The Difference between Steel & Aluminum in Swimming Pools

The Difference between Steel & Aluminum in Swimming Pools

Above ground pools come in a variety of shapes, sizes and price ranges, making them a comparable alternative to in ground pools. Above ground pools are constructed of many different types of materials, most people end up choosing between aluminum and steel because of their price points.


The pool wall and supports have the task of containing an average of 15,000 gallons of water, as well as providing a frame for the pool liner to hang on. Steel is a heavy material and manufactured to form one continuous roll, while aluminum is a much lighter material and in most cases is also a continuous roll. Aluminum pools also have the slat wall pool which is interlocking 5” slats that makes it the strongest pool on the market.

Weather ResistanceWeather Resistance

An above ground swimming pool is in constant contact with the elements. Aluminum pools were designed as a rust-free alternative to steel pools; however, aluminum does oxidize and weaken over time. Aluminum pools will generally last 2 to 3 times as long as a steel pool depending on the models. Pool professional’s from Teddy Bear Pools & Spas admit all steel will eventually rust, and suggest that modern manufacturing methods include dipping and coating the steel in various layers to give them lifespans up to 15 years depending on the model. But not all pools are the same quality; you get what you pay for.


Price ranks high on the list of reasons homeowners may choose to purchase an above ground pool over an in ground pool. The price difference between selecting the former can mean a savings of $30,000 and up, and monetary benefits do not stop there. Deciding on a steel-walled above ground pool instead of an aluminum pool may save you about $1,000 but will not last as long.

Aluminum Pool Benefits

Aluminum pools have become popular over the last 10 to 15 years because of their ability to handle inclement weather. When aluminum is exposed to air, it becomes covered with a tough, transparent layer of aluminum oxide that helps resists corrosion. Aluminum does not tarnish or rust and has an extremely high strength-to-weight ratio. It also becomes stronger and retains its toughness as it gets colder. Aluminum pools will generally last 2 to 3 times as long as a steel pool depending on the models. You also get a ridged 8″ top seat that will support weight so you do not need to worry as much about the random child jumping off the wall (Disclaimer-not standing, sitting or jumping off the pools walls), even though it is strong enough to support it unlike a steel pool.

Steel Pool BenefitsQuabbin Pool large image

Steel pools are cheaper than aluminum pools. Steel is naturally rigid and tough, providing the structural integrity needed to hold the thousands of gallons of water within a swimming pool. The steel for pools is made of a copper-steel alloy, which my last longer but still not as long as aluminum pools.

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