Best Above Ground Pool Ladders of 2021 – Top Picks & Reviews
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 2021
|Best Overall||Blue Wave Stainless Steel Pool Ladder||
|Confer Above Ground Pool Ladder Steps||
|Best Value||Bestway Above Ground Pool Ladder||
|Confer Economy Pool Ladder (635-52X)||
|Vinyl Works Slide-Lock Pool Ladder||
10 Best Above Ground Pool Ladders
1. Blue Wave Stainless Steel Pool Ladder – Best Overall
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 look 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.
2. Confer Above Ground Pool Ladder Steps
The Confer Staircase unit has 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.
3. Bestway Above Ground Pool Ladder – Best Value
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 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.
4. Confer Economy 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.
5. Vinyl Works Slide-Lock Pool 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.
6. Confer 6000X Above-Ground Pool-Ladder
The Confer 6000X is a sturdy ladder that’s adjustable for pools from 48-54 inches deep, with a weight capacity of 300 pounds. Crafted from a long-lasting resin, this ladder won’t corrode or rust. The no-swim barrier prevents children from getting stuck behind the ladder, an essential safety feature.
We noticed two drawbacks with the Confer 6000X. First, the included screws are very prone to rust and left two large rust marks on our deck. Next, on pools deeper than 48 inches, the adjustable length struts on the bottom tended to float off. This was a recurring issue that we were never quite able to remedy, preventing this ladder from getting a higher recommendation.
7. Champlain Drop-in Step & Pool Ladder
For both children and older folks, a set of stairs may be much easier to use than a vertical ladder. The Champlain Plastics drop-in stepsare an alternative to consider. Easy to install and use, this unit drops right into your pool and the handrails attach to the deck. An outside portion is available separately to turn this into an A-frame ladder, should you need such capability.
One thing we noticed is that there is no support under the top step. This caused it to sag under heavier loads, and we question its longevity. Also, these stairs did tend to move a bit while walking up them. For most, this won’t be an issue. Some people with balance problems might find it disconcerting though. The final problem we had is a safety issue. There is nothing to stop children from swimming behind the stairs. They could potentially get stuck there, which is why most brands include a no-swim blockade in the rear.
8. Easy-Incline Above Ground Pool-Ladder
With a standard 300-pound weight capacity, this Easy-Incline above ground pool ladder should provide plenty of strength for guests to get in and out of almost any pool. It’s also very affordable, which may make it attractive to many homeowners. When it arrived, we quickly realized it’s not quite as simple to install as some of the other drop-in type ladders and steps.
At first, we only secured the top, but this wasn’t sufficient. The ladder kept floating away from the wall, causing undue stress on the mounting brackets that would almost certainly be a problem in the future. We also noticed that the feet were damaging the liner behind, an issue that could lead to a real headache if you spring a leak.
9. XtremepowerUS 32 Inch Ladders
With a weight capacity of 400 pounds, this safety step above ground swimming pool ladder from XtremepowerUS is one of the strongest ones available. Despite the high weight rating, the rails were flimsy and did not hold up to even light use. The stairs themselves felt strong, but the railings should not even be used for pulling yourself from the pool. This was the first disappointment.
These stairs tend to float up, even though they’re very heavy. The weight also made them more difficult to install. Since these aren’t one of the cheapest options, we had hoped to see better quality. Although they are strong, we think you’d get better value from a set that has usable railings.
10. Swimline Ladder with Barrier
If you’re price shopping for your new above ground pool ladder, then you’ll probably spend some time checking out this A-frame ladder from Swimline. As the lowest-priced option we tested, we didn’t expect very much from it to begin with. We weren’t really surprised, either. To start, it took us hours to set up. Once assembled, the entire unit was very shaky and didn’t feel sturdy. The base is too narrow, which meant that the ladder always felt like it wanted to tip over. This could be a very dangerous situation if it occurs.
We appreciated the no-swim safety barrier to prevent children from getting stuck behind it, though. Despite the low price and several desirable features, we just don’t think this ladder is safe enough. We recommend picking something much more secure and stable instead.
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 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 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.
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.
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 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.
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:
Now that you have read our above ground pool ladder 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.
Featured Image Credit: Boris Mrdja, Shutterstock
- 1 A Quick Glance at the Winners of 2021
- 2 10 Best Above Ground Pool Ladders
- 2.1 1. Blue Wave Stainless Steel Pool Ladder – Best Overall
- 2.2 2. Confer Above Ground Pool Ladder Steps
- 2.3 3. Bestway Above Ground Pool Ladder – Best Value
- 2.4 4. Confer Economy Pool Ladder (635-52X)
- 2.5 5. Vinyl Works Slide-Lock Pool Ladder
- 2.6 6. Confer 6000X Above-Ground Pool-Ladder
- 2.7 7. Champlain Drop-in Step & Pool Ladder
- 2.8 8. Easy-Incline Above Ground Pool-Ladder
- 2.9 9. XtremepowerUS 32 Inch Ladders
- 2.10 10. Swimline Ladder with Barrier
- 3 Buyer’s Guide
- 4 Conclusion