Above ground pool ladders are sold in inexpensive, very simple styles as well as those that cost thousands of dollars and include a deck. The most basic styles are simple aluminum ladder with narrow rungs that ascend almost straight up the side of the pool. They are often in the form of an A-frame that can be placed inside the pool with one ladder in the pool and another out of it. Although some owners leave the ladders in the pool at all times, it is possible to lift out the A-frame each time swimming time is over if it is a small, light-weight ladder that does not need to be weighed down. Most above ground pool ladders are permanent, however, and must be kept in the pool during the swimming season. Ladders made of resin sometimes require water to be placed inside the interior ladder to keep it from floating while many ladders are attached to the pool or to a pool deck, and so they cannot easily be lifted out of the pool.
A current trend in above ground pool ladders is to have a combination of steps and ladder on an A-frame. Steps on the exterior side are very popular because they are at an angle that permits easier climbing for those who might not be able to climb straight up. The steps often have a hinged door attached to them that can close off access to the pool, and a small platform joins this exterior set of steps to the interior ladder. In addition, these sets usually have handles on both sides for gripping onto while climbing for extra safety.
Above ground pool ladders can have from one to five rungs that are often referred to as treads. The amount of rungs required on a ladder depends on the depth of the pool. Of course, if the water is deeper, a longer ladder with more rungs is required. Each rung has a non-skid padding attached to it for safe climbing. These combination pool ladders can be found in very attractive styles with resin construction that looks very similar to wood. Some styles are white, tan, or grey, but very few other colors are available.
Most pool ladders are made of plastic, aluminum, vinyl, resin, or stainless steel. They should never be painted due to the fact that paint chemicals may affect the pool water and contaminate it. In addition, paint may loosen or weaken the non-skid padding on the treads. Manufacturers have been improving the appearance of above ground pool ladders, and better ladders not only lock, they appear to be a finely constructed set of steps or ladders with details such as side columns that give them a furniture-like appearance.
There is often a concern with how much space an interior above ground pool ladder will take in a pool, so if a pool is small, the owner will probably want to buy an almost straight interior ladder that will only take up around 10 inches of swimming space. For larger pools, ladders with a more easily accessible angle often work better for swimmers getting out of the pool, although they do require more space. Adjustable ladders are also available that are a smart buy for consumers who need a ladder for their current pool but are planning to buy a new, different depth pool in the future. These ladders adjust by folding up or down, and they lock in place for safety.
Interior ladders are required to have anti-entrapment features that prevent small children or others from becoming caught in the ladder. Manufacturers must meet standards to prevent fatal accidents from occurring with their ladders.