Difference Between In-Ground And Above-Ground Swimming Pool

Are you looking to install a backyard swimming pool but are undecided between an in-ground and above-ground pool? The below guide will help you choose which type of pool is right for you.

What Is an In-ground Pool?

An in-ground pool is built inside the ground, and its water is visible from the ground level.

What Is an Above-ground Pool?

As the name suggests, an above-ground pool usually sits entirely above ground. Its installation is far easier and less time-consuming since it does not require excavation.

Difference Between In-Ground And Above-Ground Swimming Pools

Significant differences exist between these two pool types regarding the construction process, cost, safety, aesthetics, maintenance, etc. Following are the points of differences between the two:

1. Pool Design

An in-ground pool offers more options in terms of shape, size, and additional features than an above-ground pool. In-ground pools can be long lap pools, rectangular or round pools for relaxing and playing with friends, or a combination of the two.

The shape options are nearly limitless. In-ground pools can be almost any shape, size, or depth the owner desires. While rectangular pools are the most common, in-ground pools can also be oval, kidney-shaped, or lagoon-style.

Above-ground pools have far fewer designs, features, and depth options. Most are round or rectangular, with a uniform depth of slightly more than four feet.

2. Installation

Installing an in-ground pool is a major undertaking that professionals should only attempt. In-ground pools require excavation which can be challenging if the builders come across bedrock, groundwater, or other impediments. Depending on the type, digging and installing the pool can take anywhere from one to several weeks.

On the other hand, above-ground pools are far easier and less time-consuming to install; you only need a level piece of ground. Onground pools don’t require excavation, which saves time, planning, and other construction work. If the terrain is already level and cleared, an above-ground pool can be installed in a day or two.

3. Cost

In-ground pools are costly. They range in price varies from $30,000 to $70,000, depending on where you live and the number of features you choose. The reason for the high cost is primarily labor, as professionals are required to install an in-ground pool; digging alone can take several weeks.

A high-quality above-ground pool with a deck will typically cost between $8,000 and $10,000, but one can be installed for much less.

4. Durability

The durability of a pool varies greatly depending on its type. Inground built-in pools do not have exposed walls and are less likely to be damaged by the elements or accidents; however, if this occurs, repairs are more expensive – in some cases, more costly than the total cost of an above-ground pool.

It is easier to tear down and replace an above-ground pool. Because the sides of an above-ground pool are exposed, it is less durable and is more vulnerable to damage from accidents or storms.

5. Maintenance

Maintaining water quality in any pool type entails the same tasks: cleaning, filtering, and maintaining chemical balance. In-ground pools require more maintenance than above-ground pools; you may need to hire a pool contractor to do the job. In comparison, above-ground pools are much easier and cheaper to maintain.

6. Life Span

The average lifespan of above-ground pools is between 10 and 15 years. If properly maintained, in-ground pools can last 50 years or more.

7. Added Features

The number of added features on an above-ground pool is more limited. For example, lighting, heating, and a small slide can be included. However, it cannot have a diving board due to its shallow depth.

On the other hand, In-ground pools have an almost infinite number of options. In addition to a diving board and slide, the pool may include a connected spa or a shallow pool for children. Other options include waterfalls, grottos, fire features, swim-up bars, tanning ledges, and a sloped entry.

8. Home Resale Value

Whether in-ground or above-ground, a swimming pool does not add to your home’s resale value. It will help or hurt the home’s sale, depending on the buyer’s desires. Not every home buyer wants the costly maintenance and responsibility of a permanent pool. Hence, an in-ground pool may not be a wise resale investment.

On the other hand, an above-ground pool is not considered permanent. It can hurt the resale value if it is not well-maintained and attractive. The plus point is that you can demolish an above-ground pool at a buyer’s request or even before you put the home for sale.

9. Stays Cleaner Naturally

Above-ground pools are cleaner than in-ground pools. Because there is less dirt to deal with, above-ground pools require less maintenance.

10. Requirement For Heater

In most cases, above-ground pool pools do not require a heater because they are warmed by the sun during the day and surrounded by ambient air temperature at night. They are also insulated by thick walls.

On the other hand, in-ground swimming pools constantly lose heat to the surrounding ground, which is why heater is necessary.

11. Walkway Space

Above-ground pools do not limit the space available for walkways around the pool. Inground pools need standard walkway space, which must be installed around the pool.

12. Safety

In terms of pool types, the above-ground pool is generally the safer of the two. Accidental drownings are less likely because the above-ground pool has walls, and the ladder can be removed when not in use.

An in-ground pool, on the other hand, can be made safe for families. In the winter, all pools should have four-sided safety fencing with self-closing locks, as well as hardcovers.

Advantages and disadvantages of an inground pool

  • Endless design possibilities (concrete pools)
  • Long lifespans (50-100 years or more)
  • They work well with landscaping.
  • Multipurpose Attractive (play, relaxation, exercising)
  • A longer lifespan may increase the value of your home.


  • Costly to install.
  • Long-term costs: will necessitate renovations and repairs over time.
  • More energy consumption and maintenance are required.
  • Heats up more slowly but retains heat longer than Onground pools.
  • Certain components, particularly for repairs, are more difficult to locate.

Advantages and disadvantages of above-ground pools


  • Simple to set up.
  • Can be relocated if necessary.
  • It is much less expensive than inground pools.
  • Lower maintenance and energy consumption.
  • Compact and easy to remove.
  • Affordably priced.


  • Reduced life expectancy (10-15 years)
  • Restricted customizability (size, shape, decor)
  • Less appealing than inground pools.
  • Winter weather resistance is lower than that of inground pools.
  • Water temperature fluctuation is more pronounced as a result of weather conditions.
  • There is little impact on house value.


Both in-ground and Onground pools have benefits and drawbacks. If you are willing to spend the money, in-ground pools can be the centerpiece of a fantastic backyard with features and designs only limited by your imagination.

Above-ground pools are less expensive but not as stylish as in-ground pools. They can, however, be accessorized, and they are an excellent compromise for any homeowner who wants the fun of a pool but not the responsibility of an in-ground pool.

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