The 3 Best Solar Pool Covers 2018

solar pool cover

Solar Pool Covers Review

Solar pool covers, otherwise known as pool blankets, are a wise investment if you own a pool. For one, the solar pool covers help in keeping the pool clean and t

his translates to reduced cleaning and maintenance costs. Solar pool covers also reduce the loss of water through evaporation. Lastly, solar covers help keep in the heat meaning that you will incur minimal if any heating costs if you want to keep your pool warm.

There are many solar covers available in the market and choosing one out of the many can be quite a task. Below we will discuss 3 of the best solar pool covers available in the market today and highlight some of the features that make these solar pool covers stand out.

1. Blue Wave Round 8-Mil Solar Blanket

If yours is an above ground pool, this solar pool cover is ideal. It is UV-treated and basically made to withstand even the strongest of sunlight for years. The cover also comes with optimal heating properties making it one of the best covers for those looking to enjoy a warm swim throughout the season. Even better, the cover comes with a 3-year warranty so you can be guaranteed that you are getting nothing short of the best and most durable solar pool cover available. The price is also quite reasonable considering the quality. Other notable features include;
  • Transparent blue cover
Thanks to this color, sun rays get to the bottom of the pool much easier. The fact that the solar pool cover is also transparent means that solar light encounter less resistance and this translates to more efficient heating. With this solar pool cover, you can raise the temperature of your pool by up to 15 degrees and all this in a matter of hours. The color also goes well with most above ground pools as most come in blue or other similar colors.
  • Raised air pocket
The raised air pockets are conveniently placed on the underside. The pocket form bubbles that help to trap heat and distribute it throughout the pool. The bubbles also help to protect the warm water in the pool against the cold air just above it and greatly enhance the cover’s heat retaining properties. This means that even on cloudy days, you can still enjoy some warm water without having to heat your pool all again. This is in addition to the fact that the bubbles make it much easier for the solar pool cover to float above the water. Lastly, this network of bubbles minimizes evaporation. This saves on water and also reduces your work as you will need to refill the pool less often.
  • 8-mil Thickness
This cover is quite thin compared to similar solar pool covers in the market. This makes it quite light and easy to work with. Despite the thickness, the cover is made using a durable material that can withstand harsh sun rays and other vagaries of weather. If you want a lightweight cover you can use without much help, this blue wave creation is ideal. Its weight also makes it float above the water easily. As long as you are keen to remove any water on top of the cover and also secure the cover properly, you can be sure that the cover will keep your pool clean and warm throughout the summer.
  • Comes in a variety of sizes
This cover comes in a number of sizes that can fit small to the medium-sized pool. It is, therefore, easy to get a perfect fit for your pool. Ensure that you get the right size of cover for your pool if you want to get the best out of this cover. A smaller solar pool cover will be less efficient both in heating and keep the pool clean while a larger cover can be at times challenging to work with.

Cons

  • Thin
The 8-mil solar blanket is quite thin and while this makes it user-friendly, it also makes it less effective especially when it comes to trapping thermal energy. While this solar pool cover will quickly warm your pool on a sunny day, the temperature of your pool will go down faster on a cool and cloudy day. If you are looking for a solar blanket that will keep your pool water warm for days, then you are better off with a thicker one that can retain more thermal energy.

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2. Intex Solar pool cover  18ft by 9ft cover with Rectangular Frame

Intex is known for its affordable and high-quality pool blankets that can stand the test of time. This cover is not any different. It features a durable material and great workmanship. This is in addition to other features put in place to enhance heat retention and distribution and reduce overall pool care and maintenance costs. Thanks to all the above features and many others, this cover is ideal if you are looking to optimize and upgrade your pool. Other notable features include;
  • Durable Material
This pool blanket is made of a 160-micron material. The material can withstand harsh conditions and can last and serve you well for a number of seasons. Though this material is durable, it is important to remember that durability is dependent on a number of factors. The harsher the conditions and elements the cover is exposed to, the shorter the lifespan. Just like in the case of your above ground pool, care should be taken and you should avoid using the solar pool cover in extreme weather if you want it to last. Sunlight, is, however, not a problem and you can use your cover throughout the summer months and a few weeks after.
  • Bubbles
Just like other quality solar pool covers, this Intex cover comes fitted with the bubbles. The bubbles help to a certain degree in heat retention and distribution inside the pool. The bubble also keeps the cover afloat
  • Affordable
This Intex cover tops the list of most affordable pool blankets in this category. If yours is a tight budget, this is definitely a great choice. Despite its good qualities, this cover comes at almost half the price of most solar pool covers designed to fit this size of the pool.
  • Comes with holes
These holes are designed to work as vents. In case it rains, these holes also allow rainwater to pass into the pool. This means that the rainwater will not weigh the cover down and strain or destroy it in any way. While these holes will allow some loss of water especially during hot days, the benefits by far outweigh the downside. If water, however, is a problem, you may want to go with another solar pool cover that does not come with holes.
  • Comes with a carrier bag
This cover comes with a carrier bag for easy transportation and storage. When you no longer need to use the cover, simply fold it and put it into the carrier bag.

Cons

Takes longer to heat the pool
You may need a few hot days to get the bottom of your pool warm. This cover is not as efficient when it comes to trapping and distributing heat into your pool. It is, however, quite efficient in heat retention. The cover will keep your pool warm in cloudy weather and a few weeks after the warm season is over. The only time heat retention becomes a problem is when it rains as the drops of rainwater that gets through the holes cools the water inside the pool.
Minimal allowance
This cover is designed to fit right in the pool. Depending on how full the pool is, the cover may not cover all areas adequately. This means that dirt, bugs, and debris may find their way into the pool. Heat retention is also not as great when there are areas that are left uncovered. There have been complaints about the size of this solar pool cover especially when the pool is full or near full. If you want total coverage, you may be better off with a slightly larger Intex solar pool cover.

3. Sun2Solar Blue 24-Foot Round Solar Cover

This Sun2Solar cover is great if you have a large round pool. The cover is quite sturdy and its performance is far above that of similar solar pool covers of this size in the market. The cover also comes with an interesting design that makes it stand out and leave the pool area looking attractive. Though this cover does not come cheap, it is definitely a great buy. You can be sure that it is worth every cent and so much more. Other features that make this cover stand out include;
  • Highly Efficient
This solar pool cover is designed to offer all the services users expect from a solar pool cover. For one the blanket is large enough to cover the pool and a bit of it is left to go over the sides. You, therefore, have nothing to worry about if you want a blanket that will cover every inch of your pool. The cover is also made using a material and design that optimizes on heat absorption and retention. Lastly, the cover reduces evaporation. This, in turn, reduces the loss of heat and water to the atmosphere. As long as this solar pool cover is used right, it is highly efficient.
  • Sturdy
This solar pool cover comes with a sturdy build which makes it ideal for homeowners looking for a solar pool cover that is durable and can withstand strong winds without tearing. The cover is also designed to withstand other harsh weather elements.
The cover is also quite thick when compared to other covers available in the market. This makes it more efficient in retaining heat. Though the pool may not heat as fast, your pool will remain warm for a few weeks post season. This can have quite an impact on your costs especially if you enjoy some warm water both pre and postseason. If you want to cut back on energy cost without compromising on comfort in the pool, this solar pool cover is a good option.
  • Perfect fit
This cover is designed to perfectly fit a 24-foot pool. The solar pool cover goes all around and leaves a little allowance. Thanks to this allowance, securing the solar pool cover to the sides of the pool is also made use. The fact that it fits perfectly also means that the solar pool cover is quite effective in keeping the pool clean.
  • User-Friendly
This cover is designed to be highly efficient yet easy to use. It comes with features that ensure that it floats on the water even in bad weather and it does not allow dirt and bugs to get into the pool. Though it is quite large, it is easy to work with and getting on and off your pool will never be a problem.

Cons

  • Heavy
While the sturdy build and thickness make this a durable piece, they also make the cover-heavy. This means that to put on the solar pool cover and remove it, you may need to get an extra pair of hands. The design and other features are, however, user-friendly.
  • Takes longer to heat
This is due to the solar pool cover thickness. If you want to heat your pool in a matter of hours, then a thinner cover will be a much better choice. If you are, however, looking for a cover that will keep your pool warm for longer, this thick Sun2Solar cover is ideal.

Conclusion on Solar Pool Cover

These are three of the best solar pool covers you will find in the markets. All the above solar pool covers are made by reputable Companies that offer a variety of pools and covers among other accessories. There are, therefore, other numerous options available for you out there.
When shopping for a solar cover it is important to have your pool measurements with you. This way, you get a cover that perfectly fits your pool. You also need to consider the effectiveness and go with the most efficient option that is sure to meet most if not all your needs. Lastly, you need to consider the price.
Fortunately, there are numerous options in every category and you are sure to get a solar pool cover that fits your pool, meets your needs, and matches your budget. If you have never bought a solar pool cover before, it may help to go over user reviews and see what others have to say about certain brands and solar pool cover types. This will help you determine the factors you need to consider and what you need to look out for to get the best solar pool cover that money can buy.

The Best Diving Boards To Buy in 2018

diving boards

Introduction to Diving Boards

Learning how to swim has never been too much of an issue. Parents are usually comfortable with teaching their children how to swim right from home or hiring a tutor for the task. Learning how to dive is an entirely different story. Most parents are usually uncomfortable with teaching their children how to dive especially from their home pools. While we understand that indeed a lot of things can go wrong while diving, the experience doesn’t need to be so risky especially if you have the right type of pool and the necessary accessories.

In this comprehensive guide, we are going to give you valuable information on shopping for diving boards. We will provide you with all the essential pointers you need to understand what you should look for when choosing a diving board. This guide will help get the best boards both in terms of performance and safety for everyone diving off them. We will also give you a review of some of the best diving boards in the market right now.

Types of Diving Boards

  1. Diving Platforms

Diving platforms are a lot stiffer compared to the other types of boards. These do not provide any bouncing effect, and that’s why they are recommended for pools that don’t have the right specifications or dimensions for diving. They are also ideal for swimmers who don’t want any thrust effects.

  1. Diving Boards

Just like diving platforms, these boards are also mounted on stiff stands, but they are relatively more flexible. Diving boards, therefore, behave like springs, but the effect is never too significant. Diving boards are usually made of aluminum or wood. They are a good choice for people with some experience in diving.

  1. Flexible Jump Diving Boards

These boards are fitted on flexible stands providing a significant amount of spring, and hence they should only be used by professionals. Since the boards have substantial spring effect, their use is limited to pools that are designed for diving.

Buying a diving board

Getting the perfect diving board for your pool is more than just a matter of looking at how flexible it is and how much thrust it provides. There are other details that you need to look into to ensure that the board isn’t just delivering the results you need but is also safe for you and your children. The following guide should help you get the right board for your pool.

  • Dimensions of Your Pool

You cannot get a proper board for your pool if you don’t have accurate dimensions of your pool. Remember that each board is designed to be used with pools of particular dimensions. You need to know how deep your pool is to determine the type of board that you should go for. For instance, you cannot go for a flexible jumping board if your pool is too shallow.

  • Weight capacity of the board

Diving boards are usually designed to accommodate different amounts of weight. Some boards are made explicitly for children while others can support heavier users. Usually, we recommend pool owners to go for diving boards with high weight capacity such that both children and adults can use them with ease. Additionally, the bigger the weight capacity of a board the more durable it usually is. This spares your budget from constant repairs and replacements.

  • Choose a board type

As we already pointed out, there are three types of diving boards to choose from. Unfortunately, selecting a board type isn’t just a matter of what you love or prefer, but you have to take into account your pool’s specifications. The kind of board you choose should be identical to your pool’s dimensions. Once you have confirmed the board that works for you, you can go ahead and then start looking at what you need in a board. Here you can choose the extent of spring effect you want.

  • Select a brand

After going through all of the above details, the last thing is now to decide on the brand you want, and this is not as easy as it sounds. There are so many brands out there, and not all of them deliver high-quality products. To get the best boards, you have to go to reputable brands who have been in the market for years. These guys usually make the most durable equipment. The downside is that their products are expensive but this, in most cases, is a small price to pay for a high-value item. You can also go through expert and user reviews to see various other brands that offer excellent equipment at affordable prices.

It is imperative that all pool owners check their deck on which the board will be fitted before installing it. The construction should be sturdy enough to support the board and to prevent breakage and other unnecessary accidents.

What are the Best Diving Boards?

Here are the top three diving boards in the market at the moment:

  1. R Smith 66-209-268S2-1 Fibre-Dive Replacement Diving Board

The diving board is made of a pair of coated wood runners with a fiberglass reinforcement at the core. The exterior is made of an acrylic cover consisting of fiberglass and resin roving. To make the board safer and free from slippery cases the diving board’s surface has been finished with the sanded non-slip material.

This board comes with two holes for easy installation. At a maximum capacity of 250 pounds, the board is strong enough to accommodate heavy users. At the center of the board, you get 12 inches of space which should be safe enough for everyone including children.

The S.R Smith 66-209-268S2 has also met APSP standards, and it also comes with a 3-year hassle free warranty.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 94.5 by 17.2 by 2 inches
  • Unit weight: 54.4 pounds

Pros

  • Comes with pre-drilled holes for hassle-free installation
  • It is durable
  • It’s lightweight
  • A safety video is included in the package

Cons

  • It doesn’t come with a dive stand
  • It doesn’t provide much bounce

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  1. R Smith 66-209-600S2 Frontier III Replacement Diving Board

This diving board is perfect for residential pools. It is made of a durable acrylic outer surface with non-slip sand treads. These ensure efficient and safe diving off for both adults and children. The board’s frame is coated with wood which is covered by hand-laid fiberglass and resin roving extending its lifespan even more.

Since the board will be exposed to lots of chemicals, the manufacturer was keen to ensure that the materials used were corrosion resistant. The hardware is also made of stainless steel saving you a considerable amount of money that you would otherwise spend on replacements.

The diving board also comes with a diving tutorial showing how to use it safely.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 120 by 18.8 by 2 inches
  • Unit Weight: 80.8 pounds

Pros

  • Features a non-slip sand treaded surface
  • Very long lasting
  • Comes with a diving instruction video
  • Comes with pre-drilled holes for installation

Cons

  • The board is quite expensive

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  1. Inter-Fab DB8WW Diving Board Replacement for In-Ground Pools

The Inter-Fab DB8WW has an exterior covering of resin and fiberglass. The board is also made of two solid Douglas fir coated wood for the central runners. The final outer finishing is made of a durable UV-resistant acrylic material with a very long lifespan. The top surface is also non-slippery to boost the safety of the users.

This diving board is also very popular because users get to choose between four exciting colors: tan with tan treads, blue with white tread, gray with gray tread and white with white tread. From these options, you should be able to get one that compliments the appearance of your pool.

The board has two drilled holes for easier installation. You will also get a vivid manual that guides you on how to install this board. You can also visit the Inter-fab website for installation videos. The board has a maximum capacity of 250 pounds.

From its features and construction, the Inter-Fab DB8WW Diving Board is ideal for both light and moderate residential use.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 98 by 19 by 3 inches
  • Unit weight: 66.2 pounds

Pros

  • Comes with a guide on installation
  • It is durable
  • A 3-year warranty covers it

Cons

  • Not ideal for heavily used pools

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Final Thoughts on Diving Board

There are so many diving boards in the market all of which provide different features. You’ll need to be clear on the type of board you want and the pool where it is going to be used. For residential or commercial pools, always go for the firm, durable boards made by reputable companies. With home pools, you can drop the standards a bit but don’t forget to make sure that the board you are buying is safe enough for everyone. Just follow the above guide, and we are confident that you will land on the perfect board. You can also make your work even simpler by purchasing any of the three boards discussed above.

Pool Timer Buying Guide 2018

pool timer

Which Pool Timer To Buy?

So much goes into ensuring that a pool stays in the right condition. As a pool owner, you need to make sure that the water in your pool goes through the pump, filters, heater and the salt system for it to stay in a usable condition. This is so much work that is really difficult or even impossible to do manually. This is why we have unique gadgets known as Pool Timers that are designed to help in regulating when your water is supposed to go through the various maintenance processes.

In as much as we all need our pools to look amazing and stay fresh for as long as possible, we cannot afford to run them through the maintenance processes throughout. This consumes a lot of energy taking the cost of maintaining a pool too high for most people to afford. Also, the truth is that you do not need to put your pool water through these processes too often. Other than being expensive, this takes up a lot of your time that you can use doing something else.

The right Pool Timers are designed to ensure that the pool system is carried out at the necessary frequencies keeping it clean while saving on energy and costs. These timers are responsible for turning your pool pump on and off allowing water to go through the filtration system where algae, bacteria, debris, and other dirt is removed. The pool timers are also automated, and hence they will never require your input in turning the pump on or off. This makes pool maintenance a hassle-free task allowing you to go through your daily activities knowing that your pool is fully taken care of. Some pool timers will also come with remote control capability giving you more control over when to clean your pool.

Pool Timer Buying Guide

Pool pump timers come with different features. Some are designed for simple tasks while others are more sophisticated. The good news is that there is a lot of options and hence you are sure of getting one that matches your preferences.

When purchasing a timer, there are various factors that you can’t overlook. Remember that not all pools and pool pumps are the same. This is to mean that certain pool pumps are more suited for particular timers with specific features. Getting the wrong pool timer will hence result in inefficiency and may even fail to work altogether.

The following information should give you everything you need to look for in a pool pump timer before purchasing one.

  • Type of Pool Pump

To get the right timer, you have to know your pool pump. You need to know whether your pump is a one-speed, two-speed or if it’s a variable speed. You should also look at the voltage and the various option/functions of the pump. Having these details allow you to get a timer with the right sensitivity and power to handle the pump fully. In case you find it difficult getting this information or using it to get the correct timer then you can always consult an expert before buying a gadget that could end up being useless.

  • Installation area of the timer

Where are you expecting to install the timer? If you are planning on having a timer installed outdoors, then you have to get a weatherproofed one for guaranteed durability. Even when you are installing the timer indoors like say in a basement, we still urge all pool owners to get timers with an excellent casing for optimal protection. Dust and moisture should never find its way into the timer.

In case you still want to install your pool timer outdoors you’ll have to follow the safety procedures keenly to avoid any future damages.

  • Control Options

As we already pointed out, pool pump timers are programmed to control quite many functions. Of course, you can still get the standard timer with the basic on/off functions which are normally very affordable. However, if you want a timer that controls even more functions, then you will have to invest a bit more. Some pool pumps can regulate temperatures and also provide freeze protection. Some have a two-speed control mechanism that enables dual speed switching while others can even control variable speed pumps. You can also find timers with pre-programmed combinations for even easier functionality. A few timers have taken the standards even higher controlling your water fountains, music systems, fans, pool lighting, and other appliances.

As you can see, therefore, there is so much to choose from, but you will need to consider your pool and its accessories before purchasing a certain timer however excellent it may be. It is, for instance, pointless to invest in an expensive timer that can control your water fountains and pool music system if you don’t have the fountains and the system, to begin with, right?

Best Pool Pump Timers

There are so many pool timers in the market, and we have taken the time to look through most of them and what they have to offer before coming up with a short top three list. We have considered the various features they come with, price tag, durability among others. We also looked at the user reviews to see how these pool timers perform in different pools and what buyers can expect from them.

That said, here are the top 3 pool pump timers:

  1. Intermatic T104M Mechanical Time Switch Mechanism Only

The Intermatic T104M is made for intensive applications operating at a voltage of between 208 to 277. This timer will also handle loads of up to 40 Amps and an incredible 5 horsepower rating which is among the highest you will find in the market. With such figures, the Intermatic T104M is ideal for everyone looking for a power performance timer. It is also made of heavy duty material making it one of the most durable pool timers in the market. It is hence an excellent choice for residential, commercial and industrial pools.

The timer doesn’t come with a casing, but it is designed to fit into casings of other Intermatic timers. It can also be installed into boxes of timers from other manufacturers, but you will have to check its dimensions first to see if it will fit appropriately.

Once you have the proper pool timer box the rest of the installation is pretty easy. Just plug the timer in, and you are ready to go. If you are replacing it with an old Intermatic Timer, you can take a pic of the old timer before removing it and use the picture as a guide on how to install this one.

Pros

  • Extremely durable
  • High electrical loads of up to 40 Amps
  • You can choose from 1 to 12 on/off options each day
  • Powerful 208-277 VAC DPST Switch
  • Has one on and another off tripper

Cons

  • Upon installation, the timer may be a bit slow, but full performance will take effect immediately after the gear grease levels get back to the norm

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  1. Intermatic T101R 120-Volts SPST 24 Hour Mechanical Time Switch with Outdoor Case

The Intermatic T101R is arguably the best pool timer in the industry. This product comes with the Yellow Dial Time Switch that has, for over 50 years, proven to be the most reliable time switch in the market. That is also why the Yellow Dial Time Switch accounts for over 70% of the timers in the market!

The Intermatic T101R is designed to handle electrical loads as massive as 40 A per pole! It can also accommodate as much as 12 ON/OFF operations each day. When the circuit is active, this pool timer will maintain an accurate time regardless of whether you are using the manual mode of the on/off switch or not.

Since the on/off switches are mechanically adjustable, you can regulate when the pool pump is being used more conveniently. Unfortunately, the mechanical adjustability of the pool timer also means that you will have to reset the timer every time there is a power outage. Chances of forgetting to reset the pool timer are usually high, and this is also why couldn’t rank this pool timer as the best.

It also comes with a convenient manual override which you don’t usually see in most other timers. You can use this override function to bypass the time settings allowing you to pump out rainwater, backwash the filter or even to bump the motor.

The Intermatic T101R should be installed by someone with basic electrical skills or a fully qualified electrician. You will also need a GFI circuit if you are planning to install it near a pool.

Pros

  • Can handles loads as big as 40 Amps
  • 1-12 on and off operations per day
  • Provides a convenient 24-hour control
  • Comes with one on and one off tripper
  • Very durable
  • Easy to use
  • Comes with a manual override

Cons

  • The pool timer has to be reset every time there is a power outage

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  1. Woods 50015WD Outdoor 7-Day Heavy Duty Digital Plug-In Timer

This highly rated pool timer allows you to customize the time intervals of each day. You can, therefore, set the pump to work on certain intervals during the weekdays and another completely different time set during the weekend. There is even a winter and summer changeover option in this timer. It also comes with 20 on/off settings per day which is more than over 90% of other timers out there. All this has been made possible by its advanced programming and the LCD screen from which you can fully customize the different functions of the timer.

The Woods 50015WD also comes with a manual override that you can use to turn the outlet on and the time off. Unlike the Intermatic T101R, this timer has a self-charging battery that acts as a backup during power outages enabling the timer to retain its settings.

It also comes with a weatherproof housing with 12” power cord and a Two grounded 3-prong socket. At just 12 inches, the power cord is more useful when the pool timer is installed near an outdoor outlet otherwise you will need to buy an extension cord. You will also notice that the timer settings apply on both of the sockets and hence you can’t control them separately.

Pros

  • 20 on/off options to choose from
  • Weatherproof housing makes it ideal for outdoor uses
  • Lar LCD screen allows you to customize the settings
  • Comes with a guide showing you how to use different functions

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Pool Liners Buying Guide 2018

pool liners

What are Pool Liners?

Do I really need a liner for my pool? Yes, you do. Pool liners are very crucial for all pools regardless of whether they are in-ground or above ground swimming pools. These liners are supposed to protect your water and revamp the appearance of your pool. A pool liner will help in ensuring that no water is lost to the pool surface through absorption. They also protect your pool from algae growth keeping your pool safe and healthy. With the right pool liner, you will also be able to transform the color of your pool into a dynamic and super-attractive layer making every moment you spend in or around the pool magical. These liners come in different patterns and designs making it possible for every pool owner to find a liner that fits their taste.

Sadly, getting a pool liner is not as easy as it may sound. There are four types of pool liners to choose from, and each type has even more differing liners making it somewhat difficult to decide on one particular item. So, how do you know which liner will work best for your pool? To answer this question, you must first understand the types of liners available and how they are different from one another.

Types of Pool Liners

  • Overlap Liners

Overlap liners are more suited to pool owners operating on a tight budget. These liners are usually inexpensive, and they come with a lot of material to cover the pool and leave still leave some material hanging over the walls of your swimming pool. This may come out looking ugly unless you get creative in covering the excess liner.

Installing overlap liners is also very easy. In most cases, these liners come with one solid color, and hence you won’t go through the headache of installing the liner in a particularly special way to disclose its beauty. This is why the liners are also considered ideal for oddly shaped swimming pools. However, if the liner has some patterns, you will have to be keen to put the liner in place without distorting the patterns.

  • Uni-bead or J-Hook Liners

J-hook liners are designed just like any liner except at the top where the thick vinyl piece looks like an inverted J. You are supposed to use this piece to hook the liner onto the wall of the pool while the rest of the material is left covering the pool. Installing the line is, therefore, a matter of hooking the J pieces which is a lot easier compared to the other types of liners.

J-Hook liners are a favorite to many because users can choose from tile patterns to other forms of designing. These make your pool look pretty nice, and they also don’t leave too much material hanging over as is the case with overlap liners. J-hook liners also have a bigger margin for error, and this is why almost anywhere can install them.

  • Beaded Liners

Beaded Liners do not have any piece flowing over the wall of the swimming pool. This is a good and bad thing all at the same time. The fact that no material overflows from the swimming pool makes these pool liners really neat. Unfortunately, since the liner is installed from the wall of the swimming pool, some water may sneak into the space between the liner and the pool’s wall. Over some time, this water may erode the swimming pool’s walls and may cause other complications. This is why these liners are not very ideal for above-ground pools.

Installing this liner involves putting a track or bead receiver around the walls. This provides the platform on which the beads will attach to as the rest of the liner is left to cover the pool. Another issue which may arise here is that the bead track may not hold the beads properly and this may make the entire liner loose necessitating the need to secure the liner once again. This is a prevalent issue especially when the liner is used for above-ground pools.

  • Expendable Liners

Expandable liners are ideal for above-ground pools with a deep center. These pool liners can cover pools with a center that is up to 2 feet deep. The liner’s side is made of approximately 72” of vinyl which is a lot more than you get from overlap liners.

Pool Liners Buying Guide

Now that you know about the types of pool liners available let’s look at the finer details that you must consider when purchasing a liner:

First and most important is the measurements of your pool. You just cannot afford to get the wrong measurements when shopping for a liner. The wrong measurements can either lead to a loose liner or a tight one, and neither of the two is a good thing. Loose liners make swimming pools look miserable, and the pool liners won’t last for long at this state. A tight line may break immediately after installing the last hook wasting your money.

You also have to consider the thickness of the liner that you are choosing. Typically, pool liners have between 20 to 30 mil thickness, and each size comes with its own benefits. 20 mil liners are the most affordable, but they also have average durability compared to the thicker liners. 25-27 mil liners have more protection against UV rays and hence have a longer lifespan. 30 mil liners are the most durable with protection from both UV rays and sharp objects. Unfortunately, thick liners are the most difficult to install, but this is a small price to pay given the sort of durability and performance they provide.

Finally, you will have to make a personal choice on the design of the liner. Here you can choose between different color patterns and themes. Personally, I prefer dark-colored themes because other than providing a presentable appearance they also tend to hide stains better compared to light colored patterns or themes.

Top 3 Pool Liners

The following are the best above ground pool liners of 2018:

  1. Smartline Waves of Poseidon 24-Foot Round Liner

The Smartline Waves of Poseidon Round Linear is an overlap liner made of virgin vinyl. The vinyl material offers excellent protection against chemicals and UV rays making this one of the most durable liners in the market. It is also why the liner comes with a 25-year warranty!

This liner also has a 20 mil thickness which isn’t as much as we would have loved, but it still gets the job done pretty well. Installing it is also super easy, and it is something you can do yourself.

To reduce creasing and wrinkling this Smartline product is folded manually. It will, therefore, arrive with fewer wrinkles that should disappear after some time to reveal its gorgeous appearance.

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  1. Smartline 24-Foot Round Solid Blue Liner

Another incredible pool liner from Smartline that’s made of durable virgin vinyl. As the name suggests, this liner comes within a solid blue color making installation an easy task because you don’t have to worry about ruining any patterns or designs. Having a liner made of just a single color may sound boring on paper, but upon its installation and filling water, this liner will have quite an incredible impact. There are also several other designs to choose from in case you want something more exciting.

The liner is also designed to withstand extended exposure to chemicals and UV rays. This extends its durability significantly saving you lots of cash.

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  1. In The Swim 24-ft Round Overlap Above Ground Pool Liner – 20 Gauge

This overlap pool liner has a beautiful design that will completely transform your above-ground pool. You can also choose a dark-colored pattern for a unique appearance. The liner is made of high-quality virgin vinyl offering protection against UV light and other chemicals. It is also equipped with a pad that prevents sand, rocks, and grass from entering your pool.

The In The Swim Round Overlap liner can also be used with above ground pools with a flat surface. It is, however, limited to pools whose sidewalls measure 48” by 52” only.

This overlap liner is very easy to install. You won’t even have to hire an expert to put up this liner. It also comes with a 15-year warranty.

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Final Thoughts on Pool Liners

A pool liner does more than just separating your pool from the pool water. This pool liner is supposed to make your pool cleaner, safer and more interesting to look at. You, therefore, need to invest wisely when shopping for a liner. There is no need to buy a cheap item that will be damaged after two years or so forcing you to dig back to your pockets for a replacement. You are better off spending a little more to get great pool liners, like the ones mentioned above, which will serve you for decades.

Pool Steps Buying Guide 2018

pool steps

Introduction to Pool Steps

Above ground, pools can be as tall as 60 inches which means that you have to find a way of getting into the pool without slipping or exposing you and your family to unnecessary risks. To solve this problem, most above ground pools come with their own pool steps. While including this accessory is a good idea, the quality of the type of pool steps they provide is what we have issues with. In most cases, these pool steps are so poorly made that they expose your family to even more danger. The steps can become wobbly, and some are even made of slippery surfaces increasing the risk of injuries. As far as we can tell, most pool manufacturers only include these steps as a selling point but they don’t really put too much effort into making them safe for use.

To protect you and your family, you have to look for better and safer pool steps. Steps that even your kids can use to get in and out of the pool without the fear of slipping. Yes, purchasing new pool steps while you have another that you bought with your pool is costly but would you rather save a few bucks or keep your family safe? Remember that it’s better to be safe than sorry and this is why we are going to give you a comprehensive guide on how to get the best pool steps.

Choosing an Above Ground Pool Ladder

Getting the right pool ladder is quite tricky, and this is because we have so many of them in the market. A lot of the ladders in the market are made of a poor quality material that makes them not only dangerous but also very fragile. To save yourself the frustration of buying a poorly made pool ladder here is every detail that you need to consider:

  • Type of Pool

Different ladders are designed for different types of pools. Since we are dealing with the above pool ladders, you’ll have to look into the steps that are specifically designed to be used in such pools. You will also need to measure the height of your pool. This will help you in finding the perfect ladder that can fit comfortably without any wobbling or squeaking sounds. We also have adjustable pool steps in the market that allow users to change how tall it is and lock it at the desired position. These ladders are usually costly, but they are handy especially to people who are likely to consider replacing their pools or changing the height of the pool sometime in the near future.

  • Safety

You are buying the pool steps to make your pool safer, and that’s why you have to ensure that the ladder you are acquiring is safe to be used by both children and adult. Some of the things that you must look for here is non-slip surfaces. A pool’s surrounding is normally wet, and hence the ladder should be made of premium non-slip materials.

You must also look for a ladder with a locking system. This helps in keeping the ladder attached to your pool firmly and not floating around. In case you find that the ladder you’ve just bought is still floating then you should go for ladder anchors. These provide extra support and stability to the ladder allowing both adults and children to move up and down the steps with ease.

  • Durability

There is no point in you investing on a pool ladder that you will have to replace a few months down the line. There are great pool steps out there made of durable material that is capable of serving you very well for an extended period. Avoid all pool steps made of cheap plastics and metals. These are prone to breakages and other safety issues. We urge all our clients to go for either steel or aluminum pool steps. These are very durable, and they also support a bigger weight capacity compared to other pool steps.

  • Price

Finally, you need to identify your budget and look for a decent ladder within that price range. We understand that you could be having a tight budget which means that your options are limited, but even then we discourage you from settling on poorly made pool steps. This is a waste of money, and worse it exposes your family to real danger every time they are using it. Be patient and search for a good ladder and if you cannot find one then consider upping your budget a little more and get a ladder that you won’t regret having in future.

The Best Above Ground Pool Steps

Based on the above details and further research on the various pool steps available in the market and their respective user reviews, we came up with the following three above ground pool steps:

  1. Confer Plastics A-Frame Above Ground Adjustable Pool Ladder

This two-sided pool ladder is an excellent choice for everyone looking for high-quality adjustable pool steps. The ladder can be adjusted to be used with pools between 48 – 56 inches deep. It also has a 300 lbs. weight capacity which is enough to support most adults and children.

At the top of the ladder is a large platform measuring approximately 18” by 5”. This is very useful as it adds extra safety to the ladder. Both the platform and the steps are made of non-slip materials. It also features a lockable Roll Guard Barrier.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Offers a wide platform at the top
  • Very stable
  • Features a safety guard system

Cons

  • The materials necessary for assembling the ladder are not included
  • Not compatible with Intex, inflatable and pop-up pools

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  1. Confer Above Ground Swimming Pool In-Pool Deluxe Ladder

This pool ladder from Confer is made of premium vinyl resin making it one of the most durable pool steps in the market. It features 18” flat ladder treads that can accommodate both adults and children. The treads are also not too wide apart making it possible for children to use the ladder with ease. You will also get an anti-entrapment barrier preventing access to the ladder from behind.

This pool step accommodates both pool decks and walls. It is adjustable and can be used with pools of varying depth; from 46” to 56”. Setting it up is also very easy. It shouldn’t take you more than 40 minutes to install this ladder.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Easy to assemble
  • Reversible

Cons

  • You must weigh down the ladder with sand to prevent from floating
  • A few users complained of durability issues

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  1. Vinyl Works A-Frame Ladder

The Vinyl A-Frame Ladder features a slide lock design offering extra protection to its users. We love its overall construction which is not just durable, but it is also keenly made to optimize the safety of everyone using it. Each side of the ladder, for instance, has four treads spaced adequately. They are also non-slippery ensuring that users with wet legs can move in and out of the pool without any accidents. You can also restrict entrance into the pool by sliding up the exterior ladder.

The Vinyl Works A-Frame Ladder can be used for pool walls measuring between 48 to 56 inches. It has a maximum weight capacity of around 300lbs.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Affordable
  • Can be used with pools of different heights
  • Offer solid non-slip treads

Cons

  • The railings found at the top can be wobbly

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Conclusion

The above three pool steps are at the top of the list based on the guide discussed above and from first-hand user experiences. However, before you pick any of them, you need to check whether they apply to your pool. Look at the height covered by these ladders against that of your pool. Check the type of your pool and see if it is compatible with the ladder you are eyeing. All of this should help you get the best possible steps for your pool at a reasonable price.