Considering An Above Ground Swimming Pool?

Nearly a month ago, I received a Target Cartwheel offer for 50% off a specific metal frame above ground swimming pool. I had nearly given up hope of getting a pool, because Jeremy doesn’t know to swim. To hear him tell it, he sinks like a sack full of rocks. We always had a pool (or at least a pool to regularly go to), and my siblings and I were on the swim team many years. I even swam a year in college until I realized I couldn’t play two sports. A swimming pool is a great way to exercise during the summer, and to stay cool in the summer heat. I’ve had so many questions about my pool from readers (and friends) asking what I thought of the one we ended up purchasing and I wanted to address those questions on the blog.

Intex Swimming pool

The original pool on the Cartwheel offer was the Intex 13ft x 39in metal frame pool. Our two Target stores are about 90 minutes away and both stores were showing multiple pools in stock online. The regular price of the pool was $249.99 and the Cartwheel was for 50% off that price. I thought that even if the pool just lasted one summer, it would be worth $125.

intex pool

When we arrived at the Target, there were no pools to be found. I asked an associate to locate one. He said there were two showing in stock, but they were unable to locate them. We had driven 90 minutes one way to get a pool, and I was getting frustrated. They offered the same deal on another pool, except they quickly realized they had none of that pool in stock either. The other Target across town had the same issue when they called; they were actually out of pools despite what stock was showing in inventory. They did have a much larger Intex swimming pool in stock; it was the 16 x 48in Intex metal frame pool with a regular price of $399.99. The Target manager offered that pool and would allow me to use the Target Cartwheel offer. The pool kit cost me roughly $200. Kudos to the manager of the Reynolds Road Target in Lexington, Kentucky who made sure we were able to purchase a pool.

I was a little hesitant because of the reviews, but I also took into consideration that people often only leave reviews when they had a problem with a product. We purchased the larger Intex 16 x 48 metal frame swimming pool.

intex swimming pool

It took Jeremy and I about an hour to set up the pool (that doesn’t include the time spent smoothing the liner). I recommend barely filling the bottom of water, and getting on your hands and knees to do that. It took nearly an hour to get all of the wrinkles out. If you fill it up too much, it’s nearly impossible to get the wrinkles out of the bottom and wrinkles can make your pool more prone to get leaks. It took about 16 hours for the pool to fill, and we were in it the next day. It was a little chilly for the first couple of weeks, but it warmed up fast.

We love our pool. It’s just big enough for us to play in it and get multiple floats in the pool. It’s the perfect height to work on my 5 year old’s swimming skills. I’ve been teaching Jeremy to float, which is an integral part of water safety. [Think: teaching a rock to float.]. Of course, not everything is perfect yet.

I get fed up with either having to leave the towels on the grass to get dirty or leaving them in the house where they’re too far away to easily get. I heard that they do make towel racks for outdoor use so I’m looking into getting one of those to make life a bit easier.

Jeremy said he knows I just got the pool so that he would enjoy it enough to want to install an in-ground pool. He didn’t have many opportunities to swim as a child, and I hate that he doesn’t know how to swim now. I am pleased that he is slowly becoming more relaxed in the water, and I’m working on ensuring that he learns to swim (although he claims to doggy-paddle like a champion). I certainly think this pool will be perfect for us until we are ready to install an in-ground pool here on the farm.

swimming pool

Here are a few tips to remember when getting an above ground pool:

  • Don’t get the inflatable kind. I’ve known several people who purchased the larger inflatable type pools that don’t have a metal frame and all of them had leaks shortly after use. Purchase a metal frame pool if you want something less expensive than a traditional above ground pool.
  • Make sure you buy a good quality pool. If you’re going to get an above ground pool, the biggest problems you’re going to face are leaks. This is why you shouldn’t go for the cheapest ones as they won’t last as long. Just think, an high-end above ground pool cost is $2,500 – which is much less than the cost of a basic in-ground pool so you’re still saving money!
  • Make sure the pool is installed on level ground.
  • Get a water resistant outdoor approved electrical extension cord.
  • You need to remember there are other expenses besides the physical pool. You’ll need to factor in the cost of filling it with water, pool chemicals, and accessories. I still had to purchase pool chemicals such as chlorine tablets, a floating chlorine dispenser, pool shock, water testing strips, and replacement pump filters. I also bought a hand held skimmer. I’m about to order a pool vacuum with a hose, and a solar pool cover.
  • Once you get it filled and operating, you’ll want a few pool safe toys.
  • You’ll need to regularly test and treat your pool water. It’s easier to maintain clear water than to try to treat water that is cloudy or murky.
  • The pump included with the swimming pool kit requires regular filter changes.

The Intex 16 x 48 metal frame swimming pool includes:

  • Metal pool frame
  • Pool liner
  • Ladder
  • Regular cover
  • Pump
  • Tarp type ground cover to go under the pool

Intex 16 x 48 swimming pool

Intex pool pump

I only have two small problems with the pool kit. I wish the ladder felt a little sturdier and that it was a little wider, but we can always purchase a sturdier replacement. I felt the tarp to go under the pool wasn’t quite wide enough. We stretched it out and one foot of the metal frame didn’t fit all the way on it. Technically, the dimensions are big enough, but this is a round peg/square hole problem: as you fill the pool and adjust the legs, it may gradually creep away from its original location.

pool safety

We have been otherwise pleased with our purchase, and we haven’t had any issues with holes or leaks. A swimming pool can be an investment, but it’s a great way to spend time with your family and to get exercise. I’m glad that we got the 16ft pool versus the smaller 13ft. The 16ft is perfect when we have a few family or friends over to the house.

If you have any questions about the pool feel free to ask, I’ll try to answer them.

Always remember water safety and never allow any unsupervised children in or around a swimming pool. Children can drown in shallow water. Gabe can tippy-toe and reach the bottom of the pool, but we never allow him to be in the pool without one of us. You should remove the ladder from the pool when it isn’t in use. This can prevent kids from entering the pool without adult supervision. However, if an accident does occur in the swimming pool, you might need to find a law firm that deals with these sorts of events, like Kuzyk Law, to give you some legal guidance. No one wants to experience a swimming pool accident, which is why it’s important to take extra care when going near the water.


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  • Reply hchybinski 23/06/2015 at 7:25 pm

    My kids want one of these SO badly . . . lol

  • Reply Erin 15/05/2016 at 11:29 am

    Thank you for the info. I’m thinking about buying one. you’ve helped me make some kmportant decisions.

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