The 4 Best Above Ground Pools for Kids: A Mini Buyers Guide

photo of kids in pool

Just because the school year is gearing up, that doesn’t mean that the dog-days of summer are entirely over. For many parts of the country, especially including where I live in Las Vegas, these steamy days are just starting to get heated up! Before investing in an above-ground pool for your family, you should know the pros and cons of some of the best above-ground pools for kids.

The best above-ground pool for most kids and families is the Bestway Steel Pro Max. With its durable steel frame, this pool should have no problem holding up to the damage that kids can dole during play. In addition, the twelve-foot diameter will provide plenty of room for neighborhood pool parties.

The only times I wouldn’t suggest the Bestway Steel Pro Max are if:

  • You need something for smaller children. Go for the Intex Jungle Adventure Inflatable play center.
  • You need something bigger that will last many, many years. Go for the Intex Prism Frame pool set with filter pump.
  • You need something solid but not permanent. Go for the Summer Waves Quick Set Inflatable above ground pool.

In this article, We’ll be discussing exactly what makes these above-ground pools so awesome and providing the information you need to select the best choice for your family. Read on to learn about each pool’s size, benefits, and other aspects you may want to consider!

In A Hurry?

No worries, I’ve put together a table with some of the key features of my top pics below. Be sure to scroll down to find out more about each pool!

Image Product Key Features   Price
Bestway Stel Pro MAX Bestway Steel Pro Max Material: Steel Frame

Depth: Varies 30in – 39.5in

Varies 10ft – 12ft
Check Price
Intex Jungle Adventure Intex Jungle Adventure Material: PVC

Depth: 2ft 4in

Size: 8ft x 6.5ft
Check Price
Intex Prism Frame Pool Intex Prism Material: Steel Frame

Depth: Varies 2.5ft – 4ft

Size: Varies 10 – 18ft
Check Price
Summer Waves Quik Set Summer Waves Quick Set Material: PVC

Depth: 2.5ft

Size: 8ft
Check Price

What To Look For in an Above Ground Pool for Kids

Above ground pools come in a variety of price points and styles. For example, you’ll likely pay a lot more for something with a frame and structure, whereas inflatable pools typically cost you less. 

Still, an above ground pool is considerably cheaper than an inground pool, and there is minimal setup involved, meaning you can purchase a kit and have it going all on the same day.

When looking at making such a big purchase, there are a few key questions you need to keep in mind, including:

  • How much space do you have?
  • Do you need a frame and structure?
  • How high do you need the pool to be?

The Maximum Available Space 

The first thing you’ll need to do is measure the area you plan on placing the pool. Ideally, you’ll want enough space around the pool for the kids to run and play. 

Too close to any walls or windows, and you run the risk of injury or damage. 

Similarly, try to keep the pool away from other garden toys and structures, like swing sets. 

Inflatable pools are particularly susceptible to damage, so you’ll want to ensure nothing can swing into the sides. 

Framed Pools vs. Inflatable

The key difference between these types of above ground pools is that one is more permanent than the other.

Generally speaking, inflatable above ground pools are temporary and need to be cleaned, dried, and stored away during the colder months. 

In contrast, structured above ground pools that you want to keep out all year will have some kind of steel, resin, or aluminum frame. 

The Pool Height

You can buy above ground pools in several different sizes and depths. When purchasing one for your kids, you’ll want to consider their age and swimming ability.

Deeper pools will last your family longer, especially if you buy a framed structure. These will allow your kids to play in the water as they grow, potentially lasting years. However, if you have small children, it’s worth getting something more shallow for the sake of safety. 

photo of Bestway Stel Pro MAX

Best Overall: The Bestway Steel Pro Max

My overall top pick for the best pool for kids is the Bestway Steel Pro Max from This pool is durable to withstand playtime and large enough to accommodate friends. 

With its powerful pump, your family will be able to spend less time cleaning out a green pool and more time enjoying the sunshine.

Though this pool comes in three different sizes, my personal favorite has a diameter of twelve feet and a depth of thirty inches. At this depth, kids should be able to enjoy a comfortable swim without fear of getting in over their heads.

Key Features

  • Rather than cheap plastic, this pool’s frame is built of steel, making the sides extra solid and resistant to corrosion.  
  • The lining is formed of three powerful vinyl layers, built to stand up to multiple summers of fun without warping or falling apart.  
  • The kit comes with all the supplies you’d need to repair your damage without sacrificing the quality of your pool.
  • The setup of this pool is straightforward and doesn’t require any tools. 
  • It’s as easy to take down as it is to put up, so you’ll be able to look forward to the use of this pool several summers in a row!
photo of Intex Prism Frame Pool

Most Durable: Intex Prism Frame Pool 

If the Bestway Steel Pro Max is my first pick, the Intex Prism Frame Pool Set from makes a close second.

This pool comes with a wider variety of sizes to choose between, the smallest being 10 ft (3 m) in diameter to the largest, 18 ft (5 m). But, of course, with this massive size difference comes a significant price change.  

Unless you manage to catch the Intex Prism Frame pool set on sale, this option is considerably more pricey than its equally strong alternative, pushing it into second place. 

Key Features

  • This pool boasts a steel frame, three-layer liner, and a sturdy round shape. 
  • The kit includes a cover designed to keep your pool clear of falling leaves and other debris. 
  • The pump is powerful, so you can look forward to a summer spent splashing around in a clean, sparkling pool.
photo of Intex Jungle Adventure pool

Best for Small Children: Intex Jungle Adventure Play Center

If your children are still young but eager to spend time cooling off this summer, take a look at the Intex Jungle Adventure Play Center from 

This adorable pool option is fantastic for toddlers and young children more interested in cooling off than swimming around. The brightly colored play center comes fully decorated with inflatable jungle animals. 

Also, it guarantees to spark your child’s imagination while keeping them comfortable.

It’s worth noting that, though this pool only holds 130 gallons, you’ll want to closely monitor your child for the extent of their time in the pool.

Key Features

  • The built-in sprinklers and ring toss game mean that your toddler can enjoy his own personal splash pad. 
  • The blow-up water slide provides a range of play options. 
  • Constructed from solid PVC, this pool has a conveniently located drain hole at the bottom. 
  • Set up and take down is a straightforward, quick process.
photo of Summer Waves Quik Set pool

Best for the Family on the Go: Summer Waves Quick Set Inflatable Above Ground Pool

If your family is looking for a quick, easy way to get cool, look no further than the Summer Waves Quick Set Inflatable above-ground pool from

As the name might suggest, the actual draw of this pool is its almost instant setup. After you inflate the ring around the top of the pool, all that’s left to do is fill it.  

There’s no frame to fool with; all you need is air and water! Within minutes, you should be able to enjoy family time spent in your new pool.

At around two and a half feet of depth, this pool is an excellent in-between step for kids who are not quite ready to take on a “big kid” pool but too young to really enjoy a toddler option.  

Key Features

  • The pool comes with its own pump and built-in chlorinator.
  • The durable lining is tough enough to last you the entire summer and beyond. 


Regardless of whether you’re looking for a fun pool to splash around in or own with enough depth to help your child learn the fundamentals of swimming, there are superb options available!  

While my personal favorite is the Bestway Steel Pro Max, it’s all a matter of what features suit your family’s unique needs.

Michael Carpenter

Hi, I'm Mike. I grew up in North Carolina having a blast on trampolines, go-karts, and just sitting on the porch with my friends. I have since moved to Las Vegas with my wife, 2 children, and 3 dogs. When I'm not chasing the kids around the house, I am probably chasing them around the backyard!

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