One of the most important accessories for your pool is something you probably don't think about very much: a swimming pool ladder. It's not very glamorous, but it's incredibly useful; after all, what good is a pool if you can't get into or out of it?
Inground pool ladders vary drastically from above ground pool ladders. While the inground ladders look like small sections of, well, a basic ladder, above ground pools utilize a style of stairs that take you up and over the edge of the pool and then gracefully down into it. They look like freestanding A-frame ladders. Inground pools might also have swimming pool steps built into the foundation of the pool to gradually lead swimmers down into the water.
Both inground and above ground ladders are usually made of either plastic or aluminum (or a combination of both). Plastic is cheaper, but it is more likely to crack and may have a lower weight limit than aluminum. Choose the ladder that best fits your needs; if your pool is not used very often, you can probably get away with a plastic ladder.
Either way, look for a ladder or steps that are sturdy, durable and safe — they should be covered with a nonslip, texturized coating for added safety. Cheap pool ladders may save you a few bucks up front, but pools can be rather dangerous places and anything that helps keep people stable and safe is worth a greater investment.
Ladders or stairs of any type should be cleaned regularly to avoid grimy buildup and/or rust. It's easiest to clean a ladder if you remove it from the water first, so many people choose to perform this basic maintenance at the beginning and end of each swimming season.
If your ladder or set of stairs becomes damaged, cracked or loose, be sure to repair or replace it right away. A swimming pool ladder must support a person's entire weight, so you want to make sure it's sturdy. Make sure there's a handrail to help swimmers balance and to support them in case of a slip, and keep the ladder or stairway free of obstacles (pool toys, thermometers, etc.).
Whatever type of ladder you own, make sure it does not rub against or otherwise damage the sides or foundation of your pool. Rubber pads or bumpers can be used to prevent scratches, chips or other damage the ladder or stairs may cause.