The best way to enjoy a midnight dip in your pool during the winter is by investing in a pool heater. A solar heater is an excellent alternative to gas and heat-pump pool heaters and are equally efficient in keeping your pool warm and toasty. They are easier on your pocket as they don’t run on electricity, pay for themselves in the long run, and are better for the environment. Their annual maintenance cost isn’t too high, either.
If you are looking for the perfect solar heater for your pool, you’ve come to the right place. Our well-researched list of the top best solar pool heaters in 2021 will help you find the right fit for your pool.
Benefits Of Solar Pool Heaters
- You can extend pool season by a few days by using a solar pool heater.
- They are eco-friendly as they run on the sun’s energy.
- Solar pool heaters save you from hefty electricity bills.
- They pay for themselves in the long run.
- Little to no operational cost.
- Most solar pool heaters are easy to set up as they use an existing pump and filter.
Tips To Take Care Of Solar Pool Heaters
- Ensure regular pool maintenance to get the most out of your solar pool heater
- If your solar pool heater does not come with an automatic controller, you should turn it on for an hour each day to flush out debris or any build-up in the summers.
- Before each swim season, touch the solar heating system to ensure it is not too hot. If it is, please contact your local solar technician.
- During the frigid winters, it is recommended that solar panels be turned off.
- Every year or so, it is advised that you get your system checked by a professional to rule out any valve or tube damage.
Top 10 Best Solar Pool Heaters In 2021
Cold water preventing you from jumping into your pool at night? Well, no more. This unique solar blanket features thousands of bubbles on a film, ensuring that heat is retained and collected efficiently. The solar cover that comes with it helps prevent evaporation.. Now no more waiting for a sunny day to enjoy the waters.
- Attractive bubble design
- Prevents up to 95% of pool water evaporation
- 33×33 foot cover
- Can be trimmed to the shape of your pool
- May not be durable (6 months – 1 year)
- Not suitable for really cold climates
Put the sun to work while you enjoy the warm waters of your pool. This solar pool heater comes in 2 contoured and curves shapes and is the perfect addition to your pool. Gradually increasing the water temperature, it goes up 5ºF in 4 days. Easy to assemble, this solar heater requires no gas or electricity.
- Durable solar panel area
- Made of premium materials that will withstand the outdoors
- Replacement parts are available
- Foldable legs with a clear cover that traps heat
- Not suitable for all types of inground pools
This 20-feet long and 2-feet wide solar pool heater is your solution to a warm pool. The patented design ensures that solar panels receive maximum exposure to the sun’s rays. It is easy to set up and uses the existing pool pump to raise the temperature to 6-10ºF. Now, add days to pool season and enjoy your heated pool.
- Suitable for inground or above ground pools
- Can be installed on roofs, racks, the ground or on fences
- Comes with hose and clamps so you can connect 2 or more
- Patented web design
- Some may find it slightly heavy
Fashioned using 2 layers of UV resistant vinyl, these floating disc heating devices efficiently keep your pool heated. This disc’s upper layer leads the sun’s rays to the bottom layer, where 50% of the sunlight is converted to heat. Available in packs of 3 and 10, they come with 6 magnets to attach the rings.
- Can resist strong winds
- Easy to set up
- Noticeable rise in temperature in 48 hours
- Suitable for all types of pool shapes
- Additional insulation is required to warm pool at night
- Made of plastic
Is it too chilly to take a dip? Are you annoyed that the swim season is over? Don’t worry, as this solar blanket cover can extend it by a few days. Made from polyethylene, it raises the water temperature up to 8-10ºF every 5-7 days. A convenient way to heat the pool, it can be cut conveniently to the size and shape of your pool.
- Reduces water evaporation
- Prevents chemical loss
- Stops debris from getting in
- Comes with quick heating and supreme insulation
- 8-year manufacturer’s limited coverage
- Warranty applies only if seals come apart
Made from polypropylene, it is a durable and sturdy pool solar heater. Heating the pool up to 15ºF in 24 hours, it contains large panels that allow the sun’s rays to penetrate efficiently. It uses your existing pool pump with purpose-built tubes to heat the water. It won’t break your bank and heats up your pool in no time.
- Equipped with a direct flow system
- 80 square feet solar panels
- Each panel is 4 feet wide x 20 feet long
- Suitable for both inground and above ground pools
- Need to purchase the installation kit separately
Heat your pool with ease with this pool solar heating system from Fafco. Equipped with barb connections, mounting caps, mounting bases, mounting straps, a valve handle, and rubber tube plugs, setting one up has never been more comfortable. It uses a pool pump to circulate the pool water with the heated solar collector. Available in 2 sizes, Solar Bear and Solar Cub, it is perfect for your above ground pool.
- Made using U.V. stabilized polyethylene
- Extra large 2-inch headers for better water circulation
- Can be mounted on the ground, on racks, or roofs
- Sturdy and durable
- Will withstand strong winds
- 4 feet by 20 feet collector
- Not suitable for underground pools
- Needs additional flexible hose and ground spikes
If you’re on the lookout for a tasteful and uniquely designed solar pool heater, you should consider this one. It is a round, dome shape that can be stored easily and uses an existing pump and filter system to heat and circulate water back into the pool. Featuring black coiled hoses that carry the pool water, it is an environmentally friendly way to heat up your pool.
- Aesthetically pleasing design
- Comes with a protective cover
- Made of PP, PC and PE hose
- Does not leak
- May have trouble finding adapters for 1.5-inch hoses.
Truly a solar pool heater that stands apart, this one from Kokido saves you a trip to the roof for installation. One that can be mounted to the ground, it is great for warming your pool on cold days. Compatible with most above ground pools, it comes with foot hoses, fittings for an easy set up.
- It works even in cold climates
- Lightweight and compact
- Raises temperature to 10ºF
- Stainless steel clamps
- Not suitable for underground pools
- Takes 3 days to heat the pool.
We’ve saved the best for last. With wide panels that are 2.5 feet tall and 20 feet long, it can heat up a large pool. Simply add this to your water pump system and enjoy the water even after the pool season and warm days have ended.
- Does not require adapters
- No maintenance is required
- Easy to install
- No gas required
- Might be too big for some spaces
- Does not include a mounting kit
If you still have questions about solar pool heaters, read on because we’re asking the all right questions and giving you the answers as well.
Types Of Solar Pool Heaters
There are 3 different types of solar pool heater and they fall under the following categories:
- Solid panels with straps
This type of solar pool heater comes with solid polymer monolithic panels. If you are looking for an affordable option, we highly recommend this one. Because of their low production cost, they are produced in larger quantities, at budget-friendly prices. These heaters do a great job of heating your pool when the sun is directly overhead (around noon), but the heat rating reduces as the sun moves away and changes its angle. A drawback to this type is that they create an uplift if the winds are strong and need to be strapped down with extra penetrations between each strap. These penetrations and straps are usually connected to plywood, which may result in leaks on the roof.
- Individual tube panels
Compared to the polymer monolithic panels with straps, these are slightly more high-priced. But they come with an abundance of advantages. Made on individual tubes, they can hold down stronger winds and need fewer penetrations, reducing the risk of roof leaks. These panels need only to be strapped at the top and bottom. Each tube opens into a header, practically eradicating backpressure and helping lower electricity costs. Not only are these perfect for the roof, but due to their gator and panel clamps, they can be attached to porches and the ground.
- Glazed or non-glazed
Essentially, all solar pool heaters are categorized into glazed or non-glazed. If you live in a climate where temperatures don’t ever fall below freezing temperatures, you can opt for a non-glazed heater. These work better in warmer climates and are even a more reasonable option. But if you live in the colder regions, we suggest you go for a polymer glazed solar pool heater. Though they are more expensive, they work better in colder climates.
How To Choose The Best Solar Pool Heater
- Temperature and climate
Depending on where you live and your heating preferences you can choose a solar heater for your pool. Most solar pool heaters average between 5ºF to 10ºF. Some high-end ones even go up to 15ºC. So, if you live in a cool climate and need one that has a high heating capacity, we suggest you choose the 15ºC. If you stay in a place where it is relatively warm, you can opt for the ones with a lower heating range.
- Space and size
Solar pool heaters come in varied shapes and sizes, including ones that just sit on top of your pool and can be easily stored away, to others which are large panels and take up a lot of space. Consider the size of your pool and the space around it, as well as your preferences of the size, and pick one that works best for you.
As mentioned above, some solar water heaters take little to no time to be set up, whereas others need a lot more time and sometimes additional support and equipment. Solar water heaters for underground pools need more time and expertise, whereas above ground pool heaters don’t need as much.
Notorious for lack of durability, solar water heaters are not always the prefered choice. Even with the added advantages of being environmentally friendly, reasonable and maintenance-free, most people don’t opt for it because they are not considered as durable as electric or gas heaters. So, when you are purchasing a solar pool heater look for ones that offer a long warranty period, so even if there are issues you can get it replaced.
How To Install Solar Panels On The Roof
Step 1 – Install solar panel mounts and angle them so they have maximum sun exposure
Step 2 – Set up the solar panels on the mounts
Step 3 – Wire the solar panels
Step 4 – Connect a solar inverter to the system (Make sure it is connected to a battery)
Step 5 – The solar inverter to a consumer unit to generate electricity
Step 6 – Start and test the entire system
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are solar pool heaters water-resistant?
Some solar pool heaters are. If yours is not, we suggest you buy a protective cover.
2. What size solar pool heater do I need?
That depends on how big your pool is. The general rule of thumb is that the panels need to cover half the size of the pool.
Is it really profitable to obtain a solar heater for an above ground pool in particular?
A solar heater is profitable regardless of it being above ground or underground. Because it runs on the sun’s energy, it saves you from hefty electricity bills and ongoing maintenance fees.
3. How to know what type of heater you need for your swimming pool?
A few determinants could help you pick out the type of heater needed for your pool. These include temperature range, the climate, durability, size you prefer, etc.
4. Do solar pool heaters work in winter?
Yes, solar pool heaters do work in winter but are not too efficient. Their performance drastically reduces, especially if your winters are frigid.
5. How long do solar pool heaters take to heat up the pool?
That depends on the type of solar heater you have. While some take a few days, others may take up to a week or more. It is also dependent on the weather.
Now that you have all the information you need to help you buy a solar heater, we know you will pick the perfect one for your pool. From solar covers that can be customized to the size of your inground or above ground pool to panels that use your existing pool pump to solar rings that can be placed over the water – we’ve got it all. We’re sure that after you make your choice, you will be spending all your days and nights in your warm and comfortable pool. So what are you waiting for? Ditch the electric or gas heater and switch to a solar pool heater today!