You can get away with not using a pool ladder in your pool, but why would you want to?
In most cases, a pool ladder offers a secure and convenient way to enter and exit the water.
Ladders might not be completely necessary for inground pools as long as there’s a shallow spot to enter. But for above ground pools, you’ve pretty much got to have one.
And the good news is you can find one to fit almost any budget, so start with what you can afford.
The 10 Best Pool Ladders
#1. Intex 48-inch Wire Pool Ladder
This Intex ladder is a sturdy, safe, and basic ladder for your above ground pool. It’s made with a steel frame and high-impact, slip-resistant steps for stability and safety.
It will work with any pool with up to 48-inch walls. It’s a breeze to assemble or detach and has removable steps. This will allow you to remove the bottom ones to keep small climbers off of it when no one’s around to supervise.
The only drawback of this ladder is that it doesn’t have a top platform. This isn’t a necessary feature, but it’s something to keep in mind if you prefer having one.
#2. Vinyl Works Slide-Lock Above-Ground Ladder
- IN-POOL STEP LADDER: Step-in pool ladder with double handrails for easy, safe entry and exit into an above-ground pool. Designed and intended for use with a 48-56 inch above ground pool with up to 4.5-foot side walls and a flat bottom
True to the name, this ladder is made from rugged vinyl and has a lot of high-end features you’d expect to see on more expensive models.
It’s completely adjustable to fit pools with 48-56” walls and has a 300 lb weight capacity. And it has several safety features.
For one, it has a slide lock design so there’s no risk of slipping out of place and causing injury. Secondly, it has 4 treads on each side and an anti-skid platform.
The ladder comes in either white or taupe to match your pool’s exterior.
#3. SAFTRON 3-Step In-Ground Ladder
- 3-steps make for an easy to climb ladder
This easy-climb inground pool ladder has only 3 steps for safety and simplicity. And its reinforced steel interior gives it extra durability.
The main feature of this ladder is its polymer coating. This keeps it clean and bright despite its constant exposure to harsh chemicals. It also keeps it cool to the touch, even with the hot sun beating down on it all day.
This is one of the sturdiest and easiest to install inground pool ladders you’ll find.
#4. Aqua Select Stainless Steel Ladder
- OUT WITH THE OLD IN WITH THE NEW - Enter and exit your pool without a hassle. This is the perfect ladder to replace your old inground pool ladder. Anchors and escutcheons sold separately.
The Aqua Select Stainless Steel ladder is made for entering and exiting your inground pool safely and easily. It’s a basic model with aluminum rails and non-skid plastic steps.
This ladder has a 250 lb capacity and is made to stay close to the wall to prevent injury.
The manufacturer recommends that this ladder only be used in chlorinated pools as salt water will cause early erosion.
#5. Confer Plastics Above Ground Ladder
- HEAVY-DUTY POOL STEPS: Easily climb in and out of your above-ground pool with the Confer Swimming Pool Ladder Stair Entry System that support up to 400 pounds
The Confer Plastics Above Ground Ladder is a handsome solution to your pool entry needs. It’s a solid stair-type ladder that will support up to 400 lbs.
It’s very easy to assemble and install with snap-together construction and it attaches to your pool or deck with simple but sturdy brackets.
The four deep, skid-proof steps provide easy and safe access to the pool. And the sturdy handrails give you added stability.
#6. Confer Plastics A-Frame Ladder
This ladder offers extra stability with its wide base and extra-large platform. It’s also designed with larger than normal steps with safety tread.
The ladder is adjustable from 48 to 54 inches and has a 300 lb weight capacity.
It is made with a lockable barrier that you can roll over the outer steps when you’re not using it. This will keep little ones and unwanted guests from climbing in the pool when you’re not around.
#7. Blue Wave In-Pool Ladder
Blue Wave’s in-pool ladder is a simple, safe, and durable solution for entering and exiting your inground pool.
This ladder is constructed from heavy-duty resin that won’t rust or corrode. And it’s completely adjustable to fit decks from 48 to 54 inches tall.
The five-tread non-skid treads make it safe for climbing and its child proof barrier helps keep your pool area safe.
#8. Easy-Incline Pool Ladder
- SOLID POOL LADDER: Solid 1-piece molded pool ladder body
This above ground in-pool ladder is designed for safe entry into your 48-54-inch tall pool. It is made with four wide non-slip steps for comfort and safety.
It’s also designed with extra-high adjustable handrails for added safety and stability. Constructed with high-impact corrosion-proof material, this ladder won’t easily rust or fall apart.
We like the quick assembly and installation of this ladder. Once it’s arrived, you’ll be climbing on it in no time.
#9. Intex Steel Frame Pool Ladder
A-frame ladders like this one are great for pool owners who don’t want to bother with installation. Simply assemble the steps and set it over the side of the pool.
This model is made for smaller above ground pools up to 42 inches tall. And it’s made with slip-resistant steps and a sturdy base for extra stability.
The frame is made from coated steel for protection from the elements and resistance to corrosion.
#10. Blue Wave Stainless Steel Ladder
- Reinforced stainless steel rails
This in-pool ladder for above ground pools is built to last. Its steps and rails are all made from reinforced stainless steel and its pivoting bottom accommodates even sloped pool floors.
The extra-wide steps are made with deep, non-skid treads for extra safety. And the ladder itself will fit any pool up to 54 inches deep.
This ladder comes with everything you need for secure installation and is backed by a one-year warranty.
Types of Pool Ladders
Although you’ll probably see a lot of different variations, there are really only 3 basic types of pool ladders: A-frame, deck, and in-pool.
A-frame ladders are the most popular type of ladder for above ground pools. They get their name from their “A” shape and set right over the pool wall so that there’s a set of steps going into and coming out of the pool.
Pool stairs are a variation on A-frame ladders. These have more solid stair steps outside the pool or on both sides.
A-frame ladders might require some assembly, but most require no installation to the pool itself so they’re easy to take down and store for winter.
Deck ladders are another type of ladder for above ground pools. If you have decking around your pool, you can attach these ladders to it for climbing down into the pool.
These require some installation, which should be done carefully to ensure stability.
In-pool ladders are most often used for inground pools, but you can also find some for above ground pools as well.
These are attached to the pool surrounding and the pool wall for easy entry into the water.
Benefits of Using an Above Ground Pool Ladder
If you’re looking at adding a pool ladder to your above ground pool, you might have already tried using it without one. If this is the case, you can probably guess what the benefits are!
Climbing over your pool wall can be a bit of a hassle, particularly if it’s a larger model. You may have to boost your kids over the side or just throw them in.
This isn’t fun for very long before most people decide there’s an easier way.
Safety is the most important and most obvious benefit of using an above ground pool ladder. Imagine children being unable to safely enter and exit the pool or people slipping around, trying to climb over the top.
Additionally, many above ground pool ladders are equipped with safety features like removable bottom steps or locking gates.
Less stress on your pool walls
The bodyweight of people climbing on your pool walls can break them down and cause them to start sagging over time. A pool ladder will help preserve the structure for much longer.
3 Considerations When Choosing a Pool Ladder
The materials your pool ladder is made of makes a difference in the safety, stability, and years it will last. Most pool ladders are constructed from resin, steel, or aluminum.
Steel is the strongest of the three but it can also cost quite a bit more and it might not come in the options you want. Resin is a pretty tough material as well and can last quite a while as long as it’s stored away during the off-season.
Aluminum is also not a bad choice, but it tends to corrode worse than other materials over time.
Size of Pool
A lot of ladders are adjustable, especially the ones for above ground pools, but it’s important to pay careful attention to the manufacturer’s specs.
Most importantly, measure the height of your pool walls to make sure you get a ladder that’s a good fit.
Type of Use
The type of ladder you buy will depend a lot on how it’s used.
For example, if you have small children that will be using it, you might want to buy one with added safety features. Some of those include removable steps and locking gates.
Size of Swimmers
It’s important to pay attention to the amount of weight your pool ladder will hold and consider whether or not you’ll have larger swimmers.
Most ladders hold at 225 lbs, but there are a lot on the market that hold a lot more. There are even some heavy-duty models that will hold up to 500 lbs.
You’ll probably pay a little more for these, but it’s a necessary consideration for safety and the life of the ladder.
Tips for Pool Ladder Safety
Nobody wants to think of the things that can go wrong in a swimming pool. And a pool ladder is often a good way to avoid injuries.
However, as a responsible pool owner, you’ll obviously want to take the right precautions to make sure that’s the case.
For one thing, read the installation instructions thoroughly and use all the hardware needed in order to make the ladder as secure as possible.
Also, consider buying a ladder with safety features, such as removable steps or a gate that locks over them. If that’s not an option, you can opt for removing the ladder from the pool when it’s not in use, especially if you don’t have a locking fence around it.
Pool Ladder FAQs
How do I stop my pool ladder from floating?
Most pool ladders come with everything you need to make them safe and sturdy. However, there are some tips you can use to secure them even more.
A common problem for ladders that don’t attach to the pool wall is floating, especially if they’re lighter weight or made out of resin. For these, you might have to take extra measures to weigh them down.
Most of these are made with hollow compartments that you can fill with sand. You’ll simply find the capped holes and fill the bottom step with as much sand as it will hold.
To secure these a little more, you can also make sandbags out of hot water bottles that you can lay on the bottom steps. Or you can use plastic waterproof dumbbells.
How do you secure a pool ladder to a deck?
Your deck ladder should come with all the hardware you need in order to secure it in place. But it’s possible to misplace some pieces or simply need to reinforce the attachment at some point.
To do that, you’ll just need some metal mounting flanges, a drill or screwdriver, a level, and a socket wrench.
First, you’ll slide the top ladder legs into the flange cups and hang the ladder into the pool so that the rubber stops rest against the side.
Next, you’ll use a level to straighten up the steps.
Now, screw the bolts into the deck. If it’s a wooden deck, you can just use an electric screwdriver. But if it’s concrete, you’ll need to use a mason drill and socket wrench to attach it.
Finally, tighten the fastening bolts on the flange with a socket wrench.
How much weight can a pool ladder hold?
The amount of weight a pool ladder can hold depends entirely on the product. Almost all of them are designed to hold at least 225 lbs, but some are even stronger.
The middle class of these hold up to 300lbs, and the heavy-duty models go up to 400 or 500 lbs.
If this is something you need in a pool ladder, check the manufacturer’s specs carefully for weight limits. But also read all the online reviews you can find to see if they hold up to their promises.
Keep in mind that pool stairs tend to be the strongest entry methods. They’re just a little more solidly constructed and reinforced.
Picking a pool ladder shouldn’t be too difficult. Just be sure to keep certain considerations in mind.
If you’re on a budget, start out with one in your price range and then move on to a better model when that one starts to break down.
Most importantly, keep the safety of your swimmers in mind and you’re sure to make the right choice.