Best Solar Pool Cover 2020: Top Picks, Reviews & Buying Guide

BEST OVERALL

Sun2Solar Blue Rectangle Solar Cover-1200 Series

Sun2Solar 1200 Series

5/5

RUNNER-UP

Intex 15-foot Cover

3.9/5

BEST ALTERNATIVE

Thermo-Tex 2831224 Swimming Solar Pool Cover

Thermo-Tex 2831224

4.1/5

Very few of us love the idea of jumping into a chilly pool.  Brrr!

Of course, on a really hot day a cool down in a pool is nice – but that doesn’t mean that you want the water to be too cold. Most of us want to swim in a pool that has fairly warm water.

If you live in a part of the country where the nights are cool, then you’ll definitely need a way to warm the water in your pool each morning.

Yes, you can use pool heaters and spend a bunch of money on electricity to heat your pool… or you can use a more environmentally-sound and pocket-friendly method.

A solar pool cover is a great alternative to heating a pool with electricity or gas. Solar pool covers use the sun’s warming rays to naturally heat the water in your pool.

This is a great substitute for a pool heater in warmer climates or can be used with your pool heater to keep costs down and reduce wear and tear on your pool heater.

Solar covers have not been the most popular option for heating pools, and it is definitely a technology that is being improved upon right now.

If you are considering a solar pool cover, then you probably have questions and are looking for advice on which covers are the best, which issues you need to be aware of, and the differences between types.

We’ve assembled a list of our favorite solar pool covers along with the most frequently asked questions to help you on your mission to finding a pool-warming solution that won’t break the bank.

So let’s start by reviewing our top picks.

Our Reviews Of The Best Solar Pool Covers

#1

Sun2Solar Blue Rectangle Solar Cover-1200 Series

BEST OVERALL

Sun2Solar is great brand that focuses specifically on solar covers and solar heating for pools as well as accessories. 

A perfect choice from Sun2Solar is their 1200 Series Solar Cover.

The 1200 Series is once of their most affordable products, yet it features the same small round bubbles as other Sun2Solar covers and is available in your choice of either blue or clear for the color.

Some prefer the blue color simply for the way it looks on the water, but others select clear because it is thought to work more efficiently than the darker blue option.

With over 30 different sizes to choose from – starting as small as 4 feet x 8 feet and going up to as large as 30 feet x 60 feet – you’re sure to get a great fit with this cover.

FEATURED SPECS

Constructed with thousands of small air bubbles to capture and transmit heat from the sun to your swimming pool.

EXTRA FEATURES

Over 30 sizes available and customizable by cutting.

BENEFITS

DRAWBACKS

Technical specifications

#2

Intex Solar Cover for Easy Set and Frame Pools

RUNNER-UP

The Intex Solar Cover helps you enjoy warm water and a longer swimming season with your outdoor round pool.

It will allow your pool to conserve warmth when nobody is enjoying the water.

This Intex 15′ pool solar cover lessens water evaporation by 95%, which helps you conserve water for the long term.

For storage, the package includes a reusable carry bag that lets you neatly pack it away to move to another location.

FEATURED SPECS

180 x 180 x 18.9 in

EXTRA FEATURES

Includes carry bag for storage when not in use.

BENEFITS

DRAWBACKS

Technical specifications

#3

Thermo-Tex 2831224 Swimming Solar Pool Cover

BEST ALTERNATIVE

The Thermo-Tex 12’x24′ is a rectangular, blue solar swimming pool cover for In-ground pools that will prolong your swimming season by up to 2 months helping to maintain the water temperature on cool nights and cloudy days.

FEATURED SPECS

Rectangular-12ft. x 24ft, 10lb, Blue

EXTRA FEATURES

UV stabilized polymers

BENEFITS

DRAWBACKS

Technical specifications

#4

Harris by Sun Solar 24ft Round Solar Cover – Blue

This Harris’ 24ft round solar cover is the environmentally friendly way to raise your pool temperature and maintain heat, without breaking the bank on your heating bill.

It allows the sun to penetrate and warm the pool; unlike some other solar covers that reflect the sun away from your pool.

Harris’ Solar Covers allow the warm UV rays to penetrate your pool directly; raising water temperatures by up to 15° Fahrenheit, last longer because they maintain their flexibility and don’t become brittle like dark colored, opaque blankets.

Plus, the cover helps keep dirt, silt, and debris from entering your pool, and prevent chemicals from depletion due to exposure as well as seal in the heat to maintain optimal pool comfort when the pool is not in use.

FEATURED SPECS

Round 24ft, 33 pounds, Blue

EXTRA FEATURES

Increases pool temperature by an amazing 15 degrees

BENEFITS

DRAWBACKS

Technical specifications

#5

Midwest Canvas Clear Diamond Oval Solar Cover

The diamond air pockets provide more than just a unique look over standard round air pockets on this solar cover.

The clear durable resin material allows a deeper penetration of solar heat than traditional blue solar covers.

Solar Covers are a great way to capture the sun’s heat and take full advantage of this natural resource to heat your swimming pool.

The benefits of owning a solar cover are plentiful and serve a multitude of purposes.

FEATURED SPECS

Oval 18 x 33, pounds, Diamond color

EXTRA FEATURES

It’s clear, diamond design pattern contains more bubbles per square foot than most others on the market.

BENEFITS

DRAWBACKS

Technical specifications

Solar Pool Cover FAQ

above ground pool cost

If you are seriously considering a solar pool cover, you likely have some of the same questions that lots of other pool owners have.

We’ve compiled a list of questions that we’ve heard asked about solar pool covers.

These may not be all of the questions you have, but from our experience they are the most important.

Do Solar Pool Covers Actually Work?

We know, many solar pool covers look like a cheap joke.

A thin plastic layer that looks a lot like bubble wrap, floats on the water of your pool and heats the water. 

Is it too good to be true?

Nope, it’s not! A solar pool cover is the real deal. It is a simple product that actually works!

For the right environment, a solar cover is a really great alternative to a traditional pool heater.

Especially if you have an above ground pool and might not want to have a bunch of mechanical equipment in your yard, a solar pool cover is a great option.

Solar pool covers may look a lot like bubble wrap but in fact they are made of a heavy duty, clear but colored plastic with little air pockets built into the material.

The colored plastic absorbs heat from the sun, while the little air bubbles work to keep the cover afloat and also to magnify the heat.

These two features make solar pool covers a super-efficient way to warm your pool without using electricity.

Besides heating your pool, your solar pool cover also works to save you money in a couple of other ways. 

First, your solar pool cover is a lightweight alternative to safety pool covers.

Like pool covers, they keep out debris like dust, leaves and bugs that can all clog filters, damage water quality and make pool maintenance a pain.

You save time each week with a solar cover on basic maintenance.

Saving time is cool, but saving money on your water bill and chemical costs is another bonus of using a solar pool cover. 

Your solar pool cover will reduce water evaporation, which means you don’t have to constantly be filling your pool and readjusting the chemicals. You save money on your water bill, and use less chemicals.

This is better for the environment and for your wallet.

How Fast Does a Solar Cover Heat a Pool?

There are a few factors that play in to the answer to this question.

First, you have to keep in mind that just like with an electric pool heater, it will take time for your solar pool cover to heat the water in your pool.

When you start an electric or gas pool heater, you can expect to wait a day or two before your pool is to the right temperature. 

The same is true with a solar pool cover. The results aren’t instantaneous, so be patient.

Second, pool depth matters with a solar pool cover. The deeper the water is, the longer it will take to get a consistent temperature.

Of course, if you get the upper part of your pool warm, swimming and playing in the water will mix the water, and create a consistent temperature.

Just don’t be surprised if the deeper water is colder.

The general answer to this question is that a solar pool cover can increase the temperature of your pool by approximately 5 degrees for each 12 hour period of sun exposure.

If your pool is already fairly warm, you won’t have to wait too long to warm your pool water.

However, if you are using a solar cover to warm your pool at the beginning of the season, you’ll probably want to wait a few days before jumping in for the first swim of the season.

Can You Use Bubble Wrap as a Solar Pool Cover?

This is a fair question.

And if you are looking to save some money, it might seem logical that bubble wrap would be a lower cost alternative.

However, just because it looks like bubble wrap doesn’t mean that a solar cover can be replaced with run of the mill bubble wrap.

While it closely resembles bubble wrap, solar pool covers are different. First, solar pool covers use a heavier and more durable type of plastic.

This heavier plastic helps your pool cover stay in place better, especially when it gets breezy. It also reduces the risk of tearing when the cover is moved around.

This heavier plastic also resists UV rays, protecting the cover from breaking down over a short period of time.

The blue color of most solar pool covers also serves a purpose that regular bubble wrap just can’t.

The darker color of solar pool covers attracts the sun’s rays, and focuses the heat from the plastic to the water. This is not possible with regular bubble wrap.

Are Solar Pool Covers Dangerous?

Pools in general have an inherent danger, so you need to be aware of the risks associated with owning a pool.

Solar pool covers, like other soft pool covers, add an additional risk factor to your pool that all pool owners need to be aware of.

On their own, soft pool covers and solar pool covers are not dangerous.

However, when they are sitting on top of the water surface they can pose an additional risk, should pets or children, or even adults, walk on to the pool cover.

Soft pool covers can collapse around a person, pet or animal, and make swimming more difficult. Soft pool covers increase the risk of drowning in a pool.

The safety of soft covers can be increased by supporting them with a frame. You can easily make a frame using PVC pipe, or purchase a frame from your cover manufacturer.

These frames will reduce the space that can sink in, should a child, pet or adult accidentally fall on top of a soft cover.

This can reduce the drowning risk, but it does not eliminate the risk completely. You still need to closely monitor activities around your pool to ensure everyone is safe.

As a pool owner, you need to make sure that when you aren’t using your pool that visitors, kids and pets are well supervised.

This is the case even if your pool isn’t covered. Being diligent is a must if you have a pool in your yard.

Should You Cover a Pool at Night?

Yes. A good rule of thumb for pool maintenance and safety is that you should cover your pool anytime that it isn’t in use.

Without the sun, it might seem like a solar cover doesn’t make much sense at night.

However, the benefits of using your solar cover, even at night can provide substantial savings in time and money for a pool owner.

From an efficiency standpoint, covering your pool at night will help keep heat in your pool.

It doesn’t make sense to do all of that work and take the time to heat your pool with a solar cover or pool heater, just to let the heat dissipate off of the water surface.

Covering your pool at night will keep temperatures more consistent. It won’t completely eliminate heat loss, but it will help.

Keeping your pool covered will reduce evaporation, keep pool chemicals in balance longer, and keep junk out of your pool.

A pool cover will reduce filter replacement costs, reduce your water bill and reduce the amount of chemicals that you need. This one simple step saves you time and money.

There is also the safety factor that a pool cover brings. Even soft covers will deter kids and pets from wandering into an uncovered pool.

Conclusion

Solar pool covers are a great alternative to hard pool covers and powered pool warmers and offer pool owners additional benefits.

Not only are they great for heating your pool without needing electricity or the expense of running a pool heater, they also reduce evaporation, lower chemical use, keep heat in your pool and keep dirt and debris out.

They are also an inexpensive pool accessory that will save you money and time, when it comes to basic pool maintenance.

We’ve given you our suggestions on the best solar pool covers on the market right now, and we’ve answered the most common questions that pool owners have asked us about solar pool covers.

We hope that our thoughts have given you good insight on solar pool covers.

Even if you don’t choose one of our favorites, hopefully we’ve given you enough information to find the perfect solar pool cover for your backyard pool.

Happy shopping!

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