Having an above ground pool in your backyard is great but something that makes it even better is knowing the water won’t be freezing cold when you want to go swimming. This may not be a problem on really hot, humid afternoons but what about early in the morning if you want to swim some laps or days when it’s not quite scorching hot but you want to take a dip?
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. 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 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
Something we really love about this heater from SmartPool 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.
Best Universal Solar Pool Heater
Another great choice is this solar water heater from SunHeater. 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.
Best Roof-Mounted Solar Heater
While this is not the only solar water heater for above ground pools that can be roof-mounted, it is one of the best designs we found. This kit consists of two panels that are 2×20 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 in on the roof. It won’t get as much sun exposure on the ground but it will still deliver results.
Best Solar Heater for Small Yards
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. 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 and 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 as well as a cover to protect the dome when it’s not in use.
Best Curved Solar Heater
Some people don’t like straight solar panels because they can be difficult to position and may not fit well in all yards. That’s why we recommend this curved solar heater from GAME. 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 that 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.