Home & Garden

Best Solar Heater for Above Ground Pool

best solar panel for above ground poolFor many people, getting in a pool is the perfect way to relax and escape the intense heat of summer rays, especially after a tiresome day. Unfortunately, the falls that come after summer robs you of one of life’s greatest pleasure. An ice-cold pool easily takes away the fun and entertainment that your swimming pool was built to offer.

Well, what would you do to pools that get cold due to prevailing weather and extreme temperatures? You should simply heat them up. For sure, don’t let the changing seasons prevent your fun and intense relaxation time in the pool. If you cannot get enough of the pool, it is time you consider buying a solar pool heater.

When it comes to pool heating, there are a wide array of heating options. However, solar pool heaters are the best compared to other options such as gas, electric and geothermal heaters. Solar pool heaters for above ground pools might not be the best option for every situation but are what most people need to make their swimming experience enjoyable all year long.

Solar pool heaters are not only economical and affordable but also an effective way of raising your pool’s temperatures. This lets you extend your swimming season for some more months. Well, with the plenty of solar pool heaters available on the market, finding the best option can be quite a daunting task. Well, to ease your search, we have outlined some of the best options on the market.

The Top 10

1. SmartPool S240U Universal Heater

SmartPool pool heating systems are preferred by many people despite being a little costlier compared to other models and brands available on the market. The SmartPool S240U Universal Heater, one of the additions in SmartPool series of heaters, features some advanced designs that significantly impacts its productivity and efficiency.

This solar heating system is designed to fit any type of pump and can be used for both as in ground and above ground pool heating. Installing this system is a breeze and can be down on your own. You can install the panels on your rooftop or in the backyard if you have some available space.

The SmartPool S240U Universal Heater makes use of polyolefin solar panels that are not only lightweight but also durable and comes with a patented tube for easy and excellent transfer of heat into the pool. You will also enjoy the heater’s universal compatibility as it is compatible with most pumps and comes with a direct flow system that eliminates unnecessary back pressure on circulation.

Key Features

  • Easy installation
  • Direct flow design
  • Universal compatibility
  • Easy installation

2. Intex Solar Heater Ground Swimming Pool Heater

If you are looking for a small sized pool heater that performs excellently, the Intex Solar Heater Ground Swimming Pool Heater is a great option. It is a good choice for those who are cash-strapped or operating on a tight budget but still need to heat up their pools. Although you may not compare this heater to other large pool heaters, the price of this device is incomparable, so to say, a great bargain.

The heater is an above ground heater that is designed to work with several Intex pumps. Installing it is quite a breeze, thanks to its simple nature and small size. It also comes with 32mm hose attachments and adapters that add to its ease of installation. Measuring approximately 47 in by 47 in, it can raise your pool temperatures by about 10 degrees.

The Intex Solar Heater Ground Swimming Pool Heater has a horizontal tube design that works with ½ hp Intex filter pumps. This design makes it easy to hook it up with most filter pumps and start enjoying pool heating.

Key Features

  • Inexpensive heater
  • Small and compact
  • Energy efficient

3. XtremepowerUS Inground/Above Ground Swimming Pool Heating System

The XtremepowerUS Inground/Above Ground Swimming Pool Heating System is a perfect heater of choice for pool owners who need a system with proven reliability and functionality. This is the best choice as it offers a highly affordable and incredible pool heating.

The system requires ample space for installation, which is easy and can be done by oneself, thanks to its quick-connect feature. The pricing and ease of installation are enough to make you overlook the difficulty that this pool heater may bring. Despite its small size, it can heat up averagely sized pools.

You will like the XtremepowerUS Inground/Above Ground Swimming Pool Heating System’s versatility. It can be used for both ground and in-ground swimming pools. Its heating system sports a conventional tube design, a design with a proven record of reliability and functionality.

Key Features

  • Quick connect assembly
  • Inexpensive
  • Works for above and in-ground pools

4. FlowXtreme NS1004 Solar Heater

The FlowXtreme NS1004 Solar Heater presents yet another natural and energy efficient way to warm your pool. This practical system, like other heaters, captures the sun’s rays, making use of them to warm your pool. You can connect more than one heater for maximum warmth.

Perhaps the feature highlight of this system is how easy it is to install. It comes with standard fittings that provide utmost compatibility with most above ground pool systems. You can simply attach the heater to your filter and pump system.

It is a solar heater, making it obvious its source of power. It is powered by sunlight that is magnified within the system’s streamlined housing to heat up your pool water. By heating up the water, you can easily extend your swimming season with friends and family. The product comes with a one-year warranty.

Key Features

  • Easy installation
  • One-year warranty
  • Small size – requires little space

5. Intex 29025E Solar Cover Pool Heater

The Intex 29025E Solar Cover Pool Heater is a blue disc-shaped swimming pool cover that offers tremendous heating abilities. It is available in various sizes, making it ideal for portable and frame pools. It doesn’t suit fixed ground pools. The bubbles on this system’s cover absorb heat throughout the day, keeping your pool water warm. These bubbles can retain heat for enough time to keep the water warm even after the sun sets.

Its small and compact nature directly implies its lightweight and immense portability. You can easily wrap up and store it until a need arises. Note that the bubbles will start popping out after several years of use, but the cover will still work efficiently. The heater will only stop heating when it stops floating on the water surface.

Key Features

  • Lightweight
  • Available in different sizes
  • Retains heat for long periods
  • Reduces water evaporation

6. Blue Wave NS6028 Solar Pool Heater

The Blue Wave NS6028 Solar Pool Heater is yet another compact solar heater designed to be used only with above ground swimming pool systems. Unlike gas and propane heaters that give off hazardous emissions, this is an environmentally friendly option that can increase your pool temperatures.

This heater doesn’t deliver a specific number of Btu but uses the power of the sun to increase the pool temperatures. Due to its size, it is best used with smaller pools. It doesn’t have a sensor, thus won’t keep your pool water at specific temperatures. However, expect your pool water to increase by approximately 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Blue Wave NS6028 Solar Pool Heater features one solar panel that is connected directly to your pool’s pump system. You should place the panel in a direction that receives a lot of direct sunlight. The length of the installation hoses that come with this unit is limited.

Regarding its durability, this heater is made of quality materials that can handle all the tough stuff mother nature can throw at. You should simply place it in an area with direct sunlight and enjoy your swimming experience all season long.

Key Features

  • Slim and slender design
  • Quality make
  • Compact

7. Fafco Economy Above Ground Heating System

If you are searching for a dedicated above pool solar heater with a great reputation for functionality and durability, go for the Fafco Economy Above Ground Heating System. The system takes up approximately 20 feet of your backyard space but doesn’t have connectors that makes it easy to use.

This heater optimizes excellence in performance, effectiveness and ease of use. Its quality construction is a far cry compared to other cheap and low-quality units. Besides being powerful and effective, this solar heater is 4 by 20 feet wide, making it one of the largest and widest solar heaters on the market. With this, you can be sure of maximal exposure to the sun thus traps more solar energy providing the user with the best performance.

The Fafco Economy Above Ground Heating System build, and design is top-notch. Its durable construction features UV-resistant headers. This gives the panel some edge over most pool heaters within its price range. Installation is a breeze and doesn’t feature connectors.

Key Features

  • Highly durable
  • Easy installation
  • 10-years warranty

8. Blue Wave NS105 Blanket Above Ground Solar Heater

The Blue Wave NS105 Blanket Above Ground Solar Heater is a 2 in 1 solar heater with great performance. Besides warming up your pool water, it also reduces chemical and water evaporation. As the name suggests, it has a blanket that optimizes heat retention. The blanket is opaque and blue in color to maximize the amount of sunlight reaching the water.

Regarding its ability to retain heat, it features insulating thermal cells that trap heat an retain warmth during cool, cloudy days. It is also long lasting, thanks to its UV protected polymer that is resistant to deterioration potentially caused by chemical and UV radiation.

Key Features

  • Innovative technology
  • Optimizes heat retention
  • 3-year warranty
  • Long lasting

9. Goal Zero Nomad Solar Panel Heater

If you are looking for an overly portable swimming pool heater, the Goal Zero Nomad Solar Panel Heater should be your product of choice. This system combines the highly efficient monocrystalline technology in its foldable, portable, plug and play panel for utmost convenience.

Besides heating your swimming pool, this heater comes with a built-in junction box and a smart-charging chip that allows you to power a handheld USB. It features a patented chaining technology that combines with Goal Zero Nomad panels facilitating faster charge times.

Key Features

  • Goal zero system
  • Built-in junction box
  • Efficient mono-crystalline pumps
  • Foldable and portable

10. GAME 4721 SolarPro Curve Solar Pool Heater

Two of the most discouraging factors that deter pool owners from owning solar panel heating systems are large spacing and steep pricing. However, the GAME 4721 SolarPro Curve Solar Pool Heater is there to dispute this. Unlike other products, this is a small and compact heater that requires small space to start raising your pool temperature to satisfying levels. Besides, it does this without causing a strain on your budget.

The heater features a uniquely curved shape that is purposely designed so for optimal heat absorption. Despite its meager size, its shape allows it to produce surprisingly eco-friendly results. It is designed to warm up any above-ground pool by approximately 10 degrees in a few days.

The GAME 4721 SolarPro Curve Solar Pool Heater comes with threaded ports and hardware materials such as steel clamps, Intex adapters and hoses that makes installation quite easy. It is also made with materials that maximize sunlight absorption while minimizing the impacts of wind on its surface.

Key Features

  • Curved design
  • Durable cover
  • Threaded ports for versatile plumbing options

How it Works

Solar pool heaters are the cheapest and simplest swimming pool heating system at the moment. The principle of operation of these devices is that of heat pumps. Their crucial disadvantage is that they utterly depend on the weather. The heaters operate at full capacity when exposed to the bright sun as the dazzling rays heat the item and water circulating. However, power reduces significantly when it becomes overcast.

Solar pool heaters are solar panels designed to specifically control the temperatures of water in an above ground pool. But, how does this happen? Well, most solar pool heaters have various essential components. They include a solar collector, a flow control valve, a filter and a pump. Pool water is pumped through a filter, making its way to the tubes of the solar collector. In the collector, it is warmed before being returned to the pool.

Some pool collectors have water diverter valves and sensors that divert water when the temperatures of the collector exceed the pool temperature. When such occurs, water is diverted to the sensor until the temperatures of the pool are similar to the collector temperature. Water will then bypass the collector and pumped back to the pool.

Features to Consider

As mentioned before, solar panel heaters cost less and generally cost quite longer compared to gas heaters and heat pumps. However, you can’t go out purchasing any old solar panel, cross your fingers and hope that you will have some good luck. To ensure that you find the best solar pool heater, you must consider several factors. Among the essential considerations to look into outlined below.

Size of Your Pool

Pools come in various sizes and shapes. The size of your pool will directly determine the type of solar panel you will need. Bigger and deeper pools will require some significant heat to raise the water temperature to some comfortable and warm levels. Due to this, you will have to invest in several powerful heaters to achieve this performance. On the other hand, small and standard pools require small and portable options.

Ease of Installation

Majority of pools are either above ground or in-ground installations. Therefore, you will need to keep this in mind when shopping for your heater. This can be the difference between having an effortless and quick installation versus a time-consuming and energy draining installation experience. The mounting location hugely depends on the type of installation you go for.

As for above ground pools, installation is quite simpler, as it requires fitting some attachments to the pool’s pump system. If you aren’t tech savvy, it is prudent if you consider employing the services of a professional installer. Doing this will ensure that everything works as intended or advertised. This may cost some amount of money but is an assurance of enjoying warm and extended swimming experience.

Solar Heater Warranty

Solar heaters for above ground pools certainly cost a significant amount of money. It will be a big waste if they stop working after some few weeks. A safe way of guarding this investment is ensuring that the heater comes with a considerably long warranty. As such, in the event that the system stops working due to poor quality make or manufacturers defective construction, your supplier/manufacturer will incur or cover the cost of replacement. A warranty gives you some confidence and peace of mind, ensuring that you swim without worries.

Ease of Use

Solar pool heaters should be designed with a view of making its use a cinch. The delivery package should come with all the required accessories and installation guide to make the connections hassle free. As mentioned before, installing some systems may be quite daunting. In such cases, it is wise to get professional help with the installation process.

When it comes to ease of use, consider the weight of the system. Most solar heaters for above ground pools are bulky as they seek to maximize exposure to the sun. If the system is too large, it will definitely be problematic moving it to and from the poolside. Expect this unless you have the heater installed semi-permanently or permanently on your backyard or roof. That said, go for a lightweight and compact heater to ease maneuvering.

Construction Quality

Absorbing heat from the sun to heat the swimming pool is quite a rigorous activity. If you go for a cheap and off-brand unit, the chances are that it will wear and tear quickly. You should consider going for a heavy duty heater with industrial grade make and high-quality materials that can handle this tough task. Besides, consider a heater that is UV- rays resistant. Other qualities you can go for include its resistance to corrosion and rust, especially due to the fact that it will be in constant exposure to water with high chlorine concentration.

The functionality of the Pool

Whereas other pools are better suited for sports and exercise, others are ideal for occasional relaxation and enjoyment. Exercise and sports-oriented pools require solar pool heaters that deliver constant temperatures. On the other hand, relaxation pools should have heaters that deliver the required temperature levels.

Solar Pool Heater Price

Pricing is the other essential factor to consider. Solar pool heaters come in a wide array of prices, determined by their features and accompanying aspects. That said, you will find some heaters that are within your price range and others retailing at steep prices. Therefore, it is always necessary to always have a budget before setting out to shop. Note that the cost shouldn’t be a deal breaker, but should guide you on where and what you should go out shopping for. The best heaters retail at medium to steep prices.

Final Thoughts

As a pool owner, you will need your pool for enjoyment, relaxation or some exercises. Cold temperature is a common determent from using a pool. However, this shouldn’t be a problem any longer as you can confront it with a solar pool heater. Although pool heaters with electric and gas sources can be used, the best are solar pool heaters as they are environmentally friendly and cost-effective options.

From our list above, we have outlined some of the best options available on the market currently. It is upon you to find one that suits your pool needs, obviously based on the size of your pool and other factors. If you need a budget-friendly option for a small sized pool, the Intex Solar Heater Ground Swimming Pool Heater can be a good choice. However, if you own a large pool that requires a powerful solar heater, the XtremepowerUS Inground/Above Ground Swimming Pool Heating System can serve you very well.

There you have it. Our review of the best solar heater for above ground pools. Make your choice today from our top 10 heaters and start enjoying those warm pool sessions once again.