Is a 5ft Pool Too Shallow?

is a 5 foot pool too shallow?

This question is quite common in many of the groups I am in online and among my dad’s clients when they are getting their pools designed. It really is a subjective question but in my opinion, I think for most families it’s a perfect depth.

A pool with a 5-foot deep end is not too shallow. At this depth, you can still swim laps with enough space to make an underwater turn. This depth will also allow adults and most teenagers to stand in the pool without having their heads underwater. An important comfort factor for those uncomfortable around pools and water. 5 feet is actually a great depth for being able to play games like volleyball and basketball for adults. This depth might even be considered too deep for pools that will have a lot of kids looking to play games and water sports though.

I’ll dive into some questions and factors to consider here about your 5-foot-deep pool to help you decide what is best for you.

Who will be Swimming in the Pool?

If your pool is being bought or built for mainly adults with very few children frequently swimming and playing in the pool then 5 ft deep might be too shallow. Personally, I love treading water and at 6ft tall, a 5ft deep pool wouldn’t be as fun when I want to burn some energy just staying afloat. This means that a pool catered mostly for adults can consider going a bit deeper than 5ft.

If you have young children or non-swimmers who will be using the pool, I would consider having a majority of your pool at the 4ft depth with the smallest area of the pool dedicated to the 5 ft depth. This will provide some depth at the end of the pool while allowing a large part of the pool to be a safer play area. In the article, Can you swim in a 4ft deep pool?, I dive into the particular benefits of having a shallower pool. I think it’s worth a read.

Pools, especially inground pools, are long-term commitments that will last many years. Some things to consider about who will be using the pool:

  • Will you be older and less inclined to swim in a 5 ft deep pool?
  • How old will your Children be in 5 years? 10 Years?
  • Will you have more grandchildren using the pool in 5 years? 10 years?
  • If you decide to move, will a 5ft pool depth make your home easier to sell to prospective buyers?

What is the Purpose of your 5ft Deep Pool?

A thing to consider is how much time would you spend at the deep end of your pool? Where are people most likely to congregate? In this case, with a 5ft deep end, adults can still spend time at the deep end without having their heads under water so this might be considered a perfect depth for relaxation and anything deeper would move the gathering location for adults to the shallower middle part of the pool.

If you are looking to add jumping rocks and a diving board, then a 5ft deep pool will be too shallow. In my opinion, for jumping rocks, you should have at least a 6 ft deep pool just to be on the safe side in my opinion. There is information out there saying that 4ft is deep enough to jump into a pool, but I swim in a 4ft pool daily and I can tell you that it isn’t deep enough for an adult to jump into.

A diving board requires an 8ft deep end at least, so a 5 ft deep end will not be adequate by law. You can read more about what depth of pool is safe to jump in our article on the site.

Hear from Pool Owners with 5 ft Deep Pools

Here are some quotes I pulled from an online group so you can hear what people are saying that own 5 ft deep pools. Although, do take everything with a grain of salt because there are others who have deeper pools and absolutely love it too!

16×32 with 3.5’ shallow end and 5.5’ deep end. Perfect for playing games in pool, just floating around, small children and 30 something’s and older. Teenagers will not like it

– Tiona Moore, from Vinyl Liner Swimming Pool Owners Facebook Group

We have a 20 x 40, and our deep end is only 5.5 ft, and I love that our shallow end is big, and we don’t have an awkward steep slope. Our kids are also 8 and 10, and so far everyone loves it. I love that I can stand or tread water in the deep end, and we can play volleyball and pass the football with people standing at either end. I will note, however, that I am especially cautious when I dive in the deep end, and I have rubbed my nose on the floor a few times. We don’t have a diving board, just a slide.

– Craig Marshall, from Vinyl Liner Swimming Pool Owners Facebook Group
A 5 ft pool is deep enough for kids to jump, but might be too shallow for most adults

Is a 5ft pool too deep to play games?

No, this pool isn’t too deep to play games given the average height of an adult is 5 foot 9 inches. If your pool is 5 feet deep, there will a slow gradual slope to that depth, so the middle of your pool will be working its way from 4ft to 5 ft which would put the water around the chest to waist level for most adults. A perfect depth for playing games like Volleyball and Basketball. For children, it will get a bit difficult for them closer to the deep end but a majority of the pool will be a good play area depending on their age and height.

With that being said, if the pool is mostly for children, I believe you would want to have an extremely gradual slope and maybe even consider a sports pool! I hope this article has given you a bit more information and what you need to consider but also let you know that a 5ft pool isn’t necessarily too shallow, it might even be perfect! If you would like to read a more deep dive into choosing the right pool depth for you, then check out our article about Pool Depth here on our website.


The founder of I wanted a place to share all of the great information from my family to other pool lovers, builders, and those looking to buy a pool.

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