Swimming is one of the best pastimes for kids and adults alike, especially on warm summer afternoons. But when the days start getting shorter and colder, the temperature of your pool water also starts getting colder. This is normally when most people grudgingly admit that summer is over, and with it, refreshing evenings in the pool.
But maybe this doesn’t have to be … In fact, it definitely doesn’t! How? By using a solar pool cover, you can increase your pool waters temperature by a couple of degrees, making it warmer for autumn afternoon dips. This is also helpful if you use a pool heater, keeping the running costs lower. Plus, a solar pool cover keeps leaves and other debris out of the pool.
There are various covers available on the market that allow you to enjoy a few more weeks of swimming. But which one should you choose? Let’s take a look at some of the best solar pool cover options. Additionally, if you have no idea where to start, take a look at our buyers guide and FAQs at the end.
Best Pool Cover: Top 5 Picks
Best Thick Solar Pool Cover
Best Ground Solar Pool Cover
As you can see, solar pool covers are an inexpensive and effective way to keep your pool warm, thus extending your swimming season by a few weeks or even months. It is also a great choice as it increases the water temperature and keeps debris and dirt out. When purchasing a solar pool cover, keep these features in mind:
Ease of Use
Some pool covers aren’t easy to use and you have to struggle every time you want to cover or uncover your pool. Solar pool covers come in three types: manual, semi-automatic, and automatic. Manual covers, like the ones on our list, need your assistance to be effective. Semi-automatic cover have a reel system that removes the cover, but you have to guide the reel. Automatic covers operate at the push of a button which unrolls or rolls the cover. The three models also increase in price as the convenience increases. All of the covers on our list are easy and quick to use.
Type of Pool
You need to look at what type of pool you have: above-ground or in-ground. When you purchase an in-ground pool cover, consider that you may need to invest in the correct cover reel. You also need to consider the size and shape of your swimming pool. Luckily, you can cut solar pool covers to fit your pool size and shape, but you need to know how big your pool is to start.
Solar pools covers can look the same, but it is important to note that they are not. Take care to look closely at the shapes and patterns in the covers. Some designs you may see include diamonds, hexagons, and bubbles that look like bubble wrap. While considering design is a good idea, first look at the size of the bubbles. The larger, the worse the product. You want small bubbles in the cover as these trap and retain the heat in the water.
Solar pool covers are made from different materials and selecting the wrong material will result in an ineffective cover that does not last very long. Vinyl or polymer covers are heavy duty and strong, promising many years of use due to their durability. If you have an indoor pool, you do not need a material that is as strong and resilient. Always check the quality of the cover before you buy as this quality means the difference between proper heat retention or less effective retention.
Solar pool covers are available in a variety of colors. It is best to go with a darker color as it offers superior protection against the heat. But you also don’t want to go for a color that is too dark as this makes your pool cooler. The best pool covers are semi-transparent and allow the sun’s UV rays to easily pass through it to warm the water. These covers stop evaporation while keeping the heat in the water. A darker blue color is the most common and effective color for solar pool covers as they not only retain heat well, but they store water longer and reduce the amount of evaporation quite significantly.
How thick your solar pool cover is will influence how much heat will be retained. The thicker the cover, the more the heat is retained. Plus, thick covers will not be blown away on windy days as their weight keeps them in place. Of course, you do not want the cover to be too thick as this will make it very heavy and cumbersome to remove and replace. Additionally, the thicker the cover, the higher the price tag normally is. Try finding a cover that is thick enough to stay put, no matter the weather, but light enough that it can be moved by one person alone.
The amount of money you have to spend on a solar pool cover will obviously be a big deciding factor in the cover that you choose. Set a realistic budget – this will help you narrow down the covers you can choose from. This cover will probably be used for up to 5 years, so spend a bit more if you can.
You can purchase pool covers that cost anywhere from $15 to $500, and specialized models can run up to $1,000. It is best to pick middle of the road if your budget allows you to. All of the options on our list are budget-friendly and highly effective. It is also best to go with a brand that you know and trust, such as Intex and Sun2Solar (and the others on our list), as they have built a reputation through many years of supplying top quality products.
Best Solar Pool Cover Reviews
Intex Solar Cover for 12 Foot Pool
Best Overall Solar Pool Cover
This cover is made from strong and durable PVC plastic that efficiently collects the sun’s heat to warm your pool while preventing heat loss. Plus, it comes with a nifty carry bag for when you are not using the cover.
If you would like to enjoy swimming past the end of summer, this Intex cover is perfect for your round 12 foot pool. It is one of the simplest and economical covers on the market, reducing water evaporation by up to a whopping 95%.
This cover also comes with a handy carry bag, so you can easily store it when you aren’t using it. It easily fits inside your swimming pool on the surface of the water, staying in place perfectly. You can also leave your pump running when the pool is covered.
What I like
This cover is available in various sizes. It does not just retain heat in the water, but it also reduces the amount of evaporation by up to 95%. This cover floats on your pool surface, keeping heat in and debris out.
What I don’t like
The small blue bubbles in the cover could be a bit stronger, and the cover is somewhat thinner than many users hoped it would be.
Intex Solar Cover for 18 Foot x 9 Foot Rectangular Pool
Amazons Choice Solar Pool Cover
If you are looking for a durable, long-lasting cover that is also effective, this offering from Intex may be just what you need.
Intex has always been a big player in the game, offering a range of covers, including this one which is perfect for rectangular pools. It will keep your pool water warmer and it is very durable too. It is made from 160-micron-thick materials which will increase its longevity.
This covers comes with poles on its sides which have straps attached which help to prevent the cover from sinking. The well-made, sturdy cover also comes equipped with a carry bag. Ensure that you properly check the dimensions of your swimming pool to match it with the cover as it is mainly for smaller rectangular pools.
What I like
This cover has been built really well and can withstand bad weather and long-term use, especially over winter. It also comes along with a nifty carry bag that you can store the cover in when it is not in use.
What I don’t like
While this cover is very good at retaining heat, it is not so great at distributing it, so it can take a couple of days for the heat to reach all areas of the pool.
Sun2Solar Blue 16 Foot x 32 Foot Rectangle Solar Cover
Highly Rated Solar Pool Cover
This cover has an attractive design and is made from a film that boasts hundreds of thousands of small bubbles that work together to collect and retain the sun’s heat throughout the year.
This cover has an attractive design and blue color that adds a touch of elegance to your pool. It is ideal for both above-ground and in-ground pools. It has thousands of bubbles on the top layer, working to efficiently collect and keep the heat in the pool.
This Sun2Solar cover also helps to minimize evaporation by a whopping 95%, thus conserving your water. This cover is so effective that it keeps the water warm enough that you can swim throughout autumn and even into winter.
Using a pair of scissors and a marker, you can customize this cover to fit any shape of pool you have. Plus, cutting this pool cover does not affect your warranty.
What I like
This cover allows you to save money on water and chemicals. Your pool won’t lose any heat when you aren’t using it thanks to the bubbles. You can cut this cover to fit your pool shape and size.
What I don’t like
There are very few complaints about this cover, but those with issues normally mention that it doesn’t have any UV protection which can make it turn brittle over time.
In The Swim 8 Mil 24 Foot Round Pool Solar Blanket Cover
Best Thick Solar Pool Cover
If you want an attractive solar pool cover that saves you money, time, and energy, then this large cover by In The Swim is a must-have.
This durable pool cover is very efficient thanks to its thick construction that keeps your pool insulated as well as protected from dirt and debris. The small bubble work to collect, retain, and transfer the heat into the pool water.
The heat is trapped in the pool, and so are any chemicals used for maintenance, meaning you can keep your pool properly balanced. You can cut this cover to fit any shape pool that you have. This cover allows you to raise the temperature of the pool water by 6 to 8 degrees. It also comes with a 3-year warranty.
What I like
This cover has tiny bubbles and flat seams that are reinforced to ensure that the sun’s heat is effectively captured and transferred evenly into your swimming pool water.
What I don’t like
The In The Swim cover is quite heavy, and depending on your strength, you may need two people to remove and replace the cover on your pool.
Blue Wave NS110 8-mil Solar Blanket for 18 Foot Round Pools
Best Above Ground Solar Pool Cover
This cover has heat-retaining bubbles that allow the rays of the sun to reach the water to heat it while also retaining the heat. The cover is made from thick, durable material that can withstand harsh weather conditions.
If you want an 8-mil solar pool cover that is thick and durable, this offering by Blue Wave is a good bet. It is excellent for retaining heat thanks to its thermal cells that provide insulation. This cover is made using polymer that is UV-protected, making it a strong, long-lasting pool cover.
This cover uses passive heating to raise the water temperature by up to 15°F. This allows you to enjoy your pool for just a bit longer every season. The cover is surprisingly lightweight and can be removed and secured by one person. The cover comes with a 3-year warranty, speaking to the quality of its build.
What I like
This cover is highly resistant thanks to its polymer build that has UV protection. This cover can increase the temperature of your pool by up to 15°F.
What I don’t like
This cover is quite thin, which makes it easy to use, but it can sometimes also let a bit more thermal energy escape than wanted. If you live in a colder area, this cover may not keep your pool warm enough through autumn.
Solar Pool Cover FAQ
What Types of Pool Covers Can I Get?
Pool covers are great for helping keep your pool warmer as well as ensuring leaves and debris do not make your pool dirty. Once you’ve decided that a pool cover is the way to go, you need to select which type of cover is best for you. There are three main types of pool covers available:
This cover is especially handy if you live in cold areas. They work well to limit evaporation. This ensures that your water is insulated, keeping it warmer. They also keep your pool clean and prevent debris from falling into your swimming pool.
This popular cover allows you to close and open the cover automatically with a button. Two tracks are installed parallel to one another on either side of your pool so that the cover can be moved. These covers need to be professionally installed, which can be costly.
These covers are gaining in popularity, because they are simple to install and very affordable. They are sometimes called bubble covers as they have bubbles on their surface which absorb heat from the sun, trapping and retaining it. This cover can reduce up to 99% of evaporation as well as your heating costs.
What is a Solar Pool Cover?
Solar pool covers add an element of heat to your swimming pool. Thanks to the special materials used to make them, a solar pool cover acts somewhat as a passive solar heater, using the sun’s heat and energy to make your pool water temperature increase by trapping it.
Why Should I Use a Solar Pool Cover?
Around 75% of your pool’s heat is lost through evaporation. Solar pool covers keep the heat in, thus extending your swimming season. If you have a pool heater, you cut the cost of running it by up to 70% as you don’t need to heat it as much. You can easily cut a solar pool cover to fit the size and shape of your pool, so even if you have an irregularly shaped pool, you can use these covers.
A solar cover is excellent value for money, because they don’t just save you money in heating costs and preventing evaporation, but the cover is cheap itself. These covers have quite a long lifespan, so you will not have to replace it every season.
Is a Solar Pool Cover Safe?
A solar pool cover is not a safety cover as should not be confused for one. The main task of a solar pool cover is to trap the sun’s heat in the pool water, allowing the water to remain quite constant. They also allow you to keep you swimming pool clean by keeping dirt and debris out of the pool. However, as mentioned, they are not to be substituted for a safety cover.
Solar pool covers rest on the surface of your pool’s water, which means they offer no protection should your child or pet fall into your pool. But, when used properly, a solar pool cover is not dangerous.
How to Use a Solar Pool Cover Properly
It is very simple to use a pool cover, so much so that it requires you to lay the cover on top of your pool water. But there are a few other things to keep in mind. The cover should snugly fit inside the pool perfectly. This can be done if you have an irregularly shaped pool by laying the cover on the water surface and cutting it to shape.
If the cover overhangs or is too big, it will not properly trap the heat in your pool. You should use the cover anytime you aren’t using your pool – this includes evenings in summer as this is when you lose the most heat.
How Long Does a Solar Pool Cover Last?
If you properly maintain the cover, it can easily last for 5 to 7 years. When you consider how affordable a solar pool cover is, it is a very reasonable purchase with a huge number of benefits. Some of the things you need to do to maintain your pool cover includes removing it from direct sunlight during the summer season when you don’t need to insulate your pool. Some solar covers have UV protection which increases their lifespan even further.
Solar pool covers not only extend the swimming season by warming your pool water, they also help to protect your pool from dirt and debris. They also reduce evaporation, helping you save water. While other pool covers offer various benefits, solar pool covers are affordable and effective, making them an excellent choice. They are the only pool cover that increases the water temperature in your pool. They are efficient, durable, and can be purchased in different sizes.
After considering all of the excellent options above, we have concluded that our favorite is the In The Swim 8 Mil 24 Foot Round Pool Solar Blanket Cover thanks to the tiny bubbles and flat reinforced seams that ensure the sun’s heat is captured effectively and transferred evenly into your pool water. It is also environmentally friendly as it does not require any power or batteries to work – just the sun’s energy, which also saves on heating costs. You can easily cut and trim this cover to fit your pool, even if it is irregularly shaped. Plus, it keeps debris and dirt out of your pool, so you do not have to spend too much time cleaning your pool before swimming.
Using a solar pool cover is an excellent middle ground if you want to keep your pool warm for a few extra weeks at the end of summer, but you do not want to pay an arm and leg for your electric bill from running the heat. Plus, a solar pool cover keeps your pool clean while also keeping the chemicals in the water, reducing your costs even further.