The Best Above-Ground Pool Steps of 2024

Ensure guests can safely enter and exit the pool by installing a quality set of stairs.

Best Overall

The Best Above-Ground Pool Steps Option: Confer Plastics Inc. Above Ground Curve Inpool Steps

Confer Plastics Inc. CCX-AG Above Ground Curve Steps

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Best Bang For The Buck

The Best Above-Ground Pool Steps Option: Bestway Flowclear 52-Inch Pool Ladder

Bestway Flowclear 52-Inch Above Gound Pool Ladder

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Upgrade Pick

The Best Above-Ground Pool Steps Option: Confer Plastics Inc. Confer Steps With Curve Add-On

Confer Plastics Inc. CCX-ADD Above Ground Curve Steps

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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 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. We interviewed pool expert Rafi Friedman, president of Coastal Luxury Outdoors, an outdoor pool and living area specialist based in Jacksonville, Florida, to get his professional opinion on what shoppers will want to look for. 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 Plastics Inc. CCX-AG Above Ground Curve Steps
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Bestway Flowclear 52-Inch Above Gound Pool Ladder
  3. UPGRADE PICK: Confer Plastics Inc. CCX-ADD Above Ground Curve Steps
  4. BEST ADJUSTABLE: Confer Plastics Inc. 6000X Eliminator Inpool Ladder
  5. BEST WIDE: Blue Wave NE113 Above Ground Easy Pool Step
  6. BEST LADDER: Vinyl Works SLA A-Frame Above Ground Pool Ladder
  7. BEST IN-POOL: Confer Plastics Inc. Step-1X Above Ground Pool Steps
  8. BEST FOR SAFETY: XtremePowerUS Above Ground Heavy-Duty Step System
  9. BEST GATED: Vinyl Works AF Adjustable Gated Entry Pool Ladder
  10. ALSO CONSIDER: Vinyl Works NE1160T Deluxe Above Ground In-Pool Step 
 Best Above Ground Pool Steps
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How We Chose the Best Above-Ground Pool Steps

Friedman offers his professional opinion on the best materials to shop for in a set of steps for a pool: “UV-resistant plastic is usually the best choice here. While you can find stairs with metal components, I’m always wary of those with above-ground pools since there’s a higher risk of scratching your pool lining and causing a leak.” He also adds that “the one issue with plastic steps is that they’ll need some kind of ballast—usually sand—to keep from floating.” With our lineup, we wanted to offer a wide range of options for different needs. 

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. An above-ground pool 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. 

Our Top Picks

The list below narrows the field to some of the best above-ground 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

Confer Plastics Inc. CCX-AG Above Ground Curve Steps

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Product Specs

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

Pros

  • Durable construction with enough weight capacity for most users
  • Nonslip treads and 2 handrails provide safer access in and out of the pool
  • Easy to assemble; not too many small parts to deal with

Cons

  • Must be weighted with sand to prevent floating; can be quite time-consuming

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 curved steps 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 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.

Get the Confer Plastics Inc. CCX-AG above-ground pool steps at Amazon, Walmart, or Doheny’s.

Best Bang for the Buck

Bestway Flowclear 52-Inch Above Gound Pool Ladder

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Product Specs

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

Pros

  • Affordably priced compared to similar options
  • Sturdy steel construction is durable and long lasting
  • Platform with high railing makes it easier to enter and exit the pool

Cons

  • Ladder rails can rust if painted coating chips off

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 offers 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.

Get the Bestway above-ground pool steps at Amazon, Tractor Supply Co., The Home Depot, Walmart, or Target.

Upgrade Pick

Confer Plastics Inc. CCX-ADD Above Ground Curve Steps

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Product Specs

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

Pros

  • Broad steps are easier to use; more space to place feet
  • Creates attractive look with elegant curves
  • Nonslip treads and hand railings add safety

Cons

  • Quite expensive compared to similar options
  • Takes up a significant amount of in-pool space

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 is also attractive. Its big footprint makes it suitable for larger above-ground pools.

Get the Confer Plastics Inc. CCX-ADD above-ground pool steps at Amazon, Walmart, or Doheny’s

Best Adjustable

Confer Plastics Inc. 6000X Eliminator Inpool Ladder

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Product Specs 

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

Pros

  • Adjustable height easily fits most pool sizes
  • Sturdy resin plastic construction can last through heavy use
  • Wide top platform and high railings are easy to grab
  • Nonslip treads provide a little more security while climbing

Cons

  • Treads are smaller and narrower than a set of regular stairs

Finding the right-size ladder or stairs for pool systems can be a challenge. The Confer in-pool 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.

Get the Confer Plastics Inc. 6000X above-ground pool steps at Amazon, Pool Supply Unlimited, or The Pool Supplies Superstore

Best Wide

Blue Wave NE113 Above Ground Easy Pool Step

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Product Specs

  • Height: 46 inches
  • Weight capacity: 300 pounds 
  • Type: In-pool

Pros

  • Wider and deeper treads make them easier to navigate
  • High weight capacity and stout handrails suitable for most users
  • Can be easily mounted to a deck if required

Cons

  • May not work with some deeper above-ground pools

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. These wide steps are made from durable polyethylene and can support weights of up to 300 pounds.

Get the Blue Wave above-ground pool steps at Amazon, Walmart, or Family Pool Fun.

Best Ladder

Vinyl Works SLA A-Frame Above Ground Pool Ladder

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Product Specs

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

Pros

  • Slide-lock design enhances sturdiness and safety
  • Adjustable height works with a wide range of pool depths
  • Large handrails make it easier to climb in and out

Cons

  • Ladder can be harder to climb than stairs for some users

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.

Get the Vinyl Works SLA above-ground pool ladder at Amazon, Walmart, or Target.

Best In-Pool

Confer Plastics Inc. Step-1X Above Ground Pool Steps

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Product Specs

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

Pros

  • Wide stair treads are easier to climb for most users
  • Attractive design looks great in most pool areas
  • Closed sides and large handrails for added safety

Cons

  • Can be difficult to prevent the steps from floating; requires sand

Most pool steps are steep with narrow treads, but these Confer Step-1X 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-1X 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.

Get the Confer Plastics Inc. Step-1X above-ground pool steps at Amazon, Target, or The Pool Factory.

Best for Safety

XtremePowerUS Above Ground Heavy-Duty Step System

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Product Specs

  • Height: 44.75 inches
  • Weight capacity: 400 pounds 
  • Type: In-pool

Pros

  • Deeper treads and wider stairs are safer to climb for most users
  • 2 large handrails provide additional safety and security
  • Covered sides prevent kids from swimming behind stairs

Cons

  • Larger-size steps take up a substantial footprint in the pool

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.

Get the XtremePowerUS above-ground pool steps at Amazon or Walmart.

Best Gated

Vinyl Works AF Adjustable Gated Entry Pool Ladder

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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; easier to install
  • Includes large handrails for safety while users get in and out of the pool

Cons

  • Screws may come loose over time and require tightening

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.

Get the Vinyl Works AF above-ground pool steps at Amazon, Walmart, or Target.

Also Consider

Vinyl Works NE1160T Deluxe Above Ground In-Pool Step

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Product Specs

  • Height: 43.75 inches
  • Weight capacity: 300 pounds 
  • Type: In-pool

Pros

  • Smaller footprint than other in-pool stairs; ideal for smaller pools
  • Large extended handrails are great for giving users more stability
  • Flanges that mount to the deck are easy to install

Cons

  • Shallow treads can make the steps harder to climb

This set of steps from Vinyl Works 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.

Get the Vinyl Works Deluxe above-ground pool steps at The Home Depot or Walmart.

Jump to Our Top Picks

Best Above Ground Pool Steps
Photo: istock.com Evgeniy1

What to Consider When Choosing Above-Ground Pool Steps

When shopping for a set of steps for above-ground pools, 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, it’s important to first understand the different types. A-frame models, for example, will work with freestanding above-ground pools. Similar in design to the best step ladder, this type of stair 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 pool floor.

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. Most ladder steps for pool areas consist of stainless steel, which is stronger than plastic. Many pool stair manufacturers list a weight limit 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 steps for above ground pool systems 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 above-ground pool systems. 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 and other safety standards 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.

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 ladder or set of steps for a swimming pool 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 pool wall. There are many above-ground pool landscaping ideas to help ensure your ladder fits in aesthetically with the rest of your yard.

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. You can have your pool steps installed along with your pool by one of the top pool installation companies

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

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

According to Friedman, there are also certain steps you can take as part of your usual above-ground pool maintenance to prolong the life of your pool stairs. “If your pool has an offseason, you should definitely remove your steps before winterizing your pool, thoroughly drain and dry them, and store them in an enclosed area like a shed or garage.”

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Tony Carrick

Contributing Writer

Tony Carrick is a freelance writer who has contributed to BobVila.com since 2020. He writes how-to articles and product reviews in the areas of lawn and garden, home maintenance, home improvement, auto maintenance, housewares, and technology.

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