Best Above Ground Pools

UPDATED DECEMBER 2018

With above ground pools, you can feel cool and happy on a hot day.

BEST ABOVE
GROUND POOL 2018

BOTTOM LINE

Have fun in the sun with this Metal Frame Pool Set, which comes with a filter and laminated side walls that maintain the round shape of the pool. You get accessories like an instructional DVD and a debris cover that keeps leaves and other debris from falling in the water.

PROS

The laminated side walls use three layers of laminate to help the pool maintain its shape. It also comes with a debris cover that you can use to keep the water clean.

CONS

Many users had a hard time taking the pool down at the end of the season. There were also complaints from customers about the included filter, which can stop working.

BOTTOM LINE

Get your home ready for a swimming party quickly with this Ultra Frame model, which you can set up and prepare for the addition of water in only 45 minutes. Some customers did have problems setting it up though. It comes with a ladder and other accessories for use in your yard.

PROS

This Ultra Frame set comes with everything you need to swim at home, including a ladder, frame, ground cloth and liner. You can set this pool up and start filling it with water in just 45 minutes.

CONS

As this model is a little smaller than the first, you may find that it doesn’t offer all the space that you need. Some customers had a few issues setting the pool up too.

BOTTOM LINE

Suitable for families of all sizes, the Ultra Frame Rectangular is the largest swimming pool available from the company. This pool comes with a steel frame and all the accessories that you need to keep your water clean. You also get a DVD with tips on using and setting up your new pool.

PROS

This is the largest swimming pool that Intex makes. It comes with a DVD that walks you through the set up of the pool and tells you how to maintain the frame.

CONS

Some customers found that the frame developed rust after just one season of use. It may arrive with some minor damage too.

BOTTOM LINE

Those looking for a pool that they can easily set up will prefer the Easy Set model. It is small enough that you can use your garden hose to fill it but large enough that it can accommodate multiple people. This one is a little on the small side though.

PROS

A shut off feature on this pool instantly turns the pump off when water gets inside. This one is very easy to set up, and you can fill it with water from your own garden hose.

CONS

The included pump on this one doesn’t work quite as well as those that come with other models. It isn’t as durable as those models either.

BOTTOM LINE

This model is a good choice for those who like the Easy Set but want something a little smaller. You can set it up in just 10 minutes and use water from your garden hose to fill it. It has a drain plug in the bottom for fast and convenient draining at the end of the season.

PROS

You get a filter that uses up to 120 volts of power to pump up to 530 gallons every hour. Intex also added dual suction outlets that keep the water clean.

CONS

As this is a smaller swimming pool, you may find that it doesn’t have enough room inside for your group. The sides can wobble when you fill the pool and let water splash over the sides.

Shopping Guide for Above Ground Pools

Intex offers an alternative for those who want a swimming pool but don’t want to spend a lot of cash on a permanent above ground model. With an Intex pool, you can have fun throwing parties at your home all summer long. As the company makes so many different models, finding the best Intex pool 2018 model can take some work. You need to consider size, ease of set up and other factors. The best Intex pool for you may not be the same one that your neighbor picked.

Swimming pools often require a lot of maintenance, but Intex lets you enjoy the excitement of owning a pool without nearly as much maintenance. All its models come with a filter that removes debris to keep your water clean. The thick sides help the pool maintain its structure and keeps water from spilling out.

The top models come in both round and rectangular options. Round pools have curved sides that you can lounge against while relaxing, while rectangular pools often feel much larger than round ones do.

We hope that you find this article helpful and that it assists you in choosing the right pool from Intex for your family.

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Intex Pools Shopping Guide​

Selection Criteria​

As with all the reviews that we post, we looked at the reviews from customers who purchased Intex swimming pools and checked out some of the top models ourselves. We looked at the features that matter most to potential customers, including the amount of space in each pool and how much each one costs. One important factor that we considered is ease of set up. It can take hours to set up a standard above ground pool and even longer to fill that pool with water. With Intex models, you can save some time on set up. Some of the top models take only an hour or less to set up. You can use a garden hose to fill it and have a ready to use pool in around two hours.

The reviews posted by shoppers who bought these pools helped us see what others thought. This gave us an idea of what to look for when we tried out these pools. You can use the pros and cons shown in the chart above to find out what customers liked and didn’t like about our top models. Our selection criteria includes all the important factors you would use when picking a pool.

Selection Criteria

We looked at more than 10 models and read reviews from more than 1,000 customers to pick our top Intex swimming pools.

The best model for any home or shopper is the Ultra Frame Rectangular. At 52-inches tall, this is the largest and tallest swimming pool available from Intex. It has a solid steel frame that supports the weight of the water inside and anyone in the pool. This frame features four separate parts that wrap around the base of the pool to keep it stable on ground that is uneven. Intex powder coated that frame to help it withstand rain and other weather conditions that might make the metal rust. Intex also redesigned both the circulation outlets and the ladder. It made a new ladder that is more stable and offers more support as you get in or out of the pool. The circulation outlets work as part of a suction system that moves the water through a pump to remove any debris in the pool. Designed to hold more than 540 gallons of water, this Ultra Frame pool is large enough to accommodate five or more people. It comes with an instructional DVD that walks you through the process of setting it up and a ground cloth that keeps debris on the ground from tearing the liner.

Did you know?

Intex shows you how to set up this pool and get it ready for water in just 60 minutes.

Best for All Shoppers: Ultra Frame Rectangular
Though Intex makes swimming pools in a range of prices, its Metal Frame model is the best one for the money. Retailing for $500, this model costs less than the Ultra Frame pools but provides more stability than you would get from an Easy Set option. While it does come with a metal frame, it’s quite easy to set up. Once you lay out the liner, you’ll insert the poles and base that make up the frame. As soon as you lift the frame, the pool is ready for some water. You can use the included ground cloth to the protect the bottom of the pool too. This is the best model for the money because of the included accessories. You get a ladder that fits inside the pool, but you can easily remove this ladder to keep others from jumping in the water. The ladder has a slip-resistant design to keep users safe. It can support swimmers of up to 300 pounds.

Also included is a filter pump with a flow rate of 1,500 gallons per water. This efficient filter works quickly to keep your water clean. The debris cover helps keep the water clean too.

Expert Tip

Avoid setting up your new pool on wet or sandy ground to keep the pool from sinking into the ground.

The Intex swimming pools that made our list are all easy to set up and use. If you want one that you can set up as quickly as possible though, we recommend the Easy Set. You can set up this model in just 15 minutes because it does not come with a frame that you need to assemble first. The thick sides act as a frame and help the pool keep its structure. You can actually place this one right on a patch of clear and dry ground, extend the sides, place a garden hose in the center and begin filling it with water. Though it may look a little smaller than other models, the Easy Set holds more than 700 gallons of water. It’s large enough for several adults or a number of kids. Despite its low cost, this pool comes with some of the same features found on the Ultra Frame models like a dual suction and circulation system. Two outlets located on the sides work with the filter to keep water circulating around inside and to provide swimmers with a steady stream of clean water. That pump has a 1,000 gallon per hour flow rating.
Best for Fast Set Up: Easy Set

Checking the flow rating of the included pump tells you exactly how quickly water will circulate around the pool

To pick the best pool for kids, we wanted one that was a little on the shorter side. The Easy Set Pool Set with Filter Pump measures just 30-inches tall, which makes it great for families with kids. Your kids can jump into the pool without the use of a ladder, but they can also climb over the side of the pool to get out again. The walls on this pool use a type of laminated PVC that can withstand the constant pressure of people leaning against the sides. Parents of small children don’t always have as much free time as they would like, which is why we recommend this model for parents. It sets up so quickly that you can start splashing in the water with your kids in just a few hours. Once you take it out of the box, you need to inflate the top ring that surrounds the pool. This is what gives the sides their structure. You can then fill the pool with water and hop right inside. This model also lets you stop worrying about your kids’ health and safety because the included filter circulates more than 500 gallons of water around every hour.
Best for Kids - Intex Pools
The Ultra Frame 16X48 is the best swimming pool for adults who need to stick to a budget. This is a round version of the Ultra Frame model. While it’s a little smaller, it still gives you all the space that you need for a pool party. Priced at less than $600, it costs a fraction of what a standard above ground pool would usually cost. You also get the freedom to put the pool away in the fall and winter before bringing it back out for the warmer months.
Best for Adults on a Budget

With a water capacity of more than 5,000 gallons, this pool comes with a filter pump that you can hook up to any 110 or 120V outlet. That filter circulates the water around and has a flow rating of 1,200 gallons per hour. It works quickly to eliminate sand and other debris in your water.

All the accessories that you need come with this model, including a DVD that tells you how to set up the frame and how to maintain your pool. The frame snaps right into the pool liner, which is what holds the water. You can use the ground cloth to protect the pool from damage.

Expert Tip

Make sure that you have right outlet and circuit to accomodate the filter that come with your pool.

Choosing the Right Location for Your Pool

One of the most important things you need to choose before setting up your new pool is where to place it. You should check your city or county codes to find out if there are any rules regarding pools. Some areas require that owners put pools a set number of feet back from the road or that they install a fence.

Another thing to consider is whether you want the pool to sit in a sunny or a shady spot. Putting the pool in a sunny location allows the rays from the sun to slowly heat the water. If you choose a shady spot, your pool will last longer because those rays won’t break down the sides. A shady spot may result in more leaves falling in the water, though this isn’t a problem if you use your debris cover.

You should also consider what the ground in your yard looks like. The ground should be completely flat and level to keep the sides of the pool from warping. It’s also important that you look for an area that stays dry too, which keeps the pool level as you use it.

Expert Tip

Choosing the Right Location for Your Pool-1

Roots growing through the ground or just beneath the surface of the ground.

Choosing the Right Location for Your Pool-2

Tree branches located directly above the pool or branches that extend over the water.

Choosing the Right Location for Your Pool-3

Natural paths that your family and guests use to move through your yard.

Size and Capacity

No matter which Intex pool appeals to you, you need to make sure that it has enough space for your group. Think about the size of your family or the number of people you typically invite over for a swim. If you pick a pool with a depth of less than five feet of water, you need around 20 square feet of space per person. With pools at least five-feet deep, you need only 15 square feet of water per person. Measure the dimensions of each pool to see the amount of square footage provided by each one. This will help you see which ones are suitable for the number of swimmers usually using that pool.

Size is important because it gives each person his or her own space. If you ever swam in a public or community pool before, you know that finding a place to take a breath or relax is hard. Choosing a pool slightly larger than the maximum size that you need ensures that each guest will feel comfortable. If you need a swimming pool for your kids and their friends, you can choose a smaller model because kids need less space.

Choosing the Size and Capacity - Intex Pools

Prepping the Ground

With traditional above ground swimming pools, you need to do a lot of prep work before setting up that pool. Intex models are easier to set up, but that doesn’t mean that you can skip the prep work. Once you decide on the location for your new pool, you need to prepare the ground. Using a broom lets you sweep away any debris that can damage the liner such as tiny rocks and stones. You can also use a rake. Go over the ground several times with the tool and with your own hands to look for any small things you missed. Many models have liners that sit directly on the ground. As you walk across the bottom of the pool, you risk dragging your feet across debris that rips and tears the liner.

You should then put down the ground cover that comes with your pool. This is a lightweight material that serves as protection for the pool. Place the cover flat on the ground and pull it slightly until it sits as flat as possible. You may want to have a friend hold one side as you pull on the other. Set the liner and frame on top of this cover.

Prepping the Ground - Intex Pools

Setting Up the Pool

Intex offers two different types of pools: those that come with an included frame and those that have thick sides. Models that come with a frame require a little more time to set up. Once you have your ground cloth down, you’ll need to lay out the pool liner. This fits inside the frame and holds the water. You’ll want to spread the liner out and check for any holes or damage. This step is especially important when it comes to taking the pool down at the end of the season.

The frame features multiple parts that snap together and slide through pockets and straps in the liner. Follow the included instructions to make sure that you use the right parts on each area of the pool. As you insert the parts, the pool will slowly come together and begin supporting itself. You’ll then add water the water.

With Easy Set models, you do not need to put together a frame. You only need to lay the pool out flat on top of your ground cloth and inflate the bumper that runs around the top of the pool. As you add water, the pool will slowly lift up and come together.

Expert Tip

Setting Up the Pool-1

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Watch the included instructional DVD all the way through to make sure you understand how to put your pool together.

Regular Maintenance

One benefit of choosing an Intex pool over a traditional above ground pool is that these require less maintenance. You still need to be aware of problems that can occur, including water that develops a cloudy appearance and algae growing in the water. If you do not properly maintain your pool, you also risk the water burning your eyes and skin. As long as the filter works correctly, you shouldn’t have any problems. These filters may not last an entire season though. There is a chance that you’ll need to replace the cartridge in that filter to keep your water clean.

It’s also important that you use the included debris cover. Mosquitoes and other insects seek out water sources and can drown in your pool. The debris cover keeps those bugs out. It also does a good job of reducing the risk of tree leaves and trash blowing into your pool. The cover is easy to use. You can slide it in place when you finish swimming for the day and pop it back off the next morning. The cover also traps heat inside, which keeps your water from feeling too cold.

Regular Maintenance - Intex Pools

Cleaning and Testing Your Water

Owning any type of swimming pool requires regular testing of your water. You can pick up a pH testing kit for less than $20, which comes with a tube for collecting water from the pool and chemicals for testing the pH balance of that water. The water should fall within a range of between 7 and 7.6. Most kits come with liquids that change the color of the water when added to the tube. This makes it easy to see whether the water needs cleaning. You may need to add more chlorine to the water. Shocking the pool involves a large amount of chlorine, which will kill bacteria, algae and other contaminants in the water.

The filter that comes with your pool does a good job of cleaning and purifying the water. This filter will only work when you run it though. Many people do not realize that they need to run their filters for between 10 and 12 hours every day. You should also check the filter cartridge for any clogs caused by larger pieces of debris.

Putting Away the Pool at the End of the Season

Traditional swimming pools require that you prep the water and take steps to keep the pool safe during the off-season. With an Intex pool, you can completely break down the pool and put it away until the following year. Intex recommends setting up your pool in a location far away from your home. This keeps the water from potentially damaging your home when you drain it later.

All models have a drainage hole located on either one side of the pool or on the base. You simply unplug this hole and allow the water to drain out. Depending on the size of the pool, you may need to adjust the liner to force the water towards that hole. Let the pool sit out for a few hours or overnight to give the liner time to dry.

With Easy Set pools, you will then need to remove the air from the inflatable tube around the top. If you have a frame model, you can pull apart the frame. Make sure that you put all parts in a large bag and that you put the instructions inside that bag. Check the liner for any signs of damage before putting it away.

Expert Tip

If you find holes or tears in your liner, you can use a repair kit to cover those tears before putting the pool back up again.

Putting Away the Pool at the End of the Season

Swimming Pool Sizes

Swimming Pool Sizes
It’s important that you look at size because it shows you how many people you can fit in the pool. Size also tells you the overall dimensions and lets you know what to expect when you set that pool up on your lawn. You can find out the exact dimensions of each model before placing your order.
  • The Ultra Frame Rectangular measures 18-feet long by nine-feet wide by 52-inches tall.
  • At 48-inches tall, the Ultra Frame 16X48 is a little shorter than the rectangular model. This round model measures 16-feet around.
  • Intex made its Metal Frame Pool Set stand 48-inches from the ground as well. This pool has a round shape and measures 18-feet around
  • The Easy Set also stands 48-inches from the ground, but this pool also measures 15-feet around
  • At just 30-inches tall, the Easy Set Pool Set with Filter Pump is one of the shorter pools available. It measures 12-feet around.

Expert Tip

Shorter pools are best for younger kids because they don’t need a ladder to get in and out of the water.

Things to Consider When Buying a Pool

Make sure that you consider all the following factors when picking out an Intex pool.

Shape

Intex makes pools in both round and rectangular shapes. You may prefer a round shape that lacks the sharp angles found on rectangular designs.

Depth

The top pools we found have a depth of between three-feet and four-feet deep. Some of these models are even deeper. A shorter pool can make you feel more relaxed and comfortable when swimming and playing with your kids.

Frame of No Frame

You can purchase a swimming pool that comes with a metal or PVC frame, but you can also buy one that uses PVC walls instead of a frame. Metal frames can last longer but can rust. A PVC pool lacks any type of frame and may not have the structure you want.

Pump Size

Pump sizes vary from model to model. Larger pumps do a faster and more efficient job of pumping clean water through the pool.

Warranty

Read the warranty information to find out how long the warranty lasts and what it covers. You may have just 30 days to make a return after your pool arrives.

Things to Consider When Buying a Pool

Expert Tip

When buying a pool online, you can often use both the site’s Return Policy and the warranty on your pool.

Benefits of Above Ground Pools

Intex swimming pools have a number of advantages over more traditional above ground models. Those benefits include:

  • Smaller Size: With Intex pools, you can get all the room that younger and older swimmers need without taking up as much space in your yard.
  • Less Construction: Choosing an Intex model lets you avoid the hassles of constructing a new deck or patio around the pool. You do not need to dig up a portion of your lawn to make room for the pool either.
  • Cost: Not only do Intex swimming pools cost much less than traditional pools, but you can save on maintenance and repair costs too. Intex makes repair kits that help you fix common problems with your linger and frame.
  • More Flexibility: Many people choose swimming pools from Intex because they can use these pools anytime during the year. You can assemble and break down the pool in a few hours or less. These pools are even suitable for renters.
  • Greater Selection: You’ll also find that you have more options when buying an Intex swimming pool beyond just shape. Intex makes models in different shapes and sizes with different depths.

Expert Tip

If your water looks cloudy, you can take a sample to a pool store and ask for help.

Benefits of Above Ground Pools

Above Ground Pools Prices

Buying an above ground swimming pool can easily cost you a few thousand dollars. When you factor in the cost of the deck that you might want to add to the sides, the cost will rise even higher. Intex makes temporary swimming pools that you can put up at the end of the season and take down when cold weather arrives. These pools cost less than permanent models do. The cost actually starts at around $100. You can get one of the Easy Set models for $100 or less. These models accommodate fewer people though and may work better as a pool for your kids than one you use with friends. If you can afford to spend $200 to $300, you can get one of the larger Easy Set models that can hold more people. The largest pools that the company makes are the most expensive. Its Metal Frame and Ultra Frame pools retail for between $400 and $700. When you compare the cost of a permanent pool to one of these temporary models though, you’ll find that you can save quite a bit.

Frequently Asked Questions

A: Not all of the top models for 2018 come with a ladder. You’ll usually find a ladder on those with a greater depth because users need help to get in the water. Those designed for kids like some of the Easy Set models do not come with a ladder.

A: It can take between 15 and 60 minutes to set up one of these pools. Easy Set models take 15 to 30 minutes to set up, but it takes longer to put together one of the larger pools because you also need to assemble the frame. You’ll want to factor in the time that it takes to fill the pool too, which can add a few hours to the total set up time.

A: Some of the negative reviews posted online came from customers with complaints about parts breaking down or not working properly. You can find all the replacement parts that you need online through sites like Amazon and the official Intex website. Intex sells pool accessories online too.

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