Apples to Apples: When Comparing Above Ground Pools  

by Pool Builders on 01-21-2013 in Articles

Apples to Apples - when purchasing a pool kit.

There are so many components to a pool and each component has its own differing properties and manufactures and trying to understand which is which and which is better is difficult to say the least. One company has a €24' pool kit€ while another company has a €24' pool kit€. Seems the same, right? However, one customer struggles to keep his pool clean while the other customer has no problem or one customer's pool lasts for 25 years and the other customer's pool lasts for 5 years. So what's the difference? This is where we need to compare apples with apples€¦not apples to oranges.
So let's go through the pool's components and compare apples to apples:
€ Pool Framework: The frameworks of above ground pools can give you some idea about their quality. For instance, a higher warranty usually speaks of a frameworks added rust protection. The higher the warranty, the more and better rust protection. Also, the larger a top seat on the pool's framework the stouter the quality of the framework will be. However, some frameworks have a large top seat and a thin vertical post. Compare the width and depth of the verticals and top seats to judge which framework will be the sturdiest and take the most abuse.
€ Liners: Possibly the most important element on the pool. I like to judge liners by mils and not gauge. Mil is a thousandths of an inch, an actual thickness measurement and much more accurate for determining quality.
o 20 gauge = 10- 14 mils thick
o 25 gauge = 15-19 mils thick
o 30 gauge = 19-22 mils thick
o 20 mils = 20 mils thick
o 25 mils = 25 mils thick ( the thickest liner available for above ground pools without being a custom liner)
€ Pumps: Judge this by comparing horse power. More horsepower, more water will be turned. Also, I recommend going with a highly known manufacturer so that parts will be more available if needed. I have seen everybody and their brother makes pumps now a days, so getting a reputable manufacture (Pentair, Sta-Rite, Hayward, Waterway, to name a few) will prevent you from buying a pump that will only last a year or two. Many off brand pumps makers use aluminum in their pumps that will heat up and break down very quickly.
€ Filters: Again, go with a well-known manufacture (Pentair, Sta-Rite, Hayward, Waterway, to name a few) because off brand manufactures use cheaper parts that result in a shorter life span of the filter.
€ Ladders and Steps: Usually the quality of a ladder or step may be judged by looking at the product and seeing which is sturdier or not. Every ladder and step also has an estimated weight requirement that will help you decide which ladder or step is right for you.
€ Skimmers: There are two types of skimmers, standard and widemouth. Most customers believe that a widemouth skimmer is better than a standard skimmer because of its wider opening; however, a widemouth skimmer is a standard skimmer with a widemouth attachment. What this means is that a widemouth skimmer and a standard skimmer pull the exact same amount of water into the filter system making them completely equal in their ability to skim the water's surface.
€ Accessories: There are many accessories that can come with a pool kit and make your life that much easier. Be sure to research the different accessories and see which are better and which pool kits come with these accessories and which do not. For instance, if one pool kit comes with a chlorinator and the other does not, then the pool kit that has the chlorinator is of more value, as this kit will help lower your maintenance.
The moral of the story is that every pool kit has its elements of the kit and their individual characteristics. Make sure that when you are deciding on which kit to purchase, that you compare the kits and judge each individual item as apples to apples so that you can make the most intelligent decision on the price of the kits vs. their value.

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