This summer we had decided to graduate from the little kiddie pools to a pool large enough for the family to jump in. Both Michael, 8, and Daniel 5, were taking swimming lessons at the YMCA, and really wanted a pool that looked like a pool ~ not the usual small fill & dump kind.
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Our whole family went on the pool-buying excursion and checked out all the various pools available. We looked at the "blow-up" pools, the "hard-sided" pools, and combination pools. Since many of the larger family size pools required a base of sand - usually at least 800 pounds of sand, we decided to steer away from those types of pools.
The Easy Set Pools do not require a sand base even though they are quite large. The Easy Set Pools come in the pool sizes of 12' x 30" (diameter x depth) which holds approximately 1,353 gallons of water, the 15' x 30" size that holds 2,116 gallons, the 18" x 36" with it's capacity to hold 3,735 gallons, and the 24' x 42" which holds a whopping 8,807 gallons. As you can see, the size options available are quite good ~ especially when you consider the fact that none of them require the use of sand for a base.
All of the Easy Set Pools come with the 1/6 Horse Power filter pump and filter hoses. The 15' pool also includes a pool ladder and ground cloth. The 18' pool also includes a fitted pool cover. Go for the 24' pool and you get all of the above plus your filter pump jumps up to a High Volume 1/2 Horse Power size. I must admit that is a great selling point to see that for one price you get everything you need to set up your pool ~ the larger sizes come with additional accessories, but they are not vital to setting your pool up if you do not have the extra money on hand to pay extra for accessories on the smaller sized pools.
Another selling point of these pools is that the box and directions tell you that you can have your pool set up and ready for adding water in as little as 10 minutes for the 12' pool, to 15 minutes for the 12' and 18', and 30 minutes for the 24' pool. We went with the 18' x 36" pool, and I was able, with my boys help only, to have the ground cloth laid down, the pool set out and the filter hoses attached to the pool and pump within a 15 minute time period.
We had an electric air pump to inflate the pool's top ring ~ I think it would be totally impossible to do this job properly with a foot or hand pump ~ do yourself the major favor and get an electric air pump!!! There was no problem inflating the ring fully ~ this step took about 10 minutes or so. If you were real organized I guess you could be filling the ring while you were adjusting the pool liner around and keep the set up to the stated 15 minute time period.
The hardest thing about setting the pool up was just getting it out of the box and spread out ~ the pool is made of heavy weight vinyl and it is quite a hefty bulky and hard to manage pile of folded up blue vinyl. Heavy vinyl on a warm day does not easily slide over itself either ~ be prepared to be doing some tugging and pulling and hefting the pool around a bit!!!
There is a video that takes only about 10 minutes to watch prior to setting up the pool, but the directions that come with the pool do suffice if you are "handy" with these sorts of things. I did watch the video after I had laid out the pool and attached the hoses, but before I started to add any water ~ I wanted to make sure I had done the set up properly. I did not want to have to add some 3,755 gallons of water only to have to drain it out and start over!!!
We filled the pool in 4 days time. We have a well and I did not want to overtax the pump or water reserves so I broke down the fill up time over the course of 4 days. If you have city water you could fill the pool at one time, over a few hours, but be aware that your water useage bill will surely go up for that month you used so many extra gallons. If you have a well like we do, you may want to spread the fill up over several days.
Sounds good so far, huh? Well, I'll move on to the problems and let you decide whether you think this is the pool for you.
The first problem I encountered was that the inflatable top ring did not rise like depicted in the video or on the written directions. It did rise, and as it did, you needed to make minor adjustments to the liner to keep the top ring toward the inside ~ that way as the sides rose with the water, the ring stayed "on top and leveled out." The problem was that the sides becoming heavy with water bulged outward and did not allow the ring to "float" up higher. In essence, when all was said and done, the sides of the pool were only about 75% of the height they were supposed to be at. My 36" deep pool was now more like 27" deep. :o(
The second problem I saw with this inflatable ring type pool was that when my kids were in the pool they could not lean over on the ring. Michael, who is 8, came over to the side ~ was on his knees and leaned his top 1/2 of his body onto the ring. Well, the side of the pool smushed down enough to allow the pool water to start cascading over the side ~ Michael was actually washed out over the side of the pool in a great gush of water. Thankfully he did not get hurt, but the force of the water swept him right out of the pool ~ a smaller child may have been swept up in the torrent more forcefully, swallowing water as they went. That gush of water lowered the pool water significantly and I had to add enough water to bring it back up several inches.
The pool comes with a ladder for a reason I can see now ~ there is no way this pool would support anyone getting in over the sides ~ the pool would be losing water all the time this way. The ladder that does come with the pool is painted metal piping and plastic steps which you do need to assemble. The ladder goes up and over the pool without ever touching the inflatable ring. It has 2 feet inside and 2 feet outside. It is fairly sturdy, but any horseplay would cause it to tip over (in either direction).
A third problem I had was that because the pool sides did not fully rise, the filter hoses were stuck in the outward bulging part of the side walls. Because of how the sides were, the filter did not work properly, with only a small amount of water being run through the filter at any one time. The filter just could not get the force of water volume that is was designed to get.
The fourth and last problem I dealt with was that the inflatable ring must have developed a small leak somewhere in it's great expanse and started losing air. It did not keep a tight ring shape any longer and was not only lopsided, but more of a frustration than ever! Adding air worked for a short period of time, but within a few hours it would be 1/2 deflated again. There is a repair kit that comes with this pool, but you have more patience than me to try and find a small hole or crack or cut in a ring that is 18' across!!!
I no longer wanted this pool. I wanted to get rid of it and get another different pool!!! I told my husband I was taking the pool back ~ we'd had it less than a month ~ went out and pulled the drain plug. Once I had the water out I just pushed and shoved and folded the pool as best as possible and we tossed it, with filter pump still attached, into the back of my van. Off to Toys R Us we went. Once there we stuffed it all into a cart the best we could and rolled it on in to the service desk.
They took it back without any problem. I handed them my receipt and they handed me back a wad of cash. While there, 2 other people came in returning their pools. Come to find out the service representative told us that they have had more of those Easy Set Pools returned in the last few weeks than you can imagine, and under their breath muttered that they wished Toys R Us would not stock them anymore. They said that they do a big business in selling pools, but just about as many Easy Set Pools come back as what gets sold. So I know I am not a lone isolated case here. I know I have seen other Easy Set Pools in a few people's yard and they all had those bulging sides ~ then a couple weeks later the pool was gone. Hmmm, wonder why!!! lol
Avoid Easy Set Pools. The inflatable ring may be a novel idea, but it is one that does not work.
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Amount Paid (US$): $269.95
Type of Toy: Other
Age Range of Child: Whole Family