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Best Solar Powered Gate Opener Kit

How to Choose the Best Solar Powered Gate Opener Kit

Do you find it challenging to keep your gate closed?

When the electric lines are far from your gate and you need to close or open your gate automatically, a solar powered gate opener can help you. These gate openers are easy to operate; most of them come with a remote and you open or close the gate with the touch of a button.

It is challenging to pick a good solar powered gate opener especially if you are using solar products for the first time. This guide will help make the right decision when shopping for solar powered openers.

Ghost Controls offer their solar powered openers will all installation hardware but the battery. The kits are reasonably priced and operate efficiently at all times. The TDS2XP sports a simple but efficient design with great safety and security features.

Sentry 300 is a premium solar powered gate opener designed to install on different types of gates. Its Plug-N-Go harness makes it cheap to install. Besides it also has a horde of security features such as fast closing and opening and safety features such as obstruction detection.

MM360 is a kit for those who are on budget. The kit has all necessary installation hardware making it easy to install and easy to run. It also sports a sturdy construction to last long.

How to Choose a Solar Powered Automatic Gate Opener

Automatic gate openers make it easy for you to open or close your gate from far. When these openers are powered by solar, they require little maintenance as they are self-sufficient. You can choose between three of these gate openers:

Sliding Gate Opener Kits

These sliding gate openers are installed parallel to your perimeter fence wall allowing the gate to slide in and out. One advantage of these gates is that they take minimal space and only a single gate is needed. Sliding gate opener kits are fitted with a 120V motor. They are able to provide continuous operation and they have a great torque too.

A good sliding gate opener should operate a gate of up to 1400 pounds. To make them more efficient in their operation, these gates feature a soft start and stop function. To protect the user, these gates openers are designed to stop whenever they encounter an obstruction.

Swing Gate Opener Kits

These kits are ideal for single swing gates. They are usually fitted with an underground sensor to detect when a car is approaching and opens automatically. When the vehicle enters your premises, the gate closes automatically. Swing gate opener kits come with a lever arm and a master unit. Besides, they have a solar panel, a cable and a mounting unit.

For easy operation, the kit comes with channel radio transmitters, a receiver and an antennae to operate your gate from a distance.

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Considerations When Buying Solar Powered Gate Opener Kits

Dual Swing Gate Opener Kits

Unlike the single swing gate openers, dual swing gate openers are designed to open or close two swing gates towards your street. They sport underground sensors that detect the proximity of vehicles approaching the gate. Double swing gates feature an auto-close operation that enhances the security of your home. Even better, the most solar powered gate opener kits come with an emergency auto-release key that allows you to open the gate in case of power failure.

Considerations When Buying Solar Powered Gate Opener Kits

Once you have made your mind to install solar gate openers and you have chosen the type of gate openers that you need, there are a couple more things to consider. Note that, solar gate openers are easy to customize to meet your needs. As such, you need to consider your needs and gate requirements to choose the solar powered gate opener that meets your needs succinctly.

Pick a Quality Controller

When your solar opener is fitted with a high efficiency control board, it becomes easier for you to optimize to meet your solar panel’s output. The control board of your automatic gate opener also affects the efficiency of other components such as low-power loop detectors and the digital keypads.

Pick the best deep cycle solar batteries

A good deep cycle battery will keep your solar powered automatic gate opener operating at all times. In most cases, the opener kit will be sold with a lithium ion battery, which is a great option for solar operated devices. In case a Li-Ion battery is not available, you can pick either AGM, RV or Marine batteries. Keep in mind that your first choice should be a Li-Ion battery as it will last long.

Energy Management

A good solar powered opener should conserve energy for it to last long. Energy management information should be given on the product description. Ensure that the gate opener can deliver the power when you need it to and when not in use, it should be able to minimize energy consumption to last longer.

Quick Close Features

A quick close feature allows you to close the gate quick to enhance the security of your home or office premises. With this feature, the gate closes immediately your vehicle has entered the promises making it a challenge for burglars to find their way in a few minutes later.

Power of the solar panel

If you have a powerful motor and a less powerful solar panel, the gate opener might not function optimally. A good solar panel should match the requirements of the motor. The advantage is that most of the solar panels are designed to meet the exact requirements of the door opener. When a solar panel is not provided as part of the door opener kit, the manufacturer gives you panel recommendations.

Ensure the kit has all the needed accessories

A good solar powered gate opener kit should have all the necessary accessories and should be ready to install and use. When you buy a complete package, you are sure that the manufacturer has designed all the parts to work efficiently together. This reduces the inconvenience of buying separately.

If a solar panel meets the above technical considerations, you can now go ahead and consider other factors such as:

Generally, a good solar powered gate opener should meet all your automatic gate opening and closing needs.

Best Solar Powered Gate Opener Kit Reviews

Quick Take: OUR RECOMMENDATIONS FOR Solar Powered Gate Opener Kit

Top Recommendation

Ghost Controls TDS2XP Heavy Duty Dual Automatic Gate Opener

Offered with all needed accessories for easy installation.

Upgrade Option

USAutomatic Sentry 300 Commercial Grade Solar Gate Opener

The Sentry Plug-N-Go wiring system makes it easy to install.

Value Option

Mighty Mule MM360 Single – Gate Solar Powered Opener

Offered with a high power solar panel.

Ghost Controls TDS2XP Heavy Duty Dual Automatic Gate Opener

The Ghost Controls TDS2XP Heavy Duty Dual Automatic Gate Opener works efficiently for gates not more than 20 feet long and weighing up to 900 pounds. This ensures that it fits a wide range of gate types. Each kit comes with a 10-watt premium mono-crystalline solar panel that converts enough power to keep your gate operating at all times.

Irrespective of the age or cycles of the motor, its operations remain swift and quiet. Besides the motor and the solar panel, the kit comes with all other installation hardware including two operator arms with cables, a mounting arm and brackets for fast installation.

This solar powered opener is designed to open and close fast thanks to the Ghost improved mechanical design and the new radio frequency that enhances its functions. This ensures that your property is secure. The kit is optimized to function efficiently on tubular gates making them more efficient on tubular swing gates. With the kit are push-to-open brackets; if your gate is push-to-close, you will need to purchase push-to-close brackets separately.

Lastly, the unit comes with a high quality battery box. This box ensures that in case of acid leaks, the acid cannot damage the control board or any other components of the gate. Additionally, the unit comes with a Safe Force system that reduces the amount of force exerted to prevent injuries to people.

Pros

Cons

USAutomatic Sentry 300 Commercial Grade Solar Gate Opener

This is a single gate opener designed to be installed on heavy iron gates up to 12 ft. long, farm gates up to 20 ft. long and on chain-link gates up to 14 ft. long. Each unit operates with a 12V DC battery that can be charged using solar panel or can be charged using AC transformer in instances where the solar cannot charge the unit efficiently.

The Sentry Plug-N-Go wiring harness makes it easy for you to install the system within minutes. Here, you will not require extra wiring besides what is offered with the kit. Even better, the kit comes with universal mounting brackets so you can install on push-to-open or push-to-close gates. These mounting brackets can easily be bolted to the existing gate with no problem.

Irrespective of the weight of your gate, the opening and closing times remain the same; the gate closes and opens fast. Thanks to its design, the gate is able to close or open in 16 seconds. This is coupled with obstacle sensors to enhance the safety of gate users.

To enhance the lifespan of this unit, it is created solid and housed in rigid steel. It also sports a protective board to keep the unit safe from elements. Its circuit board is housed in a plastic case to keep off weather elements.

Pros

Cons

Mighty Mule MM360 Single-Gate Solar Powered Opener

The MM360 is engineered to work efficiently with medium duty gates weighing about 550 pounds. It is easy to install seeing that you are offered all installation hardware. You are also offered with a detailed installation guide and a DVD showing installation step by step.

The dual sense technology that this device runs on offers security and allows you to install the gate without the need to buy a secondary entrapment device. The powerful 10-watt solar panel offered with this device offers short charging times when exposed to maximum sunlight. With each kit, you get all the essential installation hardware including a plug-in transformer for easy installation.

This solar powered gate opener kit is designed for single swing gates up to 16 ft. long. It is a great choice when you need a solar gate opener on budget. Though it is a budget option, it sports high quality construction to last long. With the brackets and cables offered with the purchase of this unit, you will be up and running in the shortest time possible.

Pros

Cons

Conclusion

There are a horde of good solar powered gate opener kits each designed to meet specific needs. Different manufacturers, such as Ghost Controls or Mighty Mule, design a range of opener kits for different types of gates. If your gate is a dual swing, there is a product for you from your favorite manufacturer. When shopping, take your time and consider all the technical aspects of the opener kit before buying.

Our top recommendation from the kits above is Ghost Controls TDS2XP Heavy Duty Dual Automatic Gate Opener. The unit is not only offered with necessary installation hardware, but it also has great security and user protection features. Even better, it is offered at a reasonable price. As such, it meets the needs of many users and falls within the budget of most people.

Best Solar Powered Attic Fan

How to Choose the Best Solar Powered Attic Fan

Keeping the temperature of your attic regulated is an essential part of an energy efficient, well built home. Solar gable fans or solar roof mounted attic fans can prevent ice damming in the winter and protect your shingles from super-heated attic air in the summer. Choosing a solar powered attic fan can be a simple attic ventilation solution.

Top Recommendation

Natural Light Solar Powered 24 Watt Gable Mount Attic Fan

My top choice for solar powered attic fan is the 24 watt gable mounted exhaust fan by Natural Light. This company produces a range of quality solar powered attic ventilators worth looking at but the gable mounted option is my favorite for its simple installation and long warranty. The fan is very quiet and can provide ventilation to attics of up to 2,100 sq. ft. It is a top choice of many contractors.

Upgrade Option

Broan 355SOBR Surface Mount Solar Powered Attic Ventilator, Brown

This flush mounted solar attic ventilator by Broan is hurricane rated to winds up to 140 miles per hour making it a good choice for people living in Florida and along the gulf coast. Weatherproof solar panels are constructed of tempered glass and can withstand hail and extreme weather. The only downside is the shorter 5 year warranty compared to some other options offering up to 25 years. This unit can provide ventilation to attics up to 1,600 sq. ft and is an aesthetically pleasing option.

Value Option

ESM Products Solar attic Fan 30 Watt

 

This solar fan by ESM Imports is the cheapest model I looked at but is also the most powerful. The 30 watt solar panel provides enough power to ventilate attics up to 2,800 sq. ft. The solar panel is adjustable allowing you to fine tune alignment. The company offers a five year warranty on the motor and 25 years on the housing. This unit is not as attractive as some of the other fans I looked at but is a great budget option.

How to Choose a Solar Powered Attic Fan

Adding solar attic fans to your home can protect it from seasonal damage and can provide modest energy savings. Running wiring to the attic can be a pain, solar can simplify the problem. Depending on your municipality you may also qualify for an additional tax credit incentive. In this guide we will discuss the importance of a properly ventilated attic and what to look for while choosing your solar attic fan.

Keeping Cool

Attic air gets extremely hot in the summer as the shingles absorb heat from the sun. This super-heated air can damage roofing tiles by cooking them from the underside. Attic fans in combination with proper soffit ventilation reduce heat and moisture in the attic protecting it from damage. In the winter this moisture can cause condensation, potentially damaging attic materials or causing mold growth.

Ice Damming

Proper attic ventilation is essential in snowy climates to prevent ice damming. Ice dams occur when melt water from snow on a warm roof collects in the gutters and on the eaves. This water refreezes and the process continues until melt water has nowhere to go, collecting on your roof. This can cause damage to your home if water starts leaking through the roof.

Soffit and Gable Ventilation

Proper soffit and/or gable ventilation is needed to prevent pressure differences from building up in the attic when using solar attic fans.. In the summer, hot air is pushed out of gable vents or roof vents by the fans and relatively cooler air from the outside is in turn drawn into the attic through the soffit or gable vents. This air movement cools the attic temperature and protects shingles from being damaged. This process is the same in the winter, with the goal being temperature equalization with the outside to prevent melting snow on the roof from causing ice dams.

Insulation

If your attic is not properly insulated you should invest in that before installing any kind of attic ventilation. Proper insulation prevents heat transfer between attic air and the conditioned air inside your home. Improper insulation in combination with attic fans will cause energy loss in both summer and winter. 

Types of Fans

There are two main types of attic fans to choose from. Roof mounted fans are found on flat and pitched roofs. These fans are installed in a circular hole cut in the roof and may require expert installation if you lack the necessary carpentry skills. Gable mounted fans are generally placed behind existing gable vents. If you don’t have existing vents the installation is made considerably more difficult.

Fan Size

Most attics are around the same square footage as your home. Multiplying the sq. ft of your home by 0.7 will give you an approximate minimum cubic feet of air a fan should be able to move per minute. A steep roof will increase internal attic volume and a dark roof will increase energy absorption from the sun. Both cases would require a fan that is capable of moving more air.

No Electrician Necessary

Without basic electrical knowledge, installing wiring in your attic can require a professional electrician. A clear benefit of solar fans over wired fans are their simplicity. Gable fans can be installed behind existing vents and roof mounted models are easily installed with a little carpentry work.

Adjustable Solar Panel

An adjustable solar panel will allow you to move the unit into alignment with the sun. This is important because your solar fan will only operate when receiving direct sunlight. Placement is important to ensure the fan is running throughout the day and providing its intended benefits.

Construction Quality

Durable materials must be used in the construction of solar roof ventilators. Your fan will be exposed to UV radiation, rain, hail, and depending on where you live, snow, tornadoes, and hurricanes. It is important the fan housing is durable and includes a quality screen to prevent rodents, birds, and insects from entering through the vent. A thermostat can also be a useful feature. Thermostats turn the fan on and off dependent on ambient temperature prolonging the life of the fan motor.

Installation

Installation of your solar powered attic fan is a project of moderate difficulty. A few hours of sweating it out in the attic should finish the job if planned properly. Many houses are constructed with 14.5” between rafters allowing room for the fans. Be sure not to cut or damage any rafters during installation as it will compromise structural integrity of your roof. Read instructions carefully and consult a professional if you are unsure about any aspect of installation.

Best Solar Powered Attic Fan Reviews

Quick Take: OUR RECOMMENDATIONS FOR Solar Powered Attic Fan

Upgrade Option

Natural Light Solar Powered 24 Watt Gable Mount Attic Fan

Independent solar panel.

Top Recommendation

Natural Light Solar Powered 24 Watt Gable Mount Attic Fan

Independent solar panel.

Value Option

ESM Products 30W Surface Mount Solar Attic Fan

Adjustable solar panel angle.

Natural Light Solar Powered 24 Watt Gable Mount Attic Fan

Many homes with pitched roofs already have existing gable vents installed. The easiest way to add powered ventilation to your attic is to install fans behind these existing vents. The 24 watt gable mounted fan by Natural Lights allows you to do just that, with installation taking little more than one hour. It is hidden from the outside so it doesn’t affect the aesthetic value of your home and will not allow water to seep in through holes cut in your roof, as is required for roof mounted options.

 

The independent solar panel and 15 foot connecting cable allow you to place the panel in an optimal location to receive maximum sunlight. It moves 1,339 cubic feet of air per minute providing ventilation for attics up to 2,100 sq. ft. The product is made in the USA of commercial grade materials and is built to last. Natural Lights also offers an outstanding 25 year warranty on the motor, housing, and solar panel, it is one of the best warranty periods in the industry. This unit also qualifies for tax credits in eligible municipalities. This fan is available in 12, 36, or 60 watt versions for your specific needs.

Pros

Cons

Broan 3555OWW Surface Mount Solar Powered Attic Ventilator

I like this durable solar attic fan made by Broan. The unit comes with a durable 20 watt tempered glass solar panel able to survive hail strikes and a design capable of withstanding 140 mile per hour hurricane force winds. The unit is flush mounted and attractive so it doesn’t look bulky or out of place on your home. The steel motor housing, sealed ball bearings, and a hardened shaft protect the motor from wear. The 1/8 inch heavy gauge bird and rodent screen protect against uninvited house guests while still allowing adequate air flow. The one piece aluminum five blade fan moves air effectively without excessive noise.

This fan is relatively easy to install with a little knowledge of carpentry and roofing. It is not the most powerful option, venting attics up to 1,600 sq. ft, but is built of quality materials and made to outlast other products. This is a good option for homeowners along the gulf coast or in the tornado prone Midwest due to its sturdy and wind resistant construction. Broan makes a range of attic ventilators that can suit a variety of attic sizes.

Pros

Cons

ESM Products 30W Surface Mount Solar Attic Fan

A great value option to consider is the ESM Products solar attic fan. The 30 watt unit is capable of moving up to 1,550 cubic feet of air per minute in direct sunlight, allowing it to properly ventilate attics up to 2,800 sq. ft. The solar panel angle is adjustable with two included brackets allowing you to place the panel at an optimum angle to the sun. The seamless aluminum housing is warrantied for a full 25 years while the motor is covered for five years. The fan is an aluminum five blade design 12” in diameter.

It has a protective #304 stainless steel mesh animal screen to keep the critters out of your attic. Installation is easy if you have some basic carpentry knowledge. Use caution when installing the unit in locales that have frequent driving rain as prolonged water exposure can cause leaking around the roof mounted unit if proper sealing is not ensured. This solar fan is not as visually pleasing or compact as other options but makes up for it in venting power. This is a good value option for homes with flat or pitched roofs.

Pros

Cons

Conclusion

Solar powered attic fans are a simple and effective way to protect your attic from weather related damage. I prefer the simplicity of the gable mounted fan by Natural Light when compared to other options. The fan can be easily mounted behind existing gable vents in your attic making them a breeze to install. They are hidden from the outside so they don’t affect the aesthetics of your home but still provide enough power to ventilate your attic.

Additional fans can easily be placed in other gable vents you already have. You could also consider a roof mounted option in addition to the gable fan. Natural Light provides a best in class 25 year warranty on the motor, housing, and solar panel. Providing ventilation to your attic is essential to protect your home from extreme weather. Solar attic fans can be a simple solution and provide years of energy-free attic protection.

Best Solar Pool Rings: June 2020 Updated Reviews

Unless you are very adventurous, it is not pleasant to jump into your pool for an evening swim after the sun goes down; the water will be too cold for such a venture. 

This is where solar pool rings come in. These rings offer a green way to keep your pool heated at all times and prevent water from evaporation due to strong sun.

There are so many solar pool cover options in the market today. This may, therefore, pose a challenge to first-time buyers. However, this guide plus review is designed to help you make the best choice when buying.

Top Recommendation

Solar Sun Rings Pool Heater

One of the best rings is the Solar Sun Rings. They are simple solar pool covers designed to fit in every pool design and size. Solar Sun Rings are offered at great prices, sport a beautiful design and heat and insulate pools efficiently.

Upgrade Option

Thermo Spring Solar Mat

The Thermo Spring solar rings sport an attractive oval design that fits on different shapes and sizes of pools. These rings can heat your pool up to 75 degrees and are good at insulation.

Value Option

SwimWays 17400 Pool Heater

SwimWays 17400 is created almost the same as the Thermo Springs solar rings above but it is a little bigger and a little cheaper. It functions efficiently to keep your pool water warm.

How to Choose the Best Solar Pool Rings

There are a number of factors to consider and these include:

Solar Rings Quality

Solar rings for pool heating are designed from two sheets of heavy-duty vinyl. They trap sunlight energy, warming the water in your pool and, at night, they offer an insulation layer ensuring that heat is not lost from the pool. Due to their constant exposure to sunlight, solar rings tend to crack and chip off from the edges with time.

To ensure your solar rings can last long, choose solar rings with thick vinyl layers. Again, ensure that the vinyl is UV resistant so it does not get destroyed by the sun.

A good solar cover can last up to 4 years but most last three years or below.

Size of Your Pool

Unlike other pool covers that cover the entire pool, solar pool rings cover small sections of the pool. This means that you have to buy many rings depending on the size of your pool. If you have a small pool, you can buy small sized rings to cover about 80 percent of your pool connected edge to edge by the fitted magnets. If your pool is large, shop for larger rings to ensure you do not buy so many.

Ring Design and Decorations

Most solar pool rings sport a blue layer that absorbs sunlight to heat water. The units are created in different shapes and sizes with most being circular or elliptical while others are triangular. On their top are different decorations; some have bubbles and others have palm trees while others are plain only with the brand name. When shopping, pick according to your likes and preferences.

Solar Ring Heating Power

Most solar run rings are able to absorb up top 50 percent of the sun’s energy to heat water in your pool. The rings are able to provide up to 21,000BTUs of heat to keep your pool warm at all times. When shopping, look at product specifications to see the heating power of the solar sun ring.

Affordability and Warranty

You can buy solar rings individually or you can buy them as a set. When you buy them as a set, they are less expensive making them affordable. However, the number of rings you buy will depend on the size of your pool.

When shopping, consider the warranty offered as it shows the trust the manufacturer places on their products.

How to Use A Solar Pool Ring

Solar rings have to be inflated to make them buoyant before they are placed on the surface of the pool. All you have to do is inflate the outer surface until it is firm and then inflate the inner portion just slightly. Place them on the surface of the pool and they will start heating your water.

Most solar pool rings are fitted with magnets on their edges making it easy for them to stay connected and cover more area on your pool. The magnets also keep your water clear and ensure the rings do not overlap. Rings or squares will not cover every part of your pool and as such, you can still run your pump. This is an advantage as it allows sunlight to pass through thereby reducing the growth of algae. It can also be a disadvantage as leaves and other particles still find their way into your pool.

Unlike other pool covers, solar pool covers can be removed easily; all you need is to detach the magnets and pull them out of the water.

How to Store Solar Rings

Solar rings are small elliptical or square pool covers; this makes them easy to store. When you are swimming, you can stack them somewhere on the deck of your pool, away from the wind.

Most solar covers feature a loop from which you can hang them when they are not in use.

If you want to store the rings for a long time, get them out of the water and spray them off. Use a soft brush to clean off debris when the rings are still inflated to ensure that no dirt is trapped in the wrinkles.

Next, dry the rings by hand. If you decide to dry them with a leaf blower, hold them so they do not fly all over your compound. Deflate the rings, flatten them and store them in their bag. If the rings did not come with a bag, store them in a lidded container. Rings should be stored away from sunlight and from abrasive surfaces.

Why Pick Solar Rings?

Solar rings are easy to use and they do not need a lot of maintenance. Unlike other pool covers that may need special tools to install, rings only need to be inflated and placed on top of the pool. They are designed to reduce the rate of evaporation, retain the heat of your pool after the sun goes down, keep debris and bugs out of the pool and have lower cost of pool chemicals.

Best Solar Pool Rings Reviews

Based on the factors above, high quality, pricing, past buyers’ review, and other credible factors, here are our best solar rings recommendations.

Our Recommendations for Solar Pool Rings
Top Recommendation Solar Sun Rings Pool Heater

Constructed from heavy duty vinyl for durability.

Upgrade OptionThermo Spring Solar Mat

Features twist-and-fold spring technology for easy handling.

Value OptionSwimWays 17400 Pool Heater

Measures 67 inches long to fit in large pools.

Solar Sun Rings Pool Heater

The Solar Sun Rings are designed to keep your pool water warm for an evening swim. These sun rings are designed circular with blue surfaces on which a palm tree and orange sun are printed. However, according to the manufacturer, the design keeps changing and you may buy a solar cover with a different print.

The Solar Sun rings are created with a double layer of strong UV resistant vinyl to make them highly durable. The two layers of the solar sun rings allow some sun rays to filter through to ensure that your swimming pool is not completely dark so algae cannot grow. Their top layers allow sunlight to pass through while the bottom layers of the sun rings trap the sun’s light energy to warm your pool.

You should not over-inflate the solar sun rings. Blowing them just a few times will get them up and working. The trapped air lets the solar sun rings insulate your pool easily to retain heat at night. The manufacturer warns against using the solar sun rings as a flotation device as they are not strong enough. The manufacturer of these solar sun rings offers a two-year defect-free guarantee. On the edges, this unit is fitted with a strong ring that keeps it in shape and ensures it is not blown off the pool by the wind.

Pros
  • Constructed from heavy duty vinyl to last long
  • Beautiful palm tree decoration
  • Great price-quality ratio
  • Fitted with string magnets to ensure the rings stick together
  • Light enough to ease the process of installation
  • Suitable for pools of different sizes
Cons
  • Since they are so light, they may be carried off if you live in an area with strong winds.

Thermo Spring Solar Mat

The Thermo Spring solar mat is designed to heat the water in your pool fast, up to 75 degrees and later insulate the pool against heat loss. Each unit measures 65.5 inches long and 37.5 inches wide. This means that you only need a couple of them for large pools coverage.

The oval styling of these sun rings makes them attractive and their deep blue color with bubble patterns makes them more appealing. Each solar cover is made of a double layer that ensures its durability and enhances the weight of the solar cover to reduce instances of being blown away by the wind easily. To make them more functional, they are fitted with a ring on the edges that not only maintains their shape but also ensures the rings stay together to cover a large section of your pool surface.

The twist and fold spring technology used to create these rings make it easier for you to store them or carry them around. The units are easy to inflate as they only need to take in a small volume of air to function. When not in use, the twist-and-fold technology ensures they occupy the least possible space.

Pros
  • Attractive styling to match your backyard décor
  • Easy to install and remove
  • Oval design to fit on different shapes of pools
  • Features twist-and-fold spring technology for easy handling
  • Thick to offer great insulation
  • Can be used on large as well as small pool sizes
  • Can heat the pool up to 75 degrees during the day
Cons
  • They are relatively pricier

SwimWays 17400 Pool Heater

If you are looking for a solar cover or ring that fits into different shapes of pools, the SwimWays 17400 might be a good option. It sports an oval shape that allows you to stack many rings side by side to cover a large percentage of your pool. This way, you will have less evaporation, more insulation and less debris getting into your pool.

The two-layered solar cover is fitted with a sun-absorbing layer to convert up to 50 percent of the solar energy that hits it into heat. The unit is able to produce up to 21,000 BTUs of heat to keep your pool water warm.

Its twist-and-fold spring technology makes it easy to install, easy to remove and easy to store. When you are not using the rings, you only need to deflate them then twist and fold the unit to occupy less space in storage. The manufacturer advises that, for the solar cover to function optimally, it needs to cover between 70 and 80 percent of your pool’s outer surface.

Pros
  • Measures 67 inches long to fit in large pools
  • Weights only 2.65 pounds when inflated making it easy to install
  • The fitted springs close with ease making the mat easy to store
  • Edges fitted with strong rings for stability
  • The design of the rings looks great on any pool
  • Its oval shape ensures you can use it on all pool shapes
  • Thick enough to offer insulation for a long time
Cons
  • Light enough to be carried by strong winds

Conclusion

Solar pool rings are great when you need a quick solution to heating your pool and keep debris off. You need to ensure that the rings are not too light to be blown off by the wind and they are not too heavy to sink and soak on water. Take your time when shopping and you will pick solar rings that meet your needs.

Our top recommendation is the Solar Sun Rings. The unit is designed lightweight enough for easy installation and easy removal but heavy enough to stay on your pool when the wind blows by. They are also designed to fit a wide range of pool sizes and shapes. 

If you need a pool cover that adds to the beauty of your outdoor living space, this solar cover sport an attractive design. On a day when the sun is hot, the solar sun rings can warm your water up to 75 degrees Celsius. They are also thick enough to insulate your pool for a long time.

Take your time shopping to pick the best pool rings and for other options, see our review on the best solar pool cover reviews options:

Outdoor Solar Lights

33 Gorgeous and Eco-Friendly Outdoor Solar Lights

You have probably heard of outdoor solar lights. You may have even seen some small ones at the store in the gardening section.

Perhaps you have considered getting an outdoor solar light to cut down on electricity, but you simply haven’t seen one that fits your needs. Or maybe you think that the right one for you doesn’t exist.

In this list of 33 gorgeous and eco-friendly outdoor solar lights, I will show you that there is a solar light for any outdoor lighting need you may have.

1. Solar Flood Lights – Protect Your Home

Outdoor Solar Light

Flood lights are one of the most popular and simplest ways of increasing the security of your home.

Solar floodlights, especially LED ones, are durable, easy to install, and will save money on your electricity bill among other things.

The best solar flood lights also come in a variety, some having the added advantage of motion sensors. See our  for all the  details.

solar flood lights review

2. Solar Flagpole Lights – Increase The Effect of Your Flag

flagpole solar light

Having a flagpole at your office is good for catching attention. A solar flagpole light will increase this effect and enable you to keep your flag up after dark.

Because solar flagpole lights turn on automatically when it gets dusk, all that it needs is to be installed. This is easy to do since most weigh less than one pound. Check out the options in our.

 
 

3. Solar Christmas Lights – Perfect For Celebrating the Season

Perhaps one of the best reasons to go with solar Christmas lights is the fact that you can now decorate the far edges of your lawn you were formerly unable to reach with an electric cord.

They are very easy to set up and, if you are in doubt, tutorials are easy to find on YouTube. You can also find our.

 
Best Solar Christmas Lights

4. Solar Camping Lanterns – Great For Outdoor Enthusiasts

Solar camping lanterns also compare well against hand-crank ones and often have the added benefit of being able to act as a charger for your phone.

The brightness of camping lanterns is measured in lumens. Solar camping lanterns can have different settings that provide different lumens according to how much light you need. See our full  to help you choose the right one.

solar camping lantern review

5. Solar Spotlights – Create a Focal Point

Solar Spotlight

Solar spotlights deliver a direct beam of light and are the perfect thing to use for highlighting a statue or any other feature that you want to highlight.

They come in a wide variety of sizes and prices and can have their solar panel attached by a long cord that can allow you a lot of flexibility when placing it. See our for all the details.

Full review of solar spotlights

6. Solar Motion Lights – Lights of Many Uses

Motion lights are most often used to scare off potential robbers, but can also be used for things like hunting. Some are specifically designed to gradually get brighter so as not to scare off the game.

There are a wide range of different kinds of solar motion lights to choose from so asking yourself some important questions about its purpose will help you to decide which one you need. We help you out with this in our.

 
Best Solar Powered Motion Security Light

7. Solar Path Lights – Light Up Your Walkway

Solar path lights

Using solar lights for your path requires no cords whatsoever, the small solar panel being built right into the tops of the small lights.

Inexpensive options do not tend to last long, but still can do a great job of lighting up the edges of your driveway or path. Check out the more durable options in our solar path lighting review.

Besides, they can also look romantic for a nighttime stroll.

8. Solar Gutter Lights – Cleverly Hidden

The main advantage of solar gutter lights is that they are not on the ground in the way of mowing and yet still easy to install.

Another key feature is that they are small and portable enough to be taken on camping trips or on vacation and they still increase the security of your home.

9. Solar String/Rope Lights – Works Wherever You Want It

Solar rope lights are made with the lights in a case of plastic tubing that protects them from damage and prevents them from getting wet.

This helps them last and also means that you can place them on the ground even near wet areas. They also come in a wide variety of colors and have different settings available. See our  for info on how to choose.

Solar string lights review

10. Solar Deck/Patio Lights – Invite Your Guests Outdoors

Outdoor solar wall lights are perfect for decks and patios. They shine most of the light down toward the ground so that you can see where to step without any risk of tripping over the light.
 
Another option is to get flush mount solar stair lights which are installed into the floor of deck itself so that they lay flush with the rest of the floor.

11. Solar Shed Lights – Light For Your Work Space

Solar shed lights that are good quality can give anywhere from six to twenty-four hours of light after dark, giving you plenty of time to work.

Another benefit of solar shed lights is that you can also place them in barns, greenhouses, porches, and anything else that has a roof and needs light inside. See our  for full details.

Solar shed lights review

Best Solar Powered Shed Lights

12. Solar Post Cap Lights – Perfect For Any Fence

Solar post cap lights are easy to install and have a definite aesthetic appeal, especially on wooden fencing.

However, you do not have to have a wooden fence to get one of these and there is a wide variety of ones to choose from, whether you like the look of stained glass or more of a backwoods-y style. See our for help choosing the best ones.

solar post cap lights review

13. Solar Lamp Posts – Classic Beauty For Your Yard

Solar lamp posts have two main ways of installation: stakes or planters. Stakes are driven into the ground and require a bit of digging, while planters take up more room and prevent and are literally surrounded by a square or round planter at the base.

In stormy areas these can be equipped with flat panels to help it cope with high winds and some can stay lit for more than one night, even without the sun coming out.

14. Solar Powered Dusk to Dawn Lights – All Night Options

Dusk to dawn lights are ideal for things like schools, roads, driveways, golf courses, and more.

They can come in different sizes and kinds and all are built to harness the maximum amount of sunlight and to store the energy in internal batteries for use at night. See our for help choosing the best option for your needs.

15. Solar Garden Lights – Light Up Your Masterpiece

No matter what the theme of your garden is there is likely a novelty solar garden light to go with it, whether you like gnomes, or prefer castles, or animals.
Easy to place and safe to use around kids and pets,can even be safely used around your pool.
 
Solar garden lights

16. Solar Yard/Lawn/Landscape Lights – Show Off Your Hard Work

No matter what the theme of your garden is there is likely a novelty solar garden light to go with it, whether you like gnomes, or prefer castles, or animals.
Easy to place and safe to use around kids and pets,can even be safely used around your pool.
 

17. Solar Fairy Lights – Perfect For a Delicate Touch

Fairy lights can look magical in your garden and most have eight different flashing modes so you can have the exact ambience you want.

They are cool to the touch and make a lovely finishing touch to wedding centerpieces and floral arrangements, having the added benefit of being waterproof. We’ve highlighted some great options in our.

solar fairy lights review.

Best Solar Fairy Lights

18. Solar Street Lights – Perfect Lighting for Playgrounds and Businesses

Some of the most common uses for include providing light for highways, parks, playgrounds, and parking areas.

solar street lights

They are completely independent of the grid, require less maintenance, lower the risk of accidents caused by external wires, and have a much lower risk of overheating.

19. Hanging Solar Lights – Showcase Your Outdoor Area

Hanging solar lights

often look like lanterns and you can even make them yourself by up-cycling other kinds of solar lights.

They can come with either a wire handle or a clip and can also come in animal shapes such as owls, butterflies, jellyfish, and more, or in a simple orb shape.

 

 

20. Decorative Solar Lights – Add Style and Beauty

Decorative lights allow for amazing creativity and DIY options can be as cheap as going to a dollar store and putting a few things together, yet they can have incredible results.

The fact that by using  you can still go outside and enjoy having lights should your electricity go out is only one of the benefits.

solar for decorative outdoor lights

21. Solar Fence Lights – Mark Your Boundaries

There are two main options for lighting your fences: post cap lights work well on thick and sturdy fences, while side mounted lights can be placed on any fence, large or small.

They not only clearly mark where your fence is at but they can also light your driveway or path if it is near a fence.

22. Solar Driveway/Parking Lot Lights – Light Your Home or Business

Though you will need to get an estimate for how many lights you need, most can be installed without causing damage to your parking lot during installation.
These solar lights can also be used to light up long, dark driveways and even gun ranges if you want to practice your aim after dark.
Best Outdoor Solar Lights for the Yard, Landscape & Lawns

23. Solar Security Lights – Many Options and One Goal

Best Solar Powered Dusk to Dawn Light

Any building that has lights on looks occupied and is less likely to be vandalized. With solar this protection is still there even if the power goes out.

When deciding what you need, take into consideration that a study on burglars was done that proved that the most common deterrent was a lack of hiding places available on well-lit properties, so choose that minimize these areas.

solar security lights

24. Solar Umbrella Lights – Both Shade and Light

Used in restaurants that have an outdoor area, are also a great feature on your home patio.

solar umbrella lights

 

They come in a wide variety of colors, with tilting options, and can have their stand in the center or even on to the side for easy use should you already have a table that has no hole for it.

25. Solar Dock Lights – A Boating Essential

Best Solar Dock Lights

Power pedestals act like a small lighthouse for larger boats, while piling lights or wharf lights can add a very pleasing touch. There are even underwater solar dock lights that are perfect for attracting fish.

Solar dock lights work near both saltwater and fresh, and in some places there is even tax incentives for installing them.

 

 

26. Solar Garden Stakes – Small and Versatile

Solar garden stakes are cheap and can easily be converted into outdoor solar chandeliers, lamps, or any number of other yard decorations that can cost less than $5 to create.

Or you can buy solar garden stakes that are works of art and are made of glass, metal, or other materials that are waterproof and have always-in-bloom flowers or Precious Moments figures in your garden.

27. Solar Tea Lights – All Purpose Light

These tiny lights can be used as a safer alternative in place of candles inside Jack-O-Lanterns, as a light in ‘fairy jars,’ placed in frosted jars to make lanterns, and any number of other creative ideas.
 
Solar tea lights also look lovely placed in a row along the top of a low wall or on the ground along the edge of a patio or stone pathway.

28. Solar Tree Lights – Moonlight Every Night

Besides wrapping your tree in lights, the other options are down-lights and up-lights. Down-lighting looks more like moonlight and shows off what is on the ground around the tree, while up-lighting focuses more on the tree itself.

Of course if you are wealthy you can buy solar tree lights that give light, Wi-Fi access, recharge things for you, and have an info touch screen.

29. Solar Pillar Lights

Pillar lights are made to sit on top of the ground, being heavier at the bottom and needing no stakes, but they can also sit on wide rock walls or fences.
They are a staple in high-end outdoor décor due to their classy looks, yet are a quite affordable and cost efficient method for lighting.
solar pillar lighting

30. Solar Rock Lights – Highlight Your Rock Garden

Solar rock lights are designed to look like ordinary rocks in order to camouflage into the rest of the scenery and come in a range of sizes.

These can also come as stepping stones which can look like actual stones or nothing like them at all. Some rocks can even have butterflies or dragonflies above it that light up.

31. Solar Disk Lights – Great Small Lights

Disk lights are small, round, and have a short stake that keeps them stable as it is pushed all the way into the ground so that the only visible part is the disk which can handle flooding.

They last an average of 8-10 hours and can be used on flat areas by simply not attaching the stake. It can also come in different colors and with different settings.

32. Solar Powered Grow Lights – Perfect for Your Greenhouse or Garden

Power can be one of the biggest factors in planning a greenhouse and, even in indoor setups, light is perhaps the most important thing for seedlings which is why solar powered grow lights are so useful.

These lights can also be used in regular garden to help the plants grow a little faster and to allow you to work in your garden at night in the summer when it can be too hot to go out during the day.

33. Solar Garage Lights – Light Up Dark Rooms

Solar powered garage lights come in kits and can be used for any garage, shed, or even your house should your electricity go out and can often serve as a charger to your phone as well.

Other uses can include chicken coops or cabins, and most can provide somewhere between 4-10 hours of light and have small enough solar panels so that you can install them yourself.

Conclusion

With so many different solar options I know that you found one in the list above that you could use. You may have known about one of these and yet never thought of a possible use that I mentioned for it.

Did you enjoy my list and learn anything that you didn’t know before? If so, please let me know what you learned and what you think of these 33 solar light options!

 

Best Solar Pool Covers: June 2020 Reviews

Solar pool covers are easy, energy-efficient ways to raise the temperature in your swimming space and save money on chemicals by preventing evaporation. With the best solar pool cover for your needs, you have an effective way of extending the swimming season, saving money on the pool, and preventing leaves and dirt from building up in the pool.

Best for Rectangular Pools

Magni-Clear Solar Cover

The Magni-Clear comes in a rectangular form, with an ultra-clear material that maximizes the sunlight that can enter into your pool. The Magni-Clear can raise your temperature up to 15 degrees, which can extend the swimming season a month past what it normally is! It has UV protection to prevent damage from the sun while delivering powerful solar technology. It has an extra thick material, which keeps it from moving but will make it a bit harder to maneuver than some of the other options.

Best for Oval Pools

Midwest Canvas Solar Cover

The MidWest canvas cover is an oval design that has diamond shaped bubbles to maximize the amount of heated air pockets that are placed directly into the water. It has a thick design to prevent up to 95% of evaporation, maximizing the effectiveness of the solar cover.

Best for Round Pools

Sun2Solar Solar Cover

The Sun2Solar brand is one of the better brands in solar pool coverage, and they’re round pool cover is my pick for circular pools. The tiny air bubbles and ultra-thick material make the cover durable and help heat your pool even on cloudy days. The perfect amount of heat retention, and a solid cover that prevents dirt and debris from gathering in your pool. A bit clunky to put on and off, but worth it for the protection!

Best for Large Pools

SSR Solar Sun Rings

If you have a larger pool, you may not be able to find a perfect solar cover, or you might have to layer bubble covers in an odd way. A way to get around this is to leverage SSR solar sun rings to fill the entire pool. Alternatively, if you’ve got a pool that receives a lot of shade during the day, it may not get enough sun to justify the purchase of an entire solar cover. A handful of solar sun rings–especially these, which come with anchors to keep them in place–can help you target those sunny spots without overspending.

How Do Solar Pool Covers Work?

Solar pool covers are effective ways of raising the temperature and lowering the chemical cost of your pool. There are a few different types of pool covers–solar bubble covers, sun rings, and liquid covers–but they all work by creating a barrier between the surface of the water and the sun.

The barrier prevents excessive evaporation of water, which lowers the cost of chemicals over time by ensuring that you add less water and need less chemicals to bring the new water up to the desired safe swimming levels. The prevention of evaporation also helps the pool maintain its heat.

Additionally, the barrier allows sunlight to pass through, and generally heats up through the sunlight to heat the pool further. Solar bubble covers (the most common type of solar pool cover) contain little pockets of air that heat through the sunlight and transfer the heat directly into the water. A solar cover is a cheaper way of raising the temperature of your pool and lowering chemical costs both in the short term and long term compared to outdoor pool heaters. An outdoor pool heater costs more money to purchase than the solar cover, and it requires added energy costs to heat your pool in the spring and fall. A solar cover, by contrast, is a cheap way to cover and heat your pool, and it harnesses and converts the heat and energy of the sun which saves you money in the long run. Solar covers don’t raise your electricity bill!

What are Different Types of Pool Covers?

Bubble Pool Covers

The bubble pool cover, also known as a “solar blanket,” is the most common and popular type of solar cover that you can get for your pool. It looks like a combination of a large tarp and bubble wrap. The bubble pool cover is a large sheet that is full of tiny little air bubbles, which are placed face down into the pool. The air bubbles help the solar cover float, and also heat up through the sun and transfer the heat into the pool water.

Solar Sun Rings

Solar rings are inflatable covers that float on top of the pool and work like bubble pool covers, except you have a number of them floating around and they don’t cover the whole pool. While a bubble pool cover has a bit of an oven effect, trapping heat and preventing evaporation, solar sun rings magnify and heat the pool but don’t prevent evaporation or trap heat at the same levels that the bubble pool cover will. Because the rings don’t completely cover the pool surface like the bubble cover does, they’re a great option if you want a quick way to gain a bit of temperature and prevent chemical loss without putting a whole tarp over your pool.

Liquid Solar Pool Covers

If bubble covers sound too difficult and solar rings don’t sound effective enough, then the newest solar pool cover tech might be right for you. Liquid solar covers are a solution that you pour into the pool, where it spreads as a film over the surface of the water. It doesn’t retain and trap heat, but it does create a layer that prevents a normal amount of evaporation and so helps your pool maintain its heat and chemical levels. The formula will remain active for about a month before you’ll need to replace, so it does have some ongoing costs built in. But the evaporation prevention is not as effective as the tarp and it also doesn’t prevent debris and dirt from blowing into your pool. So the liquid formula is great if you don’t want to mess with heavy tarps or inflatable rings, but it has some drawbacks.

Why Bother With a Solar Pool Cover?

Retain Heat

Pools with solar covers on top of them can be up to 10 degrees warmer than pools without a solar cover. Solar covers prevent heat from evaporating off the top, and also trap and retain the sun’s heat to slowly raise the temperature of the pool. Placing a solar cover on top of your pool is a bit like putting a lid on a pot–the temperature will remain more constant, steadily raising to a nice simmer. Factors that affect the actual temperature variance that a solar cover brings are the intensity of the sun’s UV rays, the amount of cloud cover, and the shading of your pool. If you have trees around the pool or other structures blocking the amount of direct sunlight, then the solar cover will be less effective at gathering heat, but will still help prevent evaporation. If the sun’s rays have to force themselves through cloud cover, or the sun doesn’t hit at the high point of UV intensity (around 11 am to 3 pm usually), then the cover will gain less heat. The table below is from Energy.gov and shows the savings if you heat your pool with a heat pump. Heat pumps are one of the most energy efficient ways to heat a pool; if you have another type of heater the savings are likely larger. The savings of having a solar cover are staggering, saving you 80% or more per month.

Source: Energy.gov

Reduce Evaporation

Most of the bubble covers listed here will reduce evaporation by up to 95% by trapping the evaporating water under the cover, heating it, and returning it to your pool. The reduced evaporation is great for the environment, because you’re using less water to refill the pool, and it’s also great for your chemical consumption, because it limits the added chemicals to balance your pool’s levels.

Keep Bugs and Debris Out

There are few things worse than splashing around the clear pool on a hot summer day and encountering a half-dead, floating bug right next to your face. It’s uncomfortable, and embarrassing when guests come over! Your filter and chemicals work overtime to neutralize bugs, dirt, and leaves that fly into your pool every single day. With a solar cover, these bugs and leaves get trapped on top of the cover and never enter your water. The result is a cleaner pool, a longer lasting filter, and less dirt floating around the bottom.

Lower Chemical Costs

A solar cover can reduce chemical consumption by up to about 40%, through a variety of factors. First, by reducing evaporation, you won’t have to add new water to your pool as much as before, which reduces the chemicals used to bring up the fresh water to the requisite pH and chlorine levels required for a safe swimming pool. Or, if you have a saltwater pool, you won’t use as much salt to bring up the salt levels. Also, by keeping your pool warmer, you prevent the strain and reduction of chemicals through lower temperatures. A hotter pool more easily mixes the chemicals and retains their potency.

How to Choose the Best Solar Pool Cover for Your Pool

Size of the Pool

Solar covers work by magnifying sunlight and heat and preventing evaporation to trap and retain heat over time. The effectiveness of a solar cover is therefore directly related to how much of the pool it covers. Most solar bubble covers can be cut and trimmed to fit the exact size of your pool, making them an effective way to cover a pool, regardless of size, as long as you buy a big enough cover.

Solar rings are inflatable and need to be bought in bunches to get enough coverage to raise the temperature. The pieces will have gaps between them when you set them up and use them. Liquid solar covers will spread evenly over a pool of any size, as long as you buy enough solution.

Remember that there are more factors than pool size–if half of the pool is shaded during peak sun, you may not need to buy a huge solar bubble cover to cover the entire pool. A handful of solar rings may do the trick to cover the sunny spots.

Type of Pool

For both chlorine and saltwater pools, bubble solar covers and solar rings are effective and safe. Because the solar cover literally just ramps up the amount and intensity of sunlight that heats the pool, bubble covers are safe with whatever type of pool you happen to have.

Some liquid pool covers will specify that they only work with chlorine or saltwater pools, but for the most part, most liquid pool covers are also safe in either chlorine or saltwater pools. Liquid covers form around the surface, and then break off when you swim, and then reform once the water stabilizes again. It’s a special formula of molecules that remains at the surface of the pool and reforms whenever it is broken.

Shape of Pool

In this post I’ve got recommendations for oval, rectangle, and circular pool shapes. Realistically though, because solar bubble covers are meant to be cut down to the size of the pool, you can buy whatever shape you want as long as you buy a big enough cover to cover the total size of the pool. Try not to overbuy, however, because extra square feet can be expensive if you don’t need it.

Solar rings are a great way of protecting and heating your pool in certain areas, or covering oddly shaped or really large pools. Also remember that the shape of the pool is affected by shade–you won’t get much out of a cover that sits in the shade. It won’t properly heat, even though it can prevent minimal evaporation and prevent dust from flying into the pool.

Liquid covers are great for any shape of pool because you simply pour them in and then they spread out evenly with a thin layer of molecules.

Material and Thickness

Solar covers are generally relatively thin so that the sunlight can easily pass through. They are typically between 8 mil (mil = thousands of an inch) to 16 mil, thin enough to allow sunlight through but thick enough to be durable. Thicker covers are heavier and less likely to get blown away, but also more difficult to maneuver and roll off and on the pool. Obviously, liquid solar covers don’t have material; they’re a chemical formula that is simply poured into the pool to create a thin film on top of the water to prevent evaporation.

What Is the Best Solar Pool Cover Thickness?

The thickness of solar covers range from around 8 mil (mil = thousands of an inch) to 16 mil. Thicker covers are better at retaining heat and aren’t as easily blown off the pool by strong winds. However, they are more difficult to roll on and off the pool, especially on large pools.

Design/Color

Your pool cover will sit over your pool more often than it isn’t there, so make sure you pick a design and color that you’re happy with. You’ll see your pool cover every day, and in the winter months, the pool cover is all you’ll see of the pool. A nice clear color can be great for the summer, but honestly I like the blue color more for the winter because it makes it feel like the pool is kind of locked away for the off season.

All three of the bubble covers listed here come in nice clear or blue colors that will look great. Also, even if the cover remains effective over the years, UV damage can leave sun spots on the cover or make a clear cover look a bit cloudy and off-putting. You may have to replace your cover every few years to maintain a fresh look, if design and color are really important to you.

Warranty

A warranty is more than just peace of mind in the integrity of the product, it is proof that the manufacturer has tested and believes in their product. Manufacturers don’t make money if people are cashing in on warranties constantly to replace products, so warranties represent the lower end of product malfunctions. If a company offers a 1 or 2 year warranty, it means that a very low percentage of products experience problems within that 1-2 year mark. You can trust that the product will last at least that long. A 4-5 year warranty is an even greater vote of confidence.

Remember also that the warranty represents that standard use time, and that if a pool cover lasts for 3 years and you save 40% on chemicals, it may actually pay for itself over that time. Replacing a bubble solar cover every few years might actually be the same amount as paying more for chemicals.

Best Price and Brand

You may not know the big-name brands in the solar cover game, and that’s okay. Sun2Solar, MidWest Canvas, and Magni-Clear are all great options that are recommended here. You’ll always get what you pay for with a solar cover–keep in mind that more expensive solar covers may last longer and give you better heating and less evaporation.

An inexpensive solar cover can actually cost you more than it’s worth with added chemical costs. Investing in a solar cover is an investment in the longevity of your pool and the integrity of the water. Solar rings are more gimmicky with the inflation and will cost you the most money relative to coverage, but they’re also easy to use and can be used for specific sunny spots without covering a whole pool.

Solar blankets are the cheapest relative to coverage, but have to be put on and taken off every time you want to swim. Liquid solar covers need to be replenished every month, and so are more expensive, but make up for it with the ease of use. No putting on or taking off liquid.

Ease of Use

Lighter solar bubble covers are easier to maneuver for taking them on and off as you swim and heat your pool. But if the cover is too light, it can blow away easily, forcing you to readjust it when a gust of wind hits your backyard. If your backyard is relatively sheltered with trees and fences and doesn’t get gusts of wind, then the lighter the cover the better. If it’s an open yard and you live in a spot that gets winds, you may need a heavier cover.

Best Solar Pool Cover Reviews

Quick Take: OUR RECOMMENDATIONS FOR Solar Pool Cover
Best for Rectangular PoolsMagni-Clear Solar Cover

Ultra-clear design maximizes the amount of sunlight streaming into your pool.

Best for Oval PoolsMidwest Canvas Solar Cover

Diamond-shaped air pockets give you more heating per square inch than other types of solar covers.

Best for Round PoolsSun2Solar Solar Cover

Blue and clear color options to maximize either temperature or aesthetics.

Best for Large PoolsSSR Solar Sun Rings

A better way to heat large pools that can’t be covered with a single bubble solar cover.

Magni-Clear Solar Cover

Great for rectangular pools, the Magni-Clear boasts the clearest pool cover design that will help sunlight dive into your pool without evaporating out. UV protection and a 6-year warranty ensure that you get your money’s worth from the long-lasting cover. The super-clear design means that you get a greater temperature raise from the Magni-Clear, up to 15 degrees instead of the 10 that you might expect from other covers.

Pros
  • Ultra-clear design maximizes the amount of sunlight streaming into your pool.
  • Heavier design makes it durable and wind-resistant.
  • UV protection for long-lasting solar coverage.
  • 6-year warranty.
Cons
  • Heavier, thicker material makes the cover harder to move around.
  • The most expensive pool cover on this list.
  • Circular bubble design means less air pockets than a diamond design.

Midwest Canvas Solar Cover

If you’ve got an oval pool, check out the MidWest canvas solar cover, which comes with a diamond bubble design to maximize the amount of the heat-increasing air pockets that are placed directly into the water. At 16 mil, the cover is also on the thicker end of the spectrum. I’ve found that the material is not quite as clear as the Magni-Clear, so expect a little less sun penetration, but the diamond bubble design give you more air pockets per square inch than the standard circular bubbles, so it makes up for the temperature difference that way.

Pros
  • Easy to cut design. The warranty is also unaffected when you cut the solar cover to perfectly fit your pool.
  • Diamond-shaped air pockets give you more heating per square inch than other types of solar covers.
Cons
  • ​No UV protection to keep it from getting damaged by the sun.

Sun2Solar Solar Cover

For round pools, the Sun2Solar cover gives you great coverage and a heavy duty cover. It can be difficult to maneuver, at 16 mm and heavier than the other covers, so you may need help rolling and unrolling the cover. The additional thickness helps retain heat and prevent evaporation better than thinner covers. Two color options allow you to customize your solar experience–grab the clear for the most temperature, or the blue for a clean-looking aesthetic even during gray winter months.

Pros
  • Blue and clear color options to maximize either temperature or aesthetics. Grab a blue color option to protect the pool in the winter and keep a nice colored layer over the top.
  • One of the cheaper options if you have a smaller pool, though the biggest sizes will actually run you more money than the rectangular versions. Most round pools are smaller than rectangular ones, however.
Cons
  • Circular bubble design and farther bubble spacing means you get the least air pockets on this model as compared to the other ones.
  • No UV protection against sun damage.

SSR Solar Sun Rings

If you have a super large pool or simply a pool that experiences a lot of shade in certain areas, solar sun rings might be the perfect product for heating your pool and preventing evaporation. These SSR rings have anchors so you can keep them in place in the sunny areas without them floating whimsically around the pool.

Pros
  • A better way to heat large pools that can’t be covered with a single bubble solar cover.
  • Sun protection and temperature maximization right where you need it. The anchors help you keep the solar rings in place so you can put them right where the sunlight hits the water.
Cons
  • Can be a more expensive way to increase the pool temperature than a traditional bubble cover.
  • Solar sun rings are less effective overall than bubble covers, so you’ll probably only really want them for heavily shaded pools or large pools that bubble covers might be less effective for.

How to Install and Maintain a Solar Pool Cover

Installation for solar rings and liquid covers is very simple. Solar rings are inflated (if they need to be) and placed on top of the pool. If they come with an anchor, adjust the length to fit the place in the pool, and then plop them down where you want them. For liquid covers, follow the directions on the bottle about how much to pour in relative to the volume or size of the pool.

Bubble covers can be installed with a roller that is placed next to the pool, or can be rolled out by hand to cover the pool. When placing a bubble cover, first spread it out over the pool, then use a sharpie to mark the underside where it needs to be cut. Cut along the markings to fit it your pool size, maximizing evaporation and heat protection. If the cover hangs over the sides or lifts up at the edges, you’ll lose heat out the gaps in the cover, so you want a tight fit.

How to Use a Solar Blanket

Solar blankets are placed over the top of the pool to increase heat, prevent heat loss during the night, and prevent dirt and debris from blowing into the pool when not in use. To install the solar blanket, simply unroll it over the top and cut it to fit.

You won’t want loose edges or parts of the blanket that can get blown up in the wind or lose heat. Definitely, definitely remove the solar blanket before swimming. A solar blanket should not be slightly unrolled when swimming, it needs to be completely removed to prevent a safety hazard.

How to Remove a Solar Blanket

Depending on the size of the pool, you may need two people to help remove the solar blanket off the top of the pool. Have the two people stand at corners on one edge of the pool, and begin rolling in unison. Don’t move toward the opposite end of the pool, simply stand in one spot with your partner and pull the blanket toward you, rolling as you go. This is the easiest way to remove the blanket without moving and risking someone falling in.

How to Clean a Solar Blanket

Solar blankets should be cleaned from time to time. The bottom will get a build-up of chemicals from the pool that should be washed off, and the top will collect the dirt, leaves, and bugs that would’ve otherwise gotten into your pool. Because solar blankets are large, they are difficult to clean in a backyard, especially without attracting more and more dirt to them as you go.

The easiest way to clean a solar blanket is to prop it up, perhaps using the diving board if the blanket is too big, and spray it off with a hose. The fresh water and pressure should wash away chemicals on the bottom and dirt on the top.

How to Store a Solar Blanket

Any excess water on the solar blanket will turn gross and create mold, which you want to avoid, so the key to storing a solar blanket is to properly clean it with a hose and then dry it with a towel. Leave the blanket outside in the sun for a day on each side to let any excess water evaporate before rolling up or folding the blanket and placing in storage. Make sure that the blanket is completely dry before you store it!

FAQ

What color is best for a solar pool cover?

Just like the fine people who made the Magni-Clear will tell you, a clear solar pool cover will allow heat in sunlight to travel through the solar cover and become trapped in the pool. A black solar cover will absorb the heat without really heating the pool water. You’ll end up with a very hot tarp over the top of your pool, and cool, shaded pool water. A silver or white-ish pool cover will reflect a lot of the heat–which again, will not really heat your pool water. You should be looking for something clear or blue-ish, allowing heat to travel into and through the solar cover, heating both the bubbles that heat the water and heating the water itself.

Also remember that the pool cover will spend a good deal of time covering your pool, and you don’t want an ugly color taking up space in your backyard. While a clear cover is ultimately best for temperature, you may sacrifice a few degrees to get a cover that goes better with the design of your yard!

What side goes down on a solar pool cover?

The bubbles go down into the water to help it float and deliver heated air pockets to raise the temperature. The flat side goes up.

Are liquid solar pool covers safe?

Liquid solar covers are completely safe, using harmless chemicals that shouldn’t even hurt a pet that drinks from the water. You don’t actually use many chemicals, and the chemicals simply create a thin layer of molecules that prevents evaporation. It’s no different than using chemicals to regulate the pH and chlorine or saltwater content of the pool.

Do solar pool covers cause algae?

If not properly cleaned every so often, a solar pool cover can create excess heat and conditions for algae growth. However, since the solar cover also helps maintain the pool’s chemicals, it generally helps prevent algae growth instead of causing or contributing to it.

Do solar pool covers blow off?

Solar pool covers can blow off in high gusts of winds, but usually this only happens if it isn’t cut or fitted properly to the pool. You can always get a heavier solar cover if you anticipate this being a problem, like if you have an exposed backyard. But if cut and fitted properly around the edges of the pool, there shouldn’t be a large gap for the wind to whip it up.

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