Let’s get straight to the fun. Owning an in-ground pool is a lot of consistent, diligent work, and I tend to focus on that here on the blog—because nobody wants to swim in a murky pond. But I also believe that once you nail the maintenance, that’s when the reward really pays off.
Now we’ll plunge into accessories designed to make your swim better than ever. Let the good times begin.
Some Accessories for You, Some for Your Pool
Here I’ll cover two types of accessories: those for your pool, and those for you (and other swimmers). Of course, these both work in tandem for a fantastic swim. Might as well, ahem, dive right in.
What are Accessories for Swimmers?
You want a wireless pool speaker? An inflatable drink holder in the shape of an alligator? An in-pool projector so you can watch Jaws while you float along at night? Everyone has their own swim style, but what I really want to tackle here is the basic water float and noodle. I’ve got a lot of thoughts on this one, so hang tight—sort of like you would grip the edge of the pool when that theme song comes on.
What are Pool Add Ons?
The possibilities for decorating your pool are endless—and form never sacrifices function. The best part about pool add ons? They’re available to virtually any budget, depending on where you’ve set your sights. However, for some of the more ambitious projects, you might need to rethink your plumbing. Consider yourself warned.
The best boost you can give your pool isn’t in accessories, but your pump itself. Get the 1.5 HP Variable Speed Blue Torrent Thunder In-Ground Swimming Pool Pump—it has major versatility from slow to high-powered, is eligible for rebates, comes with a lifetime warranty, and pays itself off in under one year.
Float and Noodle Along, Swimmers.
The options for swimmer accessories are endless—seriously. So instead of cannonballing here into the ingenious and the strange, I want to go back to basics: the water float and the noodle. Mostly, I want to explain why it’s not normal that you’d have to buy new ones every year.
Water Floats: Time to Raise Your Standards.
Floaties for kids, water floats for adults. What these both have in common is that they’re often made of light-grade vinyl with cheap printing, deflate after a few hours, and get trashed before the next swim season.
So why does your water float deflate before you’ve even gotten a chance to use it? That’s the power of the sun, which heats up the air molecules inside the float. When they get more dense, they slow down their movement, and womp, womp: deflate.
The only way around extreme wear and tear of one season and unnecessary deflation is thick vinyl, which will both help protect your float from the sun and allow for resiliency against pool scrapes, fingernails, and anything else that might come your float’s way.
I’m a major sports fan, so I use the officially licensed pool floats of the NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, and NCAA. These are the most robust floats I’ve tried on the market, and last me seasons and seasons. And no, I can’t tell you what team I’m repping—I’m not here to make enemies.
Noodles: They Can Be Better, Too.
Noodles have the same kind of issue that water floats have—except they’re even more evident. Simply put: they break! And this often happens in the middle of the season.
And let’s get one thing straight: the issue isn’t that you and yours are playing too hard with noodles. That’s what they’re there for. The problem is that many noodles are made of cheap foam. I recommend getting the kind that is coated with durable spandex, and won’t break or flake off. Personally, I use the same sports team-themed noodles as I do my water floats—I love to match.
Now Get That Pool Accessorized.
Pool add-ons are also called pool “extras.” Technically, you don’t need them—but some of these might feel absolutely essential for your lifestyle. For instance, what’s a diver without a diving board? And young swimmers need ladders for safety, right? So If I were you, I’d take the idea of “extras” on a case by case basis and go for what works for you. In any case, I’ll cover these in order from functional to flashy.
Not Just For Your Living Room: The Floor Vacuum.
Remember when I said you don’t technically need these add ons? I take that back. I simply couldn’t be an advocate for a properly maintained pool the DIY way without mentioning the floor vacuum. No matter how good your chemical game is, the bottom of your pool will collect dust and debris. And nobody wants to step on a twig or a sharp leaf in the middle of a good swim.
Most pool vacuums are automatic, but they should be run at least once a week. They usually hook up to your skimmer, where they push through all that sediment without displacing actual water from your pool. You can get one for a couple hundred dollars, but they have a wide range of price, durability, and effectiveness options. Just be sure that you follow the manufacturer’s installation guidelines closely—though it’s definitely a feasible do-it-yourself project, it can get a little tricky.
And remember, you’ll want to use a pool brush to displace sediment before vacuuming your pool. My recommendation is the 360-degree Bristles Patented Pool Brush, which was designed by longtime pool professionals to help you reach tight corners easily and without strain.
Stepping Up: Pool Ladders.
We all have our own distinct styles for how we enter and exit our pools. You might be a ladder person, or you might be a pool steps kind of person. Whatever floats your trunks. I’m not here to judge.
But even if you, like me, prefer to use the pool steps, you should consider having a few ladders for safety and convenience purposes. Have young swimmers in the family? Give them the extra exit they might need. Want to have a quick way out in case you get an important call, or are on standy for dinner, or see your sweet but mischievous dog rolling in the dirt? I’ve heard it all—and ladders make everything quicker and easier.
Thankfully, they’re also fairly inexpensive and easy to install, which you’ll want to do at the beginning of every pool season. Just make sure you follow the instructions by the manufacturer—this one you can definitely do on your own (or with a friend).
Take a Dive Into Diving Boards
Chances are you remember looking down at a pool from a diving board at least once in your life, and feeling both a little scared and a lot thrilled. If you were able to master the art of diving, or think you’d like to, this is the add on for you.
Diving boards have two different components: the boards themselves and the mount on which it is installed. Both parts have a range of options and price points. The boards are usually within a few hundred dollars, and rise to over a thousand for the high-end aluminum boards. The mounts vary in price depending on how tall they are. Regardless of the model, you’ll want to hire a professional to install yours.
There’s no use in ramping up your pool fixtures if the next storm is going to dirty it up. Keep your pool cover dry and secure with the Sunnora 350 GPH Automatic Cover Pump. According to customer Richard Hogan, “works great.”
Ahh… Cascade Fountains
Ambition sure does pay off. The joys of cascade fountains are three-fold: not only do they look great and are enjoyable to swim around, they also transform the sound of your backyard to the summit of a mountain hike—without the climbing, jerky, or heavy water bottles. If you’re looking for extra relaxation and have a flexible budget, a cascade fountain might be for you.
While they are on their surface relatively affordable, they usually require their own plumbing and another pump (or a pump at a higher horsepower). They also require more energy to run, so you’ll want to be sure you have a variable-speed pump with the right amount of power. Because installation possibly involves adding plumbing and hooking the fountain up to a pump, I suggest you get the help of a professional. It’s a lot of work, but if a fountain is for you, you’ll be happy you did it.
My pump recommendation for higher-powered needs, like the cascade fountain? 1.5 HP Variable Speed Blue Torrent Thunder Pump. This robust and thorough pump is the most reasonable decision any pool owner can make: it pays itself off with energy saved in under one year.
You’re All Accessorized. Now Stop Thinking, and Start Swimming.
Now that the work is done, you can do what you were planning from the beginning. Now, take a jump, have fun, and stay cool—now in even better style. See you in the pool.