The 7 Best Above-Ground Pools of 2021

Cool off with these top backyard picks

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Our Top Picks
"This 16-foot round pool comes with a ladder, a ground cloth, a cover, and a sand filter pump with a 1,200-per-hour flow rate."
"Made of durable PVC with a reinforced support band, this affordable pool is incredibly sturdy."
"This rectangular pool set comes in three sizes and includes a pump, ladder, debris cover, and ground cloth."
"This humongous oval-shaped pool is 18 feet wide, 40 feet long, and holds up to 17,000 gallons of water."
"Designed for rapid installation, this 600-gallon inflatable pool is ready to go in minutes."
"The included saltwater system helps you reach the ideal salinity ratio for your above-ground pool."
"A corrosion-resistant steel frame provides reinforcement and holds this sturdy pool together."

If you live in a warm climate or anywhere that gets remotely hot during the summer, having somewhere to swim can make the weather more bearable—and enjoyable. As you're probably aware, in-ground swimming pools are expensive to install and maintain. Above-ground pools, however, are an affordable alternative. They're also much easier to set up and can be just as fun as their in-ground counterparts.

Whether you're looking for a budget-friendly cool-down solution or want to try out a pool before committing to digging a permanent hole in your yard, we've got you covered. We rounded up the best above-ground pools currently on the market, including saltwater-ready, rectangular, round, oval, steel-supported, and inflatable picks. Let's dive in.

Here, the best above ground pools on the market.

Best Overall: Intex Ultra XTR Pool Set with Sand Filter Pump

Intex Ultra XTR Pool Set with Sand Filter Pump

For an above-ground option that shines above the rest, we recommend the Intex Ultra XTR Pool Set. Aside from the actual pool, it comes with a sand filter pump, a ladder with slip-resistant steps, a ground cloth, and a cover with a convenient rope tie. The efficient filter pump has a flow rate of 2,100 gallons per hour, plus a built-in timer with preset cycles.

The reliable frame is made of galvanized steel and connects with a precision-engineered locking system, adding to the overall stability and durability of the product. Thanks to a protective powder coating on the interior and exterior walls, this pool also resists rust. The round Intex Ultra XTR is 48 inches tall and 192 inches (16 feet) in diameter. It holds over 5,000 gallons of water and is ready to fill within 45 minutes.

Best Budget: Bestway Steel Pro Above Ground Round Frame Pool Set

Bestway Steel Pro Above Ground Round Frame Pool Set

Those on a budget should consider the Bestway Steel Pro (model 56680). This round above-ground set comes with a 12-foot pool (including the frame and liner), a filter pump, and a filter cartridge. The pump has a flow rate of 330 gallons per hour, and the pool has a 710-gallon capacity.

This above-ground pool is made of a durable, tear-resistant PVC material with a three-ply support band and a strong steel frame. Compared to more expensive steel-reinforced pools, it's just as stable and much easier to set up. Also, the filter has a built-in chemical dispenser, which means you won't need to use a free-floating pool cleaner.

Best Rectangular: Intex Ultra XTR Rectangular Pool Set

Ultra XTR Rectangular Above Ground Frame Swimming Pool Set
Very Good

The Intex Ultra Frame Rectangular Pool is 52 inches deep and comes in various sizes. You can get 216 x 108 inches (18 x 9 feet), 288 x 144 inches (24 x 12 feet), or 384 x 192 inches (32 x 16 feet). The set includes a filter pump, a slip-resistant ladder, a ground cloth, and a debris cover.

Like all Intex above-ground pools, you can count on high-quality engineering, durability, and weather-resistance. A puncture-resistant, triple-ply liner ensures water stays in, and powder-coated steel frames reinforce the walls. Thanks to dual-suction outlets, this pool efficiently circulates water while keeping it clean and clear for as long as possible.

Best Splurge: The Pool Factory Signature RTL Oval Pool

Signature RTL Oval Pool

Modern above-ground pools are nothing like they used to be. You can find tons of options that lean more toward high-end, like the Signature RTL from The Pool Factory. This massive oval pool is 54 inches deep, 216 inches (18 feet) wide, 480 inches (40) feet long, and can hold a whopping 17,000 gallons of water. Needless to say, it's just as big—if not bigger—than many in-ground models.

Upright posts and resin foot collars make it super durable and strong, and the exterior steel wall has a special coating to prevent corrosion and weather damage. You can place it completely above ground or as deep as 27 inches into the ground. Best of all, it comes with an almost unheard of 60-year manufacturer warranty.

Best Inflatable: Summer Waves Quick Set Inflatable Above Ground Pool with Filter Pump

Summer Waves Quick Set Above Ground Swimming Pool

If you're interested in a blow-up option that's a bit larger and more sturdy than your typical kiddie pool, we recommend the Summer Waves Quick Set. This circular pool measures 96 inches (8 feet) in diameter. It's 30 inches deep and can hold over 600 gallons of water. Designed specifically for super-fast installation, you can set it up in minutes. And unlike most inflatable pools, it comes with a filter pump.

Best Saltwater: Intex Ultra XTR Rectangular Pool Set with Sand Filter Pump & Saltwater System

Ultra XTR Rectangular Pool Set with Sand Filter Pump & Saltwater System

Saltwater pools are having a moment, and they aren't reserved only for in-ground models. The best above-ground option is this Intex Ultra XTR Rectangular Set with Saltwater System. You'll need to buy your own salt, which you'll add to the saltwater system to achieve an ideal level of salinity.

This sizable pool is 52 inches deep and measures 384 inches (32 feet) x 192 inches (16 feet). It's perfect for swimming laps, splashing, floating, or playing games. Aside from the saltwater system, you'll get a sand filter pump, ladder, ground cloth, and a pool cover. Intex also backs this pool with a two-year warranty.

Best with Steel Frame: Coleman Power Steel Swim Vista Series II Swimming Pool

The best above-ground pool with a steel frame is the Coleman Power Steel Vista Series II. It's 216 inches (18 feet) in diameter and 48 inches deep with an impressive 6,100-gallon capacity. This pool is very easy to set up and take down—no tools are needed. The exterior has a rattan print, and the interior walls have a tile design, making it an attractive addition to your yard.

As for the frame, reinforced portholes are built into the walls, and corrosion-resistant steel secures the whole thing together. Made of puncture-resistant Tritech, the outer liner is notably tough too.

Final Verdict

Our number-one pick for above-ground pools is the Intex Ultra XTR Pool Set (available at Amazon). Intex is a reliable brand, and this reasonably priced round pool is the perfect medium size. Plus, it comes with a sand filter pump, ladder, ground cloth, and debris cover. If you want something even more budget-friendly, the Bestway Steel Pro Above Ground Round Frame Pool Set is a solid choice with impressive stability (available at Walmart).

Why Trust The Spruce?

This roundup was written by Theresa Holland, a professional writer and homeowner always on the lookout for products that enhance the at-home experience. In addition to The Spruce, she regularly contributes to MyDomaine and Byrdie.

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