In-Ground vs. Above Ground Pool Comparison

Pools-2-200x200With summer quickly approaching, lots of people are debating whether or not they should go with an in-ground or above-ground pool.

So for the those of you out there that are having this debate, here are some things to consider:

In-Ground vs. Above-ground Cost:

In most cases, inground pools—be it vinyl, concrete, or fiberglass—are going to cost, on average, between 30-70k. Although this is a big range, it’s an honest and realistic one.

You may have seen an in-ground pool advertised for “$14,999!” or something to that degree, but I can pretty much assure you that anyone doing this is giving you a warped picture as to what to expect when the bill comes in. In other words, although the pool body itself may just cost $14,999 to be installed, I can almost bet you the following is probably not included:

  • Patio/Decking around the pool
  • Electrical Hookup
  • Grading/Landscaping/etc.
  • Accessories (Like salt chlorine generators, heaters, covers, etc.)

Obviously, the size, options, and type of pool are going to greatly impact where you fall in this “average” range, but 30-70k is a good start.

When purchasing an above ground pool, there are 3 main cost areas:

  1. The price of the kit itself (normally 2-7k)
  2. The price of the installation (typically 1-5k)
  3. The price of the pool surround/decking (if any)

In other words, most above ground pools, installed, cost 3-12k, not including any decking at all. And as you might imagine, decking often times will cost more than the pool itself, especially if you’re looking to surround much of the structure itself.

Inground vs. Above Ground Pool Size

Believe it or not, an above ground pool can be every bit as large as an inground pool. For example, a 30’ round above ground pool actually has more area than a 18×36 inground pool. With an above ground you’re generally limited to one uniform depth throughout.


When comparing the two types of pools and their required maintenance, there really isn’t much difference in terms of chemicals and cleaning, although if you don’t have a deck around your above ground pool that makes it much harder to get around and vacuum.


The average above ground pool will last 7-15 years before the structure gives out, although their liners will last 5-9 years before they have to be replaced.

For an inground structure, the longevity really is contingent on the type of pool. For example, fiberglass should last well over 20 years. Vinyl pools should have a structure that lasts just as long, but their liner needs to be replaced on average every 6-11 years. As for concrete, their structure should also last a very long time, but keep in mind they may need to be resurfaced every 9-13 years.

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