Inground vs. Above-Ground Pools: Which Pool is Right For You?

Your life is about to get a pretty fantastic remodel. Just picture it: one morning, you step out into your backyard, but instead of a long flat plane of grass, there’s a sparkling blue pool just waiting to be entered. Cue barbeques with your closest friends, pool parties to keep the kids active and socialized, and relaxing solo swims in the sun. It just doesn’t get better than that.

Getting a pool is always a good call. But once any prospective pool owner decides they’re ready to start really considering this lifestyle boost—because after all, that’s what it is—they have nothing but options. One of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make before getting a pool is which type is right for you: an inground or above-ground pool. I’ll explain how your pool is about to better your life, the basics of inground and above-ground pools, and the benefits of both types. Let’s go. 

Hey, A Pool is Always a Great Idea 

I know, this is the debate between getting an inground or above-ground pool. You already know that you want a pool, right? Well, sometimes when it comes to the actual work of choosing and installing a pool, we can forget why we wanted one in the first place. As you’ll soon learn, factors like cost, how long installation takes, and pool longevity can differ based on what kind of pool you get. But there are some benefits of getting a pool that apply to all pool types.

The Lifestyle Factor                                                                               

Owning a pool means giving your lifestyle a playful boost. It can promote family bonding time, be the perfect area to host social gatherings, create an easy and quick way to relax, and provide a healthy alternative to other more sedentary activities. Binging on Netflix a little too much these days? We’ve all been there.

Improved Health

Swimming is well-documented to be one of the best modes of physical activity, since it gives you a full-body work out but is what doctors and fitness trainers call “low-impact.” Basically, that means that your body gets the same workout as other physical activities with far less strain. When working out while swimming, you can expect to get fewer bodily injuries. It also helps you stay cool, boosts your heart health, and helps you build stamina and increase flexibility.

Home Upgrade

Depending on the pool you get, you can actually increase the value of your home. But it goes even beyond that—with all pool types, you can choose materials that look great in your backyard. Owning a pool also means you have a go-to destination right at home. No lines, no crowds, and clean waters all to you and yours.

This is a great time to start with a new pool. As of this year, variable-speed pumps are virtually federal law—and that’s a good thing, because you’ll be saving on energy costs every month. The Blue Torrent 2 HP Variable-Speed Pump is ultra-powerful, comes with a lifetime warranty, eligible for rebates, and pays itself off in under a year by energy saved. As customer Bill Britton says, “Runs great. Super quiet.” 

inground vs above ground pools

Inground Pools: The Longevity Winner

Let’s make sure we’re talking about the same thing here. An inground pool is a pool that is built underground—meaning you step down into it from flat ground. These pools can usually be made using a few different materials, including vinyl, concrete, and fiberglass. Among other benefits over above-ground pools, inground models last the longest. Although it might need resurfacing on a frequency that would be based on the pool’s material, the structure itself should last decades or longer.

Above-Ground Pools: The Versatile Winner 

While they don’t last as long as in-ground pools, above-ground pools are extremely versatile. With this pool type, you’ve got nothing if not options. You can choose an inflatable pool, a pool with hard sides, and can even build a deck around it for a more permanent-looking and aesthetically-pleasing structure. If you’re leaning toward this pool type, just remember that it’s going to be very present in your backyard, and you’re going to be looking at it fairly frequently. It might be worth the extra chunk of cash to make it a beautiful addition to your home. 

Basic Considerations for Choosing Pool Type

Choosing between an inground and above-ground pool is a major decision, and you’re going to make sure you’re taking in all the factors that each entail. But to get you started, here are the biggest considerations any prospective pool owner should think about first. Then, we’ll do a deeper dive into more detail. But no use in missing the pool for the swim noodles—if you know what I mean. 


If only money were never an issue, right? But even if you’re not exactly hurting for that next check, it’s important to make the smartest financial decisions you can. In the case of how much an inground or above-ground pool will cost you, we also have to consider the short and long-term. 

What your pool is going to cost varies greatly depending on pool type. An above-ground pool is going to cost somewhere between $1,500 and $4,500 for the actual pool itself, not counting the pool pump, filter, and plumbing, and $1,000 to $3,000 for the installation. This cost drops significantly when you get an inflated or partially-inflated pool, which will cost around $100 to $800. It also rises significantly when you get a rectangular above-ground pool with a wraparound deck. Those will cost over $10,000 with installation.

Inground pools, on the other hand, range from $20,000 to $100,000. Just like above-ground pools, the cost is going to depend on the material of your pool. A vinyl liner pool will cost you from $20,000 to $30,000. A fiberglass pool will cost you $12,000 to $25,000 for the pool shell and shipping, not including an installation of around $45,000 to $85,000. A concrete or gunite inground pool, including installation, will cost $55,000 to $100,000 with decking.


It might be easy to look at initial cost and go straight for an above-ground pool—but you’d better take a quick pause and look at the long-term cost, too. The average above-ground pool will last 7-15 years before the structure gives out, and the liners last 5-9 years before they need to be replaced. 

On the other hand, the structure of inground pools lasts a very long time, with the exception of fiberglass pools—but they still last over 20 years. Vinyl pools should be resurfaced every 5-9 years and concrete or gunite pools should be resurfaced every 10-15 years. My advice? Add those expenses down the road to your budget now.


If all goes well, you’ll be hanging out in your backyard more than ever pretty soon. Go you! Whether you like it or not, any pool is going to be the new focal point of your yard. It might seem like we’re stepping into the shallow end here, but it’s important to find the right aesthetic for your backyard. Many pool owners even design their yard around the pool with aesthetically-pleasing deck furniture, a big barbeque area for future pool parties, and plant-lined steps. How detailed you get is up to you, but remember that whatever pool you choose, it’s going to get noticed. Despite popular misconception, above-ground pools can be just as big, if not bigger, than inground models.

The beginning construction is the perfect time to plan for a saltwater pool, so that your chlorine is operating at the lowest, safest, and most consistent levels possible. Design your pool for an ultra-comfortable swim with the Salt Ways Eco Friendly Salt Chlorine Generator. It’s super reliable and comes with a lifetime warranty.

inground vs above ground pools

Why an Inground Pool Might Be Your Type 

Already beginning to get that a little extra cash could be well worth it for a beautiful and long-lasting pool? Nice call, and the benefits go even beyond look and longevity. With an inground pool, you have more freedom to make cool customizations, find the aesthetic that you’ll love for decades to come, and even increase your home value. Here’s how.

You’ve Got Options

Hey, wouldn’t a waterfall look really great here? How about a connected built-in hot tub? Why not add some fountain jets, and maybe even a slide? The customizations for inground pools are pretty much endless. Because it’s a more permanent installation, you’ll be able to enjoy any extras you add on for years and years to come.

Whew, Look at That!

Even if you don’t make your backyard your own personal swim park, an inground pool typically has a stronger aesthetic appeal that above-ground models. There’s just something so classic about it—and it looks at home in every backyard, since every inground pool is built specifically for where it is installed. Just make sure that water stays beautiful by choosing the right pool pump

Family Heirloom—Or Higher Home Value

Installing an inground pool might just pay off, since it can increase the value of your home. If your house stays in the family, a well-maintained pool could even be passed on through generations. Now that’s thinking really, really long term. 

Inground Pool Downsides

Of course, installing an inground pool isn’t all poolside roses. On top of cost, it also requires a difficult and lengthy installation. It’s the kind of installation you’ll need to schedule ahead. Plus, all that resurfacing, if you get a vinyl or concrete pool, isn’t going to come cheap. My opinion? Worth it.

Looking to extend the swim season as much as you can, so that you can get the most fun for your buck? A heat pump is the answer for you—but you’ll want a powerful unit that will save you on your energy bill every month, like the Energy-Saving ComforTemp Pool Heat Pump 95,000 BTU to heat 18,000 Gallons. According to customer Steve, “Simple install and simple set up. Heated my pool from 66 to 82 degrees in about 2 complete days.” 

Why an Above-Ground Pool Might Be All You 

Not looking to get in over your head here? An above-ground pool is a great way to get the benefits of swimming on a shorter term. Not only are they incredibly versatile, but they also are more budget-friendly, easier to install, and sometimes can even be taken along with you when you move. Get ready for details. 


We’ve already outlined that above-ground pools, even those with built-in decks, are usually less expensive than inground models—and the installation is usually cheaper, too. But this budget-friendliness also applies to repairs. Unless the issue is so bad you’ll need to get another pool entirely, you can expect to have fairly minimal costs when something goes wrong compared to the same issue in an inground pools.

Easier and Faster Installation 

Sure, sometimes you’ll need to hire a crew to install your above-ground pool just like you would with an inground model. But the job itself will be faster and easier. Plus, if you get an inflatable model, chances are you’ll be able to do the installation all by yourself. 

Sometimes Mobile!

Depending on the type of above-ground pool you get, versatility goes to a whole new level. You can take your pool with you if you move! This especially applies to inflatable and partially-inflatable models, which are recommended to be taken down every winter. After a few years, you’re going to get pretty used to packing that pool type down and opening it back up in the spring. If you’re planning on switching homes anytime soon and want to get swimming as soon as possible, this might be the pool type for you. 

Above-Ground Pool Downsides

Unfortunately, getting an above-ground pool isn’t only a walk in the backyard. They can be pretty limited in size and shape, but especially depth—which limits one of the fun factors of diving into a pool. They also damage more easily and have less flexibility for customizations. If this is the pool type you go for, that waterfall will have to wait. But hey, you get all the benefits of swimming—with less hassle.

To keep your circulation system in top shape, you’ll need a reliable, powerful, and energy-saving pump like the 2 HP Energy Star Variable Speed In Ground Blue Torrent Cyclone Pump. Plus, it comes with a free warranty, is eligible for rebates, and pays itself off in under a year. According to customer James Robinson, “Great price, quick shipping and delivery. Installed it and turned it on, and it was so quiet that we both reached down to feel if it was vibrating! Simple controls. I’d buy it again.” 

inground vs above ground pools

Cannonball, Coming Up! 

Ready for that first dive? You’re closer to it than you were ten minutes ago, because now you know exactly what pool type is best for you. It’s time to really get planning, and hey—this is one of the most exciting parts. You get to make your dream pool just the way you like it. So for every step of the planning process, remember—enjoy.

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