The 8 Best Above-Ground Pools of 2023

Stay cool this summer with the Intex Ultra XTR Frame Pool Set

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Intex Ultra XTR

The Spruce / Kelly Hodgkins

Adding an above-ground pool, which is easier to keep clean and less expensive than its in-ground counterparts, can be a great way to maximize your time outside during the hot months. To help you find the best pool for your backyard, we researched dozens of options, evaluating them for ease of assembly, durability, and value.

Our top pick, the Intex Ultra XTR Frame Pool Set, is available in multiple sizes, is easy to set up, and comes with an effective filter.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall

Intex Ultra XTR Frame Rectangular Pool Set

Intex Ultra Frame Rectangular Pool Set


What We Like
  • Large size

  • Easy to set up

  • Effective filter

  • Durable frame

What We Don't Like
  • Requires site preparation

  • Best on firm ground

From the leader in all above-ground pools on the market, the Intex Ultra XTR Frame Pool Set comes with everything that you need to set it up and start splashing, including a cloth ground cover, pool cover, sand filter pump, and a ladder. It also comes in three size options so you can select the one that works best for your backyard space. In fact, while testing an older version of this pool in the same size (24 feet x 12 feet x 52 inches), we found that it is big enough to let multiple kids splash and play while their parents lounge in the pool as well.

In addition to its size and accessories, we selected this pool as our best overall pick because of its easy-locking, rust-resistant steel frame, and durable three-ply liner. Not only is it easy to take down and store (with no tools required), it should hold up during a lot of use, so your family and friends can enjoy it all summer long. But if you do have any issues, this pool comes with a two-year warranty on the pool liner and frame. We also appreciate the sand filter pump with a flow rate of 1,600 gallons per hour, which helps keeps the pool clean and clear.

Installing the Intex Ultra XTR Frame Pool Set doesn’t take professional skill or equipment but does require site preparation (like many of the pools on this list). You'll need a level space that's clear of vegetation, protruding sticks, and rocks, with compacted soil that can support 8,403 gallons of water when the pool is filled. And keep in mind it will most likely take two or three people one to two hours to set up. 

Price at time of publish: $1,427

Dimensions: 24 feet x 12 feet x 52 inches︱Shape: Rectangle︱Water Capacity: 8,403 gallons︱Frame: Steel︱Set-Up Time: 1-2 hours (after site preparation)

Best Budget

Intex Metal Frame Pool with Filter Pump

Intex FBA_28211EH Metal Frame Pool Set

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Affordably priced

  • Easy to set up

  • Filter pump included

  • Includes a ground fault circuit interrupter

What We Don't Like
  • Need to be close to a power source for the pump

  • Requires sight preparation

  • Doesn't include cover or ladder

Our favorite budget-friendly pool is the Intex Metal Frame Pool with Filter Pump. We tested this pool for several summer months and choose it for this list because it was easy to set up and had many of the same features as our best overall, but at a more affordable price. Although it's not as big as the Ultra XTR, it's perfect for smaller yards, and can still fit a few kids and adults. Plus, we think it's a great choice if you like the simplicity of an inflatable pool, but want a more durable option.

You won't get extra accessories with this pool set, but it does come with a filter pump that has a water capacity of 530 gallons per hour, so it should keep this small pool nice and clean. We found the pump easy to use with just a simple on/off switch. Plus, the pump includes a ground fault circuit interrupter, a handy safety feature that will shut off the pool's pump if water gets into the electrical current.

You'll have to purchase a ladder as well as a cover to help keep out debris, and a tarp or ground cover for underneath the pool. Also, keep in mind that you will need to have a clear, level space for the pool, plus proximity to an outlet for the pump. But overall, we think for the price and ease of use, this pool is a great way to add summer fun to your backyard.

Price at time of publish: $425

Dimensions: 12 feet x 30 inches︱Shape: Round︱Water Capacity: 1,718 gallons︱Frame: Steel︱Set-Up Time: 30 minutes

Best Splurge

Palisades Above-Ground Hard-Sided Pool Package

Palisades Above-Ground Hard-Sided Pool Package


What We Like
  • Durable hard sides

  • Stylish design

  • Large size and included accessories

  • 25-year warranty

What We Don't Like
  • Requires site preparation

  • Difficult to set up

If you have the space and budget, we think the Palisades Above Ground Hard-Sided Pool makes a great addition to any backyard space. It fits up to 12 adults and is one of the sturdiest options on this list with sides made of hard resin and weather-resistant steel top rails, uprights, and bottom rails. Plus, this pool is backed by a 25-year warranty, ensuring many years of summer fun.

Keep in mind that setup is more complicated than many other options: You need an ample level space, and you or a professional may need to compact the soil. Setup requires at least two people; even experienced DIYers recommended hiring a professional. However, the kit includes plenty of extras to help make it worth the effort: a blue pool liner, wide-mouth skimmer and return, pool light, sand filter, and 1 HP pump. We also appreciate that it comes with a sturdy A-frame ladder and a maintenance kit.

Price at time of publish: $2,852

Dimensions: 24 feet x 52 inches︱Shape: Round︱Water Capacity: 13,595 gallons︱Frame: Steel︱Set-Up Time: 2-3 hours (after site preparation)

Best for Kids

H2OGO! Underwater Oasis Spray Pool

H2OGO! Underwater Oasis Spray Pool


What We Like
  • Easy to set up

  • Fun interactive features

  • Repair patch included

What We Don't Like
  • Requires an air pump and hose

  • Not very durable

  • No exterior frame

This fun pool is designed to help keep your kids laughing and splashing all summer! We love that it is easy to set up using an air pump (not included). However, we do recommend setting up a small tarp or ground cover under the pool to keep sharp items from puncturing it or bothering your swimmers. Other than that, setup is as simple as filling the pool.

The best feature of this pool is the three dolphins, including a spray dolphin that you can connect to with a garden hose for some extra fun on hot days. The kid-friendly illustrations, colors, features, and size all make the H2OGO! perfect for younger swimmers. Although it does have a three-ply liner, this pool may not last for more than one season. However, we love the fun design, price, and size of this pool and think it's a great choice for the kiddos.

Price at time of publish: $55

Dimensions: 8 feet x 26 inches︱Shape: Round︱Water Capacity: 555 gallons︱Frame: Plastic︱Set-Up Time: 30 minutes

Best Inflatable

Summer Waves Quick Set Inflatable Above Ground Pool with Filter Pump

Summer Waves Quick Set Inflatable Above Ground Pool with Filter Pump


What We Like
  • Easy to set up

  • Budget-friendly

  • Extras included

  • Good size

What We Don't Like
  • Air pump needed

  • Lacks ground tarp and cover

For something easy to set up that is big enough for adults to use, try the Summer Waves Inflatable Above Ground Pool with Filter Pump. It has a 10-foot diameter and is big enough for several friends or family members to enjoy. One of the best parts of this pool, other than its affordable price, is how easy and quickly you can start swimming. Just inflate the pool with an air pump, sold separately. Within just a few minutes, you can start filling the pool.

It does include some great extras that will make maintaining the pool easier: a filter pump, chlorinator, and filter cartridge are all included. The pool is made from 3-ply mesh material to help prevent punctures, but if you do notice any leaking, a repair patch is included. We also suggest purchasing a ground tarp to go under the pool, and a cover to go over it, as they are not included in this set. At the end of pool season, simply drain the pool, clean it, and fold it (dry) for storage.

Price at time of publish: $88

Dimensions: 10 feet x 30 inches︱Shape: Round︱Water Capacity: 608 gallons︱Frame: PVC︱Set-Up Time: 30 minutes

Best with Steel Frame

Intex Ultra XTR Pool Set with Sand Filter Pump

Intex Ultra XTR Pool Set with Sand Filter Pump


What We Like
  • Powder-coated steel frame

  • Frame blends into pool look

  • Easy to connect and take down

What We Don't Like
  • Higher price

  • Requires several people to set up

Similar in features to our top pick, this round pool from Intex has a durable steel frame and puncture-resistant three-ply pool wall. The powder-coated steel support beams, which connect via sturdy, durable T-joints, resist rust and blend into the pool’s contemporary gray outer color. When it’s time to disconnect the pool at season’s end (best done by at least two people), simply press a button at the joint to remove the frame pieces.

The pool includes extras you would expect at this price point: sand filter pump, ground cloth, removable ladder, and pool cover. The ladder is particularly important, helping to keep kids from accessing the pool without supervision.

Price at time of publish: $1,270

Dimensions: 18 feet x 52 inches︱Shape: Round︱Water Capacity: 6,981 gallons︱Frame: Steel︱Set-Up Time: 1 hour

Best Round

Summer Waves Elite Above Ground Swimming Pool with Filter Pump

Summer Waves Elite Above Ground Swimming Pool with Filter Pump


What We Like
  • Stylish pattern

  • Great size for the price

  • Includes cover, pool vacuum attachment, skimmer, ladder, and other accessories

  • Easy to set up

What We Don't Like
  • Some customers recommend getting a new filter pump system

The Summer Waves Elite Above-Ground Pool is our best round option because it's an excellent value for the size. At 20 feet in diameter, this pool has a water capacity of 8,241 gallons and 48-inch walls, so there is plenty of room to cool off and splash around. We also like that it has a durable, rust-resistant steel and PVC frame, and triple-layer polyester walls. It's also very easy to put together—just make sure you have a level space for it.

The pool kit comes with plenty of useful accessories including a skimmer, pool vacuum attachment, and cover to keep out debris and dirt. It also includes a sturdy ladder, as well as a ground cover that reduces the potential for punctures underneath. This pool is available in two designs: Dark Herringbone and Gray Rattan. We did read a few customer reports that the filter pump system was faulty or weak and had to be replaced, but we think for the price and size, this is an excellent round option for your backyard.

Price at time of publish: $1,047

Dimensions: 20 feet x 48 inches︱Shape: Round︱Water Capacity: 8,241 gallons︱Frame: Steel︱Set-Up Time: 1 hour

Best Saltwater

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

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


What We Like
  • Easy to maintain

  • Uses less harsh chemicals

  • Durable materials

  • Includes a volleyball set

What We Don't Like
  • Need to purchase salt separately

  • Only available in two sizes

If you are looking to switch over to a saltwater pool. we recommend the Ultra XTR Pool Set with Pump and Saltwater System. This pool has all of the features of our best overall—also by Intex—plus the added benefits of a saltwater system, including less of a chlorine smell on your skin and hair after hours of swimming. You need to add your own salt, but Intex’s helpful instructions tell you just how much, as well as everything you need to know about maintaining a saltwater pool.

This pool has all the other great features you'd expect from Intex: a weather-resistant steel frame, a three-ply pool liner, and a reliable pump and filter. It also comes with a two-year warranty and a water volleyball set that is made to work with the Intex pool. And like the best overall pick, this pool is easy to put together but does require adequate space and ground preparation.

Price at time of publish: $1,689

Dimensions: 24 feet x 12 feet x 52 inches︱Shape: Rectangle︱Water Capacity: 8,403 gallons︱Frame: Steel︱Set-Up Time: 1-2 hours (after site preparation)

Final Verdict

Our top pick is the Intex Ultra XTR Frame Pool Set. It is one of the more expensive models but should last for years with proper use and storage. It is also big enough to host epic summer pool parties without requiring permanent installation. For a more budget-friendly option, consider the round Intex Metal Frame Pool with Filter Pump, which is also durable, easy to put together, and comes with a filter pump (although you will need to purchase a ladder and cover separately).

Intex 12ft x 30in Metal Frame Set Swimming Pool

The Spruce / Angelica Leicht

Types of Above-Ground Pools

There are several varieties of above-ground pool, which vary in their durability, ease of installation, and price.

  • Inflatable: Affordable, easy to set up, and straightforward to maintain, inflatable pools are the quickest, easiest way to take a dip in your backyard. They typically require an air pump (sometimes included, sometimes sold separately) to inflate. At the end of the summer, they can be deflated, folded, and stored. Because there's such a wide range of inflatable pools available, chances are you'll be able to find one that has the exact dimensions to best fit your space. We like the Summer Waves Quick Set Inflatable Pool because it is easy to set up and comes with a filter pump and other accessories at an affordable price. But while they are highly convenient, inflatable pools lack durability, and they often don't include filters or other methods for keeping your water clean, thus requiring frequent water refreshes.
  • Steel: Our favorite above-ground pool—the Intex Ultra XTR Frame Pool Set—is a steel-frame pool, which combines durability and multiple size configurations for a backyard swimming hole that's designed to be a more permanent fixture than inflatable models. Steel frame above-ground pools typically use rust-resistant steel supports, including vertical struts and side rails, to create a rigid frame for PVC or vinyl side walls. Steel frame pools often use snap-together connectors and other convenient design elements to make assembly relatively straightforward, but it's still going to be a hassle if you plan on disassembling and storing the pool in the off-season. The rigid construction also often requires a more rigorously prepared ground, since the frame will need to sit level in order to assemble properly.
  • Resin: This is the material used in the most upscale above-ground pools. Instead of steel, which risks rust and heating up in the sun, resin-frame pools use ultra-durable plastics. Pools with resin frames are typically lighter than their steel equivalents. Resin pools are often more expensive, but they may well be worth it if you plan on moving your pool parts around. This design is also a great option if you plan on setting up your pool in direct sunlight.
  • Hybrid: These models try to combine the durability and non-heating qualities of resin with steel components. Our best splurge option, the Palisades Above-Ground Hard-Sided Pool Package is made of resin and steel, and although it takes longer to put together, it comes with a 25-year warranty so it should last for many summers to come.
  • Semi-Inground: Semi-inground pools are much closer to a traditional pool installation. These typically require professional assistance, since they are partially buried. Semi-inground pools are easy to climb into and out of, and they can fit more harmoniously in your yard. They can also be incorporated into other construction, such as a deck. Beyond the aesthetic and design advantages, a semi-inground pool can have a long lifespan, often lasting for decades before needing to be replaced.
  • Saltwater: This type of above-ground pool comes with a saltwater system (also known as a salt chlorinator) for achieving the correct salinity, though, you need to add your own salt. Rather than adding chemicals to the pool yourself, saltwater systems convert salt to chlorine to keep your water sterilized. Saltwater pools do not feel like swimming in the ocean. Instead, the salt chlorinator system creates a less-aggressive chlorine smell and a soft, silky water feel. Our best saltwater option, the Intex Ultra XTR Pool Set with Saltwater System comes with everything you need, including a volleyball set!

What to Look for in an Above-Ground Pool


Installing an above-ground pool depends on the type. However, you can follow a general process when setting up standard pools, with PVC walls and steel frames. After clearing an area and making sure the ground is level (and compacted, if installing a large pool), start by laying down the ground cloth and placing the bottom plate on top.

Next, connect the metal rails to the bottom plate and around the perimeter. Then, connect the vertical side rails to the bottom portion of the frame. Be sure to read the directions carefully, as different metal rods can appear similar but don't line up or connect properly if you use the wrong ones. After that, install the lining onto the bottom plate and up the walls. When finished, your pool should have a balanced shape, and the walls should be the same height.

There are a number of other installation considerations outside of the build process itself.

Installation can cost hundreds of dollars and may add over a thousand to the total price of your new above-ground pool. But price isn't the only consideration. If you belong to a homeowner's association (HOA), there may be neighborhood guidance or regulations regarding above-ground pools. The same may also be true of local zoning regulations. Check with your community before making an above-ground pool purchase, since that might well inform what size or type of pool you are allowed to accommodate in your yard. For example, local regulations often stipulate how far a pool must be located from sewers, utility towers, and even your house. Fencing may also be required before you can fill and use your pool.

Beyond local regulations, above-ground pools often have physical limitations. If your ground slopes too much, or if tree roots make the ground uneven, an above-ground pool may be impossible to install where you'd prefer.


It's worth considering the insurance ramifications before buying or installing an above-ground pool. Your homeowner's insurance may require supplemental coverage or increased rates in order to protect you from liability. Above-ground pools won't be unfamiliar to your insurer, who should be able to quickly outline any additional coverage that might be needed or recommended.


When buying an above-ground pool, one of the most important considerations is size. You need to make sure it not only fits in your yard but also encompasses a few feet of space on all sides. We recommend accurately and carefully measuring your outdoor area a couple of times before buying. The two measurements that are likely to be most important are the square footage of your new pool's footprint and the capacity in gallons.

Square footage calculations depend largely on whether you are considering a rectangular or circular pool. Our "Best Overall" winner, the Intex Ultra XTR Frame Pool, comes in a variety of configurations. The square footage occupied by a rectangular pool can be easily found by multiplying the width by the length. The area of a circular pool requires a little more math and is determined by multiplying the value of pi (about 3.14) by the circle's radius squared, or A=π r2.

A little more math, and you can also determine the volume of your pool in square feet or inches. For a rectangular pool, simply multiply the height, width, and length. To calculate the volume of a circular pool, you'll need to use the formula V=π r2h, multiplying the radius squared, the height, and pi together. Make sure to keep your units consistent (for example, plugging only inches into the formula). That will tell you the capacity of your pool in square inches.

Though models vary, rectangular and oval pools tend to be the largest, with water capacities of up to 20,000 gallons. If you're short on square footage, a smaller, round pool might be your best bet. For example, our best round option, the Summer Waves Elite Above Ground Swimming Pool with Filter Pump, is 20 feet in diameter and has a water capacity of 8,241 gallons.


Many above-ground pools come in kits, which include all of the necessary components for setting up, using, and maintaining your pool. Often, kits include a filter pump, a pool liner, a ground cloth, and a debris cover (including several options on this list). Some larger pools also come with slip-resistant ladders. You can find above-ground pools with dual-suction outlets, for easier cleaning. Others contain built-in chemical dispensers, eliminating the need for free-floating cleaners.

Intex Ultra Frame Pool Set

The Spruce / Kelly Hodgkins

  • How do you clean an above-ground pool?

    Generally, you clean above-ground pools using the same tools and methods as with in-ground pools. You can use a pool skimmer, which draws water from the pool's surface and sucks it through the filter. Another option is a pool hose, which attaches to your filter or pool vacuum and sucks out debris. You also can employ a pool net to manually fish out leaves, bugs, dirt, and other debris.

  • How do you drain an above-ground pool?

    Start by unrolling the pump's intake hose, reaching it as close as possible to the center of your pool. Then, point the female end toward an area that drains the water away from the pool, without flooding your property. Next, plug the pump into a nearby electrical outlet, and turn it on. Allow the pump to run until your pool is completely empty. (This might take several hours.) Turn off the pump, and you should be all set.

  • How long does an above-ground pool last?

    The longevity of an above-ground pool can vary widely, but most above-ground pool manufacturer's and dealers consistently cite a 7- to 15-year lifespan. However, there is a major caveat, which is the lifespan of the liner. PVC, plastic, and vinyl liners can become brittle within five years and may need to be replaced during the lifetime of your above-ground pool. A well-maintained, semi-inground pool is more durable and may last up to 20 years, in large part because the components are partially protected from sun damage and are subjected to less structural stress. Of course, these numbers are widely variable and depend on a range of circumstances. For example, a steel-frame above-ground pool will last a lot longer if it is carefully monitored and treated for rust.

  • Can I leave my above-ground pool up year-round?

    Excessively cold temperatures can damage pool linings, including in models like our favorite overall pick, the Intex Ultra XTR Frame Pool Set. Inflatable pools should also be deflated and stowed for cold weather. However, many resin or steel-framed pools are designed to withstand year-round weather, so it's best to check with your pool's manufacturer. Even winter-capable above-ground pools will likely require a "winterizing" process, such as draining all pumps and hoses.

Why Trust The Spruce

This article was researched and written by Katie Melynn, a freelance writer specializing in home and family products. She has been writing for The Spruce since 2019. An avid swimmer, Melynn spent every summer swimming laps as part of her swim team growing up, and now she splashes in the pool with her own children. For this article, she looked for pools that were easy for homeowners to set up and maintain that also provided enough space to enjoy pool games. She also used our testing insights from pools we've used in our own backyards.

Jenica Currie, Associate Commerce Editor for The Spruce updated this list and provided additional research (including her own experience with setting up inflatable pools for her own kids).