Bestway 56631E that is somewhat difficult to follow. Use this video as a guide:

Great size, superb quality, and excellent in operation, the Bestway 56631E above ground pool is a perfect choice if you are looking for a budget-friendly above ground pool.

Best above-ground pool WITHOUT a ladder: Intex 12ft X 30in Prism Frame Pool Set

Looking for an above ground pool and one WITHOUT a ladder? Pool ladders offer quick access to and exit from a pool. They may also provide additional safety measures for people looking to keep their kids away. EXCEPT pool ladders can be limiting for people with knee problems.

Thankfully, there is an Intex Prism Frame Pool Set. This pool is ideal for adults who have problems with their knees or persons who don’t dig swimming pools with ladders.

Specs

  • Shape: Round
  • Dimensions: 12’×30″
  • Water depth: 24in
  • Water capacity: 1718 gallons
  • Made of: Metal & polymer
  • Water flow rate: 530 gallons per hour (Gph)
  • Accessories: Sand filter pump

Features

  • Rust-resistant coating
  • Puncture-resistant liner
  • Aero-hydration technology
  • T-lock system
Pros
  • Cheap
  • Simple installation
  • Fills quickly
  • Easy to transport & store
  • Easy to maintain
  • Space efficient
Cons
  • Low-grade parts
  • Possible leaks
  • Not accessorized
Given a 24in depth and diameter of 12ft, this pool set may not be ideal for swimming laps. Parts may also be inferior, which means the jury is still out on durability. The Intex also comes with a pump which can be upgraded, plus missing accessories may have to be replaced.

Regardless, the Intex 12ft×30in pool set is cheap, easy to install, store, and maintain. As a result, it is the right choice for anyone who wants to comfortably straddle in and out of their pool without depending on a ladder.

Best above ground pool for beginners: Intex Easy Set Pool

Is it your first time with an above ground pool? Start with a simple swimming pool, such as the Intex Easy Set.

While other pools to include the Intex 30′ (#3 on the list) require elaborate prep work and often complicated assembling running into days, sometimes weeks, not to mention inputs from two or more other people. 

The Intex 8′ Easy Set, on the other hand, can be assembled by one person, filled, and ready for use in under one hour.

Specs

  • Shape: Round
  • Dimensions: 8’×30″
  • Water depth: Unknown
  • Water capacity: 639 gallons
  • Water flow rate: 330 gallons per hour (Gph)
  • Made of: PVC
  • Accessories: Instructional DVD

Features

  • Drain plug
  • Dual suction outlet fittings
Pros
  • Cheap
  • Simple installation
  • Accessible to transport & store
  • Easy to maintain
  • Nice design
  • Space efficient
Cons
  • Small-ish size
  • Filter pump not included
Besides you can grab the Intex Easy Set for less than $100, being the cheapest you will find in this review; its height is also a plus in that a ladder is not required to enter or exit this pool–making it perfect for kids too.

With the Intex Easy Set, though, functionality and durability may have been sacrificed for affordability and simplicity. Another thing you want to keep in mind is that considering its size, Intex Easy Set may not be ideal for use by more than two adults. On the upside, the Intex Easy Set fills quickly and is ready for use in a few hours. 

A beautiful little pool, easy to install, fill, and collapse for storage, the Intex Easy Set is the best choice for anyone who is just getting started with an above-surface pool set.

Conclusion

There you have it: ten best above ground pools. Feel free to check out any item on the list per your requirements.

The Intex 18ft X 9ft X 52in Ultra XTR Rectangular Pool Set with all things considered (features, performance, design and built) is our top pick for the best above ground pool. 

As you go about making your choice, though, keep a few things top of mind.

For the best results and to extend the useful life on your pool, make sure the ground is 100% leveled. Putting a swimming pool on uneven ground could cut the liner, especially when filled. 

And because wrinkles will make cleaning difficult, make sure all the lines are out before filling the pool with water. 

Set-up may also take longer than advertised. Some pairs of hands will be helpful during installation. 

Lastly, accessories may or may not come with some pools. When it does, they are usually insufficient; therefore, some upgrading might be required.