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Framed vs. Inflatable Swimming Pools: Which is Right for You?

Framed vs. Inflatable Swimming Pools: Which is Right for You?

6th Mar 2023

Swimming pools come in all shapes, sizes, and materials. Two popular options for above ground pools are soft-sided metal frame pools and inflatable pools. Both have their pros and cons, so let's dive into what makes each one unique.


If you're looking for a pool for the kiddos, an inflatable pool might be the way to go. These pools come in smaller sizes, perfect for little ones. But if you're looking for a bigger pool to lounge in with the whole gang, consider a soft-sided metal frame pool. Some of these are as large as traditional above ground pools.


Soft-sided metal frame pools are pricier than inflatable pools. Generally, the larger the pool, the higher the price tag. However, they're made to last, so you can enjoy your pool for years to come. While inflatable pools are more budget-friendly, they may need to be replaced more often.


Need a pool you can set up and take down in a jiffy? Look no further than an inflatable pool! These pools are super easy to set up and take down. Be aware that the air pressure in an inflatable pool can change over time and you may need to re-inflate it occasionally. Also, inflatable pools can leak a little water as you’re getting in and out, or sustain a puncture. While many holes can be fixed, your pool may be temporarily ‘closed for repairs.’ Soft-sided metal frame pools also are relatively easy to install, but set up takes a little longer. Once up, a soft-sided metal frame pool is more stable.

family enjoying an inflatable swimming pool in their backyard


Inflatable pools don't require any special equipment or tools, although you will probably want to invest in an electric air pump. Soft-sided metal frame pools will need a pump and filter system, as well as a ladder for getting in and out. These extra items are an added expense, but they're worth it for a pool that will last.


Both types of pools need some TLC, like regular cleaning and checking the water chemistry. Soft-sided metal frame pools require a bit more maintenance because they have more parts and components that need to be checked and cleaned.


Maintaining a soft-sided metal frame pool can take a few hours each week to clean the liner and keep the water clean and chemically balanced. Upkeep on an inflatable pool is less involved. Either way, it's important to keep the water clean and chemically balanced to keep everyone safe and healthy.


As with any swimming pool, water safety is always a concern, so it's important to follow safety guidelines and always supervise children. Soft-sided metal frame pools should be anchored securely, and inflatable pools should be placed on level ground to prevent them from collapsing.

Optional Equipment

Some inflatable pool owners prefer to buy a pump or ladder for convenience and safety. You can add covers and heaters to soft-sided metal frame pools to help keep the water temperature comfortable. For either type of pool, you’ll surely be tempted to toss in some floats and water toys to extend your water fun.

Both soft-sided metal frame pools and inflatable pools have their perks. Ultimately, the right choice for you will depend on your needs, budget and lifestyle. Consider all the factors, like size, cost, convenience, required equipment, maintenance, safety and optional equipment to find the pool that will help you keep your cool this summer.

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