How to choose the right pool ladder

How to choose the right pool ladder

A pool ladder is one of the most obvious -yet overlooked- pool accessories there are. After all, at some point people need a proper way to get in or out of the swimming pool with ease and safely. There are many pool ladder options to choose from and considerations to take before buying one.

If you’re a new pool owner or you’re in the process of building one, with this article you’ll learn which type is best suited for your above-ground or inground pool.  

Choosing the right above-ground pool ladder

Above ground swimming pools are a very popular choice when it comes to enjoying a swimming pool without the investment and commitment of an inground pool. On the other hand, above ground pools require a certified pool ladder to enter and exit the pool safely. 

You might be wondering: can I use a regular ladder in a pool? The answer is an emphatic no. Using a regular ladder to enter or exit your pool involves too many safety issues you need to avoid.

Pool areas get slippery, not to mention that a pool ladder should be properly attached to the pool’s structure, providing security, convenience and comfort. In this matter, we’ll help you choose the right one depending on your needs.

Types of above ground pool ladders

Ladders for above ground pools with a deck

Usually, an above ground pool requires a ladder on the outside and the inside of the pool. If your pool has a deck you only need to consider the inside part. 

Pool Curve Base Steps

For freestanding pools built into a deck, you can find easy-to-assemble stairs with mounting brackets, adjustable from 48 to 60 inches. 

Made of a strong, slip-resistant resin material, it can hold up to 400 pounds, it’s pretty durable and comfortable to use, however it can take up a lot of space, so it’s perfect for larger pools.

Regular above ground ladder

Other models feature a steeper angle to get into the pool, thus taking up less pool space (although getting in might be a bit awkward compared to the curve base steps).

It’s a good fit for pools between 42 and 56 inches high and it’s easy to install, although it needs to be bolted into the deck.

Vertical ladder

This ladder is a low-cost option for those who don’t use their pool very frequently.

Features staggered, vertical steps and a sturdy structure that can hold up to 300 pounds of weight, however, it’s not as comfortable to use and may require additional hardware to secure. It’s indicated for flat bottom pools up to 52 inches deep.  

Ladders for above ground pools without a deck

A top pick for free-standing above ground pools is an adjustable ladder featuring a platform on top for entering or exiting the pool with ease.

On the down side, it needs to be braced to the pool and it can’t be used for inflatable pools. It can fit pools 48 inches to 56 inches deep.

A versatile option is a 2-in-1 above ground pool & deck mounting ladder. The greatest advantage is that it can be a good fit for a pool without a deck but it can also be mounted on a deck too.

It can adjust to anything between 48 to 56 inches and its exterior ladder can slide up and block the access to the pool when not in use, which is definitely a safety plus. 

Things to consider when choosing an above ground pool ladder

Other than the obvious fact that it’s important you make sure of your pool’s depth to get the right ladder, there are other aspects to consider to choose the right one for you.

When it comes the time to close and winterize your pool, it’s recommended to remove the ladder. It might have been fairly easy to submerge it in the first place but taking it out of the water is a whole other story. Make sure you’ll be able to remove it from the water.

Another aspect to take into account is the material it’s made of. Most above-ground pool ladders are made of steel, plastic resin or aluminum

If you’re looking for a low maintenance ladder, plastic resin is weather resistant and easy to clean: a non abrasive resin cleaner and a thorough rinse will do. 

However, galvanized steel, even though it is more expensive and requires higher maintenance, can provide more durability in the long run. It has been treated to prevent rust, so it’s weather resistant. To clean, make sure to use a cleaning that won’t damage the coating, the very element that prevents rust. In every case, always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Why do pool steps turn yellow?

After some time, pool steps (especially those made of white fiberglass) may turn yellow. This is usually caused by mustard algae as well as other minerals or metals in your water. To prevent this, make sure to keep your water chemically balanced

If your steps get discolored then you need to determine the cause (algae or metals most likely) and the can you can treat accordingly

Types of inground pool ladders

The top 2 popular options for inground pool ladders are the regular, stainless-steel rails and vinyl over steps. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each type of inground pool ladders.

Pool ladder

The good old regular stainless steel pool ladder is the most popular and less expensive option for inground pools. They’re weather resistant and easy to remove when it comes to winterizing or covering your pool. Plus, they only require fixing to the floor and not inside the pool.

On the down side, older people with low mobility or less agile can find it more difficult to use a pool ladder.

Built-in steps

This is definitely the most versatile and aesthetically pleasing option for an inground pool. Not only does it look attractive to the eye, it’s safe, comfortable and greatly adaptable, as it can be placed in a corner or along a wall, in a linear or circular shape. 

They come in a wide range of material such as vinyl-over steel, vinyl over polymer, thermoplastic or acrylic fiberglass pool steps. As you might expect, this is the most expensive option, as it requires a higher initial cost, plus the lifetime cost of liner repairs. Also, for safety reasons, it also requires installing a handrail.

So there you have it. Depending on your budget and pool needs, these are the best options when it comes to choosing a pool ladder. 

Whether you own an above-ground or inground pool, Sutro can help you keep your water clear by checking your alkalinity (1x day), and pH, chlorine levels and temperature 3 times per day and recommending adjustments when needed. 

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