How did you decide which pool to buy?

Jul 12, 2017
5
Sellersburg, IN
Hello! I am currently shopping for an above ground pool. I have never owned a pool so this is all new to me. I am pretty sure I want a 24 ft round pool. There are a few local stores near me and the closest major pool store would be Watson’s. I am trying to research online, but it seems like all the stores rebrand the pools they sell so it seems difficult to do an apples to apples comparison, on quality, or price.

How do I know I’m getting a quality pool at a good price? Do you wish you had done anything different, like a bigger/smaller pool? I’ve been reading lots of matierail online and it’s all a little overwhelming. Are there any manufacturers to avoid? I am currently leaning towards buying from Watson’s, I think they carry mainly Wilbar pool brands.

Any guidance is appreciated!! Thanks!!
 

Holydoc

Gold Supporter
Jul 17, 2016
418
Navarre/FL
When we went shopping for an AGP, we were getting it to determine if we could take care of a pool and if we really would enjoy a pool. We went AGP because if any of those items were a no-go, we could simply tear it down, drop down some sod, and there would be no sign that we ever had a pool. If after a couple years, we decided that we liked the pool, we would then purchase an inground pool to make it permanent.

Now to give it the best chance for success we decided to:
  1. Get a large pool that would simulate the size of inground we were considering. We bought a 27' one with 54" sides. This pool gives us lots of room without having to bump into each other all the time.
  2. We purchased a composite pool to prevent rusting. We live near the beach with plenty of salt in the air. Everything here eventually rusts away.
  3. We wanted everything hard plumbed in. We wanted it to resemble exactly how we would have our inground.
  4. We purchased a dual speed pump. We had lots of trees with lots of pine needles and I knew I would be running it a lot. Currently we run our pump on low 24/7. Our pool is always pristine. Notice, I said had pines. The pool merely emphasized how much we hated Pine trees. We removed 12 of them since the pool.
  5. I wanted a cartridge filter system. When I cleaned the filter, I merely wanted to replace the cartridge and press on. Maintenance is minimum. I pay $60 a year for the filters (yes, I am too lazy to clean them when they are so cheap), five minutes of time, and my pool is ready.
  6. We purchased a "staircase" ladder that was not only sturdy but easy to get in and out of the pool. I am built rather sturdy and wanted my entrance into the pool safe and sturdy.
Items we added after a couple years with the pool:
  1. Electrical outlets ran to the back of the yard where the pool equipment could sit unnoticed. This outlet has 2 - 110v plugs in the front and 2 in the back so I could connect anything I wanted. Currently I have my pump, my robot cleaner, and my SWG connect to this outlet.
  2. Robotic automatic cleaner. I mean really. You toss it in the pool, turn it on, walk away for 2 hours, and come back to a clean pool. No vacuuming, no brushing, and no work. Worth every penny.
  3. Salt Walter Chlorine Generator. Just added it this year, because every time we went on a trip, we needed someone to add chlorine to the pool Now we leave for 1 to 2 weeks with no worries.
  4. Container by the pool equipment to hold chemicals, tools, and robot. We have a chest that holds all the goodies at hands reach.
What would we have done differently? We would have placed some type of mat on the bottom of the pool to better prevent wrinkling and root/weed control. Though we had professionals clear, level, and install, they only placed a thick layer of sand at the base which shifts over the years (wrinkles) and does very little to prevent roots/weeds.

Now after the years we have had the AGP we have had a hard time making the plunge to the inground. There are so many advantages to an AGP such as:
  1. No large critters in the skimmer
  2. No one stumbling in or worrying about pets
  3. No runoff from rain or flooding
  4. Warms up faster
If it wasn't for the aesthetic value, we would not even be considering an inground.

I know....more than you wanted.
 

Tenab

Bronze Supporter
Jun 26, 2019
162
NE Texas
I've had 3 installed in the town I live in. Always agp because critters and living in big spaces. My first was round. It was lovely to have, but for swimming an oval seemed to make more sense. The next two were oval. One with a deepend the last with a sport bottom.

Here, they use vermiculite to line the floor. (Like little styrofoam balls mixed in cement.) Never a problem with wrinkles or anything growing through like my growing up years and sand bottoms. (Any one else inject weedkiller through a hole before patching? ?)

The same local family business did the last three, all doughboy if I recall. They do not rebrand their pool. I can't say how long they lasted as I moved within years of installing, but they were like new after several years.

Oval is by far my favorite for the extra length to lap swim. Round pools have the benefit of being able to create a whirlpool ( and lose water if not supervised ?)

This company will sink your pool several feet into the ground here so you only need a few steps to get in. If you're on a hill, it works great.

So ask if they will/can do that. Also ask about the vermiculite? bottom. And definitely ask to see their work. This company has 4 pools setup at their store. Be sure to consider decking at install even if it's a small one to add on to later. It never "got done" for me because I would plan to add later. Lol

PS agp will not stop your water loving dog from getting in. Our pair, one loved it the other not so much. They both learned to climb the ladder. The lover would walk carefully around the edge and jump onto a float. The other would mostly stand on the ledge and bark at him. ? It's a miracle we didn't get ripped liner from those two and their antics.
 
Last edited:

Wobblerlorri

Bronze Supporter
We looked at our yard and first decided what side of the house we'd put it on. We don't have a back yard, just a strip about 15 feet wide, but we have pretty big yards on the sides of the house.

We decided on the west side of the house, because it already has a fence. We measured the width and depth of the area we chose, which was 17' x 20'. We decided on a 14' pool because it would fit nicely -- personally I wish we'd gone with a 16' pool and used all the available space. Ah well, next time.

Actually next time I want to get a rectangular pool and put it on the east side of the house. I'll also have a grading company level the site, and use the XPS foam under the pool along with the Gorilla pad. And I'd get in myself to kick out wrinkles! Hubs did it this time, and didn't have the energy to do a very good job.
 
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rajung

Well-known member
Mar 17, 2015
463
Cedar Falls, Iowa
I'm not familiar with Watson's, but I did check the website and see they have 4 option packages for ea pool they sell. Might want to double check if it is worth getting the extras from them, compared to maybe getting better quality items for the same or less elsewhere.
 

cj133

Well-known member
May 6, 2018
306
NJ
When we went shopping for an AGP, we were getting it to determine if we could take care of a pool and if we really would enjoy a pool. We went AGP because if any of those items were a no-go, we could simply tear it down, drop down some sod, and there would be no sign that we ever had a pool. If after a couple years, we decided that we liked the pool, we would then purchase an inground pool to make it permanent.

Now to give it the best chance for success we decided to:
  1. Get a large pool that would simulate the size of inground we were considering. We bought a 27' one with 54" sides. This pool gives us lots of room without having to bump into each other all the time.
  2. We purchased a composite pool to prevent rusting. We live near the beach with plenty of salt in the air. Everything here eventually rusts away.
  3. We wanted everything hard plumbed in. We wanted it to resemble exactly how we would have our inground.
  4. We purchased a dual speed pump. We had lots of trees with lots of pine needles and I knew I would be running it a lot. Currently we run our pump on low 24/7. Our pool is always pristine. Notice, I said had pines. The pool merely emphasized how much we hated Pine trees. We removed 12 of them since the pool.
  5. I wanted a cartridge filter system. When I cleaned the filter, I merely wanted to replace the cartridge and press on. Maintenance is minimum. I pay $60 a year for the filters (yes, I am too lazy to clean them when they are so cheap), five minutes of time, and my pool is ready.
  6. We purchased a "staircase" ladder that was not only sturdy but easy to get in and out of the pool. I am built rather sturdy and wanted my entrance into the pool safe and sturdy.
Items we added after a couple years with the pool:
  1. Electrical outlets ran to the back of the yard where the pool equipment could sit unnoticed. This outlet has 2 - 110v plugs in the front and 2 in the back so I could connect anything I wanted. Currently I have my pump, my robot cleaner, and my SWG connect to this outlet.
  2. Robotic automatic cleaner. I mean really. You toss it in the pool, turn it on, walk away for 2 hours, and come back to a clean pool. No vacuuming, no brushing, and no work. Worth every penny.
  3. Salt Walter Chlorine Generator. Just added it this year, because every time we went on a trip, we needed someone to add chlorine to the pool Now we leave for 1 to 2 weeks with no worries.
  4. Container by the pool equipment to hold chemicals, tools, and robot. We have a chest that holds all the goodies at hands reach.
What would we have done differently? We would have placed some type of mat on the bottom of the pool to better prevent wrinkling and root/weed control. Though we had professionals clear, level, and install, they only placed a thick layer of sand at the base which shifts over the years (wrinkles) and does very little to prevent roots/weeds.

Now after the years we have had the AGP we have had a hard time making the plunge to the inground. There are so many advantages to an AGP such as:
  1. No large critters in the skimmer
  2. No one stumbling in or worrying about pets
  3. No runoff from rain or flooding
  4. Warms up faster
If it wasn't for the aesthetic value, we would not even be considering an inground.

I know....more than you wanted.
Does your composite pool have a steel wall and steel hardware? Someone gave me a generator that was at a beach house and I cannot believe the damage that salt air does to things. o_O

I thought the cartridge filter comment was interesting. I went with a sand filter because I didn't feel like dealing with cartridges.
I backwash it every 2 weeks or so.
I don't take a filter apart, I don't have to buy filters, store them or dispose of them.
 

Holydoc

Gold Supporter
Jul 17, 2016
418
Navarre/FL
Does your composite pool have a steel wall and steel hardware? Someone gave me a generator that was at a beach house and I cannot believe the damage that salt air does to things. o_O

I thought the cartridge filter comment was interesting. I went with a sand filter because I didn't feel like dealing with cartridges.
I backwash it every 2 weeks or so.
I don't take a filter apart, I don't have to buy filters, store them or dispose of them.
cj133,

The walls are steel, but the hope is that the supports will last. Salt air is just a burden for living in Paradise. Eventually it will need to be replaced but the hope is that the composite supports and top rail will make it last a bit longer. ;)

I suppose all type of filters have their pros and cons. For me the cartridge is perfect. No backwashing saving me time and it definitely keeps it clean (the cartridge goes from white to black, due to filtering much finer particles than the sand, 10 microns vs. 20 microns). No storage involved either. Basically I have a reminder in my calendar that tells me it is time to change the cartridge. I order from Amazon (they are gracious enough to store the filters for me.. LOL) and take 5 minutes to replace it once it arrives. The downside is that my cost is more, $60 per year for cartridge, than a sand filter that does not need to be replaced. However since $60 per year is minimal for the convenience and job it does, it was my choice.
 

Tpopz

Bronze Supporter
Jun 4, 2019
74
Versailles, Kentucky
Budget was our first consideration. Included in that budget was pool package, deck, electrical and light.

I wanted a steel wall pool because I have a bit of experience installing them, so we chose a cheaper package vs frame style pool.

Went for a small pool 15’ x 48”. It is mostly the wife and I who use it. No grandkids yet. 15’ is a breeze to maintain.

Also, I don’t own the house. I am a farm manager and housing is part of the deal. We got written permission for the pool. But, I didn’t want to sink a bunch of $ into a pool that I will likely need to move or tear down in a few years..........I’ve lived here 19 years though.
 

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