This comprehensive guide should assist in finding the best above ground pool to suit your backyard and your budget.

Affordable and fun, buying an above ground pool for the summer is a real investment in creating memorable moments and family fun. From paddling pools through to full on swimming pools, every shape, size and build quality is out there to choose from.

There’s such a wide range on the market it can be a little bewildering sorting through all the best above ground pool options

But really buying an above ground pool comes down to just three main things: how big, how much and for what, and of course the fundamental, which manufacturer?
Best above ground pool Confused


When choosing an affordable above ground pool manufacturer things become a little less bewildering. For price and quality there are really only two companies worth considering buying from, Intex or Bestway. They dominate the affordable above pool market.

In these reviews we are going to look at their best above ground pool ranges, from the generously sized Intex Ultra and Prism swimming pool ranges through to the some of Bestway’s range of smaller plunge and dip pools.

 

BEST ABOVE GROUND SWIMMING POOLS. LARGE
Four of the Best Pools Reviewed
2.2 Intex Ultra Frame
INTEX ULTRA FRAME POOL



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12.3 Intex Ultra Frame
INTEX ULTRA FRAME POOL



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INTEX PRISM FRAME POOL



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8.3 Intex Prism Frame
INTEX PRISM FRAME POOL



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Best above ground pool ULTRA Banner

INTEX ULTRA ABOVE GROUND POOL
RECTANGULAR

These are swimmers pools. They comes in three sizes, large, larger and enormous.


INTEX 24ft x 12ft x 52in Ultra Frame Rectangular Pool
133 Reviews
INTEX 24ft x 12ft x 52in Ultra Frame Rectangular Pool

  • BUILD: The build process uses the Intex easy lock system for the tubulars, that helps to really speed and simplify pool construction. Of course all the interlocking pool supports are powder coated and rust resistant. Pool liner is made from super durable laminated PVC.
  • SAND FILTER PUMP: This is the simplest and most convenient method of filtration and it is fitted to the Ultra range. No real maintenance is required once the sand filter has been set up. No cartridges to worry about with this system, just flush the sand during routine pool service. Easy life!
  • SALTWATER SYSTEM: Many pool owners upgrade to this system but it comes as standard with the Ultra range. Like the sand filter this is a low maintenance method of pool hygiene. Once set up and running correctly chemical usage should be greatly reduced and pool water softer and even more pleasant to enjoy.
  • INCLUDED IN THE BOX: Although deals do vary throughout the year this highlighted pool comes with a compendium of products to get new owners started. Bundled are a ladder, ground cover, Debris cover and a complete pool maintenance kit.

Size Options:   32 FT x 16 FT x 52"xxx24 FT x 12 FT x 52"xx18 FT x 9 FT x 52"

INFOGRAFIC 24ft BEST ABOVE GROUND POOL


Pool Construction:


The Intex Ultra Frame pool rectangular range does comes with three size options, but erecting the pool is essentially the same for all. The main thing is to be methodical through the assembly.  The easy lock system on the tubulars makes for fast assembly of the frame. Build time will vary on size of course, but shouldn’t take much more than a morning, even with coffee breaks.

  In common with so many jobs, preparation is everything. Making ready the area where the pool will be sited takes the most time, care, and attention. Levelling the ground is a job that is imperative to get right, especially on larger pools. An inch or two difference between ends of the pool doesn’t sound much but it’s visually magnified with a pool is filled. The water line should be parallel to the top of the pool, not a real show stopper when it isn’t, it just looks odd, and could be a real irritation to look at.

New Hydro Aeration Feature:


The Intex Ultra frame range is fitted with the Hydro Aeration system helps to keep the pool clearer by causing the finer particles to clump together and drop to the bottom of the pool. This means they can be routinely be vacuumed up during the pool cleaning schedule.

Intex also claim an increase of negative ions in the atmosphere around the pool due to this aeration system.   This may be measurably true, but the increase would be so insignificant as to be unnoticed by the owner we think.


Filter System:


The current Ultra range are all fitted with the brilliant Index sand filter pump. Sand filter systems the easiest of all to maintain. No cartridges to worry about here. Simply fill the filtration bowl with special pool filter sand ( not included in purchase ) and you’re done, that’s it. The sand filter will just need occasional flushing to clean out accumulated debris and particles. The pool filter sand should last a number of seasons before needing to be changed out for new sharper sand. Every pool store and most large hardware depots carry pool sand, but not all stock the correct filters to suit cartridge pumps. With a sand filter system you can’t go wrong.  See our Filter Pump Guide >>

Saltwater System:


Ease of maintenance is one of the most compelling reasons to use a saltwater system for your pool. Theoretically after it is set up correctly it should run on autopilot. Salinity checks need to be done, but adding pool hygiene chemicals whilst not completely eliminated, is greatly reduced.

Benefits

  • Reduced chlorine level
  • No chlorine odour
  • Water feels soft and silky
  • Goodbye to “red eye
  • Much less maintenance
  • Cheaper to sanitise the pool
  • More consistant sanitation

The extra cost of the upgrade is worth it in terms of overall pool experience, and the money spent on the saltwater system will be recuperated by the elimination of often costly chemical treatments. We would definitely recommend thinking about that as an “add value” option if the pool selected doesn’t come with it as standard.  See our Saltwater Systems Guide >>


Best above ground pool Intex 32ft

INTEX ULTRA ABOVE GROUND POOL
ROUND

The Ultra Round has an very extensive range of size options.


Intex 18ft X 52in Ultra Frame Pool Set with Sand Filter Pump & Saltwater System, Ladder, Ground Cloth, Pool Cover, Deluxe...
3 Reviews
Intex 18ft X 52in Ultra Frame Pool Set with Sand Filter Pump & Saltwater System, Ladder, Ground Cloth, Pool Cover, Deluxe...
  • Engineered for strength, the ultra frame pool is supported by strong, durable Steel frames which are powder coated for rust resistance and beauty

Size Options:    xxx14 ft x 42”  16 ft x 48”  18 ft x 52”  20 ft x 52”  22 ft x 52” 24 ft x 52”  26 ft x 52″

CURRENT PRICESx

The round Intex Ultra Frame above ground pools come in a wide, sometimes bewildering range of sizes. But there surely will be a pool here to suit any garden space or budget.

Made using the same fabric as it’s rectangular cousin, the Intex Ultra round range also carries many of the same features.

  Some of the larger models come with the desirable salt water system, and sand filter, bundled into the package. Be sure to take care when buying to check the bundled options as they do vary offer to offer.

Setting up the round pool range is even easier than the rectangular. Best with two people though, even the larger pools shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours to make ready for water.

The standard filtration system is great but the salt system does add many benefits to give the owner the best above ground pool experience in terms of water quality and ease of maintenance.  See our guide to Saltwater Systems >>

 BEST ABOVE GROUND POOL ROUND

We think the Intex round pools are brilliant, they give everyone an opportunity to enjoy fun family pool days throughout the summer, and at prices that won’t make your eyes water.

In fact the smaller models can be found at less than $400.00, with accessories. Now that seems a budget price for an awful lot of family fun.


Intex Ultra Above Ground Pool Reviewer Notes

The 32ft Ultra model will allow the serious swimmer a chance to do some laps or lengths. The recreational family swimmers will enjoy its generous space too.

You’re not going to be bumping into other anyone else when you’re cruising up and down in the Intex Ultra.

The Ultra range is shipped with pretty much everything to get the party started. Consumables like salt, chemicals and sand do have to be bought separately though.

  Be aware that large pools need large quantities of these start up products. Once the water has been treated then just simple maintenance is required. 
From the top of the range you expect the best, and the Ultra really does deliver on giving one of the best above ground pool buying options. These pools are as close as you are going to get to an in ground pool at a fraction of the price.


Best above ground pool PRISM Banner

INTEX PRISM RANGE OF ABOVE GROUND POOLS

In our opinion Prism above ground pool range  has a really pleasing tough, clean and professional look to it. There is a wide range of size options, especially in the round models.

PRISM BEST ABOVE GROUND POOL HERO

From what are really just plunge pools all the way up to the 24 foot diameter swimming pool the Prism range offers an elegant and sophisticated look to your garden or patio.  

PRISM ROUND PRISM SQUARE PRISM RECTANGULAR
Intex 10ft X 30in Prism Frame Pool Set with Filter Pump
62 Reviews
Intex 10ft X 30in Prism Frame Pool Set with Filter Pump
  • Durable & easy to assemble, prism frame pools feature all of the great benefits of metal frame pools, and are enhanced with strong powder-coated Steel Tubing and a stylish, upscale looking liner color
  • Hydro aeration technology has been incorporated into the cartridge filter pump providing improved circulation and filtration, improved water clarity, and increased negative ions at the water surface
  • Constructed with puncture resistant 3-ply material; Instructional DVD is included for help with pool setup and maintenance
  • Water capacity: 90%, 1,185 gallons; age Grade: 6+
  • Includes a 110-120V cartridge filter pump with a pump flow Rate of 330 gallons per hour

** Water capacity: 90%, 1,185 gallons

Intex 12ft X 30in Prism Frame Pool Set with Filter Pump
62 Reviews
Intex 12ft X 30in Prism Frame Pool Set with Filter Pump
  • Durable & easy to assemble, prism frame pools feature all of the great benefits of metal frame pools, and are enhanced with strong powder-coated Steel Tubing and a stylish, upscale looking liner color

** Water capacity: 90%, 1,718 gallons

Intex 15ft X 42in Prism Frame Pool Set with Filter Pump, Ladder, Ground Cloth & Pool Cover
62 Reviews
Intex 15ft X 42in Prism Frame Pool Set with Filter Pump, Ladder, Ground Cloth & Pool Cover
  • Durable & easy to assemble, prism frame pools feature all of the great benefits of metal frame pools, and are enhanced with strong powder-coated Steel Tubing and a stylish looking liner color

** Water capacity: 90%, 3, 861 gallons

Intex 18ft X 48in Prism Frame Pool Set with Filter Pump, Ladder, Ground Cloth & Pool Cover
62 Reviews
Intex 18ft X 48in Prism Frame Pool Set with Filter Pump, Ladder, Ground Cloth & Pool Cover
  • Durable & easy to assemble, prism frame pools feature all of the great benefits of metal frame pools, and are enhanced with strong powder-coated Steel Tubing and a stylish looking liner color

** Water capacity: 90%, 6, 423 gallons

Intex 24ft X 52in Prism Frame Pool Set with Filter Pump, Ladder, Ground Cloth & Pool Cover
62 Reviews
Intex 24ft X 52in Prism Frame Pool Set with Filter Pump, Ladder, Ground Cloth & Pool Cover
  • Durable & easy to assemble, prism frame pools feature all of the great benefits of metal frame pools, and are enhanced with strong powder-coated Steel Tubing and a stylish looking liner color

** Water capacity: 90%, 12, 481 gallons


Intex 14' x 42" Prism XL Frame Square Above Ground Swimming Pool Set with Pump
  • Prism frame pools are enhanced with strong powder-coated steel tubing with a stylish liner
  • Constructed with puncture-resistant, 3-ply material
  • Includes a 1,500 GPH pump and filter, pool ladder, ground cloth, debris cover, and instructional DVD for setup and maintenance
  • Hydro Aeration Technology pump for improved circulation, filtration, improved water clarity, and increased negative ions at the water surface
  • 25% more swimming area than round frame pools
Intex 16' x 48" Prism Frame Square Above Ground Swimming Pool Set w/ Filter Pump
  • Prism frame pools are enhanced with strong powder-coated steel tubing with a stylish liner
  • Constructed with puncture-resistant, 3-ply material
  • Includes a pump and filter, pool ladder, ground cloth, debris cover, and instructional DVD for setup and maintenance
  • Hydro Aeration Technology pump for improved circulation, filtration, improved water clarity, and increased negative ions at the water surface
  • Durable and easy to assemble in 60 minutes
Intex 16ft X 8ft X 42in Prism Frame Rectangular Pool Set with Filter Pump, Ladder, Ground Cloth & Pool Cover
  • Inspired by Intex top of the line ultra frame Rectangular pools, new prism frame pools offer many of the same benefits with more affordable pricing
  • Hydro aeration technology is incorporated into the cartridge filter pump providing improved circulation and filtration, improved water clarity, and increased negative ions at the water surface
  • Strong, powder coated Steel Tubing; mosaic tile printed inside liner; unique cool blue gray color with White trim provides a fresh look to compliment modern backyard patio decor and furniture
  • Convenient drain plug. Dimension: 16 x 8 x 42". age Grade: 6+
  • Includes: 1000 gal cartridge filter pump, ladder, ground cloth, pool cover

SMALLER ABOVE GROUND POOLS

The Best Smaller Plunge and Paddle Pools


Let’s look at what is on offer, and why buy.

2 Intex Oval Frame Best Above Ground Pool

BEST ABOVE GROUND POOLS. SMALL.

INTEX METAL FRAME POOL



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INTEX EASY SET POOL



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4-1 BESTWAY Steel Pro Frame Pool
BESTWAY STEEL PRO POOL



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5.1 Intex Oval Frame Pool
INTEX OVAL FRAME POOL



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Four Of the Best Small Pools Reviewed

above ground pool cost

Cost

Reasonably sized plunge pool cost just a few hundred dollars, and paddling pools coming in at less than $100.00.  This has got to be one of the best investments ever in summer fun, and relaxation. Test small pool ownership before committing to buying a real swimming pool at almost unbelievable budget prices.

snorkle above ground pool

Family Fun

Anything to do with water in the summer has the kids hooked. They’ll not only cool off while having fun in the slash pools, they might even take their first swim strokes in a larger plunge pool. While a pool is not an entertainment hub, it certainly turns into a focal point for the family on hot summer days, and nights.

maitenance above ground pool

Easy Maintenance

Different pool sizes require different maintenance commitments. In general though all the pools reviewed here are really easy to take care of. Most of the larger model actually come with filtration systems, so keeping the pool sparkling is easy. Buying a cover can be a good idea. If you get chance to put it on, the pool is normally busy!!.

Bestway Steel Pro Frame Above Ground Pool

4-2 BESTWAY Steel Pro Frame best above ground pool

The Bestway Steel Pro range has several size options from 10 through to 15 feet. The pool set up is a breeze, just clip the frame together with the T connectors, installing the lining as you go. It needs no special tools or knowledge. The steel frame is rust resistant, and the liner made with heavy duty 3 ply PVC. It is durable and tear resistant. 

Bestway is one of the giants in the inflatable goods and above ground pool industry. Their manufacturing knowledge insures many summers of enjoyment from this pool.

These models do not come with a filtration system, it has to be bought separately. That’s reflected in the price of course. Depending on the size of the pool a separate pump purchase should run between $50 and $130.00.


Amazon Buy Options:   10.00 FT x 30 INCHESxxx14.00 FT x 48 INCHESxxx15.00 FT x 48 INCHES


Intex Metal Frame Above Ground Pool

1.2 Intex Metal Frame best above ground pool
This best selling range of above ground pools by Intex offers the full above ground pool package.

The steel pool frame carcass has been powder coated, so should see many summer seasons of use. Included in the purchase price is a quality krystal filter pump matched to the pool capacity.  For setting up, even the larger pools should not take more than an hour.  It’s simple, intuitive and requires no special tools. And for those who still have a DVD player, a DVD is included in the box to guide pool you through if you have any doubts.

To comply with safety regulations a ground fault circuit interrupter is fitted to the pump. This is a great pool choice from the top manufacturer.


Amazon Buy Options:   12.00 FT x 30 INCHESxxxxxx15.00 FT x 48 INCHES


Intex Easy Set Above Ground Pool

1.2 Intex Easy Set best above ground Pool

This is a pump up pool, no real assembly required here, just a little muscle power to inflate the upper ring. Once the ring is inflated and the filter pump is connected it’s ready for water. Although it is made with heavy duty PVC fabric care should be taken to clear and level the ground before filling the pool.

Many extras can be purchased to ease pool maintenance. We particularly liked the skimmer that Intex sells to clear floating debris from the water. Another additional buy should be a pool cover, that should reduce evaporation in the summer heat and help to keep the pool clean. The smaller sizes are great for the children to have fun in, but the range goes up to a family size for everybody to enjoy.This is the best above around pool for quick hasstle free set up.


Amazon Buy Options:   12.00 FT x 30 INCHESxx15.00 FT x 48 INCHESxx18.00 FT x 48 INCHES


Intex Oval Frame Above Ground Pool

Intex Oval Frame Best Above Ground Pool

A combination the Easy Setup pool and the metal framed one. This pool has been designed to fit into smaller spaces than the equivalent capacity round pools. We like the shape a lot, we think it looks pretty grown up, and it does allow users to actually swim a few strokes in it.

Designed with the same inflatable ring around the top perimeter as its cousin the Easy Set Up, but also incorporates a steel frame support system at the sides.  The same build quality goes into this pool as all the Intex range. We think the price for either of the pool sizes to be incredibly cheap, given the quantity and quality of materials, and the included filter pump.

This smaller oval range represents for us the best above ground pool for ease of build, and the value for money.

This is a real bargain in our opinion.


Amazon Buy Options:   18.00 FT x 42 INCHESxxxxxx20.00 FT x 48 INCHES


Bestway Splash Frame Pool

6.3 Bestway Splash Frame best above ground Pool

Basically a range of paddling and splash pools for children to enjoy. Once they are in it’s difficult to get them out. Loads of fun in the summer for them. Light weight but durable the pool just takes a few minutes to set up.

The same quality of materials are used on the “Splash” range as on the grown up pools. Pool maintenance is done with a chemical floater which is not included in the purchase price. A cover can be bought separately and we think it is well worth the investment at under $30.00.


Amazon Buy Options:   86" x 59" x 23"xxxxxx94" x 59" x 23"xxxxxx118" x 79" x 26"

 

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