Summer is synonymous with swimming, and there is no better way to get your swim time in than with a backyard pool like Intex’s 24-foot x 12-foot x 52-inch Ultra Frame Pool Set. This affordable and convenient pool is an above-ground style, meaning it sits on top of the ground and requires no excavation. This particular model straddles the line between a budget inflatable pool and a professionally installed hard-sided pool. My family set up the pool in our yard, filled it to the brim, and spent hours splashing to see how Intex Ultra Frame pool stands up to kids and adults who love to swim. Spoiler: It exceeded our expectations.
Setup Process: Bring some friends
Once the ground was ready, assembly only took us an hour or two. It’s possible with two people, but it helps to have three or four. We found that the instructions are very detailed and easy to follow as long as you read them carefully. The instructions are written for a variety of pool sizes, so be sure to follow the directions for your size pool. Besides written instructions, you also can find guidance online that steps you through the process.
The frame snaps together quickly and requires no outside tools to assemble thanks to Intex’s Easy Lock System, which uses a push-button connector to assemble the poles. They slide together and, more importantly, come part easily. The only difficulty we encountered was inserting the metal side support bars into the pool liner. These bars were long (24 feet for our model) and were difficult to push into the liner. After struggling with one side, we coated the metal bars with a thin layer of cooking oil, and they slid right into the liner with ease.
Design: Easy on the eyes
The Intex pool is large, with plenty of room for up to four adults or six kids to splash and play. Though it’s long enough (24 feet) that you could swim short laps or swim underwater after rings, this pool is really best for splashing, floating, or playing games. It’s not particularly wide, at 12 feet, but our kids still had ample space to play Marco Polo and even water volleyball.
Though not as elegant as some in-ground pools, this Intex has a contemporary appearance that sets it apart from the typical pop-up pool. The exterior is a slate gray color with a matching brushed steel frame. White trim marks the waterline on both the inside and the outside. The interior, like most pools, is checkered white and blue. If you had to clear and level an area for the pool, keep in mind that your backyard might look like an eyesore until you finish the landscaping around it. You might choose to fill in the surrounding area with crushed stone or grass or even build a deck around the pool to enclose it and allow you to sit poolside.
Our overall impression of the Intex Ultra Frame Pool Set was that it’s rock-solid. The powder-coated steel frame was sturdy and did not collapse when kids clung to the sides. The frame does have some flex, but it was engineered that way. When you are splashing and creating mini-waves, the corners of the frame will slide to absorb the force of the water. This reduces the chance the frame will break in the middle of a vigorous game of water volleyball.
The puncture-resistant three-ply pool liner feels rugged. We had zero leaks throughout the summer. The kids regularly bumped into and kicked the sides when they were playing with no effect. We even accidentally hit the side of the pool with a shovel, and there wasn’t even a scuff.
Filter Performance: Crystal-clear water
This pool is equipped with a 2,100 Gph Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump that does an outstanding job at filtering the pool. It uses two inlet ports and one outlet port to circulate all the water effectively. We filled our pool with pond water, and the water was crystal clear after only a few 12-hour filtration cycles. The filter uses Intex’s Hydro Aeration Technology, which pumps air into the water during filtering and helps to remove sediment and other small debris.
An automatic timer allowed us to turn on and off the pump each day. We were able to set the filter to run up to 12 hours. It also has a pressure gauge that we checked during filtration. If the pressure got too high, then we knew it is time to backwash the filter and clean out the sand. The filtration unit has six functions, including standard filtration, backwash, rinse, re-circulate, waste/drain, and closed. This versatility makes it easy to clean the pool, clean the sand, and drain the pool.