If you are fortunate enough to live in a sunny climate, there is a lot that can be done to prolonge the number of days you can use your pool. This is only if you purchase the right products, including a quality solar pool heater. They might not heat the pool up to near bubbling levels but they can do more than take the edge off, which is why they have become popular products.
However, you still need to know what to look for as they aren’t all made equal. With a whole list of products ranging from those designed for above ground pools to full home systems for larger pools, the following list is the best solar pool heaters. With something for every budget, most common pool sizes, and beyond, there is no reason why you can’t be enjoying yours even when the summer is fading.
Quick Summary of Best Solar Pool Heater
Editor’s Choice: Fafco Solar Bear Economy Heating System for Above-Ground Pools
- Includes everything bar the grounds spikes if installing in the ground
- Good value
- Can be mounted on a rack or roof
- Doesn’t slow pool circulation
Best For Different Sized Pools: SmartPool S240U Pool Solar Heaters
- Low maintenance
- Uses current filtration system
- Comes with all hardware
- Increases temperature by 6 – 10 degrees F
- Other products can raise the temperature a little higher
Most Versatile: Heliocol Swimming Pool Solar Heating Panel 4′ x 10′ 6 – HC-40
- Resistant to lifting in high winds
- Sturdy construction
- Easy to install
- Round tubes capture added heat
- Can be a bit pricey for some
Easiest To Use: SunHeater S120U Universal Solar Pool Heater 2 by 20-Feet, Black
- 2 x 20 ft panel
- Can be fixed in multiple places
- Patented web design provides maximum exposure
- Raised the temperature by 6 – 10 degrees F
- Not as durable as some of the other options
Best Value: Smartpool S601P SunHeater Solar Heating System for In Ground Pool
- Can increase water temperature by 15 degrees
- Direct flow system
- Can be installed on a roof
- Requires 80 sq ft to be most effective
Solar Pool Heater Guide
When you buy a quality solar pool heater, you know that your pool is ready for you. The warm water can be very inviting and these neat devices extend the number of days you can use your pool well beyond the summer months.
The problem is you need to know what to look for. The sub-par products will land you in hot water, and not in a good way. To make sure this is an investment that pays off, we have created the following buyer’s guide.
By the end of it, you’ll know what makes the best solar pool heaters so much better than the low-quality options/
What To Look For In A Solar Pool Heater
The type of pool you are looking to heat will impact the type of solar pool heater you should buy. An above-ground pool only needs a compact exchange heater or sheets.
With an exchange heater, the pool needs to be relatively close to the house to ensure it can work. Also, consider the size of your pool as some products are better suited to smaller pools as they don’t have such a great output.
Ease Of Installation
How skilled are you at DIY? Unless you get an expert to install your exchange heater, it might be best to invest in something easier such as a surface heater.
Your solar pool heater is only going to be as good as the amount of heat it can generate. However, it might struggle if you live in a climate that doesn’t get a lot of sunlight.
If you are in an area that has long summers or pleasant weather at other times, it isn’t going to take a lot for it to work.
The build quality and the materials are going to go a long way towards making a solar pool heater worth buying or not. This will affect how much use you get out of it before it can’t do its job of heating the pool anymore.
The more you spend, the more this will put your mind at rest. when you buy a solar pool heater with a lengthy warranty, it can feel like a risk-free purchase. These products are not immune to the odd failing so it is important to make sure the product you have your eye on comes with some sort of warranty, the longer the better!
There is no better value than buying a product that actually works but when it comes to value, it is always a good idea to spend whatever you feel comfortable with. Bear in mind that you generally get more use out of the products that are known for making solar pool heaters using quality materials.
Another thing to remember is that a solar pool heater might cost more initially compared to other types, but within a few years, the savings to your bills will mean they pay for themselves and become a shrew investment.
How to Winterize A Solar Pool Heater?
Although it is nice to be able to take a swim in the colder months, it is not a good idea to leave the solar pool heater all winter. This will not only cost you a lot as it struggles to generate enough heat from the scarce sunlight it gets, but it will also take longer to do so.
Drain the pipe circulation system so it isn’t running continually and you can also switch the solar system to bypass mode. this might be different depending on the model so it is a good idea to check the manual of the product you buy to make sure you get it right.
How Many Degrees Does A Solar Pool Heater Provide?
These products have a decent range and heat a pool by around 10 – 20 degrees F depending on the product. The main influence on this is the weather as warmer weather will make it easier to reach the max increase whilst low light conditions will mean it could struggle to reach the minimum.
Solar Pool Heater Vs Electric
There are plus points to both that make them worth considering but let’s start with the cost of running each one. In general, electric heaters costs more to run but the initial outlay is not going to be as much.
Over time, you will save money with a solar pool heater. If you are interested in being environmentally friendly then a solar pool heater wins every time.
An electric heater does heat your pool fast but a solar option will give you a steady amount of heat and can work continuously depending on where you live and the weather conditions.
How Much Does A Solar Pool Heater Cost?
Although there are some budget options out there that won’t cost you as much, a quality solar pool heating system can cost around $3,000 and above.
This is for the full system although you might have to pay extra to get an expert to install it. If you are confident in your installation skills then you can save a few dollars.
Are Solar Pool Heaters Worth It?
They are often considered the most reliable as there are less intricate parts that can break compared to other types of heaters. Also, they only take a few hours to install and set up is generally less intrusive to the pool. there is no plumbing required so no one is going to be digging up your backyard to get any pipes in place.
Also, solar pool heaters are known for being low maintenance. There isn’t a lot that goes wrong with them compared to other types. You also get a lot of use out of them as they can heat the pool all year round, without adding a lot to your bills.
In general, most solar pool heaters pay for themselves within 1-3 years. This is compared to the money you will spend on other types of pool heaters that are costly to run.