How Small Is Too Small for a Pool

Building an outdoor pool gives you an incredible advantage as you get to decide how many panels you’ll use and how big you’ll make your pool. You can use frames from two kids to make a gigantic pool or use half the materials from a single kit and make a much more manageable one. When making a big pool, you can go as big as your yard, but when it comes to going small, how small can you go?

Any size smaller than 8 feet by 8 feet is too small for a pool but can be ideal for a jacuzzi or a hot tub. For swimming, a pool must go beyond 10 feet on at least one side and have at least 5 feet in width. This site can be halved for children as they don’t need as much area to swim.

In this article, you will discover the size standard for swimming pools as well as the swimming standard. Moreover, you will find why a small pool can be better than a larger one. In the end, we will discuss great options for childrens’ pools that come with a pre-set size that won’t disappoint.

The Size Standard

The size standard for pools dictates that anything below 8 feet by 8 feet is too small to be called a pool. Such “pools” are better labeled “hot tub” or “jacuzzi” as the size fits the tub standard more than the pool size standard. From 8 feet to 10 feet is the grey area where a pool qualifies as a tub as well as an above-ground pool. It, however, has to be big enough to accommodate swimming before it is considered a “swimming” pool.

The Swimming Standard

If you go by the swimming standard, then any pool one can swim in is a large enough pool. Of course, this varies from person to person. One kid’s pool is another man’s puddle. To get a unified standard, we need to work with averages. 

Given that an average adult is 5 feet and 9 inches, one can double this to get decent space for one to swim. By swimming standards, a pool that’s 11 feet and 7 inches long on any side should be considered a swimming pool. Any pool smaller than this is too small and at lengths below 5 feet is not a swimming pool.

This standard can vary if applied personally. To measure your personal swimming fit for a pool, multiply your height by 2 or 2.5. This length, alongside half its width, should be a pool small enough. The depth of such a pool depends on how deep you go when swimming, but the pool must accommodate twice the length of your arm to facilitate extended arm strokes,

Why Have a Small Pool?

By now, you know that getting a pool that doesn’t cross the 8 feet mark on length or height is like getting a hot tub. It is difficult to swim in such pools, so why are brands like Intex even making kits that accommodate this size for above-ground pools? It turns out that there are several perks (and reasons) to having pools that fall below the swimming standard but meet the size standard.

Good for Children

Since the swimming is set based on adults’ size, pools that grown people can’t swim in aren’t seen as swimming pools. But if your pool is going to be used by your children most of the time, it is perfectly okay to have a pool so small you can just sit in it like it’s a spacious tub. It’s okay because your kids will still be able to swim laps in it, and you will not have the responsibilities of having a large pool.

Low Maintenance Costs

Speaking of responsibilities, we have to discuss pool chemicals. From adding and balancing chemicals in your swimming pool to running a filter pump and heating the pool, every aspect of pool upkeep becomes more expensive as the pool size increases. Once again, if you’re not going to be swimming laps in your pool, why volunteer to pay more and expend more effort all year round when you can have a smaller pool.

You Don’t Want to “Swim”

Even if you don’t have kids who will use the pool most of the time, you might not need to have a pool big enough to accommodate the swimming size. Why? Because you might not even want to swim laps. If you go to your local swimming pool and simply float in the water, you don’t need a pool larger than 8 feet long because it doesn’t take a lot of space to float. However, if you only need to float or soak, you might find a deep hot tub much more feasible and easier to maintain.

Best Small Pools for Children

Most people looking into small pools are actually trying to build one for their kids. Below are some options with pre-set sizes, so you don’t accidentally make a pool too small for the kids.

Intex Swim Center Inflatable Family Lounge Pool

This is one of the best inflatable options that are good enough for kids to swim laps and adults to just chill in. With over 7000 reviews and ratings, it has a global average of 4.2 out of 5 stars, and for a good reason. It is easy to inflate and has a bench-like structure built into the pool so you can relax while the kids swim.

Members Mark Elegant Family Pool

This 10 feet long swimming pool doesn’t meet the swimming standard but has inbuilt seats making it perfect for families. Kids can find it very spacious, while an adult couple can easily hang out in it. Its interior is textured to mimic standard inground swimming pools, which gives it an expensive look.

Final Thoughts

There’s nothing more disappointing than putting your time, energy, and money into building a swimming pool to find out it is too small for you. Any pool smaller than 8 feet at any side will prove too small for adults. If you’re building one for yourself, make sure its length is twice your height. For kids, you will save money getting an inflatable pool. These pools are fixed in a size that’s good enough (and safe enough) for most children.

Jed Arnold

Jed spent every year from the ages of 15 - 22 as a Lifeguard (Red Cross) and ages of 17 - 22 as a Certified Pool Operator (CPO). Between working for over a dozen facilities and owning a pool, he carries over a decade of pool experience.

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