Every above ground pool needs to have a good liner as it keeps the water in and protects the pool’s overall structure.
With the best above-ground pool liner, you are less likely to have algae growing in your pool as it creates a water-tight barrier, and it can also help give the pool an updated look.
A pool liner has to battle everything from the pool chemicals to harsh weather conditions, so you will need to replace it at some point. If it is time to replace yours, our review of 5 top models and buying guide below will help you choose the best one.
5 Best Above Ground Pool Liners – Review
1. Best Overall: Smartline Cracked Glass 24-Foot Round Liner
The Smartline Cracked Glass 24-Foot Round Liner is our top overall model thanks to its highly durable construction, fade-free performance, and the fact it does not crease during installation.
With this option, you get a heavy-duty 25-gauge liner made from tough virgin vinyl material. Additionally, the material has an acrylic coating that will protect the liner from pool chemicals and UV rays to ensure it does not fade for a long time.
This liner comes folded so that it does not crease and all you need to do is lay it in the sun for around 1 hour, and it will be ready to install. Additionally, the liner is also cut to size to ensure you always get a flawless fit and finish.
The liner will fit above ground swimming pools with a wall height between 48 and 52 inches. Many pool owners also love that this liner comes with a 25-years limited warranty.
Like most other overlap pool liners, this one seems a little hectic to install, but with an extra person to help out, you should have it in place in just a few minutes.
- Thick enough and highly durable material
- It does not crease and stretches well during installation
- Highly resistant to chemical and UV rays
- Provide a flawless fit and finish
- A little hectic to install
2. Best Budget: Swimline Round Above Ground Pool Wall Overlap Liner
With the Swimline Round Overlap Liner, you get a more affordable liner that will be a perfect option if you are shopping on a tight budget.
Despite being a budget model, it still features heavy-duty construction with vinyl material and excellent sealing for long service life.
The liner has a protective outer coating that provides superior protection from the pool chemicals and the sun to ensure it does not fade or get damaged for many years. What’s more, the material is easily customizable and will conform to a pool’s unique profile to ensure an excellent fit.
Although this liner does not come with the coping strips, you will still get good value for money even if you buy them separately, given its smaller price tag. This pool liner might also not feel super thick, but its 20-gauge thickness is still good enough.
- More affordable price tag to suit budget shoppers
- Durable material with excellent sealing
- Highly resistant to UV rays and pool chemicals
- Easily customizable material
- Does not come with coping strips
- Not very thick
3. Smartline Stone Harbor Pool Liner
The charming patterns of the Smartline Stone Harbor Pool Liner are one of the first elements that draw many pool owners to this liner. The liner comes in lovely colors and has some attractive marble geometric shapes.
Durability is also a guarantee as the liner uses 100% virgin vinyl material with a special acrylic coating that will help ensure it does not fade when exposed to UV rays and pool chemicals.
Installing this 25-gauge liner should be pretty straightforward as you can quickly hook or snap it in place. What’s more, the package also includes a universal gasket kit that can work with both wide-mouth and standard skimmers to help prevent corrosion on your pool walls.
Although this model is a little pricier compared to others on our above ground pool liner review, the quality and service it gives make it worth every buck.
- Charming patterns
- Strong and durable material
- Easy installation
- Protective gaskets provided
- A little pricier
4. Poolcenter Overlap Above Ground Pool Liner
Like many other top-rated above ground pool liners, this one from Poolcenter uses a heavy-duty virgin vinyl material that is tough enough to ensure you get many years of service. Also, the liner includes double-welded seams that will make it even tougher.
What’s more, you never have to worry about the sun damaging your pool as it offers maximum protection from UV rays. Additionally, this liner will not fade quickly, no matter what pool chemicals you use.
The 20-gauge overlap style liner is lightweight enough for easy handling during installation, which should make the job easier for you.
The material is still prone to wrinkling, but this is an easy issue to avoid by ensuring you lay it out in the sun before installation and that you install it when the temperature is right.
- Stronger welded seams
- Sturdy material
- Easy to install
- Provides maximum UV protection
- Wrinkles easily
5. Harris Above Ground Pool Liner
Water wear is one of the leading causes of premature pool liner deterioration, but it should not be an issue for you with the Harris Above Ground Pool Liner. The liner has a special coating that helps prevent water wear, ensuring you get an even longer service life.
Besides the special coating, the manufacturer also makes the liner with a heavy-duty 25-gauge vinyl material that can withstand more abuse to ensure many years of service. What’s more, the liner has a 25-year warranty to give you even more assurance that it will last.
As this is a beaded pool liner, you can be sure of an easy time setting it up. Once you have the track in place, there is nothing much to do besides sliding it in place.
Some pool owners might not like that the dark color makes dirt more visible. However, this is a positive thing as it ensures you can quickly tell when your pool needs some cleaning.
- Highly resistant to water wear
- Heavy-gauge and durable material
- Long warranty cover
- Quick and easy to install
- Dark color makes dirt more visible
Guide to Buy The Best Above-Ground Pool Liner
1. Liner Type
You need to decide on the pool liner type you want for your above ground pool before anything else. Once you know the kind you prefer, you will be closer to finding the best one for your pool.
There are two main types, and the main difference between them is how these sit on the pool’s edge. Each has its positive and negative attributes that you should know before settling on one.
Overlap liners are the most common type, and as their name suggests, they are the kind that will hang over the pool’s wall. These liners typically come with some coping for holding them in place and are also the most affordable option. However, they can be hectic to install if you do not get the size right.
Beaded liners will snap into a track running around the interior of the pool’s top section. This installation design makes beaded liners easier to install than the overlap types. Beaded liners come in different styles, such as J-hook, EZ-bead, and a universal bead.
2. Size & Shape
The size and shape of your above ground pool liner should match your pool. The good news is that you can get liners in various sizes and shapes, and some even allow for customization to ensure a perfect fit for your pool.
If you do not already know the dimensions of your pool, you need to take some measurements before choosing a liner. The most critical dimensions to know are the pool’s wall height and width. If you have a circular pool, the diameter is the most vital measurement you need.
3. Liner Thickness
The thickness of the liner is an essential factor to consider as it will have a massive impact on its strength and durability. Therefore, the thicker the liner, the stronger and more durable.
Most manufacturers will use either mil or gauge to measure the pool’s thickness. A mil or one gauge is equal to around 0.001 inches, and most pool liners will be between 20 and 25-gauge/mil. The 25-gauge liners like the Smartline Stone Harbor Pool Liner are always better if you want something thick enough.
However, it is vital to note that while a thicker gauge liner is always preferable, if what you buy is too thick, you should expect a hard time installing it, and most will get wrinkles.
You can get pool liners in several colors and different patterns. Although the color does not significantly affect the performance of the liner, it still matters a lot.
For example, if you have a plain blue pool liner, it will show wrinkles and dirt easily, while one that comes in a darker shade is more effective at warming your pool since it retains more heat.
Therefore, what you choose will largely depend on your specific preferences when it comes to the liner color and patterns. But, it is always better to have something attractive like the Smartline Stone Harbor Pool Liner.
5. Ease of Installation
Pool liners are simple fixtures that you should install on your own without having to call in an expert. Therefore, as you choose an above ground pool liner, you should consider the ease of installation.
One of the main determinants of ease of installation is the method of installation. Here the beaded types will give you an easier time than the overlap liners. Additionally, the liners that include all the necessary hardware and clear directions are also easier to install.
If you are serious about keeping your pool in good shape, you should always make sure that you have the best above-ground pool liner. Whether you prefer the more affordable overlap liner or the easy-to-install beaded liners, there is something for you on our list.
That said, the Smartline Cracked Glass 24-Foot Round Liner is our best overall recommendation as it is a heavy-duty liner that will offer better protection from the elements and will also not crease.
However, if you are shopping on a tight budget, go for the Swimline Round Above Ground Pool Wall Overlap Liner. Its build quality and service that it delivers will not disappoint despite not costing much.