How to choose an above ground pool

Ned Kampmann

Lazing your days away near the water is no longer an out-of-reach luxury, but a reality that is available to almost everyone, especially with the advent of frame pools. These designs range from inexpensive and short-lived inflatable pools to durable, but more costly steel-framed ones. They are easy to assemble, and they can reach a length of 30ft, with 2 to 3ft depths, allowing you to comfortably swim and play. The range of above-ground pools is wide and choosing a good one is not as easy as it may seem at first glance. So, let’s go through what needs to be considered when buying, installing and operating one.

How to choose an above ground pool


An above-ground pool is simply a frame and a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) liner. The frame can be of rods or panels, the interior is then covered with two layers of vinyl and one layer of polyester and attached to the frame. The pools are strong, and able to hold up to 50 tons of water, resulting in decent-sized pools for you and your family to enjoy.


  • resistance to wear and tear
  • resistance to temperature extremes, frost and sunlight
  • decent service life (with proper care – about 10 years)
  • a wide variety of shapes and sizes
  • low price
  • relative ease of transportation and installation
  • most models can be moved from one place to another

Cons: the complexity of installing the pool and the possible need for additional equipment.


Rod. Frames are made of vertical and horizontal supports. Vertical poles are threaded through special sleeves on a vinyl cover, with horizontal crossbars attached to them. The design is simple and quick to assemble, but is used for shallow pools.

core aboveground pools

Sectional or panel. The frame is assembled from metal or plastic modules, which are attached to each other by bolts or other mechanisms; inside, the PVC lining is laid out, and fixed with special fittings. These pools are strong, durable and easier to clean.

sectional above ground pools


Seasonal: designed for use only in the summer and should be disassembled in the fall. They are inexpensive, with lightweight frames. PVC lining will have to be replaced every season, since it’s not very thick material and is easily damaged by jumping, bumping and other active games. Moreover, the kits rarely include everything you need.

seasonal above-ground pools

Frost-resistant: with more durable reinforced frames and thick linings, they can tolerate prolonged exposure to low temperatures. Multi-season constructions are better when buried in the ground, but manufacturers say they will survive more than one winter above ground. The package includes almost everything needed to maintain the pool. Main advantages: high strength, no need to disassemble the structure before each winter and a lifespan up to 15 years. But you need to carefully choose a place to install the pool, because it is difficult to move.

frost resistance above-ground pools


The first method is on compacted earth or poured concrete. This is best for smaller seasonal designs that are collapsible. above ground pool on the ground surface

The second option is to install your pool in a specially dug trench. This option is only suitable for frost-resistant pools. Installation of such pools will require much more time, money and effort, but in the end you will get a full-fledged pool, the depth of which can reach 6-9ft deep. Such pools can be worked into any style of yard, allowing the sides and the territory adjacent to the pool to be decorated as you like. It makes for an ideal place to relax in the summer heat.

pool in a specially dug trench


above-ground-pool-for-childrenSize is selected based on the area of the site and the number of people who will swim at one time. There are different variants on sale: length – from 9 to 30ft and more, width – from 3 to 15ft, depth – from 1ft to 6-9ft. The most popular frame shape is round, but there are oval, rectangular and asymmetric as well. The more complex the shape and the larger the size, the higher the price.

large-above-ground-poolCompact pools with a depth of up to 5ft are suitable for small areas. Larger pools will look better in larger areas. If the pool is mainly intended for children, then a small inflatable option is suitable, since the extra depth will be unnecessary, and for a pool that will please the entire family, it is better to choose a spacious frame pool.




Choosing the right place can add years to the life of your pool. It is better to place the pool near the water source and its drain. Additionally, it’s not recommended to put it the canopy of trees, as they are a source of shade and debris. Best of all is a flat area with a maximum gradient of 5 degrees.

above-ground pool where to put


  1. Preparation of the base. First, remove all stones, branches, and any hard, sharp objects, it is desirable to get completely rid of the grass and roots that can damage the pool during its operation. All-season versions can be partially or fully buried in the ground. To do this, you need to dig a pit, fill it with a layer of sand and gravel to a thickness of 6-8in and make a concrete pad of the same thickness. Professionals recommended strengthening the walls of the ditch with bricks.
  2. Build the frame. Keep in mind the sheet frame for rectangular pools is assembled from separate parts, which are fixed with screws, and the joints are treated with sealant. When assembling the pool, vertical guides are placed in the pockets of the vinyl cover, then horizontal ones are installed, only then everything is connected. If there isn’t a concrete bottom, and the soil is loose, then put a wooden board or paving slabs under each support rod or leg.
  3. Connect the filter pump according to the instructions, all hoses and other necessary elements should be included. Do not turn the filter on without water in the pool. Most filters use cartridge and sand filters. Paper cartridges will have to be changed 2-3 times a week, and special quartz sand – once every 3-5 years
  4. Install the ladder and fill the pool with water.


The main thing you can do for the pool is to keep it clean. Without special filtering equipment, crystal clear water in a week will turn into a foul-smelling liquid, which can be dangerous swim in.

above-ground pool water filtrationTo filter the water, you need:

  • a filter pump, which eliminates dirt and other impurities in the water
  • a skimmer, to clean the surface of water from floating debris
  • nets and brushes for catching large debris and cleaning walls
  • chemicals are used to keep bacteria under control

Sometimes the filter pumps are equipped with a chlorine generator operating on ordinary table salt. In this case, additional cleaning is minimal and requires no more than the use of disinfectants. In all other cases, the use of special chemicals is indispensable. They are sold in sets which control the pH level and provide additional chlorine-containing components. To dissolve solids use a special float, which is often combined with a thermometer.

Preparing the pool for the winter:

  • seasonal constructions are disassembled, all elements are cleaned (pay special attention to the water lines), dried and stored for the winter in a place that stays above freezing. The instructions indicate how to store everything correctly long-term.preparing the pool for the winter
  • all-season constructions can also be disassembled, but more often they are left for the winter – the final decision is made according to the climate of the region. If in the cold season the temperature falls below -13 °F (-25 °C), then it is better to disassemble even all-season pools. Preparatory work begins at temperatures of 55-60 °F (13-15 °C). It is necessary to drain some of the water, leaving a little in the bottom so that the soil does not damage the structure. This is followed by cleaning the walls, chemically treatment the water, and washing and drying the equipment. Then cover the pool with a frost-resistant cover and wait for the next summer.


The name of the manufacturer is a guarantee of quality. Large companies give a guarantee, so it is better to choose their products. Minor savings when buying questionable products can turn out poorly, and you won’t be able to buy a new pool with what you saved if it does go bad.

above ground pool intexIntex – the world leader in the production of inflatable and frame pools. The company was founded in 1964 in Los Angeles, today they have production sites located around the world. The range is huge, you can find models of different sizes, ranging in price and quality.

Bestway – is a Chinese company, with a considerable range of products. All of them are made of triple reinforced film, and the frame is reliably protected from corrosion. Prices are average.

above ground pool bestwayUniPool – is a German company with a 40-year history. German quality has always been in the price, so UniPool pools will cost more than Intex or Bestway.

Atlantic Pool – pools from this Canadian company are now in demand in 90 countries around the world. All models are equipped with a sand filter (which are superior to the usual paper cartridges) and a skimmer, and almost all designs are cold-resistant.

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