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We tested Intex’s popular above-ground pool just in time for summer

We’re not too cool for this swimming hole

Three children swim and play in an above-ground Intex pool. Credit: Eden Strong / Reviewed

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Owning a swimming pool has always been a dream of mine. The idea of floating around, enjoying the sun, while staying cool in my very own backyard stirs up a feeling of luxury that leaves me feeling giddy.

Add in the convenience of not needing to pack a 40-pound bag of gear, swim diapers, and towels, drag three kids to the local community pool, and then spend the next two hours trying to keep track of them just so we can cool off in the summer heat, and I would practically throw money at someone to install a pool in my yard.

Much to my dismay, my budget and my financially responsible husband don’t allow me the liberty of throwing money around as I please. Plus, installing a pool in my yard is definitely out of the question. Which is why, when I discovered the Intex above-ground pools and the shopping hysteria surrounding them, I became absolutely certain that this was the product I needed to realize my summertime dreams.

I got on my game early this season and managed to score my own Intex 26710EH Prism pool online. Here’s my first-hand experience and whether or not I think you should buy one, too.

What is an Intex metal-frame swimming pool?

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Credit: Eden Strong / Reviewed

This 12-foot by 30-inch round Intex pool was the perfect fit for this family.

First things first, let’s talk about what this swimming pool is. Designed to be solid, easy to assemble, and easy to maintain, Intex’s metal-frame pools, like the 26710EH Prism, are the hybrid of a fixed-in-place, above-ground swimming pool and a temporary, removable swimming pool.

Constructed with a 3-ply, durable, puncture resistant liner that is held up by a powder-coated steel, rust-resistant frame, the pools can be purchased with or without a cleaning filter pump; although all of the Intex swimming pools come standard with filtration hookups and tubing so a pump can be added later, if desired.

Available in a variety of sizes and prices ranging from a basic 8-foot by 20-inch round pool at a cost of $109.99, all the way up to a 32-foot by 16-foot by 52-inch rectangular pool with a sand filtration system for $3,149.99, there are plenty of sizes and filtration options between that make it easy to find the perfect pool to suit your specific need.

Intended to be assembled and then maintained in place for extended periods of time, Intex metal-frame pools lend themselves to the concept that you can obtain the benefits of an installed swimming pool without the pricey expense of one.

Is it easy to set up an Intex metal-frame pool?

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Credit: Eden Strong / Reviewed

Setting up this pool was easier than expected.

After deciding that a 12-foot by 30-inch round Intex Prism pool style (aka the Intex 12x30 pool) was the perfect fit for my family, I couldn’t wait to set it up. However, my husband did not share in my joy as he was fully convinced that assembling it would be a weekend-long project that would end with me in tears and him in frustration.

And if I’m being honest, he was almost correct when right out of the box it was clear that my brand-new, prized pool had a liner defect (enter sad face). But, after a quick trip to the store and another new pool, we were ready to try again and hope we had better luck.

“Ready for water in just 30 minutes” the Intex website claims and although this seems like a bit of a reach for two novices (us), once we got a good look at the box’s simple contents the idea didn’t seem that far-fetched. Requiring zero tools, we followed the instructions to snap the pieces together, twist in the two filter pieces, push in the drain plug, and in under 20-minutes we had ourselves an 11-foot pool.

Wait … what? Why only 11 feet when the box indicates 12 feet? At first, I had no idea, but within a few weeks of use the pool did finally expand itself to the full 12-foot size.

Since the pool holds 1,718 gallons of water, we elected to spend five extra minutes attaching a filter pump that can be purchased with the pool as a set—or in our case borrowed from a friend—with the idea that we won’t have to drain and refill the pool at all this summer.

It is important to mention though that all Intex pools need to be set-up on extremely level ground or they pose a structural safety issue, so prior to starting any of this we leveled an area of our very sloped yard; a task that for some people might actually be the most difficult and time-consuming part.

What I like about the Intex swimming pool

It’s durable

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Credit: Eden Strong / Reviewed

Intex pools need to be set-up on extremely level ground.

For as cheap as my Intex pool was and how easy it was to set up, I was absolutely certain that it was not going to last.

I spent the first hours that the kids were in the pool, yelling at them not to bump into the pool walls or create too many waves; I was sure it was going to explode and wash them out into the yard.

However, the kids didn’t listen to me (as usual) and yet the pool stood firm. And when a nasty storm blew through with winds as high as 50 mph, I held my breath waiting for my beloved pool to collapse; but it didn’t. In fact it’s so sturdy that when I noticed I had erected it with one of the legs a little bit angled, I couldn’t physically move it once the pool was filled.

I can fully see this pool lasting at least a few years as long as I drain and store it when the temperature drops below 41°F as recommended by Intex, which is what I would highly suggest doing since it’s only covered by a one-year warranty. Although, many online reviews state that owner’s keep theirs up all winter long with no issues, should you decide to take the risk.

What I don’t like about the Intex swimming pool

Safety for little ones seems to be an afterthought

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Credit: Eden Strong / Reviewed

It's stressful to have young kids around pools.

It has been stressful having small children around a pool that cannot be outfitted with the same safety measures that a more permanent pool can benefit from. I had considered this from the beginning, but one I didn’t fully absorb it until I saw how excited my youngest was to get into the pool whether we were near him or not.

If we decide to take down our Intex pool before summer’s end I can pretty much predict that this will be the number one reason why.

The cover doesn’t attach and stay put

I’m also not super thrilled that the cover Intex sells as an accessory, blows off in the slightest of winds; a problem if you don’t want to clean leaves and bugs out of your pool each day.

Should you buy the Intex 26710EH Prism pool?

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Credit: Eden Strong / Reviewed

Is a metal-framed pool in your summer plans?

Maybe. Do you like to swim? If so, then yes.

The pool is large enough for my whole family to enjoy and durable enough to handle it. We are having an amazing time building lasting family memories, and it keeps my kids busy for hours a day; something that most parents would consider priceless.

The pool does require maintenance in the form of testing and treating the water, as well as the ongoing expense of purchasing pool chemicals and replacement filters, but it’s all at a fraction of the cost of a more permanent pool, while still hitting the mark in providing most of the same benefits.

But, and this is a big one, before jumping into your own Intex above-ground pool (both literally and figuratively), you definitely need to consider the safety issues the pool may pose to young children, and whether your local rules and regulations allow pools of this design and size.

I also cannot stress enough that Intex metal-frame pools must be set-up on ground that is extremely level and that attaining this may require extra work and costs.

But, if these consideration boxes are easily checked off in your situation, then I wouldn’t hesitate to add an Intex metal-frame pool to your summer plans.

Get the Intex Prism Metal-frame Pool at Walmart for $334.95

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

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