Compare Above Ground Pools

by Sherry
(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

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. On one web page all the 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.

Comments for Compare Above Ground Pools

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May 04, 2009
Better Packaged Pools
by: Sherry

Hello Dennis, I totally agree with you here stating this below:

(Sometimes the package is far more important than the pool brand. I much prefer better equipment with a less expensive pool.)

I am searching and learning the difference of pools. There are so many to choose from. I will check out the Doughboy pools.

I appreciate your help. Any other helpful tips in comparing pools would be greatly appreciated!

Maybe a list of informtion on a pool of what to look for so a pool will last a long time as well as having a decent price tag? Or Pros and Cons on a purchase?

I read so much information that it's overwhelming.


May 04, 2009
Secard pools
by: Phil

Hi....what about Secard pools? How do they compare? I see they weren't mentioned. I have a used Secard steel sided pool and except for the birds wanting to use it so far it's great.


Hi Phil

Near as I can figure, based on photos I've seen, the Secard pool is made by Might Sun, an Asahi company. Parts for these pools are the easiest pool parts to find online because there is a website that specializes in them. Asahi is a Japanese company so having a company in the states providing parts for them is nice. The link to that site is on this page. Asahi Above Ground Pools

Having previously owned two of these pools, and having installed thousands, I have nothing bad to say about them. They go right along with my basic philosophy about above ground pools, put your money into the equipment. Asahi makes very affordable pools of very decent quality. They may not be fifty year pools but that has never bothered me, my kids loved swimming in the sparkling clean water that was always in my Might Sun pool.

Sep 19, 2010
Morada Pool by Wilbar
by: Melissa

I just purchased a 24' Morada by Wilbar. The pool package comes with a 125 sq. ft Waterway cartridge filter system and hi flow variable speed pump. It's supposed to be one of the nicer models. I was wondering if you have seen any info on this pool or maybe installed one before. I hope I made a good choice in buying this pool. Also purchased a gorilla pad for the pool bottom. It is supposed to be impervious to nut grass, glass, rodents etc.

Thanks, Melissa

Hi Melissa

There is nothing at all wrong with that pool, it's a good quality above ground pool. The filter system sounds good also, I'm a big fan of two speed pumps. Best of luck with it.

Sep 19, 2010
by: Phil

Also here in SoCal, there are Secard dealers everywhere. I've had no problem getting parts from their San Bernadino store,etc.

May 29, 2011
I would like to puchase an item
by: Bill Celso

Hello, my family has enjoyed our Sharkline pool here in Florida very much these past few summers, but it needs 11 replacement clip on covers for the top rail. I've tried repeatedly to order them, the
part number is 11673. If you could let me know if
their still available, and how much each, I would
be most grateful.

thanks, Bill Celso

Apr 04, 2012
by: Jason

Hey bill, I know its been awhile since you posted, but I was just reading some things, and thought maybe i would try and help you out. I am an installer as well. What are you exactly talking about when you say the black clips? I tried cross referencing your number and couldn't find it in our computer. Are you talking about the clips for the winter cover?? maybe the coping strips for the liner? Hope I can help!

BTW Dennis, i think you did a great job in your post in trying to help sherry out...


Jul 27, 2014
unhappy used pool deal
by: carol

I just recently purchased a Outback Silverado 18 foot "used" pool. Big mistake! I have been online looking to find the bottom rails for it, as 4 of them were really bad, also a side post. I can't even find any information on the company! Now I am out the money I spent for the pool. I have been on the internet looking since I bought the pool! Guess I will have to scrap it and take the loss. My advice to anyone that reads this, if you are thinking about buying a used pool, "DON'T"!!! Every pool is constructed different. It is impossible to match up parts.

Jul 27, 2014
used pool
by: jason

The bottom track plate, if its just one, can many times be replaced by another companys plate. We've installed many pools where the track has rusted out its almost not even there anymore. As for the upright/leg of a pool, you can find a way to attach it to the new plate. If you have a picture of one of the plates, you can post it and I'm sure I can set you up with one that will work.

Jun 01, 2018
Best above ground pool
by: Anonymous

Looking at Vogue Revelation or Wilbur pool 18ft or 21ft. Not sure which is the better pool?

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