How To Choose The Best Above Ground Pool

There's no argument that summers are made for swimming, and nothing makes pool days easier than having one right in your backyard. Deciding to install an above ground pool means a big purchase and commitment, but it has enough benefits to make the endeavor worth it. Above ground models are famous for their affordability, accessibility, versatility, simple and quick setups, and easy maintenance. They can also be safer than public pools because the walls eliminate the risks of slipping and falling into the water, which you would have if you went with an in-ground model. Also, you're able to set water depth and other precautions to your personal preference. Considering that the Centers for Disease Control found that 10% of all annual drownings are pool-related, it certainly helps to err on the side of caution.

Choosing the right pool for you and your family will have you weighing several factors such as size, materials, and costs. Many people might not realize all the components that go into buying a pool, so this guide will help you remember every element as you shop around.

Decide on the shape and size

One of the first steps you will take is determining which size, shape, and even depth works best for your home and family. It would be wise to start by measuring your designated pool area to estimate how big the structure should be. Keep in mind how much space you want to keep clear around it for lounge chairs and other accessories. Location is only one part of figuring out your desired size; you'll also want to consider how many people it should hold at a time. If you're someone with a large family or who likes to host social gatherings, a bigger pool will naturally be on your shopping list.

Deciding on the shape will depend mainly on the location; round pools typically fit better in smaller areas. If your yard is narrow, an oval or rectangle shape may be a better fit. Consider if this will be a pool used for hanging out and having fun or if you want to use it for exercise, too. Round pools make great additions if swimming laps are far from your mind, and they typically offer a larger surface area at a lower price per gallon to fill. Rectangular options tend to be best for those looking to utilize their pool in a workout routine.

Consider the pool's structure

When pondering the construction of your pool, you'll face two options for the walls: soft-siding and metal framing. Soft-sided pools offer film yet malleable walls at a lower price point. These work best in areas that aren't overly crowded with trees and bushes that could poke holes in the sides and for those looking to disassemble the pool at the end of the swimming season. Metal frames offer sturdier siding, but of course, they are more expensive. People often opt for metal frames because they are also more resilient to the pool's chemical exposure.

In addition to siding, the pump, filter, and liner should be on your mind. Pumps and filters are essential to keeping your pool water sanitary, and they're usually included with your purchase. Sometimes liners are also included, but often you will need to buy these separately. The liner will protect the pool's walls and flooring, and there are four varieties to choose from: overlapping liners, j-hook liners, beaded liners, and expandable liners.

Pool necessities and accessories

Gathering fun pool accessories is one of the most enjoyable parts of shopping. With all the different shapes and designs you can get in floaties and toys, it definitely gets one excited to jump into the water. A pool ladder will most likely be needed. Even if you think it will be easy to climb in and out, ladders help prevent accidents and protect the pool's walls. A pool vacuum will work in tandem with the filter and chlorine, clearing any bacteria and dirt the filter doesn't catch. A net, also known as a skimmer, will help you collect larger debris like leaves and sticks that float on the surface of the water.

Other fun accessories to consider are pool lights and heaters for when the sun goes down, and the summer breeze picks up. Decking is also an option some families choose to take advantage of. Not everyone enjoys feeling the grass or cement on their feet when hopping out of the water, and decking will provide a cool, sleek surface around your pool. Depending on whether you choose to use wood, composite, or plastic, installing decking can cost between $5 and $20 per square foot, per Angi.

Water sourcing

When buying a pool, paying for your pool's water is often an overlooked cost. City water will be a go-to solution for many, but keep in mind how quickly filling a pool can rack up your utility bill. It may help to call your provider ahead of time to discuss your options and the cost. Using well water is another approach you may be able to take, but this will still affect your bills and require more research and effort. Well water also requires a better chemical cleaning before a pool is swim-ready.

Delivery services are available as well. Companies are open for hire, coming to quickly fill the pool for you with quality, clean water. The price of these services will largely depend on your location and pool size; it's a more expensive but hands-off alternative to the garden hose. Given how pricey it can be to fill a swimming pool, it's worth it to call your local fire department to see if they would do it for a donation. Many fire departments work on a volunteer and donation basis, and it can be a common practice in some lucky communities to have their teams fill pools every summer as a fundraiser.

Factoring in costs

Overall, the most considerable undertaking when choosing the best above ground pool is budgeting the different costs. It all adds up very quickly, which can be discouraging. There are some tricks to help you save, like choosing a pool that you can set up yourself to avoid the cost of professional installation. For your initial purchase, make trade-offs on what you may or may not need immediately and what can be added further down the line. Ask yourself which pool qualities are most important, and base your budget around those factors. If the size matters most, you may settle for a larger but lower-quality pool to keep within your budget.

Shop around in the off-season and check daily for new sales and deals. Frequently companies offer amazing discounts on products around holidays, especially Memorial Day weekend when pools are just about to come into season. Mapping out all costs and budgeting concisely will make the entire shopping experience much easier on the mind and the wallet, ensuring little to no surprise expenses pop up and you don't spend more than you intend to.