Above Ground vs. Semi Inground Pool: Which is Better?

Above Ground Pool vs. Semi Inground Pool

If you have always wanted to own a pool but do not have much cash to spend, you can make your dream come true by going for more cost-effective types like the above-ground and semi inground pools.

While both offer a more affordable option for owning a pool, they are not the same. They will differ in aspects like the ease of installation, design, and cost. Understanding these differences is the only way to ensure you choose what best suits you.

Above Ground Pool vs. Semi Inground Pool 

Here are the key differences between the above-ground and semi inground pools.

Cost: Above Ground Pools Are Much Cheaper

While the cost of installing any pool type will depend on several factors like the size and design, above-ground pools tend to be more affordable than semi inground pools.

On average, you can expect to spend anything from $1,000 to $8,000 to buy and install an above-ground pool. Moreover, you can also save more cash by installing it yourself, given that the process is relatively straightforward.

On the other hand, semi inground pools will cost at least $10,000. Also, note that these are more complex pool types that will require professional installation, which can further push up the cost.

Design: Portable vs Permanent Pools

Above-ground swimming pools are more flexible and portable fixtures that you do not have to keep at a dedicated spot, as you can easily move them around. A typical above-ground pool will feature a metal frame, liner, filter, and pump only.

Semi inground pools are a more permanent fixture that requires excavation, just like inground pools when setting up. They use heavy-duty materials like concrete, aluminum, and steel. Also, the wall panels on these pools are fully insulated to keep the water warm for a longer period.

Installation: Semi Inground Pools Take a Little Extra Work to Set Up

Above-ground swimming pools are a breeze to install, and they should be ready to use in under 1 day. Also, if you are a budding DIYer, you do not need to pay anyone for the installation, as you can quickly set up the pool on your own.

You will not need to excavate when installing an above-ground pool, and neither do you have to run any complicated plumping setup. All this makes the job even easier and quicker.

Semi inground pools will take a bit of extra work to install. Depending on the pool size and complexity of the setup required, installing a semi inground pool takes 3 to 5 days.

Maintenance: Maintaining Above Ground Pools is a Breeze

Both pool types will require some maintenance to keep them clean and safe. However, above-ground pools will take less effort to maintain. These pools are usually smaller, meaning there is less area to scrub and little water to clean and sanitize.

Semi inground pools will require a little more maintenance given their size and the fact that they often use relatively more complex systems than the basic ones you get on above-ground pools. However, they are still not as challenging to maintain as traditional inground pools.

Lifespan: A Good Semi Inground Pool Should Last a Couple of Decades

Semi inground pools will last much longer than the above-ground ones. Basic models should easily give you a service life of up to 20 years, while the premium or high-end ones can last twice as much (up to 40 years).

Above-ground pools will not last as long as their average lifespan is 7 to 10 years. However, with proper maintenance, some models can last a little longer than this.


Above ground and semi inground pools are both cost-effective alternatives for traditional inground pools. However, each will be a good fit for a different situation.

The above-ground pools are ideal if you want a cheap, portable, and flexible pool that you can set up in any location. On the other hand, semi inground is a better option if you want something heavy-duty and more permanent.

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