A little girl sitting on the side of an inground pool.

Diving Into the Deep End: Inground or Above Ground Pools?

Inground vs. Above Ground Pool: Which is Best?

Installing a pool for your home is a significant project, one that costs a pretty hefty amount and, for some, is a lifetime commitment. Once you’ve decided yes, the next thing you need to ask is should you go with an inground or above ground pool?

It’s a decision that will take plenty of time and discussions, and we hope that this article will give you some light on your decision.

What Are Inground Pools?

Inground pools are the type of pools we typically see more often; they are embedded within the ground. Serious pre-planning and manpower are required before and during installation, which generally takes about 8‒12 weeks. It is the more popular option, especially in warmer climates where a dip in the pool is a daily possibility.

Even so, it is a choice embraced by many, regardless of the climates, due to the various advantages inground pools have to offer, particularly their durability and customizable options.

The three best types of inground pools are:

  • Concrete pools
  • Fiberglass pools
  • Vinyl Liner pools

What Are Above Ground Pools?

On the other hand, above ground pools are commonly known for being the budget-friendly option and for their versatility. Its hassle-free installation takes only about 4‒6 hours and needs little pre-planning. This is one of the most significant differences between inground pools and above ground pools.

The option to have it relocated combined with its price point makes it the ideal choice for homeowners who intend to move in the near future.

The three best types of above ground pools are:

  • Steel pools
  • Resin pools
  • Hybrid pools

Size Differences

If the thought of having a pool with a slope or steps comes to mind, then an inground pool will be ideal. Inground pools are fully customizable, this includes depth, size, and even form.

On the flip side, an above ground pool has fixed sizes depending on where you purchase it from, in the standard shapes of a rectangle, circle, and oval with an overall fixed depth.

Cost of Inground vs. Above Ground Pools

As you may have guessed already, inground pools are significantly more expensive with the labor-intensive work behind them. The amount of manpower needed from start to finish plus the materials required is the main bulk.

Ranging anywhere from $25,000 for a basic, vinyl inground installation and equipment package to over $100,000 for a custom gunite (concrete) inground pool, this may make or break your decision ultimately.

In comparison, above ground pools can range between $2,500–$7,500, depending on the quality, making it the obvious choice if you’re on a budget.


Installing a pool at home, in general, is a lifetime commitment. Its durability is highly dependent on its lifespan: the longer it lasts, the more durable it is. A couple of factors to look into are its susceptibility to weather conditions and the frequency of its maintenance.

Inground pools can weather through the storm, quite literally, lasting as long as 20‒40 years. On the other hand, above ground pools can last for up to 7‒15 years, which is still a pretty good number, in our opinion, considering its transient nature.

Maintenance of Inground Pools vs. Above Ground Pools

Before deciding on a pool, knowledge of its maintenance is essential. Its maintenance basics include general cleaning, filtering, and chemical balance, which involves weekly manual effort. The lack of care can be detrimental to pools and may result in costly repairs on top of the already hefty price point.

Inground pool maintenance is complex due to its vastness in size and shape, where hiring a pool contractor is often feasible.

However, above ground pool can just be as hard, especially with its height differences making it difficult to reach pool interiors, among other things.


Safety should always be a matter of concern regardless of the types of pools, especially if pets and kids are present.

However, some research has shown that above ground pools tend to be safer with fewer chances of accidental falling. Still, additional safety equipment such as a fence base kit or a pool alarm, which is suitable for both pools, can be considered for precautionary measures.


Among all other aspects, its aesthetics and price point are probably the make-or-break factor. With inground pools looking stunning and grandeur-like, it’s also easier to seamlessly integrate the pool’s style into an existing home. Therefore, we know it is the more popular option for residential and commercial use.

However, above ground pools can also look aesthetically pleasing when paired with the ideal use of outdoor elements such as wooden decking, stones and pebbles, and landscape planning.

Inground Pools Pros and Cons


  • Customizable in size, depth, and design — perfect for swimming in laps and diving
  • Longevity and durability of up to 20‒40 years
  • Easy maintenance with a pool contractor
  • Aesthetically pleasing and easy to integrate with the existing home design


  • A longer process — pre-planning, and installation can take up to 8‒12 weeks
  • Expensive, ranging from $24,000 to $100,000
  • A need for safety precautions due to its easy access, hence more susceptible to falls

Above Ground Pools Pros and Cons


  • Quick installation of about 4‒6 hours
  • A temporary structure, great for shifting houses in future
  • Budget-friendlier option, ranging from $2,500 to $7,500
  • Repairs are generally cost-efficient


  • It comes in a fixed size, shape, and depth
  • May be harder for weekly cleaning due to its height difference
  • May be harder to integrate with the existing home design