Stock tank pools are this summer’s hottest new way to cool down

Stock tank pool in San Antonio, courtesy of Lindsay St. John. (KSAT)

HOUSTON – Having a pool in your back yard is definitely a luxury these days. Easily cooling down on a hot summer day just by walking out the back door seems unfair to those who don’t have pools, or the money or space to build one.

But there is a super cute solution: STOCK TANK POOLS!

If you haven’t heard of these yet, stock tank pools are water troughs used for animals, (which you’ve probably seen at the Rodeo) transformed into swimming pools. They come in a few different sizes, and you can set them up with pumps to clean and filter the water, just like a pool!

The biggest difference? They don’t come with that huge pool price tag.

We caught up with our local friends at Houston Stock Tank Pools, and they answered some questions we had about how these tanks work.

What exactly is a stock tank pool?

Stock tank pools are just big, steel buckets meant for holding water. Originally, these were used on farms for holding a lot of water for animals to drink. Therefore, they are big and shallow (about two feet deep). We suspect they were used by farm kids to cool off in the summer heat. But people got creative, and started using them as actual above ground pools, fitted with pumps and chlorine.

Do they come in different sizes and shapes?

They do, but not many. Basically, you can do a circle, or an oval. The big circle is the fan favorite. 

How much work and maintenance goes into caring for one?

This is part of the appeal - they are super easy to maintain. It’s just not a ton of a water, so a simple pump keeps the water flowing. Chlorine or saline systems will keep it clear. And that’s really it. Maintenance includes changing a filter regularly and making sure chlorine is right. 

So you do still shock and chlorinate the water? 

You do. I shock my Stock Tank pool after it rains and keep a chlorine floater with a fresh tab in it always. Even if they get gunky after some neglect, you can usually get them back to crystal clear in a day or two. 

What are some fun ways to personalize your stock tank?

People like to paint them, which is an awesome way to add a splash of color to the backyard. I’ve seen people build decking to the height of the pool lip as well, which looks beautiful. With any pool, you need to take precautions against children and old dogs falling in, however. 

Why do you think these have become so popular this year? 

This is all pandemic driven. Houston is hot. People used to cool down at community pools, friends’ pools, the beach, etc. But, with COVID-19 numbers high, and school out, everyone is looking for an affordable way to cool down. And frankly, above ground pools are a little more unsightly. The Stock Tank pool gets you that farmhouse look at an affordable cost. People have been buying up every tank and pump they can find. I’m sure it left these farm suppliers scratching their heads for a few months, but now they know what’s going on. Let’s hope the trend continues! Everyone in Houston deserves a place to cool off.

When will there will be more tanks in stock?

Hopefully in August or September. Pumps are difficult to locate all over the country which has left unable to deliver a product we are proud of. If the craze is still around, we will do a discount this winter to get people ready for next summer. There are also a few unique ways to convert them into hot tubs!

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