Best Solar Pool Covers

Last Updated: 19 March, 2019 by Alin Sparkle

When September draws near and the days grow colder, it’s time to say goodbye to the outdoor pool and put an end to another incredibly fun pool season. Or is it?

 

If, for instance, you own an outdoor pool in California or Florida, solar pool covers can help you extend its use throughout the year. No, you still won’t be able to swim comfortably during mid-winter, but you will be able to start pool season early, say, in late March, and end it as late as mid-way through November.

 

Of course, the time of the year you can make use of your pool without additional heating depends largely on where you live. Yet regardless of your location, a solar pool cover will extend pool season and offer additional benefits too. Read on to find out more.

Editor’s Pick
POOL MATE Deluxe Solar Blanket
POOL MATE Deluxe Solar Blanket
Top Pick for Rectangular Pools
SUN2SOLAR Clear Rectangle Solar Cover
SUN2SOLAR Clear Rectangle Solar Cover
Top Pick for Above-Ground, Round Pools
INTEX Solar Cover for Round Pool
INTEX Solar Cover for Round Pool
Top Pick for Oval Pools
MIDWEST CANVAS Clear Diamond Oval Solar Cover
MIDWEST CANVAS Clear Diamond Oval Solar Cover
Top Pick for a Tight Budget
THERMO-TEX Solar Pool Cover
THERMO-TEX Solar Pool Cover

Solar Pool Cover Reviews: The Best of 2019

 

New to the idea of solar pool blankets? No problem. We’ve put together the best solar pool cover reviews to help you make an optimal choice. Included below are covers of rectangular, round, or oval shapes, suitable for all budgets. You’ll find the best solar cover for inground pools, but also a number of great solar covers for above ground pools.

1

POOL MATE Deluxe Solar Blanket

One of the best solar pool covers currently on the market, this blanket by Pool Mate functions as an aluminum heat shield in order to prevent heat from leaving the pool. One of its faces is made of heavy-duty aluminum to attract and absorb sunlight, while the other is dotted with thousands of diamond-shaped bubbles that retain heat from the sun and increase the temperature of the pool water.

 

When the pool is not in use, this solar cover floats on top of it to permit the accumulation of otherwise wasted heat. The blanket is extra thin, which makes it very easy to use and store, and it is also highly resistant to UV light, which means it takes longer to deteriorate from exposure to the sun.

 

Finally, solar pool covers from Pool Mate come in all shapes and sizes. You can buy one for a rectangular, oval, or round pool, which makes it our best solar cover for inground pools, as well as a suitable solar cover for above ground pools. There are various sizes to choose from for each of the three shapes so it’s likely that you’ll find the right dimensions for your pool in order to avoid trimming.

PROS:
  • Heavy-duty aluminum side absorbs more sunlight during the day
  • Diamond-shaped bubbles retain and transfer heat, while also preventing heat loss
  • Extra thin: easy to use and to fold/store
  • Highly resistant to UV light (lasts longer)
  • Comes in all shapes and sizes to help you avoid trimming
CONS:
  • May tare if not handles properly
  • Slightly more expensive than other options
2

SUN2SOLAR Clear Rectangle Solar Cover

Rectangular solar pool covers by Sun2Solar may cost a bit more than other, similar options, but they easily make up for the initial investment in durability and reliability. Made from durable resin materials, these blankets will find their way in most solar pool cover reviews because they are simply the highest standard the industry has to offer at this time.

 

Pool covers by Sun2Solar are very similar to bubble wrapping paper, but much more resistant to UV light and long-term exposure to the sun. Although you can also buy them in blue, their clear color allows sunlight to reach deeper into the pool, which provides even more heat than the bubbles alone.

 

Considered by many to be the best solar cover for inground pools, this blanket can also work as a solar cover for above ground pools. In addition, it comes in several dozen sizes to ensure a perfect fit. If your pool is largely rectangular, but has an irregular shape, Sun2Solar advises that you trim the cover for your specific needs. The manufacturer’s 10-year warranty is not voided by the trim, which is a big plus compared to other brands.

 

Solar pool covers by Sun2Solar are also much sturdier than other options. They are thicker than most other blankets and they are reinforced for long-term resistance to wear and tear.

PROS:
  • Heavy-duty, durable resin material that lasts longer when exposed to sunlight
  • Highly resistant to UV light
  • Clear color permits even more heating than the bubbles alone
  • Comes in several dozen sizes for rectangular pools
  • Can be trimmed to fit irregular pools without voiding the warranty
CONS:
  • More expensive than other options
  • Thicker than other options, which makes the cover more durable, but also slightly more difficult to pack and store
3

INTEX Solar Cover for Round Pool

If you’re in the market for a solar cover for above ground pools, these units by Intex offer one of the best heat retention solutions for round shapes. Although they are made of plastic, the blankets are more than able to handle intense UV light while helping you keep your pool warmer during cool days.

 

Largely made up of thousands of small bubbles that expand when exposed to sunlight and transfer heat to the pool water through contact, these blankets are popular in solar pool cover reviews not only because they offer a high standard of quality, but also because they come at an advantageous price. In fact, several affordable units can even be used together as lily pads to cover wider areas and still retain some heat.

 

For round, above-ground pools, solar covers by Intex come in five convenient sizes that can be trimmed further for a perfect fit. The blankets are quite thin and lighter than most other options, which makes them very easy to place, as well as pack and store. You won’t have to wrestle these blankets whenever you want to pick them up, while each one includes a reusable carry bag for convenient storage.

PROS:
  • Can handle intense UV light and convert it into heat for your pool
  • Very advantageous price to quality ratio
  • Can be used as lily pads to cover areas that are not necessarily round
  • Thin, very light, and therefore easy to use and store
CONS:
  • Made of plastic and, as such, prone to tears if not handled properly
  • Can be blown away by powerful winds if not attached properly to the pool
4

MIDWEST CANVAS Clear Diamond Oval Solar Cover

Less frequent in solar pool cover reviews, this blanket by MidWest Canvas is nevertheless an excellent choice in terms of its quality-to-cost ratio. Made up of durable resin material, it comes in an oval shape and eight different sizes in order to fit most similarly shaped in-ground or above-ground pools.

 

The diamond-shaped bubbles that dot these solar pool covers are designed in such dimensions and disposed in such a manner so as to maximize the use of surface and increase heat retention even further. During the day, the bubbles absorb sunlight and transfer it to the pool water, while during the night, the cover prevents heat loss and more than 90% of water and chemical evaporation.

 

At 16mm thickness, MidWest Canvas’s pool blankets are sturdy enough to resist long-term wear and tear, but not thick enough to make packing and unpacking a burden. They are furthermore quite light, which means that you won’t encounter difficulties when placing them on top of the water or removing them for storage.

 

Finally, these solar pool covers come with a generous 10-year warranty that is not voided if you choose to trim them for an optimal fit.

PROS:
  • Durable resin material able to handle long-term exposure to UV light and retain more heat
  • Prevents more than 90% water and chemical evaporation during the night
  • Fairly thick and therefore resistant to wear and tear
  • Can be trimmed without voiding the warranty
CONS:
  • Slightly more expensive than other options
  • Slightly thicker than most options, which makes it more durable, but also somewhat more difficult to position
5

THERMO-TEX Solar Pool Cover

These solar pool covers by Thermo-Tex keep up with other options on most solar pool blankets reviews, but they are much more suitable for a tight budget. Featuring the same bubble heating technology, they are made with UV stabilized polymers that ensure durability through long-term exposure to both sunlight and pool chemicals.

 

Rectangular in shape, this unit by Thermo-Tex is not necessarily the best solar cover for inground pools, but it certainly comes in close second or third. Furthermore, it can work perfectly as a solar cover for above ground pools, especially since it is large enough to fit most sizes and can be trimmed down for a perfect fit.

 

The dark blue color of the pool cover blends in with the water nicely and it also helps increase the amount of sunlight that is absorbed throughout the day. For this blanket, the manufacturer offers a decent 3-year warranty in the United States, which is a plus for products in a similar price range.

 

Finally, Thermo-Tex’s solar pool cover is very thin compared to other options, which does not affect its ability to retain heat, but does present other advantages and disadvantages. The blanket is very easy to unfold, use, and store, but can be torn if not handled with care.

PROS:
  • Very affordable compared to other options
  • Thin and very light
  • Easy to put on and take off the pool, as well as to store
  • Made of UV stabilized polymers for durability and increased heat absorbtion
CONS:
  • Prone to tears if not handled properly
  • Shorter warranty than with other options
6

PROS:
CONS:

What Are Solar Pool Covers?

A solar pool cover or blanket is a large piece of material that can be placed on top of the water in your pool in order to both preserve existing heat and increase the water temperature. It usually presents two faces, one that absorbs sunlight and converts it into heat and one that transfers heat into the water while preventing evaporation.

 

The most significant difference between solar pool covers and other types of blankets is that the former can not only maintain, but also increase the water temperature. As such, it can be used in combination with a pool heating system or even on its own in order to prolong pool season by up to two months and reduce maintenance costs at the same time.

 

Why Use Solar Pool Covers?

As many pool blankets reviews will tell you, solar covers come with several noteworthy advantages. These include:

  • The best solar pool covers reduce the evaporation of water and chemicals by up to 95%. In the long run, this means that you can worry less about refilling the pool and spend less on chemicals required to achieve optimal water chemistry. Maintenance costs are also decreased in the process.
  • If you use them correctly, solar pool blankets maintain the temperature of water overnight or during cold days. In addition, when the sun is shining, these covers can increase the water temperature by 5 to 8 degrees Celsius for free, using only the power of UV light. This further decreases your maintenance costs, particularly since you won’t have to heat up the pool as often in order to enjoy your swim.
  • Unlike automatic covers that must be installed with the help of a professional, solar pool covers are very easy to put in place and remove. Depending on their size and thickness, they can be set afloat or folded in no more than 10 minutes at a time. Furthermore, they can be cut into a shape that perfectly fits your pool using only a marker and a pair of scissors.
  • Any best solar cover for inground pools, but also those covers designed for above-ground use, all look fantastic on the water. Their color is either clear or dark blue, which blends in well with the rest of the pool and, unlike automatic covers, they do not require the installation of unsightly tracks above ground.

 

Are There Different Types of Solar Pool Covers?

Yes there are. In addition to the fact that solar pool covers vary according to shape and size, there are a few distinct types in terms of composition as well:

  • Covers made of straight line vinyl are made of a single vinyl sheet designed to float on the water surface in order to prevent evaporation.
  • Insulated vinyl covers feature several layers of vinyl with pockets between them, which not only prevents evaporation, but also maintains the temperature of the pool by disallowing heat transfer between the water and the air.
  • All the covers we have reviewed above are pool bubble covers, which are the most popular on the market today. They resemble bubble wrapping paper (hence the name) and they absorb heat in more than a thousand small chambers facing down into the water. Unlike other types of blankets, they both increase the water temperature during daylight and prevent the heat from escaping during nighttime or cold weather.
  • Finally, liquid solar pool covers are promising, but still too new to warrant a verdict. A liquid pool cover is basically a floating device that dispenses a non-toxic chemical into the pool, which then floats on top of the water and behaves in a similar way to more conventional blankets.

 

Before You Buy Solar Pool Covers

So you’ve read a number of solar pool blankets reviews, but you still can’t decide which is the best solar pool cover for your specific needs. Here are a few additional things to consider before you make your purchase.

 

Size and Shape

This first question is obvious, but nonetheless essential. What shape and size is your pool and how do you intend to cover it? Ideally, you’ll want a solar pool blanket that fits your pool perfectly, leaving no margins uncovered. However, you can also choose to cover only parts of the pool (with lily pads, for instance) and still obtain a similar effect. Although, as you’ve already noticed in our solar pool cover reviews, most blankets come in many different sizes, it’s unlikely that you’ll find one that fits if the shape of your pool is irregular. If this is the case for you, then you’ll likely need to trim the cover using a scissors, so make sure the manufacturer allows you to do so without voiding the warranty.

 

Thickness

The thickness of a solar pool blanket is a double-edged sword, so to speak. On the one hand, if the cover is thicker, it is more likely to resist long-term wear and tear, as well as retain heat more effectively. On the other hand, a thicker blanket is more difficult to maneuver and can take longer to put on and take off the pool. You should choose this dimension of your solar pool cover according to your priorities. If you value durability and efficiency above convenience, go for a thicker cover. Otherwise, a thinner blanket is likely more suitable for you.

 

Color: Dark or Semi-Transparent

In most solar pool blankets reviews, you’ll find covers that are either dark blue or clear (semi-transparent). There are advantages and disadvantages to both. For instance, a dark blue cover might absorb more sunlight, but it prevents the latter from passing through, which results in the formation of a layer of warm water just under the surface. A clear blanket, on the other hand, is less absorbent, but allows the light to pass deeper into the water for a more uniform increase in temperature. Both dark blue and clear covers are usually treated to resist degradation by UV radiation, yet while the former is expected to last up to 6 years, the latter can go for as long as 10 years.

 

Warranty and Cost

Of course, you’ll have to consider how much you’re willing to spend for a new pool cover and whether the quality-to-price ratio of the product you have in mind is convenient. In addition, make sure that the manufacturer you buy from provides at least several years of warranty and is trustworthy enough to ensure that the warranty is bankable.

How to Use and Maintain a Solar Pool Cover

How to Use and Maintain a Solar Pool Cover

A solar pool cover is not a safety cover and should never be used as such. Although such a blanket can stop the heat from escaping the pool, it will not stop a child or a pet from falling in. Its purpose is to maintain a comfortable temperature and, if you choose a cover that is thick enough, to prevent leaves and other small foreign objects from falling into the water.

 

To ensure maximal heating, you’ll want to cover the entire surface of your pool using the blanket. If you own an irregularly shaped pool, then you’ll likely have to trim the cover in order to make it fit. Remember to always use a pair of scissors and not a razor blade to do this, as the latter will irreparably damage the material and render the cover useless.

 

When you do not use the blanket to cover the pool, it’s important to store it away from the sun. Consider that most of these materials are designed to endure prolonged exposure to UV light, but only when they are directly touching the water in the pool. The water functions as a cooling mechanism, whereas a heated solar pool cover that floats above the water without actually touching it will deteriorate much faster. The same goes for a blanket that is stored in sunlight without cover.

 

The Best Solar Pool Cover: Takeaway

Solar pool covers might be easy to install and use, but given the variety of options available on the market, it can be tricky to make the optimal choice. To get familiar with what the best solar pool cover should look like, it’s a good idea to sift through several solar pool cover reviews and compare them against your list of priorities.

 

Generally speaking, so long as you opt for a blanket that is large enough to cover your pool even after trimming, you should be able to enjoy most of the benefits of these handy materials. At any rate, if anything goes wrong, rest assured that generous warranties are common in the market and you can always exchange your product for something better.

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