There are two classes of pool, the Admiral’s Walk pool, and everyone else. The only other above ground pools that you could compare this to, would be either Wilkes / Gibraltar, or Kayak. In this article, I will explain why the Admiral’s Walk Pool is the easy, and best choice. The starting price for this pool, before installation and delivery, starts at $8000.00
Just to clear things up… Wilkes Pools is the manufacturer of Gibraltar Pools. It’s not that Wilkes makes a different pool, it’s that Gibraltar bought the right to sell Wilkes Pools in the New England territory. Gibraltar basically has a monopoly on Wilkes pools here in New England. For the rest of this article, I will call Wilkes pools Gibraltar.
Best On Ground Pools
When you get to this class of pool, they are often called “on ground pools“, rather than, above ground pools. The Admiral’s Walk, Gibraltar, and Kayak pools, are all rectangle pools, and come with an end deck, a promenade (walk around) deck, complete perimeter fence, liner, plumbing, filtration system, pump, fold up security stairs, and in pool ladder.
The thing that really separates all these pools, and puts them in a class by themselves, are their walls. Traditional above ground pools have a thin coil roll out wall. Gibraltar uses a steel slat interlocking panel to build it’s wall. Kayak uses a wood wall, with thin Aluminum cladding on one side. The Admiral’s Walk uses a thick extruded Aluminum slat interlocking panel to build their wall.
Admiral’s Walk versus Gibraltar versus Kayak
It’s only when we compare the systems of these three top manufacturers, that a clear winner rises to the top. I know the weak points of all these pools, as I have worked on all of them. To be clear, I have never been a Gibraltar, or Kayak dealer. But, I have removed them, repaired them, replaced liners on them, replaced walls on them, etc…
In my opinion all three have super strong walls, but the Admiral’s Walk is best. In all fairness, the other two walls start out strong. But, over time, steel on the Gibraltar pool rusts and thins, especially around the skimmer, and return hole. The Kayak’s wood wall rots out over time too. Kayak has added a thin Aluminum cladding to its wall in recent years, but it still comes in third for best wall.
The Admiral’s Walk wall is almost a foot taller than Gibraltar. So it offers a lot more swimming area. The panels are 52 inches long. The Kayak pool has also gone to a 52 inch wall, but because it is made of wood, I almost didn’t even include it in this review.
Gibraltar, and Kayak will offer to include a deep end. The Admiral’s Walk does not offer this option. The maker of the Admiral’s Walk (Buster Crabbe / Aquasport Pools LLc), made the decision not to offer this option for a reason. To many people get hurt!
Having a hopper / deep end / extended swimming area (for insurance purposes), takes their otherwise 40 inch pool, and adds another 36 inches (3 feet). People mistakenly think, the so called deep end is deep, and dive into a pool that’s only six feet deep. There have been many lawsuits over the years, and worse, many people injured for life. It’s just not safe. Safety is why you will never see a diving board, or a slide with an on ground swimming pool. No one should ever dive into an above ground, or on ground pool.
Now, all three of these manufactures use Aluminum decking. For years Gibraltar used wood decking, and you can see how that would be a problem. But it was actually worse than you can imagine, because their deck is part of the structure of the pool. So when the deck rotted, the pool blew apart. It got so we would not put a liner in a Gibraltar pool, if it had an old wood deck. But like I said, they smartened up a few years ago, and went to Aluminum.
Kayak offers a few deck configurations that you can’t get from the Admiral’s Walk, or Gibraltar pools. Conversely, The Admiral’s Walk offers a double end deck option the other two do not offer.
One thing worth mentioning, is that the Gibraltar pool now has an Aluminum deck, and a steel wall pool as previously mentioned. The two metals don’t play nice together. They have only had their Aluminum decks for a few years, so there have been no incidents, but I see trouble down the road in the way of galvanic corrosion. I suppose this could be offset by good electrical bonding (grounding), but we shall see.
The Admiral’s Walk decking is actually stronger, It is mostly factory welded and comes in four big sections. The other companies use fasteners to build it on site from many, many pieces. If you don’t have a dealer in your area, shipping costs and lack of builders could be a disappointment.
Gibraltar and the Admiral’s Walk carpet their Aluminum decks. Kayak uses a non slip paint. While carpet will eventually wear out, paint is going to chip and peal. The Admiral’s Walk gives you the choice of Blue, Grey, or Brown carpet.
Pool Perimeter Fence
This is pretty much an aesthetic issue, as all manufactures make a strong fence. But, as you can see in the image above, our fence is designed to offer a gentle nudge not to sit on it, and is more decorative than the other companies. Also, every spindle is thick Aluminum, and has a thick pearly white coat.
Would it surprise you to find out our pool is actually cheaper than the other two companies? We offer a better wall, better fence, stronger decking, more decking carpet colors to choose from, a taller pool, and if you asked me, a better looking pool overall.
Don’t take my word for it… Google each brand name with the word “reviews”. Everything I wrote here is based on 30 years of my personal experience. Admiral’s Walk Interest Form
Please enjoy these pictures below
Trimmed Out Admiral’s Walk Swimming Pool. With Custom Steps, and Decorative Lattice.
20 year old 16 x 20 Admirals Walk
Large 16 x 32 Admiral’s Walk at Store in 1980’s
Construction Photos of Admiral’s Walk
You can see in this picture below how our decks are all pre-welded at the factory. You can also get an idea of just how thick and strong our extruded Aluminum wall is.