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Installing a Solar Pool Cover

If you own a saltwater swimming pool, you can still use a solar cover to heat it up. In fact, it’s a great idea to do so. 

However, you need to be sure that the cover is thick and durable. 

We are going to show you the best solar pool covers for improving the temperature in your saltwater swimming pool.

Top Picks

  The Best Overall Option –

Sun2Solar 1600 Series (Blue)

The Upgrade Option –

Blue Wave NS445

The Value Option –

Sun2Solar 1600 Series (Clear)

The Alternative Option –

Heatsavr Liquid Cover

Which Solar Cover Is Best for Your Pool?

In the following sections, we’ll talk about the importance of choosing the right cover for your needs. There are several factors to consider before making your purchase. We will discuss each of these in detail, as well as the many features you will benefit from by investing in a solar pool cover.

How Thick Should a Solar Pool Cover Be?A 12 Mil Solar Cover

The thickness of a solar pool cover goes a long way in providing for your needs. If you’re trying to retain as much heat as possible and keep your pool warm, a thicker solar cover is recommended. For this, anything between 12- and 16-mil should serve nicely.

Depending on your needs, a thicker cover might prove to be more beneficial. If you are wanting to cut down on chemicals bought during the swim season, a blue 16 mil cover will offer the best protection. Your chemicals will last longer and be more effective in their use.

If your main goal is to simply get the warmest water possible, you’ll find that an 8- to 12-mil cover will provide the best heating properties. And if you go with a clear solar cover, sunlight will have a better chance of penetrating the cover and warming your pool.

Regardless of which color or thickness you ultimately choose, one thing is certain: you will see a big difference in the temperature and chemical need in your pool water. A solar cover is an excellent investment that often pays for itself many times over throughout the course of its use.

Benefits of Solar Pool Covers

Solar pool covers work to not only heat your pool water, but they also help reduce how often you buy chemicals. You see, whenever you use a solar pool cover, evaporation in your pool is greatly reduced. When evaporation is prevented, your chemicals last longer and are more effective in their use.

You therefore won’t have to buy them as often throughout the swimming season, effectively lowering your chemical budget. Any pool owner can attest to the costly prices of chemicals. By implementing a solar cover, your pool should have less of a need for additional chemicals.

Another huge bonus is the fact that solar pool covers act as a protective layer over your pool water. Tired of fishing out insects and debris during the swimming season? With a solar cover in action, you can spend more time swimming and less time on maintenance.

Solar covers will catch the vast majority of leaves, grass, bugs, and any of the other countless debris that finds its way into our swimming pools. Solar covers are one of the best ways to keep pools clean.

And lastly, perhaps the most common advantage to owning a solar cover is its ability to warm up your pool. Many solar covers are able to raise the temperature in your pool by as much as 15 degrees! That’s a sizable difference. And in doing so, you’ll be able to enjoy your pool a lot longer.

What’s more, you won’t have to wait nearly as long for your pool to warm up after the solar cover has been on for a couple of days. This is because pool covers are designed to trap in heat, maintaining your pool’s temperature all through the night and into the next day.

Even cloudy days won’t decrease your temperature as greatly. And the thicker the cover, the better heat is retained in pools. The best covers keep your pool comfy and inviting all throughout the season. Pools that use thick covers benefit from much warmer waters.

Things to Consider

As great and effective as solar covers are, it’s important to take a few things into consideration if you want to see the best results. For one, you have to make doubly sure that you follow directions and install the cover accordingly. A tight fit is vital in getting optimal heating and protection.

When installing, you want there to be no gaps between the cover and the pool. The solar cover should rest on top of the water without any room to shift. The reasoning for this is so any heat that has been collected by the cover will remain trapped underneath.

The longer that heat stays locked under the cover, the longer your pool water will stay warm. This will ensure that you are getting the best use out of your new investment.

You also want to take the location of your swimming pool into consideration. If there are trees and other greenery around your pool, you may want to invest in a thicker cover to ensure that it can withstand debris. Your best bet for pools surrounded by vegetation is to implement a durable cover.

And if your pool is susceptible to winds, you might want a thicker cover, as well. It will be less likely to blow away, and its higher durability will ensure it holds up. Pools that get high winds are better off with a thick cover, as it provides the best protection.

Does a Liquid Solar Cover Really Work?

Absolutely. A liquid solar pool cover provides the same benefits as traditional solar pool covers. However, they don’t last nearly as long and need to be used quite often to get the same results. If you’ve never tried a solar heating option before, you might want to start with a liquid pool cover alternative.

This will help you get a feel for how they work and the results they provide. You will likely need to purchase more than one bottle to get started. This is especially true if you have a large swimming pool, as you will need more product to cover more surface area.

For optimal results, you should run your pump while applying the liquid solar pool cover. This will help to better distribute the formula in your swimming pool. We found that pools get better results from liquid covers when doing this.

Are Clear Solar Pool Covers Better?

If your main reasoning for buying a solar pool cover is to heat your pool, then yes, clear is better. Since sunlight penetrates clear covers more easily, pools warm up faster than if using a blue solar pool cover.

With that being said, if you are more concerned with prolonging the life of your chemicals, a blue solar pool cover is better-suited for the job. A blue solar pool cover also works to retain heat longer than clear covers. However, they take a bit longer to warm up the water in your pool.

Solar Pool Cover for Salt Water Pools Reviews

1. Best Overall Option – Sun2Solar 1600 Series (Blue)

Sun2Solar once again delivers the perfect solar heating solution for your swimming pool. Their 1600 Series Solar Pool Cover works wonders in retaining heat and keeping your pool comfy throughout the swimming season. But that’s not all this tough cover is capable of.

Sun2Solar’s 1600 Series solar pool cover options are known for their high durability and effectiveness. As the owner of a saltwater pool, you need to be sure that the solar cover you are using is able to prolong the life of your chemicals as much as possible.

The 1600 Series Blue Solar Cover is ideal for this. Your pool chemicals will last longer thanks to the cover’s ability to block out damaging UV rays from entering into your water.

This cover’s 16 mil thickness ensures that heat stays trapped in longer, too. You will be able to enjoy your pool a lot longer; even after the swimming season has ended.

Pros
  • Blue color – the 1600 Series Blue Solar Pool Cover makes use of blue material to give you better results. This cover works to keep your chemicals lasting longer, thereby reducing your chemical costs during the swimming season.
  • Durable – Measuring at 16 mil thick, you’re getting one of the most durable solar covers on the market. You’ll have the peace of mind that your cover will withstand everyday wear and tear. With the proper care, it should provide you with several seasons of use.
  • Excellent heat retention – The 1600 Series blue solar pool cover is perfect for keeping your pool warm. Heat stays trapped underneath longer, allowing you to enjoy your pool well past the swimming season. It will even stay warm overnight and on cloudy days.
Cons
  • Longer heating time – The only drawback to this thick, blue solar cover is that it takes longer to heat up compared to a clear cover. But considering the exceptional protection you’re getting, having to wait is a small price to pay.

2. Upgrade Option – Blue Wave NS445

Blue Wave offers an excellent solar cover in the NS445. This 14 mil thick cover is great at keeping heat locked into your swimming pool. We found it to be highly durable and long-lasting. If you want a cover that is built to last, the NS445 is an excellent option.

Sure, it’s a bit pricier than the other entries we reviewed. But there’s no denying Blue Wave’s penchant for crafting high-quality solar covers. We were quite pleased with its ability to retain heat. And it excels at reducing water evaporation in your pool.

This solar pool cover works well in providing you with comfortable swimming conditions. And thanks to its blue color, your pool chemicals last longer, too.

Pros
  • 14 mil – We found 14 mil to be a well-balanced thickness for heating and protection. Our tests showed it to heat up slightly faster than Sun2Solar’s 1600 Series Blue Solar Pool Cover.
  • Less chemicals – The Blue Wave NS445 did a wonderful job of extending the life of our pool chemicals. It works to fight off harmful UV rays than degrade costly chemicals. You’ll have a lower chemical bill as a result, and saving money is always a nice bonus.
  • Limited evaporation – You can look forward to seeing up to 95% less evaporation in your pool. Solar energy gets trapped in, resulting in less water lost. You won’t have to add water to your pool nearly as often during the swim season.
Cons
  • Expensive – The biggest downside to Blue Wave’s NS445 is its high cost. Be prepared to pay a pretty penny for this solar pool cover. Money aside, you’re getting one of the best solar heating options available. If you can swing it, you won’t be disappointed by this cover’s results.
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3. Value Option – Sun2Solar 1600 Series (Clear)

Looking to save as much as you can on your solar pool cover? You can still get the excellence of Sun2Solar, but at a much more affordable price. This clear variant isn’t as pricey, and yet it provides many of the same benefits as its blue brother.

The downside is that you aren’t getting quite the same level of protection. That said, you can look forward to your swimming pool heating up much faster. The clear cover allows more sunlight into your pool, and the 16 mil thickness helps to keep it trapped in your water. And while the protection isn’t as effective, the 16 mil thickness balances things out a little bit.

Pros
  • Clear color – This ensures that your pool water warms up quickly and efficiently. Armed with thousands of tiny bubbles, these work to collect heat from sunlight. That heat is then transferred directly into your pool for comfortable swimming conditions.
  • Affordable – Sure, the clear model doesn’t provide the same protection, but you’ll be saving a sizable sum of money by investing in it. And with the added benefit of warmer water, you’ll be able to enjoy your pool more frequently.
  • 16 mil – With a thickness of 16 mil, you’re getting the thickest solar cover offered by Sun2Solar. You’re getting optimal durability, ensuring that your cover will last for many seasons when properly cared for.
Cons
  • Less protection – The clear cover means your chemicals are more susceptible to UV rays, thus leading to degradation. Still, the 16 mil thickness serves to offset this to some degree.

4. Alternative Option – Heatsavr Liquid Cover

This safe and effective formula is designed to be used in pools of all types, including saltwater. It won’t harm your chemicals, and it will help to retain its heat longer in your pool. Solar covers are pricier, making Heatsavr an affordable alternative.

So, how does it work? You simply apply it to your pool water on a regular basis. How often this is necessary depends on the size and shape of your pool. It’s much easier to use compared to pool covers, and it doesn’t cost nearly as much.

If you don’t want to mess with or invest in a solar pool cover, you’ll find Heatsavr Liquid Cover to be a breeze. Pools that have Heatsavr in them see less evaporation and longer chemical use.

Pros
  • User-friendly – Simply pour Heatsavr into your pool water as per the directions. This formula won’t interfere with chemicals, and will help prolong their effectiveness.
  • Affordable – If you don’t want to spend money on a solar pool cover, Heatsavr is an excellent alternative. It’s non-toxic and safe to swim in, and it won’t harm your filter.
  • Less evaporation – Heatsavr Liquid Cover works to limit evaporation. You’ll see a big difference in how often you need to add water to your pool, thereby saving in water costs during the swimming season.
Cons
  • Limited effectiveness – The biggest issue with formulas like these is that they often need to be used quite frequently to get the best results. Also, you’re not getting the protective qualities that you get from traditional solar pool covers.
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Our Recommendation for Solar Pool Cover for Salt Water Pools

Sun2Solar's 1600 Series Solar Pool Cover

So, which solar pool cover was our top pick for saltwater pools? Each entry was great, but Sun2Solar’s 1600 Series Blue Solar Pool Cover impressed us the most. It comes at a reasonable price and is highly effective in providing protection to swimming pools of all shapes and sizes.

Solar pool covers from Blue Wave are also consistently great. We just felt the NS445 was awfully pricey compared to the 1600 Series Solar Pool Cover.