Intex Ultra Frame vs Cheap Solid Steel AG


New member
Feb 28, 2017
Austin, TX
Hello! I am a homeowner in Austin, TX and we are working on upgrading our backyard. We had an Intex last year (the kind with the belt around the middle) and loved it and are looking to upgrade to a bigger 24 X 12 pool for this year.

The husband (who is knowledgeable about pool stuff) wants the Intex Ultra Frame because its cheap and well reviewed. Plus the rectangle will fit against our deck (we are building a raised deck currently)

I have concerns though - I worry that we put $1000 into this pool and the soft sides burst when a kid is too rough, plus - its not very pretty and I am going to have a heck of time hiding it under....something...??? Plants??? I don't know.

I have been looking at the cheaper solid side, steel pools and it seems like they are not that much more than the Intex and could last 5-10 years more than the soft sided pool.

My question is, is a cheap solid steel pool better or worse than the soft sided Intex? I know some of the cheap steel pools can get really bad reviews and the costs associated with building up the proper package of pump, filter and whatnot can really add up.

Any advice? I would love to hear your thoughts.



Well-known member
May 2, 2011
lebanon tn
My first couple of pools were intex. An 18 round. Had to replace one liner after about 4 years use. Bought online from intex. Never had a problem tearing up liner, just started showing wear. I think these are really good starter pools for newbies, but also experience better balance control with larger pools. My 33 round steel pool was absolutely best and easiest


LifeTime Supporter
Sep 27, 2012
Medicine Hat, Alberta
I have been using intex pools for 6-7 years now, never seen a problem with the sides as the weakest part is the bottom. Knowing that I place my ladder at different spots throughout the season. The 24 x 52" I am running now has been left up through the winter with no problems, so far.
One must remember that the pool itself is roughly half the price of a pool, the equipment can easily add up to the cost of the pool. With that in mind I have been slowly upgrading the size of my pools over the years, satisfied that my 24 x 52" is easy to maintain and I now have all the gear for it, SWG/ sand filter etc etc etc, my next one will be a steel sided pool.


LifeTime Supporter
Jun 12, 2014
Tucson, AZ
We have kids (and adults) cannonballing into our ultraframe. Never had any concern about the sides busting. That material is very tough and it spreads the load very well.


LifeTime Supporter
Apr 14, 2012
NE Florida
I have loved my intex ( 26' x 52"). I set it up in 2012 and will need to replace it this year. Entirely my own fault I think. The sleeves covering the top rails are stiff and fraying from year round exposure to the intense Florida Sun. It would have lasted longer if I had covered it thru the winter months I think.
The walls of these pools are much thicker than the liners of a hard sided agp pool and they are reinforced with a fiber. Nylon? Fiberglass? I'm not sure but I know it's there because of where those top sleeves are fraying. There is also that white belt that goes around the pool about half way up the sides and a rope around the bottom that holds the bottom of the legs in place.
The only problem I had with kids splashing and making the water move around a lot was that the intex over the wall skimmer got knocked out of whack a couple of times. If the pump is running and this happens it can cause the pump to cavatate (sp ?). It'll suck air and can damage the pump. I put in a thru the wall skimmer which I love but, be aware that you'll lose a couple inches or so of water depth if you install a thru the wall skimmer. The 52" height is to the top of the top rail. Your water depth will be below those openings where the legs meet the top rail and with a thru the wall skimmer you will lose depth from that opening height.
Also the pumps that come with these pools are a bare minimum. It'll work but, I think that almost everyone upgrades to a stronger pump and bigger filter eventually. I did and was amazed at the difference. I also hard plumbed it and added an extra return on the side opposite the skimmer.
Having written all of this I went back and re-read your original post. From what you wrote, I think you had the blue intex with a white frame? I'm not sure if I've added anything that you didn't already know (lol) but I'll leave it as written.
Somewhere on here is a thread I started several years ago about landscaping around these grey pools. There are pictures of what I did but there are also pictures of many other people's intex landscaping solutions.
I can't wait to see pictures of y'alls pool set up.

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