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Having your own pool is quite something. For the beautiful summer days the acquisition is particularly worthwhile. Be it to swim in it, to relax or even to play with the kids in it.

Unfortunately, swimming fun is not available on all days of the year. The necessary outdoor temperatures that ensure warm pool water prevail only over a period of time.

The solar heaters only need a few rays of sunlight to take full effect. Even outside the official swimming season, the systems raise the water temperature in the pool to a comfortable level.

Solar heaters are ideal for the not so nice summer days, when the pool water should still be nice and warm in the evening. Especially when you come home after work and just want to relax, a warm bath in the pool water is excellent.

Pool solar heaters are already known by many pool owners. But which are the best solar heaters for pools, few people know.

In order to make our contribution to this topic, we will present the best pool solar heaters in this article and explain in the following guide what you should consider if you want to buy a pool solar heater.

  • Pool solar heaters can extend the swimming season by many days – at least with a garden pool. All that is required is some sunshine and sufficiently large solar panels.
  • Solar-powered heaters are inexpensive to purchase, environmentally friendly, require extremely little maintenance, and incur no ongoing operating costs.
  • The individual solar heaters only heat the pool water by a few degrees. However, if you combine the individual elements or connect several together, the effect increases.

The best solar heaters for pools

AngebotBestseller No. 1
Intex Solar Heater Mat for Above Ground Swimming Pool, 47.25 in X 47.25 in
  • Solar technology increases temperature of the pool...
  • Simple hook up, compatible with filter pump up to 1/2...
  • Suitable for above ground pools up to 8000 gal...
  • Includes: 1 1/4 " (32mm) hose attachment points
Bestseller No. 2
Solar Sun Rings UV Resistant Above Ground Inground Swimming Pool Hot Tub Spa Heating Accessory...
  • ABSORBS SUNLIGHT: Solar Sun Ring is composed of two...
  • RETAINS HEAT AND WATER CHEMISTRY: This solar blanket...
  • ALL WEATHER: Water anchors add stability and weight for...
  • SALT WATER OR CHLORINE: Compatible with automatic pool...
AngebotBestseller No. 3
GAME 72000-BB, Made for Intex & Bestway SolarPRO Curve Solar Above-Ground Pool Heater
  • SOLAR POOL HEATER: The GAME SolarPRO Curve Solar Pool...
  • DURABLE CONSTRUCTION: We’ve designed this...
  • UNIQUE CURVED SHAPE: The GAME solar pool heater has...
  • ADJUSTABLE LEGS: This solar heater is compatible with...
AngebotBestseller No. 4
SunHeater S120U Universal Solar Pool Heater 2 by 20-Feet, Black
  • Simple DIY installation; for in ground or above ground...
  • Installs on roof, rack, ground or fence
  • Patented web design for maximum exposure to sun's rays
  • Uses existing pool pump
Bestseller No. 5
SunHeater Pool Heating System Two 2’ x 20’ Panels – Solar Heater for Inground and Aboveground...
  • SOLAR POOL HEATER – The SunHeater Solar Pool Heating...
  • EXTENDS POOL SEASON – Your pool’s pump pushes the...
  • EASY TO INSTALL – This pool solar heater uses your...
  • TUBE ON WEB DESIGN – The tube-web-tube design allows...
AngebotBestseller No. 6
Intex 28685E 47 Inch x 47 Inch Solar Pool Water Heater Mat for 8,000 Gallon Above Ground Swimming...
  • HEATS UP POOL: Uses solar technology to increase the...
  • FOR ABOVE GROUND POOLS: Suitable for above ground pools...
  • COMPATIBLE WITH: Compatible with filter pump up to 1/2...
  • DIMENSIONS: 47.25 x 47.25 inches; Weight: 6 lbs.
Bestseller No. 7
Funmit Solar Pool HEA-TER for Above Ground Inground Pool Warmers Equipment for Outdoor - Solar...
  • 💦Enjoy Longer Swimming Seasons: Add a few weeks to...
  • 💦Please Note: ①The pressure of the water pump...
  • 💦Wide Application: This solar pool hea-ter fits for...
  • 💦Package Includes: Premium PP Solar Pool Hea-ter, PC...
AngebotBestseller No. 8
BigXwell Solar Pool Cover, Blue 16-mil 12 x 24 Foot Rectangle Pool Heaters for Above-Ground and...
  • 【Perfect Design & Keep Heat】This pool heater cover...
  • 【Minimize Water Evaporation】This solar blanket can...
  • 【Safe and Eco-friendly】This solar blanket is made...
  • 【Protect the Natatorium】There are disinfectants and...
Bestseller No. 9
XtremepowerUS 90105 4"-inch X 10'feet Spa Heater nground/Above Ground Swimming Pool Solar Panel...
  • Quantity of these solar panels needed is dependent on...
  • Each Roll 24" x 10 foot Long; 24" x 10' Solar...
  • XtremepowerUS Panels are built from extremely...
  • Quantity of these solar panels needed is dependent on...
AngebotBestseller No. 10
VINGLI Solar Pool Heater Above Ground Domed Solar Powered Swimming Pool Heater Contour Pool Heating...
  • 【Easy to Install】This solar pool heater install was...
  • 【Heat Well & Eco-friendly】VINGLI solar heater can...
  • 【Space Saving & Compact】The compact design and...
  • 【Dome Design & Heat Quickly】If you want to heat the...
Bestseller No. 11
XtremepowerUS Swimming Pool DIY Solar Panel Above-Ground Heating System Spa Flat Pool Heater Panel...
  • Premium Solar Pool Heater - The XtremepowerUS Solar...
  • Superior Material - The designed above-ground solar...
  • Help Extend Pool Season - The pool pump pushes the...
  • Easy To Install - Standard fitting, 1.25 - 1.5-in...

Guidebook: Buying the right pool solar heater

In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about pool solar heaters. We’ll go over the pros and cons, introduce you to the different types of solar heaters, and shed light on exactly which factors play a role in the selection process.

Advantages and disadvantages of pool solar heaters

Before we delve deeper into the matter, you should be clear on whether a solar heater makes sense for you. A simple, yet effective method, is to weigh the pros and cons of the systems. If you are convinced of the majority of the advantages and the disadvantages do not put a spoke in their wheel, solar heating systems are just right for you.

Pros
  • Low maintenance system
  • Inexpensive in the acquisition
  • No running operating costs
  • Environmentally friendly
Cons
  • Effectiveness depends on weather
  • May take up a lot of space
  • Water can be heated only a few degrees

Types of pool solar heaters

Solar mats and simple solar collectors

An inexpensive type of solar heater is plastic solar mats (such as an Intex solar mat). These systems are great for all backyard pools, but work best for above ground pools that are not too large. The reason for this is that the solar mats require a lot of space. This means that the larger the pool, the more of the mats are needed.

You can conveniently combine the solar mats together so that they take up less space, but as the saying goes, small livestock makes crap. However, if there is enough space, the mats are worth considering.

When it comes to solar mats, the material is especially crucial. Most models are made of plastic, but there are also individual differences. You should make sure that it is high quality plastic, which can not be harmed by environmental influences such as UV radiation and temperature fluctuations. The material should also be able to tolerate moisture and be resistant to corrosion.

Before you decide to buy a solar mat, it is recommended that you find out about its properties. Important factors of a good solar mat are high thermal conductivity, strong radiation absorption and the lowest possible flow resistance. Only if these properties are present, an optimal heating of the pool water can take place.

Solar tarpaulin

Solar tarps also belong to the pool solar heaters, but are more of a supportive nature. Merely using a solar tarp to heat the pool water is not a good idea. In conjunction with a solar mat, things look a lot different. This is largely due to the way it works, which is as follows:

The solar tarp absorbs solar radiation in the form of heat through its surface. This heat is stored in the surface itself, on the one hand, and in the small air pockets inside the tarp, on the other, and is then used to heat the pool water.

The great advantage of solar tarpaulins becomes apparent at night. Pools often lose a lot of heat during the dark hours – even when cover tarps are used.

Solar tarpaulins perform better in this area, because the processed air cushions inside the tarpaulin are very good insulation. The heat of the water is thus kept in the pool and only released in small quantities to the cool night air.

Black solar tarpaulins have a particularly good effect. The color absorbs many of the sun’s rays and reflects only a very small amount. As a result, the solar tarpaulin heats up more quickly. Sunlight that normally enters the pool is concentrated directly in the tarpaulin and effectively stored. Another positive effect is that this process prevents algae in the pool.

How solar mats and solar collectors work

Not only solar fountains and solar showers can use the heat of the sun. Solar mats and solar collectors are specially designed to concentrate the heat from the sun’s rays. The stored heat is then effectively used to heat the pool water.

The application of solar mats and solar collectors is very simple. One simply connects the systems to the pool pump and thus ensures integration into the pool’s filter circuit. The larger the area of the solar mats or the more solar collectors are connected in series, the more power of the circulation pump is needed.

The pool water is passed through the special hoses and absorbs the collected heat. So this effective way of using the sun as a heat source is great for saving electricity costs and protecting the environment.

Tip: Any solar mats and solar collectors can also be placed outside the garden, such as on the roof of the house or garage to save space.

Buying criteria for pool solar heaters

Not every pool solar heater is suitable for every purpose. Many systems are only designed for small pools, even when connected in series.

Still, there are plenty of models that are suitable for larger backyard pools as well. What criteria should be considered when assessing whether a pool solar heater is suitable for your needs, we clarify below.

Maximum heating

The maximum possible heating of the pool water is of great importance when choosing a solar heater. Depending on the time of year or the conditions under which you plan to use the pool, there are different requirements for maximum heating.

For example, if you use your pool only on warm days after work, it would be sufficient for you to choose a solar heater that only keeps the pool water warm for you and does not heat it further.

However, if you want to use it during the first days of summer when the water cannot yet heat up much from pure sunlight, an increased output makes much more sense.

With most pool solar heaters, temperature rises of 5 – 8 °C can be expected. If you want to achieve particularly good results, it may be a good idea to combine several systems and make the most of them. For example, you can connect two solar mats together and also use a solar tarp.

Dimensions

The dimensions of a solar heating system determine how much heat can be generated in total. However, since systems can almost all be connected together, the size of a single solar heater is not of great importance.

Overall, you should be aware that strong heating of the pool water can only be guaranteed if you have sufficiently large solar collectors. The exact size of the collectors depends on two factors.

On the one hand, it depends on the available space in your garden or on your roof, and on the other hand, it depends on the power of your circulation pump. If it is too weak to pump the water through the pipes, the solar heater will not be able to fulfill its purpose.

Pool size

Directly related to the dimensions of the solar heater is the size of the pool. The more voluminous it is, the more heat is needed to raise the pool water temperature.

The required size of a potential solar cover also depends on the pool size. This must be able to cover at least the surface of the pool.

A rule of thumb is that pool solar heaters should be able to cover about 80% of the pool’s surface area.

Flow rate

The flow rate tells you how much water can be pumped through the pipes so that the water is heated sufficiently. Depending on how large your pool is, the flow rate should also be correspondingly high.

The prerequisite for a high flow rate is also a strong circulation pump. If this has too weak a performance, it cannot support high flow rates. So, for large pools, it is recommended to invest not only in solar heaters with a large flow rate, but also in a powerful pool pump.

Construction

Setting up a pool solar heater can be complicated. If you purchase a system that you are not at all familiar with setting up, you will probably need an expert to hook up the heater for you. This service is usually quite expensive and negates the relatively low initial cost of the solar heater. Therefore, we recommend that you only purchase solar heaters that have been proven to be able to be installed by non-experts.

Cost

The price of a pool solar heater depends on the quality and size of the system. While inexpensive solar tarps can be purchased for as little as a few euros, some solar mats can break the hundred-euro barrier. If you plan to order a solar heating system for a larger pool, you should set aside a budget of several hundred euros.

FAQs: Frequently asked questions about pool solar heaters answered

Do you have to winterize a pool solar heater?

Solar powered heaters have no use in the winter. Neither is there enough sunshine to generate enough heat, nor are solar heaters designed to heat above 8°C.

Another point is that solar heaters can suffer frost damage if they are not properly stowed away during the winter.

As soon as the cold season arrives, it is time to dismantle the solar heaters and store them in the basement. Contrary to the usual recommendation that equipment sheds are also suitable for storage, we do not recommend this storage, because even there can be very low temperatures, which will have a detrimental effect on the life of the heater.

Even though there is no official pool solar heater test yet, where different models have been tested for their frost resistance, we recommend you not to take the risk and play it safe.

Where can you buy a pool solar heater?

Pool solar heaters can be purchased either online at various stores like on Amazon or Ebay. These platforms usually offer the various systems at much lower prices than you would pay for them at a hardware store or specialty retailer. Another advantage of online stores is the free delivery, starting from a minimum order value, which one should have easily reached when purchasing a solar heating system.

Can you build a solar pool heater yourself?

Especially dedicated hobby craftsmen are certainly tempted to build their own pool solar heater. While this is possible, you should know exactly what you are doing if you are taking on this challenge. To give you some rough direction, you can use the following guide as a guide:

  1. Determine the size of the area that will be needed for future use.
  2. Purchase two distribution pipes and an appropriate number of flow pipes.
  3. Now connect the distribution pipes to the flow pipes so that only the ends of the distribution pipes are exposed.
  4. Then integrate the construction into the filter circuit.

Are there alternatives to pool solar heaters?

If you want to heat your pool water without sunshine, we can recommend heat pumps or instantaneous water heaters. However, unlike the solar-powered systems, the alternatives require access to the power grid. Moreover, these models are associated with relatively high initial costs.

If you have the wherewithal, heat pumps and instantaneous water heaters are excellent choices for heating your pool water.

Heat Pump

Heat pumps use electrical energy to convert the ambient temperature into heat and transfer that energy to the pool water. So, these systems work whether the sun is shining or not, but they rely on a power supply to do so.

The advantage of heat pumps is their good power efficiency, which ensures that large amounts of pool water can be heated in a short time. The obvious disadvantage is the initial cost.

Instantaneous water heater

Instantaneous water heaters are the low-cost version of heat pumps. They are easy to connect to the filter circuit and provide rapid heating of the water. One disadvantage of instantaneous water heaters is their high operating costs. These are higher than heat pumps and should at least be considered when purchasing.

Where to install pool solar heaters?

The common practice is to mount solar panels on roofs. The installation process is quite simple. The solar panels are simply placed on the roof of the house, garage or shed and connected to the pool’s filtration system. For the most part, these are simple plug-in systems that do not require professional supervision and can be expanded with a few simple steps, for example, by adding more panels.

Note: We recommend installing the solar heater when the outside temperature is warm, because the connectors have thin pins and can easily break off in the cold.

Tips for choosing the right solar pool heater

  • Don’t skimp on the purchase price. Solar pool heaters are installed once and then should last for 15 to 20 years. Inferior models may have a reduced lifespan and may need to be replaced sooner. Likewise, maintenance costs are typically higher for inexpensive models.
  • Choose based on personal price-performance ratio. Price is, of course, an important factor. Of course, you should not accept cuts in quality. However, you should ask yourself what you need for your situation. For a small swimming pool, you don’t need high-end heating systems that could be significantly more expensive than a simple solar hose.
  • Combine the solar pool heater with a pool cover. Cover the pool to keep the pool water warm. With a tarp on the pool, a solar pool heater works much more efficiently because much less heat is released into the air.
    Conclusion

There are many different pool heaters on the market, an environmentally friendly and at the same time cost-effective variant, represent the solar heaters. These models, depending on the amount of sunlight, can heat the pool water quickly and efficiently without you even having to shake a hand.

Pool solar heaters are most suitable for smaller pools, but they can also be considered for larger models. Since smaller solar heaters can’t heat a lot of water at once, it’s a good idea to connect several elements together to increase efficiency.

However, with several of these heaters, the required area also increases. If your own garden is not enough, you can also use the roof of your house or garage. An additional way to keep the pool water warm and increase the effect of the solar heaters is to use solar tarps.

These are simply placed on the surface of the water in the evening or on days when the pool is not in use. This prevents the heat of the pool water from escaping, or only in small amounts. Another advantage is that the pool is shielded from foreign bodies such as leaves or rain.

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.