Compare Above Ground Pools
(Monroe, NC USA)
We are comparing above ground pools to figure out the better one for the best price. Someone stated the Outback pools are the best. Do you know the comparison on those pools verses names of others that may be the same in a matter of speaking?
Your thought on outbackabgpools.com?
Also is the Ultima better than the outbacks?
Hi Sherry. That is a very good question and after about five hours of research I realize I have just begun.
As a pool installer we dealt mostly with the brands carried by our local stores. Over the years these brands have been Doughboy, Lomart, Cornelius, Asahi and Swim'N Play.
These are all pool manufactures, each having an entire line of pools ranging from the most basic, inexpensive model to the top of the line model. The manufacturer I like the best is Doughboy, for many reasons. One of those reasons is consistency of quality over their entire line of pools. Their cheapest pool has all of the same quality characteristics of their top of the line model. This is a rare trait with above ground pool manufacturers.
Over the last five years we have seen more and more pools being brought in to our state from other places. These are mostly bought on the internet and shipped to the homeowners. This gives us the opportunity to see just about every pool being made at any given time. One thing I have noticed over the years is how similar they all are.
Your question, and my research, may have some answers as to why.
The pool manufacturers I mentioned above are just that, above ground pool manufacturers. Now let’s look at Outback pools. Outback Pools are manufactured for, and sold exclusively to Superior Pool Products LLC. Outback Pools is a branded name, Superior owns the name but does not manufacture the pool. They don't manufacture anything, but they are one of the biggest wholesalers of pool supplies in the country. They sell all the top brand name products as well as many branded products.
I have not yet been able to come up with the name of the manufacturer that makes these pools for Superior but I have an idea it might be a Wilbar pool. Wilbar International manufactures above ground pools under these names, Sharkline, Seaspray, Aqua Leader, Vogue, Artesion, and Atlantic. They started out as Sharkline back in 1961.
When I look at the similarities of the Wilbar pool lines listed above, with all the other branded products sold online, it becomes pretty clear that most of these pools come from one of Wilbar's companies. I will give you this page as an example. All these pools except the Tahitian, but including the Ultima, say manufactured in the US but will not say by who. The Tahitian is a Sharkline Pool, a Wilbar company.
This may, or may not, be completely true
but let's assume that it is. Unless you are buying a Doughboy, Lomart, Cornelius, Asahi or Swim'N Play pool you are probably buying a Wilbar Pool. This is not a bad thing at all, just something to keep in mind. Sharkline, Seaspray, Atlantic and Vogue all have quality pools in their lineups. It just makes comparing pools a near impossibility, with so many good pools to pick from. One thing that is common, however, is that they all have cheap versions, quality versions and at least one over designed version.
My pet peeve with above ground pools these days are the over designed ones. Above ground pools have a basic design that has worked well for many years, over designing what already works makes for an installers nightmare. The more useless parts a pool has the less user friendly they become. An example of this is from the Outback line of pools. The Newcastle is not a pool I would buy, or put up in my yard if it was given to me. Redesigning the above ground pool did not work, in my opinion. It is anything but user friendly. Much of the over designing of above ground pools has to do with the use of resin. Ever since they started using resin parts, they just keep adding them everywhere, making the pools harder and harder to install. An example of that are the stupid resin collars that go over the bottom of the uprights. These are the stupidest things I have ever seen and some of the designs, and ways of attachment, are just ridiculous. OK, so much for my rant.
It would be impossible to advice you on the best brand of pool, there are many good ones. Each brand has many different models and this is what you need to look at. As I mentioned, Doughboy maintains the same basic design in all of their models. That is rare and can be spotted quickly in other brands by looking at the wall coating and the bottom rails. These are just two ways to compare but I think you will get the point. Doughboy uses the same wall coating process on all of their models. Other manufacturers do not, so one pool may have a ten year warranty on it's wall while another model may get a 35 year warranty. The bottom rails are a dead give away that you may be looking at a cheap pool. If one model uses a 1" bottom rail and another uses a 5/8", they have really skimped on that pool and it is going to be much harder to install.
So, compare the pool models by each manufacturer and compare the pool package by each retailer. Sometimes the package is far more important than the pool brand. I much prefer better equipment with a less expensive pool. I think you get far more enjoyment out of a clean, well maintained pool, than you can in one that is never clean.