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Best Permanent Above Ground Pools in 2020 – Reviewed

With the best of the summer approaching, there is no better time to invest in a permanent above ground pool. These structures aren’t your usual glorified paddling pools that are as much of a pain to maintain as they are to look at. Although they have their uses, a lot of people are turning to products made of durable materials, that are designed to last a long time.

This means you can get many summers out of your above ground pool, so why not! The problem is, with such a large purchase, you want to get it right. With enough sub-par products out there to make it worth researching as much as possible, we have created a list of the best permanent above ground pools available. Each one ticks all the important boxes, and there is something for every budget.

Quick Summary of Best Permanent Above Ground Pools

 Editor’s Choice 
Intex 12ft x 30in Metal Frame Pool with Filter Pump  (review)
 Best Value 
Bestway 56498 Deluxe Splash 9.8′ x 6.7′ x 26  (review)
 Best Large Pool 
Bestway Power Steel 18 x 9 x 4 Foot Above Ground Swimming Pool Set with Pump  (review)
 Best Affordable 
Summer Waves 12ft x 30in Active Round Above Ground Frame Outdoor Swimming Pool with Filter  (review)
 Best Large Frame 
Bestway 56477E Rectangular Above Ground 24ft x 12ft x 52in Backyard Frame Pool Set  (review)
 Best Inflatable 
Intex 8ft x 2.5ft Easy Set Inflatable Swimming Pool with Filter Pump  (review)

Reviews

Editor’s Choice: Intex 12ft x 30in Metal Frame Pool with Filter Pump

One of the permanent above ground pools that are as close to the in-ground version but at a fraction of the cost. For it to be durable, it needs quality materials and that is what it offers in the tough PVC sidewalls and metal frame. Because this is the sort of pool that needs freshwater, there is a pump included, as well as a drain plug for easy draining.

In terms of safety, it has a fault circuit interrupter that turns the pump off if there is any danger of electricity and water combining. The cartridge filter pump comes with a 1-year warranty and at 12ft x 30 inches, there is plenty of room for the family to enjoy a cool dip when the sun is shining. The best part is that set up can be done in around 30 minutes so it won’t take long to be ready for the water.

PROS:

  • Easy to set up in 30 minutes
  • Large 12 ft x 30-inch pool
  • Quality materials
  • Includes pump
CONS:

(none)

Best Value: Bestway 56498 Deluxe Splash 9.8′ x 6.7′ x 26

Many users comment that this is the ideal size for the kids to enjoy and the rectangular shape means they can swim lengths in the 26-inch deep water. The frame has a rust-resistant coating and is also protected against UV rays and its 3 ply support band helps to keep the pool secure. The tear-resistant material won’t fade or bend thanks to the interlocking frame, all the joint connections are fixed with a pin clip design.

The drain valve makes it easy to get rid of the excess and there are no tools required to assemble. Bestway says that it only takes 10 minutes to set up and although this is a little ambitious, it doesn’t take much longer for most.

PROS:

  • Easy to assemble
  • Quality materials
  • Ideal for kids
  • Good value
CONS:

  • Doesn’t come with other accessories

Best Large Pool: Bestway Power Steel 18 x 9 x 4 Foot Above Ground Swimming Pool Set with Pump

Made from corrosion-resistant materials, this is a permanent above ground pool with a difference. At 18 x 9 foot, it has space for the whole family to enjoy a relaxing paddle and comes with everything needed to get going including a pump. Made from heavy-duty PVC the inside is built with the quality. and attention of the outer and reinforced to ensure they keep all the water where it is supposed to be.

A ChemConnect dispenser makes sure the chemical balance is always optimal and it is easy to drain thanks to the control valve. The accessories include a pool cover, and a ladder that can be moved out of the way when not in use, and Bestway’s seal and lock system makes installation easy.

PROS:

  • Heavy-duty materials
  • Large 18 x 9 ft pool
  • 4 foot deep
  • Includes plenty of accessories
CONS:

  • The pump might need an upgrade eventually

Best Affordable: Summer Waves 12ft x 30in Active Round Above Ground Frame Outdoor Swimming Pool with Filter

The eye-catching exterior of this above ground pool makes it a feature piece and has enough space in the 12 ft x 30-inch size to ensure it is fun for all the family. 2.5 meters deep, it holds plenty of water and comes with everything needed for easy setup and maintenance. This includes a pump, filter cartridge, GFCI plug. What a lot of people like about it is the ease of installation.

All the parts fit together without a lot of effort so it takes minutes to turn the contents into a permanent above ground pool that is ready to fill in no time. The metal frame and basketweave design are part of what makes this a durable product for an attractive price.

PROS:

  • Pleasant weave design
  • Easy to install
  • Quality, durable materials
  • Plenty of space
CONS:

  • Some might want to upgrade the filter

Best Large Frame: Bestway 56477E Rectangular Above Ground 24ft x 12ft x 52in Backyard Frame Pool Set

An impressive sight in any backyard, this massive 24 ft x 12 ft pool has durable materials to back up its large frame. Because it is 52 inches deep and has the length to go with it, this is the sort of pool that makes it easy to have a proper swim and not just paddle or wade around. There isn’t the need for lots of tools for assembling and the steel tube frame feels strong which is welcome in an above ground pool that is so large.

Everything is corrosion resistant and protected against UV rays and the seal and lock system keeps all the parts together. It comes with everything needed to enjoy long summer days in the backyard and the ladder can be removed and kept out of sight to make it safer around young ones.

PROS:

  • The durable steel frame is easy to put together
  • 52 inches deep
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Comes with everything required for fast installation and start
CONS:

  • The pump could be a little stronger

Best Inflatable: Intex 8ft x 2.5ft Easy Set Inflatable Swimming Pool with Filter Pump

If you want an inflatable above ground pool that is going to last longer than a couple of weeks, then this is one of the best. Although it won’t last as long as some of the other products listed, you should still get plenty out of this easy to inflate pool. At 8 x 2.5 feet, it has enough room for the kids to splash and have fun and is low maintenance compared to most products in the niche.

There is an instructional DVD to help set up and maintain it but expect to only have to wait 15 minutes before it is ready for the water. Included is a filter pump and a filter cartridge. Set up is as easy as laying it on flat ground, inflating the top ring, then fill the pool.

PROS:

  • Easy to install and maintain
  • Comes with instructional DVD and accessories
  • Takes 15 minutes to set up
CONS:

  • Not as big as other options

Permanent Above Ground Pool Guide

Everyone wants to be able to own a pool but the in-ground versions can be so expensive that the price outweighs the need. Because of this, a lot of people turn to a permanent above ground pool to ensure they can enjoy those summer days in the backyard. More than just a cost-effective option, they don’t take long to set up and a lot of the time, they are just as big as the in-ground options.

Still, there are certain things to consider before you click buy on the product you are considering. We have compiled the following buyers’ guide to help make things easier. 

What To Look For In A Permanent Above Ground Pool

Size and Depth

We all want to get as big a permanent above ground pool as possible, but you do have to consider your surroundings. If you have space then go as big as you like, otherwise, make sure you aren’t left with a pool that takes over the whole backyard.

The size is important if you want to be able to swim lengths. In which case, look for a product that is deep enough as well. The most common options tend to be between 48 – 54 inches deep. 

Before you buy, make sure you are permitted to put something so big in your backyard as some places have certain restrictions.

Type of Frame

This is what is going to be holding the thing together so it is an important consideration. A common material used for permanent swimming pool frames is steel. Not only is this lightweight but it is durable making it one of the better materials for a permanent above ground pool.

Other Materials

One of the main issues with an above ground pool is that if it punctures, they can be difficult to fix. With this in mind, it is important to buy a product that is made from durable materials that are resistant to tears and holes. 

Some brands use a triple-layered vinyl lining or a protected PVC outer. The walls tend to be made from sturdier materials such as aluminum or steel and although these are heavier and a little more challenging to install, they are best for longevity.

Accessories

The last thing you want to have to do is wait for the important extras you need to arrive because you had to order them separately. The best permanent above ground pools come with everything you need. 

This includes the pump, filter, and other essentials, but also a ladder, pool cover, and ground mat.

Warranty

No permanent above ground pool is immune to the odd accident and when you are spending hard-earned cash on luxury, it is always good to protect your purchase. Should the filter or pump not run as expected then you are always backed by the warranty should it include such features.

Safety

This should be high on your list of priorities but a lot of permanent above ground pools go to great lengths to ensure the safety of their products. 

If you can buy a pool with a detachable ladder then you can keep it out of sight should the kids go near and a pool cover can add another level of protection. The quality of the materials can ensure your experience is safe and enjoyable so make sure that things like the steps of the ladder have a decent grip.

How Much Does A Permanent Above Ground Pool Cost?

The expense is going to be more than your inflatable types but nowhere near as high as an in-ground pool. This is one of the main benefits after all. 

You can expect to pay around $250 for a mid-range product. If you have the budget then anything closer to $1,000 will land you a larger pool, a higher quality spec of materials and accessories. 

These might be on the larger side so expect a little more graft in terms of setting up and of course, it also means more water but if you have space and the budget, then it is a good idea to go with the reputable products that can cost a little more.

What Are The Benefits Of A Permanent Above Ground Pool?

Some of the best elements of an above ground pool speak for themselves. The lower cost compared to the in-ground versions is a major factor, as is the ease of installation.

Although they are designed to last, a lot of these permanent above ground pools can actually be taken apart and stored until next summer. This helps to prolong the lifespan of the materials and protect them from wear and tear.

How Long Should An Above Ground Pool Last?

Although many factors determine how long your pool will last, a general rule is around 7 to 15 years. Some people get lucky and enjoy more years but you shouldn’t expect anything below 7.

After a while, you might need to replace the liner but as long as you look after the pool and maintain it to a decent standard, you should enjoy many years of use.

How Deep Is An Above Ground Pool?

This is an important factor to consider and most products tend to be around 48 – 56 inches deep. This gives you enough to swim lengths if the pool is long enough 

Some people buying a permanent above ground pool for smaller children might wish to look at a pool that is closer to 30 inches deep.

Where To Place A Permanent Above Ground Pool?

Two factors to consider when looking for the right place for your above ground pool are safety and practicality. You shouldn’t place is under a tree or anywhere where debris will fall in regularly.

It also needs to be relatively close to your home so the pump and filter can operate properly. A flat ground that is free from small stones and any sharp objects is important.

As long as the mains and hose can reach, you should be fine to enjoy many relaxing days in and around your pool.

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