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10 Types of Swimming Pools That’ll Keep You Cool

Ready to cool off in a backyard swimming pool? Take a look at the types of pools available, from simple kiddie pools to elaborate in-ground models.

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Kids enjoying a poolGlobalStock/Getty Images

Choosing a Backyard Swimming Pool

If you’re ready to cool off, there’s nothing better than a backyard swimming pool. But what kind of pool should it be? The options for backyard pools range from cheap, simple and temporary kiddie pools to expensive, elaborate and show-stopping in-ground pools with hot tubs, infinity edges or other special features. To decide which one is right for you and your family, take a look at these 10 types of backyard swimming pools, listed from simple to spectacular.

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Easy Fun With a Kiddie Pool

For minimal commitment and investment, a kiddie pool is as entry level as it gets. Granted, most models don’t allow adults to do much more than wet their feet. But for little kids, a simple inflatable pool will provide hours and hours of hot-weather fun. This jazzed-up model comes with a slide, a wading pool and a sprayer. Check out our other picks for best kiddie pools.

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Portable Above-Ground Pool for a Bigger Splash

If you’re not ready to commit to a permanent above-ground or in-ground pool, a temporary above-ground model is your best bet. These rigid-sided pools are larger and deeper than kiddie pools. While they might not be deep enough to swim laps, they at least ensure the grown-ups can cool off and splash around. Plus, the best above-ground pools can be taken down and stored for the winter.

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Above ground poolDigiStu/Getty Images

Permanent Above-Ground Pool for a Deeper Dive

Love the idea of a permanent pool but loathe the idea of a long, involved and expensive construction process that comes with an in-ground pool? A permanent above-ground pool with decking or a platform is a good compromise. Even the fanciest above-ground pools cost a lot less than the cheapest in-ground options.

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Backyard pool with fencekm406/Getty Images

Backyard Investment: An In-Ground Pool

If you’ve got the space and the budget, an in-ground pool is an investment in your home and your family’s lifestyle. It’s the most costly option for a backyard swimming pool, but there are a huge range of options and price points.

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Infinity PoolCaroline Mowry/Corbis/VCG/Getty Images

Infinity-Edge Pool for a Stunning Effect

If you want to take a standard in-ground pool up a notch, head to infinity and beyond! An infinity-edge pool essentially has water flowing over one edge, to create the effect of the pool blending into the surrounding landscape or setting. The water cascading over the edge makes a super-relaxing sound, too. But buyer beware: Adding an infinity edge to an in-ground pool can increase the cost by as much as 20 percent.

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Swimming laps in a poolAgrobacter/Getty Images

For Serious Swimmers: A Lap Pool

If your motivation for building an in-ground pool is primarily to exercise at home, then a lap pool might be a smart option. Lap pools are long and narrow and typically the same depth throughout — deep enough to allow average-sized adults to swim and do laps without kicking the pool bottom. A lap pool is also a good choice to consider if you’re building a pool in a narrow or shallow backyard.

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Pool saltHill Creek Pictures/Getty Images

Saltwater for a Softer Swim

Most above-ground and in-ground pools use chlorine to keep the water and pool parts clean and sanitized. A saltwater pool system uses salt to produce a less intense form of chlorine, which means the water lacks that distinctive chlorine smell. Saltwater systems are easier on hair, skin, eyes and swimwear compared to their chlorine counterparts.

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Natural poolThomas Barwick/Getty Images

Eco-Friendly Natural Pool

If you’re concerned about the effects of chlorine and saltwater pools on your health and the health of the environment, consider an innovative natural swimming pool. Chemical-free natural pools typically consist of separate pools — one for swimming, and one for filtering and cleaning the water with a combination of plants, gravel and friendly microbes.

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Plunge poolLinda Raymond/Getty Images

Plunge Pool for a Quick Dip

If you’ve got limited backyard space, or really just want to use a pool as a place to cool off and relax rather than swim and play, a plunge pool might do the trick. These small pools are typically around four feet deep and may have a bench along one or more sides. Naturally they’re much cheaper to install than a regular-sized pool, and with the money you save you could splurge on a heating system.

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Spool poolpepmiba/Getty Images

Versatility With a Spool Pool

If you’ve got a small backyard space, or yearn for a hot tub but also want a pool for exercise, look to a spool pool. A combination of “spa” and “pool,” spools are small pools with powerful jets that create a resistance current for swimming. They’re also heated so they function as a hot tub in colder weather. Prices for spools are generally higher than installing an in-ground hot tub, but cheaper than an in-ground pool.