All above ground pools ladders are not the same. Although many new pool owners assume the above-ground ladder selection will be an easy process, there are more ladders out there than you realize. Choosing a great above ground pool ladder means more than just entrance to the pool; it is also about safety, durability, and longevity.
These ladders are not always the cheapest addition to your pool, and making sure that you get one that will work for your yard and your family. If you search for a new swimming pool ladder, we have you covered with these eight great choices.
The 8 Best Above Ground Pool Ladders
1. Best Overall Ladder for Above Ground Pools: Vinyl Works SLA A-Frame 48-56 Inch Adjustable Above-Ground Swimming Pool Ladder
- IN-POOL STEP LADDER: Step-in pool ladder with double handrails for easy, safe entry and exit into an above-ground pool. Designed and intended for use with a 48-56 inch above ground pool with up to 4.5-foot...
- - GREAT STABILITY: 4 base treads and top platform tread for easy climbing and greater stability offering a 300-pound load capacity for one user at a time
- - SLIDE-LOCK DESIGN: Slide-Lock design removes access to the ladder when pool isn't in use to prevent unwanted entry & injury. Padlock required for the Slide-Lock ladder design (not included)
- - SAFETY SIGNAGE: Permanent safety signage includes no diving, no jumping, do not swim through or behind ladder, and secure ladder when not in use
The Best Overall above-ground pool ladders are these Vinyl Works SLA A-Frame Ladders. Everything that you would need in an above-ground pool ladder is featured in this product. You will notice that there are handrails for safety, and it is designed to be used with a pool anywhere from 48 to 56 inches tall.
The Vinyl Works comes with quite a bit of stability and offers a 300-pound load capacity. Our favorite feature, however, is the slide lock design. When it comes to above-ground pools, the most important thing to consider with a ladder is safety. You can remove access to the pool when you are not available to supervise, and you can insert a padlock to make sure that nobody gets in the pool. Overall if you want something that looks good, has a higher weight capacity, and can keep children and pets safe, this is a perfect choice.
- Built-in safety features
- Handrails for additional safety
- Priced a little higher than some of the value ladders
2. Best Intex Pool Ladder: Intex Steel Frame Above Ground Swimming Pool 52″ Pool Entry Step Ladder
- Pool ladder for 52" wall height
- Coated steel frame
- Hi-impact composite steps
- Stronger step design
- Improved stability
With the number of pools that Intex has for people to purchase, it is no wonder that they also sell an entry system to these pools. The Intext Steel Frame Above-Ground Swimming Pool Ladders are a great choice for an A-frame cheap but higher quality ladder. This entry system is for those capable of climbing without falling, and the ladder is available in several sizes.
Since one side of this pool ladder will remain in the water a good portion of the time, it makes sense that the Intex is made with a corrosion-resistant frame. The steel is made to last for a long time. Since this is so lightweight, it can easily be considered a safety ladder because you can take it out of the pool to limit access.
- Available in several sizes
- Fair pricing
- Durable and corrosion-resistant
- Weight capacity is lower on a lightweight frame like this
3. Best Above Ground Pool Ladder for Heavy People: Aqua Select Above-Ground Anti-Slip Pool Steps to Deck
- NO WORRIES - Getting in and out of your pool just got a whole lot easier! No longer will you have to worry about your pool ladder tipping over or you slipping and missing a step.
- SAFETY FIRST - Each wide step has a dimension of 10.5 inches x 28 inches so there is no way you can miss a step when entering or leaving the pool.
- INSTALLATION IS A BREEZE - This ladder works for all above ground pools with flat bottoms. Snap together pieces makes for an easy installation.
- PERFECT DESIGN TO KEEP WATER FLOWING - Side openings allow for water circulation behind. Also allows for other pool chemicals to do their job without getting stuck within the ladder.
- ECONOMICAL AND STRONG - White durable frame with large, wide steps for high visibility in water. Able to hold up to 300 pounds. Fits Decks up to 54 inches
In an effort to help people save money on the steps for their pool, many of the above-ground pool steps are made rather cheaply. This means that they are not made with higher quality products, and essentially, the weight capacity is quite a bit lower. If your pool gets quite a bit of use and there are larger adults or several teenagers on the ladder at any given time, there can be significant issues. It is essential to look for a ladder with a higher weight capacity.
The Aqua Select Above-Ground Anti Slip Pool Steps is a perfect choice. This is perfect for above-ground pools with flat bottoms with a weight capacity of up to 400 pounds. This method works with decks up to 60 inches, and the wide steps and handles make it easy to get in and out of the pool. Overall it’s hard to complain about the easy and safe access the Aqua Select gives you.
- Safe and easy to climb up and down
- Easy to install
- Higher weight capacity than other options on the market
- Will need to have a deck for it to work
4. Best Above Ground Pool Ladders For Decks: Blue Wave Premium Stainless Steel In-Pool Ladder for Above-Ground Pools
- Reinforced stainless steel rails
- Fits above ground pools up to 54 in. deep. 300-lb capacity
- Deep, non-skid stainless steel treads
- Pivot bottom to accommodate sloped pool bottoms
- Extra wide 24 in. width for easy entry and exit
For those with a pool deck surrounding your above-ground pool, you will be able to get a simple one-sided pool ladder. This ladder remains submerged in the water at all times, and it fastens into your pool deck using brackets. The Blue Wave Stainless Steel ladder is made with higher quality materials that will last for a very long time.
The Blue Wave is going to work on above-ground pools up to 54 inches in depth. The weight capacity is up to 300 pounds, and it will even work on pools that have sloped bottoms. As you may have noticed, it can be hard to find pool ladders that accommodate pools with non-flat bottoms.
- Easy to use
- One-way access to the pool
- Made with high-quality materials
- Steps are a bit thin for some people
5. Best Small Pool Ladder: Pool Ladder, Above-Ground Steel Frame Swimming Pool Ladder Non-Slip Steps for 36in Wall Height Pools
- FIT: Pool ladder works best on pools with a 36-inch wall height
- RECOMMENDED USE: It is recommended that this ladder be used with Quick Set or Frame pools
- HEAVY-DUTY: Features durable corrosion-resistant metal frame with heavy duty slip-resistant plastic steps
- QUICK SET-UP: Quick and easy assembly as the pieces quickly connect
- SPECIFICATIONS: Height: 36 inches (3 steps); Contents: 1 pool ladder; Color: Grey; Manufacturer warranty: 90-day warranty
If you are looking at these pool ladders and trying to figure out how they will work with your pool, you can rest assured there are plenty of smaller-height pool ladders on the market. This particular option is built for pools with a 36-inch wall height.
The first thing you will notice about this ladder is the anti-skid feet on either side. These feet will help make sure that the stairs don’t slide as you are getting in or out of the pool. This is something that will work on flat bottom pools. Pool owners should be aware that the weight capacity of a smaller pool ladder like this will be considerably lower.
- Handrails to hold on to
- Great for smaller wall height pools
- Very fair pricing
- Won’t work with a deck
- Lightweight capacity only
6. Best Above Ground Pool Ladder For Safety: 32 Inch Safety Step Above-Ground Swimming Pool Ladder
As long as the bottom of your pool has a flat and stable base, this swimming pool ladder will work for you. We love how safe this ladder is and the fact that it has a weight capacity of 400 pounds. The only downside to a larger and safer ladder like this is that it will take up some extra room in the pool. If you have a very small above-ground pool, you may want to choose a different option.
The 32 Inch Safety Step is a white and durable frame, and each step is wide and easy to see. If people going in and out of your pool are nervous about climbing a true pool ladder, this will be a much smarter and safer choice.
- Side openings to prevent algae growth
- Easy to climb
- Wide steps
- Handles to keep you stable
- Takes up quite a bit of room in the pool
7. Confer Sturdy 46 to 56 Inch Adjustable Above Ground Swimming Pool Ladder
- Straight up and down in-pool ladder makes it easier to enter and exit your pool
- 22-inch handrails provide additional stability when entering or exiting the pool
- Adjusts to fit deck heights from 46 to 56-inches
- No barrier is required to use this ladder
- Available in warm gray, complementing today's brown or gray pools
The Confer Adjustable Above-Ground Swimming Pool Ladder is a straight up and down very straightforward ladder. Although you will notice that this particular option is not packed with features and accessories, it has everything a pool owner wants. The ladder will adjust to deck heights from 46 to 56 inches tall.
There are 22-inch handrails on the ladder that make it a breeze to get in and out of the pool. You will not need a roll guard barrier to use this ladder, and its coloring works well with both blue or even brown or gray swimming pools. For the price offered and the long-term durability, the Confer is an excellent choice.
- Nice coloring to blend in
- Sturdy steps
- Holds up well in the sun
- Will need to have a deck in place for it to work
8. Best Premium Above Ground Pool Ladder: Vinyl Works AF Adjustable 24 Inch Gated Entry Above-Ground Pool Ladder, Taupe
- Step-in pool ladder with double handrails for easy, safe entry and exit into an above-ground pool
- Designed and intended for use with an above ground pool with up to 4.5-foot side walls and a flat bottom
- 2 deck mount flanges for greater stability offering a 300-pound load capacity for one user at a time
- Top-step platform adjusts from 48 to 56 inches tall to pass over pool walls
- Latching gate securely closes and locks when pool isn't in use to prevent unwanted entry & injury
Vinyl Works has come upon our list a few times as they are some of the highest-rated ladders on the market. This Vinyl Works AF is an adjustable step-in pool ladder that comes with double handrails. You can get in and out of the pool with ease; however, the safety features are what sets this ladder apart.
At the top of the ladder, there is a latching gate that securely closes to ensure that nobody is injured while the pool is unattended. Even young children can learn to climb ladders or steps and get into the pool. The Vinyl Works AF helps to prevent serious injury. With a weight capacity of 300 pounds and wide steps, this is one of the best options on the market.
- Very safe and stable
- Stairs are wide and easy to use
- Works up to 4.5 foot sidewalls
- Premium pricing
- Larger model takes up a bit of room in the pool
Want to protect your surfaces? Read our article on the best pool ladder mats!
What Are Above Ground Pool Ladders?
An above-ground pool ladder is the way that you can gain access and entry to an above-ground pool. With an above-ground pool ladder, you will either have it go completely over the wall of the pool, or attach it to your deck. Above-ground pool ladders come in a variety of different styles and sizes, and it is essential to know exactly what you are looking for before you make your purchase.
How Does an Above Ground Pool Ladder Work?
There are two ways that an above-ground pool ladder can work. The two ways will vary depending on whether you have a deck or a free-standing pool.
For pools with decks, the ladder is attached to the deck and screwed in so people can enter the pool. The ladder can be either a traditional rung ladder or more like steps that give your foot room to land on each area. These pool ladders are typically a bit cheaper, and you won’t have to worry as much about safety, as the deck will need to be secured more than the ladder.
For swimming pools that do not have decks, the ladder you will need will be more of a frame ladder. This means that there will be a ladder on the outside of the pool and the inside of the pool. People need to climb up the ladder to the top, and then at that point, they can climb down and enter the pool.
Why You Need an Above Ground Pool Ladder
The above-ground pools are built with pool walls that should not be climbed over. Sometimes, when a pool’s walls are a little shorter, people will try and hop or climb over. This is a very bad idea and can cause the wall of the pool to collapse. The only safe way to enter and exit a pool is to use a ladder.
A pool ladder is going to help you climb up into the pool safely and then get out of the pool safely. Pool ladders give people a place to grip and hold the sides so that they are not going to fall or get hurt in the process of getting into and out of the pool.
Considerations When Buying Above Ground Pool Ladders
When you start searching for a pool ladder, you will notice that there are many choices on the market. Having a general idea of which of these will be the best for your pool is important. Here are some of the most important things to consider when you are buying an above-ground pool ladder.
Safety is the number one factor of being a great pool owner. It only takes a few seconds for severe injury or death to occur, and safety is of the utmost importance. Many pool ladders have different safety features built in to make them a better choice.
One of the most popular safety features is the pool roll barrier. This is essentially a slide that rolls down over the steps and makes it so that nobody can climb up the stairs. The roll can be locked so that there is no way to access the pool when you are not able to supervise it. Some pool ladders need to be removed from the pool completely when a day of swimming is done; this helps increase safety.
Pools come in a variety of different wall heights. Some ladders are adjustable and will work regardless of the pool height; however, others are not. Deck leaders can be a variety of heights and are generally adjustable. However, it is essential for the A-frame type ladders to have enough height to work for your pool. Pool ladders come for pools with wall heights of 36 inches and above, generally to about 52 inches.
Ease of Use
Some ladders are a bit difficult to get up and down; others are like walking up and down stairs. It takes a bit of physical ability for people to get in and out of a pool. If you have elderly family or friends or have some physical limitations choose a ladder that will be easy to use.
The type of ladder you choose will depend on whether or not you have a deck. Deck ladders are just one-sided, and they come with brackets to help you attach the ladder to your decking material. If you don’t have a deck, you need an A-frame ladder to assist people going in and out of the pool. The A-frame ladders are sometimes a bit more expensive than the deck ladders because they are made with more material.
As you likely noticed when reading through our pool ladder reviews, you have to be careful about the type of pool bottom. If you have a sloped pool bottom, there are some ladders that will not work. You will need to have a flat bottom for the pool ladder to sit flush and work when swimmers are climbing on it.
For deck-style pool ladders, the bottom of the pool is not going to be quite as important; however, with the A-Frame, most will not work unless the pool is flat-bottomed.
Not only do you have to consider the height because of the wall height of the pool, but you must also consider the overall size of the ladder. Some of these ladders or steps are quite large and will take up a good portion of your swimming space. If you are working with a much smaller pool, you need to be careful not to remove too much of the swimming space by installing a ladder. Try to balance your need for a safe ladder with the size of the pool.
Ladder vs. Steps
In addition to deciding what type of ladder is best for your pool, you will also need to consider if you want steps. Steps will be a bit different in that they give a person a much larger landing area to place their foot. The only real downside to ladders is that they are a bit heavier, harder to install, and they tend to cost a bit more. When choosing steps over a ladder, you will get quite a bit more weight capacity, and that is something worth considering as well.
Not only will a pool ladder need to stay in the pool and resist corrosion, but it also needs to be resistant to algae. The last thing you need for a ladder is there to be areas where algae are going to accumulate and collect. Algae love flat spaces with no water flow, and the wrong ladder can create a perfect spot for algae to grow. Making sure there is still water flow around your ladder and keeping an eye on algae growth is essential.
IF you are not choosing a safety ladder, you may need to get something that is removable. After a day in the pool, the ladder would come out to make sure that no children could climb into the pool. Even when removing the ladder from the pool you must make sure that you leave the ladder where a child could not set it up again. Pool safety is a tricky thing, and ladders are a major part of it.
Safety Tips for Above Ground Pool Ladders
Making sure that your above-ground ladder is set up and stored properly is essential. The ladder is a very easy way for kids to get in the pool and suffer serious injury. Here are a few tips to follow to make sure that your pool ladder is safe.
- Only one person on the ladder at a time
- No jumping into the pool from the ladder
- Always make sure all manufactures guidelines are followed when installing the ladder
- Place safety signs on the ladder to remind those using it how to stay safe on the ladder
- Install a lock on the top of the ladder
- Remove the ladder from the pool if there are no locks
- For a deck ladder, install a lock on the deck stairs
- Check weight capacity on the ladder to make sure it is acceptable for use by the people planning to use it
Above Ground Pool Ladders FAQ
Now that you have a better idea of the best pool ladders on the market, let’s help clear up any last questions you may have. A pool ladder should last a long time, so finding one that works well for you before purchasing makes sense.
What Is the Best Above Ground Pool Ladder?
The best above-ground pool ladder is the Vinyl Works SLA A-Frame above-ground pool ladder. This model offers the most stability, strength, and durability for the price. We like how easy the Vinyl Works is to clean and that it makes getting in and out of the pool quite easy.
What Should I Put Under My Above Ground Pool to Level?
Prior to installing your pool, you will need to level the area. If the area is not level, you will have water retention issues and with simple things like getting a ladder to rest correctly in the pool. Depending on the size of the pool and the type you are using, the ground covering may be different. Many people use a sand material, but there are also above-ground pool underlaying that you can purchase prior to placing the pool down. Regardless of the material you use, the pool needs to be level.
How Much Weight Can an Above Ground Pool Ladder Hold?
Most above-ground pool ladders can hold between 250 and 400 pounds. They are designed to be used by one person at a time. There are some lighter ladders that could hold less than 200 pounds, and these will likely be priced quite a bit lower as well.
Does Home Depot Sell Pool Ladders?
Home Depot, Amazon, and many other online distributors sell pool ladders. A local pool store will also sell a pool ladder, but you may be responsible for transporting it to your home.
Recap: The Best Ladder for Above Ground Pools
As you can see, the range of pool ladder options is quite wide. To understand which one is the best for your pool, you must first figure out if you need an A-frame ladder or a deck ladder. Always make sure that the features of your ladder include safety protocol. The pool ladder is how you will enter and exit your pool; making sure that safety is a top priority will certainly help make your life as a pool owner that much less stressful. The Vinyl Works SLA A-Frame works as the best overall ladder for an above-ground pool. This is an option that you will likely be happy with for years to come.
All above-ground pools need a pool ladder. Although many new pool owners assume the above-ground ladder selection will be an easy process, there are more ladders out there than you realize. Choosing a great above-ground pool ladder means more than just entrance to the pool; it is also about safety, durability, and longevity. These ladders are not always the cheapest addition to your pool, and making sure that you get one that will work for your yard and your family. If you search for a new swimming pool ladder, we have you covered with these eight great choices.
For over 15 years, Sean Moore has been sharing his love and enthusiasm for swimming pools and hot tubs with everyone he knows. His goal is to help everyday people DIY their maintenance to save money by teaching how to properly take care of your equipment, safely and correctly balance chemicals, and extend the life of your water oasis.
Pricing on this page was last updated on 2022-06-30