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The 5 best above-ground pools for any backyard

The best above-ground pools include fast setups, corrosion-resistant frames, and generous sizes.
Written by Kacie Goff, Contributing writer
Reviewed by Nina Raemont
Bestway Steel Pro MAX | Best above-ground pool overall
Bestway: Steel Pro MAX 15' X 42" Above Ground Pool Set on white background
Bestway Steel Pro MAX
Best above-ground pool overall
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Hamdol Inflatable Swimming Pool with Sprinkler | Best above-ground pool for kids
Hamdol Inflatable Swimming Pool with Sprinkler on white background
Hamdol Inflatable Swimming Pool with Sprinkler
Best above-ground pool for kids
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INTEX Ultra XTR Pool Set with Sand Filter Pump | Best big above-ground pool
INTEX Ultra XTR Pool Set with Sand Filter Pump on white background
INTEX Ultra XTR Pool Set with Sand Filter Pump
Best big above-ground pool
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Summer Waves Outdoor Round Frame Swimming Pool | Best alternative-finish above-ground pool
Summer Waves Outdoor Round Frame Swimming Pool
Best alternative-finish above-ground pool
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INTEX Rectangular Frame Swimming Pool | Best cheap above-ground pool
INTEX Rectangular Frame Swimming Pool on white background
INTEX Rectangular Frame Swimming Pool
Best cheap above-ground pool
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If you want to enjoy a pool without all of the hassle and cost of a major construction project, consider an above-ground pool. Most above-ground pools are designed for easy setup, which means you could get yours ready for water in about an hour or less. Whether you are hosting a pool party or want to relax on a float while you soak in some sun, above-ground pools come in a variety of shapes and sizes to best suit your lifestyle, yard design, and family. 

Plus, these pools have come a long way. Advancements in the polyester and PVC used to make the liner walls have made them significantly more puncture and tear-resistant. Today's above-ground pool frames usually get created using rust and corrosion-resistant heavy-duty material like steel, too. In other words, these pools are built to last. 

Also: The 5 best inflatable pools

Our top pick is the Bestway Steel Pro MAXdue to its durability, user-friendly design, and the accessories the pool includes. However, based on your needs, you may find other pools are better options for you. Below we have rounded up five of the top choices on the market today. Some are great for hosting pool parties, while others are ideal if you're entertaining little ones.

Best above-ground pools of 2024

Pros & Cons
  • Safe for kids of all ages (with adult supervision)
  • Seal and lock system for frame joints to prevent bends and leaks
  • Filter pump, ladder, and cover included
  • 90-day warranty
  • Relatively boring design
  • Filter uses a cartridge rather than sand, which some people prefer
More Details

Bestway Steel Pro MAX features: Type: Metal Frame Pool | Dimensions: 15' x 15' x 42" | Material: Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) | Shape: Round | Water Capacity: (90%) 3,955 gal. | Setup: Easy, no-tool setup and takedown process

The Bestway Steel Pro MAX earned our top pick spot due to its combination of price, design, and space. This above-ground pool includes a DuraPlus™ liner wall, which uses fade and tear-resistant material, as well as a 3-ply PVC band that wraps around the pool to provide an additional layer of reinforcement.

The pool's oval frame is manufactured from steel with seal and lock system T-connectors with a pin-clip design to make it easy to assemble without any tools. While on Amazon, the exterior of the pool is a fairly basic white, you can get it with a stone-like finish from Bestway or Walmart. 

With the Bestway Steel Pro MAX, you can also get a cartridge-based pool filter, along with a ladder and cover. Allowing you to enjoy this pool long-term while keeping your water clear and protected.

Pros & Cons
  • Fun design for kids, enough room for adults
  • Spray feature
  • Designed for fast drainage
  • Only recommended for kids ages 3 and up
  • Doesn't include an air pump
  • Lack of frame makes it less sturdy
More Details

Hamdol Inflatable Swimming Pool features: Type: Inflatable | Dimensions: 99" x 72" x 22" | Material: PVC | Shape: Rectangular | Water Capacity: 153 Gallons | Setup: Takes 5-8 minutes with an electric pump (not included) to inflate or deflate.

If you're looking for a place for your little ones to splash around, consider this kiddie pool with a lot to offer. Not only does it deliver an impressive length of more than 8 feet, but it also includes lots to keep young ones entertained, from the fun design to the spraying elephant head.

With three individual air chambers, you can adjust the height of this pool based on your kids' ages. You might only inflate the bottom chamber for toddlers but fill it further for bigger kids. This lets you build in a layer of safety -- although you should always supervise your kids when they're in the water.

When filled all the way, this pool isn't just for kiddies. It can accommodate two adults and several kids, too. In fact, it's big enough to put your own pool float in there for some me-time. 

Pros & Cons
  • Large size
  • Easy maintenance
  • Includes sand filter pump, ladder, cover, and ground cloth
  • Expensive
  • Set up takes longer than other models
  • Suction from pump can be dangerous (don't swim or play near it)
More Details

INTEX Ultra XTR Pool Set features: Type: Steel Frame Pool | Dimensions21" x 40.75" x 50.88" | Material: PVC | Shape: Round | Water Capacity: 12481 Gallons | Setup: 60-minute setup

If you're planning to buy an above-ground pool to host pool parties with your friends and family, you're going to want ample capacity. This huge pool has a diameter of 24 feet, which means you get more than 450 square feet of water surface inside. You won't need to trim down your pool party guest list with this one.

Filling this sizeable pool requires a lot of water, so you probably won't want to drain it and take it down very frequently. Fortunately, the INTEX Ultra XTR pool comes with the accessories to keep the pool water clear and swimmable. 

Not only does it feature dual-suction outlet fittings, but it also includes the INTEX Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump. To keep debris out, you also get a tie-down cover, and to protect the bottom of your pool, INTEX includes a ground cloth. On top of all of this, you get a ladder to make it easy to get in and out of your 52-inch high pool. 

Pros & Cons
  • Exterior walls in wicker finish
  • Pump included
  • Quick and easy installation
  • Gray wicker costs more
  • Liner only comes with 90-day warranty
  • The smallest non-kiddie pool we've listed so far
More Details

Summer Waves Outdoor Swimming Pool features: Type: Galvanized metal frame | Dimensions: 12' x 12' x 2.75' | Material: Triple-layer polyester mesh and heavy gauge PVC material | Shape: Round | Water Capacity: 16000 Gallons | Setup: Snap-in design allows you to set up the pool in a few minutes

Most above-ground pools have a telltale look: a white frame with a blue lining, a highly visible addition to your outdoor space.

Fortunately, you have other, subtler options. If you want an affordable above-ground pool that can integrate with your yard's design, Summer Waves offers this alternative. Rather than using the signature above-ground pool blue, they finish the exterior walls of this round pool's liner with something that looks like wicker. You can choose tan or gray to match it to your outdoor furniture, too.

Setting up this Summer Waves pool is easy, and maintaining it is, too, since it includes a filter pump that doubles as a skimmer. 

Pros & Cons
  • Easy to set up
  • Rust-resistant steel frame
  • Drain plug for hose connection to drain at your chosen location
  • Bright blue color
  • Pump, filter, cover, and ladder are separate charges
  • Walls at risk for tearing
More Details

Hamdol Inflatable Swimming Pool features: Type: Rust-resistant frame | Dimensions: 8.5' x 5.3' x 2.13' | Material: Heavy-duty PVC and polyester 3-ply sidewalls | Shape: Rectangular | Water Capacity: 439 Gallons | Setup: Adult Assembly Required, Tools Provided

If you want a way to create a backyard oasis without taking a financial hit, consider this low-cost option from Intex. For the price of a nice dinner out, you could be soaking up the sun while keeping cool submerged in water. 

Not only is it easy on your wallet, but setup's easy, too. Intex says you can prop this pool up in just 30 minutes. If you're not looking to have your pool set up year-round, you can also easily break this one down. It includes a drain plug that connects to a garden hose so you can direct the draining water wherever you want.

All this said, what you save in money you lose in style with this above-ground pool. It has that telltale bright blue look we mentioned earlier, which does make it look cheaper than a lot of other options on this list. That said, if budget is your top concern, it's a solid option. 

What is the best above-ground pool?

We chose the Bestway Steel Pro MAX because it delivered durability and a user-friendly design paired with accessories you probably want, like a filter, ladder and cover. That said, it's far from the only good option for your outdoor space. Some of these choices are great for hosting pool parties, while others are ideal if you're entertaining little ones. 

To help you get an idea of the best option for you, let's quickly look at the key features of each of our picks. 

Above-ground pool




Bestway Steel Pro MAX Pool


15' x 15' x 42"

Durable design, easy assembly

Hamdol Inflatable Swimming Pool with Sprinkler


99" x 72" x 22"

Inflatable, kid-friendly with sprayer

INTEX Ultra XTR Pool 


21" x 40.75" x 50.88"

Plenty of space, sand filter included

Summer Waves Outdoor Round Frame Swimming Pool


12' x 12' x 2.75'

Available in tan or gray wicker finish, included filter/skimmer

INTEX Rectangular Frame Swimming Pool


8.5' x 5.3' x 2.13'

Low-cost, easy setup

Which is the right above-ground pool for you?

To help clarify your pool decision, here are the best uses for each of our picks. 

Choose this above-ground pool…

If you want…

Bestway Steel Pro MAX Pool

A great, durable, easy-to-assemble above-ground pool.

Hamdol Inflatable Swimming Pool with Sprinkler

A fun and safe place to play with the kids.

INTEX Ultra XTR Pool

Tons of space to host pool parties.

Summer Waves Outdoor Round Frame Swimming Pool

Something to match your wicker outdoor finish.

INTEX Rectangular Frame Swimming Pool

To stay cool without sweating your investment.

How did we choose these above-ground pools?

To determine the best above-ground pools, we evaluated the following features: 

  • Manufacturer: With known brands such as INTEX, Bestway, Hamdol, and Summer Waves, you can get a level of certainty that they'll be well-made above-ground pools with quality parts. 
  • Reviews: While it's one thing to choose a trusted manufacturer, it's entirely another to know that your above-ground pool can stand up to real-life usage. To check that, we looked at both positive and negative reviews.
  • Setup: Since you will most likely be building your own above-ground pool, we looked at the level of difficulty in setting up. We considered and researched how long the setup takes and whether you need to buy additional pieces to use your pool. 
  • Design: Finally, we thought through the appearance of these pools. When you're setting up something sizeable in your front or backyard, you want it to look nice. With the exception of the last INTEX pool, which we chose purely for its price, we picked ones that have good-looking finishes. 

Are above-ground pools hard to set up?

Not necessarily. A lot of the options on this list come with frames designed to lock together easily and liners that snap into place around the frame. 

Some of the manufacturers even advertise a setup time of about 30 minutes. 

How do I fill an above-ground pool?

Easy. All you need to do is use your garden hose. Put the hose in the pool and fill it to your desired level, minding the manufacturer's recommendation, so you don't overfill and strain the liner walls.

Are above-ground pools permanent?

That's up to you. Several of our picks are designed to be easy to set up and take down. That means that if you live in a climate with serious winter weather, you can break down and store your pool until warmer days return. 

All that said, you can absolutely leave your pool in place. You'll probably want to invest in a cover, but the latest materials are resistant to corrosion, fading, rust, tears, and the other issues that would shorten the lifespan of your swimming space. 

Are there alternative above-ground pools worth considering?

Yes, you don't always need to keep your above-ground dips to cool water. There are plenty of above-ground hot tubs worth considering. 

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