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How Long Do Above Ground Pools Last? (Avg. Lifespan in Years)

Thinking about getting an above-ground pool and wondering how long it’s likely to last you?

In this article, we’ll talk about many years you can expect to get out of an above-ground pool, why some pools last longer than others, and how to ensure you get as many seasons as possible out of yours.

Let’s start with the obvious question….

How Long Do Above Ground Pools Last?

Short answer: Average 2-6 years.

Long answer: It depends. There are a number of factors in determining the average life expectancy of an above-ground pool.

These factors include:

  • The pool type you choose
  • The brand you choose
  • How much it costs
  • How long/often it’s used
  • Your maintenance schedule
  • Where you live

For example, if you go with a respected brand, spend a significant amount of money, and only use it for a few months a year, chances are you’ll get 5 to 10 years out of your pool.

On the other hand, if you cheap out, do hardly any maintenance, and expose the pool to harsh weather all year round, you may only have it for a season or two before it needs to be replaced.

We’ll get into how each of these things impacts the average lifespan of your above-ground pool in the rest of this article.

Factoring in the Pool Type

By far the biggest factor for longevity is the type of above-ground pool you own, of which there are 4 main categories:

  1. Inflatable pools
  2. Steel frame pools
  3. Resin pools
  4. Hybrid pools (steel and resin)

Let’s dive a bit more into these pool types and how long you can expect them to last before having to replace them:

How Long Do Inflatable Pools Last?

Inflatable above-ground pools usually last around 1 to 3 years.

These pools have the shortest average lifespan of all pool types, but they also tend to be the cheapest. The usual price range for a backyard inflatable pool is between $20 and $60, though larger variants can stretch to $100+.

If you’re looking for something easy to set up and low budget, inflatable pools are still worth a punt despite their short lifespan, especially if it’s just to keep the kids busy for a season or two. 

How Long Do Steel Frame Pools Last?

Steel frame above-ground pools, otherwise called “metal frame pools”, typically last somewhere between 2 to 6 years.

These pools are much stronger than inflatable pools and less prone to damage, though you’ll still have to contend with occasional tears and leaks. The price for one of these is between $100 to $500 for small to mid-sized variants.

If you’re semi-serious about having a backyard above-ground pool, this can be set up in a couple of hours and used for several seasons. Not a bad pick for the price point.

How Long Do Resin Pools Last?

Resin above-ground pools can last anywhere from 8 to 15 years on average.

Made from strong, heavy-duty plastic, these aren’t susceptible to corrosion or rust but they don’t hold up under extremely hot or cold temperatures. You’re looking at anywhere from $800 to $3,000 for an all-resin pool.

If you’re looking for a long-lasting option but can’t quite stretch your budget for an equally-sized hybrid pool (see below), this is your next best pick.

How Long Do Hybrid Pools Last?

Hybrid above-ground pools are a mix of steel and resin. They’re more traditional, lasting anywhere between 10 to 20 years.

This is easily the sturdiest and most resilient type of above-ground on the market, but they come with a pretty hefty price tag. Expect to pay anywhere from $1,500 to $5,000 depending on size.

If you’re set on having a permanent pool and can’t afford an inground pool, this might just be as good as it gets (though a semi-inground pool is another option to consider).

Factoring in the Brand

While pool type is often the best indicator of longevity, a close second is certainly the brand of above-ground pool in question.

Like most products, the materials and overall build quality of a swimming pool can differ wildly from one pool to the next, even if they’re considered to be in the same category.

Note: Price also ties into this to a large degree, even when talking about the same brand. As the saying goes: “buy cheap, buy twice.”

How Long Do Intex Pools Last?

Intex above-ground pools last anywhere between 1 to 6 years on average, largely depending on the type of Intex pool.

Most Intex pools are either inflatable or metal frame, so based on the timeframes above:

  • An inflatable ring Intex pool will usually last you 1-3 years
  • A metal frame Intex pool will usually last you 2-6 years

Of course, these ranges are heavily dependent on how well you look after the Intex pool, how often it’s used, and the extremity of the weather it’s exposed to on a daily basis.

How Long Do Bestway Pools Last?

Bestway above-ground pools are comparable in quality to Intex pools, so you can expect a similar lifespan of anywhere between 1 to 6 years.

To clarify, as above:

  • An inflatable ring Bestway pool will last you around 1-3 years
  • A metal frame Bestway pool will usually last you 2-6 years

How Long Do No-Name Pools Last?

This is very difficult to answer but you can often assume the lowest possible quality due to lack of branding.

These pools are likely mimicking the big brands (Intex, Bestway, etc.) using inferior materials and building standards, resulting in a much cheaper but also much flimsier product.

Whatever popular pool product it’s trying to copy, you can probably expect around half the same life expectancy.

Factoring in the Climate

A harsh climate can significantly impact the longevity of any pool, but even more so an above-ground pool.

If you happen to live in an area that experiences extreme weather and temperature swings, the wear and tear on your pool is naturally going to happen much faster.

If you happen to reside in a mild climate with smaller swings in temperature, not only will your pool not have to contend with these extremes, but it also won’t suffer from the wear and tear of annual winterization.

In short, the less extreme your climate, the longer you can expect your above-ground pool to last.

How to Extend the Life of Your Above Ground Pool

When talking about how many years an above-ground pool will last, the answer is often given as a range.

If you want your pool’s lifespan to fall on the higher end of that range, there are a few things you can do to ensure that. This section will go through each of them, and why/how they work.

Put Your Pool on Level Ground

Placing an above-ground pool on uneven ground is one of the most common mistakes new pool owners make.

Even the slightest lean or slant will shift the water to one side of your pool, which adds increased pressure to your pool liner and frame. This disproportionate weight can eventually break the liner or even buckle the frame.

If necessary, take the time to dig up the ground and ensure everything is properly leveled before placing your pool. It also helps to lay a foundation that will protect your liner long-term, such as placing it on a Gorilla Pad.

Round Gorilla Pad - 24 ft
Round Gorilla Pad - 24 ft
  • Gorilla Floor Padding Cut and Sized to Fit 24ft...
  • Sits Underneath Your Pool Liner for Added...
  • Extremely Hard to Penetrate - Specially Designed...

Use a Thick Enough Pool Liner

A vinyl liner is what makes up the floor and walls of your above-ground pool, and it’s often the first thing to get damaged as a pool begins to age.

Since pool vinyl liners come in various thicknesses, much of the durability of your above-ground depends on the thickness of the liner. In general, the thicker the liner, the more it can withstand and the longer it will last.

Fortunately, a weak liner can be replaced at any time, so it doesn’t necessarily mean having to buy a whole new pool.

Upgrade Your Filter System

Your filter system is responsible for removing debris and other contaminants from the water. This process removes objects that could damage the liner and improves the overall quality of your pool water.

The problem is, many above-ground pools come with an underpowered cartridge filter pump, especially the low-budget Intex and Bestway kits. While these do work, upgrading to a more capable filter system is never a bad idea.

If you’re not sure where to start, sand filters like this one from Intex are a good alternative to consider:

INTEX 26645EG SX2100 Krystal Clear...
INTEX 26645EG SX2100 Krystal Clear...
  • 110-120V 2,100 GPH Sand Filter Pump
  • System flow rate of 1,600 GPH
  • 6 function control - enables pool owner to filter,...

Get Your Water Chemistry Right

Pool chemistry plays a major role in owning and maintaining a pool, so much so that neglecting this aspect will send your pool to an early grave.

Pool liners are able to with constant fluctuations in the chemistry of your water, but constant exposure to extremely high or low pH levels will put it under immense stress, as will high concentrations of chlorine.

Regular testing is the best way to stay on top of balancing your pool water and prevent various types of algae from taking hold, so be sure to invest in a testing kit and work it into your schedule.

Adopt a Regular Maintenance Schedule

Regular cleaning and maintenance should NOT be taken lightly when it comes to preserving the life of an above-ground pool.

This includes scrubbing the liner, vacuuming up loose debris, cleaning or changing the filter, repairing tears and leaks, applying shock treatment when necessary, and ensuring proper circulation.

While this sounds like a lot of work, consider that above-ground pools are typically much easier to maintain than inground pools.

Intex Basic Pool Maintenance Kit...
Intex Basic Pool Maintenance Kit...
  • Included in the kit: Vacuum head with one piece...
  • Vacuum attaches to garden hose and includes...
  • Clean remaining floating debris from the surface...

Close Your Pool for the Winter

As mentioned already, freezing temperatures and swimming pools don’t mix too well. Water expands as it freezes, which can potentially damage your plumbing, your liner, and your pump filter.

This is why most pools have to go through an opening and closing (winterizing) cycle every year, which involves deep cleaning, shocking, balancing, and covering the pool before opening it up again several months later.

Starting this process too late or not at all can render your pool useless when summer finally comes back around. Besides, who wants to swim in subzero temperatures?

It’s Really Up to You

The average above-ground pool needs replacing every 2-6 years, but where you fall on that range depends on the type of pool you have, the brand, how often you use it, how well it’s maintained, and so on.

Remember, that’s just an average; if you check all the right boxes, you can squeeze 10, 15, or even 20 years from an above-ground pool.

So, the real answer to the question: “How long will an above-ground pool last?” is… Well, it’s very much up to you.

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