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The best hard-sided pools

Which hard-sided pool is best?

When the temperatures start to rise, it’s nice to have an easy way to stay cool during the summer. Not everyone can have a below-ground pool, and you may not have access to a leisure center or community pool. A hard-sided pool gives you the convenience of an outdoor pool in your backyard that you can use for years.

The appeal of a hard-sided pool is that they’re more durable than their soft-sided counterparts. While they take a little longer to assemble, you can enjoy a decade or more of use with proper maintenance and a little care. A hard-sided pool is a perfect addition to your backyard or any outdoor space to enjoy throughout the year. 

What to know before you buy a hard-sided pool

Hard-sided pools are a cost-effective alternative to investing in an in-ground pool. You can enjoy a decade or more of use, significantly more than a soft-sided pool, without committing to the cost and time of an in-ground pool. There are a few things you want to consider before you purchase a hard-sided pool.


The top thing to consider when choosing a hard-sided pool is its capacity. Decide how many people are likely to be using the pool at any one time. You might think that a 20-foot hard-sided pool sounds like it’s spacious, but it can quickly feel like a box once a few people are in the pool.

Most hard-sided pools are designed for two or three people to use at once. It’s worth deciding whether you want your hard-sided pool for lounging in the sun or something else when deciding what size works for you.


Not every hard-sided pool will come with all the accessories you need to keep it in good working order. If you want to get the most out of your pool, you want to stay on top of regular maintenance. Check whether your chosen model comes with a filter, ladder, liner and skimmer. If any of these aren’t included, it’s worth picking them up separately at the same time you’re purchasing your pool.

Features to look for in a quality hard-sided pool


The material of the hard-sided pool is what will determine its quality. Most are made using aluminum or steel, but some models use a hybrid of the two. Aluminum is lighter than steel and more flexible, although it will oxidize over time to create a corrosion-resistant layer. Steel is a more affordable option but is more challenging to assemble, given its weight.


You want to consider the length and depth of your hard-sided pool. The difference in length can go from 10-30 feet long, while depth varies from 30-52 inches. You’ll want to find a balance between the two that work for your needs. If you have children, you’ll likely want a shallower pool, meaning that you’ll have to compromise on length.


Most of the hard-sided pools on the market are either oval or circular. Circular pools typically have a larger volume than an oval pool of the same size. You’ll usually pay a higher price tag and spend more time assembling an oval pool than a circular one.

How much can you expect to spend on a hard-sided pool?

A hard-sided pool is an investment, but it Is still considerably cheaper than an in-ground pool. The price spectrum varies from $600-$6,000, depending on the style you choose. A relatively inexpensive basic model will set you back up to $1,000, although these rarely include accessories. An average mid-range hard-sided pool can cost up to $3,000, while the highest quality ones range from $3,000-$6,000.

Best hard-sided pool FAQ

Is it challenging to assemble a hard-sided pool?

A. Your hard-sided pool can be a challenge to assemble. You may be able to do it yourself, but you should expect to need a few helpers on hand and a little patience to see you through it. You’ll have to prep the area beforehand to make sure the ground is suitable and that nothing could damage your pool. Most people choose to hire someone else to assemble their hard-sided pool to ensure it’s done correctly.

How do you fill a hard-sided pool?

A. A hard-sided pool can hold up to 20,000 gallons of water, meaning you could arguably fill it yourself with a garden hose. It’s worth considering the cost involved in using a municipal water supply. You might find that it’s cheaper to use a water delivery service to fill your pool. It’s worth sitting down and doing the math before choosing either option.

What is the best hard-sided pool to buy?

Top hard-sided pool

Intex 14ft x 42in Prism Frame Pool Set

What you need to know: With its premium quality set-up, including powder-coated steel frames and a durable three-ply material liner, this hard-sided pool can hold up to 3,861 gallons of water.

What you’ll love: It has an elegant prism frame that makes it an ideal choice for any backyard space and includes all the accessories you’ll need.

What you should consider: Some users have taken issue with the pump, saying that it is very sensitive to debris making its way into the pool's filter.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top hard-sided pool for the money

Now Intex 10ft x 30in Prism Frame Pool Set with Filter Pump 

What you need to know: If you’re on a budget and don’t need as much space with your pool, consider this option. It’s perfect for smaller outdoor spaces.

What you’ll love: It’s easy to assemble and is made using a durable, long-lasting UV stabilized polymer material.

What you should consider: The only included accessory is the filter pump, meaning you’ll need to spend a little extra to set up your pool.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 Worth checking out

Lake Effect Meadows Reprieve 24’ Round Above Swimming Pool 

What you need to know: If you have a bigger budget, consider this hard-sided pool by Lake Effect that stands 52 inches tall.

What you’ll love: This hard-sided pool is designed to be used year-round as a backyard pool for all the family to enjoy. There’s a beautiful boulder swirl pattern liner that is hard-folded to prevent creasing.

What you should consider: At almost $3,400, this hard-sided pool is one of the pricey options that you choose. It’s ideal if you want to make a long-term investment.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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David Heiling writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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