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Shipping Container Pool: Is it Right for You? The Surprising Pros, Cons, & Top 4 Manufacturers of 2024

By James King

January 5, 2024

You want to add a pool to your backyard… But the traditional route isn’t calling to you.

Above ground pools aren’t long-lasting enough… And standard in-ground pools are a more extensive project than you’re interested in.

Where does that leave you?

Well… A shipping container pool might just be the answer to your call.

Is it the perfect solution? Or are there downsides to take into consideration?

In this article, we’ll be covering the good and bad (no ugly!) of a shipping container pool… And if it’s a good fit for your needs.

But let’s begin with a definition.

Quick Links:

3d image of shipping container 1

What is a Shipping Container Pool?

It’s a swimming pool made from a shipping container… What’s not to understand here?

Well, there’s actually a bit more nuance to the topic than you might expect.

Yes, these pools are made from genuine shipping containers made for freight transport.

Depending on who you purchase from… The container may have been used once, or be brand new.

However… There are many modifications that have to happen before you can use it as a pool!

First of all, the top needs to be removed!

But beyond that…

Usually, an additional layer of steel is welded on the inside of the container to make it watertight. Some companies will take it a step further with a fiberglass shell interior. (Vinyl liners can be seen as well.)

And of course, most homeowners want a heated pool! So you’ll need modifications for a heating and filtration system, as well.

Starting to feel solid on what a shipping container swimming pool is?

Great! Now let’s take a deeper dive.

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The Best & Worst of a Shipping Container Pool

If you’ve already begun your research in earnest… You might begin to be sold on a shipping container pool.

But before you finalize an order… It’s best to understand both sides of the coin first.

Let’s start with the good.

Advantage: Backyard Container Pools are Eco-Friendly

If you’re looking for a more environmentally sustainable way to add a pool to your yard… This is likely one of the primary reasons you’re drawn to a shipping container pool!

If you’re able to get your hands on a gently-used shipping container… You’ll have effectively saved it from a doomed future at the landfill.

A humble shipping container is transformed into a modern, backyard pool with all the amenities.

It’s the pinnacle of upcycling.

Not to mention… Most shipping container pools tend to be on the smaller size.

Therefore, less chemicals and heat is being used to maintain it. Another environmental win!

And the benefits just keep rolling in.

Advantage: May Save You Money

budgeting to save money on outdoor kitchen

There’s a chance shipping container pools can save you some dough!

But at the same time, be sure to keep your expectations tempered. While they can be less expensive… They aren’t a bargain option, either!

Since you’re reusing a material that would normally be thrown away… Shipping containers can be obtained at quite a reasonable price.

This is where most of the savings come in!

However, there are still required modifications to make it functional as a pool. This will eat away at much of the initial savings. (For example, Modpools start at around $28,000.00.)

At the same time, you can also save some money on installation. Most are above ground shipping container pools… So there’s less site work to be done.

So yes, a cargo container pool can save you money! Just keep in mind that unless you’re taking on this project yourself… It’s still not a budget option. (Same goes for an outdoor kitchen!)

Advantage: Durable in the Outdoor Environment

hurricane winds bringing danger to house on suburban street

It should come as no surprise that shipping container pools are extremely durable!

They’re designed to carry massive amounts of cargo across land and sea… After all.

In fact, many people even make shipping container homes!

Point is… A shipping container pool will far outlast a standard above-ground pool.

You can expect a shipping container pool to last up to 25 years… With their above-ground counterparts topping out at about 10-20 years with maintenance.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that in-ground pools will generally last even longer. Depending on the type, you can expect anywhere from a 20-100 year life expectancy on the high end.

Also bear in mind that shipping container pools are made from metal.

While there is often a protective coating added to shelter it from the elements… There is a chance of corrosion over time. So a saltwater system would not be the best choice here! (Bear this in mind for BBQ islands, as well.)

Overall, though, shipping container pools are quite hardy! If you’re looking for an alternative to an above-ground pool… It’s certainly a better option in this category.

Advantage: Quick Installation

Here’s where shipping container pools have an advantage over traditional pool construction.

Usually, they’re faster to install!

This is due to the modular nature of these pools.

Rather than having to rip up large sections of your backyard for installation… Minimal site prep needs to be done beforehand.

Most often, the pool will be delivered right to your backyard… And dropped into the designated space.

Just hook up your utilities, and you’ll usually be up and running the same day.

This also means minimal disturbance of your backyard! So if you’re looking to keep the hustle and bustle to a minimum… A shipping container pool could be an excellent option for you.

Disadvantage: Size Limitations

3d image of shipping container 2

Here’s where there can be a bit of trouble in paradise.

Not to be overly obvious here… But shipping containers aren’t designed with the intention of being converted into a pool later.

They’re designed for shipping cargo… Which means these containers are only made in a few pool sizes.

Ultimately, you’re typically limited to pools that are 8’ wide.

Length is where you have a little bit of flexibility. You can usually choose from 20’, 30’, 40’, or 45’ long.

So the length can be quite good, depending on your needs! It’s the width that can become a problem.

If you don’t mind having an extra-long plunge pool… This won’t be a problem.

But not everyone wants the size to be this restricted! If you want more flexibility, another solution could be more optimal. (We’ll discuss this later!)

Disadvantage: Unique Aesthetic isn’t for Everyone

It’s no secret here. Shipping containers aren’t exactly known for their dashing good looks.

And most homeowners don’t have an industrial theme for their backyard!

However… Some shipping container pool brands do gussy up their offerings. A black finish and an inset window goes a long way!

With these improvements… A shipping container pool can look quite nice in a modern backyard.

But the point still stands. It’s an acquired taste!

What you see is what you get with a shipping container pool. So if you’re not a fan of the aesthetic… You’ll want to pursue other options.

Disadvantage: Heat Transfer

With the rising costs of energy… The less you can spend heating your pool, the better.

Here’s another area where you might experience a hiccup with shipping container pools.

Metal is an excellent conductor of heat… Which is exactly what a shipping container pool is!

Therefore, you’ll likely experience a fairly significant amount of heat transfer.

Depending on your climate, this may not make much of a difference.

But if you live in a northern climate and plan to take a dip during the crisp fall months… You’ll lose more heat compared to a traditional in-ground pool.

Some companies may insulate their containers to help reduce this effect. So be sure to do your research before you purchase!

And speaking of research… What if you want to tackle this project all by yourself?

Should You Pursue a DIY Shipping Container Pool?

modpools shipping container pool next to deck with seating
ModPools Shipping Container Pool

You’re filling a shipping container with water and hooking up a filtration system.

How hard can it be… Really?

Certainly, we can see the appeal of a container pool as a DIY project.

But it’s far from being that simple!

There are many other factors to this outdoor living project you likely haven’t considered.

A strong foundation will need to be poured… You’ll want to speak to a structural engineer to ensure the container can handle the load of water in its location… You’ll have to line the interior of your pool by yourself…

Plus you have to deal with the logistics of getting this container into your backyard. Then, you have all these modifications to deal with.

The top needs to come off, the seams need to be welded together, you’ll likely have to add structural reinforcement… The work just keeps piling up!

Installing the filtration and heating system isn’t necessarily a walk in the park, either. If this isn’t something you have experience with… There’s a high risk of something going wrong.

Very quickly, a project that you intended to save you a bunch of money… Leaves you with nothing but frustration and lost time.

From our perspective, this isn’t the best DIY project to tackle.

With that said… Let’s take a look at some brands to consider for your backyard.

Top Shipping Container Pool Manufacturers

If you’re looking to buy a shipping container pool… It’s essential to know what your options are!

We’ll begin with Modpools.

Modpools

Modpools claims to be the original shipping container pool purveyor in North America… “With over 1,000 container pools built and shipped all across Canada and the USA.”

They upcycle used shipping containers that are in perfect condition… Rather than buying brand-new ones. This is excellent if that’s important to you!

Modpools also has a free pool design tool on their website. This makes it simple to see what all of their offerings are… And get some rough price ranges.

Lengths of 12’, 16’, 20’, and 40’ are available… And are able to be paired with widths of 8’, or 11’8” for an upcharge. (The latter is only offered with 20’ and 40’ lengths.)

modpools shipping container pool

Base models will come with spa seating and 8 body jets. There are also plunge stairs and baja ledges available, depending on the size you choose.

Further, you are able to select your installation method. Modpools can accommodate above ground, slope, in-ground, and partial in-ground applications.

And although not listed in the design tool… Modpools offers a divider wall to convert a section of your pool into a hot tub! They also claim to have “smart pool” functionality… Allowing you to control the temperature, jets, and other stats from your smartphone.

The liner is made in several layers. This includes marine epoxy primer, pure polyurea liner, and is finished with an HP urethane clear coat colored finish.

How much is a container pool from Modpools?

Container pool prices will start at $28,000.00 – $53,500.00, depending on size and pool features.

We were unable to track down warranty information… So you will have to discuss these details with Modpools!

Trek Pools

Next on our list, we have Trek Pools.

They don’t have a design tool like Modpools… But they do hang their hat on quality!

Trek Pools purchases containers that are either brand new, or used once. But to bring the quality up a notch… They add a marine grade exterior finish from Sherwin Williams, which is advertised “to last several decades even in a marine environment”.

Every container pool is heavily reinforced to ensure it can handle the pressure in your environment… And it appears Trek Pools offers a coated steel or fiberglass shell interior.

As far as designs go, there are a total of 12 options. There are three designs in four different size categories. Sizes include 8’ x 20’, 12’ x 20’, 8’ x40’, and 12’ x 40’. They also offer custom builds, although we don’t know how flexible this system is.

trek pool shipping container pool

Trek Pools will come equipped with a filter, sanitizer, speed pump, chlorinator, and LED lights. A few add-ons are offered, such as a heater, automatic pool cover, and spa package. (This package includes 10 super-powered jets!)

It’s unclear what installation methods are available… But images throughout the website show above ground, in-ground, and partial in-ground applications.

Like Modpools, Trek pools also offers a convenient app to control the functionality of your pool.

When it comes to price… Their container swimming pool cost will begin at $42,000.00 on the low end, and go up to $70,000.00+ for base models.

Trek Pools offers a one year warranty for their steel container pools. All pool equipment is under the manufacturer’s warranty.

For a company that advertises top-notch quality, we would like to see a more robust warranty!

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Steelwater Pools

Moving right along… Let’s take a peek at Steelwater Pools.

Steelwater Pools advertises that every container undergoes a strict quality check… Which implies that their containers are upcycled.

Unfortunately, there isn’t an abundance of information about how these pools are modified to become a pool. The images show liners and an exterior coating… But we can’t confirm what these are made of.

For sizes, there are two lengths available. You can choose from 20’ or 40’. The width isn’t mentioned, but considering all shipping containers are the same… They should be 8’ wide.

All of their pools will come with pumps, filters, and lighting. Some added features include smartphone connectivity, internal stairs, and ladders.

steelwater pool

Designs can be modified as well. You can add windows, swim jets, a spa section, additional lighting, or a built-in staircase. Steelwater Pools does offer customization, but we don’t know the extent of the flexibility.

Like Trek Pools, it’s not totally clear what installation methods are available. However, images reveal in-ground, above-ground, and partial in-ground container pools.

Prices start at $45,500.00 for their 20’ pools, and $57,500.00 for their 40’ size.

The warranty information for their storage container pools is not listed on the website… So you’ll want to confirm this with Steelwater Pools!

Let’s take a look at one more metal container pool option.

Ecopool

ecopool shipping container pool

Ecopool is last on our list… But certainly not least! Arguably, they’ve taken the most unique approach to a shipping container pool.

Ecopools has a patent-pending process to connect multiple shipping containers together. This allows for far more customization options.

Currently, they advertise having 8’ x 20’, 8’ x 40’, 16’ x 20’, and 16’ x 40’ sizes. They also offer a free online design tool where you can test this out yourself! (Let the shipping container pool ideas flow!)

The construction method is highly unique as well. Ecopools starts with a shipping container… But in total, there are 8 layers of materials. Not only does this make Ecopools incredibly durable… There are far more finish options available to you.

Speaking of finishes… Ecopools has 9 different options on offer. They are a mixture of solid, tile, blue, and gray surfaces. This is an excellent option if you’re not a fan of the standard shipping container look.

In-ground, partial in-ground, and above ground installation options are available. You can also choose to add a pool deck, stairs, corner steps, benches, pool windows, ladders, lighting, sanitation, and heating to your design. It appears that filtration and pumps are included.

Prices begin at $34,970.00 – $68,970.00, depending on the size.

Once again, warranty information is unclear. You’ll have to reach out to Ecopools to confirm!

Now… What if none of these pool builders are speaking to you?

A Worthy Alternative to Consider

tropical plunge pool

For one reason or another, you may have decided against a shipping container pool kit.

It could be aesthetics, efficiency, or perhaps it’s not going to save you as much money as you hoped.

Whatever the reason… Why not consider a plunge pool?

More specifically, Soake Pools. These are pre-cast concrete plunge pools that are delivered to your door… Ready to install. (Sounds familiar, right?)

The difference is you’re getting concrete construction, which is impervious to rust and corrosion. They are also hand-tiled, creating an upscale finish that matches any aesthetic.

Sizes will be different as well. As co-founder Karen Larson puts it, “A plunge pool gives you the maximum amount of room to swim, while giving you a size that’s small enough to heat year-round.”

This is a key point!

As you’ll recall… One of the disadvantages of a shipping container pool is heat transfer. Plunge pools circumvent this issue entirely. Between the petite size and more insulating materials, plunge pools are far more efficient to heat. (Which means year-round enjoyment without hurting your wallet!)

Wondering about the price tag?

“The average precast price is between $30,000.00 – $40,000.00. Installed cost can be anywhere from $65,000.00 – $70,000.00+ for plumbing and site work”, Larson shares.

These prices are right in line with the shipping container pool brands we’ve discussed… And in some cases, it’s less!

Also keep in mind that site preparation and installation costs are not factored into any of the shipping container pool brands we mentioned. So depending on what you’re looking to do… Plunge pools can actually offer significant savings compared to shipping containers.

And considering that every Soake Pool is packaged with state-of-the-art, luxury equipment… You truly cannot go wrong with this type of pool!

Alright, you’ve got the perfect pool of your choosing. How are you going to get the most out of your new investment?

The Best Feature to Pair with Your New Pool

man cooking at outdoor kitchen and girl jumping into pool

There’s no doubt that a backyard swimming pool offers a ton of enjoyment for your family!

It’s fun in the sun… Whenever you want it.

But when you’re spending so much time outside… There’s something missing from the experience.

Delicious burgers and steaks, hot off the grill.

Sure, you might have a grill cart that handles this task just fine. But it’s a far cry from a complete outdoor kitchen setup!

With your new pool… Your backyard is going to become the hosting destination of the neighborhood.

Your guests will bring their appetites with them, and you’ll need an efficient way to feed all these hungry people! (Including yourself!)

An outdoor kitchen is the easiest (and most enjoyable) way to accomplish this… Bar none.

At minimum, you’ve got the grill to supply your summer favorites… And ample counter space to make preparing and serving a breeze.

An outdoor sink and pull out trash would make cleanup effortless… And a fridge will keep a supply of fresh beverages on hand at all times.

To maximize your hosting potential, don’t neglect to add a bar island to your design! Add some swivel bar stools, and you’ve got a built-in dining area as well.

As your guests are drying off from their dip in the pool… They can watch you at your master craft, grilling an amazing meal!

Is the picture starting to come together?

If so… It’s time to start dreaming up your outdoor kitchen layout.

Give our free online design tool a whirl… And we’ll help you bring it to life!

Need Help With Your Plans?

Talk to one of our expert designers and they will guide you from planning to installation. Schedule a call today.

FAQ

Shipping container pool prices vary drastically, depending on your situation. Size, features, and add-ons all weigh heavily on this cost. Most prefab brands will start at around $30,000 – $60,000 for base models. This is also not taking into account on-site prep work and installation costs, which will drive up the price even further.

Shipping containers can make a great pool, depending on your needs! Due to their extra length, these pools are well-suited to use as a lap pool. They are reasonably durable, and will last far longer than a standard above-ground pool.

Unfortunately, the cost of a DIY shipping container pool is not cut and dry. While you can purchase a shipping container for about $2,000 – $4,000… There are a litany of other costs that go along with this project. Site preparation, pouring a concrete footing, landscaping, adding a retaining wall if needed, modifying the container to be a pool, purchasing heating and filtration systems, lining the interior, protecting the exterior… These will all vary greatly depending on the materials you choose and whether or not you hire a local contractor for assistance.

Generally speaking, the vast majority of shipping container pools will be 8’ wide. Lengths can vary a bit more. 20’, 30’, 40’, and even 45’ lengths are quite common.

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