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Best above-ground pools you can actually buy online

Splish-splash all summer with an affordable above-ground pool.

Should I buy an above-ground pool?

Above-ground pools are a cheaper alternative to in-ground swimming pools, but they can be hard to find online as summer approaches. If you're looking to take advantage of the warm weather, you need a pool that's in stock and ready to be sent your way. With a little preparation and some assembly, you'll soon be splashing around in your own pool. 


Shop the article: Bestway Power Steel Outdoor Oval Frame Above-Ground Swimming PoolIntex Easy-Set Pool and Summer Waves Elite Frame Pool

What to look for in an above-ground pool

Framed vs. inflatable pools

You can find two main types of above-ground swimming pools online: inflatable pools and framed pools

  • Inflatable pools: These are either fully inflatable or have an inflatable top ring, with the rest of the pool held in place by the water pressure. These are more affordable and easier to set up than framed pools but less durable. 
  • Framed pools: Framed pools have a rigid frame that the pool liner attaches to. These are rugged and last for many summers, but they're significantly more expensive than inflatable options. 


While there's no set point at which a paddling pool becomes an above-ground pool, most measure at least 10 feet in diameter. You can find some smaller options that are great for kids, but they're not ideal for adults. The largest above-ground pools can measure more than 20 feet along their longest side. Bear in mind you'll need around 5 feet of clearance on each side of your pool, so make sure you have enough space before buying. 


You need a pump filter system to keep your pool clean. Many pools are sold with a suitable pump. Otherwise, you'll have to buy one. Think about how you'll get power to the pump, whether using an outdoor power socket or a waterproof extension cord.


Above-ground pools should have drains to which you can attach a hosepipe to drain the water somewhere suitable. Without this, you'll turn your yard into a swamp. If your pool is on a lawn, it will get muddy if you drain the water where it stands. 

Easy assembly

Although framed pools are trickier to set up than inflatable pools, some are easier to assemble than others. Some framed pools don't even need tools for assembly — the pieces simply slot together. 


A ladder is an important accessory for your pool. Even if the sides are low enough to clamber over, you'll damage the pool by repeatedly doing this. Some pools come with one, but if there isn't one included, you can buy above-ground pool ladders separately. 


Although you're still likely to need to skim some leaves and other debris from your pool, a pool cover keeps too much of it from accumulating. It can also reduce evaporation, which saves water and time spent topping up your pool. Occasionally, a cover is included, but you can buy them in a range of sizes to fit most pools.


Q. How long do above-ground pools last? 

A. This depends on the type of pool you choose and its quality. A cheap inflatable pool is likely to only last one or two summers of regular use before it tears or gets worn to the point where it's unusable. A high-end framed pool can last for 10 to 20 years if cared for properly. 

Q. Are above-ground pools difficult to maintain? 

A. Above-ground pools are fairly easy to maintain, especially compared to in-ground pools. However, you still need to take care of them to keep them in good condition. You'll need to add chlorine and test both the chlorine and pH levels every other day. Besides standard chlorine, your pool may benefit from a shock treatment once a week to avoid green, cloudy water. 

Additionally, you should run the pump for at least eight hours a day to keep your water clear. Regularly clean or replace the filter and clean any other parts of the pump that need cleaning. If in doubt, consult the manual. 

Best above-ground pools

Bestway Power Steel Outdoor Oval Frame Above-Ground Swimming Pool

Measuring 16 feet by 10 feet and 42 inches deep, this pool is large enough for kids and adults alike. The ChemConnect chemical dispenser means you won't need a chemical floater for chlorine. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Intex Easy-Set Pool

This inflatable pool might be affordable, but it is well-made and comes with a pump filter. It's available in a range of sizes up to 18 feet in diameter. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Bestway Steel Pro Frame Above-Ground Pool 

With a 12-foot diameter and measuring 30 inches deep, this is a great choice for kids to swim and play. It comes with a pump and a cover. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Summer Waves Elite Frame Pool

Big enough to do laps, this pool is 16 feet across and 48 inches deep. It comes with a full kit of accessories, including a ladder and a SkimmerPlus pump filter system. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Intex Metal Frame Pool

This affordable metal frame pool is great for buyers on a budget. It comes in sizes from 10 feet wide and 30 inches deep to 18 feet wide and 48 inches deep.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Bestway 56412E Steel Pro Above-Ground Pool

This is a great choice for anyone looking for a compact pool. Sizes range from 7.25 feet by 4.9 feet to 9.8 feet by 6.6 feet. The pool includes a pump filter and repair kit.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Bestway Power Steel Above-Ground Pool Kit

This generously sized pool is 20 feet long, 12 feet wide and 4 feet deep, so there's plenty of space for swimming, pool toys and having fun. It is simple to assemble with no tools required and comes with a ladder and a pump. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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

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