The Complete Pool Owner’s Guide to Swimming Pool Accessories
Whether you’re new to owning a pool or have had one before, swimming pool accessories are always changing. This guide will talk you through all the above ground pool supplies you’ll need to maintain, clean, and enjoy your pool.
Importance of Pool Accessories
Swimming pool accessories have several roles to fill. Certain pool supplies help with upkeep and maintenance, ensuring you and your fellow swimmers get the most enjoyable experience possible out of the pool.
Other pool stuff works to maintain pool quality and also keep swimmers safe. These are basic swimming pool accessories like:
But still, other swimming pool accessories take for granted that you’ve got a safe, well-groomed pool to swim in and prioritize relaxation and entertainment.
Most Popular Accessories
Like anything else, pool stuff goes through trends. Here are some of the current favorites.
Inflatable Lounge Chair
A reliable pool lounger is a swimming pool accessory every good pool needs. They’re ideal for lounging in the sun or resting between lengths.
Whether you are the kind of daring individual who enjoys reading in the pool or simply want to sunbathe, inflatable lounge chairs can be put to a variety of uses.
Depending on the amount of money you want to spend, some inflatable lounge chairs include features like sunshades and backrests. Look for the brands Doheny or Intex to find the best options.
There is also a trend at the moment for inflatable drinks holders, which can be nestled next to your lounge chair for an even more relaxing experience.
Waterfall Fountains add a touch of elegance to your pool. A good, affordable model will work across a range of pools.
Ideally, this swimming accessory should also minimize noise and set up without complications. After all, no one wants to spend hours wrestling with an instructions manual, however relaxing the resultant pool supplies.
One benefit of fountains, besides their aesthetic value, is the noise, which can offer a soothing backdrop to fall asleep to. They’re also popular with younger swimmers, who enjoy chasing each other around and through the waterfall.
We love a multi-purpose pool supply, and hammock beds can be incredibly multi-purpose. They’re lightweight and comfortable for lounging, but a well-constructed one also doubles as an exercise saddle for more active swimmers.
Less athletic swimmers will also enjoy a good hammock bed as an alternative to a pool float, provided the mesh is comfortable.
When looking for hammock beds, we recommend investigating the inflation and deflation process. Swimming pool accessories like this should inflate promptly and deflate efficiently so that they take up a minimum of space in your storage unit of choice.
Inflatable tubes are a staple of any swimming pool worth its salt. These days we’re more likely to swim lengths, but growing up we loved floating on inflatable tubes. And while some things about childhood have changed, we’re convinced this remains a constant.
When choosing inflatable tubes, you have your pick of selection. Since inflatable tubes are ubiquitous, they aren’t the kind of swimming pool accessory that needs to cost the earth.
Our recommendation is to find an affordable inflatable tube with colors you appreciate and buy as many as you think you need. If they get damaged, you can replace them without burning a hole in anyone’s savings. And if they don’t, young and old swimmers alike will get hours of enjoyment out of them.
Accessories for Maintenance
There’s more to a pool than swimming in it. These pool supplies won’t enhance your swim in the sense of providing entertainment, but they will ensure the pool is a place you want to swim.
Swimming Pool Skimmer
A good skimmer is one of those pool supplies every pool owner needs, especially if your above-ground pool is surrounded by trees. Skimmers work like oversized butterfly nets, but instead of catching butterflies, they help you lift leaves out of your swimming pool.
They’re vital for pools flanked by trees that drop seeds, like maple keys. You can trust us on this because every summer, our trees drop maple keys by the pound, and even though we spend hours skimming them out of the pool, the pool nets still get clogged and overfull.
Costs for skimmers vary, but they’re reasonably inexpensive, which is convenient since you get a lot of use out of this pool supply.
But even with a skimmer, you can only do so much. That’s why to keep on top of leaves and other debris, the other swimming pool accessory you need is an effective vacuum.
These are more expensive than pool skimmers, and depending on which one you opt for, the price can vary considerably.
When choosing a pool vacuum, you’re spoiled for choice. Intex makes a free-ranging model, which is nice because it means you can hand over the tricky business of pool vacuuming to Intex’s watery robot and spend the afternoon doing something else, like enjoying the pool with friends and neighbors.
Swimming Pool Accessory Brush
A swimming pool brush helps clean the sides of the pool and, depending on the design, can treat:
In other words, it’s suitable both for in-ground and above-ground pools. One reason we recommend a pool brush is because some models have an inbuilt ability to find and retrieve metal objects before your pool vacuum does.
If you’ve ever lost a watch, ring, or necklace to swimming, and we certainly have, then you’ll appreciate this pool accessory.
Swimming Pool Cover
If you have an in-ground pool or opt to keep an above-ground pool up over the winter, then you need a swimming pool cover.
Prices vary depending on the quality of the cover and the type of pool you need one for. As a rule of thumb, covers for in-ground pools are more expensive than above-ground pools.
Accessories for Recreation
Pools are also about relaxing and enjoying the water. Retailers know it too, and there are hundreds of swimming pool accessories out there that will help you relax by or in the pool.
Portable Floating Bluetooth Speaker
Previously, you needed to turn up the speakers in the family room to an alarming decibel and hope your neighbors were okay with the noise if you wanted music while swimming. Bluetooth speakers change all that.
This swimming pool accessory allows you to keep your music at a reasonable level while still getting the most out of your speakers. Depending on which Bluetooth speaker you use, some include an LED light option to light up the water as well as provide a soundtrack.
Pool Volleyball and Basketball Set
Volleyball and basketball are poolside staples. Various pool stuff exists that makes these games you can play in and out of the water.
Our favorite is this inflatable pool float. This swimming pool accessory includes inflatable nets that float on the water's surface and allow water babies to enjoy their favorite games without leaving the pool.
The set has an uncomplicated set-up and is suitable for all ages. It’s also reasonably priced, so you can stock up on multiple nets and get a proper watery tournament going without worrying about the cost.
Pool noodles are another swimming pool accessory that is ubiquitous. They’re ideal for:
- Exercise classes
And, of course, pool noodles make excellent extemporized swords for watery duels.
Like other swimming pool accessories for recreation, there are various noodles available, and while some can be expensive, most of them are reasonably priced. Luckily this is one accessory where price doesn’t necessarily reflect quality. As long as it floats, it’s doing its job. So, we recommend picking a color you like and not being swayed by more extravagant pool supply options.
Accessories to Improve Quality of Pool
Finally, in addition to pool stuff for maintenance and recreation, you need to consider pool supplies that improve your pool’s quality.
Whether you need to maintain an above-ground or in-ground swimming pool, chlorine is a must-have swimming pool accessory.
It’s not glamorous, and it won’t engender hours of fun in the sun, but it ensures that your pool is chemically balanced. You need the pool to be balanced chemically to ensure it's safe to swim in. Shocking the swimming pool adds the necessary chlorine to the water while simultaneously removing harmful bacteria.
If the water looks cloudy and you’re reluctant to send the kids out swimming, shocking the pool will help the water clear over the next half hour or so.
The other advantage of shock is that it can mitigate mild cases of algae. And while anyone who swam in a lake growing up can vouch for algae being broadly harmless, it’s not aesthetically pleasing to look at.
Chemical Test Strips
Chlorine isn’t the only swimming pool accessory you need to keep your pool ready to use. We talked about balancing the pool earlier, but knowing exactly what chemical to add and how much to put in the water shouldn’t be left to guesswork.
Chemical testing strips let you know how much of what chemicals to add to the water so that it’s safe for swimming. A good swimming pool test strip checks:
- Alkaline levels
- Pool pH
- Free chlorine
- Total chlorine
- Water hardness
- Cyanuric acid levels
If you use bromine instead of chlorine to manage your pool, it will measure for that, too. All you need to do is dip the strip in the water, watch what colors it turns and compare them against the results chart.
From there, you add the relevant chemicals as necessary, let sit for approximately half an hour, and invite friends and family over to swim.
As you’ve no doubt noticed by now, there’s a lot of pool stuff involved in enhancing the swimming experience as well as maintaining your pool. That makes having a storage unit crucial.
These vary from pool sheds with shelving and hooks to organizer bins. Depending on how many swimming pool accessories you have lying around, the choice you make will vary.
Children are another consideration. You aren’t going to want to store the pool chemicals next to the inflatable tubes if there’s a chance curious and young fingers might get into them.
But if you opt for a storage unit, having a designated pool storage area helps. Setting this up either outside or on a tiled indoor area will help keep the surrounding area neat, especially if you have soggy people tramping back and forth, rifling through the pool supplies.
As with other pool essentials, prices here can vary wildly but may not reflect the usability of the storage container. To ensure you get something functional, look for storage containers that:
- Hold a significant amount of items
- Are sturdy
This last is crucial if you opt for an outdoor storage container since you’re unlikely to keep that container outside during the winter.
Heaters are a matter of taste. We grew up swimming in water so cold we got headaches. But our parents could never get into water warmer than the average bath.
If the latter refers to you or any of your guests, invest in a pool heater. Aside from anything else, it’s much more fun coming up from a dive sans headache.
But because your above-ground pool isn’t a lake, heaters also have another important role to play. More than improving the comfort of reluctant swimmers, they keep your pool running for longer.
That means that instead of only getting a summer’s worth of swims in, your pool season can start as early as April or May and end as late as October.
There are various kinds of swimming pool heaters, including:
- Solar-powered heaters
- Propane/natural gas heaters
- Electric pump
All have advantages and disadvantages and depending on the choice, you’ll notice the cost varies significantly. So take time to weigh the pros and cons of each before making your decision.
While maintaining and even enjoying a pool involves a lot of paraphernalia, most of it is reasonably priced. And remember, not all of it is necessary, either.
Once you’ve got a handle on what tools you need to keep your pool in working order, you can start exploring swimming pool accessories for relaxation and other pool supplies that can cut down your maintenance involvement. And once you’ve done that, don’t forget to pick out a favorite swimsuit and make the most of the pool!