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6 Key Differences: Inflatable & Metal Frame Portable Pools

Inflatable Pools vs. Metal Frame Portable Pools

Are you looking to beat the heat this summer? Having a swimming pool is a great way to enjoy yourself, stay cool, and unwind as the temperatures rise. But, for some, the space, cost, or commitment of a permanent above ground pool just isn't possible. Portable Pools are the perfect solution to this.

Both Inflatable Pools and Metal Frame/Ultra Frame Pools are two popular portable pool choices. Each pool has its advantages and drawbacks, and the choice between them depends on factors such as intended use, available space, budget, and personal preferences for durability, ease of setup, and portability. Here we will simply explain 6 differences between these two types of portable above-ground pools.


 structure iconStructure

As the name suggests, inflatable pools are made of durable, air-inflated vinyl or PVC material. They rely on air pressure to maintain their shape and structure.

Frame Pools have a sturdy frame, typically made of steel or resin, which provides structural support for the pool walls and liner. Both inflatable and metal frame pools are available in round and rectangular sizes.

 setup and installation iconSetup & Installation

Inflatable Pools are generally easier and faster to set up. They can be inflated using an air pump and don't require any tools or complex assembly.

Metal frame pools require more effort to assemble. The metal frame needs to be constructed, and the pool liner needs to be carefully installed and secured to the frame.

size and depth iconSize & Depth

Inflatable pools are typically smaller in size and have shallower depths, ranging from a few inches to a few feet. They are best suited for children's play or lounging rather than swimming.

Metal frame pools can range in size from small to large and can have depths of up to several feet, making them suitable for swimming and other water activities.

durability and longevityDurability & Longevity

Inflatable pools are generally considered less durable in comparison to frame pools and have a shorter lifespan, typically lasting 2-5 years with proper maintenance. They are more susceptible to punctures, leaks, and damage from exposure to sunlight and harsh weather conditions.

Metal frame pools are designed to be more robust and long-lasting, with a lifespan of 5-10 years or more, depending on the quality of materials and maintenance. The metal frame provides stability and resistance to environmental factors, and the pool liner can be replaced if needed, extending the pool's lifespan.

 portability iconPortability

Inflatable pools are highly portable and can be easily deflated, moved, and stored when not in use, making them a convenient choice for those with limited space or who need to move a pool frequently.

Metal Frame Pools are less portable due to their rigid structure and heavier components. While they can be disassembled and relocated, the process is more involved and requires more effort.

cost iconCost

While inflatable pools offer a more affordable and temporary solution, metal frame pools provide a more permanent and durable option, albeit at a higher initial cost.

Inflatable pools typically come with basic accessories like a filter pump, ladder, and cover. Metal frame pools come with similar accessories but can accommodate more advanced features like saltwater systems, decking, and additional filtration systems, which can significantly increase the overall cost.


Want to learn more about portable pools? Check out our list of frequently asked questions for simple explanations and a buyer’s guide for all of your pop up, inflatable, or metal frame pool needs.

Greg the Pool Guy Equipment