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Above Ground Pool Buying Guide

Above Ground Pool Buying Guide

Do you dream of having your own backyard swimming pool? Many people desire a place to relax after long days at work or to refresh in the summer sun. An above ground pool makes this dream easy to realize. With affordable, quick setup options, an above ground pool may be a great addition to your backyard landscape.

Maybe you have some questions before buying an above ground pool for your family to enjoy. You may wonder about the work required to setup and maintain an above ground pool. If you’re not ready to dive into this dream quite yet, keep reading for more information on above ground pools.

We’ll cover the following questions in this above ground pool buying guide:

  • Where should you put your above ground pool?
  • Which size above ground pool is best for your backyard?
  • Should you buy an aluminum, resin, or hybrid above ground pool?
  • What pool equipment do above ground pools require?
  • What is the installation process for above ground pools?
  • How can you use accessories to enhance above ground pools?
  • What decking choices work well for above ground pools?

Where Should You Put Your Above Ground Pool?

An above ground pool can provide hours of relaxation and enhance many landscapes. To maximize enjoyment and reduce maintenance, you should select just the right spot for your pool. When choosing a location for your above ground pool, you’ll want to consider several factors.

What size is your yard?

Pools vary in size, and larger yards can accommodate expansive above ground pools. Of course, you’ll want a flat area on which to install your pool. Hilly or rocky areas will require more work to ready the yard for pool installation.

Sun or shade: which do you prefer?

Also, environmental factors play a role. Do you want your pool in a sunny or shaded area? This choice depends on your preferences for water temperature and pool use. If your pool is in a shady area, it may stay cooler, but you’ll also have to clean leaves from the pool more often. You should aim to place your pool at least ten feet from a tree.

Do you want easy accessibility?

Do you prefer your pool to be secluded in a corner or your property or closer to your home? This depends on how you plan to use your pool and on the type of backyard landscape you desire. Most pool owners want to place the pool near a walkway to a home or outdoor bathroom, for easy access.

Do regulations or restrictions apply?

Also, consider HOA or city regulations. Make sure the type and size of your pool is allowed by regulations for your home.

Above Ground Pool

Which Size Above Ground Pool Is Best for Your Backyard?

Above ground pools range from small 12-foot diameter models to 33-foot round or 20 x 40 foot oval pool models. Larger yards can accommodate elaborate pools, but the size pool you choose should depend on considering various factors.

How do you plan to use the pool?

If you’re swimming laps, you want a long pool. However, if you prefer to lounge on a float, a small pool might provide plenty of space to relax.

How much time do you have to clean?

Larger pools require more time spent cleaning them. Also, a larger volume of water requires more chemicals, increasing the expense of maintaining the pool.

How many people will use your pool at once?

If you have a big family, or frequently host guests, you want a pool large enough for everyone to enjoy. You don’t want to feel crowded, so choose a pool that will give everyone enough space to relax.

Should You Buy an Aluminum, Resin, or Hybrid Above Ground Pool?

When choosing an above ground pool, you need to consider what pool design would best fit your budget and backyard. Today, above ground pools come in three primary styles: aluminum, resin, and hybrid.

Aluminum Above Ground Pool

An aluminum pool can be a less expensive above ground pool option compared to resin models. Some aluminum pools integrate steel as well. Aluminum corrodes so it is not appropriate if you plan to have a saltwater filtration system.

Aluminum Above Ground Pool, Backyard Pool

Resin Above Ground Pool

Resin does not rust, corrode, or get as hot as other pool materials. It is both lighter and more rigid than steel. This makes resin pools a durable, lower maintenance option.

The flexibility of injection molded resin means that you can achieve curves, arching, and other details on your pool that might not be possible with other materials. Resin also reduces assembly time due to its sturdy snap-on process that minimizes hardware use. Most resin pools have steel walls for added strength. Resin pools are the most expensive above ground pool option.

Resin Above Ground Pool, Backyard Pool

Hybrid Above Ground Pool

A hybrid pool combines resin and steel for a durable, affordable option. These pools match steel walls with resin top rails and caps. Because hybrid resin and steel pools balance a functional structure with a lower price, this type of pool is the most popular above ground pool on the market.

Hybrid Above Ground Pool, Backyard Pool

Steel Above Ground Pool

Steel is extremely sturdy and non-corrosive, making it the perfect choice for above ground pools with salt systems. Steel above ground pool frames contain protective coatings that increase durability and lifespan of your investment. Another benefit of steel is it does not expand or contract under extreme temperature conditions, so if you live in extremely hot or extremely cold areas, a steel above ground is a great choice for you.

Steel Above Ground Pool, Backyard Pool

What Pool Equipment Do Above Ground Pools Require?

An above ground pool requires a pool pump and filter to make sure water circulates to keep the pool clean. Pumps come in one and two speed options, with the two speed models working more efficiently. You can get a sand filter or glass filter, and the size required depends on the size of your pool. Also, you need a ladder, a pool vacuum, and chemical supplies. You can upgrade to salt or ozone sanitizer systems, depending on your pool construction.

What Is the Installation Process for Above Ground Pools?

Compared to an in-ground pool, an above ground pool has a simple installation process. In fact, with a professional crew, installation may take only a few hours. Expect the process to take longer if you choose to install the pool yourself. Pool installations require these steps:

  • Find a flat piece of land or excavate land to create a flat surface.
  • Prepare a sand foundation for the pool.
  • Lay the bottom track of the pool.
  • Set up the pool’s side walls.
  • Install the pool liner and secure to the top track.
  • Attach pool posts to the pool walls, and top with caps.
  • Vacuum between walls and liner to remove air.
  • Fill the pool with water.
  • Install pool equipment including the skimmer, pump, and filter.
  • Level and compact soil around the pool.

To keep your above ground pool stable, make sure to keep your water level full and the soil around your pool well-packed. In addition, don’t walk on the bottom of your pool until the sand has firmed.

Above Ground Pool with Staircase

How Can You Use Accessories to Enhance Above Ground Pools?

Though above ground pools are usually limited to round or oval shapes, you can use accessories to make your pool a unique fit for your family.

Pool Heaters

Pool heaters make your water temperature pleasant, no matter your climate. Heaters extend your swimming season, allowing you to use your pool earlier in the Spring and later in the Fall.

Saltwater Filtration Systems

A saltwater sanitizing system provides advantages for sensitive skin and reduces pool maintenance time.

Robotic Vacuum

If you dread pool maintenance, a robotic vacuum can make pool cleaning easy. Set a programmable vacuum to run while you’re not using the pool. Come home from work to pool water clean and sparkling.


Enhance the interior and exterior of your pool with decorative lighting. From floating lanterns to pathway lights, pool lighting can enhance safety and set a custom mood for your nighttime swims.

Solar Covers

A solar cover can keep the heat in your pool when it’s not in use. A cover also keeps out debris, meaning less maintenance work for you. Keep your pool cleaner and use less energy with a solar cover.

What Decking Choices Work Well for Above Ground Pools?

Above-ground pools benefit from beautiful decking just like inground pools do. Decking enhances your pool’s look and provides a convenient, safe walkway to your pool. An expansive deck can also become an entertaining area, outfitted with lounge chairs, a patio table, and a grill. Weather-resistant wooden decking works well for above ground pools. Your local above ground pool dealer should be able to recommend skilled contractors to build decking for your pool.