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Splasher Pools: Pros and Cons of Above-Ground Pools

I purchased both an Intex Easy Set Pool and an Intex Metal Frame Pool and am here to share the differences between these above-ground pools.

Above-ground pools are a great way for kids to learn to swim in a safe environment

Above-ground pools are a great way for kids to learn to swim in a safe environment

Easy Set vs. Metal Frame Pools Review

We don't often get much sunshine here in Wales, but when we do (from about late April to early June), the temperatures have been known to soar!

About 10 years ago, during a particularly hot spell, we decided to buy an above-ground pool to use in our garden. We wanted something that was easy set and convenient but big enough for children, teenagers and adults to enjoy. We decided on an Intex Easy Set Pool, and it was brilliant – just what we wanted!

Two years later, our quick pool was out of action (read why below), but we still wanted an outdoor pool, so we decided to invest a bit more this time and buy an Intex Metal Frame Pool instead.

Was there any difference between the two? Was one better than the other? Which one would I recommend? If you are thinking of buying a splasher pool this summer, read my pros and cons for each one first to help you decide. Here are the model options I looked at in my review:

  1. Intex 15' x 36" Easy Set Pool
  2. Intex 15' x 46" Metal Frame Pool
Our Easy Set Pool

Our Easy Set Pool

1. Intex 15' x 36" Easy Set Pool

The first pool we decided to get was a 15′ x 36″ Intex Easy Set Pool. We decided on this as our first above-ground swimming pool because it looked easy to put up, just the right size for our patio yard and big enough for our family all to enjoy. We bought it from Amazon, and it came in a box complete with filter pump and ladder to get us up and running.

The pool was great, large enough to actually swim a few strokes but small enough to warm through without the need for an additional pool heater. We used it lots that first summer as the weather was particularly kind to us. It was lovely to come home from work and take a dip before dinner or cool off for half an hour before getting into bed at night to help with a good night's sleep.

The teenagers loved it too, heading for the pool after a long day at school or sitting in the garden revising for those June exams. Having the pool certainly helped the chill factor in more ways than one!

Unfortunately, the pool did not just attract human beings! Birds came to take a dip to cool off, and whoever said that cats don’t like water?! One day we came home to find water meeting us on the garden path. When we went round to the yard to investigate, the inflatable ring which holds the pool up was practically fully deflated! On closer inspection, a variety of CLAW marks were found at different points around the tube, and at one place, the pattern clearly indicated the exit point where something, presumably a cat, had clawed its way out of the water.

One or two punctures are fixable – in fact, the pool comes with an emergency puncture repair kit which works extremely well – but these feline flaws were a bit too much to patch up! RIP our beloved Easy Set pool; it was fun while it lasted!

Pros and Cons of Our Intex Easy Set Pool

The Pros

  • Cheaper to buy
  • Really quick and easy to set up
  • Easy to empty and put away – so good for changeable climates
  • Comes in lots of different sizes, so you can find one to suit your garden
  • Smaller ones are handy for when you are not sure how the weather is going to turn out!
  • More child friendly as the sides tend to be softer and no harsh poles to bump into
  • Water tends to warm up more quickly and keep warm for longer – probably due to the smaller depth and shape of the pool sides, heat is kept in
  • Easy to clean and sanitize
  • Folds up for compact storage and no poles to take up additional room either

The Cons

  • Need an electric pump to save wearing yourself out pumping up the tube
  • Tube will burst easily small punctures can be fixed, claw rips cannot
  • Don't lean over the sides; as the sides go down, the water gets to the top of them, and over you go – mega tidal wave alert!
  • Lose some width due to bottom of pool being wider than top. So a 15ft pool will actually only give about 13ft swimming width
  • Takes quite a while to fill – depending on the size

Easy Set Pools in Different Sizes

Our above-ground frame pool

Our above-ground frame pool

2. Intex 15' x 46" Metal Frame Pool

We loved our splasher pool so much that we decided to get another one the following summer.

This time we wanted to get one that would last longer and decided that the inflatable ring was the part of the pool that was at most risk of being damaged. So we chose a 15′ x 48″ Intex Metal Frame Pool for our second splasher pool. This too came in a box, complete with ladder, pump, etc. – everything we needed to get it up and running.

It took a little longer to put up than the Easy Set pool because of course there is a metal frame to build around the pool liner too. Part of the erection process also involved someone getting into the pool to straighten out the liner so that there weren’t any lumpy bits underfoot. We had to do this with the Easy Set one too. This YouTube video gives a demo of the pool setup instructions. The volume of water the pool held was greater due to more depth and no loss of width, so it did take us about 12 to 15 hours to fill it up.

Once it was up, it was amazing! Not only does it look great, far more impressive than the “paddling pool” style Easy Set, but it gives ample swimming space too. 3 - 4 adults could easily use this pool at the same time. Plenty of room for inflatables too. My grandson has even learned to swim in it.

We’ve had the pool for 8 years now, although some years we didn’t put it up due to the bad weather we got in Wales. It does have one or two small punctures, but so far, we have been able to use the patching kit to sort these out. Hoping we get at least another one or two summers out of it, weather permitting . . . and would definitely consider buying another one when this one has had its day.

Pros and Cons of Our Intex Metal Frame Pool

The Pros

  • Last much longer than Easy Set pools – this will be our 8th summer with ours
  • More swimming area due to the straighter sides
  • Increased depth makes it better for swimming and water games
  • Sturdy sides – can lean on frame for a rest without worrying about the sides going over! Straight sides make it easier to clean “hoover” the bottom on the pool for debris
  • Solar/debris covers fit more snuggly over the top

The Cons

  • Takes longer to put up – but quicker once you’re used to it; we can do ours in about 30 mins now
  • Longer to pack away – this tends to be a once a summer job; when the sun's gone, so is the pool
  • Longer to fill – worth the wait, but watch those water meters!
  • More chemicals needed to sanitise
  • Metal poles are hard – mind your head when surfacing!
  • Take a bit longer to warm up and doesn’t hold the heat in as well – consider buying a heater if need be

Metal Frame Pools in Different Sizes

Metal Frame Splasher Pool Set Up Instructions

View this video before you buy to get an idea of what's involved in putting up a metal-frame above-ground pool.

My Tips for Safe and Happy Pooling – Things Common to Both Pools

  1. Both pools take a while to fill up; check on hosepipe bans and water meter costs if these apply to you.
  2. Both need sanitising – IMMEDIATELY – don’t leave it a few days as algae start to build right from the moment the water goes in.
  3. Both have an easy empty syphon plug – attach your hosepipe and lead it directly into a drain for flood-free emptying.
  4. It needs a filtration pump to keep it clean – put a nylon stocking over the filter basket; this will stop quite a lot of smaller insects and debris from reaching the filter inside the pump, making it last twice as long.
  5. Quite a lot of work checking chlorine levels – but check every day as it is much easier to balance chemical levels with minor adjustments than trying to fix them once they have vanished completely.
  6. Solar covers are great for keeping debris off and pulling natural heat into the water.
  7. Safety awareness is essential, even if you don’t have young children – we have the buddy rule for EVERYONE – only go in the pool if someone else is home and knows you’re going to be using it.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

Question: How can I sanitize an Intex pool?

Answer: We used chlorine tablets and a pH balancing solution to sanitize our pool.

© 2014 Celticep

Easy Set or Metal Frame – which one would you get? Thanks for visiting; please splash your comments here!

Corie Fitterer on July 09, 2019:

Hi I have just received my easy set pool 8feet 18 in. Just looking for natural ways to keep it clean

Doreen on November 24, 2018:

Thanks for taking the time to blog! Much appreciated and helped with me buying my xmas present :)

Celticep (author) from North Wales, UK on July 29, 2018:

Hi Zaman, we only filled it once each time we set it up and then used chlorine and filters to keep it clean until it was time to out it away.

Zaman on July 15, 2018:


how often do you fill up the pool as I am buying it for the first time and only plan to use it for about a month this year. Also, how much is the water bill affected, on an estimate?

Celticep (author) from North Wales, UK on June 20, 2018:

Have fun with it! We loved ours!

Nina Bean on June 16, 2018:

Great article! We just put up a metal frame pool this year as well and are loving it so far. Worth the time, energy and water bill to have some quality family time!