In Ground vs Above Ground Pools: Comparison Guide


After you’ve considered these 5 things and decided it is time, now all you have to do is decide – inground or aboveground pool? In-ground vs above ground pools is a question every current or future pool owner faces sooner or later, and both of these have their pros and cons. In this article, we’ll show you all the arguments for the above ground vs inground pools debate, so when the time comes, you know what to do and which way to go. 

Factors To Consider

Many factors affect your choice – how big your budget is, what is a better choice for your property, or what will be a better option for your family, but there are also a few additional reasons to consider before making a final decision:

1. Installation

One of the most important things to think about is how much time, space, energy, and money you have to dedicate to the pool installation itself. Above-ground pools are easier to install, and it can take from one day to several days from the start until the moment when you enter the water for the first time. 

On the other hand, the time needed to install inground pools can go from 4-8 weeks, and it can all be delayed due to many different reasons, like the bad weather, contractor schedule issues, etc. 

2. Cost

Prices for above-ground pools can go from $900-$8000, depending on size, whether will it be a DIY package or installed, additional equipment, parts quality… A small, DIY pool with low-quality parts and no additional equipment will be way cheaper than the big, installed, and fully equipped pool. 

In-ground pools price can go from $5000 for DIY packages to $50,000 or even more when you hire professional pool builders. Other things that affect price are the type, size, features, and equipment.

3. Space Available

This may not be a crucial thing, but it will affect the size and shape of your pool. You’ll need to know where the setback is to avoid placing a pool somewhere where it can lead to some kind of accident. That’s why you should look for your property plan or hire a professional to check it out.  This can also affect the construction period because if you plan to build an in-ground pool, you’ll need some heavy machinery. However, in-ground pools are great because you can fit them into your space as they can be really small or really big, so if you deal with limited space, an in-ground pool may be a better option.

4. Terrain

If your backyard is steep, it can affect your choice. For building an in-ground pool, you’ll need to add retaining walls, while if you go with an above-ground pool, a secure wooden deck should do the trick. This means that building an inground pool in steep terrain can end up costing way more than firstly anticipated.

5. Soil

Before you decide which side you’ll take in in ground vs above ground pools debate, make sure to learn what type of soil you have in your backyard. Sometimes, slightly under the surface, you’ll find some type of hard rock, like granite, that is not easy to dig through which can make the whole process complicated. Also, if you’re near the sea, you may have to install a de-watering system during the building process, or there can be a lot of sand, which can seriously damage your pool structure.

6. Safety 

Although the pool should be mostly for fun, it is essential not to forget about safety and keep it at the max level all the time. Remember, one second of not paying attention is enough to cause serious injuries or even worse, drowning, especially if there are small kids or pets in the house. Above-ground pools are considered safer, but that doesn’t mean you should take it for granted and with ease. Before you even decide to build a pool, make sure there is enough space for a 4-sided pool fence with a self-locking gate and a solar or regular pool cover.

7. Maintaining The Pool

If you ask other pool owners which is easier to maintain, most of them will tell you the above-ground pool, simply because they are smaller and thus have less water to deal with. However, it is all up to you, the quality of your equipment and how well do you take care of your pool chemistry. For instance, if you decide to go with the smallest and the cheapest pump and filters, run the pump too short days, or dismiss any possible chemistry issues, then maintaining the pool will require much more attention, effort, time, and money when it becomes a necessity, even with the smallest above-ground pool. On the other hand, if you buy quality equipment and take care of your pool chemistry on a regular level, then even the largest swimming pool maintenance shouldn’t be much of an issue. 

8. Replacement, Repairs, Or Renovation

Over time, you’ll eventually have to either replace, repair something or completely renovate your pool, and in this part of above ground vs inground pools topic, it’s not even close. It is a rare occurrence to end up with a bill larger than $500 when you have to repair something on an above-ground pool. However, if you have to do it on an inground pool, it can go up to several times more. 

Also, above-ground pools are simpler in their construction, therefore there is less stuff that could go south. 

9. Pool Lifetime

For many future pool owners, in an in-ground vs above ground pools debate, this could easily be the most important factor. Again, this mostly depends on how well do you take care of your pool, but there is a significant difference between aboveground and inground pools when it comes to their lifespan.

Aboveground pools can be found in two different types – portable and permanent. 

  • Portable pools are made so they can easily be built, removed if needed, but they also rarely last longer than 5 years. If you’re looking for a temporary solution that can be used during hot summer days but removed during the winter, then this is the best option.
  • Permanent aboveground pools do last a bit longer if you take really good care of them, but you have to keep them in perfect condition so they reach 20 years or so. However, most of the time, you’ll have to replace them after 15 years.
  • Inground pools are extremely difficult to remove, but they last more than 50 years with regular maintenance, new tiles, or fiber resurfacing every 20 years. 

10. Features

Pools, besides their regular purpose, can also have many different features that will make the whole experience even better. However, there is a big difference between the aboveground and inground pools. 

Aboveground pools can have some of the following:

There may be some additional, custom-made features that can be used in the aboveground pool, but for anything else, you’ll need an inground pool.

The inground pool gives you the chance to add, for instance: 

  • Spa
  • Waterfalls
  • Negative edges
  • Tanning ledges 
  • Benches

What makes an inground pool worth the investment is the fact that you can add anything you wish for, as long as you’re creative enough.



Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about above ground vs inground pools:

Q: Are above ground pools cheaper than inground pools?


Yes, above ground pools are cheaper than inground pools, and it is not so hard to understand why. The construction process itself is way more complicated and it may require some heavy machinery, while the material itself is also more expensive, along with all the parts that go inside of your pool and the needed pool equipment. However, it is important to know that, although more expensive, inground pools last longer.

Q: Can you put above ground pool in ground?


No, you can’t put an above ground pool in ground. When full, the sides of your above ground poll can withstand any pressure. However, if you remove the water, the pressure of the ground will make the sides of the pool to start caving in, this way damaging your pool.

Q: Do above ground pools increase property tax?


No, above ground pools do not increase your property tax. However, even if the answer to this question is no, you should check it out on a relevant place for your location, just to be sure before you purchase it.

Q: What is a semi inground pool?


The term “semi inground pool” is used to describe a pool that is mostly inground, but also has some part of it rising above the ground. They are more expensive than regular aboveground pools but way more affordable compared to inground pools.

Globo Surf Overview

So, in ground vs above ground pools – what’s the verdict? If you’re looking for something on a temporary level, then the aboveground pool is the best choice. However, inground pools will give you the chance to add many different things and features, and it is a long-term investment.

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Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!