Many homeowners dream of lounging by thier very own pool with a cocktail in hand on a warm summer day. But installing an in-ground pool is quite an expensive and complicated move, leading many to opt for the more manageable option of above-ground pool. So, how much can you expect to pay for an above-ground pool?
Homeowners in the US typically pay between $1,500 and $6,000 for a professionally installed above-ground pool. The average cost is around $2,700. Annual maintenance costs can vary but typically range between $1,000 and $1,500, depending on the size, location, season, and other factors.
Above-ground pools are much more affordable than in-ground installations, but they offer many of the same benefits. Still, there’s a lot to learn and consider before you head off to your local pool supply store. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about above-ground pools and what they cost.
How Much Does an Above-Ground Pool Cost?
Getting an above-ground pool professionally installed typically costs somewhere between $1,500 and $6,000, with the average cost falling at around $2,700.
Meanwhile, homeowners can expect to pay anywhere from $800 to $3,500 for the pool itself, depending on the size, brand, and additional features.
Factors That Determine an Above-Ground Pool Price
There are several factors that impact the price of a new above-ground pool installation. Factors include size, material, landscape, brand, and more.
As you might have guessed, the size of an above-ground pool will greatly impact the cost. Smaller pools made for families of four to five will cost less than larger pools designed for seven to eight swimmers. Larger above-ground installations also take longer to install, which can add to your total expenses. Here are some price estimates based on size:
- 12’ Round: $1,100 to $1,850
- 18’ Round: $1,500 to $2,450
- 24’ Round: $1,800 to $3,000
- 30’ Round: $2,400 to $4,200
The depth and shape of your pool also impact the price. Deeper pools cost more than shallow installations. Above-ground pools usually range between 4 and 4.5 feet. You can find above-ground pools in round, oval, and rectangular shapes. Round above-ground pools are usually the least expensive to install.
Above-ground pools are typically made of steel, resin, or aluminum. Each material has advantages, disadvantages, and best-use cases. Above-ground pools made of steel are typically more affordable, while aluminum pools are usually more expensive.
Here’s an overview of the material options and some of their most important features:
- Steel takes a long time to rust but is prone to corrosion and oxidation.
- Steel is typically the least expensive option.
- Some steel pools are designed with rust-resistant walls.
- Steel is the strongest above-ground pool material.
- Resin doesn’t become hot to the touch compared to steel and aluminum.
- Resin is rust-resistant and won’t oxidize over time.
- Resin pools are cheaper than aluminum but cost more than steel.
- Resin is at risk of cracking and fading due to cold temperatures and UV exposure.
- Aluminum is rust and corrosion-resistant.
- Aluminum is typically the most expensive option.
- Aluminum can handle cold temperatures and winter weather better than resin pools.
- Aluminum weighs less than steel, making it easy to assemble and transport.
- Aluminum can develop holes in the liner due to oxidation.
Type of Installation
Professional services aren’t always required for above-ground pool installations. Some pool kits come with easy-to-follow instructions. If you’re comfortable with similar projects, you can usually assemble a pool kit yourself.
However, professional above-ground pool installations can cost between $800 and $3,500, depending on the project.
Brand and Manufacturer
The brand of pool you purchase will impact the quality and price. Higher-quality pools last longer and require fewer repairs. Higher-quality pools also cost more. Here are some of the most common above-ground pool manufacturers:
- Aqua Leader
The season you have a pool installed will also impact the overall cost. Installing an above-ground pool in the off-season can usually help you save money. Most professional services offer discounted rates in the off-season, as they’re less busy and the weather conditions aren’t as demanding.
Be sure to consult your professional pool installers to determine whether they offer discounted rates depending on the season.
Above-ground pools aren’t exactly small. A pool will take up a decent amount of yard space, and in some cases, you’ll need to prepare the ground or landscape before an above-ground pool installation. Some services you might need include:
- Removing old trees, stumps, or boulders.
- Leveling out bumpy or hilly terrain to allow the pool to sit flat on the ground.
- Landscaping the surrounding area after the pool is installed to account for any damages.
Landscaping fees depend on several different factors. However, you can expect to pay somewhere between $350 to well over $1,000, depending on the scope of the project.
In some cases, above-ground pools can result in higher homeowners insurance rates due to the increased risk of injury. You’ll need to consult your insurance provider to determine whether your pool is compliant and what your policy covers.
You might need to install protective fencing to be covered by your insurance. Your insurance policy might cover a guest’s injuries or accidents, depending on the situation.
Additional Pool Kit Items
Be sure to consider which items are included in an above-ground pool kit before purchasing. Some kits include basic items like filters, ladders, and pool covers.
You might need to purchase additional pieces of equipment or items if they’re not included in your pool kit. You’ll also need to consider replacements if the included equipment is damaged or low-quality.
Vinyl Liner Replacements
Above-ground pools can include a vinyl pool liner. Vinyl pool liners typically need to be replaced every seven to ten years. Replacement vinyl liners can cost between $350 to $1,500, depending on the shape, size, and brand.
Additional Features and Add-Ons
Now you know about some of the factors that affect the cost of an above-ground pool installation. You might want add-ons, such as decks, covers, lights, and more. Here are some common features, add-ons, and pool services to consider to help you determine extra costs.
Above-ground pool decks have several benefits, including nicer views, entertainment space, safety, and visual appeal. Above-ground pool decks can cost anywhere from $2,500 to over $11,000, depending on the scope of the project.
The costs are typically around $15 to $30 per square foot, depending on the design and materials. Smaller, DIY above-ground pool decks can range from $800 to $3,000.
Ladders and Steps
Most above-ground pool kits include a ladder, but you might want a higher-quality product or a set of stairs. Above-ground pool ladders cost around $150. Pool steps are generally more expensive options, costing around $200 to $250.
It can be useful to hire a professional electrician to oversee the installation of electric equipment such as pool pumps, heaters, and filters. Electricians range in price but usually charge around $50 to $100 an hour to set up pool equipment. However, professional installations ensure that your equipment is safely installed and in working order, which is crucial.
Heaters and Pumps
Heaters can be useful if you want to use your pool during windy days, spring, or early fall. The average cost for installing an above-ground pool heater varies from $170 to over $2,000, depending on the scope of the project.
There are several different above-ground pool heaters to choose from, including solar, gas, pumps, and more. You can increase your pool’s water temperature by over 20 degrees Fahrenheit with some heaters. Above-ground heaters are excellent choices for extending your swimming season.
Pool covers lockout leaves, pests, and other debris, keeping your water clean for longer. Pool covers can also help prevent accidents, injuries, and drowning. Most above-ground pool covers cost between $100 and $400, but high-end products can cost over $1,000 in some cases.
Most homeowners don’t factor in the costs of lighting for above-ground pools, as they can’t be installed in the same methods as in-ground options. That being said, floating and underwater lights are excellent additions. Above-ground pool lighting ranges in price between $25 to $120 per light.
Additional water features can transform your above-ground pool and enhance your yard’s aesthetic. There aren’t as many options as in-ground pools, but there are several options to choose from, including waterfalls or small fountains. Water features can cost between $30 and $125 in most cases.
Above-Ground Pool Maintenance Costs
Above-ground pools require maintenance and servicing, just like in-ground installations. The price will vary depending on the location, size, season, and more. Pool maintenance costs can range between $5 to $15 for DIY solutions. Professional services will cost somewhere between $90 and $150 per month, depending on the scope of the project.
The total annual costs for above-ground pool costs vary, but you might expect to pay between $1,000 and $1,500 for chemicals, electricity, and routine maintenance.
Let’s take a deeper look into above-ground pool maintenance costs below.
Upfront Maintenance Costs
There are upfront maintenance costs and requirements for a new above-ground pool installation. You might purchase chlorine generators, chemicals in bulk, cleaning equipment, floaties, and other products. Here are some price ranges to keep in mind:
- Skimmer: $20 to $60
- Filter Cartridge: $8 to $35
- Pool Brush: $10 to $18
- Pool Vacuum: $28 to $126
- Test Kit: $10 to $22
- Chemicals: $60 to $180
Costs Depend on the Season
The costs of continual above-ground pool maintenance vary depending on the season. As you might guess, the majority of the maintenance costs occur during the summer and warmer months. The spring and fall seasons are less expensive, and you might not pay anything during the winter.
For example, you might pay $0 to $35 each month from November through February. However, you might pay $80 to $100 each month from May through August. You might expect to pay between $400 and $900 for chemicals and electricity annually.
These costs will depend on the size of your pool, location, chemicals, and electricity rates.
Pool Cleaning and Closing Fees
Above-ground pool maintenance costs can include cleaning and winterizing as well. You’ll need to close and winterize your pool right before the winter. The costs to professionally winterize a pool can cost over $250 for final cleaning, chemical adjustment, protecting equipment, and covering the pool.
Although it isn’t mandatory, professional cleaning services are also an option for above-ground pools. You might spend $150 per cleaning service depending on the size, type, and scope of the project.
Above-Ground Pool Liner Replacement Cost
Above-ground pools can include vinyl liners that need to be replaced. Lower-quality liners might only last one to three years. Good-quality, heavy gauge vinyl liners usually last between five to eight years, depending on the circumstances.
Above-ground pool liner replacements can cost between $350 and $1,500 (including installation) depending on the quality, size, style, brand, and more. If your pool liner lasts five years, you should add $70 to $300 on yearly maintenance fees.
Pump Motor Replacements
Pool pumps have two parts: the pump and the electric motor. The pump will last longer than the electric motor. Electric pump motors usually last around five years before they need to be replaced. However, this will vary depending on where you live and the climate. Pump motors last longer in colder climates because they aren’t used as often.
Electric pool pump motors cost around $400 to replace, including parts and labor. Since they typically last five years, you can add around $80 per year for maintenance fees.
Filter Repair/Cartridge Replacements
Above-ground pools can be used with three types of filters. Filter options include cartridge, sand, and D.E filters. All of these options include long-term maintenance fees of some kind.
Cartridge filters might be the preferred option. However, the cartridge element inside needs to be replaced every three to five years. The average filter element costs around $75, depending on the quality and size.
Sand filters include multi-port valves that run into issues at around the five-year mark and will require repair or replacement. Some homeowners also replace the sand inside, but this may or may not be necessary. The fees can vary but typically range between $20 to $50.
D.E filters need maintenance around every five years as well. D.E filters include interior grids that can break down and develop holes. The fees vary, but replacing a D.E filter ranges between $20 and $50.
Total Maintenance Costs
The total maintenance costs for an above-ground pool depend on location, size, season, and more. You might expect to pay between $90 and $150 a month for professional services, depending on the scope of the project. DIY solutions can be much more affordable and cost between $5 to $15 in some cases.
However, the average annual maintenance costs for above-ground pools range between $1,000 and $1,500 for chemical, electricity, and routine maintenance. These price ranges will vary and include maintenance fees that don’t happen each year.
Is an Above-Ground Pool Worth It?
Above-ground pools have several pros, cons, and best-use cases. Let’s take a deeper look at the advantages and disadvantages of a new above-ground pool installation.
Easy to Install and Remove
In-ground pools require professional services like excavation, land preparation, insulation, and more. Above-ground pool installations are much more straightforward and can even be a fun DIY project. Above-ground pool installations are typically less labor-intensive and much faster to complete.
They also don’t impact your yard as much as in-ground pool installations. You can easily remove an above-ground pool without professional services, landscaping, or yard damage. It’s also possible to resell an above-ground pool or transport it if you move.
Above-ground pools are much more affordable than in-ground installations. In-ground pools can cost from $28,00 to $55,000, depending on the scope of the project.
New above-ground pools usually start between 1,500 and $6,000. DIY projects can be even more affordable, ranging between $800 to $3,500. This Fallston option (on Amazon), an 18-ft-by-33-ft oval shaped kit, goes for ~$6k.
One of the reasons above-ground pools are less expensive is because they don’t require as much labor and materials. You can include additional features or decks because above-ground pools have lower upfront costs, giving them another advantage.
Lower Maintenance Requirements
Above-ground pools typically require less maintenance than in-ground installations. The elevation helps prevent dirt, bugs, and debris from sinking into the water.
It’s easier to install above-ground pool covers, which also help to keep them clean. Damage and holes can happen occasionally, but the repairs are typically much more affordable comparatively.
Above-ground pools are usually safer than in-ground installations. Above-ground pools aren’t as deep as in-ground options, with depths ranging from 48 to 52 inches.
You can easily get in and out of above-ground pools thanks to the edges and handles. Because they’re above-ground, it’s less likely that children, pets, or wildlife will suffer accidents or injuries.
Above-ground pools have an average lifespan between 10 and 15 years, but regular maintenance can add even more time. Unfortunately, that’s around half the lifespan of in-ground installations. Severe weather conditions, such as storms, wind, or heavy wind, can damage the lining and walls of an above-ground pool.
Damage can result in thousands of gallons of water spilling into the yard, resulting in more repairs and fees.
It’s possible to upgrade above-ground pools with heaters, custom lights, and water features. Unfortunately, the designs are usually limited and less visually appealing than in-ground pools. Above-ground pools have a maximum depth of 52 inches and a width of around 41 feet.
These limitations can make above-ground pools feel less enjoyable than in-ground installations. The depth also makes it so you can’t install diving boards or other unique features, limiting versatility even further.
One of the main downsides to above-ground pools is that they can look cheaper and less visually appealing than in-ground installations. Some above-ground models look a bit like kiddie pools or cheap hot tubs.
It’s possible to improve an above-ground pool aesthetic with wood-paneling, landscaping, or patio decorations, but it’s still not as stylish as an in-ground installation.
No Increase to Home Value
Unfortunately, above-ground pools don’t provide much resale value or increase your home’s market value. Pools can be a gamble when it comes to a return on investment, but in-ground installations are more likely to increase property value. Above-ground pools are temporary fixtures and might even ward off some potential buyers.
FAQ: Above-Ground Pools
There’s a lot to learn when considering an above-ground pool installation. Here are some frequently asked questions to help you stay informed.
How Often Should You Change Above-Ground Pool Water?
Generally speaking, you should drain and refill your pool water every five to seven years. In some cases, you might need to replace your pool water after three years.
It’s best to drain and refill your pool in mild temperatures to avoid damage from the sun and heat. Be sure to consult your professional pool maintenance services for the most accurate information.
It’s possible to reduce your water draining frequency with proper maintenance routines. Proper maintenance will control harmful elements and keep your pool safe. Draining a pool can be a complex task, so it might be best to hire professional maintenance services to avoid unnecessary damage.
How Long Do Above-Ground Pools Last?
Above-ground pools typically last between 10 and 15 years, depending on the quality and maintenance routine. Routine maintenance can easily add more time and increase the lifespan to upwards of 20 years. However, pool liners won’t last as long and will need to be replaced every five years, on average. Here are some signs you need to replace your above ground pool:
- Your pool is more than ten years old: It might be best to invest in repairs or replacements if your above-ground pool is older than ten years. That being said, you might just be encountering issues with the vinyl liner and will have to inspect the condition.
- Your pool is leaking: Unfortunately, your above-ground pool will start to leak over time. How long it takes for your pool to develop leaks will depend on several different factors. If your leak is severe, you might need to replace your pool entirely. If you’re filling your pool more than usual or notice water pooling around it, you might have a leak.
- Your pool walls are rusty: Your above-ground pool can start to rust depending on the material. Rust typically forms underneath the vinyl liner. Rust might not be a significant factor and can be removed by sanding or using rust inhibitors. However, severe rust issues might require replacements or heavy-duty repairs.
Can You Heat an Above-Ground Pool?
Yes, it’s possible to heat an above-ground pool, and there are several options available. Some options include solar covers, gas heaters, heat pumps, and solar heat. Above-ground pool heaters can extend your swimming season by weeks or even months.
Solar pool covers (on Amazon) heat up during the day and retain warmth during the night. Solar pool covers can also reduce evaporation which can help you save money and water in the process. Using a solar cover with another type of heater is an excellent way to retain warmth for longer periods.
Above-ground pool gas heaters are one of the strongest, most effective, and fastest ways to heat your pool’s water and increase your swimming season. Gas heaters can use propane or natural gasses. In some cases, they can increase water temperature by 30ºF or more.
Above-ground pool heat pumps are similar to a home’s heating unit. The pump soaks up heat from the air and transfers the warmth into the pool. These devices are designed for warmer climates and can easily keep the water above 50-60ºF. Heat pumps are usually more affordable to use than gas heaters, depending on the climate.
Solar heaters are another cost-effective method for heating above-ground pools. Solar heaters are most effective in climates with large amounts of sunlight and warmth. Solar heaters can be installed on the roof, next to the pool, or on the floor. These heaters soak up the sun’s rays and convert them into heat. In some cases, solar heaters can increase a pool’s temperature by 20ºF.
What to Put Under an Above-Ground Pool
Generally speaking, most homeowners use a 6″ x 6″ square paver to level their above-ground pool and then spread out a sand pad over the pool location. The depth of the sand should be around 2 inches for above-ground pools.
It’s essential that the pool’s bottom be smooth instead of perfectly level. There are other options available, including commercial products, concrete pads, or solid foam.
Where to Buy Above-Ground Pools
You can purchase above-ground pool and pool kits from popular stores, including Lowe’s, Home Depot, Amazon, and Walmart. Local pool supply stores are usually the best places to shop for above-ground installations. Be sure to consult the staff or pool installers for the most accurate information available.
What Is the Tallest Above-Ground Pool?
The tallest above-ground pool is 54″. Standard pool wall sizes range between 48″ and 52″. The waterline usually sits 8″ lower than the walls, as the pool is not filled all the way to the top. The limited depth to above-ground pools is one of their disadvantages and will prevent you from installing diving boards.
Can an Above-Ground Pool Be Salt Water?
It’s possible to convert an above-ground chlorine pool to saltwater. Converting to saltwater usually costs between $600 and $1,100, depending on the size and the scope of the project.
You’ll require professional services to install a salt water chlorination system. Be sure your above-ground pool model is compatible with saltwater before purchasing.
Do I Need a Permit for an Above Ground Pool?
In some cases, you’ll need to obtain a permit before you can install an above-ground pool. Be sure to consult your local authorities and be apprised of relevant codes that can affect your location and project.
How Long Does It Take to Install an Above-Ground Pool?
Installing a new above-ground pool can take anywhere from one to three days, depending on the size, location, services, and other factors. You can ask your contractor about how long the project will take if you’re using professional services. DIY projects might take more or less time.