Last updated: August 9, 2021

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Welcome to our above ground pool test 2021. Here we present all the inground pools that we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the internet.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best above-ground pool for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy an above ground pool.




Summary

  • An above ground pool is a great way to bring your own little swimming pool into your home.
  • You can usually build a pop-up pool without a building permit or major alterations to your property.
  • Let your creativity run free and turn your above-ground pool into an oasis of well-being or your own sports pool with the help of practical accessories.

The Best Above Ground Pool: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying an above ground pool

What is an above ground pool?

An above-ground pool is quick and easy to assemble, so you can cool off comfortably in the summer without having to drive to the outdoor pool. Depending on the design, you only have to do a few things.

If you don't have a large garden and the financial means for an in-ground pool, the above-ground pool is just right for you. It is cheaper and less complicated to set up, but just as refreshing.

Bring that holiday feeling home with your own above-ground pool. (Image source: pixabay.com / 5477687)

The most practical thing about an above-ground pool is that you don't have to drill a hole for it and it can be moved anywhere. You can set it up quickly when the temperatures rise in early summer and take it down just as quickly when it gets uncomfortable outside.

How big should my above ground pool be?

You should choose the size and shape of your above ground pool according to whether it will be used for relaxation or for sporting activities. Your available space also plays an important role. Above-ground pools are often round or rectangular.

Round pools should have a diameter of at least 4 metres. Rectangular pools should be no smaller than 3 m x 6 m. You will often find dimensions of 4 m x 8 m.

To be able to swim in an above-ground pool, you need a minimum height of 1.35 metres. One person needs a width of about 2.5 m to be able to reach out with their arms. If two people want to swim side by side, a width of 4 m is advisable.

If you want to use your above-ground pool for underwater gymnastics, it should be 1.5 m deep. In this case, the high buoyancy is particularly interesting for older people and people with joint problems, as the movements will be much easier for them.

What kind of space is suitable for an above-ground pool?

The ground under your above ground pool should be level and firm. Remove any stones and roots that could damage the pool or be painful to step on.

Falling leaves and fruit will soil your above-ground pool, so you will need to make a regular effort to clean it. (Source: 123rf.com Wilm Ihlenfeld)

Also, make sure you choose a sunny spot for your above-ground pool. That way you save on heating costs and can sunbathe directly in the cool water. It's also much cosier if there's no wind in the place you've chosen.

Of course, it is very important that the above-ground pool is not too far from a water supply. If you want to connect a filter system, you will also need a nearby power source.

According to road safety regulations, your above-ground pool or the plot of land on which it stands must be fenced in. An intact fence protects animals and neighbour's children from accidentally falling into the aboveground pool.

What regulations do I have to observe when installing a pool?

As a rule, above-ground pools that can be placed in the garden without major construction work can be set up without a building permit. They may have a capacity of up to 50 cubic metres, which does not exceed the standard dimensions of 4 m x 8 m x 1.5 m.

Building regulations vary depending on the federal state and local and municipal bylaws. If you are unsure whether you need an extra building permit, check your state's building code or call a local office.

If you want to install your pool on an allotment site, you should check the regulations beforehand. The accepted size of your pool varies from region to region and also depends on your lease agreement.

How much does an above ground pool cost?

The price range between different above-ground pools is very wide. The price varies depending on the material and size of the pool. You can expect a range from about 18 to several thousand euros. We consider the prices to be reasonable because an above-ground pool can be used several times a day in summer and is of corresponding quality.

Type Price range
Above-ground pool with air ring approx. € 18-140
Above-ground pool with steel frame construction approx. € 66-2000
Above-ground pool made of wood approx. € 1200-8700

Above-ground pools made of plastic foil are considerably cheaper than wooden pools and last reliably. However, they are more susceptible to weathering and often have to be dismantled over the winter. A wooden above-ground pool can be left standing and used all year round, and is also very durable.

Note that you may have to pay for electricity for the filtration system. Especially if you use the pool often, a pump is essential. From time to time you will have to change the cartridges in a cartridge filter.

What are the alternatives to an above-ground pool?

Pools can be made of very different materials, have different shapes and be constructed differently. Each variant has its own advantages and disadvantages. The following section gives you a brief overview of the alternatives to above-ground pools.

Alternative Description
Built-in pool Built-in pools simply look chic, but take a lot of time and money to plan and build. They bring you that holiday feeling and can fit perfectly into your garden because of the huge variability. However, it is easier for people and animals to accidentally fall into the water.
Steel wall pools Steel wall pools can be set up or built in. You will need a little help to assemble the sturdy walls, but this makes the installation relatively easy. The only substrate is a pool liner, so you need to level the ground well beforehand. Unlike built-in pools, steel-walled pools are cheaper and variable in diameter and depth.
Styrofoam pool A rather unknown variant is the built-in pool, where styrofoam stones are used instead of concrete or similar. Styrofoam insulates very well and the stones only have to be inserted into each other. They also have a high compressive strength, absorb shocks, weigh very little and are not susceptible to moisture.
Aztec basins Aztec basins are made of a material mix of 65% wood and 35% polymers. This gives them an attractive appearance, but they are easier to clean and more durable than real wood. The material is non-slip, UV-resistant and does not splinter. It is also durable, even when chlorine is used, and environmentally friendly.

The pop-up pool convinces with its price-performance ratio. There is no other variant that can be set up so quickly and used as a place for refreshment. In addition, the pop-up pool can be used in many different ways thanks to its variability and extensions.

Decision: What types of above-ground pools are there and which is the right one for you?

If you want to buy an above ground pool, there are three alternatives to choose from:

  • Above-ground pool with air ring
  • Above ground pool with steel frame construction
  • Above ground pool with wooden walls

The installation variant, stability and durability of the three different above-ground pools have their respective advantages and disadvantages. Depending on what you prefer, how much effort you want to put in and what you can invest, a different type is suitable for you. In the following section we would like to help you make the right decision.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of an above ground pool with air ring?

An above ground pool with an air ring is very easy and quick to set up. You simply inflate the ring at the top of the pool and fill the pop-up pool with water. The buoyancy of the air ring pulls the pool upwards into its shape.

Advantages
  • Cheap to buy
  • Quick and uncomplicated assembly
  • Easy to repair
Disadvantages
  • Filter system may cost extra
  • Not winterproof
  • Air ring is sensitive
  • Only round shapes

The ring should be inflated until it becomes hard and round. Make sure, however, that it is not too bulging so that it does not burst. This is especially important if you inflate it in the morning or evening and the air is still expanding in the sunlight.

What are the characteristics of a steel-framed above-ground pool and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

In a steel frame above ground pool, the pool liner wall is supported by an external metal pipe frame. This provides additional stability. Assembly is easy, even for non-professionals, as the poles only need to be inserted into each other.

Advantages
  • Stable construction
  • Durable
  • Variable in shape and size
Disadvantages
  • Filter system may cost extra
  • Not winterproof
  • Higher purchase costs

An above-ground pool with a steel frame construction holds a lot of water, which means it carries quite a bit of weight. Therefore, it is important that you prepare the ground properly. If the pool is tilted, it can tip over due to the enormous pressure on the outer walls.

What are the characteristics of a wooden above-ground pool and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Wooden above-ground pools are not only environmentally friendly, but also a real eye-catcher. However, this pool variant has a proud price and takes a lot of time and skill to set up.

Advantages
  • High stability
  • Weatherproof
  • Winterproof
  • Variable in shape and size
  • Eye-catcher
Disadvantages
  • Very high purchase costs
  • filter system may cost extra
  • substrate must be extremely stable

Above-ground pools with wooden walls must be carefully considered, but the purchase is worthwhile. The wood is usually pressure impregnated, which protects it from insect and fungal attack. An occasional coat of wood varnish will keep your above-ground pool looking new.

Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate above-ground pools

In the following, we will show you which aspects you can use to decide between the many possible above-ground pools. The criteria you can use to compare above ground pools include:

  • Material
  • Ease of assembly
  • Pool pump
  • Accessories

In the following paragraphs, we will explain what is important in the individual criteria.

Material

The walls of your above-ground pool are made of either plastic or wood. Both materials are designed to last as long as possible. But there are differences. Above ground pools with an air ring and steel frame construction have side walls made of three-ply PVC and polyester, which is very durable.

The pool liner has to be resilient and withstand not only the weather, but also the movement of water and human bodies during intensive splashing. It is advisable to dismantle your plastic pop-up pool in winter. The air ring in particular is susceptible to frost and can develop leaks quickly.

A wooden above-ground pool is much more robust. The wood is pressure impregnated to withstand the elements. For example, spruce and pine wood are used. This above-ground pool can be left up all year round.

Simplicity of assembly

People often decide to buy an above-ground pool on the spur of the moment, so it is best to assemble it quickly. But even a little extra effort can be worthwhile. When the children call out that they want to go swimming, but you are too tired from work, it is easy to quickly buy an above-ground pool with an air ring.

This can be set up by one person within a few hours, depending on the water pressure with which it is filled.

The pop-up pool with steel frame construction is the somewhat more stable version of the quick-up pool with air ring. Here, help is not necessarily needed, but it will be much more comfortable with it if the steel poles can be assembled together.

If you are handy and have a little time to spare, you should opt for a wooden pop-up pool. The parts only have to be inserted into each other and screwed together, and the result is very satisfactory. However, you should get help to avoid mistakes and gaps.

Pool pump

The most important thing about your above-ground pool is a proper filter system with a suitable pump, i.e. the pool pump. Only then will you have permanently clean water that is fun to swim in.

The pump circulates the water in your above-ground pool. It sucks the pool water into the filter system, where it is cleaned and then returned to the pool. It also distributes the pool chemicals and makes the water flow through the heat exchanger, if there is one.

Sand filter systems are the most commonly used. These clean particularly large pools effectively. Small pools also do well with a cartridge filter. With the cartridge filter, the dirt is trapped in a paper cartridge. Outdoors, the cartridge often smears and needs to be cleaned.

You should not use flocculants, as they can clog the filter. In the sand filter, quartz sand catches the dirt particles as the water flows through it. Flocculant can make the filter's work much easier, as it can catch larger dirt particles better.

Quartz sand is very hard and available in sufficient quantities, so it is often used for water treatment. (Picture source: pixabay.com / addesia)

Accessories

Not every above-ground pool comes with accessories and not every above-ground pool can be extended. So before you buy an above-ground pool, plan exactly what you want to use it for.

Especially with more expensive pools, you can assume that the most important pool parts are included. These include a ground sheet, pool pump and ladder. For wooden pop-up pools, the pool liner is also included.

Sporty, more comfortable and decorative elements must be purchased separately. Above-ground pools with an air ring are often not very expandable. Their construction makes it more difficult to attach accessories to them.

Facts worth knowing about above-ground pools

How do I prepare the ground for my above-ground pool?

For the durability and long-lasting enjoyment of your above-ground pool, it is essential that you prepare the ground correctly. Only if it is absolutely straight, firm and free of sharp elements can it reliably support your above-ground pool.

Pouring sand Removing the turf
Pour sand generously over the surface of the above-ground pool. Now moisten the sand well and compact it with something heavy. This is a quick and uncomplicated method, but it is not highly recommended, as the sand substrate can slip apart the better method is to remove the turf. You can level the soil underneath by removing it. It is best to use a straightedge.

You can now lay a fleece on the level surface to protect it from weeds and roots that could damage the pool floor. Place a ground protection sheet on top of this and then the pool.

How do I set up my above ground pool?

Setting up an above ground pool with an air ring or steel frame construction is not difficult at all. The wooden pool is a little trickier, but just as easy to master. Simply inflate the air ring and fill the pool with water.

This way, the pool sets up all by itself. For the steel frame pool, you first have to spread out the pool liner. Next, attach the steel poles to the pool as described in the instructions. Now fasten everything correctly, fill your above-ground pool with water and the bathing fun can begin.

Even with an above-ground pool made of wood, you should read the instructions beforehand and follow them exactly. As a rule, all you have to do to assemble your wooden above-ground pool is to fit the individual wooden parts together.

How do I care for my above ground pool?

Nothing is more unpleasant than looking forward to your own pool after a long day at work and then finding it with cloudy and dirty water. Proper care is the key to feeling good in your above-ground pool.

The better your filter system works, the fewer chemicals you need to add to the water. So look for a quality version that is sufficiently efficient in relation to the size of your above-ground pool.

It is an advantage to regularly add new water to your above ground pool. Check the pH value immediately afterwards with the help of a quick test strip or a test kit. The value should be between 7.0 and 7.4. You can do this more than once or twice a week. The pH value has an influence on the overall water quality.

The quality of the water determines to a large extent how comfortable you feel in your above-ground pool. (Image source: pixabay.com / Survivor)

If your above-ground pool is outside, it's no wonder that germs and bacteria get into the water. Don't let them affect your health negatively and disinfect your above-ground pool with chlorine products or active oxygen.

Algae infestation can also be a nuisance, especially in summer. Prevention is the best precaution, as severe algae infestation is difficult to combat. In addition to chlorine, you should also use products to combat algae.

Flocculant helps your filter system catch even the smallest debris by coating the tiny particles and making them more tangible.

How do I winterise my above ground pool?

In terms of material and construction, only the wooden above-ground pool is really suitable for winter storage. In the case of an above-ground pool with an air ring, the ring can easily break due to the cold.

The walls of the pool with steel frame construction are also vulnerable. In order to bring your above-ground pool safely through the winter, we would now like to introduce an uncomplicated variant:

  1. First remove any accessories such as a pool ladder from your above ground pool.
  2. The pH value of the pool should be between 7 and 7.2. If this is not the case, you can use corrective chemicals.
  3. This is followed by shock chlorination. A chlorine content of 0.8 mg/l should not be exceeded.
  4. Now add a winterising agent to your above ground pool while the sand filter system is working. The agent suppresses limescale deposits and the growth of algae.
  5. Now lower the water level to about 10 cm below the skimmer opening. You can clean the protruding edges with a sponge or cloth. Make sure that all water residues are also removed from the installations so that no frost damage occurs.
  6. The winter plug seals the inlet nozzle and the skimmer.
  7. Ice pressure pads in the pool take the pressure off the walls if the water should become icy.
  8. You can cover the pool with a pool liner, a roll cover or an inflatable pool cover.

How do I repair my above-ground pool?

Often, a repair kit is included with the purchase of a plastic above-ground pool, which you can use to patch up smaller holes. We will now introduce you to a simple variant for repairing a hole in the pool liner:

  1. First locate the hole in the pool liner. If the water level drops more than 6 mm during the night, the installation pool most likely has a hole in the wall.
  2. If possible, lower the water level to below the hole so that you can repair it in the dry. Some repair kits can also be used under water.
  3. Cut a piece of foil from the repair kit. Be generous so that the hole is really well covered. Round off the corners so that they do not stick out or come loose when you glue them together later.
  4. Thoroughly clean the area to be glued, even under water.
  5. Now carefully spread the special adhesive over the piece of film. It is best to use the enclosed brush or a piece of wood. Let the glue dry for two to four minutes.
  6. Now stick the foil onto the hole. You can smooth out any air pockets towards the edge of the foil. If possible, place a heavy weight on the patch for 24 hours.

What accessories are available for an above ground pool?

There are many accessories for above ground pools that can make your bathing experience more comfortable, improve your sporting results or make maintenance easier. Complete sets often include pool ladders, a cover and a filter pump.

This is especially helpful if you want to keep your pool set up for a longer period of time or if it is made of wood or steel. So that you don't always have to scrub the bottom of the above-ground pool yourself, you can get yourself a vacuum cleaner.

You can choose between a filter-dependent and an automatic version. This saves you having to use additional cleaning agents to keep the water clear. Especially at the beginning and end of the pool season, the water can be uncomfortably cold.

Classic heat pumps always bring the pool water to the desired temperature. They are even environmentally friendly, as 80% of the operating energy is obtained from the ambient air. Counter-current systems are a great way to turn even a small above-ground pool into a real sports pool.

If you prefer it cosy, you can equip your above-ground pool with many different lighting items. The Pool Bubble transforms your above-ground pool into a whirlpool. Together with the heat pump, this promises cosy hours.

How do I build my own above-ground pool?

If you want to build your own above-ground pool, you have a big project ahead of you, but it's worth it. Even if you are a skilled craftsman yourself, you should find someone with experience so that no mistakes are made during the planning and construction of the pool.

The good thing about building your own pool is that you can determine the shape, dimensions and any other details of your installation pool yourself. What's more, you can then enjoy a refreshing swim in your own above-ground pool with great pride.

You can also buy pool sets that include some practical accessories. For example, you can buy a filter system together with a stainless steel ladder and even a pool cover.

Image: 123rf.com / sergofoto

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