How to Choose an Above Ground Pool

Jay Backer, one-half of FamilyPoolFun's founding duo, shares his advice on above ground pool selection.

Jay Backer At, we think swimming is a great way to cool off and spend time with family. From our years of pool experience, we've noted the most common things to consider when shopping for an above ground pool. Here are my thoughts on the top things you should keep in mind when choosing a pool for your family.

  • Measure your space

    Measure the area where you'll be installing the pool to get an idea of the space you will be working with. Remember to allow room around the perimeter of the pool to equipment and to make maintenance easier. You'll need a spot big enough to accommodate the pump and filter, a deck or ladder and any other accessories you might want. Also, keep in mind that some oval and rectangular pools require extra space on the outside for frame supports called buttresses. If your yard space is limited but you still want an elongated pool shape, consider paying the little bit extra for a narrow yard buttress or buttress-free model. Use our handy pool comparison chart to see these features side by side.

  • Choose a pool type

    Determine the type of pool that best fits your family. Some pools are considered temporary and can only stay up during the swim season. These have to be taken down and stored over the winter. While these pools can be durable, they're not likely to last as long as a good quality, permanent above ground pool. Permanent above ground pools are made of steel, resin or aluminum pool and can last up to 30 years or more depending on the quality of the pool you choose.

    Steel pools are the least expensive and feature several different coatings to prevent corrosion from weather and pool chemicals. Resin pools feature frames manufactured from tough, corrosion-proof plastic resin. Aluminum pools are often the most expensive but their 100% aluminum construction makes them the most corrosion-resistant models available.

  • Determine a wall height

    Above ground pools are available in several wall heights, including 42 inch, 48 inch, 52 inch and 54 inch models. The height of the wall determines how deep the pool water can be. Most manufacturers recommend filling pools to within 6 to 4 inches of the top of the wall. This can be an important consideration if you have small children since deeper water can be intimidating to them. On the other hand, you'll want to pick a depth that's comfortable for adult swimmers, too. For a really custom application, look at an expandable or hopper liner to increase the pool depth beyond the wall height.

  • Pick a size and shape

    Most above ground pools are either round or oval, but there are some new rectangular models available. Remember that some oval and rectangular pools require supports that you may need to figure into your total available space.

  • Consider a semi inground pool

    Would you like a pool you can install inground without the costs? Some aluminum pool models are strong enough to be placed partially or entirely in the ground. They're great for sloped yards, too, where they can be recessed into a hill. If you want the look and convenience of an inground pool without the added expense, consider one of these models instead. They can create a simply stunning landscape when planned properly!

  • Select equipment and accessories

    Determine the type of filter, pool ladder and vacuum system you will need, and whether you would like a solar or winter cover. There are a range of options based on your budget and preferences. Pool filters come in either sand or cartridge models. Sand filters are easier to maintain but slightly more expensive up front. Pool ladders come in either over-the-wall, A-frame or deck mount configurations. Vacuum systems can either be hand-held or automatic and come in a variety of styles and prices.

These are just a few of the more important points to consider when choosing an above ground pool. Of course, there are lots more options and configurations available and a few more decisions you'll have to make when buying, but we do our best to make it all as easy as possible. Call today and let us walk you through the process from start to finish. Together we can find the perfect pool for your family!