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Are you planning to buy a pool?

Or do you already own your own swimming pool?

Then you already have reason to enjoy the cool water for hot summer days.

But often, even in hot temperatures, it is not always possible to stay in the sometimes quite cool water for a long time.

In any case, you’ll need a pool heater if you want more from your swimming experience. A pool heat pump could be the right choice for you in this regard, as it uses renewable energy.

Compared to other pool heaters, a heat pump is an environmentally friendly and cost-effective alternative.

The pool water can be heated to a desired temperature by a pool heat pump. In the process, the device heats the water electrically.

As a result, you will obtain pleasantly warm water regardless of the weather and the pool season will be significantly extended. Whether it’s spring, summer or fall, a pool heat pump can always heat the pool water to comfortable temperatures.

To help you make a good buying decision and learn more about heat pumps, this article will provide you with comprehensive information. We will also introduce you to the best pool heat pumps that can convince you too.

  • Heat pumps are ideal for achieving the desired pool temperature in the shortest possible time.
  • The relatively high purchase price is relativized over time by cost-effective operation and the very long service life of heat pumps.
  • Many heat pumps are equipped with a cooling function, which allows even more uses.

The best pool heat pumps

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Guidebook: Buying the right pool heat pump

To help you choose a suitable and appropriate heat pump for your pool, you should know what types are available and what to look for when buying.

Afterwards, you will know which device is best suited for your needs and requirements.

Types of pool heat pump

In total, there are three types of heat pump available to you. These are presented to you below.

  1. Step inverter heat pump: These devices have different preset speeds and operating states. Depending on the heat demand, the selection can be made.
  2. Modulated inverter heat pump: The motor speed is continuously adjusted to the heat demand. The pump runs more evenly and there are fewer switching cycles.
  3. Cycling heat pump: Depending on the temperature gradient (should-actual value), these models switch on and off.
    Buying criteria: What to look for when buying a pool heat pump

In this section, you’ll learn what details to look for when buying a pool heat pump.

  • Pool size: When deciding to buy a pool heat pump, one of the most important criteria is the size of your pool. For the pool size, the power of the heat pump must be sufficient to heat the water as desired.
  • Construction method: The construction method must also be considered. For private areas, fan-driven heat pumps are particularly useful, because in this case, underground installation is not required. These models draw in the outside air with the help of a fan, and then the heat is transferred to the central component.
    If you want an almost invisible installation, which allows the pool to be used even in the winter months, underground heat pumps are recommended. Sometimes larger models are used to provide heat in the home. From a certain depth, the ground does not cool down completely, and the heat pump also draws on the groundwater, which allows you to use these variants even on cool winter days.
  • Power consumption: Power consumption should also be considered and included in the planning. By all means, some models can be connected with a solar system, so that the heat generation on warm summer days can be produced entirely from renewable energies.
  • Operating costs: If one initially disregards the initial heating of the pool, the operating costs are mainly determined by the daily heat losses, especially during the night. Therefore, it is very important for the operating costs of the pool heat pump to insulate the walls and the pool floor well and to cover the pool.
    This heat loss is usually recovered the next day on sunny days, even without running the heat pump. Therefore, the heat pump is only needed on days without much sunlight. Basically, the operating costs depend on the desired water temperature, the air temperature and the efficiency of the pool heat pump under the conditions already mentioned.
  • Noise emission: The noise emission of pool heat pumps has become almost the most important decision criterion. Especially in urban areas, the plots of land are quite small and with a noisy heat pump no one wants to affect the good relations with neighbors.
    In terms of efficiency, mid-range heat pumps are often close to each other. Price differences are therefore most noticeable in the noise reduction measures. Often heat pumps with plastic housings (ABS) are quieter compared to units with metal housings.
  • Lifetime: Pool heat pumps work very reliably when properly installed. Since these units are always outdoors, weatherproof and sturdy housings are important. Here, housings made of plastic (ABS) have proven themselves well.

Advantages and disadvantages of a pool heat pump

A heat pump for the pool has some advantages and disadvantages, which are presented below.

This section will inform you about important questions regarding pool heat pumps.

  • Independent from solar radiation
  • Robust
  • High efficiency
  • Easy to operate
  • Low maintenance
  • Not independent of power connections
  • The heat pump must be adapted to the size of the pool
  • Over the years, the components contained wear out

What is a pool heat pump?

You can compare the function of the heat pump with conventional heat pumps. For example, these are used to produce hot water in your own home.

The heat pump extracts heat contained in the ambient air and transfers it to the water.

The way it works can be compared to a refrigerator.

Accordingly, the refrigerator absorbs heat from the interior and transfers this heat to the outside. Thus, it always remains cool inside the refrigerator. The pool heat pump reverses this principle and refers to the so-called Joule-Thomson effect.

The pool heat pump consists of three components in total:

  • Heat source system
  • Heat pump
  • Heat distributor

The heat source system takes in the warmer energy from the outside air and transfers it to the heat pump. A condenser converts the absorbed energy so that it is subsequently used as heating energy.

The heat distributor, which also has a storage tank, transfers the heat to the pool water so that the water is heated.

How does a heat pump for the pool work?

The heat pump for pools works in three steps. Each of these steps has its own benefits.

  1. Energy production: this is the first step. For example, in a refrigerator circulates a liquid. In the heat source system there is also water with antifreeze, which is also called brine. This liquid is used to absorb environmental heat from the ambient air and transfer it to the device. Brine is used in all models, which are installed underground and absorb heat from the earth or groundwater.
    In the case of a heat pump for the pool with an above-ground design, the outside air is absorbed by a fan and passed directly to the device.
  2. Conversion: whether the heat is obtained from the air, groundwater or soil, the absorbed energy cannot be used for heating purposes without conversion. For this reason, the second step follows.
    Another circuit is integrated in the middle component, i.e. the actual pool heat pump. Here, a refrigerant flows through the pipes and absorbs the energy gained. The refrigerant evaporates due to the heat generated and the vapor reaches a compressor. The gaseous refrigerant heats up during the process and then reaches the condenser. The refrigerant is condensed by this component. As a result, it gives off heat and due to the heat loss, it regains its previous liquid form.
    The entire heat pump consists of a self-contained circuit. Therefore, the refrigerant does not need to be recharged. As soon as in the compressor the refrigerant gets the liquid form again, it returns to the starting point and the conversion process starts again.
  3. Heating: Via the heat distributor, the heat absorbed by the heat pump is transferred to a storage medium. Now this heat mostly goes directly into the pool water. In the process, pumps move the water and distribute it evenly in the pool.

Do pool heat pumps make sense?

With a heat pump, you can make your pool independent of everyday temperature and weather fluctuations. The device provides pleasantly warm water. Thanks to the efficiency of the product, it is now also particularly inexpensive to maintain.

With little effort, you can thus use your pool at least three quarters of a year. You even obtain a real year-round swimming pool with a suitable pool cover. A pool heat pump requires little space and only one power connection. Therefore, almost any pool can be retrofitted with it without any problems.

High-quality heat pumps have corrosion-protected heat exchangers. For this reason, such pumps are independent of the disinfection method, whether you use chlorine, ozone, bromine or chlorine-free products. The use is then also possible in saltwater pools without any problems.

What is the COP value for heat pumps?

COP (Coefficient of Performance) stands for the coefficient of performance. It is used to describe the efficiency of the heat pump. It means how much power you need to generate how much heat.

Example: If 10 kW of power is required from the heat pump in the pool, the device uses 2 kW of power from the power grid to do this, and the remaining 8 kW is obtained from the outside temperature. Thus, the heat pump works most effectively when the outdoor temperature is high.

In this case, the COP has a value of 5, which means that of the required heating of the pool, only 20 percent is actually used from the power grid.

Meanwhile, the pool heat pump has become the most popular heating method for swimming pools because of this cost-effective efficiency.

What is the right location for pool heat pump?

The decision on the location is particularly important, because to work properly, the heat pump requires large amounts of air. Therefore, you need to find a suitable place in the fresh air. Indoor operation is not recommended in any case.

There is a simple reason for this: ideally, the heat pump takes warm air and converts it into heat. In the process, the warm air is emitted from the unit as cold air. Thus, two problems arise when the pool heat pump is located in a room:

In closed rooms, the air is usually cooler compared to the outside temperature. Therefore, the unit consumes more energy to heat the pool water.

The air that the heat pump emits is cold. Now, if the unit is in a closed room and the cold air cannot escape, the pool heat pump will suck the cold air right back in. Therefore, the device needs much more energy for heating.

In advertising brochures it is usually presented differently, but you should not lightly put the heat pump next to the pool. If possible, the device should be protected from the weather and wind.

So the ideal place for a pool heat pump is covered and yet open at least on one side. To suck in the air should be at least 0.5 meters to the rear and 4 to 5 meters to the front no obstacles. You should also leave a little distance to the sides, otherwise the air will swirl too much.

At what times and for how long should a pool heat pump run?

For the pool water, you can set the desired target temperature on the heat pump. Pre-programming the running time of the pool heat pump is also possible with a timer. Here, the runtime should be during the warm time of day, for example, from 9 am to 6 pm. In this way, you make ideal use of the warm time of day and reduce operating costs.

Running the heat pump during the cool night is of little use, as the efficiency is then low. It is also necessary to program the filter pump in relation to the time control. For example, if the pool heat pump starts to work at 9 o’clock, the filter pump must already be running at that time.

How to connect a pool heat pump?

As a rule, the heat pump is connected with a conventional 50 millimeter connection behind the water filter. The power connection is single-phase for smaller pumps. So a normal Schuko socket is sufficient here. A three-phase connection, on the other hand, is required for larger models.

After connecting the heat pump, you can switch it on normally. If heat is needed, the water is led to the pool via a bypass and an inlet nozzle.

How can you reduce the running costs of the pool heat pump?

Some effective methods to reduce the running costs of a heat pump are available. Some of these options are expensive like the pool enclosure mentioned earlier. However, pool enclosures offer many other benefits.

However, there are equally very affordable ways to save a lot of money and electricity and effectively reduce the load on the heat pump. For example, during the day a solar foil helps in heat recovery. Since most of the heat is lost through the surface of the water, the device loses part of the energy right back, which is transferred to the pool water via the pump. The solar foil prevents a large part of this energy loss. Especially at night, this loss is particularly large.

A solar foil not only stores heat in the pool, but some models actively contribute to heat generation. This means that less electricity is needed and the heat pump has to heat noticeably less.

In the private sector, photovoltaic systems are also becoming increasingly popular, so that a cost-effective power supply can be achieved. If you have such a system, you can often use the heat pump at zero cost.

Which manufacturers offer pool heat pumps?

On the market there are a surprising number of manufacturers of heat pumps. These include:

  • Behncke: the company is one of the leading manufacturers of filtration and swimming pool technology with many years of experience in the pool sector. It offers a wide range of well-designed products and high-quality solutions.
  • Bünger & Frese: Since 1972, Bünger & Frese has been a wholesaler for all products needed to build a pool or swimming pool. The company supports private individuals in the construction of new pools or the repair of existing ones, and acts as an intermediary between local specialist dealers and swimming pool builders.
  • BWT-Procopi: The Procopi Group is one of the leading European manufacturers of swimming pool equipment. Procopi develops and designs the majority of its products itself. The latest technologies and raw materials are used in the products.
  • CF Group Germany: The German Chemoform Group has made a name for itself with a complete range of high-performance and innovative products for cleanliness, hygiene and care in private and public swimming pools. Chemoform AG also includes a whole range of other companies active in the market segments of swimming pool water care, sauna and wellness, pools and accessories.
  • Future Pool: Swimming pools, pools and garden pools are manufactured with an innovative concept. The range includes everything from complete pools to solar showers in excellent quality.
  • Hayward: The company focuses on robust, high-performance products that are tested in its own laboratory for quality, performance and conformity. Research and development are also important aspects at this manufacturer.
  • Meranus: For 40 years, the company has been considered a competent partner for the swimming pool construction trade.
  • MIDAS: Since 1974, MIDAS has been one of the renowned suppliers of swimming pool technology, with customers in more than 100 countries. The selection of new innovative and trend-setting as well as high-quality products is part of the company philosophy.
  • Pentair: Pentair plc is a world-leading and globally active provider of water technology solutions based in London. Jung Pumpen GmbH has been part of the Pentair Group since 2007 and complements the comprehensive product range with high-quality pump systems.
  • Peraqua: The company develops and produces intelligently matched pool technology with an extremely long service life. The pool technology stands for more ease of use, safety, cleanliness and sustainability. This keeps the pool hygienically clean and ensures long-lasting, sustainable and economical pool operation.
  • Radel & Hahn: Since 1972, this Austrian family business has specialized in the construction of swimming pool technology, air-conditioning, ventilation and control systems with all the associated components. 
  • Sopra: With more than 30 years of experience in swimming pool construction, sauna, wellness and spa, Sopra is the contact for the private, public and commercial sectors. For this purpose, Sopra AG unites almost 30 partners in Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Poland. 
  • Zodiac: The company Zodiac Pool Care Europe was founded in 1998 and offers its customers products around pool care and water treatment. The scope of activity is the design, manufacture and sale of innovative technology for the pool.

What features should a pool heat pump comparison winner have?

A heat pump comparison winner should have the highest possible efficiency with the lowest possible operating costs. If the pool is located on a small lot, the pump should run as quietly as possible.

The best heat pump should have a long service life, especially of the housing, be easy to maintain and have an attractive design.

Neighbors and the noise of pool heat pumps

The noise emission of heat pumps has become almost the most important decision criterion.

In Germany, there are various limits for the volume of heat pumps. For example, in core, mixed and village areas, they may only emit 60 decibels during the day according to rating curve A and a maximum of 45 dB (A) at night.

30 decibels roughly correspond to a gentle rustling of leaves or a light breeze. 40 to 60 dB (A) are normal conversation volume or a quiet radio.

Since mid-range heat pumps are often close in terms of efficiency, the price differences are mainly noticeable in the measures taken to reduce noise. Heat pumps with plastic housings (ABS) are often quieter than heat pumps with metal housings.

Modern inverter heat pumps are significantly quieter than normal heat pumps in silence mode, because they reduce the speed and thus the noise emission continuously or gradually as the desired target temperature is approached.

What are the experiences of users of heat pumps for pools?

Many users are positively surprised that their heat pump for the pool is quieter than expected. Customers are also satisfied with the handling of the equipment.

They praise several times that the commissioning works easily due to a supplied, easy-to-understand manual and that the accessories required for the connection are included in the scope of delivery.

In addition to the simple connection, numerous customers are pleased with the intuitive controls. An integrated LCD display makes it easy to adjust the setting to individual requirements.

Users can read the current water temperature and the model’s performance on the screen. The heat pump’s good heating performance is also frequently highlighted.

In more expensive models, buyers are very pleased with the durable materials and excellent quality. For example, one heat pump has a heat exchanger made of titanium, which is resistant to rust and corrosion, making it suitable for use in saltwater pools.

How much KW must have the heat pump for your own pool?

The power of the heat pump for your own pool must be adapted to its size, that is, its water volume. As with the filter system, the heat pump should be dimensioned somewhat larger in order to achieve satisfactory results.

A pool with 30,000 to 40,000 liters of water requires a heat pump with an output of at least nine kilowatts. Up to 60,000 liters, it is twelve kilowatts, and larger pools with a capacity between 50,000 and up to 80,000 liters require at least 16 kilowatts of power.

The ratio between the power that the heat pump supplies to the pool and the power it consumes is determined by means of the so-called COP factor (coefficient of performance). The higher the COP value of the pump, the more efficient it is and the lower the electricity bill will be.

It should be possible to heat the water by approximately 0.20 to 0.25 degrees per hour. It takes 1.16 watt-hours to heat one liter of water by one degree. For a pool with 10,000 liters of water, that’s 11.6 kilowatt-hours. Calculated another way, one kilowatt-hour heats 862 liters of water by one degree Celsius.

The cost of pool heat pumps

Depending on quality and performance, heat pumps for pools cost from about 400 to more than 2,500 euros. It should be noted that the inexpensive models often have high operating costs. So while you initially save on the purchase, you pay more during operation than you would for a heat pump with low operating costs. The high initial cost pays for itself over time.

The electricity costs of heat pumps for pools

The most economical solution to heat a pool is a heat pump. That’s because while conventional heaters achieve efficiencies of 75 percent or less, a heat pump delivers about five times the absorbed power in heat.

Almost 80 percent of the energy needed to heat the pool comes from the ambient air. This has the advantage that little electricity is needed and operating costs are low. Thermodynamics ensure that a small amount of energy is used to generate enough heat to heat the pool, as long as the outside air is not too cold.

At a kilowatt-hour price of about 35 cents per kilowatt-hour, electricity costs for the entire service life of the pool heat pump over a period of five months amount to about 800 euros.


Is it possible to combine a solar pool system and a heat pump?

It is definitely possible to combine a solar pool system with a heat pump. With this combination, the operating costs can be reduced. If possible, the heat pump should be connected behind the solar system, so that hot water does not run through the cold collector. With a connection by means of bypasses, the arrangement no longer plays a role.  

What should be the distance from the wall for the pool heat pump?

First of all, it is important that the heat pump is free, so that the air can circulate and the pump works efficiently. Therefore, a narrow corner of the garden is not optimal. There should be a good three to four meters of space in front of the unit to draw in the air. At the back, half a meter is sufficient, depending on the manufacturer and model.
A certain distance from walls or hedges also reduces the noise level, as the sound waves are reflected by obstacles during operation.
The heat pump should also not be placed near combustible materials.

Does a pool heat pump need to be in the sun?

A heat pump does not have to be in the sun, but it is advisable. This is because the pump produces hot water from the air.

Should I buy a heat pump with an inverter or not?

An inverter converts alternating current drawn from the mains into direct current. With the help of a converter, alternating current is generated, the frequency of which can vary between 30 and 90 hertz.  
Because of the way it operates, a heat pump with an inverter has the advantages of running more quietly, wearing out more slowly, and often operating more efficiently than a conventional pump. This increases efficiency and reduces operating costs.
A full-inverter heat pump works intelligently because the water temperature is detected and maintained. This saves on electricity costs, as the pump reduces its output when the desired water temperature has been reached. An on-off heat pump, on the other hand, always runs at full power.

Is it necessary and advisable to turn off the heat pump at night?

Heat pumps for the pool can also run at night. However, a significantly lower efficiency is to be expected, since even in midsummer the outdoor temperature can drop significantly during the night. Accordingly, it is much more effective to run the pump during the day when it is warm.

Can a heat pump stand in the rain?

Heat pumps are made of corrosion-resistant materials and are suitable for rainy weather operation. High-quality, all-season models can be left outdoors in winter temperatures and can still heat pool water even when air temperatures are slightly below freezing.
Nevertheless, it makes sense to cover heat pumps and protect them from rain or especially hail.

Can a heat pump be used with saltwater pools?

Since high-quality heat pumps are equipped with corrosion-protected heat exchangers, it is also possible to use them in saltwater pools. These pumps can also tolerate chlorine, bromine, ozone or chlorine-free products used to disinfect the water.

Are there any differences from normal heat pumps?

There is no difference from a normal heat pump. Heat pumps work like an inverted refrigerator. They extract heat from the ambient air via a compressor and transfer it to the pool water via a heat exchanger. All that needs to be done on the heat pump is to set the desired temperature.


A pool heat pump is suitable for all pool owners who want to use the pool on cooler days, regardless of the weather. At the same time, the device works environmentally friendly and consumes little energy.

If you want to swim in the pool regardless of the weather, then a heat pump is ideal for you. When choosing, it is important that the heat pump is suitable for the size of the pool and some other details that you should pay attention to, you have already seen above.

We have compared numerous pool heat pumps with each other and the best pool heat pumps in this article could convince us of their quality, performance and economy. Mostly, the installation is done without any problems and you can enjoy the heated water of your pool even in spring or autumn.

Larry has been a true water rat since childhood. Pure pleasure turned into a passion. That's why he is the first point of contact for friends and acquaintances when it comes to pool-related problems. He is an integral part of the PoolHandbook editorial team.