Best Above Ground Pool Ladders 2019 – Top Picks & Reviews

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an above-ground pool ladder

The pool ladder may seem like a trivial purchase, but it’s actually a serious decision. A cheap pool ladder isn’t going to last very long. It may rust, come loose, develop sharp spots that can cause injury. Worst case scenario, the wrong pool ladder can be a serious safety concern.

You don’t want that, and we don’t want it for you. That is why we have assembled this handy guide to help you pick the right one. Read on for some above ground pool ladders reviews!


A Quick Glance at the Winners of 2019

ModelPriceWarrantyEditor Rating
Blue Wave NE1145
Blue Wave NE1145 Premium Stainless Steel
(Best Overall)

Check Price
1 Year4.9/5
Confer Staircase Style
Confer Staircase Style Above Ground Pool Steps

Check Price
5 Years4.65/5
Bestway Flowclear 36"
Bestway Flowclear 36" Above Ground Pool Ladder
(Best Value)

Check Price
4.5/5
Confer Economy 635-52X
Confer Economy in-Pool Ladder - 635-52X

Check Price
5 Years4.3/5
Vinyl Works Slide-Lock
Vinyl Works Slide-Lock A-Frame Ladder

Check Price
4.0/5

5 Best Above Ground Pool Ladders

1. Blue Wave Stainless Steel Pool Ladder – Best Overall

Blue Wave NE1145 Premium Stainless Steel

First on our list we have the Blue Wave NE1145 premium stainless-steel ladder. This unit secured its place at the top by being sturdy, eye-catching, and moderately priced.

Essentially, this option is able to check all of the boxes we will for in a pool ladder. The stainless-steel make will ensure that it stands up to the erosive chemicals of the pool.

This is a basic element of pool ladders, very necessary for their long-term performance. It is also a requirement not all units are able to meet.

Each rung of the ladder is also suited with textured treading that will be comfortable on your feet while still providing plenty of grip. This feature is great because it will help eliminate the possibility of slips as people get in and out of the pool.

Finally, this ladder is also equipped to suit a wide range of pools. It can, of course, easily be connected with flat bottomed pools, but it also features a pivot bottom that will make it equally well equipped to deal with slopes.

As far as cons are concerned, we didn’t find much to complain about. The biggest issue we found was that assembly hardware is not included in the packaging. This means that when the package arrives you will need to consult the instructions and go on a scavenger hunt to pick up the missing pieces. Otherwise, it is a good option at a fair price.

Pros
  • Reasonable Price
  • Sturdy Build
  • Textured Rungs
  • Good for Almost Any Type of Pool
Cons
  • Missing some assembly hardware

2. Confer Above Ground Pool Ladder Steps

Confer Staircase Style Above Ground Pool Steps

In the Confer Staircase unit we get an option that represents a stylistic departure from the last we saw. This set does indeed have the appearance of a small staircase. Besides potentially being more cosmetically appealing (depending on your taste) there are advantages to this concept.

The staircase setup may make it easier for people with physical limitations to enter the pool, as they can access the ladder the same way they would any other set of stairs.

We also liked that these steps were made to accommodate almost anyone. They have a maximum weight rating of 400 pounds which means that they will be able to safely support most people.

So, why didn’t it take the top slot? Our biggest problem with this ladder is that it is light. Really light. Because of that, it will bob up and down with the water, and make entering and exiting the pool unstable in some situations.

You can weight the stairs with sand, or other materials as you see fit, but even then they are still lighter than most options.

The unit is also more expensive than the last we saw, meaning you may want to look elsewhere if value is your highest priority.

Pros
  • Provides easy access to pool
  • Very Durable
  • Weight Rating 400 Pounds
Cons
  • Too Light

3. Bestway Flowclear Above Ground Pool Ladder – Best Value

Bestway Flowclear 36" Above Ground Pool Ladder

In our best for the money slot we have the Bestway Flowclear, a sturdy ladder that packs in plenty of value.

Price is certainly this product’s most significant virtue, but it does have more going for it than just that. It also features an easy assembly, and durable plastic steps that offer safe, slip-free access to the pool.

That said, we did have a few qualms. For one thing, this ladder is extremely narrow. If you have a wider frame, you may find it difficult to use this ladder at all.

It’s also really lightweight, which means the side of the ladder in the pool is going to bob and move quite a bit.

These issues may eliminate this unit as an option for some buyers. However, if your main objective is to get a usable product at a wallet friendly price, this option would be hard to beat.

Pros
  • Best for the Money
  • Durable Steps
  • Easy to Assemble
Cons
  • Light Weight Means Steps Will Bob in the Water
  • Very Narrow

4. Confer Economy Pool Ladder (635-52X)

Confer Economy in-Pool Ladder - 635-52X

Penultimately, we have another unit from Confer. The Economy in-Pool Ladder is, as the name suggests, an affordable option for buyers on a budget. We also found that it is easy to assemble and (by virtue of its plastic design) completely resistant to erosion.

Unfortunately, there were some compromises to quality that seem to come with the savings.

One thing we noticed was that the rungs were made very thin. As a result, they put a good deal of uncomfortable pressure on the soles of your feet.

We also found that, despite the fact that it doesn’t feature metal, it can be very sharp around the edges.

These things aside, it is a good, sturdy, budget friendly option.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Durable
Cons
  • Thin Rungs
  • Sharp Spots

5. Vinyl Works Slide-Lock Pool Ladder

Vinyl Works Slide-Lock A-Frame Ladder

Finally, let’s look at the Vinyl Works Slide-Lock ladder. As the name suggests, this unit features an all plastic build, which means it is ostensibly immune to erosion.

It also includes a unique safety feature on the exterior side of the steps. The exterior steps can slide and lock upwards to prevent your children from gaining unsupervised access to the pool.

Unfortunately, however, we did find some cons that might make buyers think twice before buying this unique ladder.

We found the unit to be very wobbly, which can be a safety concern when getting in or out of the pool. We also found that the sliding mechanism that lends safety to the stairs has a big con. When adult-sized people use the ladder, the stairs can pop out of the sliding track, leading to regular, frustrating maintenance.

It is also worth mentioning that the package doesn’t come with enough hardware, so you will need to make a trip to the hardware store when your package arrives.

Ultimately, this ladder has a great concept, but work needs to be done before it’s fully realized.

Pros
  • Safety Sliding Feature
  • Erosion Proof
Cons
  • Sliding steps pop out of track easily
  • Unit very wobbly
  • Doesn’t come with proper hardware

Buyer’s Guide

You’ve read your reviews, but you aren’t quite sure which option came out as the winner. We get it. There are lots of considerations to factor in. That is why we’ve put together this useful buyer’s guide to help you make your decision.

Price

Price is an important buying consideration with any purchase. As you probably saw on our list today, pool ladder prices can range pretty widely.

Budget mindfulness is always important, but remember that it is to everyone’s benefit that you get something sturdy, safe, and built to last.

A durable ladder that survives years of use will ultimately be much more affordable than one that doesn’t make it through its first summer. And of course, there is no putting a price on good safety features.

If you find an affordable ladder, that’s great. But before you get too excited, make sure that it is safe and of a sound build.

Weight Rating

Weight rating is another important thing to factor into your decision-making process. While virtually every ladder will be able to accommodate weights of 300 pounds or more, it may be to your benefit to get the highest weight rating you can find.

Why? Well, for one thing, it does make your pool safer for a wider range of people. But it also ensures that the ladder will be able to stand up to horseplay if your kids are goofing around.

Best pool practices see only one person using the ladder at a time.

However, that might not be what actually happens at say, a pool party. You want something that will be able to stand up to rough play, as well as recommended use.

Materials Used

There are pros and cons to both stainless steel and vinyl. On the one hand, stainless steel is going to be very durable, and possibly more slip-resistant on the rungs.

On the other hand, it will erode over time.

The reverse is true of vinyl. Vinyl will essentially never erode, but it also won’t be quite as durable as stainless steel.

Style

We saw two different styles on our product list today. Traditional rung ladders, and one unit that was in the design style of a staircase.

The difference is mostly cosmetic, but, as we mentioned in our reviews, the staircase model might be a little bit friendlier to people with physical limitations.

Which you pick is ultimately going to be a personal choice. Just remember that you do have a variety of different options.

The Rungs

The rungs are one of the most important aspects of any ladder. Ideally, you want your rungs to be wide enough to comfortably accommodate a human foot. You also want them to have a slip-resistant texture that will ensure the ladder is safe to use.

When buying online it can be hard to know how good the rungs are just by looking at pictures, so feel free to check in with what people who’ve used it are saying. If the rungs are no good, they will definitely be mentioning it.

Weight

Last but not least, you should consider the weight of the ladder that you choose. When a ladder doesn’t have enough going for it in the weight department, it will move and bob around with the water. This won’t always be a huge problem, but it can cause concern for the safety of the product.

If you are buying a ladder that isn’t designed to be fastened onto the wall of your pool, make sure there is a weighting system in place.

Some free-hanging ladders will include ways for you to weight them so that they don’t move around.

Other gear you may want to consider for your pool:

An above ground pool vacuum

A pool pump

Conclusion

Now that you have read your above ground pool ladder 2019 reviews, it is time to start thinking about which one you want to buy. As you can see on the list above, there were a couple of ladders that stood out.

Shoppers who are looking for quality above all else may find the Blue Wave unit to be to their liking. However, if you need to be more mindful of budget, you might like our best for the money pick, the Bestway Flowclear.

Of course, now that you have read our buyer’s guide, you are free to make your own informed decision.