What’s the best type of above ground pool? The type that fits your yard and budget, while providing years of fun for everyone who uses it. Duh!
Okay, that’s not a very helpful answer. But with so many different varieties of pools on the market – each with its own strengths and weaknesses – there really is no way to answer that question that makes sense for every situation. All you can do is learn about the different options so you can figure out what the right choice is for you.
To help you out, here’s a primer on the different types of above ground pools you can buy. Knowing these basic terms should give you a leg up when it’s time to start browsing product pages in search of the backyard pool of your dreams.
As the name suggests, hard-sided above ground pools have walls made of solid material such as aluminum, steel, or resin. The interior consists of a vinyl pool liner, which is often sold separately.
In general, hard-sided pools are the most durable option, and can even rival inground pools for longevity if properly maintained. They typically come in round and oval shapes, often with classy decorative exteriors. Overall, if you’re looking for a more permanent feature for your backyard, this could be the type of pool you want.
On the downside, hard-sided pools are generally more expensive than the other choices. They’re also the most difficult to assemble, making professional installation a necessity in many cases.
Also known as soft-sided pools, metal frame pools consist of a vinyl liner supported by a sturdy metal frame. Their big advantage is that, compared to hard-sided pools, they’re cheap and easy to install. You can find them in round and rectangular shapes.
While not quite as durable as hard-sided pools, metal frame pools are long-lasting enough for most people’s purposes. They’re relatively easy to disassemble, so you can take them down over winter (saves on wear) and dispose of them without too much fuss when the time comes.
If you want an affordable pool that comes in large sizes and can be assembled and disassembled without the help of a professional, a metal frame swimming pool is a solid choice.
This is another type of soft-sided pool, but it’s worth a separate mention because of its uniqueness and popularity. Also known as a ring pool or easy set pool, a quick set pool has an inflatable ring that rises to support a tough vinyl pool wall as you add water.
To say that you “just add water” to set up these pools might be a bit of an exaggeration, but there’s no doubt that the ease of installation is a big selling point. The fact that they’re the cheapest of the options is another advantage. The tradeoff is that these types of pools have limited options and aren’t as long-lasting.
You can get quick set pools in round and oval shapes. If you’re looking for a cheap pool that’s large enough to accommodate kids and adults, but is easy to set up at the same time, a quick set pool is worth a look.
Other Types of Above Ground Pools
While the above information can take you a long way, there are still other ways to divide and classify above ground swimming pools. Here are three of them you might run into:
Saltwater Pool vs. Traditional Chlorine
This isn’t strictly an above ground thing, as a so-called “saltwater pool” can be either above ground or inground. “Saltwater” refers to a type water sanitation system that has become a popular alternative to traditional chlorine. If you’re interested in a saltwater system, keep in mind that it may not be compatible with all above ground pool setups, as it can cause metal walls and fixtures to corrode.
Shape, Size, and Depth
A lot of people talk about the types of swimming pools – whether above ground or inground – in terms of their dimensions. As you can see, the pool’s construction (hard-sided, metal frame, or quick set) has a major impact on what sizes and shapes are available. Depth is usually limited to the height of the pool walls, but you can find above ground pools with deep ends.
Finally, unlike inground swimming pools, above ground pools are strongly associated with the brands they belong to. Intex and Doughboy are two of the biggest names in the business, but there are many other brands to choose from. As with other products, it pays to look beyond the popularity and reputation of a particular company and check out reviews of the specific models you’re interested in.
Once you understand the different types of above ground pools, it’s likely that you’ll hone in on one pretty quickly. For most people, the harder step is deciding on the exact pool you want. Luckily, this website is full of information to help you find that perfect pool.