In-ground V/S Above Ground Pool

Having a backyard pool is an excellent idea any day, but some confusions and dilemmas accompany it like all fantastic ideas. One of the biggest confusions is the old question of above ground v/s inground pool.

Well, when it comes to making a real-life decision, there are certain factors that you will have to consider before forming your opinion. Inevitably, this involves analyzing your budget and property. And if you’re having a conversation about backyard pools, the family makes it to the first few spots in the list of considerations. (That would include issues like the shape, safety, and design of the pool.)

If you delve too deep into any topic, there will always be a problem with any solution. That is why this article tries to simplify for you the basics that count when you’re wondering which kind of pool is better for your backyard.

above ground vs inground pool

The Installation Process

Let us start with how the pool will be installed in the first place. Undoubtedly, there are variations in the process and the time taken for installing these pools, which could motivate or discourage you from siding with either of the choices. For example, it’s quicker to install above ground pool. The process will most likely take several days. The area will first have to be leveled, and then the pool must be erected, followed by installing the liner and filling with water.

Of course, you will have to give extra time to entry/exit systems and fencing the top rail if you plan to include that in the project. Since there is usually a lack of options when it comes to finding companies that install above ground pools, you must plan it properly.

On the other hand, the installation of inground pools is more time-consuming. The process may take up to eight weeks. There is also the concern of bad weather and time mismanagement on the contractor’s part, which may further delay the installation process.

Pools that do not necessarily go through all the process steps also end up being time-consuming. For example, vinyl of fiberglass pools can still take up to a month and a half despite skipping steel, gunite, and tile.

The Cost

Unsurprisingly, the cost of installing a pool can sway you in favor of either of the options. The price of the above ground pools would depend on their size and the quality of the components. If there is any equipment along with it, that will add to the cost. The price of above ground pools bought from local dealers comes in the range of $4000 to $8000, but you can get them for $900 to $3000 if you buy them online.

above ground pool vs inground pool

The difference between the more expensive above ground pools and their cheaper counterparts lies in the quality of material used. Pools with higher prices offer more durability and have greater thickness and depth. They also come with options like safety ladders, in-pool lighting, and step systems. They also have larger pool filtration systems and pool cleaners.

Inground pools are more expensive than above ground pools, with DIY vinyl kits available in the range of $5000 to $8000. Whereas, getting a local builder to install this pool for you will cost you around $30000 to $50000. Much like other pools, the price for an inground pool will also be determined by its size and features and the market’s general state. If you plan to get some landscaping done as a part of this project, that will additionally cost you some extra bucks.

above ground concrete pools


Not every backyard is the same. The terrain varies. Many of the backyards have a slope. Some slope up while some of them slope down. For such backyards, the useful idea is to extend the usable area with retaining walls. This would entail cutting down on the up-slope while building out over a downslope.

It’s more challenging to install a pool since such terrain can make it difficult to access any equipment and material. Indeed, it is not an impossible feat to install an inground pool in such a case, but it is undoubtedly quite expensive.


While space is not one of the priorities for making a decision, it certainly can limit your options while choosing the shape of the pool.

You can install an above ground pool with a wood deck area surrounding it or sculpt the surrounding earth and create a natural and sunken appearance.

in ground pools

On the other hand, you can go with any shape or size with inground pools. Common and popular types are the small cocktail pools, lap pools, and plunge pools. These are more comfortable options to go with when you have limited space.

pros and cons of above ground pool

Pool safety

Pool safety is necessary no matter which type you choose. In terms of safety, above ground pools are conventionally considered the better option, since falling inside the pool is less likely.

Inground pools, on the other hand, have a notorious reputation for being linked with more drownings. But that should not fool one to believe that above ground pools are a hundred percent safe. Unlocked pool ladders or chairs at the edge of the pool are a step away from turning the illusion of safety into a real threat of drowning.

For any pool to be safe, there should exist a four-sided pool fence surrounding it. This is generally more challenging to do with above ground pools, so that is a step back from its reputation of the safer option.

Soil and Water

The soil and water can pose some serious issues while you choose whether to get an inground pool or an above ground pool. For example, it is relatively more challenging to dig an inground pool in some places because of the bedrock. It could be risky to start such a project in an area where the soil and water are not ideal for the construction.

For example, if you plan to dig an inground pool in a place where the water table is high, you’ll need to get a dewatering system first. Inground pools are also not suited to locations where there is marine clay, or the soil is sandy.

above ground fiberglass swimming pools

high end above ground pools

Pool Maintenance

Before installing any pool in your background, you should consider the maintenance it requires. What usually determines the level of care needed is the pool equipment. Again, the above ground pools’ maintenance is generally perceived as less troublesome because of their small sizes and lesser water volume. However, the quality of the pool and the equipment being used undoubtedly changes the game.

When it comes to equipment, inground pools do better. Since the filter and the rest of the cleaning equipment are larger and more effective, cleaning inground pools is relatively more painless. However, inground pools are more expensive for renovating and repairing since they are not as simple as above ground pools.

Pool Permanence

On the other hand, if you desire permanence, inground pools last far longer than above ground pools. They’ll need to be refurbished with tiles and plaster, but only after it has already endured some twenty-five years.

Permanence in above ground pools would depend on which type of pool you choose to install –portable or permanent. While the former type is meant to last a couple of seasons, the latter is intended to last decades. People who are unsure if they would be comfortable with a pool that stays for a very long time (say, more than even fifty years) should stick to an above ground pool.

in ground swimming pool

inground swimming pool

Pool Features

The latter, that is, the inground pool, however, offers various features that blend well with a lush scene with its features like waterfalls and attached spas. With in-ground pools, the cost is higher, but so is the scope for design. Inground pools are also not limited to one or two simple shapes like the above ground pools –the range of shapes is much broader. You can go extra luxurious with benches and swim-up bars as well.

Another thing that you could take into account is the list of features offered by both aboveground and inground pools. The former type will generally only provide the most basic features like lighting, heaters, salt chlorine systems, and automatic cleaners. If you want anything more than these, you’ll have to spend money on a custom concrete pool.

Final Thoughts

Various factors have to be considered before deciding to choose between the inground and above ground pool. Since it’s your hard-earned money that you’ll be spending, the outcome should be worth it. That is why the decision should be rational, and you should first consider all these points before you finally sign the contract. Ultimately, what matters the most is how comfortable and happy you are with the choice that you’ve taken.

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