Temporary above ground pools provide a simple and inexpensive way of owning a pool. However, they usually have a thin liner at the bottom that cannot stand abuse, hence the need to protect them with the best above-ground pool pad.
Above ground pool pads protect pool liners from stones, pebbles, roots, and the elements, ensuring you enjoy your pool with minimal risk of leakage and other damages.
A good pad also provides a soft footing for your pool and a comfortable surface for swimmers to walk on.
This guide reviews some of the best pads for above ground pools in the market and explains the key factors to consider when deciding what to buy.
7 Best Above Ground Pool Pads – Review
1. Best Overall: Blue Wave Liner Pad
The Blue Wave Liner Pad takes our top overall spot as it is a high-quality model that offers superior puncture resistance, extra cushioning, and it comes from one of the best above ground pool pad brands.
The rugged and durable material will not puncture easily even when placing the pool above gravel, sticks, or rocks. Additionally, the material provides an extra layer of cushioning, making the pool floor enjoyable to walk on.
Despite the solid construction and excellent cushioning, this pad still comes at a relatively lower price to ensure you get an even better deal.
Although this is not a very thick pad, it makes up for this by being extremely durable and providing good cushioning.
- Highly durable and protective
- Comes in a perfect size
- Provides some good cushioning
- Relatively more affordable
- Not a very thick pad
2. Value for the Money: Liner Life Pre-Cut Swimming Pool Liner Pad
Liner Life makes this pool pad to cater to above ground pool owners looking for a reliable pad without spending a lot of money.
What makes it the best for the money is that despite the smaller price tag, it is still a highly durable pool pad made with high-quality polyester geotextile material.
The pool pad comes pre-cut to make installation a breeze for you. There will be no measuring cutting, or taping needed when using this pool pad, which is highly convenient and time-saving.
Although the material is relatively thin at about 1/8 inches thick, it still provides cushioning and is highly durable. The material feels more like felt and might not be very pleasant when wet, but this is hardly a deal-breaker.
- More affordable
- Quick, hassle-free installation
- Highly durable and puncture-resistant material
- Improves swimmer comfort
- Relatively thinner material
3. Best Gorilla Pad: Blue Wave Gorilla Floor Pad
The Blue Wave Gorilla Floor Pad is as tough as an above ground pool pad can get. The geotextile material is impervious to all kinds of sharp objects, and so you can be sure you will never have to worry about leaks on the bottom of the vinyl liner.
Installing this pad should be hassle-free as it comes pre-cut to fit your pool perfectly, provided you pick the correct size. Hence, there will be no measuring, cutting, or taping needed. However, if you need to cut the pad, it should still be pretty easy for you.
Another element that many above ground pool owners will love about this pad is that it adds a decent layer of cushioning that will prevent the formation of footprints and ensure smooth swimming.
While this pool pad seems a little pricier, the quality and comfort it adds to your above ground pool make it worth the extra bucks.
- Tough and puncture-proof
- Comes cut to the correct size
- Easy to cut to your liking
- Good cushioning and prevents footprint formation
- Relatively pricier
4. Rhino Pad Pool Liner Pad
Rhino Pad Pool Liner Pad is designed to prevent punctures and leaks on your above ground pool’s liner. The pad is made from a highly durable and eco-friendly geotextile material that will protect your pool for several seasons.
This pad also comes pre-measured to make installation straightforward as you will not need to trim or tape the pad. However, you can still cut the pad to fit any other smaller pool you have.
The high density and low compression construction of this pool pad make it more resilient against all elements. It also helps prevent corrosion of the metal components on your above ground swimming pool.
Although this pad would do with a little extra cushioning, it still does a good enough job providing padding for your pool and is much better than using a tarp.
- More environment-friendly and durable material
- Designed to withstand all elements
- Fits the pool perfect with no taping or cutting
- Helps prevent corrosion of metal components
- Could do with a little extra cushioning
5. GLI Armor Shield Floor Pad
GLI Armor Shield Floor Pad is a mold and mildew resistant pool pad that will give you excellent service for many seasons to come. The pool pad has a rigid polypropylene geotextile material that can withstand rocks, grass, roots, and many other typical sources of pool vinyl puncturing.
Another unique feature of this pool pad is that it effectively minimizes convective heat loss to help maintain your desired pool temperature.
Also, the pool pad provides lots of cushioning at the bottom to ensure swimmers can walk and swim comfortably. What’s more, it is easy to install, and you can quickly trim it to fit your specific pool size.
This pool pad is quite heavy as it weighs at least 28 pounds, but it is still easy to handle. Also, it is pricier than most other options on our above ground pool pad review, but for a heavy-duty pad, the price is still relatively fair.
- Resistant to mold and mildew
- Tough and puncture-resistant material
- Provides lots of cushioning for the pool bottom
- Minimizes convective heat loss
- Quite heavy
- Relatively pricier
6. Horizon Ventures Round Pre Cut Pad
The heavy-duty and water-resistant synthetic polyester felt is what makes the Horizon Ventures Round Pre Cut Pad a special pool pad.
This material ensures there is no moisture pooling on the pad and hence preventing mold and mildew. Also, you never have to worry about stones, coarse sand, or roots puncturing your pool.
Besides protecting the pool’s vinyl bottom, this pad also adds a decent cushioning layer to ensure the base is comfortable to walk on.
Additionally, the pad will minimize heat loss by providing a barrier between the pool and the ground. When it comes to installation, you also have an easy time as it is pre-cut to size but is also easy to trim to fit most round and oval above ground pools.
Although this pool pad looks and feels relatively thin, this does not take anything away from its superior cushioning capability and durability.
- Water-resistant and durable material
- Makes the pool super comfortable to walk on
- No cutting or taping needed
- Helps reduce heat loss
- Feels and looks thin
7. Splash Net Express Gorilla 21″ Round Floor Pad
Here is another fantastic gorilla pool pad that will give you the peace of mind of knowing that your above ground pool will be impervious to all kinds of sharp objects. What’s more, this Splash Net Express floor pad virtually eliminates leaks and cuts to increase your above ground pool lifespan.
This gorilla pad will provide much-needed cushioning for your pool to make the bottom more comfortable to walk on for the swimmers. Also, it is more effective at preventing the formation of footprints.
You will not need to cut or tape this pool pad as it comes pre-cut for immediate installation, and it is also seamed to make it ready for immediate use.
One possible drawback for this pool pad is that it is larger than advertised. However, it is easy to trim to size, so this should not be a big concern.
- Withstands all sharp objects
- Prevents the formation of footprints
- Superior leak protection
- Comes ready for immediate installation
- A little larger than advertised
Guide to Buy the Best Above Ground Pool Pad
1. Size of the Pad
No matter how good a pool pad might be, it needs to fit your above ground pool to be helpful to you. Hence, the pad size is one of the most crucial factors you need to consider.
Most pool pads are pre-cut to fit specific pool sizes. For example, a 24-foot pad like the Rhino Pad Pool Liner Pad works for a 24-foot diameter above ground pool.
Besides the size, it is also essential to consider the shape of the pad. You can get pool pads in a circle, rectangle, oval, or square. Although it is always best to match the shape to your pool, it is not necessary because even a square pad can work well for round pools, provided you choose the correct size.
2. Material Quality
The primary purpose of a pool pad is to protect the delicate pool bottom, and so it needs to have a high-quality material to work well. The material you choose should be well-structured to ensure durability and also breathable to prevent mold and mildew.
Materials that are hard to penetrate, like polypropylene geotextile, are the best as they are guaranteed to offer maximum protection for the pool’s liner.
It is also crucial to make sure the weaving is not very tight, as this allows for the buildup of condensation, leading to the growth of mold and mildew.
3. Extra Cushioning
Although extra cushioning is not mandatory for a pool pad to work well, it is a good addition. If you are using the pool on rough surfaces such as over gravel or rocks, some extra cushioning can make a huge difference.
Extra cushioning and padding ensure the ground underneath will be comfortable to work on, improving your overall experience when using the pool.
Thicker pool pads often provide more cushioning than thinner ones. However, the material also determines the level of cushioning as some, like gorilla pads, provide better cushioning than most other material types.
4. Resistance to the Elements
A good above ground pool pad should hold up well against the elements. Remember that you will typically need to use it outdoors, where it will be at the mercy of elements like the sun and rain.
Additionally, the pad will often need to interact with other things like pool chemicals such as chlorine, and so it needs to be resistant to them to ensure long service life.
5. Ease of Use
Any pool pad you choose should give you an easy time when it comes to installation and use. You do not want to spend a lot of time figuring out how to set up something as simple as a pool pad.
That said, the pre-cut ones that will not require any cutting or taping, like Horizon Ventures Round Pre Cut Pad, are the easiest to use.
Make sure any pool pad you choose does not require extra materials or special tools to install. The material should also be easy to trim when you need to adjust its size or shape to fit your pool perfectly.
A pool pad provides the perfect base for your above ground pool, and it will help prevent mold and mildew, formation of footprint in the sand, and most importantly, tears and cuts on the liner.
If you are on the market for the best above ground pool pad, there is something for you on our review above.
That said, the Blue Wave Liner Pad is our best overall option as it is a durable, puncture-resistant pad that offers excellent cushioning and comes pre-cut for easy installation.
However, if you want something that will give you the best value for money, go with the 24-foot Liner Life Pre-Cut Swimming Pool Liner Pad.