Above-ground pools are fun and easy to set up. Even though the setup is easy, there are still some precautions we should take to guarantee the best swimming experience. It starts with placing a good pool between the liner and the ground.
Pool pads come in various types and it’s difficult to pick the best one, which is why we’ve studied them and become experts. We’ve analyzed all the top pool pads comparing features including material strength, ease of installation, and comfort.
It’s important to have the best above-ground pool pad because it will be impenetrable and provide a cushion for your feet that makes swimming more fun. The mediocre pool pad will be too thin, get moldy, and allow you to feel the rough ground under your feet. This resource has the information you need to make a conscious decision on the right pool pad.
Above-Ground Pool Pads: My Top Picks
Liner Life LL18R Liner Pad 18′ Round for Above Ground Pools
The swimming pole liner pad is white, has an 18 ft diameter and it is available in 7 other diameter sizes including 12, 15, 21, 24, 27, 28, and 30 ft. This pad is impervious to just about all sharp objects.
Over half of the customers who reviewed this pad are happy with the protection it provides to their pool liner. They appreciate that it’s lightweight and way softer than the ground cover. Some of the lower reviews revealed that the material is extremely thin, and really only protects the bottom.
This product works well to protect pool liners but it can be a little thin. Try to use it and monitor for any issues after your swimming season has ended.
- Fits nicely
- 1/8 inch thick
- Might not last for the long hall
Round Armor Shield Floor Pad for Above Ground Swimming Pool Liner Protection
This 16′ round armor shield swimming pool floor pad will keep your pool protected from punctures and leaks. It comes in various sizes and shapes 10’x 15′ to 33′. The shape of the pad varies from oval to rectangle, to round. The goal of this pad is to place a protective layer between a pool liner and the soil or sand base.
About half of the customers who reviewed this product have said they are really happy with the functionality of this pool pad. They like the look and feel of the pad under the pool floor. It provides an awesome cushion and provides a heavy-duty type of protection.
Quite a few of the unhappy customers mainly complained that the material was too thin and they were experiencing breakthroughs from blades of grass and weeds.
This pool pad seems to be working well for several customers. New customers should consider covering the pool with a tarp when they use the liner.
They should also think about installing this pad in a blank area or an area that already has a bed of sand laid down. The extra flat surface will help to keep grass and weeds from growing through.
- Works great
- Great price
- Looks nice
- Fits well
- Grass and weeds might still grow through
Round Gorilla Pad – 24 ft
This 24 ft round elephant pool liner is sure to protect your pool from punctures that are damaging to liners. It is pre-cut and ready to fit your 24 ft pool. This pad gets installed right under your vinyl liner, but make sure to install the sand base first.
Over half of the customers who are using this pool pad are very pleased. They like the softness of the pad and they appreciate the comfort it provides to their feet. A handful of people received a defective product and had to return it because of poor fitting and leaks.
Even though the majority of customers considered this product the best above-ground pool pad, there were a few concerns even among the people who were happy overall.
If you need a soft pool pad that will fit well under your pool and don’t mind paying a little more, then this is the pool pad for you.
- Easy to install
- Lays flat
- Fits nicely
- Not as strong against a sharp object
- Seams are not perfect and cause raised area beneath the liner
- Super thin
Rhino Guard Above Ground Swimming Pool Liner Shield Protector Pad
This round 21 ft Rhino Guard pool floor liner is ready to defend your pool. It prevents punctures and cuts from the sharpest of objects while cushioning your pool floor. This pad takes little effort to install on top of sand or soil as you use it under a vinyl liner.
More than half of the customers who used this product feel that their pool is safe while using it. They like that it makes the pool feel soft to the bottom of their feet. Some people reported grass was growing through their pad and others mentioned the shape was wrong and had to be cut.
If you’re looking for a dependable Rhino pad for the above-ground pool then this is the right product for you. It might come a little thin and need a little shaping, but overall, this pool pad will get the job done while making your pool experience as comfortable as possible.
- Comfortable on feet
- Easy to install
- Good quality
- Not that thick
- Not a perfect shape
Rhino Pad 28-Foot Round Pool Liner Pad for Above Ground Swimming Pools
This round rhino pad is 18 feet long and is built for above-ground swimming pools. It is resistant to punctures and is made of eco-friendly material. This pad will protect your liner from punctures and cuts that come from glass, debris, rocks, glass, and roots. This pool pad works well on grass or concrete surfaces as well as sand.
The majority of the customers who reviewed this product found it reliable. It is smooth, fits the pool well, and the material it is constructed with is extremely trustworthy in preventing the pool bottom from getting punctured. Customers who were not as happy with this product struggled to get the wrinkles out, had issues with the cut, and wished it was a little thicker.
If you’re focused on trustworthy material, then this rhino pad is the right product for you. It is made from recycled material, it’s breathable, and it’s also strong enough to prevent punctures. The pad is thin, but it will help your pool liner last a lot longer.
- Soft and comfortable for feet
- Thin material
Horizon Pool Liner Pad for Above Ground Round Pools
This 28′ round pool pad is white and made from polyester felt. It doesn’t require any cutting or taping and works as a carpet pad. It is a thick synthetic material that will last just as long as your pool liner.
All customers who purchased this product are very happy with the results. It is strong and it works well on rough surfaces. It creates a more comfortable experience when walking in the pool, and it’s an affordable price. They also appreciate that it is easy to install.
This pool pad appears thin, but it is very strong and will protect your pool from debris and punctures. It is easy to install and is a very dependable product.
Customers who have used this product are quite pleased, but you might have to trim it a little to get a perfect fit. If you want a reliable pool pad for an affordable price.
- Keeps debris out of the pool
- Provides a nice cushion on the pool bottom
- Good price
- Easy to install
- Works well on a rough yard
- Not as heavy as other pool pads
- Might come a little larger than the pool diameter
Tips on Choosing
The majority of pool pads will be about 1/8 inch thick. That’s the common level, but you can find material that is a little thicker if you need to.
Also, keep in mind that thickness doesn’t mean that a pool pad will succeed or fail.
It really depends on the design of the material that the pad is made of which will determine the real strength.
You need something that will let moisture escape and not get trapped under the bottom of the pool causing mold and mildew
You need a strong material to protect your pool liner. Something that is puncture-resistant is the preferred choice.
You don’t want anything that can be ripped by debris and rocks.
You also don’t want pests and insects to be able to cut and bite through the material.
Read the reviews for the product you are considering purchasing. The reviews will let you know if your choice is worth your time and money.
If the majority of the people are happy with the product, then you should glance at the reasons the product isn’t winning everyone’s heart.
A shortlist of bad reviews usually means someone got the wrong or defective product.
Bad reviews to look out for are the ones where everyone is having the same type of problem with the product.
If you’re installing your pool pad alone, you might want the pad with the easiest installation.
Some customers have reported struggling to get wrinkles out or still feeling pebbles underneath their feet.
It’s important to install your pad on a clean surface and smooth out the wrinkles.
Aim for the pad that has the easiest installation so you’re not discouraged from getting yourself a reliable cushiony pool floor.
Factors To Consider
The more convenient the pad is, the more expensive it might be. Also, the stronger the material you try to purchase, the more the pad will cost. Less expensive options might be a temporary fix, so it might be worth it to invest in a comfortable pool bottom for a better swimming experience.
Type of floor surface:
All pool pads are not made equal. Some of them work well on hard surfaces and others recommend that you lay at least a sand base down first.
Consider the type of area where you will be placing the pool. Is it grass? Is it full of rocks, weeds, or insect beds? Level ground, sloped, or a mix of both?
You will need to clear the floor underneath your pool pad for the best results. Tiny pebbles can cause problems to your feet and to the material, hard weeds and roots will try to poke through, and bugs might attack the pad.
If you can’t smooth out the surface, try to find a pad that will work well on a rough patch of yard.
Type of padding you want:
There are several options for getting padding under your pool liner including sand, solid foam, commercial padding, carpet padding, and flooring underlayment.
Consider these padding notes:
Sand is one of the least expensive options.
It is easy to install and is usually mixed with a secondary product such as a sand base with padding on top. Sand works ok initially, but over time users can expect sand to get blown away, washed away, and be used as a home for insects and pests. Sand is also not a great option on top of concrete.
Solid foam is great for concrete surfaces.
Made from polyurethane or polystyrene and that makes it easy to cut and shape. It can also be purchased in various thicknesses.
It won’t slide on the concrete once the filled above-ground pool hits it. The downside of solid foam is that it can be pricy and it can take time and be a little difficult to cut it to an exact fit.
Padding Liner is great for pools that sit on concrete.
A lot of the pool pads available on the market are already precut to fit various standard swimming pool shapes. This padding option can also be cut easily to create an exact fit.
It is breathable and will help keep mold and mildew away from underneath the pool. Padding is usually puncture-proof and tough enough to withstand the attack of insects and pests. The downside of this padding is that it is one of the most expensive options.
Carpet padding has a history of being an unpopular choice when it comes to pool padding.
The truth is the majority of closed-cell foam carpet pads do a really nice job. The memory foam styles work really well for above-ground pools that are sitting on concrete. It comes in a bunch of different thicknesses and can be cut and shaped with little effort.
Just be sure to choose the one that’s rated for lots of traffic. It has an affordable price but it doesn’t offer the same amount of cushion as other pads and foam sheets. You also might need a couple of layers of it to provide a cushion you can really appreciate.
Flooring underlayment is a little like carpet padding, and adding a few small-cell underlayment sheets will get you a nice cushiony pool pad.
This option costs less than standard pool pads and it’s one of the least expensive choices for pools sitting on concrete slabs. The downside of this choice is you’ll have to work harder to create a cushioned bottom.
Size of padding:
Make sure you have an accurate measurement of your pool prior to searching for a pool pad. Most pads come in various standard size options, but if you have to purchase a pad that doesn’t work with irregular shapes or doesn’t have your size, make sure it can be cut to fit.
The durability of padding:
You want padding that will last the life of the pool liner. Some people have purchased padding that worked great for a season, but they were nervous about the next year. You want a product that is built to last and that has a great strength to it.
Making The Decision
Now you’re equipped with all there is to know about the best above-ground pool pads and it’s time to make your purchase. Think about what you need based on the circumstances surrounding the pool location. If you already have a nice spot picked out, then you know what type of ground you’re dealing with, you know how to prepare it for the pool, and you also have an idea of which pool pad will get you the best results.
Remember to check out the reviews once you’ve narrowed your options down. Customers are giving their honest opinions on products so we don’t make the same mistakes, and they’re also advising us on the best choices.
You want a pool pad where lots of people with a similar base as you are having success. A beautiful above-ground pool is nice, but the experience can easily be ruined if you’re still stepping on sharp rocks, or you get a tear, or if the grass is growing through the bottom.
You need something that will be solid, durable, and comfortable to walk on while you’re in the pool. Weigh your options, be flexible with your budget, and buy the right above-ground pool pad today!