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.
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.
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
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.