7 Best Above Ground Pool Liners: In-Depth Review

If you want a pool in your backyard without having to spend tens of thousands of dollars, you may be considering purchasing the best cheap above ground pool.

Above ground pools give people the benefit of a full-sized pool, without the costs of a significant construction project. Depending on the type of pool that you purchase, you may also need to buy a lining for your pool.

If you purchase a soft-side above ground pool, you won't need a liner. These types of pools act as both a shell and a liner. On the other hand, if you purchase a hard-side above ground pool, you'll need a pool liner.

Pool liners provide hard-side pools with shape, appearance, and the ability to effectively retain water. Without them, water would leak from the structure, and the pool would have a very rigid appearance. Pool liners also provide a range of customizations that allow you to improve the appearance of your pool.

In many cases, pool liners provide you with similar aesthetics to a traditional pool — it's the perfect way to add a bit of class to the above ground pool in your backyard!

Like any other pool products, liners have a lifespan. If you've already had your current liner for a while, it might be time for a bit of an upgrade. If you've never had one before, it's essential to learn a bit more about it before you make any purchasing decisions.

Let's take a more in-depth look at pool liners, what they offer, and which options are currently the best for your pool!

Different Types of Pool Liners for Your Above Ground Pool

Before you purchase an above ground liner, it's critical to understand the different options available on the market. There are various forms of liners. It's essential to choose one that is best for your pool and preferences. Below, we'll go over the most popular types of pool liners on the market.

Beaded Liner

Beaded pool liners is one of the most common forms of above ground pool liners. Beaded pool liners use a “bead” on the edge of that fits into a slot on the above ground pool. For this reason, beaded pool liners are one of the easiest pool liners to set up — you simply slide it into your pool.

J-Hook Liner

Another common form of above ground liner is a J-hook. This sits over the edge of the pool. It uses a dense rubber fold to hang onto the edge of the pool. This is another type that is extremely easy to install.

Once you set it over the edge of the pool, you can set up your pool railing around the edges of the pool.

Overlap Pool Liner

Many of the pool liners you see on new above ground type of pools are overlap pool liners. Overlap types are very affordable pool liners, but they can also be a bit tough to install if you don't have any experience with above ground swimming pools.

In essence, an overlap type is a less expensive alternative to a J-hook. You rest the edges of the vinyl over the pool wall and then use clips to hold it in place. If you're looking for a cheap way to line your above ground swimming pool including the pool wall, this is always a decent option.

UniBead Liners (Universal Bead Liners)

The last of the popular liners that we'll take a look at is UniBead liners. As the name suggests, this type can be used with a variety of different pool setups.

These beaded pool liners are naturally shaped like a J-hook, so you can install it like a J-hook if that suits your pool. On the other hand, if you have a beaded one, you can also use a UniBead.

Manufacturer Specific Liners

In some cases, the manufacturers of above ground type of pools will build their products to only work with their own liners. In effect, this allows them to control the types of liners used with their pools. While this is slightly annoying, most pool manufacturing companies produce durable liners that work perfectly well with their pools.

Make sure to check if your pool requires this type of manufacturer liner!

The Best Liners Available Online

So now that you know about all the different types of pool liners available for you, it's time to see which one is right for you.

If you're already on the market for your above ground pool, it's critical to choose the right lining for your pool. There are tons of excellent pool liners currently available online. However, it is easy to become confused.

To help you decide on which one to buy, we've taken a closer look at some of the most popular pool liners on the market.

Keep reading to explore the top pool liners for your pool.

Smartline Stone Harbor 27-Foot Round Liner

This Stone Harbor is brought to you by one of the most trusted names in pool liners, Smartline.

It offers a variety of benefits that can help you get the most from it.

Let's explore this in more detail.

Smartline Stone Harbor 27-Foot Round Pool Liner | UniBead Style | 52-Inch Wall Height | 25 Gauge...
  • PRETTY PLEASING PATTERN – This tiled bottom in various shades of blue, leads to a marble like tiles. These marble...
  • MEASURE TWICE, BUY ONCE – Whether installing for the first time, or replacing an existing liner, the Stone Harbor...
  • INSTALL IN A SNAP OR A HOOK – This 27' round unibead style liner works with pools with flat-bottoms measuring 52". For...

Quick Summary

  • UniBead style
  • Universal gasket included
  • Extra protection from UV rays
  • 27' round shape, but also comes in other sizes (including oval option)

The Stone Harbor is a UniBead style, which means it works as either a J-hook or a bead. This makes it an excellent option for most above ground pool owners.

In terms of appearance, this model provides a traditional aesthetic that relies on marble-like squares and patterns that give an authentic pool feel. It's an excellent option if you want a conventional pool appearance.

One of the key benefits of this is its added protection from UV rays. UV rays and pool chemicals can often cause unwanted damage to the liners. An acrylic coat used with this product helps prevent corrosion and increase the longevity of it.

Also, this it includes a gasket that helps you set up your pool skimmer much quicker. This is an excellent option for people who were already planning on purchasing an extra gasket.

  • Suitable for two types of above ground swimming pools
  • Comes in a variety of sizes
  • Extra protection from chemicals and sun
  • Attractive outer appearance
  • One of the most expensive options on the market

Smartline 18-Foot Round Waves of Poseidon Liner

If you're looking for something a bit more budget-friendly, the Smartline 18-foot Round Waves of Poseidon Liner might be a bit more suitable for your needs.

Let's explore this less expensive option in more detail below.

Quick Summary

  • An overlap liner
  • Extremely affordable
  • 18-foot
  • Comes in both 20 and 25 gauge

This one is an overlap liner, which means that you won't need an above ground pool with a bead groove. Instead, you can just overlap the edges of it and clip them in around your pool's hard shell.

This is suitable to pool owners who have a 48-inch to 52-inch pool wall. In terms of appearance, this liner benefits from a range of blue square and wave-like patterns that resemble the look of stone. While it's not quite as classy as the more expensive options on this list, it's still an attractive option for your pool.

Best of all, there's no need to wait for it to go on sale — this option is almost a third of the cost of other items on this list.

  • A low-cost option for above ground pool owners
  • Overlap liner for those without beads
  • Attractive pattern
  • Some complaints about its quality and longevity.
  • Warranty is limited

Smartline Mosaic Diamond 24-Foot Round Liner

Now it's time to take a look at one of Smartline's other premium options.

This Mosaic Diamond is famous for its unique appearance.

If you're looking for something classy and different, this might be the one for you. Let's dig a little deeper.

Smartline Mosaic Diamond 24-Foot Round Liner | UniBead Style | 52-Inch Wall Height | 25 Gauge Virgin...
  • PRETTY PLEASING PATTERN - The North American cut material is hand-folded to prevent permanent creasing and excess...
  • MEASURE TWICE, BUY ONCE – Whether installing for the first time, or replacing an existing liner, the River Slate...
  • INSTALL IN A SNAP OR A HOOK - This 24’ unibead style liner works with pools with flat-bottoms measuring 52". For an...

Quick Summary

  • Unique mosaic design and shape
  • 24-foot
  • UniBead style

This is another Smartline liner that works with both J-hook and bead liner pools. It's easy to install and provides you with the longevity benefits of a premium pool lining solution.

As mentioned previously, the top feature that sets this apart is its mosaic print. The edge of the pool will resemble a diamond-like mosaic that incorporates a range of different colors. Underneath is a classic blue pebble print that provides your pool with the summertime look it deserves.

As with most premium Smartline products, this one uses an acrylic liner to prevent damage from the sun and pool chemicals. Just remember — this is one of the pricier options on our list!

  • Excellent aesthetic design
  • Durable and high quality
  • Popular with customers
  • UniBead provides usage for various types of pools
  • Extra protection from the sun and pool chemicals
  • Slightly pricey
  • Has a unique design and shape that may not be suitable for all tastes

Smartline Boulder Swirl 24-Foot Round Liner

This is another version of the 24-foot Mosaic Diamond listed above.

The Boulder Swirl version incorporates its own unique design features.

Let's take a look at how this product might be suitable for your pool.

Smartline Boulder Swirl 24-Foot Round Pool Liner | UniBead Style | 52-Inch Wall Height | 25 Gauge...
  • PRETTY PLEASING PATTERN - Blue rocks top the swirling water backdrop with the Boulder Swirl pattern. The North American...
  • MEASURE TWICE, BUY ONCE – Whether installing for the first time, or replacing an existing liner, the Boulder Swirl...
  • INSTALL IN A SNAP OR A HOOK - This 24' round unibead style liner works with pools with flat-bottoms measuring 52". For...

Quick Summary

  • Boulder swirl design
  • 24-foot round
  • 52" pool wall height
  • UniBead style provides flexibility

This Boulder Swirl uses a unique design of incongruent rocks and a swirling blue background. It's an excellent choice if you want to improve the look of the water in your pool.

Like the other premium Smartline products on this list, you'll see this high quality liner includes a UniBead style that is suitable for multiple pool types. You'll also benefit from the same acrylic sun and chemical protection that helps it last long into the future.

  • A top product that uses durable material
  • Aesthetically pleasing design
  • UniBead provides easy use for various above ground type pools
  • Adds a layer of protection against sun and chemicals
  • Another expensive option but quality comes at a price

Smartline Tuscan 27-Foot Round Liner

The last of the Smartline round liners that we'll take a look at is the 27-foot round one.

Is this the right option for you? Let's find out!

Smartline Tuscan 27-Foot Round Pool Liner | UniBead Style | 52-Inch Wall Height | 20 Gauge Virgin...
  • PRETTY PLEASING PATTERN - The combination of triangle and rhombus shaped stones come together to form a chevron wave...
  • MEASURE TWICE, BUY ONCE – Whether installing for the first time, or replacing an existing liner, the Tuscan pattern...
  • INSTALL IN A SNAP OR A HOOK - This 27' round unibead style liner works with pools with flat-bottoms measuring 52". For...

Quick Summary

  • UniBead
  • 27-foot round liner
  • 52-inch wall height
  • Tuscan design

Like the mosaic type, this Smartline Tuscan design is one of the most attractive pool liners you'll discover. The edges of your pool will exhibit a classic Tuscan design, while the primary body of the liner utilizes a wave pattern to add extra appeal to the appearance.

As with most of the Smartline products, this is a flexible UniBead design that works with a variety of pools. You'll benefit from a reliable brand name and an acrylic casing that protects from unwanted UV rays and pool chemicals.

Just remember that like most Smartline premium liners, this isn't the cheapest option on the market!

  • Unique aesthetic design
  • Easy-to-install
  • UniBead suits multiple different above ground pools
  • Reliable brand
  • Extra protection from sun exposure and pool chemicals
  • More expensive than some options on this list
  • May not fit your pool

15x30 Liner for Above Ground Swimming Pools

If you're looking for alternative liners, you may see this option attractive. It has an extended warranty and an eye-catching design.

Let’s learn more about this line.

15x30 Pool Liner for Above Ground Swimming Pools - HD Blue Mosaic Tile- 15 Foot by 30 Foot Overlap...
  • 15x30 OVERLAP POOL LINER for oval above ground swimming pools
  • PROVIDES PROTECTION from UV rays and pool chemicals

Quick Summary

  • 15x30 size
  • Classic blue mosaic design
  • 25-year warranty
  • Overlap
  • Oval design

This only comes in one measurement, so it may not be the right type for you.

Still, it offers an easy-to-use overlap liner product that is suitable for oval designs. It also has one of the most extended warranties in the industry.

That said, this product isn't as well-known as some of the other pool liners mentioned on this list. Since there are not many customer reviews, you’ll be taking a bit of a gamble.

Its primary benefit is that it's one of the most affordable liners for above ground pool on the market.

  • A very affordable price point
  • Attractive design
  • Long warranty
  • Claims to ensure protection from sun and pool chemicals
  • Not as tried and tested as other brands
  • Only works with oval pools
  • Overlap design may not be suitable for all pools

The Importance of Pool Liner Thickness

One of the most critical components of any pool lining product is the thickness it offers to its owner. While many people focus on the appearance and brand, few stop to consider the importance of the thickness of the liner itself. Without a thick liner, you may need to purchase a new one shortly.

As most liners are made from vinyl, the thickness of it plays a vital role in its durability. While it’s always tempting to purchase a cheap one, it's also critical to make sure that it doesn't sacrifice quality. If you have a thin pool lining material, other forms of erosion can all take their toll.

What Can Damage Your Pool Liner?

If you already have a liner in place, it's critical to take care of it as much as possible. And if you're planning on purchasing a new lining for your pool, you need to know what to look out for if you want to ensure its longevity. If your current one has already suffered because of some of the issues mentioned on this list, it might be time to seek a replacement.

So, what things damage liners? Let's take a closer look.

1. Impact

At the end of the day, one of the biggest threats to your pool liner is interference from a human, pet, or object. If it isn't extremely thick, you can damage it by hitting it too hard or having something rip along the liner surface. For this reason, it's a good idea to keep pets out of your above ground pool. They may scratch the delicate areas with sharp claws and cause damage that may wear it out.

You should also consider other activities that may put your liner at risk. For example, mowing your lawn causes small debris to fly around your backyard. If you mow the grass near your liner, this can easily damage the vinyl.

2. Chlorine

Most pools use chlorine to keep the water clean and safe. But using too much chlorine can actually have a damaging impact on the vinyl in your pool liner. It's also important to remember that excess chlorine may irritate your skin and eyes while you're swimming. Keep it at the right level to ensure your liner stays viable.

3. Sun

The sun is an unlikely enemy for many liners. Over the years, the sun can cause substantial damage to its viability. Light can dry out the vinyl and cause the vinyl to crack. This typically happens to components of the liner that are not covered by water.

If you've had a lining in your pool for a few years, you may start to notice this type of damage. Check the edges of your current liner to see if it seems rough or damaged.

Above Ground Pool Liner Appearances

One component of above ground pool liners that has grown in popularity in recent years is the various aesthetic benefits associated with some of the current options. Gone are the days where liners are made with a simple vinyl that looked quite plain. Now, most products mimic the same features that you find in an in-ground pool.

You can choose between a variety of finishes and textures, and even size to give your above ground swimming pool a unique feel! For those who decide to go the extra distance and build a platform around their above ground pool, the right liner can be the icing on the cake.

How to Replace an Above Ground Pool Liner

If you're wondering how to install an above ground pool liner, it's critical to make sure that you do it the right way. You should always follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer. You can also contact an installation team if you need help and if you're too apprehensive about installing it yourself.

Replacing pool liner

It's also important to remember that some liners may feel too tight when you first install them. However, the nature of expandable pool liners means they often stretch as they heat up or fill up.

Warranty Matters

Another critical component that you need to keep in mind when you're purchasing a liner is the warranty that's included with the product. Repairs should be free for a year or more. As with any investment, it's critical to make sure that you're insured against potential issues with it. Many of the top pool liners will provide you with an extended warranty that covers manufacturing issues.

Still, it's essential to keep in mind that this won't protect you from other issues associated with owning a lining for your pool. If you don't take care of your it, or someone breaks it, a warranty won't cover you for the cost.

Verdict: Invest in Your Pool Liner This Summer

If you're planning on getting the most out of your above ground pool this summer, it's essential to buy the right liner for your pool. Whether you're looking for a replacement liner for your pool, or you're purchasing a new pool altogether, it's time to consider which brands provide the best products.

The pool liners mentioned in this review provides you with a broad range of benefits. If you want to choose the right one for your above ground swimming pool, it's critical to ensure you assess your preferences.

With so many design options available to consumers, there's no need to purchase a liner that doesn’t suit your tastes.

Links, prices, and images fetched from Amazon API. Last updated on 2022-05-02 at 01:16.