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Optimum Pools vs. Above Ground Pools

You've always dreamed of having a swimming pool, but you've come to the conclusion that a traditional inground pool simply isn't the way to go. Maybe your backyard is just one giant, steep hill. Perhaps you've decided that a traditional inground pool costs more than you want to spend. Or maybe you live in a place with rocky soil, a high water table, or some other conditions that make digging a pool difficult or impossible.

Whatever the reason, you've decided that a fully inground pool isn't for you – and that's totally okay! You don't have to have an inground pool to enjoy the benefits of being a pool owner.

In this article, we'll look at two awesome alternatives to inground pools: semi inground pools (also known as “Optimum Pools”) and above ground pools.

Ready? Let's dive in!

Price Pros Cons
Above Ground Swimming Pool $ - $$ Budget-friendly

Quick assembly/setup (around 1 day)

DIY-friendly
Shorter lifespan than inground or Optimum pools (typically 7 to 10 years)

Can be less attractive than inground or Optimum pools
Optimum Pools/Semi Inground Swimming Pools $$ - $$$ Flexible installation options (fully inground, partially above ground, etc.)

Constructed from high-quality materials

Longer lifespan than above ground pools
Longer assembly/setup time (3-5 days)

More expensive than fully above ground pools

Professional installation required
Above Ground Swimming Pool
Price $ - $$
Pros Budget-friendly

Quick assembly/setup (around 1 day)

DIY-friendly
Cons Shorter lifespan than inground or Optimum pools (typically 7 to 10 years)

Can be less attractive than inground or Optimum pools
Optimum Pools/Semi Inground Swimming Pools
Price $ - $$
Pros Flexible installation options (fully inground, partially above ground, etc.)

Constructed from high-quality materials

Longer lifespan than above ground pools
Cons Longer assembly/setup time (3-5 days)

More expensive than fully above ground pools

Professional installation required

Above Ground Swimming Pools: Overview

Above ground pools are exactly what they sound like: They sit completely above ground. There's no digging required; no concrete, noisy machinery, or lengthy pool installation process. In fact, when you choose an above ground pool, you can have a complete swimming pool in one day -- compare that to the 6 to 8 weeks it takes to install a traditional, fully inground pool!

Pool companies typically sell above-ground pools as kits that include, well, everything: You get the pool, plus the filter and pump system, stairs, and a cover. All you have to do is put it together, add water, and enjoy your new pool! And if you ever need to move your above ground pool, all you have to do is empty it, take it apart, and set it up somewhere else.

And, of course, one of the biggest selling points about above ground swimming pools is the price tag: You can get an above ground pool for a fraction of the cost of a traditional, fully in ground pool.

Above Ground Swimming Pools: The Pros and Cons

They're fun, affordable, and easy to set up – but is an above ground pool right for you? Here are some additional pros and cons to consider before you take the plunge.

Here are some things that pool owners love about above ground pools:

It’s only fair to mention that above ground pools do have a few “cons” to consider. One drawback is that above ground pools have a comparatively short lifespan of 7 to 10 years (and that’s with proper maintenance – remember, they’re not meant to be permanent). If you’re looking for more of a “buy-it-for-life” investment, you’ll be happier if you spend the extra money on an Optimum Pool or a fully inground pool.

Optimum Pools: Overview

Optimum Pools (also known as semi-inground swimming pools) give you the best of both worlds: You get a durable, attractive, and (relatively) permanent swimming pool – for less than you’d pay for a traditional inground pool.

The biggest selling point, though, is that you can install an Optimum Pool almost anywhere – even in places where traditional inground or fully above ground pools can’t go. Optimum pools can be installed totally above ground or partially in the ground, which makes them a great fit for, say, backyards built on very steep hills or cities with restrictions on digging or pool height.

And, if you love the look of an inground pool – but you don’t love the price tag or the weeks of construction work – you can opt to have your Optimum Pool buried in the ground. You get the same look for a fraction of the price (and in a few days vs. several weeks).

Optimum Pools: Pros and Cons

There’s more to these pools than their flexible installation options. Here are some other great reasons to consider an Optimum swimming pool:

Of course, there are a few drawbacks to Optimum Pools. For example, an Optimum Pool is, for all practical purposes, a permanent addition to your yard. If you’re not 100 percent sure you’ll always want a pool, an above ground pool might be a safer bet.

There’s also price to consider. While it’s true that they’re less expensive than a fully inground swimming pool, Optimum pools aren’t “cheap.” If cost is your biggest consideration, you might be better off with an above ground pool.

Semi-Inground vs. Above Ground Pool FAQs

Q: How much does an Optimum swimming cost?

A: In general, a semi-inground pool is more affordable than a traditional inground pool, but a bit more expensive than a fully above ground pool. Of course, the exact price you’ll pay for your Optimum Pool will vary depending on the shape and size of your pool, and the type of installation you choose.

Q: Which is better: An Optimum Pool or an above ground pool?

A: The truth is, one pool option isn’t “better” than the other. It all comes down to personal preference. If you’re looking for a great pool on a budget, and if you like the idea of being able to move your pool one day, an above ground pool might be the better option. If you’d prefer something more permanent, and don’t mind spending a little extra for quality, consider an Optimum Pool instead.

Q: How much does an above ground pool cost?

A: An above ground pool is the most affordable, budget-friendly option available. Although the price of an above ground pool can vary depending on things like size and shape, these types of swimming pools are generally much less expensive than inground and semi-inground pools.

Q: How do you maintain an above ground or Optimum Pool?

A: In general all swimming pools require the same care, whether they’re in ground, above ground, or somewhere in between: You’ll need to test your swimming pool water and keep it balanced by adding chemicals, and you’ll also need to vacuum the bottom of your pool, scrub your pool walls, and change the filter. The only real difference? Most above-ground and Optimum Pools tend to be smaller than fully inground pools, so there’s less pool to clean!