The 6 Best Above-Ground Pools of 2020

Cool off with these top backyard picks

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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Intex 24ft x 12ft X 52in Ultra Frame Rectangular Pool Set at Amazon

"A highly-rated option that comes with everything you need to set it up."

Best Steel Frame: Blue Wave Martinique Above-Ground Pool at Home Depot

"A sturdy pool that can fit up to eight people comfortably."

Best Kiddie Pool: Intex Crystal Blue Inflatable Pool, 45” x 10" at Amazon

"A small, inflatable mini pool that’s perfect for kiddos."

Best Inflatable: Summer Waves Quick Set Above Ground Swimming Pool at Walmart

"Quick to set up and easy to take down at the end of the season."

Best Round: Bestway Power Steel Frame Swimming Pool at Walmart

"A round swimming pool set that is equipped with a sturdy steel frame."

Best for Kids: Intex Rainbow Ring Inflatable Play Center at Amazon

"Watch them slide from one pool to the next."

Owning a pool, especially in an area with a warm climate, can make hot summer months much more enjoyable. Unfortunately, the average cost of an inground pool is simply too expensive for the typical homeowner and maintenance can be a never-ending task. That is why a good number of people turn to the next best thing: the above ground pool. Even though they aren't as popular as they were decades ago, above ground pools still offer a great way to experience some wet fun in your backyard without digging a giant hole or requiring hefty insurance.

Above-ground pools come in many different sizes, with circular and rectangular shapes being the most common layouts. Made of reinforced fabrics and meshes supported by steel frames, these pools can often be set up and ready to use in just an hour or two.

As with any open water you'll need to be sure to always supervise children. And if you plan to leave this set up overnight you might want to consider a fence or secure cover so young children or pets can't get in.

We did the research to find the best above ground pools available, so you can pick the perfect one for your home.

Due to increased demand for online shopping, items in this article may be out of stock. Updates to this article will be made frequently with products we recommend.

  • 01 of 06

    Best Overall: Intex 24ft x 12ft X 52in Ultra Frame Rectangular Pool Set

    Very Good

    You'll be making a splash in no time with this top-rated pool. The Ultra Frame Rectangular Pool Set comes with everything you need to set up and maintain a large pool, and it can be assembled in one hour or less. It measures 24 feet x 12 feet x 52 inches, which is the perfect size for families and friends to enjoy.

    Intex is a leader in above-ground pools with models in various shapes and sizes. This rectangular metal frame pool set features laminated sidewalls and a metal frame that's able to hold 8,403 gallons of water. The set includes a 1,600 GPH Krystal Clear sand filter pump & saltwater system to keep your water free of algae and bacteria. A ladder, ground cloth, pool cover, maintenance kit, and volleyball complete the set.

    Customers across the board love this attractive looking pool, saying it will save you a bundle compared to an in-ground pool or another premium above-ground option. People who have upgraded to this model have also commented on the straightforward installation process.

    "The puncture-resistant three-ply pool liner feels rugged. We had zero leaks throughout the summer. The kids regularly bumped into and kicked the sides when they were playing with no effect. We even accidentally hit the side of the pool with a shovel, and there wasn't even a scuff."—Kelly Hodgkins, Product Tester

  • 02 of 06

    Best Steel Frame: Blue Wave Martinique Above-Ground Pool

    Blue Wave Martinique Above-Ground Pool

    Courtesy of Home Depot 

    For an above-ground pool that leaves nothing to be desired, opt for the sturdy Blue Wave Martinique Above-Ground Pool. Unlike inflatable pools, this above-ground pool features the stability of a more robust steel frame and a 7-inch metal top rail. There’s nothing to puncture and this pool is made to last, as evidenced by the 25-year limited warranty.

    The Blue Wave Martinique holds 13,600 gallons and can fit eight to 12 people comfortably. To keep maintenance to a minimum, this above-ground pool package ships with a sand filter system with 1 HP pump that users say works well to keep the water clear.

    While you can install this above-ground pool yourself, user experience indicates that you’ll likely need three to four people to get the job done. Others opted for professional installation. Either way, once this pool is set up and filled with fresh water, you’ll be eager to jump right in and enjoy all this above-ground pool has to offer for years to come. 

  • 03 of 06

    Best Kiddie Pool: Intex Crystal Blue Inflatable Pool, 45” x 10"

    Give pint-sized swimmers a safe splash zone with a kiddie pool. For an easy-to-inflate and easy-to-empty mini pool, we recommend the frills-free Intex Crystal Blue Inflatable Pool. It's the perfect way to cool kids down on a hot summer day.

    At just 10 inches deep and almost 3 feet wide, this pool is designed with kids in mind—and it’s also a popular pick for a doggy pool, too! Inflate and fill with water for fun in the sun, then deflate for easy storage in a garage or outdoor shed. You can use a small air pump to get this pool set up in a hurry, or use lung power if you're feeling ambitious.

    A few people had an issue with at least one of the rings not holding air after some rough use—but for the price, if it lasts a season most users are satisfied. If you do develop a leak, you can patch the pool with the included patch kit. Reviewers say this pool is perfect for backyard fun or use it to cool off your pooch during the dog days of summer. 

  • 04 of 06

    Best Inflatable: Summer Waves Quick Set Above Ground Swimming Pool

    Summer Waves Quick Set Above Ground Swimming Pool

    Courtesy of Walmart

    While this pick isn't as deep as some of the other pools on the list, it's a good option if you and your family just want somewhere to cool off in the hot weather. Better for lounging than swimming, this durable, 30-inch deep pool is big enough for multiple people to sit in at once, so everyone can cool down together.

    The pool comes with a pump to make filling it up easy, and a chlorinator and filter combo to keep the pool safe to use for two weeks at a time before it needs replacing.

    Once this pool is set up, users are overall happy with it. However, check to make sure your pool doesn't have any holes before you start filling it, and prep the area around your pool carefully to make sure the space is level and doesn't have any sharp rocks or sticks that might puncture to PVC.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Best Round: Bestway Power Steel Frame Swimming Pool

    bestway-power-steel
    Courtesy of Walmart.

    If you’re looking to go round and round all summer long, hop on a float and take it easy in the Bestway Power Steel Round Swimming Pool. Bestway is the parent company to well-known outdoor brand Coleman, and this well-rated round swimming pool has plenty of fans. Bestway’s round swimming pool set is equipped with a sturdy steel frame, pool cover, ladder, and 2,500 GPM Flowclear filter pool pump.

    People found this round pool to be straightforward to setup and easy to enjoy. A few people mentioned how the design of the included liner and lack of an inflatable top ring made this feel more like a “real” pool, rather than a temporary addition to the backyard. Still, this metal frame swimming pool requires minimal tools for assembly and disassembly, so it’s a snap to put up and take down with the change of seasons. 

  • 06 of 06

    Best for Kids: Intex Rainbow Ring Inflatable Play Center

    When your kids have graduated passed a basic kiddie pool this play center is the next best thing. Blow it up and watch them slide from one pool to the next, play ring toss, or just splash around and have fun. This pool also has a sprayer so you can attach a hose and keep the kids cool as water splashes them.

    Reviewers love how much fun this gave their family at such an affordable price, but many mention an air pump is necessary to fill this up.

Final Verdict

The Intex 18ft X 52in Ultra XTR Pool Set (view at Amazon) is our top pick for above ground pools as it’s durable, quick to set up, and has a powerful filtration system. The size is also perfect for backyard pool parties! If you’re on the fence about spending that much money, though, go with the Intex 12ft x 30in Easy Set Pool Set with Filter Pump (view at Amazon).

What to Look for in an Above-Ground Pool

Shape First, decide whether you prefer a round pool that saves space or a rectangular pool that gives you more room for aquatic activities. The footprint of a round pool is smaller and it requires minimal square footage in your yard. However, if you want to swim laps, you’re better off with a rectangular pool that gives you a longer edge-to-edge distance.

Filter Some above-ground pools include a filter, while other more portable options omit this feature. If you plan to leave your pool up for an extended period of time, make sure you look for a model equipped with a filter to keep the pool safe and sanitary. For smaller above-ground pools that you’ll empty after each use, skip a filter system since the water won’t be sitting stagnant for a prolonged period. 

Frame For the sturdiest above-ground pool, look for one that has a metal frame. This will help ensure that the pool holds its shape, even when filled with water and subjected to swimming and splashing. Inflatable pools, on the other hand, tend not to include this feature but make it work due to their smaller size and reduced water volume.