Above Ground Pool Liner Buying Guide (2023)

Choosing a pool liner is an important decision for above ground pool owners. However, with so many choices, it can be difficult to know which liner you need for your pool. How do you know you are the right size? And what about the different types of liners? Read on to learn how to choose the best vinyl liner for your above ground pool.

Pool shape and size

Above ground swimming pool linersare available in round or oval shapes to fit over 30 standard sizes, from 12' round to 18'x40' oval. The vast majority of above ground pool owners can easily find a vinyl liner readily available to suit the size and shape of their pool. To ensure you are ordering the correct size, measure your pool diameter (round pools) or length and width (oval pools) from wall to wall, just below the water level.

In addition to the diameter or area measurement of the pool, above-ground liners come in three different depths: 48", 52" or 54". The overall depth measurement is from flat bottom to the top of the wall. Or, in the case of beaded liners, from flat bottom to the splint Avoid taking the measurement from the raised bight around the perimeter of the pool floor.

BONUS-TIPP:Depth measurement is an important part of purchasing a liner. Overlapping liners can be pulled further over the wall for a more snug fit. However, the depth (or height) of a beaded liner or a one-piece liner cannot be adjusted. Your measured depth may be up to 1 inch greater than the liner you purchased. However, the measured depth must not be less than the size of the liner, otherwise wrinkles may occur.

Types of pool liners

Replacement pool liners are available in three types. They can be recognized by the different way they are attached to the top of the pool wall. The three types of above ground pool liners are:

Overlap pool liner

Overlapping pool liners fold over the pool wall and are held in place with plastic U-channel pieces called coping strips. The excess material on the outside of the wall can be trimmed off with a razor or scissors after the basin has been filled with water. Overlap liners are the cheapest type of pool liner.

Pearl pool liner

A beaded pool liner has a thick top edge or bead. This ridge snaps into a rail or groove at the top of the pool wall. Beaded liners often have a printed tile border at the waterline to mimic the look of an in-ground pool. One can easily convert a pool with an overlapping liner to a pool with a beaded liner. All you have to do is add a bead receiver for above ground pools.

Unibead Poolfolie

Unibead (also called J-Hook) pool liners have a thick, curved edge that hangs at the top of a pool wall. This type of liner can replace both overlapping and beaded pool liners. They are the easiest type of liner to install. Because a Unibead liner hangs evenly all the way around and cannot slip like an overlapping liner, they are available with printed tile borders. You can also use Unibead liners for beaded cymbals - simply snap off the inverted J hook and you have a standard beaded liner edge.

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Additional information on liner types

All of the previously mentioned liner types are only used on above ground flat bottom pools. There is a fourth type of pool liner called an expandable liner that is primarily used for doughboy pools. These are overlapping liners but are designed to stretch in place to fit a pool with a hollow bottom or a deeper area of ​​the pool.

If you have a Kayak or Fanta Sea rectangular above ground pool, you will need to purchase a special beaded liner for your pool. And for older Esther Williams or Johnny Weismuller pools, a proprietary replacement liner with a larger bead is usually used.

BONUS-TIPP:If you're not sure what type of slide you have, look under the top rail. This will help you determine if you need an overlapped, beaded, or non-beaded liner.

Pool liner colors and patterns

After you've narrowed down your choices by shape, size, depth, and attachment method, you come to the fun part - choosing yoursPool liner color and pattern.

In the early days, above ground pool liners were only available in a light blue color. Pool liners are now available in darker colors and with decorative patterns. Dark pool liners have a slight sun benefit as they absorb more heat. However, fading from the sun and chemicals can be more noticeable on darker liners than on lighter colors.

Patterned pool liners offer the benefit of hiding seams, wrinkles and debris better than a solid light blue liner, and they also add a richer hue to the water. Printed tile border patterns add another design element and expand the choices for the pool owner.

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BONUS-TIPP:To maintain the color of your liner and reduce fading, always ensure proper water balance, particularly pH and alkalinity levels. A chlorine level of less than 2.5 ppm is best. You can also shock your pool with Fresh 'N Clear's chlorine-free shock that will never fade or stain a vinyl pool liner.

Pool liner thickness

The standard thickness for an above ground pool liner is 20 mils, which is 20 mils or 0.508 mm. Don't be confused by those who use the gauge as a measure of liner thickness. Gauge is not an industry standard measurement for vinyl. However, it is still used by some marketers to make their pool liners appear thicker.

In addition to 20 mil liners, Leslie's also offers 25 mil liners in many styles. With 25% more material, a thicker pool liner is more resistant to punctures and abrasion, and contains more plasticizers to maintain flexibility over time.

BONUS-TIPP:When choosing your new pool liner, be sure to look for the phrase 100% virgin vinyl. This means that the liner is made without recycled vinyl waste. Pure vinyl stretches more easily and has a much longer lifespan. It also offers much greater resistance to cold, chemicals, or fading.


The warranty on an above ground vinyl pool liner is typically a one year full replacement with a 15 year pro rata warranty period. In reality, usually only one seam separation is covered, which rarely occurs with modern laser lap welding at the seams. A pool liner limited warranty does not cover fading, punctures, wrinkles or creases. Like most other warranties, they are limited to defects in materials and workmanship only. We recommend considering all other aspects of the liner before committing to a liner based on warranty alone.


When you buy a pool liner from Leslie's, the nation's largest pool supply company, you can be sure you'll find onecompetitive pricefor products of the highest quality.

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If you find a cheaper pool liner of the same size and color, keep in mind that it may be made from lower quality vinyl. It may also have lower quality stitching and beading, or misrepresent true thickness. Compare pool liner prices among the market leaders and be wary of offers that seem too good to be true.

If you're looking to replace your above ground pool liner this year, check out oursfull range of vinyl liners. If you can't find the size or pattern you're looking for, check back soon or call us at 1-800-LESLIES to check availability. Our available pool liner inventory changes rapidly, especially during the spring and summer months when demand is at its highest.

In upcoming blog posts we will look at how to install a new pool liner. We also cover the maintenance of a vinyl liner and repairs if necessary. For more information on pool liners or for help choosing the right liner for your above ground pool, call or see your local representativeLeslies Laden.


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