Whats the best above ground deck mounted pool ladder

cubbieblue

Member
Apr 18, 2017
21
Lake Zurich, IL
Hi Folks,
A bit overwhelmed by all the bad reviews of deck ladders for above ground pool. Had a confer aframe before deck. Could buy adapter kit to modify for deck mount. Dont really care for the plastic look though. It would also angle into pool area. Wanted to find a stainless ladder that was more vertical and intruded into pool less than confer would. Reviews seem to indicate cheap grade weak stainless for anything I can find. Looking for suggestions and mods for models you might recommend. Any help would be great! Thanks in advance!
5 inches of snow in chicago but pool weather around corner!
Go Cubs!
 

CJadamec

TFP Expert
Apr 29, 2016
2,390
Quaker Hill, CT
The problem with ladders like you are looking for is that they need to be free standing and not push against the pool wall because the pool wall isn't strong enough to support them. Un like an inground pool where the ladder can be supported by both the deck and the sides of the pool allowing for much lighter material to be used. This is the primary reason you don't see this style ladder for above ground pools. Making the mount on the deck strong and ridged enough to support the free end of the ladder with a full grown adult on it is not an easy thing to do. On top of that you need to make the ladder removable for winter closing which just makes it weaker.

For above ground pools to get a sturdy entry / exit ladder you really need some that is supported vertically by the bottom of the pool (the ground) and is held in place laterally by either the top rail or deck. Personally I like the Confer products and I think they offer some of the best options for getting in and out of above ground pools. The confer steps that sit in the water don't stick out as far away from the wall like the convertible ladders do.

I don't recall seeing a ladder like the one you are looking for, at least not one that I would spend any money on. There is also the issue that a steel ladder like that one will have to be bonded to the pool bonding grid, not a huge issue but one that shouldn't be overlooked. When I was building I was looking for that style ladder because of how I installed my deck over my top rail. Everything that style is geared towards inground pools.
 

cubbieblue

Member
Apr 18, 2017
21
Lake Zurich, IL
The problem with ladders like you are looking for is that they need to be free standing and not push against the pool wall because the pool wall isn't strong enough to support them. Un like an inground pool where the ladder can be supported by both the deck and the sides of the pool allowing for much lighter material to be used. This is the primary reason you don't see this style ladder for above ground pools. Making the mount on the deck strong and ridged enough to support the free end of the ladder with a full grown adult on it is not an easy thing to do. On top of that you need to make the ladder removable for winter closing which just makes it weaker.

For above ground pools to get a sturdy entry / exit ladder you really need some that is supported vertically by the bottom of the pool (the ground) and is held in place laterally by either the top rail or deck. Personally I like the Confer products and I think they offer some of the best options for getting in and out of above ground pools. The confer steps that sit in the water don't stick out as far away from the wall like the convertible ladders do.

I don't recall seeing a ladder like the one you are looking for, at least not one that I would spend any money on. There is also the issue that a steel ladder like that one will have to be bonded to the pool bonding grid, not a huge issue but one that shouldn't be overlooked. When I was building I was looking for that style ladder because of how I installed my deck over my top rail. Everything that style is geared towards inground pools.
Thanks Chuck! Had not considered the bonding issue though should have as everything else is bonded. Thanks for reminder on that! As you said, not hard to do, but one more thing to consider. The stainless ladders Ive found do rest on bottom of pool and deck. Just seem to be poorly constructed....
 

CJadamec

TFP Expert
Apr 29, 2016
2,390
Quaker Hill, CT
Unfortunately a large portion of the "above ground" pool accessories just simply aren't made well in my opinion. They are mostly made to be cheap enough to sell which generally just makes them cheap.

That's one of the reasons I like the confer stuff. I had their model 7200 ladder when we built the pool and didn't have a deck yet. I thought it was sturdy and built well. I went from the ladder to the confer curve steps because like you I just couldn't find anything deck mounted that was worth my money.

In the end the wife, the kids, the inlaws, and the older generation have been happy I went with the steps to get in and out of the pool. They are easy to use, very stable, and have proven to be a great place for the young kids to sit on and learn to swim to mommy or daddy.
 

Purple

Well-known member
Feb 11, 2017
46
Utah
Keep us posted if you find anything. I’m having the same problem—so many ladders and other above ground pool things just look plasticky and tacky—no reason they couldn’t make them look a little more streamlined and nice.
 

rajung

Well-known member
Mar 17, 2015
463
Cedar Falls, Iowa
I started with the confer A frame ladder before deck was built, when the deck was completed I cut the ladder and bought the conversion kit to mount to deck along with an extension kit to get the bottom to set on pool floor. It worked out really well but noticed compared to a step style it had a little too much incline and got tired of it. Purchased the confer steps, replaced modified ladder and its much easier to get in and out of. Only drawback is it is heavier than ladder to get out of pool when closing since it is full of sand and water. Even with stainless, I don't think the finish would hold up and eventually look horrible, plus it would need pool floor support which I definitely would not want, metal on vinyl.
 

Bosley

Gold Supporter
Silver Supporter
Nov 23, 2018
197
Edmonton, alberta
For those of you that have the steps VS a ladder. Do you have any issues with algae build up? Do you have to move the steps regularly to clean them and brush the wall behind?
 

CJadamec

TFP Expert
Apr 29, 2016
2,390
Quaker Hill, CT
My steps go in the first day we use the pool and they come out the day the winter cover goes on. That's the only time they move.

I've never had an algae issue in my pool thanks to TFP. So much so that I feel like I've missed out on a right of passage in never having had to deal with a green pool. I'm sure someday I will get my turn.

I'm sure the design of the stairs has something to do with them staying as clean as the pool. The sides are slotted and it doesn't fit tight against the wall. There are also "feet" on the bottom which allows water and FC to circulate under and around the stairs freely. Not all stairs are built this way and I can't speak to how well those do or don't stay clean.
 
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MrBfromNC

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
May 23, 2018
385
Fuquay-Varina, NC
Ditto what Chuck said (I've got the full-sized Confer steps also). They go in our pool in March, get removed in October. There was a little bit of algae built up on the walls behind them 6 months ago but nothing a good brushing and some extra LC couldn't take out. I also checked to be sure the feet didn't make any type of impression on the floor but so far, so good.
 
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CJadamec

TFP Expert
Apr 29, 2016
2,390
Quaker Hill, CT
The Lumio steps are going to get the company sued for making an entrapment drowning hazard.

There is a safety reason why steps all have some sort of side to them in the water. You should not be able to get your body under them.
 

rajung

Well-known member
Mar 17, 2015
463
Cedar Falls, Iowa
No Algae problem, I don't brush them as often as I do the pool, but they are within 2 feet of return.
In late April and out in late Oct.
No problem brushing behind my steps. With the ladder it was a little tougher as it had the back barrier, I cleaned the wall then while I was in the pool
 

OHcabanaboy

Well-known member
Jul 3, 2016
87
Delphos, OH
I have the Confer 6000X. It was the only one that would reach the bottom due to my deck height. I have no complaints with it. I did a lot of searching because I wanted a stainless setup but never found anything that would work for me.
 

JohnFoe

Well-known member
May 29, 2017
83
kokomo IN

Big wide steps are nice. Can't really sit on them, but kids can. I didn't fill with sand, but I filled 4 inch pipes with sand and used zip ties to weigh it down. I can cut the zip ties and get the ladder out of the pool on my own. it is still a struggle to get it out on my own, but I managed.

I do not clean under the steps all season. Dirt does build up and likely some algea after 4 months, but nothing major. I always have good chlorine levels so might be a good factor.