In-Ground vs. Above-Ground Pools: Pros and Cons

Dina Cheney
Written by Dina Cheney
Updated March 22, 2022
mother and child playing in the swimming pool
Photo: Halfpoint Images / Moment / Getty Images


  • Above-ground pools are semi-permanent, while in-ground pools are permanent.

  • Above-ground pools are much less pricey than in-ground pools.

  • Above-ground pools take one to three days to install, versus weeks for in-ground pools.

  • In-ground pools often increase property value and offer options for customization.

  • In-ground pools are generally more expensive and time-consuming to maintain.

  • You can install an above-ground pool in a small yard, whereas you need a larger lot for an in-ground pool.

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

You’ve been visualizing a pool in your backyard for years. However, you’re stuck on whether to go the in-ground or above-ground route. For a round-up of the pros and cons of each, dive into the following. Then pick up some new bathing suits and savor your upgraded space.

Above-Ground Pools Pros and Cons

above ground swimming pool in yard
Photo: DigiStu/ Getty Images

These semi-permanent pools generally range from 4 to 6 feet in depth and 12 and 30 feet in diameter. Fairly inexpensive, they’re also relatively easy to assemble. They’re also not as bare-bones as you might think: some higher-end models even include decking, railing, and heating. As an added plus, if you decide to move, you can disassemble an above-ground pool, take it to your new home, and reassemble it there.

Pros of Above-Ground Pools


With a typical price of between $7,000 and $8,000, above-ground pools are economical. In contrast, in-ground pools typically cost at least $38,000 and usually closer to $55,000.

Property Taxes

Since they’re semi-permanent, above-ground pools shouldn’t increase property taxes. 

Installation Time

You can have an above-ground pool installed in one to three days versus several weeks for an in-ground pool. 

Space Requirements

Since above-ground pools are relatively small, they can fit in small yards. For in-ground pools, you need a lot more space.


When you move or if you’re about to put your home on the market, you can disassemble your above-ground pool. Then you can take it with you to your new home, reassembling it there. 


Since above-ground pools are smaller, they require less maintenance than in-ground pools. For instance, you can often disassemble and store your above-ground pool rather than carrying out the multiple steps required for winterizing an in-ground pool. That said, you still need to maintain an above-ground pool, put in a sump pump, test the chlorine level, do weekly shock treatments, and more. 

Cons of Above-Ground Pools


Generally, above-ground pools don’t hold a candle to in-ground pools when it comes to attractiveness. 

Home Value

Partially due to their lackluster looks, above-ground pools do not add value to homes, and might even turn off potential buyers.


Above-ground pools tend to max out at 6 feet in depth, meaning you can’t dive in them. Most are even shallower, ranging between 48 and 52 inches. They’re also too small for swimming laps. Instead, use these smaller pools for soaking and splashing. 


Above-ground pools come in round or oval shapes—forget rectangular or kidney-shaped. 


Although some above-ground pools can be serviceable for decades, most last 10 to 20 years. 

In-Ground Pools Pros and Cons

in ground swimming pool in large yard
Photo: kropic / iStock / Getty Images

In-ground pools are iconic and beautiful. Unfortunately, these permanent watering holes are also a major investment.

Pros of In-Ground Pools 


In-ground pools are attractive and luxurious. Install one, and you’ll add a beautiful water feature, giving yourself an enticing view from your home interior, patio, or deck. 


With in-ground pools, you can specify exactly what you want, from shape and tiling to configuration. 


Since in-ground pools are customizable, you choose your ideal depth and dimensions. If you have the room and budget, you can even put in a pool deep enough for diving and long enough for lap swimming. 


For fun and entertainment value, throw in amenities, like Baja spa steps, a bar, or a waterfall. 

Resale Value

In-ground pools add value to homes—now more than ever. Some buyers are even making them a requirement for homes they purchase, especially in areas with warm climates. 


In-ground pools usually last for several decades. 

Cons of In-Ground Pools


In-ground pools are several times the cost of above-ground pools. Plus, they’ll probably up your property taxes.


You can’t take an in-ground pool with you if you move. 


It will take your local swimming pool installer several weeks to complete the job. 

Space Requirements

To put in an in-ground pool, you need a large flat area. Many yards are too small and not level enough to accommodate an in-ground pool. 


In-ground pools tend to be more costly and time-consuming to maintain than above-ground pools. Because in-ground pools are larger and hold more water, you’ll also spend more on your electric and water bills, chemicals, and cleanings. After 12 to 15 years, you might need to shell out for resurfacing, which costs an average of between $1,000 and $6,500 per 1,000 square feet.

Above-Ground vs. In-Ground Pools

Which type of pool is best for your home? It depends on your needs and circumstances. Let’s look at how each option performs in a head-to-head battle. 


Expect to spend a few thousand dollars for an above-ground pool versus tens of thousands for an in-ground pool. Also, with an in-ground pool, your property taxes will likely increase.

More affordable: Above-ground 


It takes a mere one to three days to install an above-ground pool. If you choose an in-ground pool, expect to wait weeks before wading in.

Quicker installation: Above-ground 


In general, above-ground pools are less pricey and time-consuming to maintain.

Less maintenance: Above-ground 


In-ground pools can last several decades, while above-ground pools tend to span 10 to 20 years.

Longer lasting: In-ground 


The sky’s the limit with in-ground pools, whereas you’ll have very few options with above-ground pools.

More customization: In-ground 


You can go as big as you like (and your budget will allow) with in-ground pools. Meanwhile, above-ground pools are much more limited in space.

Larger: In-ground 


Since in-ground pools can be much larger, longer, deeper, and full-featured, they’re more useful. You and your family can swim laps, jump or dive in, and race, in addition to splashing and floating around.

More useful: In-ground 


In-ground pools offer a myriad of features, such as a hot tub, slide, diving board, and shallow and deep ends. With above-ground pools, you have very few options.

More extras: In-ground 

Home Value

In-ground pools often increase home value, whereas above-ground pools either have a negative or neutral effect on home value.

Increases home value: In-ground 


Unlike in-ground pools, above-ground pools can be disassembled and reinstalled in another location.

More portable: Above-ground 

Space Requirements

You need more yard space to install an in-ground pool versus an above-ground pool.

Fewer space requirements: Above-ground 

The Winner: Above-Ground or In-Ground?

Overall, in-ground pools are more beautiful, useful, and valuable. However, they’re a lot more expensive. If you can swing the cost and have the yard space, shell out for an in-ground pool.

Winner: In-ground

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.