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Installing a Solar Pool Cover

Heating your swimming pool doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, it can be quite affordable. Today, we’re going to share with you some of the best solar pool covers for inground pools. But before we get started, we’d like to talk about some things you want to look for to ensure you’re getting the right solar pool cover for your needs.

Top Picks

  The Best Overall Option –

Sun2Solar 1600 Series

The Upgrade Option –

Blue Wave NS445

The Value Option –

Sun2Solar 1200 Series

The Alternative Option –

Liquid Solar Blanket in a Bottle

How to Choose the Right Inground Solar Pool Cover

Before you buy your new solar pool cover, it’s important to consider a few key aspects. Are you going to be swimming a lot this season? How often do you buy chemicals, and would you like to cut down on them? Do you prefer a cover for pools that heats up your inground pool quickly? Let’s look at a couple more questions you should ask.

What Is the Best Thickness for an Inground Solar Pool Cover?

Our testing has shown that a thickness of around 12 or 14 mil works the best. If you choose something thicker, like a 16 mil, it can take longer to heat your inground pool. Slightly thinner covers work well to increase temperature, yet they also have good heat retention, as well.

A 16 mil solar cover retains heat longer, however. On the other end of the spectrum lies the 8 mil solar cover. These heat up water much faster, but they don’t retain heat as long. Nor do they prevent evaporation as well as the aforementioned solar covers.

What Color Solar Pool Cover Works Best?Different Colors of Solar Pool Covers

If you plan on investing in a solar cover for its protective qualities, blue is going to be your best bet. They will help prolong the life of your chemicals by blocking out harmful UV rays. It will still heat up your pool, it just takes longer to do it.

If your main goal is to heat, you’re better off choosing clear. The sun will penetrate into your water a lot faster, but that also means UV rays will, too. You’ll likely be spending more on chemicals as a result.

Benefits of Solar Pool CoversBenefits of Using a Solar Pool Cover

By implementing a solar pool cover, you are effectively reducing the need for costly chemicals, while making your pool temperature much more comfortable. A good pool cover will also serve to keep out bugs and debris. The best solar covers fight off harmful UV rays, as well.

This is important if you wish to prolong the effectiveness of your pool chemicals. It will also serve to extend the life of your pool, as well as the pool cover itself.

Things to Consider

Installing a Solar Pool Cover

You want to ensure that there are no gaps when you put your new solar cover on. Pool covers need to be flush with your pool’s perimeter. This is important, as it keeps out bugs and debris. But it also increases heat retention, which keeps your pool warmer for longer periods of time.

If you have excess material on all sides, you may want to leave it instead of trimming it off. Many pool owners do this so that they can set weights around the perimeter to keep the cover from blowing off.

Remember, the better the cover is in place, the less evaporation your pool will have. This also plays a big role in prolonging the life of your chemicals.

Solar Pool Cover for Inground Pool Reviews

1. Best Overall Option – Sun2Solar 1600 Series

Sun2Solar’s 1600 Series Solar Pool Cover came out on top as the best overall option for inground pools. This heavy-duty solar cover performs admirably in keeping heat locked in once your pool has been sufficiently warmed up.

This is made possible by tiny bubbles that make up the design of the 1600 Series Solar Pool Cover. Solar energy is harnessed by these bubbles and then directly transferred into your water.

You can look forward to getting as much as 95% evaporation prevention with this solar cover. This will greatly reduce your need for chemicals.

The thick material is highly-durable and stays in place much better than a thinner solar cover. It’s important to note, however, that this blue cover takes a bit longer to heat up water.

Pros
  • 16 mil – This ensures that you’re getting a solar cover that is long-lasting and durable. The 16 mil thickness is less likely to rip or tear, making this cover a great investment for inground pools. You’re getting the best solar cover for strength and reliability.
  • Heat retention – The thickness goes a long way in trapping in heat. This effectively prolongs the swimming season by allowing you to swim in warmer water after the season has ended.
  • Easy to trim – This durable material is surprisingly easy to trim, allowing you to get a perfect fit over your swimming pool. You may also opt to leave excess coverage so that you can weigh down the solar cover around the perimeter of your pool.
  • Blue color – This results in less evaporation, prolonging the effectiveness of your pool chemicals. Your swimming pool will stay warmer longer, as well. Blue covers work really well in trapping in heat. This ensures that your pool stays comfortable, even throughout the night.
Cons
  • Blue color – Takes longer to heat than that of a clear cover.

2. Upgrade Option – Blue Wave NS445 Solar Cover

Although it’s a bit more pricey, Blue Wave’s NS445 Solar Cover is one of the best solar options available. We like this 12 mil cover because it heats up your pool water quickly and efficiently.

The NS445’s design works to allow sufficient sunlight penetration into your water, leaving you with comfortable swimming conditions. It’s not quite as durable as thicker pool covers, but its blue color makes up for it.

Harmful UV rays are fought back, helping to preserve the effectiveness of your chemicals. Solar pool covers from Blue Wave use innovative cells that trap in heat for warmer water throughout the swimming season.

A 5-year warranty is included with the NS445, giving you the assurance that you’re getting one of the best solar covers in the industry.

Pros
  • Tiny bubbles – These work to harness the energy from sunlight to heat up your swimming pool during the swimming season. With thousands working simultaneously, your pool heats up faster. Combined with a thinner material, you’ll enjoy warmer waters sooner than what a thicker cover can provide.
  • Blue color – This ensures that heat stays trapped in longer, while also reducing evaporation. Less evaporation means your chemicals last longer. This is a good option for those who are trying to slightly cut back on their chemical budget. It won’t yield the same results as a 16 mil cover, but it works nonetheless.
  • 12 mil – This thickness is an excellent balance between heating and retention. If you’re looking for a solar cover that does both well, the NS445 is a solid investment. For the absolute best in heat retention, refer back to Sun2Solar’s 1600 Series Solar Pool Cover.
Cons
  • Thinner material – The 12 mil thickness doesn’t work as well as 16 mil. While heat and retention are good, the cover won’t be as effective as a thicker cover.

3. Value Option – Sun2Solar 1200 Series Solar Cover

Looking to save some money? Sun2Solar’s 1200 Series Solar Pool Cover is an excellent option for the budget-minded. As solar pool covers go, we were quite pleased with its performance. You’re getting a solid solar cover that heats your water quickly.

This blue cover features a slightly thinner material, but it works well in retaining heat in your pool. Solar energy is held within tiny bubbles that lie face down in your pool water. These serve to give you a more comfortable swimming pool during the swimming season.

The 1200 Series Solar Cover is easy to use, too. The 12 mil material is a breeze to cut to size if you’re trying to get an exact fit on your inground pool.

Perhaps best of all, you can look forward to commendable prevention of evaporation. While it won’t last as long as a 16 mil cover, the 1200 Series Solar Cover does a respectable job of reducing it.

Pros
  • Blue color – We really appreciate how well the blue material keeps heat locked into the swimming pool. Solar energy is trapped overnight, too, leaving you with warmer water the following day.
  • 95% evaporation reduction – Many pool owners invest in solar pool covers because of their ability to reduce evaporation. The 1200 Series Solar Cover helps keep costs down by prolonging the life of the chemicals used in the pool.
  • Easy to trim – Need to get an exact fit? You’ll find this 12 mil cover to be a cinch to work with. We had no trouble trimming it to fit over our pool. It provides lots of coverage, whether your pool is round, rectangular, or oval. Some pool owners prefer to leave excess material around the perimeter of their pool. This allows the pool cover to be weighed down with heavy objects, thereby preventing the cover from being blown off of the pool.
  • Affordable – You’re getting a reliable cover that works well in keeping your swimming pool comfy. What’s even more amazing is that you can get this solar cover for an affordable price.
Cons
  • 12 mil – The drawback to the 12 mil thickness is that heat retention and evaporation reduction doesn’t last as long as 16 mil solar pool covers. That being said, we appreciate the effectiveness in heating pool water quickly. You’ll be able to enjoy a longer swimming season as a result. You just won’t see as great a reduction in your chemical costs.

4. Alternative Option – Liquid Solar Blanket in a Bottle

If you’re not looking to spring for a solar pool cover, perhaps this ingenious solution will provide for your needs. It costs a fraction of what you would spend on solar pool covers. Yet it delivers many of the same features.

Liquid Solar Blanket in a Bottle is applied onto your swimming pool either daily or weekly. The results give you a thin cover that fights off harmful UV rays from entering into your swimming pool. Solar heat is trapped in, allowing you to swim in warmer water longer.

While this isn’t the best solar heating option, it is an affordable way to raise your pool temperature. Best of all, it is ideal for pool shapes of all types and sizes. It’s the perfect solution for a freeform pool. If you’ve had trouble finding a cover that is adequately sized, Liquid Solar Blanket in a Bottle is right up your alley.

Liquid Solar Blanket in a Bottle can’t compete with the best solar pool covers, but it’s a great alternative for those on a tight budget.

Pros
  • Easy to use – There’s nothing fancy or complicated about the Liquid Solar Blanket in a Bottle. You simply pour in onto your water for instant coverage and protection throughout the swimming season. We like its ease-of-use. It’s great for those who don’t want to mess with pool covers.
  • Heat retention – You’re getting a fast-acting formula that works wonders in reducing the need for costly chemicals. When using Liquid Solar Blanket in a Bottle, you can look forward to anywhere from 15 to 40% energy cost savings.
  • Affordable – Perhaps the best feature of all, Liquid Solar Blanket in a Bottle is a quick and inexpensive way to warm up your swimming pool. Once you pour it on your pool, the liquid forms a cover over your water, giving you both affordable heating and retention.
Cons
  • Limited use – As great as this formula is, it doesn’t last near as long as the best solar pool covers. You are getting a short-acting pool cover that needs to be applied frequently. If you want cover that lasts longer, you’re better off investing in a real solar pool cover.

Our Recommendation for Solar Pool Cover for Inground Pool

Close-up of Sun2Solar's 1200 Series Solar Cover

When it came down to it, Sun2Solar’s 1200 Series Solar Pool Cover impressed us the most. It’s a well-rounded pool cover that is perfectly balanced in both heating and reducing evaporation. Sure, it’s not as effective as a 16 mil cover, but the difference is certainly noticeable.

And while tx he 1200 Series Solar Cover doesn’t retain heat as long as thicker models, it does heat up faster. We like to get the most out of the swimming season. And Sun2Solar’s 1200 Series Cover is the perfect solution to our needs.

You may prefer to prolong the chemicals in your pool more so than heating it. For that, you’d be better off investing in the 1600 Series Solar Cover, also by Sun2Solar.

We felt Blue Wave’s NS445 was a bit too pricey considering we can get the same results from Sun2Solar’s 12 mil cover. Still, Blue Wave crafts a fine solar cover. It comes with an excellent warranty and does exactly what it is designed to do.

If you can’t see yourself investing in a pool cover of any kind, consider the Liquid Solar Blanket in a Bottle. You’re getting an easy and quick cover that provides instant protection to your pool. It’s highly-affordable and makes a great option for beginners. If you’re a first-time pool owner, you might want to give it a try.