Adam holds a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Linguistics, and creative writing has always been his greatest passion. For more than 25 years he's been working for several well-known automobile and travel magazines as an editor and expert consultant, but when Adam started his writing path here, at WisePick, it turned out that he's capable of writing practically anything about everything.
Initially being an engineering specialist, Tom has never stopped learning and acquiring other knowledge and skills. Now he’s involved in technical support for a well-known household appliances manufacturer, so no wonder he knows everything about almost everything you buy for your home.
Last updated: January 02, 2021
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If you’re someone who enjoys style and decorative elements and has an outdoor above-ground pool, the chances are high that you’ll probably enjoy a nice decorative pool liner. In our review of the best above-ground pool liners, you’ll be introduced to some of the most cost-effective ways to decorate your pool to make your swimming experience much more enjoyable.
In this article, we’ll take you through the best above-ground pool liners out there today. We’ll present to you our choices for the seven best pool liners. We’ve picked these seven after reviewing more than 35 different products. Our list is highlighted by our Editor’s Choice, the Smartline Boulder Liner, an overlap type of pool liner that gives the customer fantastic value and is easy to install. On top of our Editor’s Choice, the six other pool liners will give you an idea of what you should be looking for when searching for a pool liner and the things that come with it.
In our review of the best above-ground pool liners, we’ll take a look at a number of different qualities that make them great. More specifically, we’ll evaluate what type of liner, its size, the materials it’s made of, and lastly, its warranty. We’ve spent over 50 hours researching various options and hope that you’ll take away a great deal of information and a new pool liner. After the detailed reviews of each model, we’ll then turn our attention to the buying guide section of this article. There, we’ll talk more in-depth above the individual features of each product as well as will give you the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions. Let’s get started!
Our Editor’s Choice pick for the best overall above-ground pool liner is the Smartline Boulder Liner. This model has it all, and to top it off, it is also very affordable.
It is an overlap type of pool liner that comes in a few different sizes. It also has the flexibility to accommodate both round and oval pools as well. For oval pools, it ranges in size between 10×15 feet and 18×34 feet. For round pools, you can get this pool liner from 12 to 33 feet. It comes in different vinyl materials as well from 20, 25, and 30-gauge vinyl. What this means is that the higher the gauge of vinyl, the thicker the vinyl material is. The product also comes with a 25-year warranty, but we recommend you to read over what this policy entails as warranties for pool liners don’t usually cover damage caused by people.
This pool liner is designed for pools with 48-52-inch wall height and is very easy to install. A few people said that this pool liner’s exposure to sunlight is more sensitive than other pool liners, as evidenced by the fact that it caused rips in the vinyl after a while.
What we liked:
Comes in variety of sizes
Different material thickness available
Easy to install
What could be better:
Vinyl can easily rip when left out too long in the sun
Next up is our Best Value product, the Swimline Blue Overlap Liner. As you can tell by the name, this one is an overlap pool liner and is the most affordable one on our list.
Don’t conflate its affordability with its quality as you’ll get plenty of quality with this liner. It comes in sizes ranging from 16 to 33 feet and only for round pools. It’s made of standard gauge vinyl, which just comes in the one thickness and does not have different levels of the gauge. It’s specifically made for pools that have sidewalls between 48 and 52 inches and comes with double-welded seams.
It only has a 15-year warranty, but that should last you long enough until you have to buy your next pool liner. While nearly all customers were satisfied with this purchase, a few people did say that the vinyl can rip quite easily and quickly if not used properly.
What we liked:
Affordable price tag
Various round pool sizes
Double-welded seams ensure better durability
What could be better:
Vinyl can rip easily and quickly if not used properly
If you’ve always wanted to swim with the dolphins, you can do that with our choice for the most aesthetic option, the Smartline Antilles Dolphin Overlap Liner. Dive deep into your pool and behold the beautiful sights of being under the sea and surrounded by dolphins and other marine wildlife.
This aesthetically pleasing product is an overlap liner that can fit in both round and oval pools. For oval ones, we’re looking at 10×15 feet and 21×41 feet models. As for round ones, you can find sizes from 12-33 feet. Like most other liners, it’s made of 20 and 25-gauge vinyl and comes with a solid 25-year warranty. However, it’s best to double-check it to see what’s covered.
This liner gives more value by providing you with a universal gasket set, which will save you money, time, and prevent any future leaks. Unfortunately, a few people did make note that the vinyl ripped during the installation process. Therefore, we recommend calling professionals to install it or being extra cautious when doing that yourself.
If swimming with dolphins isn’t for you, you might enjoy a more standard, patterned type of liner. If this sounds like you, then you should check out our choice for the best patterned option, the In The Swim Boulder Swirl Above-Ground Pool Liner.
As you can see, this pool liner comes with a patterned rock formation that will fit the inside of your pool walls just nicely. This can give off the illusion that you’re swimming in the ocean surrounded by rock beds.
This type of liner is different than the overlap and comes with beaded and J-hook style. It is only available in the one 24-feet size for rounded pools. Next, it is made of 20-gauge vinyl and comes with a 15-year warranty. This liner is designed for pools that have 48-inch sidewalls and does its work well thanks to the UV-resistant material.
The majority of people who have this liner love it, but a few did note that the installation process took a lot of time because of the precision required for this liner.
If you just love swimming in the ocean, you might love the effects that the Quality Pool Products Pool Liner for Above-Ground Swimming Pools will bring to your pool. Many people love its realistic pattern, and it’s because it will give you a fantastic experience as you’ve just taken a dip in the ocean!
This wavy liner is an overlap model, which only fits 15×30 feet oval-shaped pools. So make sure to check your oval pool size before making a purchase. It’s made of solid 25-gauge vinyl and can suit a pool with sidewalls of 48, 52, and 54 inches. It also comes in a few different colors, so if you’re sick of seeing the normal blue color in every liner, there are a few options to choose from.
Lastly, this liner, like a few others, comes with a 25-year warranty policy, but be sure to check what this covers. A number of people who enjoy this design wished it came in more sizes and had an option for round pools as well.
Similar to the Smartline Antilles Dolphin, the Harris Caribbean Above-Ground Pool Liner features a unique design of what it would be like to swim at the bottom of the ocean. The only difference is that this liner is bursting with color, and it’s why many people love it.
This bright liner is an overlap type and is only suited for round pools with the sizes from 15 to 27 feet. It’s made of 20-gauge vinyl, so you’re getting a decent thickness here. One thing that’s great about it is that it comes with a cold crack resistance meaning that it is a bit sturdier and can withstand colder weather. Additionally, it has double-welded seams for extra durability. This liner is specifically designed for sidewalls between 48 and 52 inches.
The graphical art shown with this liner is simply amazing. However, a few people have said that they wished it was also available for oval pools as well.
As the best beaded model, we have selected the In The Swim Riverstone Above-Ground Pool Liner. The pattern here is very uniform and has a very classy triangle-tiled image on the sidewalls. This product can also be attached using J-hook, which makes it quite versatile. It’s specifically designed for pools with 52-inch sidewalls, and as for its size, it is only available for 24-feet pools with round shape. Although it’s not available for oval pools, it will last you for years thanks to the 25-gauge vinyl. Furthermore, the manufacturer offers a 25-year warranty with this product. Like with all pool liners, you’ll want to check the fine print to see exactly what this warranty covers.
Despite its obvious lack of sizes, a few people also mentioned that the J-hooks, in particular, don’t work all that well with this liner. However, some also say it works just fine.
What we liked:
Elegant and simple design
Made for bigger and higher sidewall pools
What could be better:
J-hooks can be finicky
Lack of sizes
Things to Сonsider
After you’ve just seen our top seven above-ground pool liners, it’s time to turn to the buying guide section of this article. Here, we’ll talk more specifically about the individual features that make up a great pool liner. Our hope is to provide you with as much information as possible so that when it comes to purchasing your above-ground pool liner, you’ll know every detail about them. Lastly, we’ll answer a few of the most common questions when it comes to above-ground pool liners, and then wrap things up with our final verdict.
How to pick the best above-ground pool liner?
When it comes to picking the best above-ground pool liner, it really boils down to what you’re specifically looking for. Thankfully, if you’re not sure about the characteristics, you’ve come to the right place. Here, we’ll focus on various features that are important for proper installation. Some of the things we’ll take a look at include the type of your pool, the size and shape, the height of the sidewalls, the material, pattern, warranty, and prices.
Type of your pool
There are a few common styles when it comes to the type of pool liners, and they are overlap, beaded, or J-hook models. For overlap hooks, these pool liners are draped over the edge of the pool and are held in place with a plastic coping strip which is put over it. This option can be a bit trickier to install but is a much more affordable choice. The beaded style is the second common type of pool liner, and with this one, you have beads that are must be inserted in a bead receiver. It looks as great as the previous option and requires you to be accurate with it. Finally, the J-hook models come with special hooks that must be attached to the sidewalls of the pools. These are very easy to install, just make sure to measure everything properly. For example. the In The Swim Riverstone Above-Ground Pool Liner is a fantastic versatile option that can be installed with beads or J-hooks.
Size and shape
As for the shape of the best above-ground pool liners, they usually can come as a round or an oval model. You will find a variety of different sizes, but the most common ones usually range anywhere between 15-30 feet for round pool liners and 20 x 40 feet for an oval-shaped one, such as you can see with the Smartline Antilles Dolphin Overlap Liner.
You’ll want to be very careful with the sizes of the pool liners, and by this, we mean you need to be absolutely sure of the measurement of your above-ground pool.
For instance, the height of your pool is measured starting from the ground to the top rail of your pool wall. To get an accurate measurement of the diameter of your pool, particularly if it is a round one, you simply measure from one end of the wall to the opposite end of the wall while walking directly through the middle of the pool. For oval pools, you’ll have to check the length and the width, and to do so, measure from one rounded end to the other rounded end to find the length and then measure from the middle of the straighter side to the other end to find the width.
Pool sidewalls’ height
Generally speaking, most of the above-ground pool liners, including the Swimline Blue Overlap Liner, are made for pool sidewall heights of between 48 to 52 inches. While it can be made for shorter or taller walls, this is typically a good range to consider. With this range, it gives the pool liner enough space to line the entire pool, including the sidewalls, while still having enough liner to overlap over these walls.
You don’t want to end up in a situation where you’ve miscalculated your measurements and have bought the wrong one to find out that you don’t have enough liner to cover the entire wall.
When it comes to the material of the liner, it has to be somewhat durable. All of the liners we’ve reviewed use a vinyl. Vinyl is typically the choice of liner because it is durable, cost-effective, and fairly thin. The best above-ground pool liners use vinyl that ranges from 20-30 gauge, such as seen with the Smartline Boulder Liner. What this means is that the higher the number goes, the thicker the vinyl is. This is important because when you install it, the vinyl is already quite heavy, and anything heavier would require more people to install. Despite its common usage, vinyl can have its downsides. You shouldn’t leave it exposed to direct sunlight for days, or too much chlorine in your pool can severely weaken the material over time. Still, there are some durable models that are UV and cold-resistant.
Whether it feels like you’re swimming at the bottom of the ocean with marine wildlife all around you or simply enjoying a more conforming pattern like rocks, the design of your liner can add a lot of personality and character to your pool. Most of the above-ground pool liners have some sort of a pattern or image on them to give them more life. Some tend to have brighter colors, such as the Harris Caribbean Above-Ground Pool Liner, whereas others can be more monotonous, like the Swimline Blue Overlap Liner. Whatever you prefer, just know that your liner can come in a bland color, or it can also be full of different colors, patterns, and graphics. You can also combine that with the best pool lights to make it look even brighter!
The warranty of a pool liner is generally excellent in length, and with the products we’ve reviewed, the warranties last anywhere above 15 years. However, these warranty policies are a bit tricky because they usually don’t cover any accidents on the liner. For instance, if you were to puncture a hole in a vinyl liner, which is quite easy to do, the warranty may not cover this. Still, it will cover any seam separations or any sort of natural wear and tear to the fabric.
It’s a good idea to check the warranty of your above-ground liner to see exactly what it covers and what it does not.
Just like we can see with different products, the prices of the above-ground pool liners can vary by quite a bit. For instance, take our Best Value pick, the Swimline Blue Overlap Liner, and it runs at just $105. When you compare that with the most expensive pool liner from our list, the In The Swim Boulder Swirl Above-Ground Pool Liner, which costs about $300, it’s not hard to see how big of a discrepancy there is in the pricing of pool liners. Thus, it really boils down to your priorities when you’re trying to pick your next pool liner. If price plays the biggest role, you really can’t go wrong with cheaper models.
However, if you’re someone who enjoys the design or the quality of the vinyl material with price playing less of a factor, then you might want to check our Editor’s Choice, the Smartline Boulder Liner. It costs somewhere around $265 and allows you to pick your favorite model among various sizes.
Installing a pool liner is not very difficult at all. However, it can be a very time-consuming task. That’s because there are many steps involved in installing a pool liner, and you have to ensure that you do each step properly or risk damaging your pool liner. Some of the steps for installing the pool liner include smoothing the sand layer once you’ve taken off the old liner, installing the liner pad, carefully placing the coving, unrolling the liner, removing the top rail but ensuring the pool wall doesn’t collapse, centering and hanging the liner, replacing the coping if you’re using an overlap liner, removing the wrinkles by vacuuming out the excess air, and then finally, filling your pool with water.
There are a few hazards that can possibly damage your above-ground pool liner. One of them is the potential impact on the liner by humans and pets. The vinyl is not the thickest material, and your dog’s paws can easily scratch and even rip it. Also, having too much chlorine in your pool is another way to damage your pool liner. Too much chlorine can leave your pool liner more vulnerable to impacts. Lastly, the sun can damage your pool liner. Direct exposure to constant sunlight can easily dry out the vinyl, and this can lead to the cracks. This usually happens to spots that aren’t covered by water.
To ensure your pool liner lasts longer, you’ll want to make sure that your pool water is chemically balanced. Too much chlorine can permanently damage your pool liner and leave it susceptible to cracks and tears. Another way is to make sure that you maintain the right level of water. Water can evaporate and can be removed from the pool by splashes, so it’s important to keep your water levels maintained to prevent your liner from warping. Lastly, you’ll want to also maintain a regular cleaning schedule of your pool, especially if you use it frequently. Washing your pool with the correct chemicals will help your liner stay fresh and last longer.
You might be surprised to find out that the weather is an important factor when it comes to installing your pool liner. That’s because the heat and humidity allow the liner to stretch properly. The ideal temperature to install your pool liner is between 60 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and anything above 90 degrees might be trouble because you don’t want the liner to over-expand. You’ll also want to make sure that if the temperature is within the desired range that it’s also sunny outside. You don’t want to install the liner when it’s raining because it can disrupt the whole installation process.
In our final verdict, we select three of the best pool liners.
Let’s start off with our Editor’s Choice, the Smartline Boulder Liner. This one offers fantastic value and great overall quality. It comes in many different sizes and can accommodate different pool sidewall heights.
Next up, the Swimline Blue Overlap Liner is the most affordable one on our list and comes with many great features. If you’re one who doesn’t like any graphics or patterns on your liner, this is the one for you.
Lastly, if you want to enjoy some graphics, you’ll probably love the Smartline Antilles Dolphin Overlap Liner. This one makes it feel as if you’re swimming with dolphins, and you’re super close to the ocean floor. It makes for an excellent swimming experience all from the comfort of your own backyard!
We hope that this article helped you to find the best above-ground pool liner, and now, you can enjoy taking dips with your family and friends!