Above-ground pools are a popular and affordable alternative to in-ground pools. They offer all the fun and enjoyment of swimming without a traditional pool's high costs and maintenance requirements. But how much does an above-ground pool cost? In this article, we'll look at the factors influencing above-ground pool cost and help you determine what to expect when budgeting for your backyard oasis.
Factors That Influence Above-Ground Pool Cost
Several factors can influence the cost of an above-ground pool, including:
- Pool Size: The larger the pool, the more expensive it will be. Above-ground pools come in various sizes, from small inflatable models to large oval or round ones that accommodate several people.
- Pool Type: There are three main types of above-ground pools: steel, resin, and aluminum. Steel is the most affordable option, while aluminum is the most expensive. Resin falls somewhere in the middle.
- Pool Installation: Installing an above-ground pool can be a DIY project or require professional installation. DIY installation can save you money, but a professional installation will ensure the pool is properly installed and safe for use.
- Pool Accessories: Above-ground pools require several accessories, including a pool cover, ladder, pump, filter, and maintenance equipment. These accessories can add to the overall cost of the pool.
Average Cost of Above-Ground Pools
The average cost of an above-ground pool can vary greatly depending on the abovementioned factors. Generally, you can expect to spend anywhere from $1,500 to $10,000 for an above-ground pool. Here's a breakdown of the average costs for each factor:
- Pool Size: Small pools (around 12 feet in diameter) can cost around $1,500 to $3,000, while larger pools (24 feet in diameter or more) can cost $5,000 to $10,000 or more.
- Pool Type: Steel pools are the most affordable, with prices ranging from $1,500 to $4,000. Resin pools typically cost between $3,000 and $6,000, while aluminum pools can cost $6,000 to $10,000 or more.
- Pool Installation: DIY installation can cost as little as $200, while professional installation can add $1,000 to $3,000 or more to the cost of the pool.
- Pool Accessories: Accessories such as pool covers, ladders, pumps, filters, and maintenance equipment can add $500 to $2,000 or more to the overall cost of the pool.
Other Costs to Consider
In addition to the cost of the pool itself, there are other costs to consider when budgeting for an above-ground pool. These costs may include:
- Site Preparation: Depending on the condition of your yard, you may need to prepare the site for the pool. This can include removing trees or rocks, leveling the ground, and adding a layer of sand or gravel. Site preparation can cost $500 to $2,000 or more.
- Electrical Work: You'll need an electrical outlet installed near the pool to power the pump and other equipment. This can cost $500 to $1,000 or more.
- Water: Filling an above-ground pool can require thousands of gallons of water, adding significantly to your water bill.
- Maintenance Costs: Above-ground pools require regular maintenance, including cleaning, chemical treatments, and equipment repairs or replacement. These costs can add up over time.
More on Installation
Most above-ground pools require professional installation, adding $1,000 to $3,000 to the final bill. These experts are prepared to handle challenges, including sloped lawns and patios and adding accessories like ladders and decks.
Stores like Walmart and Sam’s Club sell above-ground pools that homeowners can set and fill independently. These types of pools typically range between $100 and $800.
Take a look at how you can install an above-ground pool.
Depending on the quality of the pool kit you choose, you can expect the pool structure to last somewhere between 7 and 15 years. The lining will likely need to be replaced five to nine years after purchase.
If you need the pool for your child’s last summer home before college, the set-and-fill type may be perfect for your family. These types of pools have a life expectancy of one to three years. When choosing which pool to buy, factor in the cost of replacing the pool every few years.
Pool Tools and Accessories
Maintaining the cleanliness of your pool is of the utmost importance. How much does an above-ground pool cost to maintain? The answer depends on the quality of materials you use and how often your pool will need to be treated with chemicals.
Three types of filters work with above-ground pools: Diatomaceous Earth (DE), sand, and cartridge filters. Depending on your needs, a filter can cost between $50 and $400. Go to this post to read about each type of filter.
The cartridge filter is the cheapest of the three, with a high-quality filter costing less than $100. The paper-like material is attached to a plastic cylinder and fitted into a small tank.
Water passes through the large surface area of the cartridge, working best at low speeds.
A sand filter operates in a similar way to a cartridge filter. Water is passed through sand, which grabs the dirt on its way through, trapping it in the tank.
Sand filters will add between $100 and $200 to your pool accessories fee.
The most expensive, and arguably the most proficient, above-ground pool filter is the DE filter. This type of filter uses diatomaceous earth, which consists of the skeletons of single-celled organisms, to filter the water.
Depending on the quality and efficiency, DE filters are priced between $200 and $800.
Regardless of filter choice, additional costs will exist, including replacing the filtering mechanism. Sand and DE filters require backwashing to clean, adding to your water bill.
See my post on the best above-ground pool filters.
To maintain a clean and healthy pool environment, you should test the pH and chlorine levels of the pool biweekly.
These test kits can use colored solutions or test strips to test pH, chlorine, bromine, calcium levels, and total alkalinity. The method doesn’t greatly affect the price of a pool testing kit, which generally costs between $10 and $30.
You must also purchase chlorine, scale control products, and a calcium hardness increaser. The amount you spend per month on these chemicals varies greatly between households.
To maintain the cleanliness of your pool, you will also need to purchase a pool vacuum, brushes designed for pool cleaning, and a tool to skim debris from the top of the water. Depending on the quality of the items you purchase, you can expect to spend an additional one to several hundred dollars.
According to the Fairfax County Water Authority, the average price for 1,000 gallons of water in the United States is $1.50. A small pool can easily require 1,600 gallons of water. Filling your pool is relatively cheap compared to the price of the pool and installation.
Two ways to fill a pool are gradually with your standard garden hose or a water delivery service. Delivery fees depend on where you live, the time of year, and how much water your pool requires.
Choosing to buy a pool is a big decision. Exactly how much does an above-ground pool cost? The answer depends greatly on the purchasing and style choices you make. New pool owners can expect to spend a few hundred dollars annually in maintenance and an initial cost between $2,500 and $10,000.
Taking the median numbers, you can expect to spend roughly $3,000 for the pool kit and another $2,000 for installation. A chemical testing kit will cost $20. To maintain the pool, you can expect to spend $400 on brushes, chemicals, skimmers, and vacuums. Your chosen filter will add an estimated $150 to your total cost.
The approximate $5,570 you will spend to purchase, install and clean your pool will be well worth it as you step in the water, taking a break from the summer.