Above-Ground Pool Entry Systems
Are you looking to buy a new set of steps or a ladder for your above-ground swimming pool? This article reviews pool-step and ladder options for those with and without a deck. I also offer insights and advice to help you choose the safest and most convenient entry system that is best for your family, and the swimming pool.
When choosing the best way to access your swimming pool, you should consider safety first. Pool steps and ladders are the primary barriers to entry. Even a backyard with a fence only keeps out those without access to your backdoor.
Before you buy a set of steps, you should also be thinking about local building codes. Buy the wrong entry system, and you may not even be able to use it.
Read on so you don’t get stuck with steps or ladders that will; damage your pool liner, float out of position, promote algae growth, are hard to climb, or that you can’t use because of the law.
Free MGK Pools Resource
The Ultimate Guide to Buying and Caring for Above Ground Swimming Pools and Equipment.
Steps – Ladders Above-Ground Pool Options
- A-frame Steps
- A-frame Ladders
Both are a steep climb, but the steps offer a better angle and deeper treads on both sides of the system. A-frame ladders other than the Confer 7100 seen below provide more substantial ladder-treads as well.
Pools with Decks
If you have a deck next to your above-ground pool you have the option of installing a staircase, aka a drop in steps.
Ladders can be a tough climb for people that are overweight, out of shape, or elderly. Not to mention impossible for most pets. The easiest way to get in and out of a pool no matter what your condition or breed is with steps.
Steps provide a place to sit and relax in the pool water. Or a refuge for young kids.
Steps, on the other hand, take up valuable space in the pool. With smaller swimming pools, you may not want the steps jutting out into the swimming area.
While step systems are more comfortable to climb than ladders, many interrupt the circulation of the pool water.
You can see there is more to it than which looks best. There are advantages and disadvantages, either way; you look at it. After we look at one more option, I will list the most popular models and examine the pro’s and con’s
Deck To Pool Ladder Option
Lastly, with a deck, you also have the option of a candy cane style pool-to-deck-ladder like the one you see here. These are great for small above ground pools with a deck, as they do not take up much room in the swim area as staircases do. They also enable the best circulation of the pool water.
These are lightweight and easy to remove for when it comes time to close the pool. This ladder is adjustable to different deck heights as you can merely cut more or less of the handrails. If your deck is higher than the pool, this will be handy.
Also, candy cane ladders are cheap, this one pictured here costs just $70.00 when building a pool package with our online pool package builder. Click Here for Details
Similar ones can be purchased from Amazon Click Here to Browse
Step Entry Systems For Above Ground Pools “Without” A Deck
Without a deck, you can still use steps, but I am not personally impressed with whats available on the market for A-frame step systems. Without a pool deck, you will need an A-Frame entry system. There are A-Frame step systems like this one on the left, and A-Frame ladders. I much prefer the ladders.
This system on the left has the added value of a security gate for the section that stays on the outside of your swimming pool. In many states, a non-fenced backyard requires you to disable your entry system or provide a way to lock it up.
You may be required to install an alarm on your back door, and windows, even with a backyard fence. These are good suggestions for people with toddlers, and non-swimmers in the house, and roaming neighbors kids that could find themselves in over their heads.
I would not buy the security-gate for this system if there were no non-swimming children in the home. The gate is a bit of a pain in you know what. If you have to use it, it is better if you have someone to hold it open while you climb the steps. This unit is available here on Amazon.
Worst Pool Ladder You Can Buy
No review would be complete without describing the worst pool ladder. This ladder is basically for Intex pools, and while their little blow-up pools are surprisingly durable for the money, their ladder is absolute trash.
How bad is it? Let me count the ways.
- Not sturdy
- It will puncture your liner with its pointy feet
- Too narrow
I wouldn’t give this ladder to an enemy. If you somehow end up with this piece of garbage, just throw it away. This was an Intex ladder, but even they have a better one now.
Most Popular A-Frame Pool Ladders
Next, I will review the three most popular above-ground pool ladders, the best models most often purchased for above-ground swimming pools.
- Confer 7200
- Confer 7100
Integrity A-Frame Pool Ladder
You can click on the image to the left to make it bigger. I have made this ladder available for many of my pool packages for a couple of years now; I love it. It is called the Integrity and is produced by Latham. It comes in white or gray.
This ladder is a two-piece A-Frame ladder. The thicker part which is more of a step than a ladder-tread goes in the pool, and the thinner section is on the outside. You can purchase just the inside pool section if you already have a deck and want a cross between a step and a ladder.
This ladder is convertible; swing it up and remove it for security, or once you build a deck, remove it permanently.
Again click the image to make it bigger. This picture on the left shows the removable outside section.
This ladder is a very sturdy and like most can handle weight up to 400 pounds. It is the best choice if you plan to build a deck down the road, but need an A-frame system now to access the pool.
The only drawback to the security feature is that while the outer ladder section is removable, you may be required to lock it away or chain it to a post to meet local building safety code. Less convenient than with next two options.
The height can be adjusted to accommodate pools that measure 48″, 52″, and 54 inches.
The Confer 7200 is the best A-frame ladder you can buy for an above ground swimming pool. It has the added benefit of a security roll guard which quickly and easily covers the ladder rungs when not in use.
You can see the base that goes into the pool is reasonably broad to prevent putting to much pressure on the liner.
I’ve seen this unit priced anywhere from $300 – 600.00 dollars. But can usually be purchased on Amazon for 166.~ Click here
This ladder can only be converted for use with a deck if you are creative and own a saw. Then it is an excellent hybrid step.
Confer 7200 Security Features
There is another security gate that can be added to this system if your local building code requires even more security. I should say if your building inspectors are ridiculous because the roll guard security feature is all you need.
The picture on the right shows this unit ready for use. If you wanted to secure it, you would grab the tab under the top plate and pull the cover over the ladder treads and lock. (see video below)
Confer 7100 Above Ground Pool Ladder
Still, an excellent economical A-frame ladder with the needed security feature.
Steps For Above Ground Pools
Here I list some of the most popular steps systems while also listing the pros and cons of the various models.
- Wedding-Cake Pool Steps
- Confer Curve Steps w/without add-on
- MGK Pools Steps
Pool Steps – Wedding Cake Design
- Wide area flat base distributes weight well
- Excellent area for relaxing in the water
- Handrail is sturdier than most
- No much to assemble
- Much Higher Cost – Usually over $400.00 in Amazon Click Here
- Float – Tough to keep in place
- Block good water circulation making them a breeding ground for algae
As a stand-alone step, they are slightly more attractive than my favorite drop-in pool-step, and with the curve add-on, they are downright fancy. Handrails look fanciers too. Steps can curve inwards or outwards.
- Look Fancier
- Vented sides for improved water circulation
- Feet create pressure points on liner
- Still floats after filling with stone
- Full Step with curve price usually $350.00 on Amazon Click Here
- Handrails not sturdy (same with most systems)
- Liner Gaurd mat required
- Not easy to assemble
MGK Above Ground Swimming Pool Steps
You may have noticed that this is my companies brand, and you may think I am biased, you would be right. Still, please read why I think this is the best step system you can buy. BUY NOW
- Price – Just $145.00 when you purchase a pool package from me
- Comes with a weighting system to prevent tilting or floating
- Wide sturdy & well-balanced
- Thick Anti-Slip Pet-Friendly Tread
- Extra vented side panels for even better water circulation
- Long rails distribute weight evenly on liner – Liner Guard mat not needed
- Simple to assemble
- Does not float
- Still, need to fill with some sand making unit heavier and harder to remove
- Handrails not sturdy (same with most systems)
- Square somewhat blocky design
Assembly & Installation Not Included
When figuring out the cost, keep in mind all these ladders and step entry systems require assembly (except wedding cake step). The A-Frame “step system” we mentioned is extra challenging to assemble. The easiest to put together is the wedding cake stairs, as they come mostly in one giant piece.
Many pool companies will assemble ladders, but won’t install them for insurance reasons. Even when you buy an entirely new pool kit, with assembly and installation of the pool included, your on your own to install the ladder. So be sure to ask when you contract a service company.
If you’ve had any experience with pool ladders and steps in the past, I am sure you will enjoy the ones outlined here more. Please ask questions in the comments, and I will answer them when I can. Phone lines and email are for customers. Thanks for understanding!
I hope you found this article helpful and insightful, if you did, please help us out by sharing it on your favorite social platform with the buttons below. Thx again!