Pool owners will often obsess over the parts they buy for their swimming pool. They’ll spend hours upon hours researching pumps, pool liners, and will even spend a considerable amount of time looking for the best base rails and plates. The one part of any above ground pool, however, that often gets overlooked is the pool pad. And that’s unfortunate because this part may be simple, but it’s vitally important.

A good pad not only provides for softer footing, but it protects the pool from stones and other sharp materials that may work themselves up through the ground. Therefore, having the best above ground pool pad will not only make the pool more enjoyable to use, but it will also make the pool safer to use and protect the pool in the long run. That’s why we’ve selected ten of the best models that are currently being manufactured.

Best Above Ground Pool Pads

10Liner Life GP18R White Liner Pad

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Available in different sizes from 12-feet in diameter all the way to 30-feet in diameter, this quality above ground pool pad is designed to provide the protective layer a pool liner needs. Designed to be installed on top of a sand base, this product is designed to help prevent rocks from working their way up to the surface. This pad is also extremely soft to the bottom of the feet and helps to eliminate vinyl liner leaks. This product is precut to the size specified and can be installed without any additional cutting or taping. This makes this quality liner pad good for just about any above ground pool.

9GLI Armor Shield Pool Liner Pad

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Providing an invaluable protective layer between the ground and your vinyl liner, this quality Gorilla Pad is designed to be tough and durable. It’s manufactured out of a geotextile fabric that allows moisture to move through it and is resistant to mold and milder. When properly placed, this liner pad will protect the bottom of the pool from rocks and other sharp objects that may work themselves up through the ground, and it always remains comfortable to bare feet. And it also prevents convective heat loss through the soles of the feet thanks to its thick insulating padding.

8Round Armor Shield Floor Pad

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This product is available in 24 different sizes, from 10×15-foot oval all the way up to 33-feet round pads, so there’s a pad for just about any above ground pools. This product is designed to be extremely easy to use and to last the pool owner for many years to come. It can be placed between your vinyl liner and either a sand or soil base and doesn’t require a whole lot of prep work to be installed. Once it is installed, however, it will provide a soft cushioning for bare feet and protect the bottom of the liner against mold, mildew, salts, oils, and tears.

7Gorilla 18-Foot Round Pool Floor Padding

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Anyone who has had an above ground pool for a while probably remembers the old foam floor padding that used to be used for pool installations. Fortunately, this is far from that type of foam padding. This product is instead made with quality geotextile materials that were originally designed for protecting trash dumpster liners but was repurposed for use in pools. This means that this product is extremely tough and will resist rocks and other sharp objects that may try to work their way up through the ground. It’s also extremely soft, and unlike foam pads, don’t require taping or cutting to be installed.

6Elephant Guard Armor Pad

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Designed to be used with a sand base and custom fit for 24-foot round pools, this liner pad is strong enough to protect your pool liner for years to come. It not only prevents rocks, grass and roots that work their way up through the ground from puncturing the bottom of your pool, but it also acts as a second layer of protection against water leakage. It’s made out of one piece of material, and it doesn’t require being measured, cut or taped. All of these features make this above ground pool pad a great one for anyone looking to replace their existing pad or installing a new one.

5Blue Wave Round Pad

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Available in a wide variety of different sizes from 12-foot round all the way up to 33-feet, there’s a Blue Wave pool pad for just about any above ground pool. This product is designed to be paired with your current liner to provide a layer of cushioning that’s soft on the feet and is resistive to rocks and tears. It’s placed on top of a sand bed for stability and is designed to provide years of service. This product just doesn’t prevent rocks from being worked up through the bottom of the liner, however. It also helps prevent liner leaks and is soft on the feet.

4Rhino Pad 27-Foot Liner Pad

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When a liner pad isn’t being used, all kinds of bad things can happen. Roots and grass can grow up through your liner, and rocks can also damage the bottom of the liner. This Rhino Pad is designed to solve that problem by providing a protective layer between the ground or sand and the bottom of the liner. This 27-foot model is designed to fit round above ground pools of that size and will help protect the bottom of the liner for years to come. It’s made out of a geotextile fabric that’s composed of 45% industrial recycled materials and 45% post-consumer materials.

3Liner Life White Liner Pad

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This white liner pad is designed to be easy to install and to protect the bottom of the liner from all kinds of things that could cut through it. It will resist grass or weeds, rocks working their way up through the soil, or even bits of glass that may have been overlooked by the pool site preparation. It’s designed to resist foot imprints being placed into the sand located below the liner and to stop vinyl liner leaks. This product can be purchased in a variety of different sizes including 18×33-feet oval, 16×32-feet, 15×30-feet or 12×24 feet. All of which makes it a great pad for just about anyone.

2Rhino Guard 21-Foot Round Pool Liner Pad

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This above ground pool pad is manufactured by Rhino Guard, a company that’s well-known in the swimming pool industry. That’s because this company is known for manufactured liner shields that really do a good job at protecting the bottom of pools, all while remaining comfortable to work on bare feet. This pad can be installed either on the bare ground or can be placed on top of a bed of sand for stability. It’s made of a geotextile fabric that allows moisture to move through it and is resistant to mildew and mold. And of course, it defends the bottom of the liner from rock or glass punctures or from plants growing up through it.

1GLI 18×33 Oval Armor Shield

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This high-quality 18×33 foot oval liner shield is designed to protect the bottom of the pool from hazards, all while remaining soft to your bare feet. It prevents rocks, roots, and grass from working up through the bottom of your pool and bursting through the liner. It’s made out of a material that’s not only resistive to punctures but is also resistant to mold and mildew. This pad is easy to install and can be installed either between the ground and the vinyl liner or it can be installed on a sand bed. And since it’s made from a geotextile material, moisture can easily move through it and into the ground.

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Above Ground Pool Pad Guide

Just like a proper foundation is necessary for a home to be stable, an above ground pool needs a proper pad. It doesn’t matter how much the consumer spends on pumps, rails, and other pieces of equipment for their pool—if they don’t use the right pool pad, then it’s all for naught. Not only do these pads prevent stones from hurting swimmer’s feet, but they prevent roots and stones from puncturing through the liner. And we all know just how expensive replacing a liner can be, so consumers should choose the best above ground pool pad available for their pool.

How can a person determine if a pool pad is right for their above ground pool set-up? It isn’t difficult, especially since we’re going to lay out the basics of these pads right in this guide. After reading this guide, just about everyone will have all of the information they need to buy the best pool pad for their above ground pool. Towards that goal, let’s get started.

How To Purchase An Above Ground Pool

Step One: Purchase The Proper Size

The first step in choosing the best pool pad is to find the one that’s the proper size and shape for your above ground pool. Although most people realize that the pool pad should conform to the size and shape of the pool’s bottom to form the perfect base—some people choose pool pads that are too small or ones that are the wrong shape. Just like the pool owners who try to use square tarps to cover round above ground pools, these people are just asking for trouble. An improperly sized or shaped pool pad will allow sedge grass and other weeds to come up through the pool, so be sure to buy one that fits properly.

Step Two: Choose The Proper Material

Even though pool pads are made out of a variety of different materials nowadays, the consumer should make sure they choose a pad that’s made with an especially durable type of material. One of our favorite materials that makes us happy when we see pool pads made from it is polyester-geotextile fabric. Why do we love this material? We love it because it seems impervious to nut grasses, stones and roots that seem to puncture lesser quality materials. And it’s not just tough, but it’s also soft. We haven’t met any swimmers who didn’t enjoy walking on the bottom of a pool that had this pool pad material underneath it.

How To Properly Set Up A Pool With A Pool Pad

Now that we understand how to purchase the best pool pad, it’s time to properly install that so that it forms a stable base for the pool. Since any pool pad will fail to do its job if it’s improperly installed—no matter how good it is—it’s always best to install the pad using professionally accepted standards. Below are some tips for doing just that and installing a pool pad properly.

Before Beginning The Installation

Before even beginning to install a pool pad, the ground needs to be completely level and free of any surface stones. If the ground isn’t perfectly leveled, then it can cause significant problems down the line, which may end up causing damage to the pool down the line. It’s also a good idea to spray an herbicide before laying down the sand foundation to discourage any nut grass growth.

Step One: Form A Solid Base

The first step that the pool owner should do to provide a proper base is to lay down a 3-inch bed of sand from one pool wall to the next pool wall. After that sand base is installed, the properly-cut and prepared pool liner is then placed on top of that bed of level sand.

Step Two: Attach The Wall Foam & Pool Cove

The next step is to spray glue or duct tape the wall foam of the pool to the pool’s metal wall. Begin at the top of the pool wall. Now remove the adhesive backing from the pool-cove and stick it to the metal pool wall. Its installation should be directly on top of the liner floor pad.

One Final Thought Before We Go

And that’s all there is to buying and installing a pool pad for an above-ground pool. As we promised, the process isn’t very difficult and just about anyone should be able to set up their pool pad with a minimum of fuss.