Should you get a stock tank pool?

What is a stock tank pool?

Stock tank pools were all the rage during 2020.

Lockdowns made stay-cations more appealing than vacations and that’s when the stock tank pool hit it’s peak in popularity. It wasn’t just the stock tank pool, it was ALL pools.

If you wanted to buy a pool online in 2020, or in store, you were going to pay a pretty penny for it because they were hard to come by. Even pool parts were hitting record high prices along with serious inventory shortages.

So what is a stock tank pool? It’s literally just a stock tank that you turn into a pool.

What is a stock tank? It’s a giant galvanized steel container farmers use to fill with water or animal feed so they can feed their livestock.

If you drive by farms with pasture raised cows, if you look, you will often see giant stock tanks out in the middle of fields filled with drinking water for the cows.

Stock tank pools can be customized to fit your yard and your style. From adding a deck, to pavers, seating, lighting, plants, and more, you can really make your stock tank pool your own. Just search on Pinterest and you will start to get all sorts of ideas for how you can incorporate a stock tank pool into your backyard.

Now that we’ve had our stock tank for a few years, we have a lot to say about it. This post is going to help you decide if you should get yourself a stock tank pool. Keep reading to hear about why we love our stock tank pool (and why we think you’ll love having one too) and our story of how we got our stock tank pool.

Why not just get an in-ground or above ground pool?

You can and should get an in-ground pool if you can afford one and are up for the maintenance – I want one. That’s what I would’ve done, but I didn’t want to break the bank and my husband and I are still not sure if we’re in our “forever home”.

Also, in-ground pools are a lot of work to maintain and keep clean. The stock tank allowed us to get a pool without spending more than $1,000 and we can actually take it with us if we ever move.

If you’re into above ground pools that’s a slightly more expensive option than the stock tank pool but a much less expensive option when compared to the in-ground pool. You can also fit more people in in-ground and above ground pools and you can swim in them.

The stock tank is really meant for relaxing, soaking, cooling off, and sitting. My husband, myself, and our lab manage to make tiny whirlpools in our stock tank and can “swim” but you’re really pushing around on your hands when you’re in there. We have fun. We like it.

Black lab in a stock tank pool

So, should you get a stock tank pool?

We think so. We’ve had ours for three years and we love it. Every year I get excited when it’s getting close to stock tank pool seasons and the dogs love it too. Now that we have our daughter, and she loves to swim, I can’t wait to play in the stock tank pool with her this year.

Price: Kind of affordable

Compared to in-ground and above ground pools, the stock tank kind of wins. Do you want to spend $5,000 – $50,000 on a pool? No. Then get a stock tank pool. Yes it’s smaller, and it’s certainly not cheap but its kind of affordable and perfect for cooling off and hanging out in the hot summer sun.

For $400-$600 you get a stock tank, another $55-$100 for a pool pump and filter, $30 for inlet/outlet fittings, and another $30 for hoses. All in, you’re looking at about $800 depending on what brand materials you buy. You can find used pool pumps on Facebook marketplace and some open box parts on Amazon and I recommend doing that if you are looking to save some money. I purchased our first pump for $25 on marketplace from a woman who only used it once before she decided to upgrade hers and it worked great for a couple years before we also decided to upgrade our pump. The last thing you need is gravel for leveling and that will cost about $60 (12 bags at $5 each).

Total cost: approx. $500-$900

Looks: Make it your own

Obviously an in-ground pool looks great, but if you can’t get past the price point then it’s out of the question. I personally do not like the look of most above ground pools. They have a metal ring and side supports that hold a giant tarp essentially and you see all those supports along the outside of the pool. Not cute at all. The stock tank pool just looks cool if you ask me.

Stock tank pools can have their own style and you can paint the outside whatever color and patterns you want. I’ve even seen people buy bamboo fencing to put around theres and lots of people will plant around theirs to make it feel more like a nature spa than a pool – you can really do anything to dress these up.

Also, the stock tank can be put in the ground! So technically, it can be an in-ground or above ground pool. It’s up to you to figure out how to run the hoses and keep access to the inlet and outlet fittings, but it is possible with a little creativity. We chose to keep ours above ground and built a small deck with steps around the back of it. If you are a DIYer this is the ultimate summer project for you. The way you install and design your stock tank pool is totally up to you.

Build: Straight forward and durable

In-ground pools require contractors and even though you can build an above ground pool yourself in a couple hours most of them are just not going to be that durable. Linings rip, the metal that holds them together can warp and bend if not properly leveled and just get weak from age, weather, and annually disassembling and reassembling them. You also can’t have animals in these pools – their claws could scratch the walls and puncture your pool lining and it could leak water out or worse, just destroy your pool. If you have a dog that loves to swim, you’ll have to keep them away (I can’t keep my lab away from water which is one reason we went with the stock tank).

The stock tank is easy to set up with some basic tools. I have a blog post (coming soon) where I will be sharing everything you need to get your stock tank pool up and running. As far as it’s durability, it’s durable. Our lab is constantly jumping in and out of ours and we never have to worry about ripped pool lining (because there is no lining). We paint ours once a year (I’ll have a post about that soon too) to keep it looking fresh and you can paint it however you’d like – both inside and out.

Space: Space-saving relaxation

In-ground and above ground pools take up way more space than the stock tank. Yes, you can fit more people in larger pools, but the stock tank is meant for relaxing not swimming laps. If you are short on space, you really only need a 9’x9′ area for your stock tank – 8ft for the pool and another foot for clearance to get in and out. You don’t even need full 360 access, you can tuck your stock tank into a corner of your yard and access the front easily without steps or a ladder.

Think of the stock tank pool like a little oasis in your backyard. That’s what it’s like for us. Yes it’s small, but that’s what makes it so perfect. It’s easier to clean than a giant pool and it’s perfect for relaxing and hanging out. We can fit 4 adults comfortably with a dog and a baby. I used our stock tank for the weeks leading up to delivering our daughter and it was the only place I wanted to be. Being able to do exercises to help with labor along with just getting the weight of the baby off my back was great.

Bonus: Hot Tub

You can actually turn your stock tank pool into a hot tub. You can’t do this with an in-ground or above ground pool.

We haven’t tried this yet, but there are videos on YouTube of people turning their stock tanks into hot tubs and we might try it this year. I’ll write about it if we do.

Special Transportation Required

You can’t transport the stock tank with just any truck – you need a special type of truck.

I don’t have many pictures from our adventure to get the stock tank, but I did take this one photo of the stock tank loaded in the back of a Chevy Kodiak after we figured out how to get it in there.

We had to actually hoist the tank up and at a weird angle to get it inside. Every truck is different and some have lower truck bed walls, some don’t have a side door, but most will have a tailgate.

If you can find a truck with a flat bed, you can secure the stock tank to that and it will probably be easier than loading one into the back of a dump truck.

Whatever you get to move your stock tank, just make sure you have the right size bed and openings (or lack of them in the case of a flat bed) to get it in.

You will need the help of one or two other people so don’t go alone to pick one of these up and don’t trust that the employees working are available or able to help you.

If you can’t get a truck big enough to safely and securely transport the stock tank you can try to find a place that will rent one in your area (try Home Depot and see if you can rent one of their flat bed trucks and bring lots of long, heavy duty, tension straps), or what I would do, have it delivered.

It’s not going to be cheap, but it will be safe and you don’t have to worry about how to get one of these to your house. Once it’s at your house, two people can roll in to wherever it needs to go. The stock tank is big, but it’s really not that heavy when it’s not filled with 700 gallons of water.

Stock tank in the kodiak
Our 8ft stock tank inside the back of a Chevy Kodiak dump truck

The Story of Our Stock Tank

We’ve had our stock tank pool since June of 2020. At the time, we had been using a $3 kiddie pool for our black lab Koda and she was on her third kiddie pool at this point. I was sick of filling them and dumping them out and she would just constantly break them. I also just really wanted a pool but didn’t want to get an above ground and didn’t want to pay for an in-ground. I kept seeing these tiny pools on Pinterest and I fell in love. That’s when I learned about the stock tank pool. It was exactly what I was looking for. So the search began…

I called every Tractor Supply in the Northeast (yes all of them) in search for a stock tank. I remember the employees answering the phone and I could hear their eyes rolling in the back of their head when I would ask if they had any 8ft stock tanks in inventory. Most did not. Like me, there were other people looking to scoop these up to make a stock tank pool for themselves.

I eventually found a Tractor Supply in Massachusetts, over an hour from our home, that had exactly one 8ft stock tank at their store. I begged the guy on the phone to hold it for me and I told him I would be there tomorrow bright and early the next day (I called on a Tuesday). The guy on the phone was nice enough to offer to hold the stock tank for me if I agreed to pick it up first thing in the morning. I was going to do everything I could to make this happen, including logging off work for the day, getting my husband to leave work early, and asking his dad to let us borrow his Kodiak (giant dump truck we absolutely needed to transport the 8ft stock tank).

My husband and I head to Tractor Supply, get the stock tank in the back of the dump truck and we’re on our way back home. I asked Ryan if we had enough fuel to get home and he said we did. I asked him twice because that’s what partners do. He confirmed that he was confident we had enough fuel. We’re driving along and about 15 minutes from our house when the truck shuts off. We took the next exit and rolled as far as we could until the truck completely stopped on a bridge over the highway.

This dump truck runs on diesel and if you don’t know anything about diesel, you can’t just add diesel fuel and be on your way after you’ve run the truck empty, but you do need diesel fuel. So I ran to the closest gas station, purchased two gas cans (they were so small) and filled them to the top with diesel. Then, I ran back up the hill I ran down and made it back to the truck covered in diesel (I forgot to tighten the lid on these cheap gas cans and ran with them on my shoulders to spare my arms).

The fuel neck on this truck is PARALLEL to the ground so half the diesel we got didn’t make it past the fuel neck and into the fuel tank. Normally, if you’re filling up at a fuel station the pressure of the fuel coming out of the pump is strong enough that you could have a parallel fuel neck and all the fuel would go in. We had to manually pour the diesel in and at the angle of the fuel neck, it just got diesel everywhere.

Another thing, because we ran the truck dry (to the point where there was no fuel and it stopped completely) and we couldn’t access the primer, we had to find another way to get it going. Ryan rummaged through the truck and managed to find a spray can of ether and he opened the hood of the truck, sprayed it into the intake, and I hopped in the driver’s seat and tried to start the truck.

On our third try we got it to work – just as the can was running dry. Ryan yelled from the front of the truck for me to drive drive drive! So I did. What little fuel we got in with what little ether he could spray out of the can was enough for me to crest the top of the hill we stopped on and then the engine shut off again.

As luck would have it, I had crested far enough over the hill that I was starting to roll forward without stepping on the gas. I was rolling. The lights in my lane were red. There were cars turning onto and out from the highway across six lanes of traffic. I wasn’t stopping, I couldn’t, and I could see the gas station one light away. I screamed out the window, honked the horn repeatedly and flashed the lights to warn everyone on the road that I was coming.

My frantic waving, screaming, and honking worked and everyone got the memo. By the grace of God I rolled right into the gas station and right to a diesel pump while I could see Ryan running towards the gas station in the distance. We fueled up, properly, and made it the rest of the way home safely with our stock tank.

TIP: Always wear running shoes if you are doing any type of errand away from your house. You never know when you're going to need to lift heavy things or run to get fuel in order to save the day.

about the author:

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Andrea is the voice behind Living Like Lacasse. She is a mom, designer, and all-around creative who loves good food, good company, and good design.

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