Discover the Advantages and Disadvantages of Various Pool Entry Designs

October 15, 2023

There are many different types of pools out there, so it stands to reason that there would also be a variety of pool entry methods. Most entry methods used in Australia must be s afe to adhere to building and safety standards. However, there are many different options for the entry methods you can choose.

 Whether you prefer ladder entry, steps or something a little more out-of-the-box, we install a range of pool entry methods at Blue Haven Pools. In this article, we’ll look at some of the most common pool entry designs in Australia and their pros and cons. Read on to find out more about pool entry designs in Australia.


Pool ladders

One of the most popular ways for people to get in and out of their residential swimming pool is with a ladder. The great thing about ladders is their versatility, particularly when it comes to design. For example, you can buy A-frame ladders perfectly suited to above-ground pools, but there are multiple designs for below-ground pools, too.

 Many pool owners like to include a ladder in the deeper part of the pool and steps in the shallow end, giving people an easy entry and exit point no matter where they are in the pool. Let’s look at the pros and cons of pool ladders.



Firstly, the versatility of ladders is a big plus. You can choose a standard ladder that’s fixed to your pool deck, allowing easy access. Reverse bend ladders are also popular, with their unique design featuring the first step further away from the pool for easier use.

 Ladders can be made from a variety of pool-friendly materials too, such as stainless steel, heavy-duty plastics, aluminium and more.

 While not a compulsory feature on all swimming pool ladders, many of them include non-slip steps as an added safety feature.

 The price is also a good selling point, with pool ladders often being cheaper than steps. This is because ladders are typically just fixed to the pool deck and the pool’s inside wall, meaning they can be installed almost everywhere. Steps, however, usually need to be built into the main design (but there are detachable steps, too.)



Pool ladders are a cost-effective, safe option. However, they do have their drawbacks. Firstly, maintenance can be a little more difficult. It’s quite easy to clean pool steps the same as you would any other surface inside the pool. But ladders are a little trickier, and they can be susceptible to rust, depending on the material.

 Another drawback is the fact that ladders aren’t always easy for everybody. Small children or those with mobility issues may find it difficult to pull themselves out using a ladder, whereas strolling up some gradual steps is a bit easier.


Pool steps

Much like ladders, pool steps are quite varied in their design. You could have steps built into the design of the pool, which is a great way to control their size. If you want wider steps, it’s no problem when you’re building them in. Alternatively, there are plenty of pool steps that can be added later, being fixed to the pool, not unlike a ladder.

 Ultimately, it’s down to personal preference, but the varied designs make pool steps an attractive option. Let’s see how pool steps stack up against other pool entry designs.



Again, versatility is a bonus. Steps come in all shapes, sizes and designs, so you’ve got a lot of options when choosing yours. As far as materials go, the sky is the limit. Common materials include fibreglass, vinyl, hard plastics and more. The type you choose depends on your style of pool.

 As far as safety goes, pool steps get a pretty big tip. You’ll probably want non-slip surfaces on the steps for added safety, and many steps also have handrails. This makes them a safe option for kids, elderly folks, and anyone using your pool.

 They’re also very easy to use because there is no excessive straining or pulling to get yourself out of the pool, unlike when using a ladder. Plus, if you like the idea of gradually getting used to the water temperature, walking down some steps can be a lot easier than lowering yourself straight in via a ladder.



Of course, pool steps have their cons too. Firstly, they take up more space than ladders. Where a ladder can be attached almost anywhere around the pool, steps take a bit more planning – especially if you’re building them into the pool’s design. So, if you have a smaller pool, steps can use up a fair chunk of your available space.

 Also, the cost may be a turnoff for some people. Although the price difference isn’t dramatic, steps are usually a bit more expensive. Plus, while providing a great safety feature, the use of handrails can increase the space required, the cost and the installation complexity.


Zero entry

Zero-entry pools are quite common in public settings, and they’re becoming more popular for residential pools, too. Also known as ‘beach entry’ pools, the ground gradually slopes downwards, making it appear somewhat like a beach. Don’t worry – you don’t need to add sand, as the ‘floor’ surface is generally non-slip and safe for everybody.

 Let’s check out some of the pros and cons of zero-entry pool design.



Firstly, there’s perhaps no other pool design that offers the ease of access that a zero-entry pool does. Because the ground gradually slopes downward, the water level gets deeper as you walk. For kids and people with mobility issues, this design is a clear winner. No steps, no ladders, just a simple walk in and out of the pool.

 Zero-entry pools are modern and eye-catching because they’re not as common in a residential setting.

 The gradually sloping nature of the floor allows for some unique pool experiences. The water heats up quickly in parts because it’s so shallow. But the gradual slope also means you can sit in the shallow water, even set up a lounge or chair in the shallows on a hot day.



The space required for a zero-entry pool is the main reason this design isn’t as common in Australia. Remember, part of your pool’s floor has little to no water, and it gradually gets deeper. This means you need far more space to accommodate the extra shallow section unless you want to sacrifice how much deep water space you have.

 The cost is another issue because it takes more time to build a zero-entry pool. Not to mention the expertise required. So, you’ll generally find this isn’t the most cost-effective option.

 Maintenance can also be problematic simply because of the larger area you must clean. It’s not quite as easy to cover a zero-entry pool either, so if you like to use a pool cover, you may need something more expensive or custom-designed.



Swim-outs have a variety of different names depending on where you live. You may have heard them called sun ledges, sun shelves or even tanning ledges. So, while these ledges generally have a range of purposes, one of those is to facilitate easy entry and exit from the pool.

 A swim-out can be installed at either end of the pool, and they are ledges that sit just below the water’s surface level. Kids can play on them because it’s shallow, and swimmers can even stop for a rest. You can also set up sun beds or simply lay in the shallow water and enjoy the sun.



Versatility is definitely a bonus here. Use swim-outs as a resting place, a tanning area or simply a nice shallow space to get in and out of the pool. Kids can even splash around there, depending on the size. In reality, though, most residential swim-outs are quite small, leaving enough space for a person to rest and climb in and out.

 It’s also a luxurious addition to your pool, so if you want to impress guests or simply enjoy having the best of everything, a swim-out is an excellent inclusion.



The major downside to a swim-out is the space required. It’s obviously an additional section of shallow water, leaving less room for deep-water swimming. So, if you’re short on space, ladders and steps are a much better option.

 Cost can also be an issue, however, your ledge will likely be planned and built into the pool during construction rather than being retrofitted.

 Finally, it may not be the best exit and entry method for those with mobility issues. Standing up from a seated or lounging position in the water isn’t always easy, so again, it really depends on your personal preference and lifestyle needs.


Looking for the best luxury swimming pools in Australia?

Blue Haven has been creating stunning swimming pools for Australians since 1973. From fibreglass pools to mineral pools, we’ve got a great range to choose from. Importantly, we can custom-design any pool to suit your specific needs. So, if you’d like to add a touch of luxury to your home and start enjoying more time outdoors, we’d love to hear from you. Talk to us about our incredible range of pools and spas today. At Blue Haven, we’re dedicated to delivering the best quality swimming pools every time.

Read More:

More insights on

Follow Us On