today I want to give you a VERY PERSONAL 😉 review of one of the best above-ground pools available on the market right now! Remember, summer is fast approaching and if you are looking for a great alternative at a really good price (compare to in-ground pools) this is the perfect buy for you!
Let’s have a look, shall we?
- Product: Intex Ultraframe PoolSet 32 ft x 16 ft x 52 in
- Price: $ 1999 (retail list price)
- Cheapest place to buy: Amazon.com $ 1279,67
- My Rating: 9,8 out of 10
Okay, there are many Intex pools out there and also quite a few Ultra Frames – this is the one we are talking about: Intex 32ft X 16ft X 52in Ultra Frame Pool Set with Sand Filter Pump & Saltwater System, Ladder, Ground Cloth, Pool Cover, Deluxe Maintenance Kit & Volleyball Set.
About exactly one year ago we sat down with our kids and decided in a family vote in favor of buying a pool (with a heat pump, not included in the pool set!) and against a family vacation – both were just too expensive! We all figured that we’d be really enjoying the pool together and certainly for longer than a two week vacation would last!
I will say this: I didn’t have the first clue about above-ground-pools; not the prices or sizes, durability, brands etc. So I browsed the internet for DAYS until I finally settled on the Intex Ultra Frame. I bought in on Amazon and it was special delivered a few days after. My wife and I were really excited and so were the kids!!!
I will be honest with you and tell you that upon clicking that “buy” button, I hadn’t anticipated on a few bumps along the road. Let me let you in on all the things I forgot to think about 🙂 because they eventually turned out to be more expensive than the pool itself!
Things To Consider And Know Before Buying An Above Ground Pool
- Do you have the space in your backyard? We are a family of 4, two kids and two adults. I personally wanted to be able to not just jump in the pool for cooling off, I wanted to be able to SWIM and play games with my kids without bumping into one another constantly. Hence, we decided on the currently largest UltraFrame Pool available and thats certainly a decision that I have NOT regretted for a minute! However – 32ft x 16 ft x 52in is a HUGE MO-FO! You may want to consider the kind of space you actually have and how much of it you want to “waste” on the pool. Like I said before, we live in an old farmhouse with plenty of outside space so for us the decision was relatively simple.
- What are your weather conditions? If you live in a moderate climate keep in mind that the bigger the pool the colder the water and the longer it takes for the sun (or an additional heat pump) to warm it up to a comfortable temperature. I will tell you that even at a consecutive 2 weeks of above 30° Celsius – thats 86° Fahrenheit – outside temps, jumping into that pool will still make your toes (or other more delicate parts of your anatomy) freeze off. The kids don’t mind, but trust me, you will!
- What is the condition of your ground? Remember that in order to place an above ground pool the ground underneath it has to be made level. That is not optional. If its not level then your pool will lean to one side and you will lose stability and water volume. Levelling ground isn’t easy and it needs to be done professionally. If you decide for a smaller pool you may be able to do that yourself. If you decide for the MONSTER POOL 😉 you probably need to have the sand delivered and hire some good people to level it well. I will tell you that I looked around and we had offers ranging from 500 $ to 3000 $ just for the work …. that, my friends, is bullshit. I eventually found a company that charged me 200$ for the sand and the work so …. chill. It can be done. But know that it really needs to be done, and it needs to be done well! And after it is levelled you have to walk across the sand with self-build snow shoes to make it more compact 😉 ….. that can be fun!
- How far away from the house is your pool? Remember you need to be able to fill it with water (hose), but also to empty it once a year to clean it out; hence you don’t want it too close by the house but also not too far away! Do you have the space for that?
- You need extra electricity for your pool pump (and also for the heat pump if you decide on one). That means the flow of high voltage current on its own security fuse. You can’t install that yourself. You need an electrician to do that! The farther away your pool is from the house, the more difficult.
- Do you want to buy a heat pump? If you do it it will double or triple your pool costs – however, I sincerely think it is worth it!
Okay, so I already pointed out that we weren’t really smart in the decision process for our Intex Ultraframe. Let me tell you how we did it. After all that extensive research about the pool (and only about the pool….) we bought it on Amazon.com. YAY! We knew we had to level the ground because we had watched a really great You Tube movie by a user named OhioYeti User Review Movie Intex Ultraframe.
We simply were naive enough to think we could level the ground ourselves. Mistake number one. Some time-consuming and shocking dates with potential companies later our ground was levelled, and at a good price. The packages came. We had the delivery service put them in our barn, about 60 meters from the pool, to keep them safe until we could actually put the pool up. That was mistake number 2.
That pool is freaking HEAVY People! 544 Pounds shipping weight to be exact. So we lugged and sweated and grunted and almost divorced each other (for the first time that day) until we got all the necessary stuff out by the pool construction site. Then we went about putting up the pool and I will say that it really is almost as simple as Intex says.
My wife and I both want to be the Alphas in situations like these so we bit one another’s heads of quite a few times during the process – but that really wasn’t the pool’s fault. Follow the instructions to a tee and you should be fine. It took us about 4 hours instead of the 90 minutes Intex says but hey – for a great pool thats certainly worth it! Once put up (and oh yeah, you will also need rectangular stones to support the frames, see Ohio Yeti Intex Ultraframe Review Video) – we realized mistake number 3: we needed a garden hose roughly 50 meters long (next water supply) and what about the electricity??? Garden hose was simple. Local Lowes/Home Depot, 50$. Electricity however was another matter. I have a buddy who is an electrician. I called him. He came to take a look and when I naively proposed we just roll a regular extension power cord from the house, he had the laugh of his life. No sir. An extra fuse needed to be put in at the house’s fuse box (which in our case is on the first floor). A cord from there to the barn under the ceiling (20 meters), another extra security fuse in the barn and from there the actual strong power cord 30 cm deep under ground, 60 meters to the pool …….OMG. OMG. OMG. I didn’t even have time to digest that shock when he asked me if I had considered a heat pump because where we live, days with temps above 30° are the exception rather than the rule. Okay. No, I hadn’t. Good news was that the electricity he had to do for the pool anyway (with the under ground work around 800 $) would also cover the heat pump. Bad news? A heat pump for a pool our size ran around $ 2000. Jesus H. Christ on a f***ing raft …. really? I closed my eyes and said 10 “Hail Marys” – but hey – why have a pool that you can’t use because its too freaking cold? So, I went online, researched, and bought a heat pump. Ouch.
So, those were our “mistakes” and I strongly suggest considering all these aspects before actually deciding on a pool 🙂
So, lets get back to the actual review. The Pool 😉
- Size: 32 ft x 16 ft x 52 in
- Engineered for strength, supported by strong, durable steel frames which are powder coated for rust resistance and beauty
- Water capacity: (90-percent) 14,364 gallons
- Super-Tough laminated PVC sidewalls
- Convenient drain plug that connects to a garden hose so water can be drained away from pool or house area
- New dual suction outlet fittings improve water circulation resulting in better water hygiene and clarity
- removable ladder
- ground cloth
- deluxe cleaning kit
- debris cover
- instructional DVD
- Volleyball set
- Krystal-Clear Sand Filter Pump and Salt Water System
I will tell you that apart from the instruction DVD everything included in the set will come in pretty handy. The set also comes with an old fashioned paper manual; while you are setting up the pool it is much easier to go through the pages here than try and remember everything the rather promotional DVD instructions tell you 🙂
The ground cloth is absolutely necessary to put in place before you actually roll out the pool; it protects the underside of your pool from the damage of debris and little stones. Make sure it covers your levelled area and take the time to straighten it properly! You don’t want wrinkles in your pool later because you skipped this step here 🙂
The ladder is light, easily put in and taken out of the pool but also a little wobbly. It is sufficient, but in the long run you may want to consider buying something sturdier.
The debris cover? Take the time to actually cover your pool with it every night. It has a few benefits – it will not only protect your pool from debris but also from animals and it will keep the warmth. The cover is heavy and pulling it over the pool every night is a challenge – you really have to do that with two people if you can. Mind you, it CAN be done on your own – but it is a workout! It is fastened onto the frame with strings; those strings will last a season but seriously, after one season your cover is done. With every storm strings will likely pull out of the plastic so be prepared to replace the cover once a year at a cost of approximately $100.
Volleyball Set – great fun. Enjoy!
Deluxe cleaning kit: easy to use and attach and it really does clean well, even leaves and debris from the bottom of the pool.
Finally the pump – what a great system. Krystal Clear is not just an advertising slogan – it is the plain truth. All throughout the season our water stayed chrystal clear so I am a huge fan of this pump. You will taste the salt in the water just a little (by the way, you need to add that additionally!) but it won’t hurt your eyes. It is a great way to have clean water without adding any extra chemicals. Your skin,your eyes and certainly your kids will really appreciate that!
Pool Set-Up / Fittings
As I already pointed out, setup is easy – however, the manufacturer claims that your Ultraframe Pool is ready for water in 90 minutes; in our experience that time should be doubled. And you certainly need to be with at least two people, a couple of extra people to help with the fittings wouldn’t hurt. The frame really is an easy lock system, make sure you have the pieces aligned right in the first place. It can be quite a challenge to push the rods through the pool plastic sleeves; you can help yourselves by putting some oil on the frame; that will make the parts go through much more easily. For detailed explanation of how to set up please refer to the manual. Its NOT rocket science, people. Y’all can do it!
Once set up you can start filling it with water. With a regular garden hose, it will take about 2 to 3 days (and night) to fill it to 90% capacity, which is where you should keep it.
In the beginning the sides of your pool will seem to be falling inside and leaning – don’t panic. Thats normal! As the pool is filling with water, the sides will come up and straighten 😉
Once the pool is filled and ready for use please ALWAYS PUT SAFETY FIRST! Don’t ever leave your kids unattended and don’t let them jump head first into the pool – its just not deep enough. Thanks!
Summary: Buy or No Buy?
I did say in the beginning that we took a family vote last year in favor of the pool and against a vacation – and we haven’t regretted it one single day! The whole family absolutely loves this pool! The kids love to swim, dive and play and they did so pretty much all summer. Its great fun for them and their friends and you will be sure to make your kids very very happy. For my wife and I it is great exercise – you can actually SWIM in the pool because it is so big! We also just like to hang around on an air mattress or play with the kids – we just love it. I have to be honest with you guys, though. MY wife and I wouldn’t be using the pool half as much if we had’t decided on the additional heat pump. It is linked to the pool pump via a bypass and works by temp regulation; we like to keep the water temperature at a comfortable 82° to 90° Fahrenheit and OMG what a pure pleasure that is! I will say though that the pump isn’t cheap (for the size of this pool your pump will need to have a certain power; they range around $2000 – $2500), and it WILL cost you quite some electricity (so don’t faint when the electricity bill comes in). All that said, I still think its worth it – but thats an individual choice. If any of you would like more information about which heat pump to use etc please send me a message or leave a question below! I’d be happy to help you out!
The Intex Ultrafame 32 ft x 16 ft x 52 in is a GREAT ABOVE GROUND POOL. Great quality, perfect size, chrystal clear water all year long without much extra cleaning and no extra chemicals needed. Price wise? Sure its a lot of money. But when you compare it to an in-ground pool?? Its a really great deal. It gets a two thumbs up from us and we would absolutely recommend it!!!!
- salt (approx. 150 to 180 kilograms for this particular sized pool; you can’t just use salt from the supermarket; it needs to be natriumchloridsalt (NaCl) – thats at least 99,8 % clean. No worries. You can easily get that at a Lowes or Home Depot at the cost for around $100)
- rectangular stones (a lot of people want to get rid of those for free via Ebay….)
- level the ground: you can either do this yourself, ask friends, or hire someone. The cost of it is dependant on that. You will however need sand to level; that shouldn’t be more than $50 to $100, depending on your own soil
- heat pump (optional)
- electricity – I recommend talking to some electricians to find out exactly what you need for your house and how it can be done. It may be as simple as just adding a new security fuse for 50 bucks; in our case it was a lot more than that but that will be different per individual house
- electricity bill (pump pool / heat pump). There are electricity bill calculators online where you can just insert the electricity used by a certain appliance per year and they will give you a good idea of which costs to expect
I can promise you you will be very happy with your pool. I know it sounds like a lot of money but the investment is more than worth it!
So guys, happy swimming!
Here are a few of the best links in case you are interested in buying:
Alternatively, you may be interested in the smaller versions:
If you have any questions or comments or your own reviews please feel free to leave them below! I’d be happy to engage!