The 7 Best Solar Pool Covers for Free and Sustainable Pool Heating

Best-Solar-Pool-Cover

Investing in the best solar pool cover for your swimming pool at home is something that brings with it many benefits.

Firstly, and perhaps most obviously, you can take advantage of the sun’s rays transformed into solar energy to heat your pool water using one of these covers.

You’ll also cut down by pool water evaporation by as much as 95%. This saves you from needing to top up your pool as often, and you’ll also use fewer pool chemicals, saving you money on an ongoing basis.

An inbuilt advantage of these solar pool covers is the way they also stop debris from tumbling into your pool when it’s not in use. From leaves, twigs, and branches through to algae, bugs, and insects, keep everything unwanted out of your pool.

Now, if you’ve never considered this type of pool accessory before, you may have absolutely no idea what to look for in a solar cover. Double down on the following pointers and you should have no problems.

  • Material and color: Most solar pool covers are made from polyethylene, vinyl, or polyurethane. You should look for a cover that’s well constructed, finished nicely at the seams, and built to withstand UV rays and pool chemicals. We draw your attention to any covers with deficiencies in this area. You should also look for a darker-colored cover, although if it’s too dark it may let your water cool down
  • Shape and size of cover: Solar pool covers come in all shapes and sizes. We clearly highlight the dimensions and pool shapes that make the right fit for the covers on our shortlist. In some instances, you’ll be able to trim the cover to fit
  • Ease of use: You should make sure that any cover on your shortlist is straightforward to set up and easy to use. These covers should be set-and-forget in nature, so avoid any that seem labor-intensive to operate
  • Manual or automatic: Most basic solar pool covers are manual. All adjustments need to be made by hand with these covers. Automatic pool covers unfurl at the push of a button, while semi-automatic pool covers use a reel system
  • Bubble blanket or solar ring: A bubble blanket is affordable and super-simple to use. Over the course of the day, the bubbles absorb heat from the sun. At night, the bubbles become insulators. These blankets come in different thicknesses from 8 through 16 gauge. A solar ring pool cover creates a raft on the pool’s surface to improve solar collection and increase the water temperature

OK, with those simple pointers in place, you should have all you need to know so you can confidently compare the best solar pool covers on the market to see which, if any, makes the right fit for you.

Dive in!

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The 7 Best Solar Pool Covers

1. Our #1 Pick: Sun2Solar Heat-Retaining Blanket

Sun2Solar-Blue-12-Foot-by-24-Foot-Rectangle-Solar-Cover

Features

  • 12 x 24 foot coverage
  • Raises temperature by 15F
  • 246 x 246 x 0.25 inches

If you’re looking for the best solar pool cover for a rectangular pool sized 12 x 24 feet, the ever-reliable Sun2Solar delivers as promised.

This is a multipurpose solar blanket that gets thing off to a strong start by inhibiting up to 95% of the evaporation that can blight an uncovered swimming pool. Fill up your swimming pool less often, saving you hassle and money, while also conserving water.

When the sun has been penetrating your swimming pool all day long as you splash about, it’s a shame to let that heat go to waste. With this blanket, you don’t need to. Cover your pool at the end of the day and the heat-retaining properties of this blanket will warm your water instead of being squandered.

In addition to preventing evaporation and warming your pool water, this blanket also stops debris from tumbling into your pool when it’s covered. This will cut down on the work of your pool filter, and will resultantly prolong its lifespan.

One of the welcome touches about this solar pool cover is the fact you can easily trim it to fit. While you should use it for a pool roughly sized as recommended by the manufacturer, you’ll have some leeway with slightly smaller pools if you’re prepared to tailor the cover with some scissors.

Aside from a slight flimsiness, this is our favorite solar pool cover in a glutted field. See what you think.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Reduces evaporation
  • Heat-retaining properties
  • Stops debris effectively
  • Feels slightly flimsy

2. Best for Round Pools: Blue Wave Solar Blanket

Blue-Wave-NS130-8-mil-Solar-Blanket-for-Round-Above-Ground-Pools

Features

  • 33 foot coverage
  • Raises temperature by 15F
  • 396 x 396 x 0.5 inches

Blue Wave is a dominant force in this vertical with just cause. They make first-class pool equipment that’s reasonably priced and built to last. This solar blanket continues that winning tradition.

This model is designed for round above-ground pools measuring 33 feet across. There is a deep bench of alternative sizes if this doesn’t make the right fit.

Highly insulating thermal cells trap the heat from the sun’s rays inside when your pool is covered. This can increase the temperature of the water in your pool by as much as 15F. While this might be no substitute for a pool heater if you live somewhere with a cool climate, Californians or anyone living somewhere with year-round sun win twice over. Not only will they enjoy enough sun for solar power, but they’ll also need the pool heating to a lower temperature.

Wherever you live, if you invest in this solar blanket, you should successfully extend your swimming season without ever feeling uncomfortable in the water.

Backed by a 3-year limited warranty, you can buy this pool cover with complete confidence. It’s the best option at your disposal if you have a round above-ground pool at home.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Heats pool passively
  • Extends your swimming season
  • 3-year limited warranty
  • Edges are not seamed

3. Best for Rectangular Pools: Intex Solar Cover

Intex-Solar-Cover-for-18ft-X-9ft-Rectangular-Frame-Pools

Features

  • 18 x 9 foot coverage
  • For rectangular pools
  • 108 x 216 x 0.25 inches

Next up is a superb pool cover for owners of rectangular above-ground pools in need of covering when not in use. What do you get for your money here, then?

Firstly, you get a cover that’s designed to snugly fit a pool measuring up at 17.8 x 8.4 feet. As you would expect from Intex, you get outstanding build quality and great attention to detail throughout.

Made from a soft yet durable 160-micron fabric, you’ll get a solid pool cover that will stop falling debris like leaves, tree branches, and other garden debris from littering your precious pool.

If you need to store your pool cover away when you’re using the pool throughout the swimming season, you’ll appreciate the carrying bag that will keep the cover protected and squashed down for seamless storage.

You can also buy multipacks of this cover if you have more ambitious requirements and you’re looking to snare yourself a better bargain.

If your primary purpose is preventing kids or pets from tumbling into an unprotected pool, and you’d also like to keep falling debris from polluting your pool, this is one of the strongest options you’ll find for rectangular swimming pools.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • 160-micron material
  • Keeps pool warm year-round
  • Carrying bag
  • Lifespan questionable

4. Sun2Solar Solar Cover

Sun2Solar-Blue-12-Foot-Round-Solar-Cover

Features

  • 12 foot coverage
  • Raises temperature by 15F
  • 308 x 308 x 0.25 inches

Next in line comes another entry from the inimitable Sun2Solar. How does this cover differentiate itself in a packed field?

Firstly, you’ll reduce almost all water evaporation, cutting down on the frequency with which you’ll need to top up your pool.

Of the myriad shapes and sizes available in this deep product line, this is the cover intended for round pools measuring 12 feet across.

As a solar cover, this blanket traps the heat inside from the sun’s rays and allows this to be converted into energy to heat the water in your pool.

The manufacturer claims that using this blanket can lead to a rise in pool water temperature of fully 15F. If this sounds like a great way to sidestep the expense and hassle of a pool heater, you may be surprised at just how little this nifty cover costs.

If you find the cover doesn’t quite fit your pool snugly enough, you can take some scissors and hack it into shape without too much trouble.

While most user reviews of this cover are pretty good, we found several complaints about the poor quality of the finishing on the seams. This gripe aside, user testimony was overwhelmingly positive.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Minimizes water evaporation
  • Trim to fit
  • Traps UV rays
  • Seams not well-finished

5. Robelle Heavy-Duty Solar Cover

Robelle-1836RS-8-Box-Heavy-Duty-Solar-Cover

Features

  • 18 x 36 foot coverage
  • 8-mil material
  • 18 x 18 x 38 inches

Although marketed as a heavy-duty solar cover, we feel the overall build of this cover could do with a tweak. It’s not likely to fall apart on you in a matter of months, but we found a handful of customers complaining about a disappointing lifespan.

With the bad out of the way, how about the benefits of this pool cover?

Well, the first thing you’ll appreciate is the ease of set-up. There’s absolutely no installation required and you simply drape the cover over your pool as directed. The cover will float bubble side down whenever you’re not using the pool. Solar energy passes through the cover and into your pool, raising the temperature.

Also, by covering your pool with this blanket, you’ll also trap all the heat retained by the water over the course of a hot summer’s day rather than allowing it to dissipate overnight.

You will also manage to reduce the amount of evaporation in your pool helping you to cut back on chemical consumption and saving even more money over time.

If you’ve chosen to invest in a swimming pool at home, dig a little deeper and protect that investment with this powerful solar cover from Robelle.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Needs no assembly
  • Prolongs swimming season
  • UV-resistant material
  • Build quality could be improved

6. Blue Wave Solar Blanket

Blue-Wave-NS510-14-mil-Solar-Blanket-for-Rectangular-In-Ground-Pools

Features

  • 12 x 24 foot coverage
  • Raises temperature by 15F
  • 600 x 360 x 0.5 inches

As we near the end of our solar pool cover reviews, we have another model from the highly reputable Blue Wave.

This is one of the most hardwearing and long-lasting covers on our shortlist.

A 14-mil blanket, you’ll benefit from solar energy capable of increasing your pool water temperature by up to 15F. While this might not be a meaningful substitute for a pool heater in cooler climates, residents of sunnier states can enjoy year-round pool water heating without a dramatic spike in electricity usage.

As with all the best solar pool covers, an inbuilt advantage is the reduction in water evaporation. Not only will you need to fill the pool less frequently, but you’ll also use fewer pool chemicals, saving even more money over time.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Rugged and long-lasting
  • Slashes heat loss
  • Keeps water warmer
  • Not the most insulating blanket

7. Solar Sun Rings Pool Heater

Solar-Sun-Rings-Solar-Pool-Heater

Features

  • Floating solar heating devices
  • For all small pools
  • 75 x 17.75 x 7.5 inches

Last but certainly not least in our quest for the best solar pool cover comes something slightly different.

This is not strictly speaking a cover at all, but rather a nifty set of floating devices capable of harnessing solar power to boost the water temperature in your swimming pool.

This is a 6-pack, but you can buy various bundles including up to 20 of these floating devices, ideal if you have a larger above-ground pool that needs heating.

These are passive heating devices fashioned from twin layers of UV-resistant vinyl. As the sun’s rays are directed onto the lower layer of the device, the sunlight is transformed into heat, with the remaining sunlight filtering through into your pool water.

To reiterate, do not buy these solar floating devices if you’re looking for a pool cover. They perform no function beyond heating the water. If you have kids using the pool, ensure that they do not use these heating pads as flotation devices. Bear this in mind and you can lift the temperature of your pool water without spending a fortune on electricity. If you need to cover your pool, we’d refer you to any of the above options on our shortlist.

You should peg your expectations with this solar device as you will only notice an incremental increase in water temperature. If you’re happy with that, these are fun, effective, and long-lasting, so why not treat yourself?

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Innovative floating solution
  • Highly efficient
  • No installation needed
  • Won’t raise water temperature much

Conclusion

We hope today’s guide to choosing the best solar pool cover has given you everything you need to know in order to find the right fit your pool.

We always highlight the drawbacks of all the pool products we review so you can buy with your eyes wide open knowing exactly what you’re getting for your money.

If you opt for any of the pool covers we review today, you should encounter no problems along the way. For anyone that spots a pool cover not on out shortlist, we hope our brief buying guide helps you determine whether it’s any good.

Bookmark Wild River Country before you head off and pop back soon for more guidance on choosing the best pool equipment the easy way.

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