Image: Sergio Sergo /

The Pros and Cons of an Above Ground Pool

by Andra Hopulele
4 min. read

Everyone enjoys making a splash, especially during hot summer days. If you’re a homeowner contemplating the addition of a swimming pool yet are not prepared to commit to the permanence of in-ground ones, an above-ground pool might be the best choice for you.

Sometimes shunned as a less attractive version of in-ground pools, the above-ground ones do have their merits. Yet before you take a plunge into installing one in your backyard, let’s take a look at the pros and cons.

Pros of Above-Ground Pools

Let’s take a look at what makes above-ground pools a great addition to your yard.

Easy to Install and Remove

Installing an in-ground pool is a professionals’ job, requiring digging, leveling, and insulating. However, adding an above-ground pool can be a DIY job and installing one is faster and less labor-intensive. The limited impact on your yard is another perk, and you can easily remove an above-ground pool without worrying about the ‘scars’ it will leave behind. In fact, you can resell the pool if you choose to, or even take it with you if you relocate.


The price difference between above-ground and in-ground pools is drastic — you’re looking at tens of thousands of dollars worth of savings just by going above the ground. Not only do you have to pay less for labor and materials, but they are often not taxable, due to not being permanent fixtures. Even if you opt for extra features for your above-ground pool, the overall cost is decidedly less.

Low Maintenance

Because they are elevated, above-ground pools have less chance of dirt or insects getting into the water. They are also smaller, so even if you get the usual leaves blown in, they’re easier to pick up and dispose of. Pool maintenance can be a breeze compared to other types of pools. Also, it’s easier to install a pool cover, which will keep them tidier for longer. And even if the pool walls or bottom does get damaged, the repair cost is lower than for in-ground versions.

They’re Safer

With depths ranging from 48 to 52 inches, above-ground pools are shallower and thus safer than in-ground ones. They are also easier to get in and out of, and the edges provide an all-around handle that can prevent slippage. Also, the fact that they are above ground makes it less likely that someone will accidentally slip in the water, whether it’s kids, pets, or even wildlife.

Cons of Above-Ground Pools

Above-ground pools aren’t always just fun and games, so before installing one, here’s what you need to consider.

They Can Be Damaged More Easily

The average lifespan of above-ground pools is between 10 and 15 years, yet thorough maintenance can add another decade to that. Even so, that’s still half the lifespan of in-ground versions. Severe weather, especially storms and snow, can damage the lining and walls of above-ground pools. Nobody wants to deal with several thousand gallons of pool water spilling into their yard, or the costly repairs that will follow.

They Don’t Increase Home Value

If you’re thinking of selling your home and banking on an above-ground pool being a desirable feature, you may want to think again. Having a pool in your yard is a gamble at the best of times when it comes to selling, but at least in-ground ones give you extra appraisal points. As a temporary fixture, above-ground pools do not increase home value, and might even put potential buyers off during showings.

Limited Versatility

Although you can always upgrade your above-ground pool with features like heating or custom lights, the design options are quite limited. The standard maximum depth is 52 inches, while the largest width is around 41 feet. And while you can still swim in it, it might feel a bit closer to just splashing. You also won’t have access to features like a diving-board, unless you’re prepared to invest in a seriously customized wood deck.

They Can Look Cheap

Let’s face it, above-ground pools don’t have the same stylish look as their in-ground version, not to mention the elegance of infinity pools. Some models can come across as cheap hot tubs, or even glorified kiddie pools. You can always improve their looks by getting a wood-paneled version, or surrounding them with garden plants and patio decorations, but the overall effect is just not the same.

Whether you go for an above-ground pool or not ultimately comes down to personal preference, yet it’s best to weigh out both pros and cons beforehand. Cheaper, safer and easier to install, they can also pack hidden costs without increasing home value. But if you’re after some quality time splashing in the sun, then above-ground pools are definitely a fun and fast way to ensure that.

You may also like