Are Round Or Rectangular Above Ground Pools Better? (Know The Truth!)

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Are Round Or Rectangular Above Ground Pools Better?

You have made the decision to install an above ground pool in the backyard. Fantastic! But what pool shape should you choose? Does shape matter? Are round or rectangular above ground pools better?

Round above ground pools are the most popular as they are better value for money and easier to install. Round above ground pools are ideal for families with young kids, keen to have fun. A rectangular above ground pool is better for doing laps, staying fit and when you have a deep but narrow backyard.

The answer to “are round or rectangular above ground pools better?” does depend on the lay of the land and your specific needs. Generally speaking, a round above ground pool will be better for most.

Are Round Or Rectangular Above Ground Pools Better?

In this post I discuss 7 factors that you must take into consideration before deciding whether a round or rectangular above ground pool is better for you. 

What Is the “Lay of the Land” of Your Backyard?

The “lay of the land” of your backyard, may or may not leave you with much choice. 

It will be easier to fit a rectangular above ground pool in a deep but narrow backyard. It will be the most optimum utilization of available space.

On the other hand, a round above ground pool will be ideal for a backyard that is kind of square. You can place the round pool within a square surrounding deck. The square deck with a round pool within will become the hub of summer fun activities for the entire family.

An above ground pool must be at least 10 feet away from the walls of your house.

National building codes, as outlined by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), require an outdoor above ground pool to be at least 10 feet away from the walls of a house. This helps ensure that leaking or splashed water cannot contact any electrical wiring and cause a short.

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The backyard space that you can dedicate to locating your above ground pool will be dictated by this code.

What Will Be the Above Ground Pool Size?

How big of a pool are you looking for? The standard depth of an above ground pool is 42”, 48”, 52’ and 54” with 48” (4’) and 54” (4 ½’) being most common. There are many lengths, widths and diameters to choose from. The volume of water depends on the depth and length, width or diameter as the case maybe.

Generally speaking, a round above ground pool will have more surface area than a rectangular above ground pool with similar dimensions.

For example, INTEX 26355EH 18ft x 9ft x 52in Ultra XTR Pool Set with Sand Filter Pump is a rectangular above ground pool. The surface area of this pool is 162 ft.²

INTEX 26329EH 18ft x 52in Ultra XTR Pool Set with Sand Filter Pump is a round above ground pool. The surface area of this round pool is slightly over 254  ft.²

The surface area of the round pool is 57% higher than that of the rectangular pool even though the largest dimension is 18’ in both cases. In essence, the round pool gives you more room to play in the water. So you can have more people splashing around in the pool at the same time.

What is your Budget?

Going back to the above example of above ground pools from INTEX the cost is as under: 

The price of INTEX 26355EH 18ft x 9ft x 52in Ultra XTR Pool Set with Sand Filter Pump a rectangular above ground pool is $1,380.99

The price of INTEX 26329EH 18ft x 52in Ultra XTR Pool Set with Sand Filter Pump round above ground pool is $1,204.33.

Considering that the round above ground pool has a 57% higher surface area, you really get a bang for your buck with a circular shaped pool.

Note: Above prices can vary with location and time of purchase.

Why Are You Buying an Above Ground Pool?

When it comes to a round vs rectangular above ground pool, the purpose of buying the pool and the intended use is in my opinion the most important factor. If the pool does not serve the intended purpose then all other considerations are quite meaningless.

Looking to stay fit? Then you want to swim laps, alone or with your partner. A rectangular above ground pool which is 18′ long and 9′ wide can allow 2–3 people to swim laps together.

You could swim the same length laps in an 18’ diameter round above ground pool, but somehow you don’t get the same feeling. You also cannot race with someone else in a round pool.

Love playing water volleyball? Then you have to have a rectangular above ground pool.

But if the intention is primarily to have fun with family and friends on hot summer weekends, then a round above ground pool is ideal. It can be a great place to relax & entertain too if you build a deck all around it.

Picture yourself sipping a cool margarita as kids chase each other and jump into the pool from the deck.

Round vs Rectangular Pool (What is Easier to Install?)

For the same dimensions it is a lot easier to install a round above ground pool.

Installing a round above ground pool can be a DIY project. You can install one with a little help from your family. The hydrostatic pressure from the pool water gets distributed evenly in the case of a round pool. As a result a round pool does not need buttressing.

Installing a rectangular is a bit more complicated. You will most likely need to use the services of a professional. A rectangular or oval above ground pool requires a buttressing system to hold the pool walls in place.

Do You Plan to Build a Deck Around Your Pool?

It is not essential to have a deck adjoining an above ground pool. You can use portable steps or a pool ladder for getting in and out of the pool.

It is not essential to have a deck adjoining an above ground pool. You can use portable steps or a pool ladder for getting in and out of the pool.

Having said that, building a deck which partially or completely surrounds an above ground pool takes it to a whole new level. You can relax and entertain on the deck, in between dips in the pool. 

Building a deck around a rectangular pool is easier than building one around a round above ground pool. You can even have an extended patio that leads from the house to the rectangular pool.

Such an installation would look quite neat. It would be easy & cheap to build too!

Do You Really Need a Pool Cover?

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You may not have given it much thought but a pool cover, even for an above ground pool, will save you money as well as the effort to keep your pool clean. The pool should be covered whenever you are not using it.

During summer you may keep your above ground pool covered at night or even on weekdays, if you are not going to use the pool. You should certainly winterize your above ground pool and cover it up once the pool season ends.

The advantages of using a pool cover are as under:

  • Reduces Water Loss due to Evaporation
  • Maintains Pool Water Temperature
  • Reduces use of Pool Chemicals (especially Chlorine)
  • Keeps Dust, Dirt & Debris Out
  • Lowers Maintenance Requirements
  • Improves Safety
  • Saves Money

While a round above ground pool can also be covered, the process will have to be manual. On the other hand, it is possible to motorize a rectangular above ground pool cover.

Summary

In summary, on the 7 important factors, the comparison of round vs rectangular above ground pools is as under:

FactorRemarks
1Backyard LayoutRound Above Ground Pool works better if the layout is more of a square, Rectangular Above ground pool is more suitable for deep, narrow backyards.
2Pool SizeFor the same maximum dimension, a Round Above Ground Pool will give you around 50% more surface area.
3Value For MoneyA Round Above Ground Pool will give you more bang for your buck.
4UtilityA Round Above Ground Pool is great for fun. A Rectangular Above Ground Pool is great for fitness.
5InstallationA Round Above Ground Pool is easier to install.
6Adding a DeckIt is easier to build a deck around a Rectangular Above Ground Pool.
7Pool CoverThe pool cover for a Rectangular Above Ground Pool can be easily motorized.

I do hope that you can now make a more informed decision regarding round vs rectangular above ground pool.

Thank you very much for reading the post. I do hope you found it informative and helpful.

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