Choosing the Best Above Ground Pool

In fact, treated wisely, an above ground pool could last you a very long time…as long as 25 years – or more – in some cases. The liner will typically need to be replaced in your pool every ten to twelve years, but despite that, they’re still more economical than in-ground pools.

Research pool companies

If you plan to have your above ground pool installed, get quotes from several different companies. Find customer reviews and don’t assume that paying more…or even less…is the right choice. Carefully compare what you’re paying for to get a true estimate of your costs.

Don’t just pick something that looks great…consider where you’re going to put your new pool first. Are there local building codes that need to be considered before putting in a new above-ground pool?

The last thing you want to do is buy a pool that you can’t use.

Types of pools

Oval or round

The size of your back yard and your local regulations may play a factor in your choice of round or oval pool. Although oval is often considered larger, that’s not always the case.

Keep in mind that an oval pool requires more parts than a round one to help keep it together, to keep the pool from collapsing under water pressure, hence the reason why they’re typically pricier than round pools.


Most above-ground pools come in 48,” 52” and 54” walls.

It is possible to create a “deep end” if you’d prefer to have more shallow water for the kids, but if this is the case, make sure you let your pool installer know so they can use the right materials and prepare the groundwork accordingly.


It’s not uncommon to have restrictions that limit the distance between your pool and surrounding structures (e.g. your privacy fence) so find out what restrictions you have – if any – for the installation of your new above-ground pool; before you buy it.

Frame Style


Steel walls are common; they’re inexpensive and heavy duty so they do the job well.

Unfortunately, steel can corrode and oxidize, especially when exposed to continuous sunlight and salt water.


Resin is better than steel in that it won’t get as hot in the sun, nor will it rust, oxidize or corrode, however it is more expensive.

If you plan to have your pool for a long time it’s worth the extra cost to buy an above-ground pool that’s manufactured using resin.


As you might imagine, a hybrid pool is made of both steel and resin.

Steel is used on parts that won’t be exposed to water while resin is used for the remainder of the pool. It’s also less expensive than a pool that’s been created solely from resin.


A major purpose of the pool liner is to extend the life of your pool by protecting it from damage.

It’s also an aesthetic feature, but most importantly, it holds the water of your pool in place.

There are 4 kinds of liners:


As you might imagine, an overlap liner is one that overlaps the edges of your pool walls. They’re attached using coping strips that hold the liner in place.

One issue with this type of liner is lining it up evenly around the pool, which is especially noticeable if the liner has a pattern to it.


A beaded liner has a thick bead of vinyl running along the top of the liner that’s designed to fit inside a track that’s been installed to the top rails of your above-ground pool.

While this is an easy to install liner – especially when you decide to replace the liner – one thing to note is that because the liner isn’t made to fit to the top of your pool wall it’s easy for water to get between the liner and the walls of your pool.

Which of course means that the steel walls of your pool get exposed to water and begin to rust.


A J-hook or unibead liner has a thick vinyl piece at the top of it that’s in the shape of a “U”. It’s made to hook onto the top of the pool wall.

If your pool system has a beaded liner track in place this type of liner can also be used, you simply trim off the j-hook portion of vinyl strip on the liner and install it into the track system on your existing pool.


As you might imagine, expandable liners are designed to expand to a specific length or depth. This is the best option if you want to create a “deep end” in your pool as the liner will stretch and expand accordingly.

Typically, these liners are made to fit a 48” or 52” wall and can stretch up to 72”.

Filter systems

There are several different types of filter and pump systems you can choose from, depending upon your needs.



One of the most common types of filtering methods is the sand filter. Water is pumped through a sand filter then pushed out through lateral tubes on the bottom of your filter tank.

As the filter gets clogged with debris your water flow will slow down. This is your cue to clean out the filter by running it reverse (a/k/a backwashing) and dumping the wastewater.

You’ll need to do this every few weeks or so, depending on how dirty your pool gets.

This is one of the cheapest options, but also one that requires frequent maintenance to run properly.

Sand filters filter down to a particle size of 20 to 40 microns.


As you might imagine, this type of filter uses a cartridge with a filter to capture debris from your pool.

This type of filtration system lasts longer than sand because it provides a larger area for water to pass through, however it’s also more expensive than sand so be prepared to pay more for your pool cleaning supplies.

Cartridge filters are made to run at a lower pressure than what’s needed with sand so your pump isn’t having to work as hard, giving you both better flow rates and potentially help your pump last longer.

Unless your pool water gets dirty faster than normal you can expect to clean out the cartridge once or twice a season. Simply remove the cartridges from the tank, hose them down and replace.

A cartridge filter can sift out particles as tiny as 10 to 15 microns.

Diatomaceous Earth (DE)

Similar to a sand filter, this filter type uses Diatomaceous Earth instead of sand.

Diatomaceous Earth consists of tiny fossilized exoskeletons of diatoms that will filter out particles to a much smaller degree than sand.

This filter type is also similar to cartridge filters in that it uses grids that have been coated with D.E, that catches particles as small as 5 to 10 microns.

The downside of this filter type is the cost. You’ll need to replace the grids every few months and they’re more expensive than either cartridges or sand.


Now that you’ve removed the bits and pieces that can fall into your pool you’ll need to kill the bacteria and algae in your pool that can turn it into swamp water.

Chlorine is by far the most cost effective way to sanitize your pool, however there are other ways to keep it sanitized.

Chlorine tablets

One of the most commonly used forms of chlorine are chlorine tablets. They look similar to a hockey puck and come in one and three inch sizes and are used in a floater or chlorine feeder.

Note: An effective way to manually regulate how quickly the tablets dissolve is through the use of a chlorinator.


Salt pools aren’t as harsh on your skin, clothes and eyes.

A salt chlorine generator takes common salt (like that used in water conditioners) and changes it into “free” chlorine which sanitizes your pool then changes back into salt.


Mineral packs are put into mineral reservoirs and help to keep your pool’s pH balanced because they act as a neutralizer. This can cut your use of chlorine by half which is good for your eyes and your wallet.

With the warm summer days stretching ahead of you, now is the perfect time to install your above-ground pool. Which one will you choose?

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