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Best swimming pool 2024: Our favourite inflatable and metal frame garden swimming pools from £43

A trio of garden, above-ground swimming pools

Live it up in the sunshine with our pick of the best swimming pools for your garden

Hop in, cool off and soak up some sunshine with the best swimming pool for your garden. Once a luxury reserved for the uber-rich, modern modular frames and sturdy inflatable designs now mean that anyone with a level patch of garden can enjoy the benefits of owning a private above-ground pool.

From smaller inflatable models, ideal for children and families, right the way up to large party-ready pools, there’s a swimming pool out there to suit just about every taste and budget. To help you find the best option for your garden we’ve put together a concise buying guide below, followed a selection of our favourite swimming pools on the market today.

Best swimming pool: At a glance

Best metal frame poolIntex Rectangular Pool (~£140)Check price at Amazon
Best inflatable poolIntex Easy Set Pool (~£80)Check price at Amazon
Best large poolDellonda Large Round Pool (~£150)Check price at B&Q
Best small poolSwim Essentials Luxe Pool (~£250)Check price at John Lewis
Best children’s poolBenross Inflatable Family Pool (~£43)Check price at B&Q

How to choose the best swimming pool for you

Where can I put a swimming pool?

Unlike below-ground pools, above-ground inflatable and frame swimming pools don’t require extensive groundwork before installation. As long as you have a decent patch of garden with convenient access to water, you’re good to go.

You’ll want to make sure that the area you choose is nice and level, otherwise, your pool won’t fill evenly and you may put undue strain on one side. It’s also worth checking that the ground you choose to place the pool on is sturdy enough to support it. While not as important for smaller pools, it’s worth taking into account that one litre of water weighs a kilogram, so larger pools that require several thousands of litres to fill need will need some solid ground beneath them.

For rough ground, we’d recommend picking up an extra groundsheet if one isn’t already included. This will protect the base of the pool from anything that may pierce or damage it.

Frame swimming pools vs inflatable swimming pools

Shop around and you’ll find yourself presented with the option of selecting between metal frame and inflatable pools. There are numerous high-quality options for both types, and both can be packed down when not in use.

Inflatable pools tend to be quicker to set up and dismantle as well as being easier to store. They do, however, require an air pump to inflate and can require topping up as the temperature changes. Inflatable swimming pools also tend to be shallower than their framed counterparts, and their thick, air-filled walls will take up more garden real estate.

Frame pools are generally sturdier, and you can find them in larger sizes and depths. The downside is that frame pools take more effort to put together and pack away and will take up more room while stored. They also tend to be more expensive.

The choice is ultimately yours, but for smaller and shallower pools for kids and families, we’d recommend an inflatable pool, whereas for larger fixtures for adults a frame pool is a smarter choice.

Do I need a pump filter for my swimming pool?

Whether or not you opt for a pool with a pump filter will depend on how large the pool is and how long you plan on keeping it filled. Smaller paddling pools that are only filled for occasional use will likely fare fine without a filter as you can simply empty, clean and refill the pool when necessary. However, bigger pools that require large quantities of water will almost certainly benefit from the addition of a pump filter. A quality pump will allow you to get up to a full season out of a single pool of water.

What about chlorine?

Swimming pools can take a significant amount of water to fill, with even mid-sized pools requiring thousands of litres. As such, you’re unlikely to want to fill and refill it more than is necessary. Along with having a filter for larger debris and contaminants, you’ll likely want to consider some form of chlorination if you intend on keeping the same water for extended periods of time. You can pick up a chlorine dispenser, along with some chlorine tablets, for very little, and it will ensure your swimming pool remains clean and the water stays clear right through the summer season.

Can I heat my swimming pool?

While outdoor pools are designed to warm naturally in the summer sun, heaters are available to give them a helping hand. The type of heater you need will depend on the size of the pool, and most are designed to be used in conjunction with the pool’s pump. As an alternative to mains-powered heaters, solar mats are also available and are designed to gently warm the water as it passes through the filter.

What extras should I look out for?

Extras bundled with swimming pools vary greatly from model to model. Aside from pump filters, in the case of inflatable swimming pools, it’s also worth looking out for air pumps. Some inflatable swimming pools come bundled with an air pump, but if your chosen pool doesn’t, we strongly recommend you pick one up separately. Manual hand or foot pumps are typically the most affordable, but you’ll really want an electric air pump for even moderately sized inflatable pools.

A durable cover is also a prudent investment. A quality cover will keep your pool protected, keeping stray debris, pets and children away from the water when it’s not in use. As a bonus, most pool covers are dark grey or black so they also help heat the water before you get in.

While not essential for smaller swimming pools, a pool ladder can be a worthwhile addition for anything taller than a paddling pool. A ladder will make it easier to get in and out, especially for children. It also avoids putting unnecessary pressure on the pool walls when climbing in and out.

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The best swimming pools you can buy in 2024

1. Intex Rectangular Pool: Best metal frame swimming pool

Price when reviewed: £140 | Check price at Amazon Intex Rectangular Pool in a garden

If you’re in the market for something bigger than a traditional paddling pool but don’t want to splash out on something too large or expensive, this frame pool from Intex may be just the ticket. While you won’t be swimming laps in it, its maximum water depth of around 60cm is ideal for supervised children to play in and for adults to sit in. Each corner is also fitted with a plastic seat for pool-side lounging.

It’s quick and easy to set up, and thanks to its metal-framed construction, should be durable enough to see you through several summer seasons. It ships without a filter pump, though, so you’ll likely want to pick up one of those separately.

Key specs – Construction: Metal frame; Capacity: 3,834l; Dimensions: 3 x 2 x 0.75m (WDH); Filter pump included: No

2. Intex Easy Set Swimming Pool: Best inflatable swimming pool

Price when reviewed: £80 | Check price at Amazon Intex Easy Set Swimming Pool in a garden

Reasonably priced and easy to set up, Intex’s Easy Set pool is a great low-hassle option. Unlike most inflatable pools, the Easy Set only needs the top ring inflating.

As you fill the body of the pool with water the top ring floats up, lifting the walls with it. Once filled, the pool keeps its shape thanks to the pressure of the water against the walls. This makes setup quick and easy and reduces the amount of garden space taken up by the inflatable walls. Then, when you’re done, simply let the water out, deflate the ring and pack it away.

The pool gives you roughly the same amount of space as a decent-sized hot tub. At over 3m across and 0.76m deep there’s space to comfortably fit four adults, with enough depth to get a good soak while sitting down.

It’s worth noting that the pool ships without an air pump, so you’ll want to pick one up at the same time.

Key specs – Construction: Inflatable; Capacity: 3,854l; Dimensions: 3.1 x 3.1 x 0.8m (WDH); Filter pump included: No

3. Dellonda Large Round Swimming Pool: Best large garden swimming pool

Price when reviewed: £150 | Check price at B&Q

Dellonda Inflatable Swimming Pool against a white background When the summer months come and the unbearable heat reaches its peak, there’s nothing better than throwing yourself into a pool to cool off. If you’re fortunate enough to have a big garden and have been contemplating splashing out on a pool, you may as well make the most of the space.

The Dellonda Large Round Swimming Pool measures 4.5m in diameter, 0.84m deep and holds a capacity of 9,481l – allowing for up to seven people at a time. Unlike some larger pools where the assembly can be a little tedious, the Dellonda can be set up in just 30 minutes by inflating the top ring and filling the pool with water – the latter may take a bit longer, though. What’s more, it also comes with a 530gal/hr filter pump to keep your newfound summer oasis fresh and ready to go.

Key specs – Construction: Inflatable; Capacity: 9,481l; Dimensions: 4.5 x 4.5 x 0.84m (WDH); Filter pump included: Yes

4. Swim Essentials Luxe Old Green Stripe Swimming Pool: Best small garden swimming pool

Price when reviewed: £250 | Check price at John Lewis

Swim Essentials Luxe Old Green Strip Swimmig Pool against a white backgroundHaving a small garden shouldn’t restrict the simple pleasure of a refreshing dip. Granted, it can be difficult to find a pool that suffices in a small space, but with the Swim Essentials Luxe, you’ll be able to enjoy the sunshine from the comfort of your own backyard.

Constructed with a sturdy steel frame measuring 2.6m in length, 1.6m wide, 0.65m deep and a capacity of 2,288l, it’s big enough to comfortably relax on a lido without taking up too much space in the garden. The Mediterranean styling is also a nice touch, creating the impression of your very own back garden resort. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a cover, but you can purchase the Swim Essentials Pool Cover separately to ensure it stays well protected when not in use.

Key specs – Construction: Metal frame; Capacity: 2,288l; Dimensions: 2.6 x 1.6 x 0.65m (WDH); Filter pump included: No

Check price at John Lewis

5. Bestway Steel Pro Max: Best deep garden swimming pool

Price when reviewed: £318 | Check price at Amazon

Bestway Steel Pro Max against a white backgroundA common denominator among all garden pools is the lack of depth, which is somewhat understandable – you’re hardly going to find one two metres above the ground. That being said, Bestway’s large Steel Pro Max Swimming Pool is a perfect option for larger groups and pool parties. With a capacity of 9,150l and 3.66m across it offers plenty of room for stretching out and, at  1m deep, adults won’t feel like they’re just paddling.

Thanks to its metal-framed design, assembly is straightforward and relatively quick – just remember to factor in how long it’ll take to fill. The pool also comes bundled with a filter pump so you can get set up right away, although we’d also recommend picking up a Bestway Pool Cover for prolonged use.

Key specs – Construction: Metal frame; Capacity: 9,150l; Dimensions: 3.66 x 3.66 x 1m (WDH); Filter pump included: Yes

6. Benross Inflatable Family Pool: Best children’s swimming pool

Price when reviewed: £43 | Check price at B&Q

Benross Family Swimming Pool against a white backgroundWhen choosing a swimming pool for the kids you don’t particularly want to overspend, the chances are they will probably wreck it after a couple of good summers. This is why you want something practical and reasonably priced.

The Benross Inflatable Family Pool is simple to set up, taking just ten minutes to inflate the side walls and roughly 40 minutes to fill to its full capacity of 1,075l. And, at 3m in length, 1.8m wide and 0.52m deep, it provides plenty of space for the little ones to play around without taking up too much space in the garden. With a year’s guarantee and reasonably priced, it stands out as a sensible summertime choice.

Key specs – Construction: Inflatable; Capacity: 1,075l; Dimensions: 3 x 1.8 x 0.52m (WDH); Filter pump included: No

Check price at B&Q

7. Livingandhome Inflatable Play Centre Pool: Best paddling pool

Price when reviewed: £38 | Check price at B&Q

Livingandhome Inflatable Play Centre against a white backgroundAlthough the standard round paddling pool achieves its primary goal of holding water, it can be a little bit boring. The Livingandhome Inflatable Play Centre Pool, however, is both colourful and imaginative, making playtime in the pool just a little bit more enjoyable.

Easily constructed by blowing up the inflatable walls and accessories, it measures 2.1m in length, 1.2m wide and only 15cm in height. This provides enough space for the little one to splash around safely while maintaining a low volume of water. It also comes with a small slide, coloured balls, a target board and four small hoops that can be placed on the arch. The result is a miniature water play park that will not only make for a fun splash but also benefit the child’s cognitive abilities through open-ended play.

Key specs – Construction: Inflatable; Capacity: Not specified; Dimensions: 2.1 x 1.2 x 0.15m (WDH); Filter pump included: No

Check price at B&Q

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