▷ How to Choose the Best Solar Pool Cover (2018 Update)

How to Choose the Best Solar Pool Cover

Best Solar Pool Covers

A lot of people think that owning an outdoor pool is expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.  Sure you may have the initial cost to deal with, but there are many ways to keep the costs down once you have an outdoor pool, and one of those ways is by using a solar pool cover.  One of the biggest expenses of owning an outdoor pool is trying to keep it heated using electric heating mechanisms.  But with a solar pool cover, you can keep your pool water warmer using nothing but the energy from the sun, meaning no more excessive electricity costs!

The main benefits of using a solar pool cover

Once you’ve taken the plunge and bought the pool, it’s simply a case of maintaining it to ensure you get the most for your money.  A solar pool cover will help you do that.  Not only will a solar pool cover keep unwanted debris from getting in the water, but it will also help to keep it warm too.   

It’s estimated that a pool with a solar cover water is as much as 10 degrees warmer which reduces the chemical consumption by a staggering 40%. The initial cost is much lower in getting a solar pool cover than an outdoor pool heater.  And by using energy that’s harnessed from the sun, there are no ongoing costs either.  So, as you can see, heating your pool the natural way is much more cost effective than using an electric pool heater.

Factors to consider when buying a solar pool cover 

Now that you know some of the reasons as to why a solar pool cover is such a good investment, we’ll take you through some of the things to take into consideration when making your next purchase.

Type.  When it comes to solar pool covers there are three main types: the solar blanket, the solar ring, or a liquid solar cover.  Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages and the one that’s best for you will depend largely on your pool and your lifestyle: 

Solar blanket: The solar blanket looks a little like a large sheet of bubble wrap.  As well as keeping the blanket afloat, the bubbles act as a magnifying glass heating up your pool.  You can get them in pretty much any size, shape, thickness, or color and are one of the most popular options when it comes to solar pool covers.  To use a solar blanket for the first time, simply unfold it next to your pool.  Then spread it out over the pool water, bubble-side down.  If it overhangs at all, simply trim the edges with a pair of scissors. 

Solar ring:  If the very idea of putting on and taking off a big solar blanket seems a chore, then a solar ring may be better for you.  They come in all kinds of shapes and sizes with some having wild and funky patterns printed on them.  These covers work in a similar way to that of solar blankets but they come in much more manageable sizes.  Unlike solar blankets, these must be inflated before you use them.  The number of solar rings you’ll need will vary according to the size of both the rings and your pool.  Because they won’t cover every inch of the pool, solar rings aren’t quite as efficient as solar blankets.  But, they’re still pretty effective nonetheless.

Liquid solar cover:  This is the newest type of pool cover to hit the market.  Rather than have to worry about removing a solar blanket or rings from your pool each time you want to use it, with a liquid solar cover you simply pour the solution into your pool and watch it work its magic.  The way it works is by forming a monolayer film that sits on the surface of the water.  This film inhibits the water's ability to evaporate in the normal manner.  By preventing evaporation, you’re preventing heat loss.  Most liquid solar cover formula’s last for around one month.  However, one thing to bear in mind with liquid solar covers is that although they’re effective at retaining heat, they’re not very effective at keeping debris out of the water.                     

Size.  Both solar blankets and solar rings come in various shapes and sizes.  To get the best effect from either you need to ensure you cover as much of the pool’s surface as possible.  The advantage you have with solar blankets is that you can literally cut them to the exact size you need to fit your pool.  With solar rings, you don’t have that same flexibility.  Because they’re inflatable, the size that they are is non-adjustable.  And because they’re smaller, individual pieces opposed to one big sheet, there will inevitably be gaps between them when laid out on the surface of the water, making them slightly less efficient.  Size isn’t too much of a concern when it comes to using a liquid solar cover.  Just be sure you have enough solution for the amount of water in your pool.      

Warranty:  Be wary of any manufacturer that doesn’t offer you some kind of warranty.  If a company is not willing to stand by the quality of their product for any length of time, it’s questionable as to how good a product it is in the first place.  Most decent solar pool covers come with at least a 2-year warranty.   

Thickness:  The thickness of solar covers range from around 8 mils to around 16 mils.  As a general rule of thumb, the thicker the cover the better it is at retaining heat. Another advantage that thicker pool covers have is they’re harder to get blown away.  The main disadvantage, however, is that they tend to more expensive than thinner ones and more difficult to roll up.

Color:  Solar blankets usually come in either a silver, blue, or clear color, whereas solar rings are available in all kinds of colors with all kinds of different designs.  And while the manufacturers are trying to cater for people’s tastes, it has a lot more than that.  The darker the solar pool cover, the less light that can pass through.  So instead, as the sun shines, it creates a very warm layer of water that sits just below the cover and doesn’t go much farther.  And because heat rises, most of that warmth simply dissipates into the atmosphere.  With a clear solar pool cover, sunlight passes through so much easier.  Not only does this mean the water will be warmer, but it will also be heated more evenly.        

Cost:  Any kind of solar pool cover will save you money in the long run, it’s just that some will save you more than others.  Solar blankets give your pool the most coverage and are less costly to use solar rings.  While liquid solar covers are pretty cheap to use, they’re not nearly as effective as solar blankets or solar rings.  With most solar pool covers the price reflects the quality, so please bear this in mind when making your purchase.

Product Reviews

There are many different solar pool covers available to buy today, so knowing where to start in making your choice can be daunting.  To help you make your decision, the following is a list of five of the most popular pool cover options available are the moment:

Sun2Solar 16’ x 32’ Rectangle Solar Cover

This well designed solar pool cover on offer from Sun2Solar is a great choice for keeping your pool nice and warm and free from unwanted debris.  It minimizes water evaporation up to 95%, meaning less water is lost in the environment and it’s very good at retaining heat.  

Sun2Solar Blue 16-Foot-by-32-Foot Rectangle Solar Cover | 12 Mil | Heating Blanket for In-Ground and Above-Ground Swimming Pools

Whether you’re looking for a blue or clear cover, Sun2Solar has it covered.  And size is no issue either as you can simply trim it to fit.  It’s well made, does a good job, and is good value for money. 

Pros
  • Very effective
  • check
    Easy to trim
  • check
    Heavy enough to stay put
Cons
  • No UV protection
Thermo-Tex 12’ x 24’ Rectangle Swimming Pool Cover

Lower your pool’s running costs in no time at all with this attractive, blue solar pool cover on offer from Thermo-Tex. Made from high-quality, UV stabilized polymers, this cover is more than capable of resisting damage from both harsh pool chemicals and the sun’s powerful UV rays.  It’s lightweight, easy to cut and easy to use.  

Thermo-Tex 2831224 Swimming Pool Solar Pool Cover, 12' x 24', Blue

You can keep it in place while the pool pump is running and it even comes with a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty for that added peace of mind.

Pros
  • check
    Sturdy design
  • check
    3-year warranty
  • check
    Great price
Cons
  • A little too lightweight
  • ban
    No clear color option
Intex Solar Cover for 18’ x 9’ Rectangular Frame Pools

If you’re looking for a solar pool cover that’s cheap, provides great coverage, and is easy to use then this design on offer from Intex may be just what you need.  It does help to warm the temperature of your pool’s water, but it is lacking somewhat in quality.  

Intex Solar Cover 18ft X 9ft Rectangular Frame Pools, Measures 17' 8' X 8' 4'

Even though the Intex Solar Cover is made using 160-micron material, it’s very lightweight compared to some of the other covers out there, and its chances of it surviving more than one season are quite slim in our opinion.

Pros
  • check
    Affordable
Cons
  • Poor quality
  • ban
    Too thin
Sun2Solar Midwest Canvas Clear Diamond 12’ x 18’ Solar Cover

Stepping away from the usual round bubbles you see in most solar pool covers, this one on offer from Sun2Solar uses a different design approach.  It’s clear, diamond design pattern contains more bubbles per square foot than most others around, meaning it will attract more sun and allow more sunlight to pass through.  

Midwest Canvas Clear Diamond 12-Foot-by-18-Foot Oval Solar Cover | 16 Mil | Heating Blanket for In-Ground and Above-Ground Swimming Pools

Made from a durable resin material it’s likely to last a few seasons.  And the manufacturer’s are that confident in this solar pool cover’s ability that they even offer a whopping 10 year-guarantee!

Pros
  • check
    High performing insulator
  • check
    10-year guarantee
  • check
    Attractive clear design 
Cons
  • A little expensive
  • ban
    No resistance against UV
Blue Wave Products Solar Cover 18’ Round

If you’re looking for an above ground solar pool cover that’s durable and likely to last a while, then this model on offer from Blue Wave is ideal to use for warming your water this summer.  You can raise the temperature by up to 15 degrees and keep unwanted debris away with this easy-to-use cover and the best part is it’s all free of charge.  

Solar Cover 18' Round Above Ground Swimming Pool 3 Year Warranty

At just 8-mil it may not be the thickest of solar pool cover’s available, but it still does the job quite well.  And considering it’s around half the cost of the Sun2Solar Rectangle cover, it’s not a bad choice really.  It even comes with a 3 year pro-rata warranty for that added protection.    

Pros
  • check
    Durable
  • check
    Lightweight
  • check
    Easy-to-use
Cons
  • Quite thin

Hopefully by now you will feel a little more clued up about solar pool covers and have a good idea as to the kind that’s going to suit your needs.  Just a brief reminder, if you’re after an all-around good solar pool cover that’s durable, easy to trim, and available in either blue or white then be sure to check out the Sun2Solar 16’ x 32’ Rectangle Solar Cover.  This cover is heavy enough to stay put while in use, yet lightweight enough to make it easy to use.  You can also trim it to whatever size you need.   It may be a little more expensive than some of the other models around, but with this cover, you get what you pay for.  It’s fantastic quality and it does exactly what it says it will.  What more could you possibly want from a solar pool cover?