Very, and not at all.  Don’t ever buy a pool just because of the warranty, especially if you haven’t read it thoroughly and understand all the details.

You can buy a $100,000 automobile and get a three year warranty.  There are $1,000 pools with a lifetime!  That doesn’t make the pool better than the automobile – it suggests that competition has driven all pool warranties to ridiculous lengths.  They no longer have anything to do with the pool’s quality or longevity.

First, most warranties cover defects in materials and workmanship, on a pro-rated basis.  That means the defect has to be the manufacturer’s fault – not yours, or an Act of God.  Second, they are of descending value (like automobile tire warranties).  You don’t get a new pool in ten years – you get a discount on parts for a new pool in ten years.

When comparing two different manufacturers, a pool with a ten-year warranty could easily be a better made pool than another with a thirty-year warranty.  Depending on how the warranty is written, the ten-year warranty may well give the customer better protection.  Even within the same manufacturer, a thirty-year pool may not necessarily last three times longer than the ten-year pool.

Most important to any warranty is who stands behind it and how do you deal with them.  How do you actually get the parts?  I’d rather pay full price for a part that I can get, than get a 35% discount on a part that I can’t get.  Your questions are: How long has the manufacturer been in business?  Does anyone else around here deal with the same manufacturer?  Can you deal directly with the manufacturer, or do you have to go through the original dealer?  Do you have to deal directly with the manufacturer, or will the dealer intercede on your behalf?  Is there any labor included, or just materials?