Indoor Pools vs. Outdoor Pools: What Are The Pros and Cons of Each?

Written by Michael Dean
July 6, 2023

indoor vs. outdoor swimming pool

Are you looking at building a pool, but you simply can’t decide if you want it to be indoors or outdoors? Both options are tantalizing in their own ways, but to make the decision easier for you, I’m here to help you explore the benefits and drawbacks of both types of pools.

In this article, I will compare indoor vs. outdoor pools, diving into factors such as cost, convenience, maintenance, aesthetics, and the overall swimming experience. Let’s jump in!

Main Takeaways

  • Indoor pools provide year-round usability, climate control, and privacy but are a bit on the pricier side.
  • Outdoor pools are more affordable, more customizable, and get more natural lighting and fresh air, but they require more maintenance and cleaning.
  • The choice between indoor and outdoor pools essentially boils down to your personal preferences and your budget.

Indoor Pools

Indoor pools provide you with more privacy, and you can typically use them throughout the entire year, even in the winter! Here are the key benefits and drawbacks of installing an indoor pool.

Indoor Pools: Pros

  • Year-round usability: Indoor pools can be used regardless of the weather conditions outside, making them much more accessible and enjoyable than outdoor pools throughout the year.
  • Temperature control: Since they’re enclosed and protected from the worst of the weather, indoor pool rooms can be heated or cooled, which makes for a lovely swimming environment regardless of the season.
  • Privacy: Indoor pools are much more private than outdoor pools since they are less exposed to the public or neighboring properties.
  • Reduced maintenance: Indoor pools are not exposed to the outdoors, so they are less affected by external elements like debris, leaves, and insects—this means your filter and pool cleaners won’t have to work as hard, and your pool will use up less chlorine.

Indoor Pools: Cons

  • Limited natural lighting: If designed poorly, indoor pools may lack natural sunlight, which can be a bummer, as swimming with some natural sunlight is ideal for most people.
  • Ventilation and humidity control: One of the major additional maintenance requirements for indoor pools is ventilation and humidity control. These are essential for indoor pools to prevent moisture buildup, mold, and mildew. And installing these systems can be pricey.
  • Cost: Building an indoor pool is generally more expensive than an outdoor pool.
  • Limited space: Indoor pools are much more limited in size due to the constraints of the available indoor area, which may restrict certain activities like pool games or diving.

Outdoor Pools

Outdoor pools are the most popular choice as they are the easiest to set up, the most affordable, and the most widely available. Here are some of the pros and cons of outdoor pools. 

Outdoor Pools: Pros

  • Natural lighting: Outdoor pools are fully outdoors, so they will have much more natural sunlight. Who doesn’t want to take a swim under the sun?
  • Fewer size restrictions When installing a pool outdoors, you typically have more space available for design and construction. So, you’ll be able to build a bigger pool or install a larger pool deck.
  • No need for ventilation: Outdoor pools are naturally ventilated, so you don’t have to worry about moisture buildup or chemical fumes.
  • Lower construction cost: Building an outdoor pool is almost always a lot less expensive than constructing an indoor pool since you won’t need to factor in the cost of an enclosure.

Outdoor Pools: Cons

  • Seasonal limitations: Outdoor pools can really only be used during good warm weather (unless you use a pool heater), so they are more limited in terms of when they can be used compared to indoor pools.
  • Maintenance requirements: An outdoor pool requires more regular cleaning to remove debris, leaves, and insects, which can accumulate in the water.
  • Privacy: Outdoor pools are more exposed to the public or neighboring properties, compromising privacy. That said, you can always build fencing or screening to counteract this.

Indoor vs. Outdoor Pool: Main Differences

At the most fundamental level, indoor and outdoor pools function very similarly. However, placing a swimming pool indoors creates some differences in maintenance, cost, privacy, usability, and aesthetics.


Building an indoor inground pool is generally much more expensive than an outdoor inground pool because of the additional construction and equipment that is required. 

If you think about it, it should seem obvious that literally building a structure over a pool is going to cost you. You’ll also need to consider the cost of specialized ventilation systems and temperature control mechanisms—and any other bells and whistles you wish to include, such as lighting, heating, diving boards, etc. Outdoor pools are a lot less expensive to construct in comparison. 


Indoor swimming pools are somewhat easier to maintain, seeing as how they’re sheltered from external elements like debris, leaves, and insects. Your pool filter will not have to work as hard and, therefore, will need less maintenance. On the other hand, indoor pools do require proper ventilation and humidity control to stave off the worst of moisture-related issues.

Conversely, you’ll need to thoroughly clean outdoor swimming pools regularly to cut down on the debris, leaves, and insects that can accumulate in the water—the frequency of this might even double during significant weather events, like storms.

Check out my article on pool maintenance for more on this topic.


Indoor pools are more private since the enclosure prevents exposure to the public or neighboring properties. You can also treat the windows of your enclosure to be tinted for further privacy.

Privacy can be a concern with outdoor pools, as they are more exposed to the public. If privacy is important to you, I recommend installing a fence or screening around your pool.


As mentioned, one of the major benefits of indoor pools is that they can be used year-round regardless of the weather conditions outside. This is very attractive because it allows you to use your pool even in the middle of winter!

Outdoor pools are really only usable during warm weather, a pool heater can extend your swimming season, but you likely won’t be able to swim all year unless you live in a particularly warm region.


Indoor pools may lack natural sunlight, but you still have some creative freedom when it comes to the design of the pool. However, you will be limited to the constraints of your pool enclosure.

Outdoor pools benefit from natural lighting and can be integrated into the landscape and outdoor living spaces. Outdoor pools have a lot more customization options.

What’s the Right Choice for You?

Choosing between an indoor pool and an outdoor pool depends on several factors and personal preferences. Let’s have a quick look at some deciding factors.


If you live in a region with cold winters or inclement weather for a significant part of the year, an indoor pool is a good option for you. Indoor pools will give you the opportunity to swim in your pool year-round regardless of the horrible weather conditions. 

An outdoor pool may be more appealing if you reside in a warmer climate with mild winters and enjoy swimming outdoors.

Usage and Convenience

Assess how frequently you plan to use the pool and the convenience it offers. If you anticipate that you will regularly use it and love the convenience of having a pool readily available without worrying about the daily weather forecast (especially if you live in a wet region), an indoor pool might be the better choice.

But if you’re only keen on the seasonal swimming season and can handle the maintenance requirements of an outdoor pool, that might work for you in the long run.

Budget and Construction

Evaluate your budget and the associated costs of constructing and maintaining each type of pool. Indoor pools are more expensive due to the need for enclosing structures, specialized ventilation systems, and temperature control mechanisms.

Outdoor pools are typically less expensive to construct, but ongoing maintenance requirements such as cleaning and landscaping should also be factored in.

Need Help Building Your Pool?

I offer design consulting services to help you build your ideal pool. I'll work with your contractor, create build-ready designs and specs, and much more.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does an indoor pool need ventilation?

Yes, an indoor pool requires proper ventilation to maintain air quality and prevent issues related to high humidity and moisture. Ventilation is crucial for moisture control, air quality health, safety, and protection of the building against moisture damage. Proper ventilation in an indoor pool area involves a combination of exhaust fans, air exchange systems, dehumidifiers, and air circulation methods. All of these systems help remove moist air, control humidity levels, and maintain a comfortable and healthy environment within the indoor pool facility. 

Do indoor pools need stabilized chlorine?

Indoor pools don’t need stabilized chlorine, unlike outdoor ones (which most definitely do), since they’re out of direct sunlight. That said, indoor pools would still benefit from stabilized chlorine to keep your pool properly sanitized for extended periods. This is because stabilized chlorine has a more consistent and controlled release of chlorine, helping to maintain your necessary chlorine levels.

Why are indoor pools more expensive?

Indoor pools are more expensive due to the additional costs associated with construction, climate control systems, ventilation and dehumidification, lighting and electricity, and their year-round usability.

Indoor vs. Outdoor Pools: What’s Better For You?

Ultimately, the choice between indoor and outdoor pools should be based on factors such as your wallet, location, climate, personal preferences, and intended usage. Make sure to read my research on converting outdoor pools to indoor pools as well.

Need more help deciding which type of pool is best for you? Contact me, and I’ll gladly advise you on your pool construction.

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