What is a Good Size Pool?

Pool size is a “huge” deal! Seriously, it is! Once you have made the decision, you really can’t go back and what is done is done. We can measure pool size by a few different metrics, but the real question is how much pool I need for the number of people that will regularly swim in the pool. This will determine what is a good size pool for you and your family!

What a good size pool for your home should be determined by calculating 130 square feet per person. As an example, a rectangular pool with a shallow depth of 3.5 feet and a deep end of 6 feet can comfortably accommodate 2-3 people with a 12×24 foot pool at 288 square feet and approximately 10,300 gallons of water. For 4-5 people, a 16×32 foot pool at 512 square feet and 18,200 gallons of water is ideal. Six people can comfortably use an 18×36 foot pool at 648 square feet and 23,100 gallons of water. For eight people or more, a pool of 20×40 feet with 800 square feet and 28,500 gallons of water is recommended.

This is an approximate calculation of course because as one size of shoe doesn’t fit all, neither will your pool size. Since it is such a large and important decision let’s take a deeper look into what makes a good pool size.

What is a good size pool? This pool is beautiful and big but perhaps too big?
16’x36′ Pool with Large Tanning Ledge

Factors to Choosing a Good Size Pool for your Family

There are quite a few factors that go into deciding your pool size, and it isn’t necessarily just about whether the pool is as big as you would like it to be. The first factor that needs to be considered is going to be how much space you have in your backyard to fit the pool. You can check out more about that topic in my article 16 Steps to Choose Your Pool Size. But let’s take a look at all of the factors briefly here.

How Much Space Do You Have Available in Your Yard?

The basics to consider though will be the distance from your home, utility lines location, how much decking you will want overall, and how much space you would like to have left for your landscaping. Many of us would still like to have some grass left in our backyard for the dog!

The real question becomes, “what is a good pool size for my yard?” I would think carefully about this because many people underestimate how many decks they really want. While the pool is the activity area for gatherings and family fun, the deck is really where everyone spends most of their time around the pool. That is going to take up a lot of space in your yard and you might even consider reducing your pool size so you can have a good balance of yard, deck, and pool ratio.

Pool Build that Leaves Plenty of Yard for Play

How Many People Will Be Using the Pool?

Pools are a long-term investment, so it might be worth considering who is going to be using the pool now and 10 or 15 years from now as well. Will your kids be churning out the next generation and overwhelming your home with grandbabies? If that’s the case, you might want to consider that into your decision on how many families will really be using the pool in the future during gatherings and summer holidays.

What is the Pool Going to Be Used For?

This influences how long and deep you are going to want to build your pool. Swimming laps, for example, are going to need at least a minimum of 4ft deep and 20 feet long to get a nice lap cycle in without using a lap device. If you plan to have 6 teenagers in the pool consistently, how would they use the pool? I know my friends and I had some hardcore water basketball games and the extra space in our pool growing up was extremely useful. And my mom enjoyed that the pool was long enough that we weren’t splashing her while she was just relaxing in the shallowest area!

It’s good to keep in mind that diving boards require a minimum of 8ft deep, which requires the pool to be longer for the natural slope of the pool to reach that depth. Tanning ledges will also require a bit more size added to the pool as well to keep a decent enough swim area. I dig even more into all of the different inground pool sizes here to help you see what standard sizes are available.

Budget is a Factor, But Not as Big as You Think

Here is a really helpful insider tip! Adding Length and Width to your pool doesn’t increase your overall budget by that much. The real cost for customized pools comes from adding pool features. If size really matters to you, then you can consider taking away a couple of extra features to help fit into your budget.

Larger pools hold a lot more volume as well, which does cause an increase in chemical usage to remain a healthy pool water balance. This should be considered on your annual pool chemical usage budget.

Good Pool Size Examples for Rectangular Pools

I put together some data to help understand what size you might need for your backyard pool. These calculations are definitely not exact. Again, what some consider a good pool size for their yard, others might think is too big or too small. We can still use historical average data to present ourselves with a decent estimate though to start the process. If you are still deciding which pool type is right for you, you can also learn more about an in-depth article I wrote about how to decide what pool to buy that includes pricing averages!

This table below is helping us to decide the right size pool based on the number of people, it assumes a depth of 3.5 ft – 6 ft.

# of PeopleWidth ft.Length ft.Sq. ft.Gallons
These Calculations were created using Pool Volume Calculator and the assumption of 130 sq. ft. per person is needed

This next table assumes a depth of 3.5 ft – 9 ft so there is an adjustment to the gallons.

# of PeopleWidth ft.Length ft.Sq. ft.Gallons
These Calculations were created using Pool Volume Calculator and the assumption of 130 sq. ft. per person is needed


Preliminary research is always important as you begin planning out your future backyard oasis. At the end of the day, your very best information source is going to come from pool builders and inspectors who are taking a look at your backyard. Their experience and knowledge are going to help you understand what is possible before going too deep into the rabbit hole. There are a lot of factors, like irrigation requirements for your yard, that just can’t be discovered until a professional looks at your backyard.


The founder of Coolpoolhelp.com. 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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