Soft sided pools are said to be the quickest and easiest pools to install. They are also, for the most part, the least expensive.
While I am not a big fan of this type of above ground pool they do have their place.
Many families will use these pools as a first pool and then move up to a steel wall pool. These inexpensive pools give you a real feel for whether or not the pool will get used and cared for.
If things go well with the easy set pool you will have gotten your moneys worth out of it in a couple of years. These pools tend to be a little lacking when it comes to cleaning equipment, filters and ladders. As you replace these items with upgrades keep in mind they can be used on your next pool as well.
Easy set or frame pools are very similar to steel wall pools in that they need perfectly level ground for installation. There is a lot less structure with a soft side pool to hold it upright if the ground is sloped. It is extremely important to make sure the ground is level and firm.
These inexpensive above ground pools will require the same maintenance as any other pool. They require daily filtration, vacuuming and chemicals. It is much easier to keep a pool clean and sanitary than it is to drain and refill it every couple of days.The term soft sided pools can refer to either an easy set pool like the one to the left or a metal frame pool like pictured below.
The metal frame pool is a little stronger and a little more expensive than the easy set. With either pool you will need to plan on upgrading the filter and ladder within the first year or so. Like I said before, that is not a bad thing, good quality filters and ladders can last for many years and work well on different kinds of pools.
The pool below, while not really a soft sided pool, was a cheap above ground pool sold by Wal-Mart and probably a few other places. It was by far the worst pool I had ever built and we built a lot of them. This pool had no bottom rails and no top rails, just a resin wall that you somehow had to keep round and level while you spread out some sand for the base and installed the liner. In a lot of ways it was like a soft sided pool but it did have a vinyl liner. It also had the worst excuse for a filter system and the cheapest ladder ever made. I have not seen these in years and I'm glad. If they are still around somewhere, stay away, you would not like it.