Best Solar Heater for Above Swimming Ground Pool

Having an above ground pool in your backyard is great in the summer. But what about in the winter? While you can winterize your above ground pool, you can also heat your above ground pool for winter swimming. The only way to make sure your pool’s water is warm and welcoming no matter what the outside temperature is to use a water heater, but gas and electric heaters can be pricey. So, we found the best solar heater for above ground pool as well as a few more great options for you to consider.

Why not just a solar cover?

While solar covers can increase the water temperature slightly, they’re not really as effective as a solar heater. Why? Because solar covers only heat the top of the water. If you leave the cover on for a few days after it’s been really sunny and the solar cover has been exposed to direct sunlight for days at a time, you might get in and notice the water at the top of the pool is as warm as a bathtub while the water by your waist and feet is, well, freezing. With a solar heater, you won’t have this problem.

If you’re looking into taking advantage of solar energy and thinking about investing in a solar heater for your pool, we found some of the best options available. Let’s take a closer look.

Our Pick for Best Solar Heater for Above Ground Pool

SmartPool Pool Solar Heater

Something we really love about this SmartPool Solar Heater is that it’s so easy to install using your existing filter system. The pump pushes the pool water through the tubes in the solar panel, heating the water and cycling it back into your swimming pool. It raises the water temperature between six and 10 degrees F.

This design features two large solar panels made of polypropylene. The tube-web-tube setup captures as much sun as possible, maximizing the water’s exposure and increasing the temperature quickly. The panels are rigid enough to maintain their integrity but have just enough flexibility to cope with changing temperatures throughout the day, giving them the durability they need to last.

This system is made for any above-ground pool up to 31-feet round or rectangular or oval-shaped pools up to 18 by 36 feet. If need be, you can link multiple systems together for even faster results. Note that the installation kit is sold separately.

Easy to install.Plastic is too brittle.
Includes a system kit.Panels do not come with a stand.
Can be used for inground or above ground pools.
Best Solar Heater for Above Ground Pool

Best Universal Solar Pool Heater

SunHeater S120U Universal Solar Pool Heater

Another great choice is this SunHeater S120U Universal Solar pool heater. It works with both above and underground pools. The panel is 20 feet long so you will need some room to set it up but the large surface area gets a lot of sun exposure and can raise your pool temperature between six and 10 degrees F.

This product comes with detailed instructions on how to do a basic setup in your yard. You can also use two of them together if you want something that works a little bit faster or to get multiple units for a roof installation. This is probably the best way to ensure you get as much sun exposure as possible and the warmest, fastest results though, admittedly, it is a little more complicated than the basic yard installation. All of the connectors and hoses you need for installation are included for any installation, though you will need to provide a few tools.

Simple DIY installation.
Hard to make it flat.
Universal system.
Big and bulky.
Patented web design for maximum exposure to sun's rays.
Best Solar Heater for Above Ground Pool

Best Roof-Mounted Solar Heater

XtremepowerUS Inground/Above Ground Swimming Pool Solar Panel Heating System

This isn’t the only solar water heater for above ground pools that can be roof-mounted. However, the XtremepowerUS Pool Solar Panel is one of the best designs we found. This kit consists of two panels that are 4×20 feet and made of lightweight black polypropylene that’s flexible and will last through exposure to extreme weather.

This design needs little to no maintenance once installed, just put them in place, hook the system up to your pool filter, and you’re ready to go. The large surface area delivers quick results and you don’t have to install it on the roof. It won’t get as much sun exposure on the ground but it will still deliver results.

Superior material.
Plastic is too brittle.
Can be used for inground or above ground pools.Pool pump not included.
Easy to Install.
Best Solar Heater for Above Ground Pool

Best Solar Heater for Small Yards

Goplus Solar Dome Swimming Pool Heater

If you’re looking for the best solar heater for above ground pools with a slightly more compact design, take look at this product from Goplus, the Goplus Solar Dome Swimming Pool Heater. This is a great choice for anyone with a small yard that doesn’t have a lot of room to spare for large solar panels.

Rather than using long panels, this heater features a dome-like design that’s much easier to position. The dome creates a greenhouse effect, trapping heat and warming the pool water as it travels through the black coiled hoses inside.

Because it’s more compact, the dome design is not as intrusive as some other above ground pool heaters. It’s also a little easier to store at the end of the season. This product connects to your filter using 1.5-inch hoses and circulates the heated water back into the swimming pool. All of the necessary hoses are included. It also has a cover to protect the dome when it’s not in use.

Space saving.
The hose that comes with it is not long enough.
Aesthetically pleasing when compared to solar panels.
Poor power filter pump.
Protective cover is included.
Best Solar Heater for Above Ground Pool

Best Curved Solar Heater

GAME SolarPRO Curve Solar Pool Heater

Some people don’t like straight solar panels because they can be difficult to position. They also may not fit well in all yards. That’s why we recommend this curved solar heater from GAME, the Game SolarPro Curve Solar Pool Heater. Its compact design is a great fit for smaller yards but also big enough for pools up to 8,000 gallons.

In addition to the curved shape, this product is made using high-quality materials. They can stand up to the intense sun exposure needed to warm up your pool. Adjustable legs allow you to easily change positioning so the panels are always getting the ideal amount of sun exposure.

This design promises to slowly warm your pool by five degrees over the course of a few days. It works with your pool filter and a bypass kit is available if you want to connect multiple units together.

Durable construction.Mounts are very flimsy.
With adjustable legs.
With unique curved shape.Poor quality legs construction.
Best Solar Heater for Above Ground Pool

Is it time to buy an above ground pool?

Now that you’ve seen how you can heat it with a solar heater, are you ready to purchase an above ground pool? Check out our picks for the best above ground pools on the market. Once the ground has been leveled and your new above ground pool is installed and filled with water, check out our picks for the best above ground pool lights to make swimming at night safer and more fun.

Get educated on above ground pools

Make sure you’ve learned all the basics before diving into buying an above ground pool. For instance, how do above ground pools work? Do you know if above ground pools can have different depths, or if above ground pools can be used with saltwater? If you’re still deciding between above ground and in-ground, you may be wondering if above ground pools can be buried. We’ll also explain why above ground pools need chemicals and how to empty an above ground pool.

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