One of the most important accessories to help you maintain your backyard pool is a solar pool cover. With one cover, you are able to improve the quality of your swimming water and keep that quality when not in use.
Benefits of Solar Pool Covers
- Absorbs sun’s heat to warm pool water
- Prevents pool water evaporation
- Lowers water bills by retaining water in pool
- Protects pool from dirt, leaves, and bugs when not in use
What are the best solar pool covers available? There are a number of features to consider in order to determine which solar pool cover is best
Things to Consider When Choosing Solar Pool Covers
There is a solar pool cover for every shape and size of pools. Manufacturers may call them by different names such as solar blankets or bubble covers, but they essentially do the same thing. When you choose your pool cover, there are certain features you need to consider before investing.
- Budget: The expense of a pool means that you are already investing money for your recreation. While you do not want to overspend, you want to get the value you expect from a solar pool cover.
- Ease of use: The solar pool cover literally covers the surface area of the pool. Some covers are easy to use while some covers work better with an extra set of hands.
- Size: When you select the right solar pool cover, you want to make sure that it fits the size of your pool all the way around. Any gaps will take away the benefits of having the solar pool cover in the first place. Options range from “trim to fit” to “true to size”
- Durability: The materials you choose for your solar pool cover will determine how strong it is. Covers can be made from vinyl, polyethylene, or polypropylene. Vinyl is a heavy duty material that is more resistant to tears while polyethylene is a resin that is more lightweight.
- Color: Solar pool covers can come in a variety of colors. It can be for aesthetics for your backyard decor or to help with the energy efficiency of the cover. Darker covers may attract light, but clear covers can allow direct UV light to do its work
When you know your pool and you know what features you are looking for in a pool cover, it will be easier to find the best solar pool cover for your needs.
Top Rated Solar Pool Covers
The following is a list of 7 of the top rated solar pool covers that suit a range of pool sizes and types.
Sun2Solar Blue 4-Foot-by-8-Foot Rectangle Solar Cover 1200 Series
The solar cover by Sun2Solar is a trim-to-fit film of thousands of bubbles. This means that there can be between 2”-4” of overlap to allow for trimming. The bubbles in the attractive blue film work together from edge to edge. Overall it can prevent up to 95% of water evaporation. This means lower energy bills for heat as well as lower water bills because there is less need to refill.
The cover retains the heat of the warm water so that you can easily remove the cover and jump right in. When you are done for the day, it is just as easy to cover the pool again. It keeps the water cleaner in the evening and warmer when used during the day.
Blue Wave NS510 14-mil Clear Rectangular Solar Blanket
The Blue Wave NS510 has a thickness of 14-mil so that it is durable as well as effective. By allowing the sunlight and UV rays pass through the Magni-Clear material, the solar blanket can heat the water up to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. The bubbles also prevent up to 95% of water evaporation.
This model measures 12-foot by 24-foot, ideally for inground pools. Each blanket is resistant to chemicals and UV-protected. It comes with a 6-year manufacturer warranty for delamination and seam failure. Even with a thicker mil than similar products, it is easy to roll out to cover the pool. It is possible to trim to fit.
Intex Solar Cover for 9.5 ft Diameter Pools
Intex has a plastic solar cover that is made for above ground pools. The first thing that is noticeable about this solar pool cover is that it comes with a reusable carry bag. This makes it easy to store when the pool is winterized for the cold.
The air bubbles on the plastic cover absorb and transfer sun heat into the pool water. It also reduces water evaporation by 95% which also helps reduce consumption of pool chemicals. Another feature are the eight holes in the cover. They are not a defect, rather a way for water to go back into the pool rather than be wasted when the cover is removed for use.
Solar Sun Rings Solar Pool Heater SSR-SB-02
The benefit of Solar Sun Rings is that they are easy to install compared to full-size pool blankets. The set of 6 rings inflate and cover the pool surface. When not used in the pool, they can be wiped down and stacked in a shady place. They are also more aesthetically pleasing with fun prints and designs.
Though they do not cover a pool from edge to edge like a solar cover, they do cover most of the surface while transferring 1,070 BTUs of heat per square foot. These floating disc heating devices are for heating the pool during the day and complement the additional insulation of a solar blanket when the sun goes down.
636643 Summer Waves Adjustable Round Above Ground Pool Solar Cover
The 636643 Round Solar Cover has a snug fit for most above ground pools between 10 and 15 feet. This is due to the adjustable drawstring with a lock button. The cover itself is made from a type of vinyl called PVC. Though it is one of the heavier solar covers, it is easy to set up.
The Summer Waves solar cover really does a great job keeping debris and dirt out of the pool when covered. At the same time, it can warm up the water by eight degrees Fahrenheit. It is durable in times when the wind may try to blow off other pool covers.
Blue Wave NS120 24-foot Round Above Ground Pool Solar Blanket
Blue Wave NS120 for a 24-foot pool is made of a low density polyethylene. The UV-protected polymer is made to last long under the intense sunlight and over the pool chemicals. It comes with a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty.
At 8 mil, the thermal bubbles on the blanket take in the sun’s heat to warm the pool while retaining the water with minimal evaporation. A pool’s temperature can increase 15 degrees Fahrenheit with this solar cover. At the same time, it can reduce evaporation by 95%. The lightweight material makes it easy for one person to remove or replace the cover each day.
Intex Recreation 29025E N/AA Blue Solar Cover for 18-Foot Diameter Pools
When storing a solar cover seems to be an issue, Intex makes sure that their customers are
covered with a reusable carry bag for easy storage. This particular model is made for 18-foot above ground pools to cover from edge to edge with its attractive blue material.
The cover floats on the water surface with the help of the air bubbles. Those bubbles also transfer the sun’s heat into the water. Less heat is lost when not in use and less water evaporates which can affect the chemical balance in the pool. Debris such as leaves and insects are also reduced.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Solar Covers Work For Above Ground Pools?
Solar covers work for both above ground pools and in ground pools. As long as a pool gets direct sunlight, the solar cover will maintain heat and minimize water loss regardless of the type of pool. It also keeps out any debris.
How Many Degrees Does a Solar Cover Heat a Pool?
A solar cover can heat a pool between 10 and 15 degrees Fahrenheit when there is direct sunlight. Keep in mind that a solar pool cover cannot heat the pool on its own. It helps retain existing heat and absorbs solar energy to keep it warm.
What Mil is Best for Solar Covers?
Solar pool covers are measured by millimeters in thickness. Thin covers are less of a hassle to move and allow more heat to pass through. Thicker covers are more durable against wear and tear and absorb heat. A cover that measures between 12-mil and 16-mil is ideal for both heat retention and durability.
Do Solar Covers Go Bubbles Up or Down?
Most solar pool covers use bubbles in their construction. It looks similar to bubble wrap for packing items for shipping. The bubbles help trap sunlight and air which warms the water at the surface of the pool. In order to trap sunlight and air, the bubbles have to be face down in the water. That way the air is trapped between the cover and the water.
Do Solar Pool Covers Really Work?
Each of the best solar pool covers and blankets mentioned above click all of the boxes when it comes to their benefits.
- Absorb sun’s heat and UV rays to heat the water as much as 15 degrees Fahrenheit
- Retain pool water by minimizing water evaporation
- Reduce cost from water use, chemical use, and energy use
All but one of the covers protects the pool from dirt, leaves, debris, and insects when it is in use. The solar rings are designed to transfer heat and work along with a pool cover to keep the pool clean, especially overnight.
Solar pool covers really do work or else there would not be a demand for them. It doesn’t matter if it is an above ground pool or inground pool; there is a cover for all of them. With a variety of sizes, features, and thicknesses, there are plenty of choices to find the right cover for your backyard pool.
The best rated solar pool covers come in all shapes and sizes with features that suit some pool owners more than others. Some are “trim to fit” so that they are the perfect size from edge to edge while some owners may prefer to use clips or weights to ensure a snug fit.
The best solar pool cover has to fit a budget as well as a pool. Each of the covers above have their own features to retain heat and water so that the pool can be enjoyed efficiently. The important aspect of the solar pool cover is to make the pool enjoyable to use at the comfortable temperature.