Above Ground Pool Cost: What You Need to Know Before You Buy

above ground pool cost

There are a lot of decisions to make when you’re installing a pool. Choosing the best pool for your family can be daunting, so it helps to know your options. Naturally, your first question will be, “How much does an above ground pool cost?” to answer that, here’s everything you need to know before buying.

The Cost of an Above Ground Pool

above ground pool cost

The average cost of an above-ground pool is $2,800, which is much lower than an in-ground pool. In the United States, the costs range from $1,700 to $13,400, depending on various factors.

Factors that Affect Above Ground Pool Cost 

Above-ground pools are affordable for many people who want a pool. Installing an above-ground pool is an excellent DIY project, and since labor to install an above-ground pool costs between $750 to $3,000, many people choose to save money by installing it themselves. 

Above-ground pools are purchased as kits; the most significant factor affecting the cost is the type of kit you choose. Kits range in price from the cheapest pool kits, which start at about $100, to expensive pool kits that cost over $12,000.

The size, type of materials, and additional features all contribute to the total cost of your project. 

Average Cost of Above Ground Pools 

Most people pay less than $3,000 for an above-ground pool, but it depends on the size and type of pool you purchase and whether or not you install it yourself.

Size, shape, and style

Above-ground pools come in various shapes and styles. The most common shapes are round, oval, and rectangular. 

  • Round pools–cost $2,000 to $10,000 and come in many different sizes
  • Oval pools–cost $3,000 to $12,000 and are the best choice if you want to use your pool for swimming laps
  • Rectangular pools–cost $10,000 to $25,000 and range in size from 12’ x 20’ to 16’ x 32

In addition to the size and shape, you have the option of choosing an above-ground, semi-inground, or recessed pool style. You can’t install all above ground pools below the ground’s surface, but some types can be completely recessed. However, the further your pool is buried in the ground, the more it will cost.

Here are the average costs to install common above-ground pool sizes and styles without additional features:

Size and styleCost of poolLabor to install
12’ round$1,100$750
18’ round$1,500$950
24’ round$1,800$1,200
30’ round$2,400$1,800
12’ x 24’ $1,500$1,800
15’ x 30’ $2,000$2,000
18’ x 33’ $2,600$2,400

Above ground pool frames

There are several different types of above-ground pool frames, each with advantages and disadvantages. Here are the four main types, starting with the least expensive option.

Frame typeProsCons
SteelDurable and strong, relatively low maintenance, inexpensiveSteel rusts over time and can be hot to the touch
ResinLess expensive than aluminum, rustproof, aesthetically pleasing, isn’t hot to the touchCracks and fades over time
AluminumLightweight, durable, resistant to cold temperaturesExpensive, not as strong as steel
WoodNatural look, attractive, easy to customize, durable, doesn’t rustExpensive, susceptible to rot and decay


above ground cost

Decking is another important factor in the cost of an above-ground pool. Depending on the style of deck you choose, you can pay anywhere from $2,800 to $10,000 to have a pool deck installed.

The average pool decking cost is $15 to $30 per square foot.

Steps and ladders

pool ladder

Many above-ground pool kits include a ladder, but they can also be purchased separately for about $165. Alternatively, you can choose from many types of pool steps to use with your above-ground pool.

While they cost more than ladders, they are usually safer, and you can purchase them from major retailers for $200 to $300.


Above ground pool cost can also change if you want heated water. If you choose this route, you will get more use throughout the year.

Expect to pay between $170 to $2,200 for a pool heater.


above ground pool cost

Pool covers are a critical safety measure for people with small children and pets. A pool cover is a worthwhile investment at an average cost of $100 to $375.


above ground pool fence

Above ground pools are safer with a fence, so be sure to check your local regulations. Pool safety fences are required in some areas to protect small children and pets from accidents.

Comparison of Above Ground Pool Cost with In-Ground Pools 

in-ground pool

While an above-ground pool costs about $2,800, an in-ground pool costs much more. Most people pay between $28,000 to $55,000 to install an in-ground pool, which doesn’t include additional features like fencing, decking, and landscaping.

Above-ground pools are affordable for people who can’t afford an in-ground pool, but that’s not the only benefit. Above-ground pools don’t require the same commitment that in-ground pools do. If you decide to, you can pack up your above-ground pool and move it. 

Above-ground pools are also easier to care for because they are usually smaller and less complicated. The fact that you can install one yourself will save you money on installation, but it also means that you can fix it yourself, which will save you money on maintenance.

Unlike in-ground pools, which add about 5% to 8% to the value of your home, above-ground pools don’t increase your property value, meaning your property taxes won’t increase with an above-ground pool. 

Lastly, even though in-ground pools enhance the value of your home, they don’t have an impressive ROI.  If you plan on selling your home soon, an in-ground pool may not be worth it.

Above Ground Pool Installation Costs

Just like the cost of the pool kit, the installation costs of an above-ground pool vary considerably depending on several factors. Explore a variety of factors to determine where you can cut costs to save money, including a comparison of the pros and cons of DIY and professional installations.

Factors that Affect Above Ground Pool Installation Cost 

Here are the most common factors that affect the cost of installing an above-ground pool. 

Permits and regulations

Permits are required for above-ground pools in many states. Before you purchase one, be sure to check with your city or county to determine what the permitting requirements are.

Regulations may also require pool fencing and decking.


Where you choose to put your pool in your yard can contribute significantly to the installation costs. Your pool needs to be installed on level ground, so if you are putting it in a sloped yard, you must excavate.

Additional expenses like tree removal can drive up the overall cost of your project by a few thousand dollars. Also, if the spot you choose for your pool is difficult to access, it can make installation harder, and it will cost more.


Some pool kits can be installed partly or completely underground. Semi-inground and recessed pools cost more to install, and the deeper your pool is buried, the more excavation costs you will incur.


Regional labor costs can affect the cost of any home improvement project, especially seasonal projects like pools. Labor tends to cost more in areas with high living costs, but depending on your skills, budget, and personal schedule, paying someone to install an above-ground pool may be your best option.


Any landscaping costs associated with the installation of your pool, such as resodding your lawn, will add to the installation costs. Because above-ground pools aren’t as attractive as in-ground pools, many people choose to plant flower beds or shrubs to improve the aesthetics of their pool area.

Other landscaping features like poolside grill areas and pergolas will enhance the appearance and usability of your pool area.

Average Cost of Above Ground Pool Installation 

Installation will also affect the above ground pool cost. Generally, you’re looking at $2,800, with costs ranging from $1,700 to $13,400, depending on installation costs and the type of materials used.

Comparison of DIY Installation vs Professional Installation 

If you have the necessary skills, you can lower the cost by DIYing your pool installation, but you can also avoid costly mistakes by hiring a professional. Even though above-ground pool kits come with handy instructions and all the necessary supplies, not everyone has the time or skills to tackle a big project like above-ground pool installation. 

If you hire a professional, the average labor cost for above-ground pool installation is $825 to $3,235. Professionals can typically install a pool within two or three days, depending on the size, and you can rest assured that it was installed correctly and safely.

How to Install an Above Ground Pool

When planning your above-ground pool installation, there’s a lot to consider. From choosing the right location to preparing your site, here are some tips and recommendations for installing an above-ground pool.

Planning Your Above Ground Pool Installation 

When planning your above-ground ground pool installation, you must determine where to put it, what size to purchase, and where the deck will go. Here are the top things to consider when choosing the best spot for your pool:

  • You need easy access to water and electricity.
  • Your pool should be visible from the house, and avoid blind spots that obscure visibility.
  • The pool requires level installation.
  • Easy access from the house is preferable for installation and usability factors.
  • Placing your pool near trees will offer shade but will make it hard to keep your pool clean.

After you decide where to put your pool, you can determine the shape and size that fits and purchase your pool kit.

Preparing the Site for Above Ground Pool Installation 

Here are the steps required to prepare the site for above-ground pool installation:

  • Measure and mark the area. For a round pool, choose a spot in the center for a round pool and drive a stake. Divide the pool diameter by two to get the radius, and add a foot. If your pool is 12’ in diameter, use 6’ plus 1’ or 7’ in total. Use that measurement to mark a complete circle from the center point.
  • Remove the grass in the entire circle. You may choose to hire someone with a small excavator or skid steer for this job, otherwise, just use a pick and shovel.
  • Apply 1 to 2 inches of masonry-grade sand to make a soft floor to protect the liner.

Now that you have properly planned and prepared for your above-ground pool, you can install it by following the instructions or hiring a professional installer.

Maintenance for an Above Ground Pool

There are weekly and seasonal maintenance tasks associated with owning an above-ground pool. Learn more about the basic tasks you must perform to care for your pool and how much they cost.

Basic Maintenance Tasks for an Above Ground Pool 

Basic maintenance tasks for above-ground pools fall into two categories, including weekly and seasonal chores.

Weekly maintenance tasks:

  • Skim off leaves and other debris
  • Scrub sediment from the pool walls
  • Vacuum the pool to remove debris
  • Check your filter and skimmer baskets
  • Test the water and add chemicals
  • Check the water level and top off as necessary

At the end of pool season, the best option is to disassemble your pool and store it for the winter. If that’s not possible, lower the water level and clean the pool thoroughly. Balance the chemicals, and cover your pool, then pack the pump, heater, and other pool accessories away.

Average Price of Pool Maintenance 

Pool maintenance for an above-ground pool costs about $5 to $15 per month if you do it yourself. When you hire professional pool services, above-ground pool maintenance costs from $80 to $150 per month.

Above Ground Pool Maintenance Cost vs In-Ground Pools 

Pool maintenance professionals charge $60 to $90 per hour no matter what type of pool you have, but above-ground pools are easier and, therefore less expensive to maintain.

Adding a Deck 

build a deck

There are many benefits of adding a deck to your above-ground pool. Look at the average cost of a pool deck and the factors that influence it.

Benefits of Adding a Deck

Here are the biggest reasons people choose to add a deck to their above-ground pool:

  • Easy access in and out of the pool
  • Improved aesthetics of your pool area
  • A safe place for children and pets to play near the pool
  • Can be partially covered to offer poolside shade
  • Useful for lounge chairs and other pieces of pool furniture 
  • Offers storage for pool toys and equipment

Factors that Affect the Cost of Adding a Deck 

A pool deck makes your above-ground pool much more user-friendly, but it can be a significant investment. There are several factors affecting the cost, which may provide opportunities for you to save money. 

Deck size

Although wrapping around the entire pool isn’t necessary, larger decks require more materials and take longer to build.


The type of decking materials you choose will determine the overall cost of your project. Inexpensive materials like pressure-treated wood might not be the best choice because of splintering. On the other hand, durable materials like composite decking can be hot to the touch on bare feet.

Design complexity

The complexity of your deck design will impact the total cost. Extras like multiple levels and built-in seating or planters can add to the materials and labor required.

Building permits

Your pool permit may take care of your deck permit, but not always, so don’t assume it is handled. Permit requirements for building decks vary but can include the cost of land surveys and detailed drawings, which could jack up the price a few thousand dollars.


Just like with your pool, if you choose a location with limited accessibility or one that requires extensive excavation, it will cost you more.

Labor costs

Unless you can DIY a pool deck, you must pay someone to build it. Labor costs more in regions with higher living costs or during times of the year when there is a greater demand.

Railings and stairs

Railings and stairs may be required for an above-ground pool, which will add to your pool deck’s cost. 


Lighting can improve the appearance of your pool deck and make your pool easier to use at night. You can choose from many different types of deck lighting at a wide range of costs.

Average Cost of Adding a Deck 

The average cost of an above-ground pool deck is $5,000, with the square foot costs ranging between $15 and $30. Your pool deck could cost as much as $10,000 depending on how many extra options you choose. On the other hand, if you DIY your pool deck, you can save yourself a lot of money and pay as little as $2,800.

Answers to Five Common Questions About Above Ground Pool Installation

How Long Does It Take to Install an Above-Ground Pool?

The amount of time it takes to install an above-ground pool depends on the size, location, and type of pool, but however, a complete installation can be 4 to 6 hours.

Can I Install an Above-Ground Pool on Concrete?

Your above-ground pool needs to be installed on a protective base, but if you can’t install it on the sand, you can place it on concrete, provided the slab is thick enough to be durable.

How Much Space Do I Need for an Above-Ground Pool?

Above-ground pools come in many different sizes, starting at about 10 feet in diameter. You should add an extra 3 feet of clearance around the pool for the upright supports.

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