2018 Above Ground Pool Cost - Pool Kits and Installation Prices

Above ground pool costs vary depending on a number of things, including whether you install a DIY above ground pool kit or you hire a professional to install the pool. Of course, the cost of a DIY above ground pool should be less than hiring a professional to install the above ground pool, but the headaches, extensive labor, possible costly mistakes, and difficulty of installing your own above ground pool may not be worth the potential DIY savings. 

Above Ground Pools Kits Cost 

The average cost to hire a professional pool installer depends on several factors including location and market rate, the pool installer's level of expertise, and the complexity of work involved for things like preparing the installation site. Installation cost for a typical above the ground pool installed by a professional will be around $1,000 to $3,000. Inclusive in this estimated cost is the preparation of the installation site (leveling of ground, placing the proper amount of sand, and passing electricity to the pump). On the other hand, if you decide to give DIY a try, the estimated expenses for leveling the ground, plus other incidentals is approximately $200, assuming you have not made any costly or irreparable mistakes. 

Tip: Installing an above ground pool is not like filling up a plastic kiddie pool. Be sure you are confident in your pool installation skills and keep in mind that many pool kit sellers offer discounted professional installation rates with pool purchse. Also, be sure to compare warranty coverage when comparison shopping for above ground pool kits. 


Photo by Aloha Pools

Above Ground Pool Installation Cost 

Above ground pool installation cost differs based on the homeowner’s location, preferred size, and shape of the pool as well as any aesthetic upgrades for the pool itself and its surroundings. A pool with approximately 283 square feet of water surface area will cost $13 per square foot. If you include labor and other add-ons, then the estimated cost will be around $29 per square foot. If you opt for a DIY approach, you may save approximately $1,800 in installation costs. 

See the chart below for an above ground pool cost breakdown: 

Description Unit Cost Quantity Line Cost
Purchase of above ground pool material kit and equipment $13 per square foot 283 square feet $3,700
Pool cover made from the vinyl material (manual operation) $620 per pool unit 1 $620
Installation of sidewalk perimeter made from concrete  $1.9 per foot 70 $130
Installation of privacy fence made from Econo-vinyl with one gate $15 per foot 90 $1,350
Cost of materials $20.5 per square foot 283 $5,800
Cost of labor $8.8 per square foot 283 $2,500
Total cost $29.4 per square foot 283 $8,300


The total cost breakdown covers hiring two workers to install the above ground pool and it should take around 40 hours of labor to complete the project. For any add-ons, you should anticipate an additional 18 hours of labor. 

This estimated cost is applicable for a round shaped pool with approximately 19’ diameter and 3’ deep, an internal surface area of 460 square foot and water surface area of 283 square feet. Inclusive in this cost breakdown is the use of equipment, transport vehicle, pool materials, labor, final finishing touches, pump equipment, piping, valves, pump and controller, filter, ladder and one pool lamp. The add-ons may include installation of sidewalk perimeter, manually operated vinyl pool cover and privacy gate that have a self-enclosing lock feature. Not included in the cost breakdown is the complexity of work need to prepare the pool site and/or installation of a heating system. 


Photo by Aqua Pool Co 

Cost of Above Ground Pool by Size 

Above ground pools are typically round or oval shaped, but the round shaped pool is the top choice because it’s easier to install and perfect for small sized families. The oval-shaped pool is ideal for spacious backyards because it can be utilized as a lap swimming pool and can be used as a water sports venue for basketball or volleyball. 

Below is a sample cost estimate both for round and oval shaped pools by size. 

Pool Design Size of the pool Average cost
Round shaped pool 12 feet in size $1,030
Round shaped pool 15 feet in size $1,650
Round shaped pool 18 feet in size $3,000
Oval shaped pool 24 ft. x 12 ft. $2,400
Oval shaped pool 33 ft. x 18 ft. $3,200
Oval shaped pool 41 ft. x 21 ft. $4,400


People opt for above ground pools over inground pools for two main reasons. Above ground pools are less expensive than comparably sized inground pools and installation is quicker for above ground pools.


Photo by Garden Adventure

Above Ground Pools vs. Inground Pools 

If you are choosing between an above ground pool and an inground pool, one of the most significant factors is your budget. Keep in mind that apart from the pool itself, you also have to consider upgrades, add-ons, and landscaping needs. Here is the breakdown of the pros and cons of each pool type. 

Pros of Above Ground Pools 

  • Cheaper: The average labor cost to install an above ground pool kit with a 19-foot diameter is approximately $3,700. If you opt for add-ons like a vinyl cover, sidewalk perimeter, and private fencing, the materials plus labor will cost you around $5,800. So, the total cost for an above ground pool is around $8,300. A comparable inground pool can cost around $30,000 or more.
  • Quicker installation: The installation of an above ground pool kit is less time-consuming. If conditions are right, it may only take one day for professional installation of an above ground pool.
  • Flexible: Above ground pools can be installed to any outdoor space and can be easily moved from one location to another.
  • Easy to maintain and repair: Above ground pools are easier to maintain and repair than inground pools. In fact, for minor tears, you can patch it with the recommended sealant. 

Cons of Above Ground Pools 

  • Prone to wear and tear: The above ground pool is prone to damage or wear and tear issues, especially when you have children with pool toys using the pool.
  • Safety issues: The ladder providing access to the above ground pool poses a risky factor to younger kids including those with disabilities. This is a safety issue that should not be overlooked.
  • No aesthetic appeal: The above ground pool sits literally on the ground of your lawn and it may affect the overall landscaping because it can be unsightly. 
  • Limited Depth: Above ground pools only come in 48”, 52” and 54” wall height, which doesn’t give a considerable range of depth. 

Pros of Inground Pools 

  • Design options are endless: Yes, with inground pools the designs are varied and customizable. In fact, you can pick a pool design and size that will match your personality or existing landscape.
  • Durable: Inground pools are constructed with solid foundations, so expect the service life to last longer than above ground pools. 
  • Increase the resale value of your property: The presence of inground pool on a property for sale will generally increase its value. Aside from its aesthetic appeal, an existing inground pool can be therapeutic, it can be a source of entertainment for guest, and a pool can provide great, easy on the joints, exercise options.  

Cons of Inground Pools 

Inground pools are a significant, ongoing expense and realistically (for most people) requires professional installation. It may take several days to excavate the area depending on the chosen type of pool, vinyl or fiberglass. Aside from that, long-term permanent expenses will add to your budget like maintenance and repairs including insurance coverage. The average cost to install an inground pool with 12 x 24 foot is around $31,500

Above Ground Pool Maintenance 

Regular maintenance is needed to prolong the service life of above ground pools. Below are some of the best practices to ensure your above ground pool remains functional. 

  • Regular cleaning: Remove unwanted debris from the water surface of the pool like fallen leaves, insects, and other dirt blown in by the wind.
  • Schedule deep cleaning: Above ground pools also need occasional deep cleaning to ensure water safety and quality. A pool vaccuum is needed for deep cleaning and a soft bristled brush will also help to remove dirt on the sides and bottom of the pool. 
  • Check filters: Pool filters can be clogged from debris and prevent the pool pump from functioning. Check the filters regularly and clean them thoroughly.
  • Perform water test: Pool water is prone to all types of dirt. It’s crucial that you perform a water test regularly to monitor the water's safety. If the test result shows contamination, then add the recommended chemicals to purify it. 

Additional considerations and costs 

  • Other things that will have a huge impact on the cost of the above ground pool installation are: 
  • Pool shape - an oval shaped above ground pool will cost less than a round shaped pool.
  • The structural framework of the pool, preferred thickness and design of the liner, as well as the type of filter pump and pool site location, are also cost factors.
  • Clearing the area where the pool will be installed may require a landscaping contractor and tree removal contractor to cut down overgrown trees, boulders, and stumps. For this, add around $0.50 to $1.50 per square foot, depending on the extent of clearing needed, to your budget.
  • Aside from the add-ons like pool ladder, pump, filter, and pool cover, other items are needed in maintaining the pool. Cleaning tools (brushes, vacuum assemblies, cleaning chemicals) can cost around $400 and can go up to thousands.
  • For chemicals like the use of chlorine and pH testing toolkit, you should set aside $80 per month

Other Additional Considerations Cost 

Before taking that plunge and proceeding with your pool installation project, take into consideration the following: 

  • Building codes and permits needed prior to pool installation must be followed to prevent violating any laws mandated by tlocal authority. Check with your local officials regarding laws that may apply in your area for pool installations.
  • The existing landscape at your preferred pool location may affect the overall cost of this project. If the preferred site has slopes or overgrown trees everywhere, you may have to pay for a special team to prepare this site and make it suitable for pool installation.
  • The stability of your soil is also a major factor to consider before starting a pool installation. Consulting an expert will prevent problems from arising in the future.
  • Your household electricity consumption may increase eventually when the pool is up and operational because the pump and filter are powered by electricity. 


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