The Best Above-Ground Pool Steps of 2022

By Tony Carrick | Updated May 26, 2022 10:28 AM

BobVila.com and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Best Above Ground Pool Steps Options

Photo: amazon.com

Above-ground pools can rise 4 feet or more off the ground, so installing a good set of pool steps to safely get in and out of the pool is a necessity. Stairs specially designed for above-ground pools allow swimmers to enter and exit the pool from ground level or via a pool deck. To meet the broad range of available above-ground pool designs, pool steps come in various heights and types.

With so many varieties to choose from, you may quickly feel out of your depth when shopping for a set of pool stairs. This guide dives into the world of pool steps and provides information regarding what factors to consider when shopping for the best above-ground pool steps.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Confer Above Ground Swimming Pool Curve Base Steps
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Bestway Steel Above Ground Swimming Pool Ladder
  3. BEST UPGRADE: Confer Curve Above Ground Swimming Pool Steps
  4. BEST ADJUSTABLE: Confer Heavy Duty Inpool Ladder
  5. BEST LADDER: Vinyl Works A-Frame Above Ground Swimming Pool Ladder
  6. BEST IN-POOL: Confer Step-1 Above Ground Swimming Pool Ladder
  7. BEST FOR SAFETY: XtremepowerUS Safety Step Swimming Pool Ladder
  8. BEST GATED: Vinyl Works AF Gated Entry Above Ground Pool Ladder
  9. BEST TO DECK: Blue Wave NE113 Easy Pool Step
  10. ALSO CONSIDER: Blue Wave Deluxe In-Pool Step for Above Ground Pools
Best Above Ground Pool Steps Options

Photo: depositphotos.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Above-Ground Pool Steps

When shopping for a set of above-ground pool steps, consider not only the height of the steps but also any safety features such as handrails and locks. Ahead, learn more about the essential above-ground pool features and accessories.

Type

When choosing a set of pool steps for an above-ground pool, first understand the different types. A-frame models, for example, work with freestanding above-ground pools. This type of pool stairs or ladder allows swimmers to ascend from the ground up to the height of the pool’s side and then descend into the pool. Deck pool stairs, as the name suggests, work with above-ground pools that are surrounded by a deck. One end attaches to the deck surface that extends to the floor of the pool.

Material and Weight Capacity

Deck pool ladders consist of heavy-duty plastic that’s strong enough to withstand weights of 300 pounds or more while enduring water and pool chemicals. Most pool steps are also treated with UV-resistant coatings to shield the stairs from damage. Plastic resin stairs must be stored over the winter to prevent them from cracking in extreme temperatures. Stairs that function as a ladder consist of stainless steel, which is stronger than plastic. Most pool stair manufacturers list a weight capacity for their steps, which is typically around 300 pounds.

Stability

Stability is key for a set of pool stairs to function safely. A good set of pool stairs has a broad base that prevents the ladders from shifting or toppling over. Pool stairs also should have handrails that allow swimmers to stabilize themselves as they enter and exit the pool. While pool steps are typically steeper than standard stairs, they should not be so high that younger swimmers struggle to use them to enter or exit the pool.

Adjustable Height

Compatibility is key when selecting stairs for an above-ground pool. A set of pool stairs should be able to reach the height of the poolside without falling short of it or extending beyond it. Most above-ground pool steps are between 48 and 50 inches high. Some pool stairs are adjustable to allow for a broad range of above-ground pool depths, from 48 to 54 inches.

Safety Features

In addition to handrails, pool stairs frequently have features that make them safer to use, including stair treads with grips that help prevent swimmers from slipping while entering and exiting the pool. Some A-frame stairs that extend from the ground to the level of the pool contain guards that fit over the stairs when they aren’t in use to prevent children from climbing into the pool. Most pool stairs also have handrails that give the swimmer something to hold on to while they climb in and out of the pool. Pool steps should have barriers that prevent kids from swimming behind the steps, where they could potentially get stuck.

Our Top Picks

The list below narrows the field to some of the best above-ground swimming pool stairs on the market. It includes pool steps that work with pool decks as well as A-frame models for freestanding pools. All these steps are durable and constructed with features that make them safe to use.

Best Overall

Best Above Ground Pool Steps Option Confer Above Ground Swimming Pool Curve Base Steps
Photo: amazon.com

This set of pool stairs from Confer has a heavy-duty plastic construction that helps make it capable of enduring water and pool chemicals while also giving it a sturdy build that can handle up to 400 pounds. Deep grooves on the treads provide a nonslip surface for wet feet, while two handrails offer a place for swimmers to steady themselves as they enter and exit the pool.

This set of stairs also is one of the more attractive models on the market thanks to its two-tone gray color scheme (it’s also available with beige or with blue treads). All the stair’s parts snap together, making the installation tool-free. Two flanges allow the steps to be mounted to the pool deck.

Product Specs

  • Height: 47 inches
  • Weight capacity: 400 pounds
  • Type: In-pool

Pros

  • Durable construction
  • Nonslip treads and two handrails
  • Easy to assemble

Cons

  • Must be weighted with sand to prevent floating

Get the Confer Above Ground Swimming Pool Curve Base Steps on Amazon, at Walmart, or at Doheny’s.

Best Bang For The Buck

Best Above Ground Pool Steps Option Bestway Steel Above Ground Swimming Pool Ladder
Photo: amazon.com

At a fraction of the cost of a set of pool steps, this pool ladder from Bestway uses durable stainless steel rails, which are strong enough to support up to 672 pounds.

With an A-frame design, this ladder works with pools without a deck. A platform that sits 52 inches above the ground provides a sturdy place to stand while moving into or out of the pool. A railing that extends several feet above the top rung of the ladder provides a good place for swimmers to grab hold to steady themselves as they climb in or out, while a flared base keeps the ladder stable.

Product Specs

  • Height: 52 inches
  • Weight capacity: 672 pounds
  • Type: In-pool

Pros

  • Affordably priced
  • Sturdy steel construction
  • Platform with high railing makes it easier to enter and exit the pool

Cons

  • Ladder rails can rust if painted coating chips off

Get the Bestway Steel Above Ground Swimming Pool Ladder on Amazon, at Walmart, or at Target.

Best Upgrade

Best Above Ground Pool Steps Option Confer Curve Above Ground Swimming Pool Steps
Photo: amazon.com

This set of steps expands on the Confer’s above-ground swimming pool stairs by adding a curved section to them, expanding their width by nearly 5 feet to create a wider entrance and exit. Like the main set, the curved section has deep grooves on the treads and a sturdy railing to help prevent slips and falls.

The stairs have a weight capacity of 400 pounds and reach a height of 47 inches. The walls of the stairs can be weighted with sand to prevent them from floating. With a curving design that wraps around the entire set of stairs, this deluxe above-ground pool stairway also is attractive. Its big footprint makes it suitable for larger above-ground pools.

Product Specs

  • Height: 47 inches
  • Weight capacity: 400 pounds
  • Type: In-pool

Pros

  • Broad steps are easier to use
  • Creates attractive look
  • Nonslip treads and hand railings add safety

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Takes up a significant amount of in-pool space

Get the Confer Curve Above Ground Swimming Pool Steps on Amazon, at Walmart, or at Doheny’s.

Best Adjustable

Best Above Ground Pool Steps Option Confer Heavy Duty Inpool Ladder
Photo: amazon.com

Finding the right-size ladder or stairs can be a challenge. The Confer Inpool Ladder makes sizing easy thanks to its ability to adjust from a height of 48 to 54 inches. It consists of durable plastic resin that’s tough enough to withstand pool chemicals while maintaining a weight capacity of 300 pounds.

Thick treads on the risers prevent slips, while a broad platform at the top of the steps rests on top of the deck to facilitate entries and exits from the water. A barrier behind the steps adds safety by preventing swimmers from going behind the ladder.

Product Specs

  • Height: 48 to 54 inches
  • Weight capacity: 300 pounds
  • Type: In-pool

Pros

  • Adjustable height
  • Sturdy resin plastic construction
  • Wide top platform and high railings
  • Nonslip treads

Cons

  • Smaller treads than a set of stairs

Get the Confer Heavy Duty Inpool Ladder on Amazon, at Pool Supply Unlimited, or at The Pool Supplies Superstore.

Best Ladder

Best Above Ground Pool Steps Option Vinyl Works A-Frame Above Ground Swimming Pool Ladder
Photo: amazon.com

This A-frame ladder from Vinyl Works is well constructed and comes with useful safety features. The ladder, which is constructed of vinyl, works with pools ranging in depth from 48 to 56 inches with sidewalls up to approximately 5 feet tall. Four wide treads and a broad top platform provide ample footing while ascending and descending, and a large wraparound handrail serves as a secure place to steady climbers in and out of the pool.

The exterior portion of the ladder slides up and locks with a standard padlock, restricting access to the pool when it’s not in use. The ladder also includes permanent safety signage reminding swimmers that diving, jumping, and swimming behind the ladder are prohibited.

Product Specs

  • Height: 48 inches
  • Weight capacity: 300 pounds
  • Type: A-frame

Pros

  • Slide-lock design enhances safety
  • Works with a wide range of pool depths
  • Large handrails make it easier to climb in and out
  • Reasonably priced

Cons

  • Ladder can be harder to climb than stairs

Get the Vinyl Works A-Frame Above Ground Swimming Pool Ladder on Amazon at Walmart, or at Target.

Best In-Pool

Best Above Ground Pool Steps Option Confer Step-1 Above Ground Swimming Pool Ladder
Photo: amazon.com

Most pool steps are steep with narrow treads, but these Confer Step-1 treads have 10-inch- deep treads that provide a wider place to plant feet. Nonslip treads provide added stability, while a broad 32-inch profile and two large handrails make them more comfortable to navigate.

An earth-tone color scheme and paneled closed risers make the Step-1 stairs one of the more attractive sets of steps to place inside a pool. Closed sides add to the look while also making these stairs safer by preventing kids from swimming behind them. Assembly is easy thanks to a snap-together design that doesn’t require tools.

Product Specs

  • Height: 47 inches
  • Weight capacity: 400 pounds
  • Type: In-pool

Pros

  • Wide stair treads
  • Attractive design
  • Closed sides for added safety
  • Large handrails

Cons

  • Expensive

Get the Confer Step-1 Above Ground Swimming Pool Ladder on Amazon or at Target.

Best For Safety

Best Above Ground Pool Steps Option XtremepowerUS Safety Step Swimming Pool Ladder
Photo: amazon.com

Safety is the most important feature for any pool exit. This ladder from XtremepowerUS has a wide 31.5-inch profile and deeper 10.5-inch treads, making it easier to climb without slipping. Two large handrails extend down the first three steps, ensuring swimmers can keep a firm hold as they ascend or descend.

Steps and ladders present safety hazards if a swimmer can get behind them, but this set of steps covers both sides to prevent swimmers from getting caught behind them. Mounting brackets that bolt to the deck add stability while preventing the steps from floating.

Product Specs

  • Height: 48 inches
  • Weight capacity: 400 pounds
  • Type: In pool

Pros

  • Deeper treads and wider stairs are safer to climb
  • Two large handrails
  • Covered sides prevent kids from swimming behind stairs

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Takes up a large footprint in the pool

Get the XtremepowerUS Safety Step Swimming Pool Ladder on Amazon, at The Home Depot, or at Walmart.

Best Gated

Best Above Ground Pool Steps Option Vinyl Works AF Gated Entry Above Ground Pool Ladder
Photo: walmart.com

Safety is paramount for any kind of pool, especially for households with younger children. To make sure no little ones can find their way into the pool when it’s unattended, this ladder features a large gate that covers it when not in use. The gate hinges over the ladder, latches, and locks, preventing its use.

In addition to the gate, this ladder has other safety features, including double handrails, a large platform at the top, and “no diving or jumping” signage. Two flanges attach to the pool deck to add stability. The ladder adjusts from a height of 48 to 56 inches.

Product Specs

  • Height: 48 to 56 inches
  • Weight capacity: 300 pounds
  • Type: A-frame

Pros

  • Lockable gate controls access to the pool when not in use
  • A-frame design doesn’t require a pool deck
  • Large handrails for safety

Cons

  • Expensive

Get the Vinyl Works AF Gated Entry Above Ground Pool Ladder at Walmart, on Amazon, or at Target.

Best To Deck

Best Above Ground Pool Steps Option Blue Wave NE113 Easy Pool Step
Photo: walmart.com

Low risers with wide treads and large handrails coupled with 10-inch-deep stairs make this set easier to navigate. Handrails that cover the first three steps provide something firm to hang on to as swimmers enter and exit the pool.

Coverings on the side prevent swimmers from getting caught behind the stairs, while pool mounts keep the steps securely attached to the pool deck, eliminating the need to weigh them down with sandbags. The steps are made from durable polyethylene and can withstand weights of up to 350 pounds.

Product Specs

  • Height: 48 inches
  • Weight capacity: 350 pounds
  • Type: In-pool

Pros

  • Mountable to a deck
  • Wider and deeper treads make them easier to navigate
  • High weight capacity
  • Stout handrails

Cons

  • May not work with some deeper above-ground pools

Get the Blue Wave NE113 Easy Pool Step at Walmart or at Family Pool Fun.

Also Consider

Best Above Ground Pool Steps Option Blue Wave Deluxe In-Pool Step for Above Ground Pools
Photo: amazon.com

This set of steps from Blue Wave fits smaller pools that may not support larger stairs. The stairs extend 22 inches into the pool, yet they’re suitable for deck heights of up to 5 feet.

While it makes the treads notably shallower than other pool steps with 10-inch treads, these stairs make up for it with large handrails that extend from the first step all the way above the deck, giving swimmers support while entering or exiting the pool. In addition to being shallower, the set of stairs, which measures 25 inches in width, is also notably narrower than other pool stairs, which are typically 30 inches wide or more.

Product Specs

  • Height: 48 inches
  • Weight capacity: 300 pounds
  • Type: In-pool

Pros

  • Smaller footprint than other in-pool stairs
  • Large extended handrails
  • Flanges that mount to the deck

Cons

  • Shallow treads make the steps harder to climb

Get the Blue Wave Deluxe In-Pool Step for Above Ground Pools on Amazon, at The Home Depot, or at Walmart.

Our Verdict

Sturdy construction coupled with notable safety features and an attractive look makes the Confer Above Ground Swimming Pool Curve Base Steps a quality choice for most above- ground pools. Those looking for a more affordable option may want to consider the budget-priced Bestway Steel Above Ground Swimming Pool Ladder.

How We Chose the Best Above-Ground Pool Steps

We reviewed 24 sets of pool steps to narrow the field to the top models on the market. To do so, we used a variety of criteria. Safety is the most important factor, so we only chose stairs with ample handrails, anti-slip treads, and barriers that prevent anyone from swimming behind them. When possible, we favored models with lockable gates that block access to the ladder when the pool is not in use.

Durability and stability are also crucial shopping criteria, so we chose steps made from durable plastic resin that can withstand pool chemicals while maintaining a high weight capacity of around 300 pounds. A ladder should not move when someone is using it, so we chose models that would remain stable while in use, leaning toward those with brackets or flanges that allow them to be mounted to a deck.

FAQs

If you’re wondering if your swimming pool needs a set of pool steps or about the specific size necessary for your pool, keep reading for answers to these and other commonly asked questions about these above-ground pool accessories.

Q. Why do you even need above-ground swimming pool steps?

Most above-ground swimming pools are between 48 and 52 inches off the ground, which is too high for even most adults to comfortably climb into the pool from the ground. Even a pool with a deck should have swimming pool stairs or a ladder to allow swimmers to easily exit the pool. Moreover, for a pool to meet local codes, all private pools must have a ladder when the water depth exceeds 5 feet.

Q. How much weight can an above-ground pool ladder or set of steps hold?

An above-ground pool ladder or set of steps can hold at least 300 pounds with some capable of holding well over 600 pounds.

Q. What size ladder do I need for a 52-inch pool?

An A-frame ladder for a 52-inch pool should extend 52 inches up to the 52-inch wall height. The first step on a set of deck pool stairs should be around 45 inches high for an above-ground pool with a 52-inch wall height.

Q. How do you keep above-ground pools steps from floating?

If you’re having trouble keeping pool steps rooted to the floor of the pool, attach hand-size dumbbells to the bottom of the steps using bungee cords or rope. You can also purchase pool weights that fill with sand, which are designed to work with above-ground pools to weigh down the steps.

Q: How do you clean above-ground pools steps?

Remove the steps from the pool, then scrub them with a solution of vinegar and hot water. The cleaner kills algae and mildew while removing stains.