Written by Terry Smith

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UK’s best garden swimming pools tested that are cheap, rectangular, and deep for children and adults

This article was last updated on June 16th, 2022 at 4:06 am

I’ve been testing garden swimming pools now for years in the UK. Our kids and my sisters absolutely love their time in the garden swimming pool together and there is one thing that I can categorically tell you from testing all of these pools with our kids. And I can tell you my best garden swimming pool pick is actually also the budget! Yes, quite a rarity and that comes from five years testing and playing in one! The size and price doesn’t matter. They had as much fun in the cheap Easy Set Up 10 Foot x 30 Inch Pool as they did the far more expensive rectangular Bestway Power Steel above ground pool, with filter and ladder or the Bestway MAX Steel Pro Round Frame Swimming Pool.

The enjoyment you can get from a garden swimming pool pound for pound is incredible. Some of the best memories are made playing with friends and family. Take a look at our kids (and my sisters) in a cheap garden swimming pool – they had just as much fun in this those years ago:

 

Our kids and my sister’s kids playing in the Easy Set Up 10 Foot x 30 Inch Pool

And now they have the same amount of fun in their bigger pools – I often get a phone call from my niece Saturday morning trying to get me to bring their cousins over for a fun time in the new pool:

My kids testing out the Bestway Power Steel above ground pool with their cousins

One of the best value for money garden pools on testing was the Bestway MAX Steel Pro Round Frame Swimming PoolNot only is it a fraction of the price of the above ground pool, it turns out the pump was pretty efficient at keeping the water clear when I compared the two. And given it is much cheaper, I favour it myself, but I tell you what, for such a simple setup the instructions really ticked me off. I would loved to have used a stronger word than that! Be sure to checkout my installation guide for this garden pool to save you half an hour reading two whacking great encyclopedia sized install and maintenance books for what in reality can be described in two pages.

My kids testing the Bestway MAX Steel Pro Round Frame Swimming Pool

The great news is some of these amazing pools are still in stock for Summer 2022 or will be back early June too! And before we really get into this review. Could I please, please, please alert you to health and safety – arm bands are a must in deeper garden swimming pools and don’t let your kids out of sight for even a minute. Now that we’ve got that out the way, I’ve got a much more light hearted and happy tip for garden swimming pool owners.

PRO TIP: Testing these pools from cheap to expensive, deep to rectangular, and even some that are suitable for adults, I can absolutely guarantee you the kids do not give a monkeys if you spend fifty quid on the ever reliable Easy Set Up Pool or the Bestway Power Steel above ground pool. They were just happy to be in the water! So with that in mind, here’s a look at my top picks for everybody:

Best garden swimming pools from five years of testing experience:

Best overall garden swimming pool: Easy Set Up 10 Foot x 30 Inch Pool [personally tested and proven]

Alternative if you want something well priced, reasonably deep, and quick to assemble: Bestway MAX Steel Pro Round Frame Swimming Pool [personally tested and proven]

Best rectangular pool: Bestway Power Steel above ground pool [personally tested and proven]

Best pool for adults: Intex Rectangular Ultra XTR Metal Frame Swimming Pool

Best deep pool: Bestway Power Steel above ground pool [personally tested and proven]

Best budget: Intex Easy Set Up 10 Foot x 30 Inch Pool [personally tested and proven]

Best idea that is safe for toddlers: Paochocky Kids Splash Pad Sprinkler Play Mat

New update on the best garden pool

As you can see the grounds uneven and this pool just handles it so well only slightly bulging to the uneven side – the setup is literally seconds, not even minutes, and this time I got smart to keep the water clear, I bought the bestway swimming pool filter system too. You can thank me in an email later for saving hours emptying, wasting water, Milton tablets, chlorine, you name it! Best buy ever, just watch the electric near the pool. I filter once the kids finish and are indoors! If you look in the pic to the left you can just make out the pipework – I’ll get a better picture of this soon enough but the link above to Amazon tells the same story.

With the summer pelting down in some areas across the United Kingdom, it is not surprising that more and more people are looking for ways to relax and just catch a break. If you have a big back garden in your home, installing a garden swimming pool can actually be an amazing option to not just break the impact of the heatwave but even catch a break from the constant hustle that you are indulging.

Finding the best one in the market that would last you for a long period of time can definitely be a challenge which is why it is best suggested that you get an idea about the best available options around and then look into the same all over again.

To help you out with the best ones available, we are going to sort you out with the best available options.

Specification: Capacity: 3854 L, Dimensions: 10 ft x 30 inch (3 ft deep)

This is the garden pool I settled on years ago and I have come back to discuss it in 2022!

The Intex Easy Set Up 10 Foot x 30 Inch Pool which is perfect if you have a big family with toddlers and need a pool in your back garden that comes with a very decent price point for how sturdy it is. And when I initially wrote this review it was my top pick. We bought this on a budget back five years ago when this was just thirty five quid!! What I can tell you is this garden swimming pool lasted for three amazing years. And despite the fact it is now in swimming pool heaven, it easily remains my pick for the best garden swimming pools for families in the UK.

My kids and my sister’s kids playing in the Intex Easy Set Up 10 Foot x 30 Inch Pool

Why keep this ranked best you might ask after we upgraded? Reasonable question. Well I can tell you the kids absolutely loved this pool. Just look at their happy faces, and whilst they really did get a kick out of the Bestway Power Steel above ground pool because it was deep enough to swim in, and they also had a great time in the Bestway MAX Steel Pro Round Frame Swimming Pool, they didn’t enjoy either of those anymore than this cheap Intex. And when you compare setup – this was so easy. I literally threw it on the ground, opened it up, inflated the rim and threw the hose in. You literally couldn’t ask for more. And then sadly after three years it blew a hole and was looking grubby – we never even brought it in through Winter! This garden pool has to be about the best value for money toy we’ve bought the kids ever! You’ll see from my update I mention buying another one, which we did, but put that away in place of the others we tested:

Update on my garden swimming pool / paddling pool

The pool finally failed. It was holed by the maniac kids but the service it gave us for such cheap money I just straight up bought another one. They gave the last one a really good working over so I am expecting the replacement Easy Set Up 10 Foot x 30 Inch Pool to be the same grade, if not, you’ll see an update here:

Best garden swimming pool in UK for value and hours of fun, no question and tested personally for 3 years nearly!

 

Info from when I first tested this garden pool:

It can hold up 3800 litres of water in it so won’t take long to fill with a standard garden hose, which is nothing short of a small mini pool around that you play around you. It is 3 ft deep, so ensure that you always keep an eye out on the children or have tubes and life jackets wrapped around them to prevent any kind of mishaps from happening. That said, I am sure you’ll exercise caution, I felt confident that this was both safe and fun for our families. A super little pool for fifty quid or so. The side walls are all triple bound making it extra stronger than before. It is manufactured with 3 different layers of material to make it extra durable and sustain heavy pressure. You will be genuinely surprised by just how well this stands up. You look at it and it doesn’t make any sense 🙂 but honestly it was very sturdy and super value for money. Our kids and my sister’s went berserk in this and it took a pounding for years.

You’ll need to clean the water though. Mine went green and I used Milton tablets then gave it a good scrub. I think we changed the water twice in the Summer so not bad all in all. The kids absolutely loved it.

  • Huge water holding capacity
  • Extra layering for better support
  • 3 ft tall for a better experience
  • Perfect for families
  • Really well priced

Now, I played this down because of the value when compared directly with my top pick, but I have to say, this is without doubt the best rectangular deep pool that will provide hours of entertainment for adults too! I couldn’t give it top spot though because too many people will get all the enjoyment out of a pool that costs 12 times less! But, before we get going, let’s have look at my kids testing this pool 🙂 – it’s a tough job! Sorry about the resolution.

As you can see the pool is big, even for half a dozen kids going crazy it’s more than capable of withstanding. And one thing I really appreciated, and you’ll notice straight away yourself, is just how sturdy the pool steps are. They gave me plenty of confidence, until my son decided to start using it as a dive platform 😀 So yeah, watch that! It really does look the part if you’re going for a fancy look and want an above ground pool that doesn’t cost a fortune when compared to the Intex Rectangular Ultra XTR Metal Frame Swimming Pool which is pretty much a direct competitor to this pool, though a much higher spec.

The Bestway Power Steel above ground pool with filter and ladder looks superb

The filter worked well but I found a ton of dead flies, leaves, and bits and pieces in the pool each morning. You’ll be spending a good 10 minutes a day fishing this out with the net provided. There’s no chance you’ll put a cover on each night let’s be honest 🙂 Here’s a look at that, it has to be about the only drawback with this incredible pool:

Cleaning out the pool is a daily job is you don’t cover it

In terms of using this amazingly I read the instructions before using and letting the kids test this 😀 . I also watched their vide on setup which made this a genuine 1 hour setup – the water took ages obviously – I started the video where it makes sense to save 50 seconds of your life!!

I read it needs a flat base, and we placed this on sandstone with an artificial grass remnant we had left from a previous test. I wouldn’t dream of putting this on an uneven surface – you definitely need to reasonably prepare. With the amount of weight involved from the water and the depth, as well as the extension reel close to the water you really need this to be safe and balanced. As you can see there are two hoses – a very simple in and out system. This is in stark contrast to the bullet proof cheap Intex pool that’s top pick – if you check the update section you’ll see that can be placed on any uneven ground and still hold up 🙂

The filter system on the Bestway Power Steel above ground pool and note a level surface to ensure pool stability

In terms of how well it’s help us so far, absolutely zero complaints. I can see this is going to be around for years – the kids are now 5 years old to 11 years old and this will literally still be useable when they are teens in terms of size! They all ran around in one direction to create a whirpool – totally stable. Except the little kids got sucked into the wash 😀 Fun times for 8-10 kids without feeling too overcrowded.

It does present a bit of a risk though. You can see the pool is deep so you really need to be on the ball at all times and consider swimming pool safety at all times.

As usual it’s good old reliable Bestway for pools. That or Intex – there’s no avoiding them if you want decent value for money. I’ve included links to eBay and Amazon in the hope you can get the cheapest price possible!

Specification: Capacity: 6473 L, Dimensions : 10 ft x 30 Inch (2.5 ft deep)

The first thing you’re going to notice when you open up your Bestway MAX Steel Pro Round Frame Swimming Pool is just how easy it’s going to be to setup and then somehow it’s not!! If you take five minutes to watch the video below then the parts included all make sense and are extremely easy to lay out – how I wish I watched the video I’ve linked below. The reason I am mentioning this is because the instructions are a real pain considering the setup is actually really easy!! The pool itself is a cracker and superb value for money, tainted by the complexity of the manual. I should have just thrown the thing away 😀 So here’s some help with that so you don’t make my mistakes:

Installing garden pool guide

After setting up the Bestway MAX Steel Pro Round Frame Swimming Pool, I have to tell you that I am not impressed in the slightest with the manual. What could have been a ten minute job turned into nearly half an hour because of some ridiculous omissions and over complications in the manuals. So here’s a how I set my pool up:

Important to get right before filling pool!!

The first thing I had to decide on was the fact I knew my ground sloped away about 5/6cm over the 3 metre span. If I drain the pool I will make sure to place the pump at the lowest point so that I don’t need to over fill the pool in order to reach the height of the pump. I know that might sound a bit confusing so here’s a diagram to clear that up:

Make sure you place the filter pump at the lowest point to avoid over filling the pool

As I didn’t get this right, to get to the height of the filter with the water mean’t that my lower side was too high – I’ll be rectifying this when I empty the pool for sure.

First things first, make sure you have a nice soft surface. Some people prefer to lay a tarp, some sand. I used a wonderful invention to protect expensive floors indoors when doing building work called Correx. Not only is it nice on the feet, it’s got air gaps like cardboard and really does cushion very well:

Me laying Correx as the base for my garden swimming pool

Once you’ve got your base down (remember the 10ft version wants a pad of about 3.2m square, then the setup is literally a 15 minute thing when not over complicated! Simply layout your PVC liner then start inserting the poles:

Slide the horizontal tubes through the PVC liner and connect them with a T piece

Here’s another look at sliding the horizontal tubes through the liner:

Sliding the tubes through the pool liner

Then simply slide the vertical legs into the PVC pouch and follow this all the way around the pool. It really is that easy and yet somehow the instructions left me scratching my head looking to validate this info:

Slide the vertical leg through the liner pouch

And that’s it – then it’s time to hook up the pump. You’ll see A and B marked on the pump and A and B marked on the PVC liner itself. It’s pretty obvious to match those letters up and away you go:

Match B on the liner to B on the pump

And that’s it! sit back and enjoy – remember do NOT connect the pump with electric whilst anyone is in the pool! I don’t know if I was having a bad day or that was overly complicated. But if not the latter, explain to me why this needs to great big thick books to install? 😀 It could have been done without a manual – they confused me! Here’s a video from Bestway that makes this MUCH easier.

Please note I’ve started the video at the point to save you time:

With the setup sorted I have to say, this is miles more durable than my cheap top pick when directly compared. But not as high quality as the £600 rectangular Bestway. But where this is priced, I think you are getting the best of both worlds. And it’s not often I pick the middle ground because normally that’s where you get trampled on 😀

The frame has stood up very nicely and with the kids going ballistic I do not feel like this will buckle at all. The PVC liner genuinely does feel thick and strong – and I’ve had loads of different garden pools over time! And if for some reason you do get a split, you get a decent sized chunk of PVC for a patch repair – nice touch. On the flip side though no pool cover will become a drain as we progress through Summer and result in much more cleaning compared to the more expensive models. I think I might look into buying one. In fact scratch that, I just bought the one linked as I write this – don’t think I’ll be able to put up with sifting leaves out everyday:

Order a pool cover and save yourself the grief of falling leaves and debris – I decided to do so as a result of writing this 🙂

Ironically if you watch the video you’ll be thinking I am a numpty – this really is an easy setup if you zoom out. It is probably the only thing I didn’t get to grips with, but after the benefit of hindsight I could set the next one up in 10 minutes easily, so their 20 minute claim is legitimate – especially if you take the time to watch the video above.

All in all it’s a lovely looking pool for the money and you won’t go wrong buying this for Summer:

Bestway MAX Steel Pro Round Frame Swimming Pool looks great!

Another great pool we tested that is a superb alternative and a mix of value, useable for both adults and kids, reasonably deep, and very well built: [personally tested and proven]

Summary:

It claims it is manufactured with heavy-duty PVC along with three-ply Tritech walls which ensure to keep the structure standing tall and strong and that without any kind of punctures or issues in terms of the quality. The kids to be fair gave that claim an absolute going over 😀 True enough no holes – it’s all still in one piece.

If you have a big family and want a big paddling pool, the Bestway Round Frame Swimming Pool with Filter Pump is one of the best options available pound for pound. It is a bit costlier in comparison to the other available variants of the garden swimming pool; namely my top pick! It is a decent 10 ft so ample for a few kids to have a paddle in.

If you have a big family and want a big paddling pool, the Bestway Round Frame Swimming Pool with Filter Pump is one of the best options available pound for pound. It is a bit costlier in comparison to the other available variants of the garden swimming pool; namely my top pick! It is a decent 10 ft so ample for a few kids to have a paddle in.

Specification: Capacity: 3300 L, Dimensions : 9.10 ft x 6.7 ft x 26 Inch (9.1ft deep)

It’s been a tough year to get a quality swimming pool for your back garden. Many of the factories around the world are closed but there’s still one brand with some stock. Best Way is reliable and generally their pools last well. I have all too often been the guy that buys a pool only to find it has a tear or split from brand new. This is pretty unusual for Best Way and they are my favourite brand now for a paddle in the back garden with the kids.

Right now, the Bestway Round Frame Swimming Pool with Filter Pump which is 9ft and holds about 3300 litres of water is still in stock. It’s big enough to let the kids have space to play and will take a fair bit of a beating. The most important part is the filtration pump – get one. This will help you keep the water in top nick through the whole summer. How many times have you bought a pool to find it full of green algae just a few days later?

Then you get tired of the process and the whole idea gets shelved, until a super hot day comes along and you need to tirelessly get it all setup as fast as possible. Only to watch the water level agonisingly rise :). Yeah we’ve all been there. A pump is a must if you want this to be an all Summer long deal. Plus, 2020 is the year of being at home. A decent pool will pay itself ten times over this year I am willing to bet.

Another great thing about the Best Way is the instructions. They are crystal clear, they even have a DVD and you will not be left scratching your head. Even the least able DIYer will have no trouble setting the kit up. Not only that, they have a UK support team. You are not buying in the dark on a hope. This is the deal clincher for me. Especially given how sturdy and reliable Best Way pools are known to be. Having supporting and a warranty you can rely on is a big deal. A lot can go wrong when holding three tonnes of water!

You’ll get this pool quite quickly, grab some chlorine tablets too. Get a net and mop. Ten minutes maintenance a day will be more than enough to keep your pool in tip top condition for all the family to enjoy. This is essential to keep crystal clear water each day.

It’s a decent offering and will be sold out within weeks of the Summer 2020 start, if not before. So grab your Best Way today. This will provide drama free fun all Summer long.

Specification: Capacity: 17203 L, Dimensions : 18 ft x 9 ft x 52 inch (about 4 ft 6inch deep)

GREAT NEWS – this amazing garden swimming pool looks like it’ll be in stock all Summer of 2022. This is mainly due to the price tag so you’ll need deeper pockets, but what an investment for a summer we will almost certainly still be in lockdown for.

If budget isn’t an issue and you want to go all out with an actual garden swimming pool to keep around in your back garden for good, the Intex Rectangular Ultra XTR Metal Frame Swimming Pool is possibly the best option available around. The dimensions of 18ft x 9ft x 52inch are perfectly manufactured with the latest swimming pool technology which ensures the maximum safety and fun all packed into one.

The best part of this is the fact that it is also provided with the Krystal clear sand filter pump that is integrated with the hydro aeration technology like no other. Additionally, the removable steps along with the safety ladder further include as some of the important additions to this altogether. It has a capacity of 17203 litres which is pretty huge when you come to think of it. It is perfect for the ones with a big family.

  • Dimensions of 18ft x 9ft x 52inch
  • Integrated with the latest swimming pool technology
  • Comes with krystal clear sand filter pump
  • Integrated with hydro aeration technology
  • Has 17203 litres of capacity

 

6. Hillington Jumbo Deluxe Rectangular Inflatable Family Swimming Pool

Specification: Capacity: 1075 L, Dimensions: 3.05m x 1.83m (50 cm deep)

In the list definitely has to be the Hillington Jumbo Deluxe Rectangular Inflatable Family Swimming Pool which is quite a public pleaser. If you have been on the lookout for an inflatable swimming pool that you can keep around as per your requirements as ease, this is one of the best options. Apart from the normal features, it also ensures safety and security with the multiple L-beam chambers as well as the 2 ring outer walls.

The best part of this inflatable swimming pool for the garden is the fact that the valve is quite adjustable with the majority of the electric inflaters that are available in the market. What this does is make it quite easier for you to inflate the product without imposing excess pressure or efforts. It comes with the dimensions of 3.05 m x 1.83 m x 50 cm which is pretty standard and adjustable.

  • Easy to inflate
  • Comes with safety features
  • Durable material
  • Sturdy
  • Compact and easy to store

Specification: Capacity: 1662 L, Dimensions approx: 7 ft x 5 ft x 2 ft

If you wish to have a similar experience of like that of a swimming pool right in your back garden, the Intex 28270 Rectangular Pool is one of the best available options around. It mimics the experience you get sitting in an actual pool which is pretty amazing and thus makes it one of the best sellers right now. The best part of this specific garden swimming pool is the fact that it is manufactured with the puncture-proof 3-ply material which ensures long-lasting durability like no other.

Additionally, it comes with the zinc and powder coated design which further makes it a sturdy option to hold through a lot of weight, especially if you are having a pool day with the family. It has a total water capacity of 1662 liters which is pretty amazing. It also comes with 4 corner seats which have the capacity of holding up to 70 kg of people and gives you the feeling of being in a real pool.

  • Puncture-proof material
  • Manufactured with zinc and powder coated design
  • Perfect for families
  • Comes with four corner seats too

Specification: Capacity: 1180 L, Dimensions: 300 x 184 x 50cm (50 cm deep)

Yet another one of the rectangular inflatable pools best for the families include the Sable Rectangular Inflatable Family Paddling Swimming Pool. It is a lot similar to the one we mentioned by the Hillington brand. The best part of this product most definitely has to be the fact that it is made out of one of the best quality material that ensures long-lasting of this. It has a dimension of 300x184x50 cm which makes it perfect for the families to play and splash some water around.

It is manufactured with BPA free PVC which is 50% thicker as well as amazing in terms of safety and stability. It will last you for an extended period of time so the one-time investment isn’t the worst option at all. Takes about 1 minute or so to get inflated which is pretty impressive as well. Additionally, it comes with 3 individual air chambers which further ensure to prevent any kind of leakages as such.

  • Perfect for families to splash around
  • Made with BPA free PVC
  • 50% stronger than normal PVC
  • Takes a minute to get inflated
  • Has 3 individual chambers that prevent leakage

The Paochocky Kids Splash Pad Sprinkler Play Mat might not be the typical garden swimming pool that you expect it to be, but if you want something out of the box, this is the one. The addition of the splash pad is what makes this a people pleaser and you will note that the majority of the children do love indulging in this from time to time.

It is very easy to use because all you need to do is plug in the sprinkler and inflate the water toy and it takes care of the rest of the things involved around in this. It is manufactured from heavy-duty and durable PVC which is completely non-toxic as well as BPA free which is definitely an added bonus. It stands up to all the requirements that you have and thus makes it a very favourable option among the massed.

  • Amazing for water parties
  • Easy to use
  • Manufactured from non-toxic and BPA free PVC
  • Checks off all the requirements

Specification: Capacity: 3638 L, Dimensions: 10ft x 3.05 m (55 cm deep)

If you want a budget-friendly and good to use garden swimming pool, the Summer waves Quick Set Ring Pool + Water Filter Pump + Cover is most definitely one of the very best options available around in the market right now. It is completely a transparent ring-shaped pool which looks amazing and quite different than the majority of the pools that are currently available in the market. The best factor of this brand and the swimming pool is the fact that it comes with its own water filter pump as well as the cover to keep it protected for a longer period of time.

It is 10 ft in diameter, thus making it a suitable option for big families who need an outdoor pool to keep them cool during the hot summers. It also comes with the quick drainage plug which further helps ensure that you wouldn’t have to worry about discarding the water and such issues that many tend to experience.

  • 10 ft in diameter; perfect for families
  • Made with sturdy material
  • Transparent material looks better
  • Comes with quick drainage plug

When it comes to the summer garden swimming pools, there is an abundant number of options available. The only thing that you need to ensure is to look out for the best ones around. It will help you get a quick escape from the scorching heat and even provide with the best experience like no other. It is important that you keep certain standard requirements sorted and then plan things accordingly.

Conclusion

You’re laying on an inflatable sun lounger with a fresh cocktail in your garden swimming pool, life doesn’t get any better. Well, the best garden swimming pools are always filled with inflatable pool toys for the kids and full of laughter and happiness, the reliable one is on the barbecue, cooking up something pretty special. The best garden swimming pools should be large enough for your family, strong enough to take a knock, we all like to play in the pool! With that in mind we bought the Intex Easy Set Up 10 Foot x 30 Inch Pool because on top of meeting all the criteria for the best garden swimming pool, it was shocking robust and lasted all Summer so I will be using it again this year until it fails! I’ll update you if any different but I expect another great year of service.

A garden swimming pool should be easily maintained with cleaning solution, and have a convenient drain point. I’ve reviewed the best garden swimming pools taking those factors in consideration to help you enjoy this summer with your family and friends.


About Terry Smith

I’m Terry Smith from gardentoolbox.co.uk, a professional landscape designer, hobbyist gardener, and barbecue fanatic with 20 years experience building and restoring. So as you go through my site you'll watch me document some of the professional garden installs I make as well as the major projects I take on at home. While sharing those experiences and guiding you, I'll be recommending some great tools I use to enable this along the way so you can really buy in confidence. Always feel free to pop me a message: info@gardentoolbox.co.uk

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