The best easy-set pool
An easy-set pool is one of the best investments you can make when you have little kids. It's also a relief for adults on scorching hot days. These pools are more affordable and easier to maintain than a pricey permanent above-ground pool. All you need is patience and a level spot to set up and maintain the pool on.
When choosing an easy-set pool, the available sizes and accessories available can be confusing. We'll help you filter through the options to learn what best fits your lifestyle and needs in our handy buying guide. Our favorite is the durable Intex 18' x 48" Easy-Set Pool Set, which is spacious enough for several people to splash around in.
Considerations when choosing easy-set pools
This is the top consideration when it comes to buying any size easy-set pool. You must have a completely level spot in your yard to place the pool. There's literally no room for even a slight incline or the pool will not set up correctly, and both the sides and the ring will be lopsided. You can also set up smaller inflatable pools on your patio or deck, but only if the surface is completely level. You'll also need room to lay down a ground cover for the larger easy-set pools.
The size of the easy-set pool you choose depends on your yard and your comfort level. The smaller easy-set pools run about 8 feet in diameter by 30 inches deep, while the larger easy-set pools can run 18 feet in diameter and 48 inches deep. Larger oval easy-set pools can reach 18- to 20-feet in length (end to end) by 10- to 12-feet in width (side to side) and 42 inches deep. The oval models include inflatable top rings and tend to look and feel extremely spacious.
The larger size easy-set pools will come with a beginner ladder. These ladders are a bit wobbly and might be too iffy for adults to comfortably use. You can simultaneously use an upgraded ladder and the ladder that comes with the set to make it easier for more than one person to get in and out of the pool at the same time.
Not every size of easy-set pool requires a filter pump, but larger pools come with a filter to keep the pool clean. Typically, it will be a cartridge-based filter, and though they aren't the most powerful of devices, it's enough for most easy-set pools.
Prices of easy-set pools depend on the size. Smaller 8' x 3' pools come in under $50. The 10- and 12-foot diameter pools range from $50 to $150 and come with accessories. The largest easy-set pools that go up to 18-feet in diameter or length (for oval models) can range from $250 to $650.
Q. What are easy-set pools made of?
A. Easy-set pools from any brand are made of laminated layers of heavy-gauge PVC or polyvinyl chloride. The higher the gauge number, the thicker the PVC. The PVC's gauge number depends on the size of the pool. For example, a 12-foot diameter easy-set pool may have sidewalls of 24-gauge PVC and a top ring of 17-gauge PVC.
Q. Can easy-set pools stay up all year round?
A. Though it depends on how harsh the weather is in your area, it's not recommended to leave an easy-set pool up all year round. If the temperature outside falls below 40ºF, an easy-set pool can freeze and crack. In addition, an easy-set pool can't withstand the weight of ice or snow, even if it has a cover on it.
Easy-set pools we recommend
Best of the best: Intex's 18' x 48" Easy-Set Pool Set
Our take: If you're patient when setting up and maintaining this size model, it'll make a perfect "test" pool to see if you want to go the next level to a real above-ground pool.
What we like: Stands up to lots of kids in and out of the pool. The set comes with accessories to get you started, including a ladder, ground cloth, and cartridge filter pump.
What we dislike: It's not a set-and-forget type of pool; it needs maintenance just like any other above-ground pool.
Best bang for your buck: Bestway's Fast Swimming Pool Set 12' x 30"
Our take: Bestway compares favorably with Intex's inflatable pools, but this size is a less expensive "test run" if you want to try out having a pool in your yard.
What we like: There's no need for a ladder for this size pool. It's the perfect size pool for an adult to relax in and a young child or two to swim in.
What we dislike: Complaints about collapsing sides, but that's a typical issue with any inflatable pool. Some reports that the sidewalls are thinner than an Intex pool.
Choice 3: Intex's 8' x 30" Easy-Set Swimming Pool
Our take: If you're ready to take a step up from a plastic baby pool, this is the best size to try at an unbeatable price.
What we like: There's no need for a ladder on this small pool, but you'll have to lift a small child over the side to get in and out. At this size, the pool is easier to clean and doesn't necessarily require a filter pump. This size pool is ideal for a tiny yard and easily fits four in the water.
What we dislike: It's probably a bit smaller than you think it is. Even this small of an inflatable pool needs a level spot for it to sit.
Marilyn Zelinsky is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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