Resin vs. Steel Above Ground Pools: Which Is Better?

Written by Michael Dean
December 19, 2023

steel above ground pool with question mark

Above ground pools are an increasingly popular choice for pool owners. And if you’re a recent convert, one question may plague your mind: What kind of above ground pool should you get? Two options you have are resin and steel.

If you are debating between the two materials, this article is for you. Here, I will go over everything you need to know to compare resin and steel above ground pools, including pros and cons.

Main Takeaways

  • The differences between resin and steel above ground pools boil down to durability, maintenance, cost, installation, environmental impact, and aesthetics.
  • Resin above ground pools are corrosion-resistant, low maintenance, aesthetically pleasing, and easy to install. However, they are costly, not easy to recycle, may fade, flake, or crack, and have limited structural strength.
  • Steel is affordable, sturdy, and recyclable, but it is susceptible to corrosion, is heavy, and is more difficult to maintain.
  • Both offer their own advantages and disadvantages, but the choice boils down to two main factors: your budget and maintenance priorities.

Resin vs. Steel Above Ground Pools 

When drawing comparisons between resin and steel above ground pools, there are several factors to consider. Let’s explore the most important ones.


Resin Pools: Resin is a type of plastic resistant to corrosion. Resin swimming pools, therefore, are a lot more durable when resisting rust and wear and tear caused by exposure to chemicals, water, and passing seasons. 

Steel Pools: As you might be able to guess, steel pools are more vulnerable to corrosion, the weather, water, and chemicals, especially if not adequately treated or coated. That said, modern steel swimming pools have protective coatings such as galvanization or resin coating to enhance their durability.


Resin Pools: As resin pools are more durable, they require less maintenance than steel pools. Being more resistant to corrosion reduces the need for frequent maintenance tasks, such as rust removal and repainting as well.

Steel Pools: Steel pools, though sturdy, have slightly higher maintenance needs to prevent corrosion, such as dealing with rust and applying protective epoxy or resin coatings to prevent oxidization.


Resin Pools: One of the major differences between the two types of pools is that resin above ground pools are much more expensive than steel pools. Generally, a resin pool will cost $900 to $5,000.

Steel Pools: Steel above ground pools are less expensive. In fact, steel pools are the cheapest option for above ground pools. Steel pools will generally set you back around $400 to $3,000.


Resin Pools: Resin pools are lighter than steel pools, making them easier to handle during the installation process.

Steel Pools: On the other hand, steel is a heavy material. For this reason, the installation process, while not too laborious, is a bit more effort- and time-intensive.

Environmental Impact

Resin Pools: Unfortunately, resin is not as environmentally friendly as steel. If abandoned, environmental impact can be hazardous. There are eco-friendly and recyclable resins, but you’d have to search specifically for this.

Steel Pools: Steel is recyclable. This is arguably an environmental advantage. That said, steel production is quite energy-intensive, so where you source the steel is something you should consider if you want to lessen your environmental impact as much as possible!


Resin Pools: Recently, resin pools have become popular due to their sleek and modern appearance. Plus, you can customize them according to color and texture preference, making them a more aesthetic option. The one issue regarding resin pool aesthetics is that, over time, these types of pools tend to crack or flake, which won’t look great.

Steel Pools: Steel pools also offer a lot in terms of flexibility in design and aesthetics. Steel pools have a classic, elegant style and a smooth, even surface that you can customize. You won’t be able to get the rounded edges you can with resin, but this material is pretty hardy and won’t crack or flake.

Pros and Cons: Resin Above Ground Pools

So, are you thinking about getting a resin above ground pool? Here are the main pros and cons to consider.



As it is resistant to corrosion, resin is an ideal choice for pool owners who want to invest in a material that doesn’t rust or deteriorate easily due to chemicals or the weather. This is also what contributes to their lifespan and durable nature. Their ability to withstand exposure makes them less likely to degrade long-term.

Low Maintenance

Resin pools don’t require as much maintenance. There is no need for epoxy treatments or regular repair work.


Resin pools are available in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes, allowing for broader aesthetic customization that complements your yard and surrounding area.

Ease of Installation

Resin is lightweight, making it easy to transport and easy to install.


Higher Initial Cost

Resin pools have a higher upfront cost compared to other above ground pool options. This can be a downside for those with budget constraints, although arguably, the investment pays off due to its durability.

Limited Structural Strength

While durable, resin might not be as structurally strong as steel. This means it won’t be able to withstand the same level of impact, so if your area is prone to severe storms or earthquakes, you might be better off looking at other options.

Possible Fading, Flaking, or Cracking

Over time, like any other material, exposure to sunlight may bleach the resin, causing it to fade, flake, or crack. This can affect the pool’s appearance. One way to avoid this as much as possible is to paint the resin with a UV-resistant coating.

Environmental Impact

Resin production involves using plastic and petroleum, which has environmental implications. It’s also not very easy to recycle, if at all!

Pros and Cons of Steel Above Ground Pools

And here are all the pros and cons of steel above ground pools.



Steel above ground pools are much more budget-friendly than other above ground pool materials since steel is more widely available and easier to produce. This makes them an attractive option for budget-conscious homeowners.

Structural Strength

Steel offers strong structural support and is the least likely to warp or change shape over the years. In fact, with proper maintenance, a steel pool can last for decades!


If being eco-friendly is important to you, steel is a great choice for an above ground pool, as it is pretty easy to recycle when the pool reaches the end of its lifespan, reducing your environmental impact.


Susceptibility to Corrosion

Steel is prone to rusting, corrosion, and damage if not properly treated with a protective coating. While modern steel is sturdier than before, extended exposure to water and chemicals can harm the pool. This also means that steel pools are not saltwater compatible if that’s a dealbreaker for you.

Heavy Weight

Steel pools are heavier in weight than other materials. This makes it more challenging to transport and install, which might mean higher labor and delivery costs.

Maintenance Requirements

Regular maintenance is absolutely crucial to prevent corrosion and maintain the pool’s appearance. This can include repainting when needed, promptly dealing with rusting, and applying a protective coating.

What Is Better? Resin vs. Steel Above Ground Pool

By now, it should be clear that both types of pools come with their own strengths and weaknesses. All in all, the difficult choice between a resin and a steel above ground pool boils down to your specific priorities and circumstances. So, which one should you get, and which is better for you?

I’d opt for a resin pool if you have the budget and are interested in investing in a material requiring less maintenance. Resin above ground pools are durable, rust-resistant, and easy to transport and install. In the long term, the initial investment pays itself off. The extra customization you get with resin pools makes it ideal for pool owners who also have a specific look in mind.

On the other hand, steel pools are the way to go if you have a stricter budget and want a sturdier material that will last no matter what. Keep in mind, however, maintenance and upkeep will be necessary to combat rust and corrosion. So, make sure you are willing to sacrifice the extra time spent on maintaining a steel above ground pool.

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Resin or Steel: The Best Choice For You

If you are still wondering what type of pool to get, I have another option: resin-steel hybrid pools! This choice combines the best of both worlds, blending the advantages of both options and making it simple to acquire an option that is robust, durable, and low maintenance – all while looking sleek!

Overall, whether you go for a classic steel pool, a modern resin pool, or even a resin-steel hybrid, one thing’s for sure: you’re investing in hours of wholesome family fun!

Do you have any more questions about above ground swimming pools? Get in touch!

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