buying guide pools

take the plunge
with the right pool.

Dreaming of your very own pool to make the most of summer? Stop dreaming and start shopping. An above-ground pool can be a great investment, offering years of enjoyment. Careful planning and preparation will help you make the best choices when you buy. Here are some things to consider before you shop.

  • pool depth.

    Above-ground pools are generally 48 or 52 inches tall, although taller models are becoming more common. Height is measured from the ground to the top of the wall. Deeper pools provide a better swimming experience for older kids and adults. Shallower pools may be safer for young swimmers and are less expensive.

  • pool shapes.

    oval & rectangular

    Good for smaller yards, oval and rectangular pools are great for swimming laps and family water sports. Additional supports are needed to help these pools maintain their elongated shapes, making the installation a little more involved.

  • round

    If you've got a larger or square-shaped yard, think about a round pool. Easy to install, round pools give you more pool for the money because they don't require extra pieces to support their shape.

  • pool size.

    Measure your yard and think about how much space you're willing to give to the pool and pool equipment. Consider other areas—such as patios and decks—that you might integrate with your pool.

location matters.

Here are a few things to think about when deciding where in your yard to place your pool.

  • find a flat surface.

    The ground under the pool should be level, firm and solid. Imbalances can put pressure on pool walls, which can have an impact on stability and even cause pools to collapse.

  • look for a sunny area.

    Placing your pool in the sun will keep water temperatures warmer. Distance from trees will prevent leaves and other debris from falling in.

  • create windbreaks.

    Wind blowing across pool water increases evaporation and decreases water temperature. Consider trees, shrubs, fences and other windbreaks when placing your pool.

  • position for safety & accessibility.

    Make sure your pool is easy to see and access from the house. Think about walkways, patios and decks you may want to add, and be sure to leave room for them.

  • determine a place for the pool shed.

    Small sheds are handy for storing and protecting pool equipment. They can also be an attractive yard feature. The closer the equipment is to the pool, the better it will operate. If your pool heater is housed in the shed, make sure it has proper ventilation.

today’s pools make a splash.

Modern engineering and ultra-durable materials make above-ground pools a better investment than ever.

  • metal frame pools.

    Steel pools are heavier, tougher and more solid than other styles. Look for protective coatings that decrease the chances of rust such as hot-dipped zinc galvanized steel walls, uprights and top rails. Aluminum frames have flexible sidewalls, typically made of multiple layers of material for extra strength and durability. A level surface is important to balance the water pressure inside aluminum pools and prevent walls from buckling or falling.

    metal frame pools
  • quick set-up pools.

    Portable, smaller and easier to maintain than other styles, quick set-up pools are a great value. The best part? Set-up is simple. Just inflate it with an electric pump and fill it with water from your hose. A nice feature—you can deflate the pool in the off-season and pack it away.

    quick set-up pools

installing your pool,
step by step.

Before you can dive in, you need to install your pool. Whether you hire a professional or do it yourself, be sure to follow all the manufacturer's instructions. Deviating from the instructions can void the warranty.

learn more about installing your pool

fill your pool with fun.

Now that your pool is up and running, it's time to enjoy it. Make a splash with toys and accessories that make your pool a playground.

  • pool toys & water slides.

    Floating toys are a great way to acclimate beginning swimmers to deeper water. Keep everyone active with pool sports, dive games and other pool toys. Water slides are especially fun for smaller kids and a great addition to inflatable pools.

    pool toys & water slides

pool safety.

Always play it safe in and around your pool. It's your responsibility to make sure everyone who uses your pool knows the rules and what to do in an emergency. The helpful tips at poolsafely.gov will help you be prepared.

  • covers.

    Covers are an essential safety item—they keep people out of the pool when you're away. They also keep leaves and other debris out of the pool, minimizing the amount of chemicals needed. Covers hold heat in the pool, reducing expenses and extending the swimming season.

  • ladders.

    Ladders are the safest way to get in and out of the pool. Many ladders feature UV protection so they won't heat up in the sun. Resin steps and easy-to-grip handrails prevent slipping.

pool maintenance.

To keep your pool enjoyable, you'll need the right equipment and a maintenance routine. Many pools come with pumps, ladders and maintenance kits to get you started.

learn more about maintenance