Bestway Above Ground Pool Review: An Easy, Affordable Summer Hack (2024)

Updated: Jul. 09, 2024

With sweltering heat around the corner, we tested the Bestway above-ground pool to see if it's lounge-worthy this summer.

Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.Learn more.

Bestway Above Ground Pool Review: An Easy, Affordable Summer Hack (1)Cathy Harms for Family Handyman

With a long, hot summer just around the corner, most of us are planning our next cool escape. Traditional in-ground pools remain in demand among homeowners with deep pockets and flexibility to wait months for permits and construction. The Bestway Steel Pro Max Round Above Ground Pool Set is just as fun but significantly more affordable, durable and easier to assemble. Instead of taking months to build, the Bestway pool can be installed, filled and ready to enjoy in hours.

Owning a swimming pool has always been a dream of mine. The idea of filling the pool with oversized floats, lounging in the sun and staying cool in my backyard makes this hyper-enthusiastic pool reviewer feel giddy. We have access to community pools and the beach, but we found ourselves still wanting a pool. Swimming at any hour just a few steps from my home without the crowds or entrance fees spoke to me.

Unlike traditional pools and in-ground hot tubs, installing an above-ground pool is way more relaxed. And that’s precisely what you should be: Way more relaxed. Pop on a tutorial, stake out a flat area in your backyard and order a few pool accessories. It’s pool time.

Here’s my first-hand experience and whether or not I think you should buy the Bestway above-ground pool, too.

What is the Bestway Above-Ground Pool?

Bestway Above Ground Pool Review: An Easy, Affordable Summer Hack (2)Cathy Harms for Family Handyman

The Bestway pool set is appealing because it combines a fixed-in-place, above-ground pool with a temporary, removable swimming pool. The pool is 14 feet long, 33 inches deep and can hold 2,700 gallons of water. This pool features a sturdy steel frame and puncture-resistant liner with an appealing prismatic stone pattern on the inside liner. The liner is made of heavy-duty PVC and polyester 3-ply walls for extra durability. According to the manufacturer, the liner is 15 percent more tear-proof and 83 percent more puncture-proof than standard PVC liners.

Bestway Above-Ground Pool Features

Bestway Above Ground Pool Review: An Easy, Affordable Summer Hack (4)Cathy Harms for Family Handyman

The Bestway Steel Pro Max Pool Set has a cartridge filter, pump and ground fault circuit interrupter, a safety feature that will shut off the pump if water gets into the electric current. This model also includes a flow control drain valve for easy draining. You’ll need to purchase a ladder and solar cover separately. (A solar cover helps heat your pool using solar energy, keeping it ready to use when you want it. It also helps cut energy costs and reduces evaporation.)

Setup is easy thanks to the company’s tool-free FrameLink system. The manufacturer recommends assembling the pool with two to three people, so you’ll want to call some friends over to assist.

How I Tested It

Bestway Above Ground Pool Review: An Easy, Affordable Summer Hack (5)Cathy Harms for Family Handyman

As a first-time pool owner, I tested the Bestway Steel Pro Max over several weeks, focusing on assembly and durability. I reached out to pool experts and joined Facebook groups focused on above-ground pools, where people could ask questions about setup and discuss water quality.

Testing the Bestway pool began with assembly. Our yard has a flat, mulched area that was the perfect spot for an above-ground pool. It’s close to a power source for the pump and filter. I started by leveling the ground with a laser level, then added a 4-inch layer of masonry sand. Mortar (or masonry sand) is best because it’s screened well to prevent pebbles from poking holes in the liner. Play sand is too fine, and construction sand has small pebbles. The sand base will compress with the weight of the water, providing a solid foundation that can support the pool’s weight. It also acts as a barrier between the pool and the ground, protecting the liner from rocks, roots and other sharp objects.

Next, I laid out the liner and organized the pool frame’s supports and corners to prevent mix-ups during assembly. Ground prep and assembling the frame and liner took about three hours with a three-person crew, starting with unboxing, removing the packaging, organizing parts, ground leveling and assembly. I placed 4-inch-thick pavers under each leg, making sure the pavers were level to the ground.

Bestway Above Ground Pool Review: An Easy, Affordable Summer Hack (6)Cathy Harms for Family Handyman

A level base with less than a 2-inch difference is crucial to preventing collapse or stressing the pool walls. According to pool expert Randy Huckstadt, “Unlevel pool supports are not meant to have the additional weight put on them by an unlevel above-ground pool and can bend and collapse. Once you have a good base, you can set up the support system, install the liner and begin filling.”

Bestway Above Ground Pool Review: An Easy, Affordable Summer Hack (7)Cathy Harms for Family Handyman

After assembling the frame and liner, I filled the pool with one to two inches of water, then gently smoothed any wrinkles on the liner, starting from the center to the wall and working clockwise to the outside. While the pool filled with water, I connected the filter and pump to the pool.

It took about six hours to fill the pool using a garden hose. I only filled the pool during the daytime, as filling the pool at night is not recommended. Cold air can shrink the liner, while the water makes the liner stretch.

Pro tip: You can save money filling your pool by calling your water company and letting them know you’re doing so. They will eliminate the sewage charge from the extra water use, which is often the most expensive part of the water bill. I estimate this will save me about $100 on my water bill.

The cartridge filter that came with the pool didn’t seem to keep up and needed to be cleaned daily. You can tell when the filter plugs up because the return flow will drop almost nothing. I plan to update the filter to a sand filter. John Uhle, pool expert and founding partner at Discount Salt Pool, explains how to select the appropriate filter for your pool, “The filter should be able to process the entire pool volume every five hours and have a reservoir large enough to trap and hold dirt effectively.”

“If you want to enhance the filtration quality further, consider using filter balls, which provide superior filtration and hold onto small dirt particles more effectively. Achieving the best possible filtration often requires sand filters with high pump capacities relative to their tank size, which benefit greatly from using filter balls,” Uhle explains.

Pros

  • Durable steel frame
  • Fast DIY tool-free setup
  • Extremely affordable
  • Puncture-resistant liner
  • Cartridge filter and pump included
  • Takes up little storage space
  • Great for kids and pets

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with a pool ladder or accessories
  • Plastic pump included is a bit weak

FAQ

Bestway Above Ground Pool Review: An Easy, Affordable Summer Hack (8)Cathy Harms for Family Handyman

Can a Bestway pool stay up all year?

Pools with galvanized steel walls can withstand winter conditions without damage. However, the Bestway has a steel frame and flexible lining, which can’t withstand freezing temperatures without damage. Soft-sided pools generally don’t fare well through winter and must be drained and disassembled.

According to Uhle, “When temperatures fall to 50 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, you should dismantle your soft-sided above-ground pool to prevent damage. Snow, ice, frost and cold temperatures can damage any soft-sided pool, regardless of the brand. Leaving these pools up during the winter can lead to mold, brittleness, significant liner tears and warping of the frame, which will ruin the pool and void the manufacturer’s warranty.”

If you live in a warm climate and regularly clean and maintain your Bestway pool, you can leave it up all year round. However, Rafi Friedman, CEO at Coastal Luxury Outdoors, says it’s best to take it down if you aren’t using it for extended periods, especially if you live where it freezes regularly.

How often should you change the water in a Bestway pool?

If the water chemistry is correct and the pump and filter do their job, the water you fill your pool with will last for the entire swimming season.

“A small amount of water may evaporate during hot summers or splash out during active swimming, so you may have to add a small amount of water during the season. However, if you have no structural and equipment integrity issues, no leaks and use the pool cover when not in use, this natural water loss will be minimized,” explains Uhle.

There are situations when it’s time to change the pool water. “Chronic issues with algae, water clarity or keeping the water balanced are good indicators that it may be time to drain the pool,” explains Alicia Toedter, education leader with Leslie’s Pools, a leading pool care retailer in the U.S.

Does a Bestway pool need chlorine?

Every pool needs a way to keep the water clean and sanitary. The most popular sanitizer for outdoor pools is chlorine, effective against algae, bacteria and other harmful organisms.

“A daily low-level dose of chlorine and a weekly shock treatment will help you maintain a Free Available Chlorine level between 1–4 parts per million (ppm), essential to prevent waterborne illnesses and keep the pool water clean and clear,” says Toedter. “Chlorine can be added in various forms, such as liquid chlorine, chlorine tablets or granular chlorine, depending on your preference and pool type. Many above-ground pool owners prefer using chlorine tablets in a floating chlorinator for daily sanitization and granular shock once a week.”

Looking for alternative sanitizers? Consider mineral, ozone or UV systems, which can reduce chlorine usage. “Chlorine is still required as a primary sanitizer. Other sanitizers for those looking to avoid chlorine include bromine and biguanide,” says Toedter. “Saltwater pools are another alternative, although they’re still technically ‘chlorine’ pools—they use electrolysis to convert salt into chlorine.”

How often should you change the water in a Bestway pool?

With proper maintenance, including regular cleaning, filtration, chemical balancing and sanitization, the same water can be used for several seasons.

“We generally recommend partially draining and refilling the pool every 2–3 years to maintain good water quality and keep the Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) level within the recommended range,” says Toedter. “Issues with high Calcium Hardness or Cyanuric Acid levels may also warrant draining to maintain proper balance. Chronic issues with algae, water clarity or keeping the water balanced are good indicators that it may be time to drain the pool.”

“Just keep in mind that draining can damage a vinyl liner pool. To avoid this, you can drain and refill one foot of water at a time to keep the pool filled, and the liner stretched and covered while you dilute the existing water with fresh replacement water,” Toedter adds. “But you should only completely drain a vinyl liner pool if you intend to replace the liner or the water is unsalvageable. Otherwise, the liner can pucker, wrinkle and crack while there’s no water in the pool may even tear when you try to add water back in.”

If the water chemistry is correct and a pump and filter do their job, the water you fill your pool with will last for the entire swimming season. However, a small amount of water may evaporate during hot summers or splash out during active swimming, so you may have to add a small amount of water during the season. However, if you have no structural and equipment integrity issues, no leaks and use the pool cover when not in use, this natural water loss will be minimized.

How does Bestway compare to Intex?

Compared to a soft-sided Intex pool, the Bestway has a protective and strong liner. Intex uses a three-ply PVC type of wall, while Bestway has a three-layer wall made of polyester sandwiched between two PVC layers.

Both pool brands typically do not require any special tools for assembly. They are easily set up and run, but the Intex pools have well-laid instructions, unlike Bestway, which lacks straightforward guidelines. I ended up watching a couple of tutorials to troubleshoot the assembly of the Bestway Steel Pro Max.

The pump included with an Intex pool is often not strong enough, and the quality of the pump with the Bestway Steel Pro Max can also be disappointing at times. Both pools are easy to set up, robust and a great value.

What Others Have to Say

Reviewers hail the Bestway as the best soft-sided above-ground pool under $500. Between positive remarks about the pool’s durability, ease of installation and water depth, it’s easy to see why it amassed 2,400 positive ratings on Amazon.

Bernice Begil, a five-star reviewer, calls this pool the best buy of the summer. “The pool was an easy set up, sturdy and great quality. The size is true and the pool liner is thick. Best buy of the summer!”

“Easy setup. Product was as advertised. Doesn’t come with a ladder but can easily find those. Don’t be a fool, get this pool,” writes Amazon reviewer Kristina.

Amazon reviewer Becky purchased the Bestway pool for her sister’s children and has not been disappointed. “The site setup and prep was the most time consuming but putting the pool up and getting it ready to use is very simple and easy! The hours of use by my niece and nephews and the endless laughter and smiles, makes this pool absolutely worthwhile!”

Final Verdict

Bestway Above Ground Pool Review: An Easy, Affordable Summer Hack (9)Cathy Harms for Family Handyman

If you’re in the market for an affordable. durable above-ground pool, look no further. The Bestway Steel Pro Max offers easy, no-tool installation and superb durability (it stood up to my 35-lb, water-loving dog, my twins and all their pool accessories). The water depth is impressive for a pool under $500. I recommend the Bestway pool for its sturdiness, overall appearance and price point (under $300). However, I recommend upgrading the cartridge filter to a more robust sand filter.

Where to Buy the Bestway Above-Ground Pool

Bestway Above Ground Pool Review: An Easy, Affordable Summer Hack (10)VIA MERCHANTVIA MERCHANT

I Tried It

Bestway Steel Pro Max Round Above-Ground Pool Set

A durable, backyard pool kit at an affordable price.

The Bestway is available on Amazon and retails for under $300. With similar pools costing over $500, it’s well worth the price for an above-ground pool that will last summer after summer. Snag one before the weather cools down, and enjoy summer vibes right in your own backyard!

Bestway Above Ground Pool Review: An Easy, Affordable Summer Hack (2024)

References

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Lilliana Bartoletti

Last Updated:

Views: 6197

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (73 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Lilliana Bartoletti

Birthday: 1999-11-18

Address: 58866 Tricia Spurs, North Melvinberg, HI 91346-3774

Phone: +50616620367928

Job: Real-Estate Liaison

Hobby: Graffiti, Astronomy, Handball, Magic, Origami, Fashion, Foreign language learning

Introduction: My name is Lilliana Bartoletti, I am a adventurous, pleasant, shiny, beautiful, handsome, zealous, tasty person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.