9 Best Above Ground Pools of 2021 Compared & Reviewed

Best Above Ground Pool
Photo: Bestway

Let’s be honest, we all love the idea of having a swimming pool at home. However, the conventional method of setting up a pool by constructing it down in the ground is very expensive, takes more time, and forms a permanent structure that cannot be moved.

Above-ground pools eliminate all this by being cheaper, easy-and-quick to set up, and easy to move.

For this reason, most people prefer buying such pools and if you are looking for one, there are many varieties of them, which can be very confusing to select from. To help you with this, this article looks at 9 of the best above-ground pools to consider buying.

What to Check Before Buying Best Above Ground Pool?

How to Buy the Best Above Ground Pool
Photo: Intex

1. Size

When shopping for an above-ground pool, the first thing to consider is its size. Bigger pools are definitely better to have because you get more water to play around with, but there are downsides to this.

Bigger pools have a larger footprint and thus, require more space to set up. They are also more expensive to buy and maintain.

Buying Guide: If you are on a tight budget, always go for the smaller pool such as Bestway’s Deluxe Splash because everything about it will be affordable.

However, if you have enough space in your backyard and can afford a big pool, Heritage’s TA 331852GP-DXP is the best option. 

2. Shape

Above-ground pools come in 3 main shapes: round, rectangle, and oval. For the same volume, round pools like Intex’s 26309EH usually occupy more space and therefore, might not be ideal if you have a small backyard.

On the other hand, rectangular pools like Intex’s 28365EH are more space-saving, while oval pools come somewhere in between the two. However, round pools are usually cheaper because they have fewer parts that hold them together.

If space and cost are not an issue, then choose the shape based on personal preference.

3. Material

A pool’s material is also a big factor to consider because it determines the strength, weight, and durability of the unit.

With PVC/vinyl, you get a very lightweight above-ground pool, in which most of them are supported by steel frames, but others like Intex’s 26167EH stand on their own.

For strength and durability, their triple-layered design, or 3-ply as it is popularly known makes them considerably firm.

With steel and PVC material combined, the pool becomes very heavy but at the same time, very strong and durable. A perfect example of this is Intex’s 26309EH. 

However, even though steel is considered rust-free, exposure to water, sunlight, and the elements may take its toll and cause some degradation and this may affect its strength over time.

Therefore, if you decide to go for a steel-walled pool, you must pay special attention to it so as to avoid any form of rust.

4. Frame Style

A pool’s material is held in place or strengthened using an outer frame and thus, this should also be considered. Basically, a frame consists of the plates, bottom rails, top ledges, and uprights, and can be made from steel, resin, or a combination of both.

  • Steel frame: very popular in many above ground pools, but also very heavy. Although steel is rust resistant as described on paper, exposure to water and sunlight might cause it to erode at a slow pace.
  • Resin: resin is non-resistant and maintains a tight hold despite being exposed to the elements. It also gets less hot in the sun as compared to steel, but it is very expensive, and this translates to a more expensive pool.
  • Hybrid: a hybrid frame gives you the benefits of both steel and resin, with steel being used in the parts that need support while resin takes care of the parts that are exposed to water. This makes it the best option to consider.

5. Pool Accessories

Accessories are always an added plus. With above-ground pools, you should check whether the set comes with items such as a non-slip ladder, maintenance kit, ground cloth, pool cover, and of course, a filter pump for circulation and filtration.

These accessories are absolutely essential and Summer Waves’ Elite Wicker includes a lot of them. Check it out.

Read More: How to Drain an Above Ground Pool

9 Best Above Ground Pools of 2021 Reviewed




Intex 28241EH

1. Intex 28241EH (Best Overall)

  • Circular shape with a 4440-gallon capacity
  • Rust-resistant steel frame
  • 3-ply laminated vinyl lining
  • 1000 GPH Krystal clear cartridge filter pump
Bestway Deluxe Splash Frame Kids

2. Bestway Deluxe Splash Frame Kids (Best Affordable)

  • Affordable
  • Short 26-inch height. Ideal for toddlers
  • Rectangular shape with an 871-gallon capacity
  • Rust-resistant galvanized metal frame
Summer Waves Elite Wicker

3. Summer Waves Elite Wicker (Best Set)

  • Includes a ladder, pool cover, ground cloth, and maintenance kit
  • CP2000 C cartridge filter pump with GFCI
  • Metallic frame with a 3-ply polyester mesh
  • Circular shape with a 10862-gallon capacity
Heritage TA 331852GP-DXP

4. Heritage TA 331852GP-DXP (Largest)

  • Oval shaped with a 15000-gallon capacity
  • Wall-mounted wide mouth skimmer
  • 1 HP pump and 19-inch sand filter
  • Heavy-duty resin ladder
Intex 26167EH

5. Intex 26167EH (Easy to Set Up)

  • Frameless with a super tough, laminated PVC lining
  • Circular shape with a 3736-gallon capacity
  • Filter pump with a ground fault interrupter
  • Cartridge, ladder, debris cover, and ground cloth
Wilbar Meadows Round

6. Wilbar Meadows Round (With Bedrock Pattern Liner)

  • Beautiful bedrock pattern liner
  • Circular shape with a 13000-14500 gallon capacity
  • 100% virgin vinyl overlap liner
  • Steel bottom tracks and plates
Splash Pools TA 2452DT-PKG

7. Splash Pools TA 2452DT-PKG (With Backwash Filtration)

  • Backwash filtration with a 1 HP pump
  • Widemouth skimmer
  • Galvanized steel frame with 6-inch vertical supports
  • Circular shape with a 14662-gallon capacity
Intex 28365EH

8. Intex 28365EH (With Volleyball Set)

  • Volleyball set and other accessories
  • Stainless steel frame and 3-ply vinyl lining
  • Dual suction outlet and hydro aeration technology
  • Rectangular shape with an 8403-gallon capacity
Intex 26309EH

9. Intex 26309EH (Durable Intex Design)

  • Rust-resistant steel frame with 3-ply vinyl lining
  • Circular shape with a 3357-gallon capacity
  • 750 GPH Krystal clear cartridge filter pump
  • Hydro aeration technology

1. Intex 28241EH – Best Overall Above-ground Swimming Pool

Intex Metal Frame Above Ground Pool Set
Photo: Intex

  • Size: 180 × 48 inches
  • Shape: Circular
  • Water capacity: 4440 gallons
  • Material: Vinyl

Intex’s metal frame above ground pool is our overall best because it has some very useful features and accessories.

Considering its structure, the pool has a rust-resistant steel frame, which acts as the support legs to keep the inner 3-ply laminated vinyl lining in place.

For filtration and circulation, the pool comes with a 1000 GPH Krystal clear cartridge filter pump that pulls the water using dual suction outlet fittings. With this, the whole system gives an overall flow rate of 750 GPH.

This speed is quite adequate, considering that the overall volume of the pool at the recommended 90% fill level is 4440 gallons.

However, there are smaller 120 x 30-inch and 144 × 30-inch with 330 and 530 GPH pumps respectively, while a larger 216 × 48-inch pool features a larger 1500 GPH powerhouse. This gives you some options to choose from. 

In terms of accessories, this product comes with a ground cloth for installation, a removable ladder for climbing over the 48-inch-high walls, and a debris cover for keeping the water clean.


  • Rust-resistant steel frame legs
  • Tough, 3-ply laminated vinyl liner
  • Powerful 1000 GPH Krystal clear cartridge filter pump
  • Available in 4 sizes
  • Comes with a ground cloth, ladder and debris cover


  • Does not come with a skimmer
  • No maintenance kit

2. Bestway Deluxe Splash Frame Kids – Best Affordable Above Ground Pool

Bestway Deluxe Splash Frame Kids Above Ground Pool
Photo: Bestway

  • Size: 118 × 79 × 26 inches
  • Shape: Rectangular
  • Water capacity: 871 gallons
  • Material: 3-ply polyester

Bestway’s Deluxe Splash Frame unit is the most affordable, yet also the top-rated above-ground pool, which means something about it stands out.

Well, what makes it special is that it is specifically designed for toddlers. The pool is only 26 inches high and this makes it pretty safe for the short guys because they can enjoy the water without requiring floaters and with less risk of drowning.

The only problem is that this reduces the volume of water to play around with to only 871 gallons, making it the smallest above-ground pool in this review.

Construction-wise, the pool is made of a 3-ply polyester inner lining, which is strong enough to handle any rough handling by the kids and is supported by a sturdy, rust-resistant galvanized metal frame for additional strength. This makes it the overall best above-ground pool for kids.


  • Affordable
  • Very safe for kids due to its short height
  • Small footprint; requires a small space to set up
  • Tough 3-ply polyester construction
  • Durable rust resistant galvanized metal frame


  • Holds a small volume of water to play with
  • Might be very short for adults

3. Summer Waves Elite Wicker Best Above Ground Pool Set

Summer Waves Elite Wicker Above Ground Pool
Photo: Summer Waves

  • Size: 264 × 48 inches
  • Shape: Circular
  • Water capacity: 10862 gallons
  • Material: PVC

Summer Waves Elite Wicker above ground pool comes as a very comprehensive set, containing the 10862-gallon round pool itself, a SureStep ladder for climbing above the 48-inch walls, a pool cover, a ground cloth, and a deluxe maintenance kit for cleaning the water.

Apart from these, the unit also comes with a CP2000 C cartridge filter pump, which is equipped with GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter).

GFCI gives a layer of protection to the people swimming inside by turning off the pump automatically if an electrical current is exposed to the water, preventing any electrocution.

Structurally, the pool is made of a 3-ply polyester mesh and heavy gauge PVC material, which is then supported by a strong and rust-resistant metallic frame.

Setting up this material is quite easy and takes only about an hour without requiring any tools throughout this whole process.


  • Comes with very essential accessories
  • Pump with cartridge filter for cleaning the water
  • GFCI for protection against electrocution
  • Strong and durable 3-ply construction with rust-resistant metallic support
  • Easy to set up


  • Occupies a quite a large amount of space (264 inches diameter)
  • No skimmer

4. Heritage TA 331852GP-DXP – Largest Above Ground Pool

Heritage TA Complete Above Ground Pool
Photo: Heritage

  • Size: 396 × 288 × 52 inches
  • Shape: Oval
  • Water capacity: 15000 gallons
  • Material: Vinyl

Heritage’s TA is a very large above-ground pool, measuring 396 × 288 inches in an oval shape, with a height of 52 inches. This gives it a capacity of up to 15,000 gallons of water, which is quite a lot and can host quite a number of people inside.

Construction-wise, this product also incorporates a lot of galvanized steel into its structure, then covers it off with a blue vinyl layer that is swirl-printed at the bottom to give a visual depth of the waters you are swimming in.

Filtration is done using a wide mouth skimmer, which is fitted through the wall, and a backwashing filtration system that is run using a 1 HP pump, and it contains a 19-inch sand filter for getting rid of any sand.

For accessories, a heavy-duty resin ladder with flip-up anti-entry comes with the set, while an instructions DVD is included for easy installation. 


  • Very large water capacity. Holds a lot of water to play in
  • Strong and durable steel structure
  • Wall mountable wide mouth skimmer
  • 1 HP pump with backwash filtration
  • Comes with a heavy-duty resin ladder


  • Expensive
  • Requires a very large space to set up

5. Intex 26167EH – Easy to Set up Above Ground Pool

Intex Easy Set Above Ground Pool Set
Photo: Intex

  • Size: 180 × 48 inches
  • Shape: Circular
  • Water capacity: 3736 gallons
  • Material: Vinyl

Intex’s Easy Set above ground pool might look a bit out of shape because it lacks metallic-frame support but this makes it very easy to set up.

This is made possible by a super tough, laminated PVC (vinyl) construction, which holds the entire 80% filled pool with 3736 gallons of water and the swimmers inside with ease.

You only have to level out the pool on level ground then inflate the top ring and that’s it. The next step is to fill it up with water. However, the set does not include a pump for inflating this ring and thus, you must buy it separately.

The set does come with a number of accessories though, and these include a filter pump with either a type A or C filter cartridge, a removable ladder, a debris cover, a ground cloth, and a DVD setup manual to help you put up your pool.

For safety, the unit is equipped with a ground fault interrupter, which automatically shuts off the pump if an electrical current is exposed to the water.  


  • Very easy to set up
  • Super tough, laminated PVC construction
  • Comes with a couple of accessories
  • Ground fault interrupter for safety


  • Looks out of shape because of lacking metallic-frame support

6. Wilbar Meadows Round – Above Ground Pool with a Bedrock Pattern Liner

Wilbar Meadows Round Above Ground Pool
Photo: Wilbar 

  • Size: 288 × 52 inches
  • Shape: Circular
  • Water capacity: 13000-14500 gallons
  • Material: Vinyl, Steel

With its blue-liner that creates a glistening water effect on the walls and pebbles plus seashells on the floor, Wilber Meadow’s round above ground pool gives a natural, spa-like setting for you to swim in, which is very beautiful.

Other than that, the unit is solidly built, featuring 52-inch tall corrugated steel walls that hold a 100% virgin vinyl overlap liner on the inside. This ensures that the pool can comfortably hold 13000-14500 gallons of water, plus the swimmers inside.

For further strength in support, this unit has sixteen 5-1/4-inch-wide steel supportive uprights that are spread out all-round the pool’s circumference, and have a Krystal Kote protection for durability purposes.

The steel construction is topped off by a 6-inch-wide top rail, which also has a Krystal Kote protection, giving you a very durable and reliable ledge around the pool.

Other features include a steel interlocking top stabilizing bar, steel bottom tracks and plates, and a wide mouth skimmer.


  • Blue colored vinyl with a glistening water effect and a pebble-seashell floor
  • Very durable steel construction
  • 100% virgin vinyl overlap liner to hold the water above the steel walls and floor
  • Wide mouth skimmer for filtration
  • Steel interlocking top stabilizing bar


  • Does not come with a pump for water circulation
  • Quite heavy due to all the steel

7. Splash Pools TA 2452DT-PKG – Above Ground Pool with Backwash Filtration

Splash Pools Round Deluxe Above Ground Pool Package
Photo: Splash Pools

  • Size: 288 × 52 inches
  • Shape: Circular
  • Water capacity: 14662 gallons
  • Material: Vinyl, Steel

This above-ground pool is equipped with a backwash filtration system that is capable of filtering sand. The system is run by a 1 horsepower pump while a through-the-wall wide-mouth skimmer aids in water flow to the filter.

Though quite expensive, the unit is solidly built because it features an all-around steel frame that is galvanized through hot-dipping it into zinc for rust resistance.

The pool also has 6-inch vertical supports that are also galvanized using the same dipping method, and are painted white for aesthetics and further protection from the elements as they support the vertical walls of the structure.

Other steel parts include the 7-inch top ledges, and top and bottom rails, which are also coated in zinc. On the inside, a vinyl liner is used to hold the water against the underlying steel walls, and this ensures that there are no leaks while the steel provides support. 


  • Comes with a 1-HP pump with backwash filtration
  • Wide mouth skimmer for removing large debris
  • Durable galvanized all-around steel frame
  • Vinyl inner layer for waterproofing


  • Relatively expensive
  • Quite heavy due to the steel structure

8. Intex 28365EH – Above Ground Pool with a Volleyball Set

Intex Ultra Frame Rectangular Above Ground Pool Set
Photo: Intex

  • Size: 288 × 144 × 52 inches
  • Shape: Rectangular
  • Water capacity: 8403 gallons
  • Material: Vinyl

If you fancy enjoying some sport while in your pool, then Intex’s Ultra Frame rectangular pool is the best option to consider. This is because as part of its accessories, the pool comes with a volleyball set, which consists of 2 poles, a net, and a ball.

Other than these, the unit also comes with a removable ladder with slip-resistant steps, a ground cloth, a debris cover, a Krystal clear sand filter pump and saltwater system, a deluxe cleaning kit, which includes a leaf rake, a curved wall brush, and a vacuum head for cleaning the pool.

Construction-wise, the pool is primarily made of a tough, puncture-resistant, 3-ply vinyl material, which is then supported 52 inches above the ground by a stainless-steel frame to form a 288 × 144 rectangular basin that holds up to 8403 gallons of water when filled to 90% capacity.

Other features include a dual suction outlet system for better water circulation, hydro aeration technology for water freshness and faster filtration, and a setup and maintenance DVD for guidance purposes.


  • Includes a volleyball kit and other accessories  
  • Tough and puncture resistant 3-ply vinyl material walls
  • Stainless steel frame for support
  • Dual suction outlet system for better water circulation and faster filtration


  • Does not come with a skimmer
  • Requires a large amount of space to set up

9. Intex 26309EH – Durable Intex Above Ground Pool

Intex Ultra Frame Above Ground Pool Set
Photo: Intex

  • Size: 168 × 42 inches
  • Shape: Circular
  • Water capacity: 3357 gallons
  • Material: Vinyl

Intex’s 26309EH is quite similar to the 28241EH above in shape, but this one is smaller. It measures 168 inches in diameter and 42 inches in height, which gives it a water capacity of 3357 gallons at the recommended 90% fill level.

Although this gives you less water to play around with, it makes the pool more stable. Coupled with a puncture-resistant, 3-ply vinyl construction plus a rust-resistant stainless-steel frame for support, this makes the setup very strong and durable.

For filtration, a 750 GPH Krystal clear cartridge filter pump does the job, and it can cycle through the entire pool in less than 4-1/2 hours.

Apart from filtration, the pool also incorporates hydro aeration technology, which improves the clarity of the water by mixing it with air to oxidize any iron or manganese in the water, leaving it fresh and clear.


  • Puncture-resistant, 3-ply vinyl construction
  • Stainless-steel supporting frame
  • Krystal clear cartridge filter pump for circulation and filtration
  • Hydro aeration technology for improving water clarity and freshness


  • Relatively small volume
  • Does not come with a maintenance kit

Above vs In-Ground Pool

Above vs. In-Ground Pool
Photo: Intex

Swimming pools can either be above-ground or in-ground. To get a good comparison between the two, we will look at 3 differentiating factors.

1. Cost

In-ground pools are usually very expensive and will cost on average $30,000-$70,000 depending on the materials used for construction (vinyl, fiberglass, or concrete).

Above-ground pools are way cheaper to buy, costing up to about $7,000 maximum, although you have to factor in other additional costs such as installation (if you can’t do it yourself) and deck construction if you do not prefer using a ladder to jump in and out of the water.

This means you are looking at a maximum, $12,000, which is still cheaper than an in-ground pool.

2. Maintenance

Both types require more or less the same level of care and cleaning. However, the larger the pool, the more maintenance work that is required and consequently, the higher the operating costs.

With in-ground pools tending to be bigger, if you decide to build a big one, you must be prepared to put more effort into maintaining it.

3. Durability

An average above-ground pool can last up to 15 years with proper care, but its liner must be replaced every 4-5 years because it wears out quickly from exposure to the sun’s rays and the elements.

In-ground pools are much more durable, with fiberglass pools lasting up to 20 years but vinyl inground pools also require a liner replacement every 4-5 years, while concrete ones require resurfacing every 10-12 years, which can be very expensive.


As you can see, selecting an above-ground pool might not be that simple if you do not have all the relevant information. You need to understand the differences between the different types of these pools, as well as the defining factors of each before making a decision.

That said, Intex’s 28241EH stands out as the best above-ground pool because it holds a good water volume, has a powerful pump, and comes with multiple accessories.