Best Swimming Pools 2021
Hop in, cool off and soak up some sunshine in your own personal swimming pool. Once reserved for the uber-rich, anyone with a patch of level garden can now enjoy the luxury of their own private above ground pool thanks to modern modular frame and sturdy inflatable designs.
With sizes and styles to suit just about every budget, you’re sure to find an option that suits you. To help find the best swimming pool for you we’ve put together a handy buying guide below, followed by our pick of the best swimming pools on the market.
Intex Metal Frame Rectangular Pool: Best budget frame swimming pool
If you’re in the market for something bigger than a traditional paddling pool but don’t want to splash out on something too large or expensive, this frame pool from Intex may be just the ticket. While you won’t be swimming laps in it, its maximum water depth of around 60cm is ideal for supervised children to play in and for adults to sit in. Each corner is also fitted with a plastic seat for pool-side lounging.
It’s quick and easy to set up and thanks to its metal-framed construction, should be durable enough to see you through several summer seasons. It ships without a filter pump, though, so you’ll likely want to pick one of those up separately.
Bestway Power Steel Rectangular Pool Set: Best swimming pool under
Bestway’s Power Steel Rectangular Pool Set brings all the fun of the pool right to your own back garden with enough space for all the family.
With a depth of 1m, adults won’t feel like they’re splashing around in a paddling pool and at 4m in length, there’s plenty of room to spread out and float around.
With a ladder, filter pump and chlorine dispenser all included you should have everything you need to get going. Be aware that as a larger pool it will take a little more time to set up than the smaller entries on our list and you’ll likely need at least two people. Its sturdy construction should, however, provide you with many years of use.
Intex Easy Up Swimming Pool: Best pool for easy setup
Reasonably priced and easy to set up, Intex’s Easy Up pool is a great low hassle option. Unlike most inflatable pools, the Easy Up only needs the top ring inflating.
As you fill the body of the pool with water the top ring floats up, lifting the walls with it. Once filled, the pool keeps its shape thanks to the pressure of the water against the walls. This makes setup quick and easy and reduces the amount of garden space taken up by the inflatable walls. Then, when you’re done, simply let the water out, deflate the ring and pack it away.
The pool gives you roughly the same amount of space as a decent sized hot tub. At 3.6m across and 0.7m deep there’s space to comfortably fit four adults with enough depth to get a good soak while sitting down.
It’s worth noting that the pool ships without an air pump and so you’ll want to pick one up at the same time.
Bestway Power Steel Rectangular Above Ground Pool Set: Best large swimming pool
Built to a similar spec as our other Bestway Power Steel pool recommendations, this Above Ground Pool Set allows you to enjoy the benefits of a full-sized swimming pool without needing to dig up your garden.
Measuring an impressive 9.5m in length, 4.8m across and 1.3m deep, this is a ‘proper’ pool by anyone’s definition and provides ample space for games, a bit of swimming, or just soaking up the sun.
It’s worth bearing in mind, however, that setting up and packing away a pool of this size at the start and end of the season can be a considerable undertaking and not something you can accomplish on your own.
Bestway Steel Pro MAX Swimming Pool Set: Best large round pool
It’s no secret that swimming pools are large, especially those designed for more than shallow paddling. If you’re limited for space but still want something deep enough for adults to take a dip in then Bestway’s Steel Pro MAX pool is ideal.
At 3.66m across it doesn’t take up much more space than a large inflatable pool but with a depth of 1m, it’s deep enough to comfortably accommodate adults.
It’s reasonably simple to assemble thanks to its durable metal frame design and comes bundled with a filter pump, ladder and cover.
How to choose the best swimming pool for you
Where can I put a swimming pool?
Unlike below ground pools, above ground inflatable and frame swimming pools don’t require extensive groundwork before installation. As long as you have a decent patch of garden with access to water you’re good to go.
You will want to make sure that the area that you choose is nice and level though otherwise your pool will not fill evenly. It’s also worth checking that the ground you choose to place the pool on is sturdy enough to support it. While not as important for smaller pools, it’s worth taking into account that one litre of water weighs a kilogram so larger pools that require several thousands of litres to fill need solid ground beneath them.
For rough ground, we’d recommend picking up an extra groundsheet if one isn’t already included. This will protect the base of the pool from anything that may pierce or damage it.
Frame swimming pools vs inflatable swimming pools
Shop around and you’ll find yourself presented with the option of selecting between metal frame and inflatable pools. There are numerous high quality options for both types, and both can be packed down when not in use.
Inflatable pools tend to be quicker to set up and dismantle as well as being easier to store. They do, however, require an air pump to inflate and can require topping up as the temperature changes. Inflatable swimming pools also tend to be shallower than their framed counterparts and their thick air-filled walls can take up more garden real estate.
Framed pools are generally sturdier and you can find them in larger sizes and depths. The downside is that framed pools take more effort to put together and pack away and will take up more room while stored. They also tend to be more expensive.
The choice is ultimately yours, but for smaller and shallower pools for kids and families, we’d recommend an inflatable pool, whereas for larger fixtures for adults a frame pool is a smarter choice.
Do I need a pump filter for my swimming pool?
Whether or not you opt for a pool with a pump filter will depend on how large the pool is and how long you plan on keeping it filled. Smaller paddling pools that are only filled for occasional use will likely fare fine without a filter as you can simply empty, clean and refill the pool when necessary. However, bigger pools that require large quantities of water will almost certainly benefit from the addition of a pump filter. A quality pump will allow you to get up to a full season out of a single pool of water.
What about chlorine?
Swimming pools can take a significant amount of water to fill, with even mid-sized pools requiring thousands of litres. As such, you’re unlikely to want to fill and refill it more than is necessary. Along with having a filter for larger debris and contaminants, you’ll likely want to consider some form of chlorination if you intend on keeping the same water for extended periods of time. You can pick up a chlorine dispenser, along with some chlorine tablets, for very little and it’ll ensure your swimming pool remains clean and the water remains clear right through the summer season.
Can I heat my swimming pool?
While outdoor pools are designed to warm naturally in the summer sun, heaters are available to give them a helping hand. The type of heater you need will depend on the size of the pool and most are designed to be used in conjunction with the pool’s pump. As an alternative to mains powered heaters, solar mats are also available and designed to gently warm the water as it passes through the filter.
What extras should I look out for?
Extras bundled with swimming pools vary greatly from model to model. Aside from pump filters, in the case of inflatable swimming pools, it’s also worth looking out for air pumps. Some inflatable swimming pools will come bundled with an air pump but if your chosen pool doesn’t, we strongly recommend you pick one up separately. Manual hand or foot pumps are typically the most affordable, but we’d recommend buying an electric model for even moderately sized inflatable pools.
A durable cover is also a prudent investment. A quality cover will keep your pool protected, keeping stray debris, pets and children away from the water when it’s not in use. As a bonus, most pool covers are dark grey or black they can also help heat the water before you get in.
While not essential for smaller swimming pools, a pool ladder can be a worthwhile addition for anything taller than a paddling pool. A ladder will make it easier to get in and out, especially for children. It also avoids putting unnecessary pressure on the pool walls when climbing in and out.