Solar Pool Cover: Choosing the Right One for Your Pool

Imagine a sunny day, your pool is gleaming under the sunlight, but the water is just too cold to enjoy. Here’s where a solar pool cover comes into play. Acting as a protective layer, it harnesses the sun’s energy to heat your pool, making it the perfect water temperature for a refreshing swim.

A solar pool cover is a cost-effective and eco-friendly way to heat your pool, extend your swimming season, and reduce maintenance. It works by capturing the sun’s heat and transferring it to your pool water, while also acting as an insulator to prevent heat loss.

But it’s not just about keeping your pool water warm. A solar pool cover also plays a crucial role in maintaining the cleanliness of your pool. It acts as a barrier against leaves, dust, and other debris, saving you hours of cleaning time.

Moreover, water evaporation is a common issue for pool owners. You might be surprised to learn that a solar pool cover can significantly reduce water evaporation, helping you conserve water and maintain the pool’s chemical balance.

In essence, a solar pool cover is more than just a cover. It’s a tool that enhances your swimming experience while also contributing to pool maintenance and energy conservation. So, the next time you think about your pool, remember the importance of a solar pool cover. It’s not just a luxury, but a necessity for every pool owner.

Key Takeaways
Solar pool covers harness the sun’s energy to heat your pool, making your swim more comfortable and extending your swimming season.
A solar pool cover acts as a barrier against debris, saving you time and effort on pool cleaning.
Solar pool covers significantly reduce water evaporation, helping you conserve water and maintain the pool’s chemical balance.
There are different types of solar pool covers available, including solar blanket covers, solar sun rings, heavy-duty polyethylene solar covers, and vinyl solar pool covers.
The choice of a solar pool cover depends on various factors such as pool size and shape, local climate, and personal preferences.
Installing a solar pool cover is a straightforward task that can be done by the pool owner.
Regular cleaning and proper storage can prolong the lifespan of your solar pool cover.
Solar pool covers are safe to use with pool pumps and do not interfere with their operation.
Investing in a solar pool cover is not just about the immediate benefits, but also about the long-term savings and sustainability.
A solar pool cover is a game-changer in the world of pools, offering a better, more efficient pool experience.
pool solar covers

Types of Solar Pool Covers

When it comes to solar pool covers, you’re not short on options. There are several types available, each with its unique set of features and benefits. Let’s explore some of the most popular types.

Solar Blanket Covers

Think of a solar blanket cover as a giant sheet of bubble wrap. It’s a lightweight, easy-to-use cover that floats on the surface of your pool. The thermal bubbles in the cover trap heat from the sun and transfer it to the pool water.

A solar blanket cover is a cost-effective way to heat your pool and extend your swimming season. It’s also great for reducing water evaporation and keeping debris out of your pool. Plus, it’s easy to install and remove, making it a convenient choice for many pool owners.

Solar Sun Rings

Solar sun rings are a unique and innovative type of pool solar cover. Instead of covering the entire pool surface, you use multiple rings to cover as much of the pool as you want.

Each ring is inflatable and covered with UV-resistant material. The rings float on the pool surface, absorbing direct sunlight and transferring the heat to the water.

One of the main advantages of solar sun rings is their flexibility. You can easily add or remove rings depending on the weather and your heating needs. They’re also easy to store when not in use.

Heavy-Duty Polyethylene Solar Covers

For those seeking durability and longevity, heavy-duty polyethylene solar covers are an excellent choice. These covers are made from a tough material that can withstand the elements and resist damage from pool chemicals.

A heavy-duty polyethylene solar cover not only heats your pool but also helps retain the heat for longer periods. This makes it an ideal choice for cooler climates or for those who want to swim during the cooler parts of the day.

Vinyl Solar Pool Covers

Last but not least, we have vinyl solar pool covers. These covers are typically thicker and heavier than other types, making them a more durable cover and long-lasting option.

A vinyl solar pool cover is highly effective at retaining heat, making it a great choice for pools in shaded areas or in regions with cooler nighttime pool temperatures.

Remember, the type of solar pool cover you choose depends on your specific needs and preferences. Consider factors like your budget, climate, pool usage, and maintenance requirements before making a decision. No matter which type you choose, a solar pool cover is a smart investment that can enhance your pool experience while saving you time and money.

solar pool cover

How Solar Pool Covers Work

Ever wondered how a solar pool cover works? It’s not magic, but science. Let’s delve into the fascinating world of solar pool covers and understand the principles that make them so effective.

The Science Behind Solar Pool Covers

A solar pool cover, also known as a solar blanket, works on the principle of solar energy. It captures the sun’s rays and uses them to heat your pool. But how exactly does it do that?

Imagine a solar pool cover as a giant magnifying glass. When sunlight passes through the cover, it gets magnified and heats the water underneath. The cover’s bubbles or cells act as individual lenses, focusing the sunlight and intensifying its heat.

But that’s not all. A solar pool cover also acts as an insulator. Once the heat is trapped in the pool, the cover prevents it from escaping back into the atmosphere. This dual action of heating and insulation makes a solar pool cover incredibly effective.

Effectiveness of Solar Pool Covers in Heating a Pool

Now that you understand the science, let’s talk about the effectiveness of solar pool covers. Do they really heat your pool?

The answer is a resounding yes. A solar pool cover can raise your pool’s temperature by up to 10-15 degrees, depending on the amount of sunlight it receives. This means you can enjoy a warm, comfortable swim even on cooler days.

Moreover, a solar pool cover helps maintain the pool’s temperature overnight. When the temperature drops, the cover acts as a barrier, preventing the heat from escaping. This means your pool stays warm for longer, saving you energy and heating costs.

But the benefits of a solar pool cover go beyond heating. It also reduces water evaporation, which means you’ll need to refill your pool less often. Plus, it keeps out debris, reducing the need for cleaning and maintenance.

In conclusion, a solar pool cover is a smart, cost-effective solution for heating your pool. It’s not just about comfort, but also about efficiency and sustainability. So, the next time you take a dip in your warm, inviting pool, remember to thank your solar pool cover. It’s the unsung hero that makes your swim so enjoyable.

solar pool heat cover

Choosing the Right Solar Pool Cover

Selecting the right solar pool cover can feel like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. By considering a few key factors and understanding the different options available, you can find the perfect cover for your pool.

Key Factors in Selecting a Solar Pool Cover

Solar pool covers, also known as solar blankets, are versatile tools that can be utilized for a variety of pools, including both above-ground and inground pools of different sizes and shapes. When deciding on a solar pool cover, there are several factors to consider, such as the dimensions of your pool, the material of the cover, its thickness, and color.

Pool Dimensions

The size of your swimming pool is a crucial factor as a well-fitted cover ensures maximum efficiency. For optimal heat transfer from the sun, the cover should be large enough to float on the water’s surface.

The shape of your pool also matters. Solar covers are designed to accommodate a variety of pool shapes, so whether you have an oval, rectangular, or square pool, there’s a solar pool cover for you. If your pool has a unique shape, consider purchasing a larger cover that can be trimmed for a custom fit.


Solar pool covers are typically crafted from vinyl, polyethylene, or polypropylene.

  • Vinyl is a robust material resistant to tears and sun damage. It’s an excellent choice for those who want a cover that can be quickly removed without the fear of tearing.
  • Polyethylene is a lighter material. While it’s affordable and effective at heat transfer, it can be prone to tearing, especially if the cover is less than 12 mils thick.
  • Polypropylene is thicker and less flexible than polyethylene. These covers are durable, block a significant amount of UV radiation, but can be more challenging to roll and fold.


A thicker solar pool cover absorbs more heat from the sun and is more resistant to damage. The thickness of solar pool covers is measured in mils (one mil equals 0.0001 inches). Common cover thicknesses range from 6 to 16 mils. Keep in mind that thicker covers can be heavier and more challenging to fold.


The color of a solar pool cover is more than just an aesthetic choice; it also influences its functionality.

  • Clear solar covers allow a significant amount of sunlight to pass through, warming the pool. They are excellent insulators but do not block UV rays that degrade chlorine.
  • Clear-top/dark solar covers absorb the sun’s heat and transfer it to the water while blocking some UV rays, slowing the production of skin-irritating chloramines.
  • Dark solar covers block a large portion of UV radiation and absorb the sun’s heat well, warming the pool quickly.
  • Translucent solar covers function similarly to clear solar pool covers but block more UV radiation and heat the water faster.

Air Bubbles

The best solar pool covers feature a side covered with small air bubbles, resembling a giant sheet of bubble wrap. These bubbles trap the sun’s heat and radiate it into the water, acting as insulators to prevent heat loss at night.

UV Resistance

The UV resistance of a solar pool cover depends on its material, color, and the thickness of the air bubbles. Covers with low UV resistance are typically thinner than 10 mils, clear, and made of lightweight polyethylene. Medium UV resistance covers are most common, ranging from 10 to 14 mils thick, and are usually translucent blue or gray. High UV resistance covers fall into two categories: with bubbles or without.

Different Sizes and Shapes of Solar Pool Covers

Solar pool covers come in a variety of sizes and shapes to fit different pools. Here are some options:

  • Round Solar Pool Covers: Ideal for round above-ground pools. They’re easy to install and remove.
  • Rectangular Solar Pool Covers: Perfect for in-ground pools or large above-ground pools. They offer maximum coverage and heat retention.
  • Oval Solar Pool Covers: Designed for oval pools, these oval covers provide a snug fit and efficient heating.

Remember, a well-fitted solar pool cover is more effective at heating your pool and preventing evaporation.

Top Brands in the Market

When it comes to solar pool covers, some brands stand out for their quality and customer satisfaction. Here are a few:

  • Intex: Known for their affordable and durable pool products, Intex offers a range of solar pool covers suitable for different pool sizes and types.
  • Blue Wave: Blue Wave offers high-quality solar pool covers that are known for their durability and effectiveness.
  • Sun2Solar: Sun2Solar is renowned for its heavy-duty solar pool covers that offer excellent heat retention and durability.

Choosing the right solar pool cover is about understanding your needs and exploring your options. By considering the factors mentioned above and checking out the top brands, you can find a cover that keeps your pool warm, reduces maintenance, and saves energy. Happy swimming!

Our Top Solar Pool Cover Picks

In this guide, we have considered various factors such as quality, value, and the specific needs of above-ground or inground pools. Here are our top recommendations for solar pool covers:

1. Best Overall: Sun2Solar 1200 Series Crystal Clear Round Cover

This clear solar cover is designed to collect and retain heat effectively. It’s 12 mils thick and made from rigid polypropylene. The clear design allows sunlight to penetrate to the depths of the pool, ensuring even the deep end is warm.

Key Features:

  • Material: Polyethylene
  • Color: Clear
  • Thickness: 12 mils


  • Comes in a range of sizes; suitable for most pool sizes
  • Has extra material for custom cuts
  • Allows plenty of sunlight penetration; great for heat


  • Might not help with chlorine consumption

2. Runner-Up: Blue Wave 12-Mil Solar Blanket for Round Pools

The Blue Wave 12-mil-thick solar pool cover is durable and resistant to tears. Its translucent blue color blocks UV radiation, and a thick layer of air bubbles does an excellent job of absorbing, transferring, and retaining heat.

Key Features:

  • Material: Polymer
  • Color: Clear
  • Thickness: 12 mils


  • Less clear than other clear covers; blocks more UV light
  • Comes in multiple round sizes to fit a range of pool sizes
  • Allows for custom cut to fit many different pool shapes


  • Some bubbles may start to pop over time

3. Best Bang for the Buck: Intex 18 Foot Solar Cover

Intex’s 8-mil-thick solar pool cover is a good choice for easy set and framed above-ground pools, though it will fit any circular pool with a diameter of 18 feet. This affordable solar blanket has a moderate level of UV resistance that helps to prevent evaporation during the day, while the lightweight cover aids heat retention at night by insulating the pool against dropping nighttime temperatures.

Key Features:

  • Material: Polyethylene
  • Color: Blue
  • Thickness: 8 mils


  • Holes allow air to escape and drain water from the top of the cover
  • Finished edges for smooth handling
  • Blue color helps fight UV ray penetration


  • No extra material; may not fit all pool sizes

4. Upgrade Pick: Sun2Solar 1600 Series Ultimate Blue Round Solar Cover

Sun2Solar’s pool cover fits round swimming pools from 10 feet to 33 feet in diameter. Made of 16-mil-thick polyethylene, this cover has a thick layer of air bubbles that does a superior job of collecting, transferring, and retaining heat. The cover also insulates the pool at night and reduces evaporation.

Key Features:

  • Material: Polyethylene
  • Color: Blue
  • Thickness: 16 mils


  • Clear material allows plenty of sunlight to get through and warm the pool
  • Durable thickness makes this cover more difficult to tear
  • Fits round pools well; available in multiple sizes


  • Thickness made it slightly heavier and difficult to take on and off

5. Best for UV Rays: Doheny’s Clear-Tek Micro-Bubble Solar Cover

Doheny’s Clear-Tek Micro-Bubble Solar Cover is an excellent choice for those looking to protect their pool against UV rays and the itchy chloramines they cause. This pool cover features microbubbles and a blue layer of polyethylene to prevent UV rays from breaking down the chlorine so quickly.

Key Features:

  • Material: Polyethylene
  • Color: Blue
  • Thickness: 16 mils


  • Thick and durable material can last several seasons
  • Blue prevents UV rays from penetrating as readily; good for maintaining chlorine
  • Additional pockets should help insulate better overnight


  • Feels slightly heavier than the rest; more difficult to move around

Installation and Maintenance of Solar Pool Covers

Once you’ve chosen the perfect solar pool cover, the next steps are installation and maintenance. Don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it sounds. Let’s walk through the process together.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Install a Solar Pool Cover

Installing a solar pool cover is a straightforward task that you can do yourself. Here’s a simple step-by-step guide:

  1. Measure Your Pool: Before you start, make sure your solar pool cover fits your pool. Measure your pool’s dimensions and compare them with the cover’s size.
  2. Unroll the Cover: Unroll the solar pool cover on a clean, flat surface. Be careful not to tear or puncture the cover.
  3. Place the Cover on the Pool: Gently place the cover on the pool’s surface, bubble-side down. The cover should float on the water.
  4. Trim the Cover: If the cover is larger than your pool, you’ll need to trim it. Use a pair of sharp scissors to cut the cover to match the shape of your pool. Leave a small overlap for easy removal.
  5. Secure the Cover: If your pool is exposed to wind, you might want to secure the cover with weights or a pool cover reel.

And voila! Your solar pool cover is installed. Now, let’s move on to maintenance.

Tips on Maintaining and Prolonging the Lifespan of Your Solar Pool Cover

A solar pool cover is a significant investment, so you’ll want to take good care of it. Here are some tips to help you maintain your cover and prolong its lifespan:

  • Clean Regularly: Over time, your solar pool cover can accumulate dirt and debris. Clean it regularly with a soft brush and mild detergent. Rinse thoroughly and let it dry before reusing.
  • Avoid Sharp Objects: Sharp objects can puncture your solar pool cover. Be careful when handling the cover and keep sharp objects away from your pool area.
  • Store Properly: When not in use, store your solar pool cover in a cool, dry place. You can use a solar cover reel for easy storage.
  • Check for Damage: Regularly inspect your solar pool cover for any signs of damage. Small tears can be repaired with a pool cover repair kit.
  • Replace When Necessary: Even with proper care, a solar pool cover won’t last forever. If your cover is worn out or damaged beyond repair, it’s time to replace it.

Remember, a well-maintained solar pool cover is more effective at heating your pool and conserving water. By following these installation and maintenance tips, you can enjoy the benefits of your solar pool cover for many swimming seasons to come.

solar heat cover for pool

Benefits of Using a Solar Pool Cover

The primary purpose of a solar pool blanket is to gradually increase the pool water temperature during the day and provide protection at night for better heat retention. While they may not produce as much heat as an electric or gas pool heater, they are significantly more affordable.

In addition to the initial cost savings, solar pool blankets also reduce water evaporation, which helps prevent the breakdown of chlorine into harmful free chloramines, reducing the amount of chlorine needed throughout the swimming season.

In summary, a solar blanket

  • Increases the temperature and heat retention of the water by absorbing and magnifying the sun’s rays.
  • Is more cost-effective buying choice than investing in a traditional pool heater.
  • Slows the evaporation of pool water and subsequent increase of chloramines.

Understanding the Cost of a Pool Solar Cover

The cost of a pool cover reel can vary significantly, ranging from $500 to $5,000. This price variation depends on the size of the cover and its features. Many solar pool covers include a heating element to keep your pool warm during colder months, and some even feature built-in filters to remove debris and parasites from the water.


When considering a solar reel for an inground pool, heating costs are a crucial factor. There are budget-friendly options as well as pricier ones that offer superior features for reasonable energy costs. It’s advisable to consult with a professional before making a purchase to ensure you’re getting the best quality for the lowest price.

Frequently Asked Questions

When it comes to solar pool covers, you might have a few questions. Let’s tackle some of the most common ones.

Do solar pool covers really work?

Absolutely! Solar pool covers are designed to trap the sun’s heat and transfer it to your pool water. They also minimize heat loss, keeping your pool warmer for longer. Plus, they reduce water evaporation and keep out debris, saving you time and money on maintenance.

How much does a solar cover heat a pool?

A solar pool cover can raise your pool’s comfortable temperature by up to 10-15 degrees, depending on the amount of sunlight it receives. Of course, this can vary based on factors like your local climate and the size and type of your pool.

Can you leave a solar cover on the pool all day?

Yes, you can. In fact, leaving your solar pool cover on during the day allows it to absorb more sunlight and heat transfer your pool more effectively. However, remember to remove the cover when using the pool for safety reasons.

Can you run the pool pump with a solar cover on?

Yes, it’s safe to run your pool pump with a solar pool cover on. The cover won’t interfere with the pump’s operation. However, if your pool has a skimmer, you might want to remove the cover to allow for effective skimming.


A solar pool cover is a valuable tool for any pool owner. It’s not just about heating your pool, but also about conserving water, reducing maintenance, and extending your swimming season. So, why not give it a try?


As we’ve journeyed through the world of solar pool covers, it’s clear that these covers are more than just an accessory for your pool. They’re a smart, cost-effective solution that brings a host of benefits.

But the benefits don’t stop at heating. A solar pool cover also acts as a barrier against debris, saving you time and effort on pool cleaning. Plus, it significantly reduces water evaporation, helping you conserve water and maintain the pool’s chemical balance.

Whether you choose a solar blanket cover, solar sun rings, a heavy-duty polyethylene solar cover, or a vinyl solar pool cover, you’re making a wise investment. Each type has its unique features and benefits, so you can find one that fits your needs and preferences.

So, as you ponder on your pool needs, consider investing in a solar pool cover. It’s not just about the immediate benefits, but also about the long-term savings and sustainability. After all, who wouldn’t want a warm, clean pool that’s also kind to the environment?

In the world of pools, a solar pool cover is a game-changer. It’s time to embrace the sun’s power and dive into a better, more efficient pool experience. Happy swimming!


Hubert Miles | Licensed Home Inspector, CMI, CPI

Hubert Miles is a licensed home inspector (RBI# 2556) with more than two decades of experience in inspection and construction. Since 2008, he has been serving South Carolina through his company, Patriot Home Inspections LLC. As a Certified Master Inspector, Hubert is dedicated to providing his expertise in home inspections, repairs, maintenance, and DIY projects.