How Much Does an Above-Ground Pool Cost?
Homeowners can install an attractive above-ground pool at a fraction of the cost they might expect. An above-ground pool costs around $1,037 to $5,893, or an average of $3,322.
- The typical cost range for an above-ground pool is $1,037 to $5,893, with a national average of $3,322.
- Factors affecting the cost to install an above-ground pool include the pool size, shape, type, material, and brand; the type of liner; site preparation; labor; and geographic location.
- The benefits of having an above-ground pool installed are affordability, recreation and relaxation, aesthetics, and easy maintenance.
- While a homeowner may be able to install their own above-ground pool, leveling the ground for the pool is a challenging task that may require professional help for the best results.
Enjoying an afternoon lounging (or splashing) in the pool is the perfect way to pass those lazy summer days, but the cost to build a pool can cause homeowners to balk. Luckily, there is a relatively affordable option for a backyard pool at home: a budget-friendly above-ground pool. While homeowners may prefer the look of an inground pool, there are many reasons to reconsider an above-ground pool. One of the main benefits is the much lower price tag, but just how much does an above-ground pool cost? According to HomeAdvisor and Angi, homeowners can expect to pay between $1,037 and $5,893, or an average of $3,322. Much of that cost is made up of labor and materials, but there are other factors to consider as well. This guide will help homeowners learn everything they need to know about above-ground pool costs.
Factors in Calculating Above-Ground Pool Cost
When it comes to pools being built above ground, homeowners can expect similar factors as when considering inground pool cost. As with any building project, the size and shape will be a major consideration, as will the materials, brand, labor, and the home’s location.
Size and Shape
From rectangle above-ground pools to oval above-ground pools, the size and shape of the future pool will significantly affect the total price before installation. For instance, materials for a 12-foot by 24-foot rectangle pool cost between $1,200 and $2,800, but a 33-foot by 18-foot oval pool costs between $1,670 and $3,530. Round above-ground pools range from $1,300 to $2,168 for a 15-foot pool. The following chart shows the average costs per diameter for a round above-ground pool.
After deciding on the shape of the pool, the next decision for a homeowner to make is what type of pool is the best fit for them: hard-sided, metal frame, or inflatable. A hard-sided pool might be made of steel, aluminum, or resin, but the size and shape available are often limited. Metal frame pools are a popular option that is easy to install with a frame and liner, but they aren’t compatible with saltwater generators. Inflatable pools are easy to set up for a low cost, but they must be taken down and stored carefully at the end of the season.
One of the biggest factors affecting the cost of an above-ground pool is the material. Common above-ground pool materials include steel, resin, and aluminum; inflatable pools are also available. Steel frames are one of the cheapest options starting at $800 to $3,000. However, they are prone to rust over time, so resin is a more attractive choice at $1,000 to $3,000. Aluminum is the most expensive option at $1,000 to $4,500, and it holds up to extreme temperatures. And while inflatables are the cheapest at $350 to $900 and the fastest to set up, they aren’t as durable as any of the other options.
Big-box retailers or pool installation companies sell many DIY pool kits. Popular name brands include Doughboy, Intex, Kayak, Trevi, and Wilkes. Doughboy and Kayak are among the pricier options, while Intex and Wilkes are on the cheaper end. Some of these higher-cost above-ground pools come with materials for a deck to make the pool even more appealing and enjoyable. The following table shows the average cost for an above-ground pool from the top brands.
|Above-Ground Pool Brand||Average Cost|
|Doughboy||$3,000 to $10,000|
|Intex||$200 to $1,000|
|Kayak||$4,000 to $12,000|
|Trevi||$2,000 to $5,000|
|Wilkes||$1,000 to $4,000|
Opting for a metal or hard-sided above-ground pool will mean it will also need a liner that’s usually made from vinyl. There are many types of liners on the market, and most cost between $100 and $660. Costs will depend on size, material, and even color. It’s best for homeowners to search for “above-ground pool installers near me” and ask a local rep which combination of frame and liner is the best choice.
Unless the pool is inflatable, some site preparation will be necessary before the pool can be placed. While some might consider installing an above-ground pool on top of a deck, this isn’t recommended since the weight of the water could cause the structure to collapse. Installing on the ground is best, which means that the ground beneath the pool needs to be level and free from debris and vegetation. This can cost $1,000 to $3,000, or some homeowners may be able to learn how to level ground for a pool themselves to save on labor costs. If a lot of dirt or landscaping needs to be removed, heavy equipment might be needed. The soil will also need to be packed down and layered with a base like sand—or a contractor can install a concrete slab for an average of $6 per square foot.
Labor makes up a fair portion of the above-ground pool cost: $1,000 to $3,000. This is just a base price, so with the addition of any extra customization or a larger pool, the price will increase. Also, professional swimming pool maintenance services will cost about $85 to $150 each month for homeowners who prefer this option.
In many cases, geographic location will significantly affect above-ground pool installation costs. Materials and labor vary from one city to the next, and there’s always a higher cost in more urban areas where pools are popular. This is especially true in an area with significant residential construction, as demand will drive prices higher. Homeowners can look for “above-ground pool installation near me” to get a quote from a local company.
Additional Costs and Considerations
Beyond the basic cost factors for above-ground pools, there are other features for homeowners to consider. Some of them are intended to enhance the overall design or the pool use experience.
Typically, an inflatable pool won’t require a permit since it’s not a permanent structure. However, the local municipality might have regulations about other types of above-ground pools, so it’s best for a homeowner to check before purchasing a pool and scheduling an installation. A pool permit can cost anywhere from $100 to $300, and any additional decking surrounding the pool may also require that the homeowner obtain a permit, which will cost between $225 and $500.
Filters, Pumps, and Heating Systems
In most cases, the filter and pool pump costs will be included in the cost of an above-ground pool kit, but pool heater cost is always an added expense. Fortunately, above-ground pool heaters cost less than those for inground pools; homeowners can expect to pay between $1,300 and $2,400. It’s also worth noting that many of the filters and pumps included in DIY kits will not last more than a couple of years, but they are a good way to get started. Buying one of the best above-ground pool filters usually costs homeowners between $40 and $770 and will last longer than the starter models.
|Filter||$40 to $770|
|Pool filter and pump||$500 to $2,000|
|Heater||$1,300 to $2,400|
Many homeowners like the idea of building a deck around their above-ground swimming pools; it creates additional space to enjoy the pool area. A pool deck usually costs $500 to $2,000, but this can vary based on the size of the pool and the deck materials.
Installing a pool fence is usually associated with an inground pool where it’s easier to fall into a pool accidentally. Still, there are benefits to installing a pool fence around an above-ground swimming pool too—even if only to keep the kids out when there are no adults around. On average, pool fences cost $1,500 to $10,000.
In regions where pools must be closed for the winter, a pool cover can protect the pool from the elements in the offseason. Some pool covers have safety ratings and can provide homeowners with peace of mind that children or animals wandering around the pool won’t be able to fall in. Most pool covers cost $75 to $250, but upgrades like drainage systems can increase this cost. A pool screen enclosure costs $5,259 to $15,560.
If the pool installation will not include a deck, there still needs to be a way to get into the above-ground pool—probably steps or a ladder. These typically cost $20 to $700. Opting for a slide as the more exciting way to get into the pool will cost more. Other options include adding custom water features like a waterfall or fountains ($25 to $130) or decorative lighting ($30 to $120) for evening pool parties. And if the pool is compatible with a saltwater generator, this can be installed for $500 to $2,500.
|Steps or ladder||$20 to $700|
|Waterfalls and fountains||$25 to $130|
|Lighting||$30 to $120|
|Saltwater generator||$500 to $2,500|
While above-ground pools are generally considered to be less attractive than inground pools, enhancing the rest of the backyard with landscaping can lend the space a more pleasing appearance. Planting flower beds can cost $650 to $3,000, and adding trees costs $25 to $3,000. Putting in an outdoor kitchen can be a great addition for pool parties and costs $5,055 to $17,275. Installing lighting can extend enjoyment of the pool into the evening, and this addition costs about $2,100 to $4,900.
Water and Operating Costs
In regions where the pool will need to be opened and closed for the swimming season, this will cost $100 to $200 annually. Filling the pool at the beginning of the season will cost an additional $60 to $1,250. Energy bills for a pool heater cost a monthly sum of $100 to $600.
Maintenance and Repairs
As with any pool, keeping it clean is necessary to enjoy it. Maintenance for above-ground pools is no less essential than it is for an inground pool, and homeowners can choose either to learn how to maintain a pool and do it themselves or hire one of the best pool cleaning services. With a cost of around $115 per month, above-ground pool maintenance is a little cheaper than inground pool maintenance. This generally includes cleaning the filters, skimming the water, and balancing chemicals, but it might be trickier to reach into an above-ground pool to clean it. That’s partly why it’s popular to build a deck around the pool. Common pool repairs include replacing the pool liner or patching leaks. Liners generally require replacement after 5 to 9 years and cost about $2,500. Leak repair is relatively cheap at around $20 per repair. It’s worth homeowners looking into the best home warranties for pool coverage, such as Choice Home Warranty or American Home Shield, if future repair costs are a major concern.
Homeowners insurance rates tend to rise with the addition of a pool on the property since pools are considered a safety risk. While above-ground pools are less hazardous than inground pools, homeowners will want to be prepared to spend more on homeowners insurance with the addition of an above-ground pool.
Types of Above-Ground Pools
While the average cost of an above-ground pool is $3,322, the type of pool will affect the total cost since some materials are more costly than others. The following are the types of pools to choose from while looking at above-ground pools for sale. These costs are for materials only and do not include installation.
|Aluminum||$1,000 to $4,500|
|Inflatable||$350 to $900|
|Resin||$1,000 to $3,000|
|Steel||$800 to $3,000|
Aluminum is considered the high-end frame option for above-ground pools with an average cost of $1,000 to $4,500. The biggest advantage is that aluminum resists rusting, corrosion, and peeling, and that means these pools will last the longest of all. A homeowner will need to have a vinyl liner installed, and there is some risk of getting holes in the liner as the aluminum oxidizes, but liners need replacing every so often anyway. Aluminum is also lightweight and holds up well in extreme temperatures.
An inflatable pool isn’t just an average kiddie pool. With side walls reaching up to 48 inches high, inflatable pools can be constructed for adults and kids to enjoy together. They are typically round and can measure up to 18 feet in diameter. Inflatable pools are the best DIY option since there is no need for a contractor to build the pool. Homeowners simply need to hook up the air compressor, fill up the pool as needed, and deflate and store it for winter. Homeowners can expect to pay between $350 and $900 for an inflatable pool, depending on the size.
Resin pools are included in the larger category of hard-sided pools. These are constructed with metal walls and plastic parts on the tracks and rails. The walls are then coated with resin in place of a vinyl liner. The advantages are that resin won’t get hot to the touch, can handle a saltwater generator, and is cheaper than aluminum. However, the resin will crack or chip over time due to UV exposure—though not as quickly as metal will rust from splashing water. Resin pools typically cost $1,000 to $3,000.
Metal frames are a popular choice for those considering above-ground pool ideas on a budget. They are cost-effective and fairly easy for a pool installer to set up. A liner is stretched over the frame and the pool stays in place year-round. Granted, the metal frame is prone to rusting over time, and it will corrode quickly if a saltwater generator is installed. Nevertheless, a metal frame pool is more durable and longer lasting than an inflatable pool. Homeowners can expect to pay around $800 to $3,000.
Benefits of Choosing an Above-Ground Pool
Homeowners who long for a backyard pool can feel confident that an above-ground pool is a solid choice for enjoying pool time without blowing the budget. Above-ground pools have a lot of great benefits for homeowners and their properties, such as the following.
While inground pools can cost as much as $80,351, above-ground pools come in a wide selection of styles and sizes to fit a variety of budgets. Not only is the cost of materials much more affordable, but less labor is required for installing an above-ground pool. Some handy homeowners may even be able to manage the installation themselves. Additionally, the smaller size of above-ground pools means that owners will pay less for maintenance, chemicals, water, and repairs. And if for any reason in the future a homeowner decides that they no longer want a swimming pool, pool removal costs for an above-ground pool are much lower than removal costs for an inground pool.
Recreation, Relaxation, and Exercise
Pools are well known to be a source of relaxation for adults who want an afternoon of peace and quiet. To be fair, it might not be as quiet if there are kids splashing about, but the kids can also enjoy the extra recreation. Homeowners who enjoy swimming laps in a pool can ask a local pool installer about above-ground lap pools. Pools can also be highly therapeutic for anyone getting back into exercise or doing physical therapy after an injury. And since above-ground pools tend to be shallower than in-ground pools, it’s easier to float or stand as needed.
Excluding inflatable pools, adding an above-ground pool is a great way to enhance an overall backyard experience. Pools are appealing features, especially if a deck is added to mimic an inground pool. As a bonus, a deck provides more space for homeowners to dip their toes in the pool without committing to a full soak.
In addition, above-ground pools are quick to install (so the yard doesn’t have to be torn up for weeks), and they’re more affordable than inground pools. And round pools aren’t the only option; there are a variety of styles to match any design preference.
Above-ground pools’ smaller size and lack of complex parts means that owners spend much less time and money on pool maintenance costs. This also means that homeowners can spend more time actually enjoying the pool rather than cleaning and tending to it. DIY above-ground pool maintenance only costs about $5 to $15 per month, and a professional will charge $80 to $150 per month.
Above-Ground Pool Installation: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
An inflatable above-ground pool is the easiest to install. There’s no need to tear up the grass as long as the pool’s position is shifted occasionally, and it’s easy to blow it up with an air compressor. Installing any above-ground pool is easier than learning how to build a pool from scratch. That being said, one of the most challenging parts of above-ground pool installations is often getting the ground fully prepped and leveled. Even homeowners who feel confident about installing the easier metal-frame-and-liner pool will want to remember that improperly preparing the ground can leave an uneven surface that can cause issues down the road.
Hiring professional above-ground pool installers is a wise option for homeowners to choose since they will have all the necessary equipment and know-how to get the ground fully prepared. They’re acquainted with any quirks of getting the frame, tracks, unique nails, and liner installed properly, too. For instance, most liners will need to have the wrinkles vacuumed out of them to prevent mold from growing in the shadowed area. It’s surprising how much time it actually takes to prepare the ground and get a pool set up, especially if only one person is doing the labor. And in the end, there isn’t a whole lot of money saved since a homeowner’s time is also valuable.
How to Save Money on Above-Ground Pool Cost
The good news is that choosing an above-ground pool is already a wise decision since they are notably cheaper than inground concrete pools. But in many cases, it’s still a significant expense that’s worth finding ways to save money.
- Consider a smaller pool: Decide on the right size and shape for your needs and budget rather than opting for the largest pool available.
- Save on materials: Opt for a resin pool since it is cheaper than aluminum but more durable than a metal pool.
- Consider a compromise: If budget is a major concern, opt for the inflatable pool. But remember that it must be deflated at the end of the season, and it has a shorter lifespan overall.
- Try DIY: Consider doing all the leveling if you have experience doing that kind of work.
- Inquire about liner options: Ask your installer about the different types of liners available for the frame you choose.
- Wait for the offseason: If weather permits, consider building an above-ground pool later in the season when demand is lower.
- Pace yourself: Get the pool installed now and add the custom features later.
- Shop around: Call multiple installers to get the best quote.
- Ask about discounts: Some companies offer seasonal prices as well as discounts for seniors, members of the military, and first responders.
Questions to Ask About Above-Ground Pool Installation
It’s important for homeowners to have all the information possible before deciding on the best pool installation company. This will help avoid miscommunication and unwanted surprises. Homeowners will want to ask whether the company is licensed, bonded, and insured. It’s also wise for them to ask how long the company has been in business to ensure they are experienced professionals. The following are some additional questions for homeowners to ask about above-ground pool cost.
- What kind of above-ground pools have you built before?
- Do you have a portfolio and references?
- Can I see a line-item estimate?
- Do you offer financing?
- Do you require a deposit up front?
- What type of pool is best for my family to use?
- For the dimensions I want, what are the differences in cost between each type of pool?
- What kind of site preparation will be needed?
- Will you send someone to my house to inspect the area before I hire you?
- How many employees will build my pool?
- How long will it take to build?
- Do you subcontract any part of the project?
- Will I need electricity for this type of pool?
- How hard is it to clean an above-ground pool?
- How much maintenance is required for each type of pool?
- Do you have experience building a deck around the pool? If so, how much more will that cost?
- How much will it cost to add a saltwater generator to this pool?
- How many gallons of water will this pool hold?
- Will I need to change the water often?
- How often will I need to replace my liner?
- How long will this pool last?
- Will I need a pool cover?
- Do I need to drain the water during the winter?
- How much is a pool heater?
- What kind of warranties or guarantees are offered with this type of pool?
Above-ground pool costs aren’t overly complicated, but there are still a number of things for homeowners to know before putting one in the backyard. In addition to the information above, the following answers to the most frequently asked questions can help guide a homeowner’s decision.
Q. Can I install an above-ground pool myself?
Some types of above-ground pools are easier to install than others. This is especially true if the area where the pool will be placed is already level and needs minimal excavation. All sod and rocks must be removed at a minimum, but the ground must also be leveled, tamped, and often filled with a base of sand.
But building the pool itself is another matter to consider for someone unfamiliar with putting together large projects. In most cases, it’s much easier and safer to let a pro handle the installation so there are no issues with leaks or improperly installed features.
Q. How much do inground vs. semi-inground vs. above-ground pool costs compare?
Inground pools cost between $38,719 and $69,599, while semi-inground pools cost just $6,000 to $20,000. Above-ground pool costs are the cheapest with a typical cost range of $1,037 to $5,893.
Q. What brand of above-ground pool is best?
Everyone has different tastes; some may not like the idea of an inflatable pool, while others might really appreciate their value for a low cost. The best above-ground pool is the one that meets the homeowner’s needs, matches their budget, and brings family and friends together for an afternoon of fun.
Q. Can I turn my above-ground pool into a saltwater pool?
It depends. If the pool has a metal frame, it’s not recommended to turn it into a saltwater pool since the steel will deteriorate quickly. But for a hard-sided pool with a vinyl liner, it’s fairly easy to switch from chlorine to saltwater. Homeowners will want to talk with a local pool maintenance company about what kind of saltwater generator will work best, and what type of filters and maintenance supplies are needed.
Q. Can I Install an above-ground pool on any surface?
It’s not recommended to build an above-ground pool on just any surface, with the one exception of an inflatable pool that can be moved around. Semipermanent or permanent pools need to have a stable, level base to avoid shifting over time and weakening the integrity of the structure. It’s best to install an above-ground pool on a tamped surface or even a concrete pad.
There are also commercial pads that an installer can purchase and cut to match the pool. Other options can include solid foam, carpet padding, or flooring underlayment. Homeowners will want to choose the option that provides the flat surface and comfort level needed under the pool.
Q. How long does it take to install an above-ground pool?
This depends on how much ground preparation is needed. Significant landscaping removal and leveling can take at least a day or more. From start to finish, it’s best for homeowners to plan for 1 to 3 days of preparation and construction. In terms of installing just the pool itself, an average-size pool can be installed by a team of pros in 4 to 6 hours—much faster than any DIY installation.
Sources: Angi, HomeAdvisor, HomeGuide, Fixr, LawnLove