Best Above Ground Pool and Inflatable Hot Tub
Which is the best above ground pool? There is no one above ground pool that will fit that description. It’s the pool that best suits your needs and needs vary.
Here in this site, I’m not trying to sell you anything. All I’m trying to do is provide with relevant information and help you make a decision on whether a product suits your needs. Information is king – right information will save you time and money.
Choosing the Best Above Ground Pool of 2017
Good products speak for themselves – only if they had voice. It’s more like, you get to know about the quality of a product after you have used it or somebody you know have used it; that’s when the products say if they are good or bad. More often than not, you will come across products that you or your friends have never or rarely used. This is where you rely on product reviews from the industry experts or someone who have used the products themselves.
Most buyers have a preconceived idea of what they want to buy, even to the specific brand and model. User reviews, editor’s review or any other white paper only helps the buyer affirm their idea of what they want to buy.
Factors to consider:
- Choose a Product by Looking at its Worst and Best Quality
- Compare the reviews – both customer and industry specialists
- Choose the best above ground swimming pool that suits your need
- Budget, size and shapes Read more about it here Round Pool vs Oval Pool.
- Are you a first time pool owner
- Installation Time
What type of pool do you need?
- Ring pools
- Metal frame pools
- Hard sided pools
- Kids pools / inflatable above ground pools or
- Therapy pools
Choosing the right pool for you can be an overwhelming task. We have researched and compiled a list of some of the best rated above ground pool and their reviews to help you decide which suits your needs.
Types of the Best Above Ground Swimming Pools
|Ring Pools||Metal Frame Pools||Hard Sided Pools|
|Frame||Vinyl pool with inflatable top ring||Coated steel frame with vinyl liner||Galvanized steel or aluminum walls with vinyl liner|
|Durability||1-3 years||2-5 years||15-25 years|
|Mobility and storage||Very easy to disassemble and moved around or stored after usage.||Can be disassembled and moved around or stored after usage but will affect longevity.||Semi-permanent structure. Should not be disassembled.|
|Setup Time||15 - 30 minutes. By one person||1 - 5 hours. By one person, some pools will require 2 persons||1-2 days. 2-3 persons (preferably strong)|
|List of Pools||Intex Easy Set Pool, Besway Fast Set Pool , Oval Frame Pools||Metal Frame Pools , Intex Metal Frame Pools , Intex Ultra Frame Pools, Bestway Steel Pro Frame Pool||Splash Pools|
Inflatable above ground pools are not structurally very strong, so you will not find many large pools that are inflatable. Mostly kids pools are inflatable and the best portable swimming pool.
There is also hybrid pool, a combination of the ring pool and the metal frame pool called the Oval Frame Pool. They are also very good portable swimming pools for bigger kids.
Brief review of General Purpose Above Ground swimming pools:
One of the most popular and the best above ground swimming pools are Ring Pools. The ring pools are the ones with the inflatable ring that rises with the water level as the pool is being filled. There are no other frames or structures holding the pools together. These are some of the best pools for small families who have small children. The pool depth is just enough for kids to swim in and the adult to sit around and watch over them.
There are several round pools from Intex and Bestway; Intex Easy Set pool faring well with better customer service. Otherwise both brands of pools are equally good and very easy to assemble. If fact the ring pools are some of the best above ground pools which are the easiest to assemble and maintain. They only last 2-3 seasons.
The inflatable takes up about 6 inches of the total height of the pool – something to consider when buying ring pools. It takes about 10 to 30 minutes to assemble the pools. You only need to drain the water and deflate the ring to take the pool down. Drain and dry the pool for easy storage for next season.
The ring pools could be your starter pool. Using it will give you ideas on your size requirement, is the size too small or too big. You will also get some hands on experience on how to maintain above ground pools – helping you to decide if you are ready for bigger above ground swimming pools. Also, they are the best portable swimming pools.
Intex Easy Set Pool sets are low cost and best means of beating the summer heat. Very easy to setup – takes only about 25-30 minutes. They have whole range of pools that will fit your budget and yard size. The smallest one is only 8 feet in diameter and has a height of 30 inches. The other sizes are 10ft x 30in, 12ft x 30in, 15ft x 42in, 15ft x 48in and 18ft x 448in. There are different packages of the same pool. Some package includes water filter pump and ladder some don’t. So, please read the product descriptions carefully when purchasing the pool.
Bestway Fast Set Pools are very similar to the Intex Easy Set pools in structure, make, shape and quality. There are only 4 different sizes to choose from 10ft x 30in, 12ft x 36in, 15ft x 36 and 15ft x 42in. All the pools come with a ladder and a water filter except for the smallest 10 feet pool which does not come with a ladder.
The Intex Oval Frame pools are hybrid between the metal frame pool and the inflatable ring pool. The structure is reinforced by the metal frame which provides support and extra strength on the two sides of the oval shaped pool. The pool walls are made of triple layered laminated PVC material.
The pools are assembled with snap-on joint – no tools are needed. The pool can be assembled within 30 minutes and is very easy to assemble. The shapes of the pools are ideal for playing different games like volleyball and swimming laps. The oval frame pools are also very portable.
Metal Frame Pools
If you are looking for stronger and more durable pool than the ring pools, the metal frame pools are for you. These pools are very easy to assemble and disassemble and to be stored away when not in use or even moved to a new location. The frame with the snap-in joints eliminates the need for tools.
These pools can be considered portable pools. But the assembling and disassembling of the pool will weaken the frame or the structure. For most larger pools, it is recommended to leave them out in the open with proper winterization.
Intex Metal Frame Pools are some of the most popular pools in Amazon. There are different sizes of the pools, starting from 12 feet to 24 feet and the height of the smallest pool is 30 inches and the largest in the series has a height of 52 inches. All the pools in this series are round.
Intex has another set of metal frame pools whose frames are different from the regular metal frames. This is called Intex Ultra Frame Pool. The difference between the two is explained below. However, in summary, the Ultra Frame Pools are longer lasting, stable, sturdier and more expansive than the Metal Frame Pools. There are 7 pools in this series, some are round and some are rectangular in shape. The smallest in the series is 14 feet in diameter – 42 inches high and the largest is a 32 feet by 16 feet rectangular pool with a height of 52 inches.
Intex Ultra Frame Pool Or Intex Metal Frame Pool – The Difference
Color and Material – The first difference is the color, Intex Metal Frame is blue in color and the Intex Ultra Frame is gray. Blue being brighter color than gray, fades faster. As far as the materials are concerned, both are made of the same materials, i.e. the frames are made of rust resistant galvanized steel and the pool liners are Super-tough laminated PVC.
The vinyl liners are attached to circular frame in Metal Frame Pools and for the Ultra Frame Pools the vinyl liners are attached angular shaped frame.
The Frame and Assembly – The main difference is that the Intex Ultra Frame Pool is relatively easier to assemble and disassemble than the Intex Metal Frame Pool.
The vertical metal supports are round for the metal frame pools versus rectangular vertical metal support. The surface areas, where these vertical supports touch the ground, are more for the ultra frame pools. So the distribution of the pressure is better. This is done to prevent the pool from sinking into the ground. Nonetheless, both are equally strong and sturdy.
The above difference is also applicable for the two types of Bestway model pools: Bestway Steel Pro Frame Pools and Bestway Power Steel Frame Pools. The Bestway Steel Pro Frame Pools is similar to Intex Metal Frame Pools and the Bestway Power Steel Frame Pools are similar to Intex Ultra Frame Poo.
Difference Between the Intex Metal Frame pools and the Bestway Steel Pro Frame Pool
There is basically very little difference between the Intex Metal Frame pools and the Bestway Steel Pro Frame pool. They are both made with rust resistant galvanized steel. The liners of both the pools are made of laminated PVC, even the color is the same. Intex has more variety in the dimension of the pool and are more popular with the customers.
The Bestway Steel Pro Frame Pool set are very similar to Intex Metal frame Pool set in that they are made with similar steel frame and pool liner. The pools come in 4 different size and round in shape. The smallest one start from 12 feet in diameter and the largest is 24 feet and the water height is 30 inches and 52 inches respectively. The two other pools are 15 feet and a 18 feet in diameter and the height is 48 inches for both.
Hard Sided Pools
Hard sided above ground pools are very durable and permanent above ground swimming pools that will last 20-25 years. They are primarily made of galvanized steel or aluminum or resin. Most these pools will have some of the parts made of resin. Here, we are going discuss about Splash pools which are some of the best above ground pools. Although there other more durable but more expensive pools available here in the market, like Blue Wave Martinique pools, Splash pools are more popular.
The pool walls are made of rust resistant galvanized steel and pool liner is heavy duties 20 gauge all weather vinyl liner. The pool package also includes ladder, sand filter and a skimmer.
The Splash pools come in 6 different sizes and 2 different shapes. All the pools are 52 inches high; great height for swimming. The round pools come in 18 feet, 24 feet and 27 feet in diameter. The oval pools come in 30 feet – 15 feet, 33 feet – 18 feet and 45 feet – 18 feet.
The 27 feet round pools hold way more water than the 33 feet oval pool. So choose your pool size and shape wisely.
Brief Review of Other Specialized Pools
|Kids Pools||Therapy pools|
|Frame||PVC Vinyl pool||Coated steel frame with vinyl liner|
|Durability||1-3 years||2-5 years|
|Mobility and storage||Very easy to disassemble and moved around or stored after usage.||Can be disassembled and moved around or stored after usage but will affect longevity.|
|Setup Time||15 - 30 minutes. By one person||1 - 3 hours. By one person|
|List of Pools||Intex Rainbow Ring Pool, Intex Swim Center||Fitmax iPools|
Kids pools / inflatable above ground pools
Summer or winter kids love to play in the water. Pools are great way of spending time in the hot summer days. These are the pools specifically designed for kids, although adults can use most of them. In fact most of the pools here are made for the family: the parents and the kinds.
The Intex Rainbow Ring Pool is one of the best pools that you can buy for your kids. They are going to have some of the best time of their lives.
The pool is two round pools attached together. The larger pool is shallower than the larger pool. With many game options that come with this pool, your kids will spend countless hours in it. It has water sprinkler that spays water as your kids slide down the slider in the pool. It is a great way of staying cool in the hot summer days. The kids get on the slider from one pool and slides to another pool. They can play ring toss with the inflatable rings or use the ramps, on the two sides of the larger pool, to roll down balls or even toy cars.
The pool is for kids between 2 and 5 years of age.
Intex Swim Center series includes the Intex Swim Center Clearview Aquarium Inflatable Pool and the Intex Swim Center Family Inflatable Pool. This is one of the best inflatable pool. You can choose from the different sizes and colors of these pools. The Clearview Aquarium pool is a clear and color full pool for kids 3 years and older.
The Family Inflatable pools are large enough to be used by kids as well as adult. The pool height is 22 inches – suitable for kids 6 years or older. These are big inflatable pools; air pump does not come with the pools. You may pass out if you try to blow the pool with your mouth.
In summer they can be a place to go to cool off and in winter they can be turned into ball pits for kids – you just have to buy lots of balls. Many customers who bought these pools also bought packs of plastic balls to be used in the ball pit.
As the name suggests, the Intex Swim Center Family Lounge is a family lounge pool. This is where you will relax and watch over the kids play and splash in the water. The pool has four seats for your family to sit on and 2 drink holders for your beer. Although this pool is categorized under kids pools, it is mostly used by adults to relax in the sun and get tan.
At 90 inches by 90 inches the pool is large enough for 3-4 adults. The pool height is 26 inches and can hold 20 inches of water – water capacity of 400 gallon.
Note – The Intex Swim Center Family Lounge does not float on water. There are swimming pool lounges which floats on water and where you can sit back and relax, please read our review on If you are looking for rafts to relax and party with your friends, please read our 10 Best Floating Island Rafts Review.
Above Ground Therapy pools
Therapy pools are designed for Aquatic therapy. Aquatic therapy consists of treatments and exercises that are performed in water for relaxation, fitness, physical rehabilitation, and other therapeutic benefit. Fitmax iPool brings you some of the best pools and therapy accessories with the pool at a very affordable price. Best of all, with Fitmax iPool, you can have your aqua therapy staying right at home.
If you are looking for the best above ground pool for aquatic physical therapy, Fitmax iPools are some of the best above ground therapy pools. The “i” in the iPool stands for the infinite or endless number of exercises that can be done in this pool. This pool is especially for water therapy and exercise equipment for your therapeutic exercises. Some the equipment are:
- iPool Aquatic Bike
- Adjustable swim harness
- iPool Spa Bells
- Aquatic Therapy Walker
- iPool Gym Parallel Bars
- iPool Gym Chin Up Bar
The swim harness can be used for endless resistance swimming. The aquatic therapy walker is for the athletes who have under gone leg, knee or hip surgery. The aquatic bike provides workout for your lower body muscles; an ideal exercise equipment for overweight person or injured person, pregnant woman, athlete or just about anybody.
For hot water therapy, some of the pool models come with water heater as part of the package. Warm water reduces swelling and inflation and increases blood circulation. The warm water works wonders for arthritis and lower back pain. If you are planning to exercise throughout the year, some models come with water heater for other you will need to buy water heater
There is an iPool Umbrella that covers the whole pool to protect your skin from the sun during the long duration of the exercise.
The iPools are like your own private therapy swimming pool in your back yard for less than an annual gym subscription. All the exercise accessories’ usage is explained in the Fitmax iPool review.
Inground Pool or the Above Ground Pool
Inground pool is expensive and a long term process. You can have an above ground swimming pool at less than one tenth the price of an inground pool. The price ranges from USD 25 for kids pools to USD 7,000 for more robust long lasting swimming pool. Furthermore, you can have your pool ready in less than an hour with little or no cost involved.
Pool market moving towards above ground pools – The pool market in the United States is moving towards above ground pools. In 2009 there were about 3.53 million above ground pools in the United States and in 2013 the number has increased to 4.89 million – an increase of 38.57% in number of pools.
Oval vs Round Above Ground Pool
To many an oval pool looks better than a round pool as it looks more like an in-ground pool. And if you install pool deck, it really looks very much like an in-ground pool.
There can be only 2 good reasons to buy an oval above ground pool, if you plan to swim laps and your yard is long and narrow. Otherwise there it is always better to buy a round above ground pool in terms of cost, more water hence more swimming area and much more. Read more about it here: Round Pool vs Oval Pool.
The round shape of a round pool gives it a structural advantage; the pressure of the water is equally distributed on every part of the wall. No additional structure or parts are need to hold the pool in place. On the other hand an oval pool has 2 long walls. The water pressure on these long walls are greater than on the 2 semi-circular walls in the opposite ends. To counter this pressure buttress is used and this additional structure adds cost and more space on the outside of the pool.
Oval and rectangular pools have similar characteristics, so only comparison between oval and round pools are given below:
Comparison Between Oval and Round Above Ground Pools
They are all very good pools. Before you decide to purchase a pool, the main questions you should be asking yourself are:
- Why do I need a pool?
- Who is going to use the pool?
- Who is going to maintain the pool?
- Why is it the best?
You need a pool your kids to have fun in the summer or maybe you just want to have suntan by yourself, you need to understand why you need a pool. It may be for your family entertainment, exercise, games, fun, party or even aquatic physical therapy. Knowing the answers to the questions will help you avoid the big pool purchasing mistakes.
Just because you have a large budget and a big yard, don’t go and buy the biggest and the best above ground pool there is in the market. If you want to have fun with the whole family and friends all the time, go ahead and buy the biggest pool that you can afford. If you want to do some aqua therapy buy a aquatic physical therapy pool or a pool that can be heated up easily. Buy what you need, not what you think you want.
Water is still fun and relaxing in winter if it is hot and bubbling. The inflatable hot tub and the above ground hot tub provide warmth, relaxation and a massage-effect on your muscles and joints.
Why Buy Hot Tub?
Hot tubs have hot water, air bubbling in the water and water jets. When you combine the three, you have an amazing combination relaxing hot water messaging system. It has many benefits:
- Relieves muscle pain
- Reduces muscle stiffness
- Relieves back pain
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Improves cardiovascular health
- Helps sleep better
There are 3 different types of hot tubs:
- Concrete in ground hot tub
- Hard walled above ground hot tub
- Soft walled Inflatable hot tub
They all have their merits and demerits, but it all boils down to the cost, features and convenience. Please read our detailed comparison of the three types of hot tubs here.
As the concrete in ground hot tub requires civil works and we don’t offer any, we are going to offer our expert’s review on the best inflatable hot tubs and the above ground hot tubs. Here is a list of the best portable hot tubs and best above ground hot tubs.
Why Will You Buy Inflatable Hot Tub?
The main reason to buy inflatable hot tub as against above ground hot tub is the cost and it’s mobility. The cost and maintenance is much less. When empty, you can carry the inflatable hot tub anywhere you want to. This is especially useful in winter times. If it’s too cold, bring the hot tub indoors and enjoy the hot water and the bubbling water. The installation is also very simple and easy.
The inflatable hot tubs come with mostly air bubble, which is very good for relaxing and limited message therapy. There are some models of inflatable hot tubs that have the hydro-jets with messaging abilities. But there are a variety of hydro-jets and inflatable hot tubs only come with a few of these. Read for more about the Best Inflatable Hot Tubs….
The 4 person capacity Coleman Hot Tub is our first choice mainly because of its price and the product quality. If you are looking for entry level hot tub with very basic features at an affordable price this is it.
This 6 person capacity Intex Inflatable Hot Tub is more spacious and holds more water. It has more air bubble out-lets and heats up a bit faster. It is a medium priced hot tub which slightly bigger than the Coleman Hot Tub, still with basic features.
Although the manufacturer specifies that the Bestway Lay-Z-Spa is a 6 person hot tub in reality it is difficult to fit more than 4 persons in it. While smaller than the lesser priced Intex Inflatable Hot Tub, the Bestway Lay-Z-Spa comes with standard air bubble jets as well as hydro-jets that can provide hydro message.
Why Will You Buy Above Ground Hot Tub (Hard Walled Hot Tub)?
Above ground hot tub are for you if you want to get the experience of a profession in ground hot tubs at a fraction of the price of one. Although considerable much heavier that the inflatable hot tubs, once delivered to the spot of installation, the setup is very easy and simple. They are better insulated than the inflatable hot tubs, so can be used outdoors even during winter.
The above ground hot tub comes with a wide variety of hydro-jets; more than 15 different types, rotary jets, relaxation jets, pressure point jets, message jets, swirl jets, twin rotational jets, single rotational jets etc. Read for more about the Best Above ground Hot Tubs….
The Lifesmart Hot Tub is a 4 person capacity hot tub with only a few hydro-jets. This is one of the cheapest hot tub in the market and very durable at the same time. This can be your entry level solid walled above ground hot tub.
This 5 person hot tub has lots of hydro-jets that can provide good hydro message. The American Spas Hot Tub has a powerful pump that dedicated for the hydro message system. The 5.5kW heater heats up the water very fast and keeps the water at you desired temperature when running.
The Home and Garden Spas also has a capacity of 5 person but a bit bigger than the American Spas Hot Tub. It has 106 hydro-jet of many different sizes and pressure capacity strategically placed at different locations of the hot tub. It has different type of jets for your neck, back, leg and foot. More expensive that the rest, the Home and Garden Spas is your money’s worth.