Since the pandemic, many people are opting to cool off from the heat in their own backyards rather than in public pools or on crowded beaches. If you’re considering investing in a stock tank pool for your backyard, you’ll want to take note of the pros and cons.
Pros of stock tank pools include that they are relatively low-cost, easy to set up, and come in a variety of sizes. However, cons include that stock tank pools require level ground, they are not low maintenance, and it can be hard to regulate the water temperature.
A stock tank pool is a pool made from a metal tank originally intended to provide water for livestock on farms. While you’re not likely to find one at Walmart, you can search for a stock tank pool at a farm supply shop.
Pros and Cons of Stock Tank Pools
Let’s take a deeper dive into the pros and cons of stock tank pools:
Pros of Stock Tank Pools
There are many pros of stock tank pools, most notably how great they feel when you are sweltering in the summer heat and finally get some relief right in your own backyard! Here are some other less obvious pros:
1. Low Initial Cost
The low cost is certainly one of the main factors that persuade people to get a stock tank pool. A traditional in-ground pool can easily cost $20,000 USD or more, while buying a stock tank pool can cost $250 – $1,000 USD or less, depending on your selection.
The cost of your stock tank pool will vary depending on whether you choose a plastic (polyethylene) or metal (galvanized steel) pool, as well as the size you select.
2. Stock Tank Pools Are Relatively Fast To Set Up
Stock tank pools are fast to install and get to the point that you are ready to fill them with water.
Once you level the location, you’ll need to set up the pump, drill holes in the pool where the pump filters attach to the stock tank pool’s side, and then seal the holes around the filters. Then you’re ready to swim!
Because the stock tank pool is a rigid structure, there is usually no assembly required when the pool is delivered. You’ll be soaking and enjoying your stock tank pool in no time.
3. There Are a Large Variety of Sizes
While most stock tanks are 24 inches deep, they come in bathtub shapes with a 2-foot diameter, and circular shapes with a 6, 8, 10 and 12 foot diameters.
This variety of sizes gives options for every homeowner; even if you have limited space, you can have a place to cool off in the summer heat.
4. They Are Relocatable
Standard in-ground pools become a feature in the yard they are installed in. It’s not worth the cost or the effort to relocate them.
Stock tank pools, in contrast, are easy to empty and relocate to a new location in your yard, or to a new home altogether.
5. They Are Durable
Stock tanks are built to be farm tough, meaning they can withstand rough handling and being out in the elements year-round, year after year.
This durability will give you peace of mind that the pool will last longer than a single season, which is a concern that many people have regarding above-ground pools.
Plastic stock tank pools are lighter, more resistant to rust and corrosion, and keep the water cooler longer. However, plastic pools are less durable than metal ones, since they are susceptible to degradation from UV exposure, making the plastic brittle and prone to cracking.
Metal stock tanks are heavier and more susceptible to rust and corrosion, but this can be limited with proper pool care and water treatment. Use chlorine tablets in a floater rather than just tossing chlorine powder in the pool to help prevent the chlorine from corroding the bottom of the pool.
The water in metal pools heats up more quickly than in a plastic tank, but this can be an advantage for those who don’t like cold pools. Metal pools are also easier to clean and keep algae free.
6. Stock Tanks Are (Usually) Above Ground
Stock tanks are, by their nature, an above-ground pool. Because the sides are often a foot or more higher, this can help keep pets and smaller backyard critters out of the pool.
Being above ground, you also do not need to dig into hard ground or blast rock to sink a pool into the ground to install a stock tank pool. All that is required is a level, solid surface.
That said, it is possible to sink a stock tank pool into the ground. Just keep in mind, this type of installation will render the pool a feature of the house, and you may not not be able to relocate it when you move.
7. Stock Tank Pools Are DIY
Other than getting your stock tank pool delivered to your backyard, you can likely do everything yourself to get the pool installed and set up to function. This cuts down a great deal on the costs involved to get a pool installed!
You can also decorate the pool’s exterior to fit in with your exterior décor and look of your home. The outside of the pool can be painted. You could build a deck around the pool or even a simple bench encompassing a section of the pool’s perimeter.
8. You Can Turn a Stock Tank Pool into a Hot Tub!
You can easily turn a stock tank pool into a hot tub for the cool autumn days or winter days, or evenings with a little ingenuity.
The heating of the water in the pool will be more efficient and faster if your stock tank pool is on the small side. If you have a larger pool, this idea may not be convenient or cost-effective.
Be sure to check out my post on the 10 Coolest Gifts for Hot Tub Owners. (All of these gifts are great for stock tank pool owners, too, whether or not you transform you actually turn your stock tank pool into a hot tub.)
Cons of Stock Tank Pools
To gain a complete picture of whether a stock tank pool is the right choice for your backyard, you probably want to consider the disadvantages of these types of pools.
1. Stock Tank Pools Do Require Some Maintenance
Many people believe that above-ground stock tank pools are pretty much maintenance-free, but this is not the case.
Stock tank pools require maintenance and care at least at the same level as a standard pool. You will still need to scoop leaves and debris from the pool, vacuum the bottom of the pool and treat the pool with chemicals to prevent growth of algae and bacteria, and use a pool filter like this one.
2. Stock Tanks Have a Relatively Limited Lifespan
Traditional in-ground pools can last as long as the house and can still be going strong 25 to 30-years after installation. Stock tank pools are durable and robust, but it is unlikely that they will last as long as a standard pool.
Metal pools will eventually rust and no longer hold water, and plastic pools will succumb to sun damage, becoming brittle and cracked. Protecting a plastic tank from the sun with a sun umbrella can help minimize sunlight prematurely damaging the pool.
The good news is that the stock tank can be replaced relatively cheaply compared to significant costs associated with maintaining standard pool.
Also, with proper care and maintenance, a stock tank pool can possibly last up to 10-years.
3. Stock Tanks Can Breed Mosquitoes
If you leave the water untreated in your stock tank pool, and there is no water movement, mosquitoes might breed in the pool.
There are several ways to counteract this problem.
- Cover the pool. You can get a cover made for the pool that you can use to cover the pool when it’s not in use. A cover will serve two purposes; it will help keep the pool clean of leaves and debris, prevent mosquitoes from breeding and limit sunlight, which helps prevent algae growth.
- Add a pump and filter to the pool. Adding a pump and a filter to the pool will circulate and clean the water and also keep the water moving. Mosquitoes like still, stagnant water, so any water that has movement discourages them from breeding. Treating the water with chlorine will also discourage these pests from breeding in the water.
- A mosquito net. Something as simple as a mosquito net used to cover the pool at night will prevent mosquitoes and other bugs from enjoying your backyard haven.
4. You May Need a Permit
Some local authorities stipulate the need to have a permit for a pool. Opting for an above-ground stock tank pool will not necessarily exempt you from this requirement.
To be safe, go ahead and check the rules and regulations regarding pools with your local city or town before you go ahead and install your stock tank pool.
5. You Need to Drain the Pool Periodically
Even with chemicals and a pool pump and filter installed, you may find that you need to drain the pool periodically and scrub down the walls and floor of the stock tank.
While this is less costly than cleaning a traditional pool, it is a cost you would need to factor into your pool maintenance.
Draining the water and climbing inside will give you an excellent opportunity to closely inspect the pool for any degradation or potential problems that can be addressed before they become problematic.
Many people who live in cooler climates will drain their stock tank pools for the wintertime. This limits the pool’s exposure to water and minimizes rust and corrosion.
6. A Solid, Level Footing Is Required
A stock stank requires a solid, level surface for placement. This may sometimes require constructing a concrete slab to place the pool on if your ground is soft or sloping. You may need to invest additional funds to level your land.
You’ll need to remove rocks, tree stumps, and other obstructions to prevent sharp objects from puncturing the tank when the weight of the water presses on it.
7. It May Be Hard to Regulate the Temperature
Unless you install a heater, the temperature of the water will be a function of the stock tank pool material and how much sunlight you have beating down on a particular day.
The water in a metal stock tank pool can get quite warm, but this is not always a negative.
Plastic stock tank pools tend to keep the water cooler for longer than the metal variety.
You can help reduce the heat absorption by painting the outside of the pool and using a large sun umbrella. See this 10-foot fade-proof, UV-resistant umbrella from Bluu Banyan.
8. There Are Some Hidden Costs for a Stock Tank Pool
Depending on how large your pool is, what vehicle you drive, and where you purchase from, you may need to rent a truck to transport your stock tank pool home. Or, you may need to pay a delivery fee to a farm supply shop.
Next, you might need to pay a handyman to level your land, and you may need to put down a concrete slab if your ground tends to be soft.
You’ll also need to purchase a filter and pool chemicals to keep your pool clean, as well as a pool skimmer and chlorine floater.
Also, consider the water bill. Though you can generally leave the water in for multiple uses as you would with an in-ground swimming pool, periodically you’ll want to drain a stock tank pool to give it a scrub.
So What Are the Biggest Pros and Cons of Stock Tank Pools?
When considering the pros and cons of stock tank pools, the pros easily outweigh the cons for many people.
However, relatively speaking, the biggest pro is that stock tank pools are incredibly cheap and make the pleasure of cooling off in your own backyard accessible to many more people.
The biggest con is that stock tank pools can require as much maintenance as regular in-ground pools.