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Owning your own swimming pool is so much fun, but can also be a lot of work. Soaking up the sun while sipping on your favorite drink as you float around in the crystal clear water doesn't necessarily come for free. You need to maintain the balance of the pool chemicals, take care that the tile and liner are in good working order, remove leaves and debris, and cover it in the off season.
In addition to the necessary steps it takes to keep a pool clean and usable, you also want it to be enjoyable for yourself and guests. Whether it be installing a slide, finding a giant lounge chair shaped like a banana, or having pool noodles for the kids, you need a go-to store for all your toys and pool products. Half the fun of a pool is all the accessories that come with it, so finding something exciting for all ages is important.
Wednesday, May 18th
Pool Central is an online store that sells pools, spas, patio furniture, pool toys, covers, equipment, chemicals, and more. They are a division of Gordon Companies Inc., a family of four brands that have over 40 years of retail experience. Neither Pool Central nor Gordon Companies Inc. is rated by the Better Business Bureau, but another one of Gordon Companies' brands, Christmas Central, has an "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau.
Pool Central has a solid inventory of pool supplies and outdoor furniture and equipment. You can buy patio light sets, swings, rocking chairs, tables, umbrellas, and so many other unique outdoor products you won't find at other pool supply stores. They have you covered with life jackets for your family (and dog!), pool toys, winterizing equipment, cleaning supplies, and more. We are impressed with the selection at Pool Central and imagine that most pool owners will find what they need here.
If you spend $77 or more at Pool Central, your order will ship for free. Anything less than this will incur a $5 shipping fee. Spending nearly $100 wouldn't be hard if you're buying 2 or 3 different items from Pool Central. Their prices are comparable to other pool supply stores and overall reasonable for the high quality. It would be nice if customers were able to sort products by price range since there are so many, but either way, customers should feel comfortable with shopping at Pool Central and find some good deals.
Tips and tricks on the blog
If you have questions about your pool, we recommend checking out some of the blog posts that Pool Central has published on their website. They give tips for opening and closing pools, saltwater vs. traditional chlorinated pools, how to decorate your patio, the best time for pool construction, benefits of solar covers, and more. Even though some of these posts are from 2016 and earlier, they still contain relevant and valuable information for pool owners.
Standard return policy
If you change your mind about a purchase from Pool Central, you can return it for a refund or store credit within 30 days of receipt. The merchandise must be in new and unused condition in its original packaging. If you want a store credit, Pool Central will pay for your return shipping, but if you opt for a full refund, you'll be responsible for the cost of sending your items back.
Overall, Pool Central is a good place to go for your pool supplies. If you have questions about products or an order, they have a phone number listed or you can submit a ticket and wait to hear back from someone at the company. Pool Central has a thorough inventory of supplies and a fun collection of patio furniture that makes a great addition to any yard. We wish there were more customer ratings as well as a rating from the Better Business Bureau, but we still believe Pool Central is the best place to shop for swimming pool supplies.
Leslie's was founded in 1963 in North Hollywood, California. They are one of the biggest direct-to-customer pool and spa care brands with over 930 brick-and-mortar locations throughout the United States. In addition to selling pool equipment online, they offer certified installation and repair services. Unfortunately, people don't have great things to say about their experiences with this company whether they've shopped online or in-store.
Huge selection, huge prices
Whether you're looking for some pool floaties or the pool itself, Leslie's has you covered. They sell hundreds of products within the categories of pool chemicals, covers, equipment, maintenance, parts, and lifestyle. Leslie's literally has just about everything that could go with a pool, but what they are lacking is competitive pricing. Nothing here is "cheap" and can probably be found for a better price elsewhere. This is a common complaint from customers. Luckily all orders within the United States ship for free. And if you are really wanting to save a dollar or two, you can get $10 off your first order if you subscribe to Leslie's email list with exclusives about new arrivals, sales, and more.
On-site pool services
Leslie's offers a pool repair service in many areas of the US. They are available 7 days a week for things like safety fence installation, cleaning filters, installing pumps, draining your pool, winterizing pools, and much more. Simply provide your name, email, phone number, zip code, and desired service through an online form, and someone from Leslie's will contact you.
In 2014, Leslie's launched a rewards program that gives back to customers who loyally shop with them. For every dollar spent, customers can earn one point through their free Leslie's Rewards account. For every 200 points you earn, you receive $5 that can be applied to any in-store or online purchase. Rewards are good for 60 days once they are earned.
Return within 30 days
If you need to return a pool product for any reason, you have 30 days to do so under Leslie's return policy. Limitations to this policy include certain chemicals, hazardous materials like sanitizing chemicals, acids, or paint, opened pool liners or covers, and any used or installed equipment. All online returns are subject to a $15 return shipping fee.
Customers are not fans
Even though the Better Business Bureau gives Leslie's an "A+" rating, feedback from customers is almost 100% negative. People have had a hard time with customer service, paid for orders that never shipped, and there are many complaints about feeling "ripped off" by prices that are significantly higher than can be found at other pool supply stores. It's hard to reconcile how many negative things can be found about this company, so they've received an average rating from us.
In The Swim was founded by a husband and wife team in 1982. They started out shipping chlorine from their garage - and thanks to a loyal customer base, eventually grew to a large online store. Customers can shop from popular brands like Hayward, Polaris, Intex, Raypak, and Pentair.
The categories of products from In The Swim include chemicals, equipment, accessories, covers, liners, floats, pools, spas, parts, and commercial equipment. Everything you might need to maintain a pool can be found within the 3,500+ items in their ready-to-ship inventory. Their selection is hard to beat.
If you sign up for their email list, In The Swim will give you a discount code for $10 off your first order. The cost for shipping anywhere within the United States is a flat rate of $9.99, unless your product is categorized as an "oversized delivery" and incurs additional fees. In general, the products from In The Swim are competitively priced. You can sort any items by price to make sure that you stay within a budget.
Limited return policy
If you're not 100% satisfied with your order from In The Swim, you can return it within 30 days. Excluded from this policy are custom items, opened pool liners or covers, certain chemicals, and any used or installed equipment. All online returns are subject to a $15 return shipping fee deducted from the amount.
In The Swim has an "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau. This is exactly what we like to see, but the feedback from individual customers is discouraging. They generally receive poor feedback from people who have shopped online at their store because of late or failed order deliveries, bad customer service, and false marketing. Some loyal customers say they have had great success buying from In The Swim until the last few years when the company made some big changes and went downhill.
Hoping for improvement
Some of the products from In The Swim have customer reviews and most of them are rated really high. This could be from customers over the years who had great experiences shopping here, so it's hard to know if you'll get the same service they did. We are disappointed by the low customer reviews as of late considering the vast inventory and affordable pricing at In The Swim. As of right now, we'd like to see them rectify the issues customers have had and regain the credibility they once had. Until then, In The Swim receives an average rating from us.
YourPoolHQ was started in 2010. They provide very little information about themselves on their website, so we don't know much about their management, mission, or company history. Their bread and butter is spa and pool supplies, so this is the majority of what you'll find here. They also sell gaming tables that could be used in a pool house or for other recreational purposes.
Shopping online at YourPoolHQ is not as straightforward as one might hope. Their website is a bit crowded and overwhelming, so it would help to know exactly what you're looking for so you can use the search bar to find it directly. The product categories you can shop from include spa supplies, parts, pool supplies, the pool house, commercial supplies, and winter covers. There are hundreds of products within each category, so luckily YourPoolHQ probably has you covered with all the pool essentials.
Prices for pool supplies from YourPoolHQ are competitive. Most products are labeled with a sale sticker and are slightly discounted. Customers can also leave reviews for products to give you a better idea of whether or not they're worth the money. Unfortunately, the majority of listings don't have any customer reviews, so they aren't as helpful as they could be.
Order cancellation fees
YourPoolHQ ships to everywhere in the United States except Alaska and Hawaii. Their typical shipment times are 2-5 business days. If customers cancel an order, they are subject to a 10% cancellation fee. This has been an issue for people who wait much longer than 2-5 days to receive their order, are forced to purchase it from another company, and then are charged a cancellation fee by YourPoolHQ.
15% restocking fees
To return items to YourPoolHQ, customers need to obtain an RGA (return goods authorization) by filling out an online form. You can only send items back for a refund within 30 days of purchase and they must be in new, unused, and unopened condition. A 15% restocking fee will be charged on all returns, which could be a hefty amount if you bought a large item. Like most other pool supply companies, there are exclusions to the return policy which include chemicals, used items, automatic pool cleaners, electronic components, and custom orders.
YourPoolHQ is on the Better Business Bureau's naughty list with a lousy "F" rating. They've had a series of complaints filed against the business, most of which have not been resolved. People who want to cancel orders or get updates on the status of their shipments find that customer service is extremely difficult to reach. After weeks, many customers are concerned after having not received their orders and end up having to shop elsewhere. Keep that in mind if you choose to order from YourPoolHq.
Pools Etc doesn't provide much information about themselves, but according to the Better Business Bureau, they were founded in 2012. They also go by the name Recreation Discount Wholesale Inc. since they sell more than just pool supplies. Unfortunately Pools Etc hasn't fared well with customers over the past few years and seems to have some serious customer service issues.
Something unique about Pools Etc is that their inventory goes way beyond pool supplies. The categories you can shop from include swimming pools, pool supplies, spas, commercial products, saunas, outdoor, game room, exercise and fitness, and replacement parts. So, in addition to pool parts, you could buy an air hockey table, outdoor grill, fire pit, or rowing machine. However, the options for all products are pretty slim and some product pages provide zero results or are out-of-stock.
Impressive selection of pool supplies
For pool supplies specifically, Pools Etc has an impressive selection. There are over 35 categories of pool supplies alone and most of them are in-stock and ready to ship. You can filter the results by brand, size, original manufacturer, color, and more. You're sure to easily narrow down nearly any product you might need at Pools Etc Prices are decent, but slightly higher than what you might find elsewhere.
Domestic orders ship for free, but there are additional shipping charges for orders sent to Hawaii and Alaska. Pools Etc says to allow for products to arrive within 30 days since they are distributed from a network of warehouses, but most should arrive within 5-10 days.
20% restocking fees
Like most pool supply stores, Pools Etc will accept returns for any reason within 30 days of purchase. We recommend reading their list of items that are excluded from this policy, including alarms, chemicals, pool liners, paint, slides, any used items, and several others. Any items sent back must be in their original packaging and in new condition. The real kicker is that all approved returns are subject to a 20% restocking fee, which is pretty expensive.
Recent decline in customer satisfaction
Unfortunately, Pools Etc is not rated by the Better Business Bureau, but their parent company, Recreation Discount Wholesale Inc. has an "F" rating. The reason for this low score is due to a series of complaints filed against the business that were ignored and unresolved. In the last couple of years, customers have given mostly poor feedback about the company because of extremely show shipping times, orders paid for and not received, shipping the wrong products, and disappointing customer service. On the flip side, customers who purchased items from Pools Etc in 2019 and earlier seem to have had mostly good experiences. Due to the low Better Business Bureau rating and more recent negative customer feedback, we don't suggest relying on Pools Etc. for your pool supplies.
Pool Supply World was founded in 2006 as a leading ecommerce retailer of pool and spa supplies based out of Phoenix, Arizona. Although Pool Supply World aims to offer "world-class customer service" and high quality products, most customers would agree that the company falls short. Over the past few years, Pool Supply World has managed to create a lot of unhappy customers who have felt cheated by the company.
The list of products at Pool Supply World are what you would expect to find at any pool supply store. The complete list of categories includes:
Within these categories are many subcategories that include things like pool toys, paints, diving boards, patio furniture, water testing, and more. We were pleased to find that they had available inventory for all the categories we found. Nothing came up empty or out-of-stock. You can also view customer reviews on some of the products, but since there are usually only 1 or 2 at the most and the majority of products haven't been reviewed, this isn't entirely helpful.
When comparing the prices at Pool Supply World to those at other competing companies, they seem to be a bit on the higher end. For example, a simple, plastic green outdoor chair costs $45, but you could easily get something like this for half the price elsewhere. A tiny rack for small hand towels goes for $73 and a single pool noodle for $32 (!). Not everything is outrageously priced, but it's a good idea to compare the item you're looking at with another company before making a purchase. If you sign up for their email list, you'll get $10 off your next purchase of $150 or more and shipping is always free.
30 days to change your mind
If you change your mind about the order you make through Pool Supply World, you have 30 days to send it back for a replacement or refund. There are limitations to this which include certain chemicals, custom orders, opened pool liners or covers, and used or installed equipment. Anything sent back must be in new condition in the original, unopened packaging. All online orders are also subject to a $15 return shipping fee.
Customers regret patronizing this business
Pool Supply World has an "F" rating from the Better Business Bureau. The reason listed for this is "concerns with the business's practices." We aren't surprised by this, seeing as how almost all customer reviews over the past couple of years reflect poorly on the business. Some describe it as the "single worst experience I've ever had online shopping." Ouch. Common issues include ordering products that never arrive, receiving knock-off products of what they saw online, and big restocking fees. Nearly every person who has left a review for this company regrets ever doing business with them, so we recommend shopping at a higher-ranked pool supply store.
Getting all the essentials for a swimming pool is no easy task if you're trying to shop in-store. Most stores carry a very limited supply of toys, cleaners, covers, and other important pool products. Your best bet is to shop online from a retailer that can provide all the necessary equipment that pool owners need. With a click of a few buttons you can find everything pool related from salt to an industrial pool vacuum and have it delivered right to your house.
When deciding where to purchase supplies for your swimming pool, here are a few important things to consider:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best online swimming pool supply stores to buy from. We hope this information helps you find the products you need to enjoy your pool and keep it clean and safe!
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