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Best Above-Ground Swimming Pools

A review and in-depth guide to all the top above-ground pools

By Brian Williamson | Written on May 15th, 2024
Best Above-Ground Swimming Pools

As the temperatures soar and the days grow longer, many of us start to dream of a refreshing dip in a pool. However, with inground swimming pools costing as much as $100,000-250,000, not everyone has the space, budget, or desire for an in-ground swimming pool.

This is where above-ground pools shine as an excellent alternative, offering the joys of swimming without the extensive commitment of an in-ground pool. Contrary to some misconceptions, above-ground pools can be stylish, durable, and a great addition to your backyard if you buy the right one.

Let's dive into the world of above-ground pools, exploring what they are, and what they're made of, and addressing common questions to help you find the best above-ground swimming pool for your home.

Our Top Picks

What is an above-ground pool?

An above-ground swimming pool is a structure for holding water that sits on top of the ground, rather than being inground, that is designed for swimming, playing, and wading. An above-ground pool can be left up year-round or select ones can be seasonal. They can range from simple inflatable designs to more robust models that will last a lifetime like a container pool.

Enjoying Above-Ground Pool
Enjoy a backyard oasis - Bestway Swimming Pool

Materials Used in Above-Ground Pools

Above-ground pools are made from a variety of materials, each offering different benefits:

  • Steel: Known for its strength and durability, steel is a popular choice for the frames of many above-ground pools. These are the most secure and is our preferred choice.
  • Resin: This is a type of plastic that is highly resistant to moisture and chemical damage, making it ideal for pool structural components that are exposed to water and pool chemicals.
  • Aluminum: Lightweight and resistant to corrosion, aluminum is used in the construction of some above-ground pool frames. It’s easier to handle compared to steel but is generally less sturdy.
  • Vinyl: The interior of most above-ground pools is lined with vinyl, which is waterproof and forms a smooth barrier that holds the water.  These materials are chosen for their ability to withstand the elements, including UV radiation from the sun, and their resistance to tearing or puncturing.

Best Above-Ground Pools for 2024

So what are our top above-ground pool picks for 2024? Diving into our selection, we have handpicked our personal favorite. Whether you have a small budget or want the best of the best, we have you covered.

Best Overall Above-Ground Pools: Ecopool

The best above-ground pool of the year is an Ecopool container pool. Containing 5 times more steel than traditional swimming pools, their patented pools can be placed above-ground, partially on-ground, or inground.

Best Above-Ground Pools Ecopool
The #1 Above-Ground Swimming Pool

With unique designs and features such as windows, ledges, and stairs, each pool is handmade in Salado, Texas. Taking a unique approach, their pools are created with a Zycore Polymer Membrane that lasts for years. Combined with an 8-layer UV-resistant design, these pools are made to last a lifetime.

But what about rust? Unlike other shipping container pool companies, Ecopool’s Zycore polymer membrane cannot rust. With this lining, no water touches the metal. This premium membrane also looks great too. With the ability to have 3D tile, texture, or just solid colors, the choice is yours.

Ecopool container pool with window
Add features like windows, ledges, stairs, and more

The unique advantage compared to traditional pools is that you can be swimming the same day once taking delivery of your Ecopool if it is above ground. With the ability to add decking and form it into your landscape, it offers a luxurious swimming pool for a fraction of the price of traditional inground pools.

Partial Above-Ground Splash Pool
Above-ground, partial above-ground, or inground: the choice is yours

Ecopool sizes start at 8' x 20' pools and go from there. So they are much larger than some of the other pools on our list. With a modular design, you can combine any shape and size pool to create pools that are 16' x 40' pools and up!

Above-Ground Pool Solar Container Pool
A pool like no other

While they are the most expensive above-ground pool on the list, there is no doubt they are the best. With features unavailable from other pools on this list, Ecopool stands out as the best above-ground swimming pool.

Best Value: Bestway Power Steel 14' x 8'2" x 39.5" Oval Above Ground Pool 

The Bestway Power Steel Oval Above Ground Pool is recognized for its sturdiness and affordability, making it an excellent choice for those looking for a non-permanent summer cooling solution. Its durability, easy setup, and good value have garnered praise, especially appealing to first-time pool owners and those with restricted space.

Setting up the pool is straightforward, typically necessitating two people and taking under three hours to complete. The ability to be built rather quickly is one of the key features that contribute to its popularity among users who prefer quick and easy assembly for immediate enjoyment.

Bestway Power Steel
Bestway Power Steel Pool

The construction of the pool is solid, featuring a corrosion-resistant steel frame and a 3-ply Tritech liner designed for strength and puncture resistance. These materials help enhance the lifespan of the pool, making it a durable option in the above-ground pool market. It can hold 1,915 gallons of water, offering plenty of space for family activities and accommodating up to 10-12 people in its larger configurations.

Many owners have expressed satisfaction with the pool's sturdy frame and spacious interior, which are suitable for both adults and children. The inclusion of the ChemConnect chemical dispenser is particularly appreciated, as it aids in maintaining clean and healthy pool water through consistent chlorine distribution.

Bestway Power Steel Lifestyle
Bestway Steel Pro Above-Ground Pool

However, there are some drawbacks noted by users, including issues with the included pump and filter system, which may be inadequate for the pool’s size and susceptible to malfunctions. Additionally, the variability in customer service quality and the sometimes subpar nature of accessories like ladders and covers have been points of contention.

Despite these issues, with regular maintenance and proper chemical care, the Bestway Power Steel can provide multiple seasons of enjoyment – but don’t expect it to stand the test of time. Users may consider upgrading certain components, such as the filter pump, to boost functionality and extend the pool’s service life. Overall, it offers a solid foundation for summer fun without a hefty investment, though some may find it worthwhile to invest in better-quality accessories.

Shop Bestway Power Steel →

Solid and Reliable: Bestway 12752E Steel Pro Above Ground Pool

The Bestway Steel Pro Above Ground Pool is recognized for its commendable blend of durability and practicality, making it a great choice for families seeking a sturdy above-ground pool without the hefty price tag associated with more robust steel-walled options. Noted especially for its easy assembly and resilience under active family use, this pool is a popular choice for those looking to enjoy a summer splash.

Bestway Power Steel
Bestway Steel Pro Above-Ground Pool

Key features of the Steel Pro include its rust-resistant steel frame and a durable 3-ply PVC liner, designed to withstand both UV exposure and physical stress. This robust construction ensures the pool remains a long-lasting fixture in your backyard, offering many seasons of enjoyment.

Users greatly appreciate the straightforward assembly process, which usually requires no tools. The design of the frame simplifies setup, allowing the pool to be ready for water within just a few hours. The inclusion of the ChemConnect chemical dispenser is another highlight, providing an efficient way to maintain the pool's chemical balance and eliminating the need for traditional floaters.

The pool is also noted for its cost-effectiveness, offering the feel and functionality of pricier models at a fraction of the cost. This aspect makes it particularly attractive to budget-conscious families who do not wish to compromise on quality.

However, there are potential downsides to consider. The pool set does not come with essential accessories such as a pump, filter, or ladder, which must be purchased separately, potentially adding to the overall cost. Additionally, some users have reported that the included accessories like the ground cloth and pool cover might be of lower quality and could require replacement to ensure better performance and durability.

Overall, the Bestway Steel Pro Above Ground Pool is highly recommended for its balance of affordability, ease of use, and durability, making it a suitable option for families looking for an economical backyard swimming solution.

Shop Bestway Steel Pro Above Ground Pool →

Most Affordable: Intex Prism Frame

The Intex Prism Frame Above-Ground Pool is a favored option among families seeking a durable and spacious swimming solution for their backyard. It is acclaimed for its strong steel frame and a 3-ply liner, offering a robust and puncture-resistant barrier that ensures both durability and safety for family fun throughout the summer.

Intex Prism Above-Ground Pool
Intex Prism Frame Above-Ground Pool

Key features contributing to the popularity of this pool include its powder-coated steel framework which effectively prevents rust and enhances resistance to wear and tear. The assembly process is designed to be easy, featuring snap-on joints that eliminate the need for additional tools, thus simplifying the setup to be straightforward and manageable.  One notable innovation included with the pool is the Hydro Aeration Technology in the pump, which enhances circulation and filtration. This technology helps improve water clarity and hygiene.

However, there are considerations to keep in mind. The standard pump, while adequate, may not be sufficient for maintaining optimal cleanliness. Upgrading to a more powerful pump is often recommended to achieve better water clarity. Additionally, while the pool itself is a great value, potential additional costs for upgrades like a more efficient pump or a skimmer for improved maintenance should be considered.

The Prism Frame Pool is available in various sizes, accommodating different backyard dimensions and family needs. It offers everything from smaller pools ideal for young children to larger versions suitable for adult swimmers.

Intex Prism Lifestyle
Intex Prism Frame Lifestyle

Overall, the Intex Prism Frame Above-Ground Pool  is highly recommended for its affordability, ease of assembly, and sturdy construction, making it an excellent choice for both first-time pool owners and seasoned enthusiasts. However, prospective buyers should be prepared to invest in additional accessories to optimize their pool experience.

Shop Intex Prism Frame Above-Ground Pool →

Best Budget Large Above-Ground Pool: Bestway Rectangular Frame

The Bestway Rectangle Above-Ground Pool is a top choice for families seeking a durable and sizable swimming option. Renowned for its robust steel frame and triple-layered liner, this pool ensures both durability and safety, providing reliable family entertainment throughout the warmer months.

Bestway Rectangle Frame Above-Ground Pool
Bestway Rectangle Above-Ground Pool

Key features of the pool include a strong steel frame that comes with a corrosion-resistant coating, greatly enhancing its longevity and stability. The pool is designed for easy assembly with a straightforward setup process that does not require any tools, allowing families to quickly enjoy their new swimming area.

Maintenance is made convenient with the inclusion of a flow-controlled drain valve, which simplifies the process of managing and maintaining water quality and level. This feature ensures that the pool remains a hassle-free addition to any backyard.

However, there are considerations to bear in mind. The pump included with the pool may require an upgrade to ensure optimal cleanliness and filtration. Additionally, essential accessories such as a ladder may need to be purchased separately, potentially increasing the initial investment.

Bestway Rectangle Frame Above-Ground Pool Lifestyle
Enjoying a Bestway Rectangle Frame Pool

The rectangular shape and size of the pool make it ideal for both leisurely swimming and lap swimming, accommodating various family sizes and fitting comfortably in different backyard dimensions.

Overall, the Bestway Rectangle Above-Ground Pool comes highly recommended for its ease of setup, sturdy construction, and cost-effectiveness, making it a solid investment for those looking to add summer fun to their home. However, potential buyers should account for the possible additional costs related to upgrades and essential accessories.

Shop Bestway Rectangle Above-Ground Pool →

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do above-ground pools last?

The lifespan of an above-ground pool depends on the materials used and how well it is maintained. Typically, a well-maintained pool can last anywhere from 5 to 15 years. However, select pools such as the Ecopool can last a lifetime with the right maintenance. Choosing the right pool and maintenance is essential to the lifespan of your above-ground pool.

What maintenance is required on an above-ground pool?

Maintaining an above-ground pool involves regular cleaning, balancing the water chemistry, and ensuring the filtration system is running efficiently. It's also important to check and repair any structural elements like the liner or frame to prevent leaks or damage.

How much do above-ground pools cost?

Above-ground pools are generally less expensive than in-ground pools. Prices can range from a few hundred dollars for a basic inflatable pool to several thousand for a high-end metal-framed model. Operational costs for maintenance, such as chemicals and energy for pumps, should also be considered.

Can an above-ground pool be heated?

Yes, above-ground pools can be heated. There are several heating options available, including solar covers, electric heaters, and gas heaters, allowing you to keep your pool warm.

Are above-ground pools safe?

Safety in above-ground pools is super important, especially for families with children. Since above-ground pools usually require a ladder to get into, they generally are safer than an in-ground pool. Many pools come with removable ladders to prevent unsupervised access. Pool covers can also provide safety and help maintain water quality. We highly recommend these to protect you and your family.


In conclusion, choosing the best above-ground pool for your needs in 2024 involves considering your budget, space, and how you plan to use the pool. With a range of materials and designs available, there's an above-ground pool out there that can offer you the cool, refreshing enjoyment you seek this summer.

If your budget allows it, we highly recommend an Ecopool. While more of an initial investment, their container pools are the best overall above-ground pool you can get. While more affordable than traditional swimming pools while retaining all the benefits, Ecopool stands out as the top pick for homeowners everywhere.