When selecting the right ladder for your swimming pool, you must consider the basics of your pool’s construction and the extremes of your climate; you also must consider how much hard use your new ladder will have to endure.
Above-ground pools pose the most questions: do you want a ladder just for getting up and into the pool, or do you want both entrance and exit ladders? Do you want seating or decking attached to your ladder? Naturally, you want a non-skid surface on your ladder’s rungs, but do you want it molded in or added later? Do you want the low cost of plastic and its corrosion resistance? Plastic also weighs less than the metal alloys of which other ladders are made, so that, if you take down your pool at the end of the season, the plastic ladders will pose fewer problems with moving and storage. The metal alloys are more durable than most plastic pool ladders, but they will get water-spotted and show some signs of corrosion. Most metal pool ladders are plated or anodized; if they get chipped, they may, unfortunately rust. And metal ladders, even if they have non-skid or non-slip surfaces get slippery anyway.
For above-ground pools, no one size fits all; no one material clearly outperforms any other; and the median price among all ladders does not accurately reflect the range of prices and features from which you may choose. After you assess your needs and wants—especially for safety but also for aesthetics, take time to shop patiently and carefully both on line and at all the pool supply stores in your neighborhood. Although you often will find deep discounts from online vendors, especially during fall clearance sales and winter sales lulls, the cost of shipping may negate the discounts.
The ladders for in-ground pools typically are installed with the pool, and they often are crafted to the pool’s exact specifications. On the one hand, these constraints eliminate the difficulty and guesswork in your choice. If you must replace your ladder or handrail, you do it to the blueprint’s specifications. Or your professional contractor follows the blueprint. On the other hand, you may encounter difficulty finding the right replacement for your original-equipment ladder.
Whereas most pool owners recommend shopping on line and in the pool supply stores to get a feel for prices, materials, options, and alternatives, they ultimately recommend working with the contractor who installed the pool. If your pool was recently installed, your ladder may still be protected by a limited warranty. In most cases, the contractor knows your ladder’s manufacturer and specifications and will work with his wholesaler to track-down exactly the make and model you need. For your own protection, you should ask to see the contractor’s invoice to make sure he charges a fair price for your ladder. And most homeowners recommend you let the contractor install it.
Ready to Buy?
There are numerous online resources dedicated to sales and support for pool ladders. We assembled the following as a handful of great places to start your search: