Best Solar Pool Covers in 2023
The quality and effectiveness of a solar pool cover are typically defined by the following features: thickness, size, UV stability or resistance, and color. So, when compiling this list, we focused on solar pool covers offering the best features.
Best Solar Pool Covers at a Glance
- Overall Best Solar Pool Cover – Blue Wave NS480
- Round Solar Pool Cover – Sun2Solar Round Solar Cover 1200 Series
- Best Budget Solar Pool Cover – Intex Solar Cover for 15ft Diameter Easy Set and Frame Pools
- Best for Round Above Ground Swimming Pools – Blue Wave Blue Solar Blanket
- Best for Rectangular Above Ground Swimming Pools – Intex Solar Cover for Rectangular Swimming Pools
- Best Heavy-duty Solar Pool Cover – 16′ X 32′ Rectangular 14 Mil Clear Pool Solar Blanket
Basically, the thicker the solar pool cover, the higher its heat retention, but the higher the heating efficiency, the thinner it is. Besides thickness, the color of solar pool covers affects heat transfer. Generally, darker colors absorb more heat, lighter colors allow easier passage of the sun’s heat, and colors like silver retain heat by reflecting them inwards.
Solar pool covers would spend much time in the sun when in use. Knowing how damaging UV rays can be, your solar pool cover will last longer if it comes with some UV protection.
Then, of course, you should get a solar pool cover that fits your swimming pool, or the heating would be ineffective.
Solar Pool Covers Reviews
1. Blue Wave NS480
The Blue Wave Solar Blanket is our top pick for many reasons. For one, it is UV-protected. With UV protection, it would be around for quite a while, even with regular exposure to sunlight. You can expect it to last up to 2 seasons with proper use. Nonetheless, you should avoid getting pool chemicals on it.
Besides being UV-protected, the Blue Wave is efficient at heating pools. You can expect a change in water temperature of up to 15 degrees with consistent sunlight. The heating efficiency is in part due to its clarity. The clarity allows more sun rays to reach the pool’s depths, allowing extensive heating.
But apart from that, the solar blanket comes with air bubbles. The sun heats the air bubbles then the air bubbles heat the water in the pool by conduction. This makes for sustained heat transfer. So, even when the sun is not shining, there would still be some warming.
You would not want your pool to dry because you are heating it. Thankfully, it prevents that. It is said to minimize the rate of pool water evaporation by up to 95%.
One pleasing thing about this product is when it comes to size. There are many options. It comes in 7 sizes, including 15 feet, 18 feet, 21 feet, 24 feet, 28 feet, 30 feet, and standard, making it third on the list for size options. With a thickness of 12 mm (0.5 inches), this solar pool cover is neither too thick nor too thin – it would hold just enough heat.
Besides all the above, the solar blanket comes with a 5-year warranty. However, it is not perfect. It is difficult to install – you may need extra hands to fit it on your pool. Also, it is not very efficient at heating in regions that do not get enough sunlight. Since it is not dark-colored, it would not absorb enough sunlight diffusely. So, it may not get enough heat to your pool.
- It is pretty durable when used properly.
- Comes with UV resistance.
- It heats pools efficiently and offers sustained heating.
- It minimizes pool water evaporation significantly.
- You can get it in various sizes.
- It may not be so easy to install.
- Heating may not be very efficient in regions with low sunlight.
2. Sun2Solar Round Solar Cover 1200 Series
For good reasons, the Sun2Solar Round Solar Cover is the second-best on our list. The heating efficiency is top-notch. This cover’s heat retention is remarkable due to its 12-mm thickness and air bubbles. The water should still feel warm even after the sun is long gone.
Unlike the Blue Wave Solar Blanket, the Sun2Solar Solar Cover is available in 2 colors: clear and blue. So, you can choose between high heat retention and high heating efficiency. The clear variant heats pool water more efficiently than the blue. The choice is yours. But if you have shorter periods of sunlight, the blue variant would be the better option for you.
The solar pool cover also reduces evaporation by up to 95%. So you can spend more time enjoying the warm pool water instead of refilling it. You also would not have to worry about frequently decluttering your swimming pool from accumulated debris, which prevents that.
When it comes to size and shape, it offers you choices. You can get it in one size for square pools but in thirteen sizes for the rectangle variant – more than any other product on this list offers. So you would not have to worry about resizing or reshaping it. It does not affect the warranty, even if you have to resize it.
The Sun2Solar Solar Cover has notable solar pool heating features, no doubt. But it appears not to have UV protection. So, regular exposure to the sun may not last long.
Apart from that, there might also be some irregularities with the warranty from the manufacturer. These downsides dropped the Sun2Solar Solar Cover to the second on our list.
- It offers efficient heating and remarkable heat retention.
- It comes in various sizes, shapes, and 2 colors. So, you have options.
- It reduces evaporation by up to 95%.
- It does not have UV protection.
- The warranty from the manufacturer comes with some irregularities.
3. Intex Solar Cover for 15ft Diameter Easy Set and Frame Pools
If you are not looking to spend too much on getting around solar pool cover, the Intext Solar Cover should be within your budget. Compared to every other product on this list, you will spend less getting this product. But a low price is not all you will get.
It offers sufficient heat retention while insulating the pool and ensuring minimal evaporation. It is crafted with air bubbles. This way, the sun heats the air first, then the air heats the water through conduction, allowing for efficient and sustained heating. Then apart from heating, it keeps dust and debris out of swimming pools.
The Solar Cover fits well on round swimming pools measuring 15 feet in diameter. It is also suitable for pools with diameters less than 15 feet, and installing it is easy. Since it is round and lightweight (5.8 pounds), it fits right inside the pool’s edge. So you would not have to wrestle with unfurling it in your swimming pool. Of course, since this solar pool cover is easy to install, it is easy to remove too.
Besides the ease of heating and installation, this solar pool cover is portable. It comes with a carry bag that allows you to move and store it readily.
While it does offer considerable sustained heating, you might struggle with the durability of this product. It appears to have no UV protection and is pretty thin. So, you may not get to use it for more than 2 months.
Apart from that, the Solar Cover is colored blue. Blue solar pool covers and those of darker colors do not let enough sun rays penetrate readily. They will not heat the pool efficiently or very fast, but they will retain heat for a long.
Store the Solar Cover in a shaded area. Leaving it in direct sunlight will cause the bubbles to burst. Also, do not let it get on the solar pool cover when adding a chemical to your pool. If it does, the pool cover’s material may become brittle, and the bubbles may burst. If you would use any chemical at all, avoid those containing copper sulfate.
- It is easy to install.
- Minimizes pool water evaporation.
- Offers considerable sustained heating.
- It comes with a carry bag that is easy to store and carry around.
- Relatively inexpensive.
- It is not quite durable.
- Does not have UV protection.
- It is pretty thin.
4. Blue Wave Blue Solar Blanket
What applies in an inground pool does not apply in an aboveground pool. For one, the insulation of the soil is absent in aboveground pools. So, you may find that the solar-powered pool cover you use for inground pools may not work as well as for aboveground pools. Luckily, the Blue Wave Solar Blanket is one of those that will give you the best experience with aboveground pool solar heating.
Top among the benefits is that this solar pool cover is UV-protected. They created this solar over with a UV-protected polymer. So, it offers resistance to deterioration by the sun and should last longer with proper maintenance.
The air bubbles act like thermal cells. The air retains heat from the sun. So, some reserve heat would help maintain the pool’s warmth even on cool days. The solar blanket is also 8mm thick – sun rays pass through it readily. So, the pool water gets heated faster and more efficiently.
This product can warm pools by up to 15 degrees with steady sunlight – about the same as the Blue Wave NS480 Solar Blanket. Nonetheless, its relatively low thickness has its downsides.
The manufacturer suggests that the solar blanket provides up to 95% reduction of pool water. So, you can expect significant water savings. But you would not be saving water alone; you will also save the environment and your time.
The solar pool cover is for round pools and comes in 8 different sizes from 12 feet to 33 feet – not as many as the Sun2Solar Solar Cover 1200 series, but more than the other products on the list. So, you should not have to worry about getting an undersized product. Opt for a size larger than your pool to have extra material on the edges for attachment to the swimming pool.
While a 3-year warranty backs the Blue Wave Solar Blanket, the 8-mil thickness is not impressive. It might allow easier penetration of sun rays. An 8-mil thickness makes it easier to puncture, and if not fastened to the pool, it would get blown away easily. On the bright side, it is lighter than many other solar pool covers.
- It is UV-protected to resist exposure to sunlight.
- Prevents evaporation significantly.
- It is lightweight and easy to install.
- Different sizes are available.
- A 3-year warranty backs it.
- Since it is relatively thin, it is prone to puncture.
- It can easily be blown away if not fastened to the pool properly.
5. Intex Solar Cover for Rectangular Swimming Pools
If your above-ground swimming pool is rectangular, not round, then the Intex Solar Cover should be your choice. Why? Like many other efficient solar pool covers, it uses air bubbles to retain heat and transfer it to the pool water by conduction. This contributes to the heat retention of the solar cover and the heating efficiency of the sun’s heat.
Apart from that, the solar cover is just about 6.3-mil thick – the lowest of every product on this list. With this low thickness, sun rays can readily penetrate the cover and heat the pool’s depths. But this also means the cover will not retain as much heat as thicker solar pool covers.
Besides, this solar pool cover can be perforated readily if not handled well. So, if you want serious physical durability, this may not work for you. But this would work if you want far-reaching heating in your swimming pool.
Intex insulates the pool and slows down the rate of evaporation. The manufacturer estimates that evaporation is reduced by up to 95%. The product also helps keep debris out of the pool and comes with a bag for easy portability and storage.
This solar cover might be the best for rectangular aboveground pools on our list. However, it is not without flaws. One of these flaws is that the material has no UV protection. So, its durability is at the mercy of the sunlight. Besides, the pool cover comes in only one size. If you use it with a bigger pool, it will not be as effective.
This warranty on the product is also not impressive. It comes with a 30-day return policy, and this policy depends on where and who you bought the product. So, it does not apply in all cases.
- The heating is very efficient.
- The pool cover is lightweight and portable
- It’s easy to install.
- It comes with a carry bag for easy storage.
- Also, it insulates the pool and slows down evaporation considerably.
- It is not very durable and has no UV protection.
- Quite a thin cover.
- The warranty is unimpressive.
6. 16′ X 32′ Rectangular 14 Mil Clear Pool Solar Blanket
With a thickness of 14 mm, we expected the 16′ X 32′ Rectangular 14 Mil Clear Pool Solar Blanket’s remarkable heat retention, and we were not disappointed. Of course, this heat retention made for efficient heating.
Beyond having a thickness that promotes heat retention, we loved that the thickness made this solar pool cover extra durable. With the thickest in the review, it’s no surprise that this cover felt more resistant to adverse conditions – like puncture – than the rest. For us, durability is the top feature.
While the thickest, the 16′ X 32′ Rectangular 14 Mil Clear Pool Solar Blanket is still lightweight. So, storing and handling it was largely unproblematic for us.
We think the 6-year warranty offered by this manufacturer is generous. But then, the price could be less steep. Also, there could be more sizes – not just the 16 feet by 32 feet option.
Overall, this product would be a great pool investment in the long run.
- It is considerably durable.
- Excellent heat retention
- It is light and easy to install.
- Backed by an 8-year manufacturer warranty.
- It is only available in one size.
- The price could be better.
What Is the Best Thickness for Solar Pool Cover?
Solar pool covers typically have thicknesses between 8 mils and 16 mils. The 8-mil types are thinner, allowing heat to pass through them readily. However, they offer the lowest durability and are more susceptible to puncturing chemical damage and UV deterioration.
The 16-mil types are the thickest, quite durable, and resistant to chemicals, puncturing, and UV rays. However, they absorb more heat than the thinner ones.
People typically opt for the 12-mil types because this is a middle ground between the properties of the 8-mil and 16-mil types. However, any solar pool cover thickness between 12 and 16 mils will offer superior heat retention.
What Color Solar Pool Cover Works Best?
Solar pool covers are usually clear, light blue, or dark blue. In uncommon cases, they can be black.
Clear Solar Covers
When it comes to heating efficiency, a clear solar blanket is the best. They allow sun rays to penetrate easily and reach the depths of the water. Clear pool covers transfer most of the sun’s rays to the pool. But this means it has lower heat retention.
Besides, a clear solar blanket transfers heat efficiently and might raise your pool’s chemical cost. Since they allow relatively higher doses of UV rays into the pool, more chlorine close to the water’s surface is degraded.
Dark Blue Solar Pool Covers
Dark blue covers are the opposite of clear solar pool covers. They offer the best heat retention. But do not let sun rays penetrate easily. In other words, they are not very good at facilitating heat transfer to the pool water.
Light Blue Solar Pool Covers
Light blue covers are almost midway between clear solar pool covers and dark blue solar pool covers. It offers considerable heat retention. It also reduces the penetration of sun rays into the pool. But not as much as dark blue covers.
Black Solar Cover
Black solar covers prevent the entry of sun rays into the pool. However, they absorb heat quickly and heat the swimming pool very fast. But their rapid heat absorption contributes to their rapid deterioration. Black solar covers do not usually last as long as solar pool covers of other colors.
Clear solar pool covers are perfect in regions with long periods of direct sunlight (about 6 hours or more). But dark blue or light blue covers are ideal in areas with shorter hours of direct sunlight. The dark blue and light blue variants can take in more heat quickly, making the most of the limited exposure to sunlight.
Solar Pool Covers with Hybrid Colors
Besides clear, light blue, black, and dark blue solar pool covers, some covers with hybrid colors. They include blue-silver solar covers and blue-black solar covers.
Blue-Silver Solar Cover
Blue-silver solar covers have a translucent-blue top layer and a silver bottom layer. The translucent top layer allows easy penetration of sun rays into the pool. Conversely, the bottom layer traps the heat by reflecting the sun’s rays inwards.
Blue-Black Solar Cover
Blue-black solar covers have a translucent-blue bottom layer and a black top layer. This combination allows the rapid absorption of heat and easier penetration of the absorbed heat into the pool.
Are Pool Solar Covers Worth It?
Yes, pool solar covers are worth it. They help retain heat in the pool and can also add heat to it by absorbing sun energy.
Without solar covers, swimming pools will lose water and heat by evaporation. When this happens, you will have to refill the pool. When you refill the pool with new water, you will need extra energy to get the new water to the desired water temperature again.
Summarily, your pool cannot maintain the desired warm pool temperature without a solar pool cover, and your utility bill will be higher.
Consistent with a study by California Polytechnic State University researchers, solar covers generally offer over 90% efficiency in controlling pool evaporation. This is significant since evaporation is the main way pools lose heat.
Besides heating and sustaining heat, pool solar covers help keep debris out. So, you can spend more time enjoying the pool and decluttering it less.
Does a Pool Heat Faster with the Solar Cover On?
Without a solar cover on the pool, most sun rays get to the pool water and heat it rapidly. However, this heat is not stored and is quickly lost through evaporation and UV radiation.
With a solar cover, not all sun rays get to the pool water. So, heating is not as fast as when the cover is unused. However, solar covers help the pool store heat by absorbing heat and preventing evaporation.
How Long Do Solar Covers Last?
Solar covers that receive a lot of direct sunlight – about 8 hours of sunlight regularly – may last for just about 2 to 4 years. This applies even if they are well-maintained. But solar covers not exposed to prolonged sunlight can last 5 to 7 years.
How to Maintain a Solar Pool Cover
- Do not leave the solar pool cover on the pool while shocking. The chlorine will degrade the material.
- Do not place your solar pool cover on the pool immediately after shocking the pool. Wait for at least 24 hours.
- Do not use the solar pool cover on the pool when the chlorine level is higher than 2 ppm. High chlorine levels will degrade the pool cover material and make it brittle.
- Ensure you maintain the pH of the pool at around 7.4. Low or acidic pH levels also degrade the material of solar pool covers.
- Use a solar cover reel to roll up your solar pool cover to avoid unnecessary tugging and folding.
- When the solar cover is rolled up or folded, do not leave it under the sun. The air bubbles will keep focusing sun rays on the cover, promoting deterioration. It is better to wrap the solar cover with a UV-resistant material or store it in a shaded area.
- If you will not use the pool cover long, roll it up and store it in a shaded area. Before storing it, ensure you dry it and clean it. This way, you will reduce or remove any residual chemical that can degrade it in storage.
The best solar pool covers typically offer efficient heating and heat retention, and they minimize evaporation remarkably. Also, since the pool remains warmer for longer, you will spend less on electricity bills.
In the case of solar pool heating, using a solar pool cover can help reduce the size of a solar pool heater, which can save money.
While the product you end up with will be determined by factors unique to you, this guide offers a blueprint to help with your selection. So, you should find a solar pool cover on or with this list.
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