Don't Want to Shell Out For an Inground Swimming Pool? Here Are Some Other Options

For many, an inground swimming pool is the ultimate status symbol. But for others, a pool is less a sign of prosperity and more a place to, you know, swim. If you're one of these people, then spending a huge chunk of your yearly income on an inground pool probably doesn't appeal to you (to put it mildly).

Inground pools not only cost a lot to build, but also to maintain and insure. Besides the cost, there's also the question of space, which many homeowners simply don't have. Then there's the issue of safety, a big responsibility for pool owners - and one that many people just don't want to take on.

Fortunately, there are a few inground pool alternatives for those who like to swim, but don't want everything that comes with inground pool ownership. 

Above Ground Swimming Pools

Kid with swimming goggles smilingAbove ground pools offer many of the advantages of their inground counterparts without all the cost (or permanency). That's pretty obvious, but what might not be obvious to some is that above ground pools aren't just kiddie pools or glorified outdoor bathtubs - not anymore. Today there are some really nice designs on the market, some of which are as large as standard inground swimming pools.

Even if you buy a relatively expensive high-end above ground pool, you'll likely save a lot of money over a typical inground pool. The main reason for this is that you don't have to excavate your yard, saving on labor costs. You may even be able to install the pool yourself, though as with building your own inground pool, there are risks to installing some of the more elaborate models.

One of the real upsides to having an above ground pool is that you have the option to take it down whenever you like. You can disassemble it for the offseason (if it's not too much trouble). Or, if you decide down the road that you no longer want a pool, you can simply resell it.

Alternative Designs

If you're looking for more of an alternative inground pool rather than an alternative to inground pools, there are a lot of designs that cost less and/or take up less space.

The most straightforward solution is to simply get a smaller pool, possibly a geometric option that can be tucked away somewhere on your property. Fewer building materials equals a lower price. You'll also save on labor because there's less digging and other work required.

Pools with vinyl lining are also significantly cheaper than either concrete or fiberglass. However, keep in mind that with vinyl liner pools, you have to pay for replacement liner every so often.

Swim Spas

Swim spas such as the one endorsed by Michael Phelps are increasingly popular among people who want the health benefits of swimming without investing money and space in a full-sized pool. These spas generate a rapid current that's perfect for low-impact workouts. You can swim against it, or do other exercises like walking or weightlifting.

Swim spas are compact, usually above ground, and often made for relaxation in addition to exercise. Unfortunately, you may not save as much money as you think with one of these, as the top brands cost more than $10,000.

Swim Spa Infomercial

Rent an Inground Pool

How do you rent an inground pool? By buying a season pass to your local public pool, of course!

Okay, cheeky titles aside, it's advisable to weigh the benefits of an inground swimming pool against other things you could potentially buy with the money. Admission to a public pool is a cheap way to get your swimming fix, saving you thousands of dollars that could be applied toward, say, a vacation to someplace you've always wanted to visit.

That's what it's all about - using your resources (money and space) in a way that brings the most joy to you and your family. For many people, an inground swimming pool is the way to go. Others choose a different path.