There are two classes of an above-ground swimming pool, the Admiral’s Walk pool, and everyone else. The only other above ground pools that you could try to 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 12×20 is just $7,999.00. This price includes delivery in many cases (Installation not included).
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 rights to sell Wilkes Pools in the New England territory. Gibraltar 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 separates all these pools, and puts them in a class by themselves, are the walls. Traditional above-ground pools have a thin coil roll out pool-walls. Gibraltar uses a steel slat interlocking panel to build its wall. Kayak uses a wood wall, with light Aluminum cladded sides. The Admiral’s Walk uses a thick extruded Aluminum slat interlocking panels to make their wall.
Admiral’s Walk Vs. Gibraltar & Kayak
It’s 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 in them, replaced walls, 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, the steel of the Gibraltar pool rusts and thins, especially around the skimmer, and return hole where they rot. 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 the best above-ground pool 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 of its wood wall, 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 have this option. The maker of the Admiral’s Walk (Buster Crabbe / Aquasport Pools LLC), made the decision not to offer a deep-end for one reason. To many people get hurt!
Having a hopper / deep end / extended swimming area (for insurance purposes) takes their otherwise 40-inch deep 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 pool-slide with an on-ground swimming pool. No one should ever dive into an above-ground, or on-ground pool.
Nowadays, all three of these manufacturers use Aluminum decking. For years Gibraltar used wood decking, and you can see how that would be a problem. But it was worse than you can imagine because their deck is part of the structure of the pool. So when the wood deck rotted, the pool blew apart. On the service side, 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 provides 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 mitigated by electrical bonding (grounding), but we shall see.
The Admiral’s Walk decking is stronger, It is mostly factory welded and comes in just four enormous sections. The other companies use fasteners to build it on site from many, many pieces with a whole lot of screws. If you don’t have a dealer in your area, shipping costs and lack of builders could be a disappointment for those that would like the Admirals Walk Pool.
Gibraltar and the Admiral’s Walk carpet their Aluminum decks. Kayak uses a non-slip paint. While carpet will eventually wear out, deck-paint is going to chip and peal. The Admiral’s Walk gives you the choice of Blue, Grey, or Brown carpet.
Pool Perimeter Fence
A fence is pretty much an aesthetic issue, as all manufacturers make a sturdy perimeter fence. But, as you can see in the image above, our pool fence is designed to offer a gentle nudge not to sit on it and is more decorative than the other companies. Also, every spindle has an aluminum core and has a pearly white coat.
Admirals Walk Pricing
Would it surprise you to find out the Admirals Walk Pool is 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. I install 10-20 of these a year now.
Don’t take my word for it. Google each brand name with the word “reviews.” Everything I wrote is based on 30 years of my personal experience.
Please enjoy these pictures below
Built this 12 x 24 Admirals Walk in 2017. It has gray carpeting and the Outlook liner pattern. The customer fabricated this custom canopy to help with leaves falling in the pool. This pool package came with 100 Square Foot Cartridge Pool filter with a 2-speed pump, but I upgraded Mr. Cory to a 342001 Pentair Variable speed pump for free.
Another Picture of the above job. You can see in this photo the customer added to the deck, and added another staircase to his build.
Built this monster 16 x 32 with a double end deck in 2017, Its a shame this is the only picture I took when I went back to close it and install the winter safety cover. It took 80,000 lbs of stone dust to make a level area I could build this swimming pool on. Luckily for me, I have my own dump trucks and loader, or this one would have cost me a fortune. Way underbid this installation.
Paired an EC50 Hayward DE filter with 342001 Pentair pump. You can see I already cleaned the filter and removed it before I took this picture. But you can see safety covers are available for the Admirals-Walk Swimming Pools, Should have at least took that towel down and moved the chairs before snapping this shot.
Built this Admirals Walk Above-Ground Swimming Pool in 2016. Also has Gray Carpet with Outlook vinyl liner print. This package came with a Reliant 100 Sq Ft Cartridge Filter, Frog Chlorinator and Pentair 342001. Ended up building a retaining wall out of 6×6 PT on the back side of this one for free.
Trimmed Out Admiral’s Walk Swimming Pool. With Custom Steps, and Decorative Lattice from 2015.
20-year-old 12 x 20 Admirals Walk Above-Ground Pool Swimming Pool
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.