Are tanning shelves worth it?


Active member
Nov 19, 2013
We are still trying to design be best pool for out backyard and keep going back and forth on whether to include a tanning shelf or not. We are most likely going with a vinyl pool so adding a shelf may end up being more trouble than its worth.

For those that have them, would you do it again? How often are they used? What are some benefits of having them that we may not be considering?

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LifeTime Supporter
Apr 27, 2013
Central Massachusetts
I thought about it and decided it wasn't worth the $2K they wanted for it. I didn't really like the look when done in a Vinyl pool. What we did invest in was wider, nicer steps. That is our in-pool lounging area as the steps make nice seats.

I could be missing out though! Let's see what those have to say who do have a tanning shelf.


Well-known member
Sep 17, 2013
DFW metroplex
I'm not much of a swimmer, however, I'm a great sitter! We've vacationed at several resorts both those that have a ledge and those that don't. After our last trip to one without a ledge we both agreed our pool would have to have one. We also included a bench near the middle of the pool and one close to the deep end. Plus I think it will be a great place for grand kids to play (if I ever get any!).


LifeTime Supporter
Jun 28, 2012
N. Houston
As I was brushing our tanning shelve yesterday I was asking myself the same thing, is this worth it. I don't think so. I figured my 3 year old daughter would play there but she likes to play in the spa better. I love our robot cleaner, turn it on and let it do its job. Except the tanning shelve is too shallow for the robot and you are stuck cleaning it manually. The way my family uses the pool I don't see a need for the shelf and it creates more work to keep it clean.

I have talked to people who love them though. Same people who told me I wouldn't be happy without it. A difficult decision.

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LifeTime Supporter
Aug 1, 2013
Cypress, TX
For the tanning ledge, I think it all depends on how you are going to use your pool.

During our design phase we went back and forth on the tanning ledge. Initially, we thought it would be a nice place for little kids to hang out and play in. But our littlest one has learned how to swim in the deep end quickly so we didn't think the tanning ledge would get much use. So we decided to put a lot of benches and steps in our current design. The top of our first step is quite wide at 18" so a little one can sit in the shallow water along with mom. We have benches along the pool at various depths for kids and adults. The other reason we opted for all the stairs and benches is for our dive in movie nights...we have more seating for kids and adults.

If you are a sitter and tanner and only like to get your feet wet then maybe the ledge would be the better option. Think about how you are going to use the pool to determine if a ledge will get good use.


LifeTime Supporter
Nov 30, 2013
Miami, FL
We actually just eliminated a tanning deck from our design. Watching our little one play at a friend's pool convinced us it will be fine without one. Instead we opted for a somewhat larger top step. We wanted to just maximize the pool area as much as possible. They don't seem very comfortable to just sit on. I think most people will prefer the spa or a bench... something with a back.


LifeTime Supporter
Apr 29, 2010
Buckeye, AZ 85326
Our Baja step is in about 18" of water and is a big semi circle so its the gathering/hangout place for pool parties. We are soakers here in AZ so when its hot out we just stay in the pool during gatherings and parties. We have friends that dont have the baja/tanning shelf and it makes the steps prime real estate and a little harder to convesate and stay gathered. Its also a great area for the kids to play, learn and get use to the water. If you decide to get one have them put a return or two in the area so you can position them to help keep the shelf clean.
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