There really can’t be that much difference in above ground pool liners, right? Well you are right. The main difference in them is the way that they hang on the pool wall. Other than that they are pretty much the same. There are differences in pattern styles you can choose from but you are talking cosmetics now and not function.
There are three different ways that above ground pool liners are made to hang on the wall.
This will be the most popular, and well known style of liner. These liners simply hang over the top of the wall. You use a plastic coping strip that pushes down over the wall and liner to hold it in place. This type of liner is the most economical way to go as far as cost goes. One complaint about this type is that you can see it on the outside of the pool wall. Yes you can and that is why I personally don’t care for them.
Beaded liners are an option that is fairly well known. Most pool companies will sell beaded liners as an upgrade with a pool kit. These liners come with border patterns around the top, and usually a print pattern on the sides and bottom. When a beaded liner is installed you use a bead receiver. This is a track that snaps on top of the wall. It has a channel in it that the bead at the top of the liner snaps into. The downfall to this is, as your liner ages and shrinks over time it will have a tendency to pull out of the track. It then slips down the inside of the pool and can be a problem. A big thing we hear with beaded liners is, you don’t have to take the top of the pool apart to change them. We have done hundreds of liner changes on above ground pools, and we take the top off to change a beaded liner. Most times you do not have enough room under the topseats to get the new liner snapped into the track without a struggle. Easier to just take the top of the pool apart.
This style liner came on the market around 12 years ago. You have the same thing as a beaded liner except for how it hooks to the wall. Instead of using a bead receiver track, there is an upside down J on the top of the liner that hooks on the wall. The advantage to this over the beaded liner is you have no issues with the liner slipping out of the bead receiver. This style liner is what we install on 90 percent of above ground pools.
There you have the three different options for liners on above ground pools.