Exterior

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 $1,010 to $11,200, or an average of $3,940.
Visual 1 - HomeAdvisor - above ground pool cost - cost range + average - May 2024
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Highlights

  • The average cost of an above-ground pool is $1,010 to $11,200, with a national average of $3,940. 
  • 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.
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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 installing a swimming pool in the backyard: 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? On average, homeowners can expect to pay between $1,010 and $11,200, or an average of $3,940. Much of that cost is made up of labor and materials, but there are other factors to consider as well.

Key Cost Factors

Homeowners can expect similar cost factors for above-ground pools as when considering inground pool costs. 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

Shapes for above-ground pools include round, oval, and rectangular, and the size and shape of the pool will significantly affect the total price. For instance, the materials necessary for a small above-ground pool can vary depending on the shape. A rectangle above-ground pool measuring 9 feet by 18 feet can cost between $820 and $2,100, but a 33-foot by 18-foot oval above-ground pool will cost between $1,670 and $3,530. Round above-ground pools range from $1,300 to $2,170 for a 15-foot pool. 

Pool ShapeSizeCost (Materials Only)
Oval24 feet by 12 feet $1,290 to $2,500
Oval 33 feet by 18 feet$1,670 to $3,530
Oval41 feet by 21 feet $4,010 to $4,840
Rectangular9 feet by 18 feet$820 to $2,100
Rectangular12 feet by 24 feet $1,200 to $2,800
Round12 feet$1,150 to $1,650
Round15 feet$1,300 to $2,170
Round18 feet$1,420 to $2,200
Round24 feet$1,610 to $2,500
Round30 feet$2,200 to $3,000

Type and Material

The three above-ground pool types are hard-sided, metal frame, or inflatable. Hard-sided pools might be made of steel, aluminum, or resin, but the sizes and shapes are often limited. Resin is relatively durable and costs between $1,000 and $3,000. Steel frames are one of the cheapest options at $800 to $3,000. Aluminum is the most expensive option at $1,000 to $4,500, and it holds up to extreme temperatures. 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 of $350 to $900, but they must be taken down and stored carefully at the end of the season.

Brand

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 less pricey. While the choice will ultimately come down to the desired features and materials a homeowner is looking  for, it’s helpful to look at above-ground pool pricing from some of the top brands.

Above-Ground Pool BrandAverage Cost (Materials Only)
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

Liner Type

A metal or hard-sided above-ground pool 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.

Site Preparation

Unless the pool is inflatable, some site preparation will be necessary before the pool can be placed. The ground beneath the pool needs to be level and free from debris and vegetation. This can cost $1,000 to $3,300, or some homeowners may be able to learn how to level the ground for a pool themselves to save on labor costs. 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 and Geographic Location

Labor makes up $1,000 to $3,000 of above-ground pool installation prices. Any extra customization or a larger pool will increase the price. Also, professional swimming pool maintenance services will cost about $85 to $150 each month for homeowners who prefer this option.

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Geographic location will also affect above-ground pool installation costs. Materials and labor vary from one city to the next, and there’s generally a higher cost in more urban areas. 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.

CityAverage Cost
Atlanta, Georgia$1,700
Austin, Texas$1,500
Boston, Massachusetts$1,900
Cincinnati, Ohio$1,600
Denver, Colorado$2,700
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$1,100
San Francisco, California$5,300
Above-Ground Pool Cost
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Additional Costs and Considerations

Beyond the basic cost factors for above-ground pools, other features for homeowners to consider may increase functionality or enhance the overall design of the pool.

  • Permits: 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: Filter and pool pump costs will be included in the cost of an above-ground pool kit, but pool heater cost is usually an added expense. Above-ground pool heaters cost around $2,900, including installation. The best above-ground pool filters usually cost $250 to $4,500.
FeatureAverage Cost (Materials Only)
Filter$250 to $4,500
Heater$1,800 to $4,100 (including labor)
Pool filter and pump$250 to $2,000
  • Deck installation: Many homeowners like the idea of building a deck around their above-ground swimming pools. A pool deck usually costs between $1,000 and $5,000, but this can vary based on the size of the pool and the deck materials.
  • Fence installation: A pool fence is usually associated with inground pools, primarily because it’s easier to fall into an inground pool than other types. Still, installing a pool fence around an above-ground swimming pool may keep the kids out when there are no adults around. On average, pool fences cost between $1,500 and $10,000.
  • Pool cover: A pool cover can protect the pool from the elements in the offseason and 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 $35 to $750, but upgrades like drainage systems can increase this cost.
  • Customizations: Homeowners can choose between steps and ladders for entering and exiting the pool. 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.
CustomizationAverage Cost (Materials Only)
Lighting$30 to $120
Steps or ladder$20 to $700
Waterfalls and fountains$25 to $130
  • Landscaping: Landscaping can lend the space around the pool a more pleasing appearance. Planting flower beds can cost $650 to $3,000, and adding trees costs $25 to $3,000. 
  • Additional features: Putting in an outdoor kitchen costs $5,060 to $17,280. Installing lighting can extend enjoyment of the pool into the evening, and this addition costs about $2,100 to $4,900.
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  • Water and operating costs: Filling the pool at the beginning of the season will cost an additional $90 to $270. Energy bills for a pool heater run between $100 to $600 per month.
  • Maintenance and repairs: Homeowners can choose either to learn how to maintain a pool and do it themselves or hire one of the best pool cleaning services for a monthly cost of $85 to $150.

  • Insurance: 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 still want to be prepared to spend more on homeowners insurance after installing one. For those concerned about damage from normal wear and tear, it’s worth looking into the best home warranties for pool coverage, such as one from Choice Home Warranty or American Home Shield.

Types of Above-Ground Pools

The type of pool will affect the total cost since some materials are more costly than others. The types of pools to choose from while looking at above-ground pools for sale are aluminum, inflatable, resin, and steel. These costs are for materials only and do not include installation.

Pool TypeAverage Cost (Materials Only)
Aluminum $1,000 to $4,500
Inflatable$350 to $900
Resin $1,000 to $3,000
Steel$800 to $3,000

Aluminum

Aluminum is considered the high-end frame option for above-ground pools with an average cost of $1,000 to $4,500. Aluminum resists rusting, corrosion, and peeling, making it the longest-lasting material. Aluminum is also lightweight and holds up well in extreme temperatures. It’s worth noting that a vinyl liner will need to be installed with the aluminum frame. 

Inflatable

Inflatable pools can be constructed for both adults and kids to enjoy. 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. Inflatable pools cost $350 to $900 depending on the size, making them ideal for those looking for above-ground pool ideas on a budget.

Resin

Resin pools 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. 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. Resin pools typically cost $1,000 to $3,000.

Steel

Metal frames 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. Metal frames for outdoor swimming pools are prone to rusting over time, and 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.

Above-Ground Pool Cost
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Benefits of Choosing an Above-Ground Pool

Homeowners who long for an outdoor 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.

Affordability

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. DIYers may be able to install these pools themselves. Additionally, above-ground pool owners will pay less for maintenance, chemicals, water, and repairs. Even pool removal costs for an above-ground pool are much lower than removal costs for an inground pool.

Recreation, Relaxation, and Exercise

Pools are a source of relaxation for adults who want an afternoon of peace and quiet. 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.

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Aesthetics

Above-ground 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 round pools aren’t the only option; there are a variety of styles to match any design preference.

Easy Maintenance

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 $85 to $150 per month.

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. 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 since they will have all the necessary equipment and know-how to get the ground fully prepared. The best pool installation companies are 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 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.

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Above-Ground Pool Cost
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How to Save Money

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 a Pro

Taking time to ask questions of a pool installation professional will help avoid miscommunication and unwanted surprises. Essential questions include whether the company is licensed, bonded, and insured, but it doesn’t hurt to ask some additional questions about the project.

  • 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?

FAQs

Above-ground pool costs aren’t overly complicated, but there are still a number of things for homeowners to know before choosing pools for their backyards. 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?

It’s no easy task to install a swimming pool—even a small one. However, 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 $39,000 and $80,351, while semi-inground pools cost just $7,000 to $20,000. Above-ground pool costs are the cheapest with a typical cost range of $1,010 to $11,200.

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 (1 and 2), HomeAdvisor, Forbes, HomeGuide, Fixr, Pool Gnome, Country Leisure