Above ground pools epitomize affordable family fun. They’re also incredibly easy to setup and operate, making them a popular choice for many of today’s homeowners.
However, you can’t just put the liner down, setup the walls, fill it with water, and pray for the best. To install it correctly and keep your pool looking and functioning its best, there are a few more steps to take. One of these steps is placing a quality pool pad between the ground and the liner.
In this buyer’s guide, you’ll learn all about pool pads and five of the best options on the market today.
Best Above Ground Pool Pads in 2019
|GLI Armor Shield|
|Elephant Pad||Tear-guard weave|
1. GLI Armor Shield – est Pool Pad for Overall Quality and Peace of Mind
Ask any pool installer about the best pool pads and chances are the GLI Armor Shield will be mentioned first. There’s a reason for this. While there are quite a few quality pool pads out there to choose from, very few compare to the Armor Shield in terms of overall construction quality.
You see, the Armor Shield is made by GLI, which happens to be the largest manufacturer of swimming pool liners. In fact, if you’ve purchased a new pool liner, it was likely made by GLI. This means the quality of the Armor Shield is spot on.
Unlike above ground pool pads made of foam or other cheap materials, the Armor Shield is constructed of a polypropylene geotextile material that’s proven to prevent punctures to a pool liner caused by roots, rocks, or anything else. In other words, it’s super tough. It’s also mold and mildew-resistant, which adds to its durability and maintenance-free design.
In addition to its toughness, however, the Armor Shield also provides a layer of cushioning between the liner and the sand or hard bottom below. Speaking of sand, it’s designed to prevent footprints from forming and help keep the floor nice and smooth as well.
Ultimate Protection and Peace of Mind
As a testament to the Armor Shield’s quality, it comes with an industry leading three-year warranty. While this alone is quite generous, if you purchase a new GLI liner as well, the company will extend the warranty on the liner by several years. Needless to say, if you’re looking for the peace of mind of quality construction and a great warranty, the GLI Armor Shield might be the pool pad for you.
2. Gorilla Pool Pad – Best Pool Pad for Leak Protection
Gorilla Floor Pads from Blue Wave Pool Products is lightyears ahead of old foam floor padding. Unlike traditional pool floor foam, which is difficult to work with and easily cut by roots, rocks, and grass underneath pool liners, Gorilla Floor Padding is impervious to all of the above and almost any sharp object.
They also do a lot more, such as add a cushioned layer to make the bottom of a pool more comfortable to walk on. Speaking of comfortable to walk on, these above ground pool pads also help eliminate the formation of footprints, which can be uncomfortable and downright awkward to deal with.
This top-notch floor padding is also cut to size to effortlessly fit under a number of above ground pools of all different sizes. Plus, it’s seamed around the edges for added durability. That’s right; no more having to cut, tape, and deal with foam!
To top it all off, Gorilla Floor Pads are breathable and designed to allow condensation to escape and absorb into the ground. Without this breathability, your above ground pool could begin to rust in no time at all.
On the downside, these premium pool pads only come with a 90-day warranty. This doesn’t give much peace of mind or assurance of their quality. For that, you’ll need to rely on the word of Gorilla Floor Pad owners and trusted reviewers like us.
Tough, Leak-Proof Design
Above ground pool pads are designed to do one thing: prevent punctures in the liner that may lead to leaks. Gorilla Floor Padding was made to do this one thing very, very well.
Made of a super-tough geo-textile material, Gorilla Floor Pads were originally engineered as a means of protecting trash dump liners. While they look a lot like felt or a thin wool blanket, they are extremely tough in order to stop rocks, roots, moles, and critters in their tracks. Sticks can’t penetrate it and critters can’t chew through it, helping to keep above ground pools intact and leak-free.
If you don’t want a leaky vinyl liner to ruin your summertime fun, Gorilla Floor Pads might be the right pool pads for you.
3. Elephant Guard Armor Shield – Best Pool Pad for Easy Installation and Use
If you’ve ever put up an above ground pool before, then you know it can be quite a process. Despite advancements in pool design over the years, which have drastically improved the installation process, it still takes hours and there are several steps to take, like adding sand, leveling it, and placing a pool pad between it and the liner. The Elephant Guard Armor Shield was designed to make the latter easy as 1-2-3.
Like every other above ground pool pad, the Elephant Guard helps protect against punctures to pool liners from roots, rocks, nut grass, and anything else that may be lying underneath them. Aside from its breathable design, it also features built-in mildew and mold inhibitors to keep the bottom of your pool dry and corrosion-free.
All that being said, the real selling point of the Elephant Guard Armor Shield is its easy installation. Forget foam or other pool pads that require cutting and taping. The Elephant Guard makes them a thing of the past.
Installation Couldn’t Be Easier
Elephant Guard Armor Shield pool floor pads are pre-cut to exactly fit a variety of round above ground pool sizes. Its one-piece construction requires no measuring, cutting, or taping, saving minutes of frustration. Just place it under your vinyl liner atop a sand base and you’re good to go. Best of all, once installed, you won’t even know it’s preventing liner punctures and protecting your pool from the ground up.
If you value your time and want a quality pool pad that fits and installs like a dream, you may want to check out the Elephant Guard Armor Shield. Not only is it easy to work with, but it does what it’s supposed to do.
4. Rhino Pad – Best Pool Pad for the Eco-Conscious
The Rhino Pad is another excellent pool pad for preventing punctures and leaks. Its special cloth fiber is durable, thick, and designed to defend pool liners against punctures and cuts from rocks, roots, glass, nut grass, and more. In other words, it provides an added layer of armor for your pool floor.
Similar to other quality pool pads, such as the Elephant Guard, the Rhino Pad also comes cut to fit a variety of pool sizes. It’s pre-measured and cut to the specific size of your round above ground pool, so there’s no measuring, cutting, or taping required. Unlike some other pool pads, however, it’s also easy to trim in case it comes a little larger than expected.
The Rhino Pad also helps protect steel-walled pools against rust and corrosion. It does so by creating a vapor barrier and eliminating condensation. Plus, it cushions the feet and provides a smooth and enjoyable flooring surface as well.
Eco-Friendly Materials and Design
In addition to all of the above, the real beauty of the Rhino Pad lies in its eco-friendly materials and design. If you’re worried about polluting the ground beneath your pool, don’t be. It’s constructed of a premium earthy woven geotextile material that was spun with the Earth in mind.
How so? Well, unlike many other poor-quality pool pads, Rhino Pads are crafted from 45 percent industrial recycled and 45 percent post-consumer materials. Not only does it protect against punctures and prevent corrosion by allowing moisture to pass safely through, but it’s made of 90 percent recycled materials!
If you want to preserve your pool liner and the Earth as well, the Rhino Pad might be right up your alley.
5. LinerLife – Best Pool Pad for Long-Lasting Toughness and Durability
LinerLife pool pads are specifically designed to protect your pool liner and the bottom of your above ground pool. These tough, resilient pads create an almost impenetrable layer of protection against roots, grass, rocks, and almost any other sharp objects. By doing so, it helps eliminate all too common vinyl liner leaks.
At the same time, each pad also provides a comfortable cushion to walk on. While it isn’t as thick and spongy as foam padding, it helps soften steps to create a more enjoyable backyard swimming experience.
Like other quality pool pads, the LinerLife pad also helps prevent the formation footprints in the sand underneath a pool liner. The tough and durable pad also comes pre-cut the exact size of your pool, so there’s no need for measuring, cutting, and taping like there is with traditional foam padding. Since there are a variety of sizes to choose from, just make sure you pick the right one for you pool.
Durable Material and Tough-as-Nails Construction
Despite all it has going for it, the shining light of the LinerLife pool pad is its super-tough polyester geo-textile material. While all quality pool pads are tough, the material used for the LinerLife is so tough it’s almost impossible to cut.
This means accurate measuring is a must. It also means the LinerLife pool pad does its job incredibly well.
The only real drawback of this tough and durable pool pad is the fact that it’s less breathable than some of the other options. Since it’s woven a little tighter for extra strength, the LinerLife is less breathable and allows more condensation to form. However, unless you have a steel-walled pool, this shouldn’t be an issue at all.
Best Above Ground Pool Pad – Buyer’s Guide
Above ground pools are affordable and a ton of fun. However, other than some PVC vinyl, there isn’t much protecting them from rocks, roots, and leaks. This where pool pads come in.
Pool floor pads provide specialized protection against these common pool liner threats. However, not all pool pads are created equal. To pick the right one for you and your pool, it helps to know a little about them.
What is an Above Ground Pool Pad?
An above ground pool pad is a piece of specially designed fabric that sits atop the sand and underneath your pool liner to provide an extra layer of defense against, grass, roots, rocks, glass, critters, and anything else in the ground that may puncture your liner and cause a leak.
Most quality pool pads, like the ones above, are made of a geo-textile material that resembles felt. However, it’s far from standard pool or poker table felt. The material is specially woven to provide the right level of protection, cushioning, and breathability to extend the life of pool liners and the above ground pools they protect.
Why You Need a Pool Pad
Sure, you can install an above ground pool and enjoy it, at least for a while, without a pool pad. However, it would only be a matter of time until the pool sprang a leak, leaving you frustrated and without a pool to enjoy on a hot summer day.
In addition to rocks and roots, beetles, moles, groundhogs, and other critters can do a number to the bottom side of an above ground pool. The ground beneath is moist, which attracts roots, bugs, and just about everything else.
With a pool pad, you can create a barrier and provide your above ground pool with the added protection it needs to stay looking and functioning its best.
What to Look for in a Pool Pad
Most pool pads are pretty similar, but there are some specific qualities every great pool pad should possess, such as:
- Tough and Durable Construction
A pool pad must be tough enough to defend against punctures and leaks. The best pool pads are made of a geo-textile material similar to felt. It’s thin and lightweight yet impenetrable to a variety of critters and sharp objects.
In addition to toughness, a pool pad should offer breathability and allow for air flow as well. By allowing air and water to flow through, it will keep from trapping moisture and prevent deterioration and corrosion.
- Extra Cushioning
While the primary role of a pool pad is to provide protection, a quality pool pad will offer added comfort as well. Despite being thin, they’re able to add cushioned comfort to each step and make splashing around in the pool even more enjoyable.
- Ease of Use
Last but not least, a pool pad should be easy to install and use. It should be pre-cut to the specific size of your pool and require zero measuring, cutting, or taping.
Making the Decision
Above ground pool pads may seem simple, but they’re anything but. This means, choosing the best one for your pool is anything but simple as well, at least, it used to be.
Now that you’ve learned all about above ground swimming pool pads, what to look for, and some of the best options available, you now know more than enough to pick out the right one for your pool, backyard, and needs. So, weigh your options, read this guide one more time, and protect your pool with a great pool pad today!