Make the most out of your swimming pool by getting the best pool heater for your money. Pools aren’t cheap and it only makes sense to get the most out of them. By simply adding a pool heater you can get a couple extra months out of your swimming pool. A few extra weeks in the spring and a few extra weeks in the fall adds up to a lot of extra fun! That extended swim time can really make your pool worth the cost.
Above ground swimming pools, In-ground pools, and even hot tubs can benefit from the use of a pool heater. Choosing the right one can make a world of difference in cost and efficiency so read over our reviews on the different types to help you make the right decision.
Different Types of Pool Heaters
As with everything else even pool heaters come in different styles and types, however we narrowed it down to the top 4 best pool heater types. Starting with Solar pool heaters, Electric pool heaters, Electric Pool Heat Pumps, and even Natural & Propane Gas Pool Heaters
Solar Pool Heater
Solar Pool Heaters are by far some of the best eco-friendly pool heaters you can buy. As Solar pool heaters operate by harnessing the energy of the sun into solar panels. The pool water moves through the solar panels as the sun heats up the water before returning to the pool. Solar pool heaters can be cheap or costly depending on which type and size you go with.
Being one of the best pool heaters, a few pros to the solar pool heaters are the fact that they are eco-friendly. For the most part they are pretty easy to set up and very little maintenance is required. There’s no monthly operating costs which is a big bonus. As far as costs go solar pool heaters can cost very little or be pretty expensive.
A few cons to solar pool heaters is that they do require the sun to work and can be slow working compared to some of the other pool heater types. Due in part because solar pool heaters need the sun so they only work during the day and therefore are inconsistent. As mentioned in the pros, the cost can be considered a con as well if you are looking at the more expensive type.
Fafco Above Ground Solar Bear Solar Heating System
The Fafco Above Ground Solar Bear Solar Heating System is for mid to large size above ground pools. It’s not a cheap system by any means but you can order it in sections based on your pools size. According to the specs, it’s supposed to be able to warm your water up to an additional 10 degrees.
One of the neat aspects of the Fafco Above Ground Solar Heating System is that you can lean it up against the back of your pool, on your roof, or flat on the ground. One thing to keep in mind is that you want it exposed to as much sunlight as possible for maximum heat. They come as a 4 by 20 kit and claims that each panel produces 80,000 BTU.
Customer feedback for the Fafco Above Ground Solar Heating System has been extremely positive with some rating it the best pool heater. Comments state: Working as advertised, affordably priced, would recommend to friends. One customer even gave it a good rating even though he needed to buy some extra parts to customize it to fit his pool.
Smartpool WWS601P Sunheater Solar Pool Heater For In-Ground Pools
The Smartpool WWS601P Sunheater Solar Pool Heater is for in-ground pools, some have also used it for above ground pools. It works similar to the Fafco Above Ground Solar Heating System and costs a little less. One thing to keep in mind is that even though it’s cheaper it doesn’t include an installation kit which can cost upwards of $50.
The system heats your pool with a polypropylene heat collector and 80 square feet of solar panels. Each solar panel is 4 ft wide by 20 feet long.
Customer feedback for the Smartpool WWS601P Sunheater Solar Pool Heater is one of the reasons we added it to our list. A lot of customers really liked this product. Commenting on how easy it was to install and how well it heats the pool water. While it may not be the best pool heater, it’s up there. If you plan to use this with an above ground pool you will want to make sure you get the correct pipe fittings. Another thing to check for with above ground pool use is that the pump has enough power.
GHP 48″ x 20′ 80 Sq Ft In-ground / Above Ground Pool Solar Panel Pool Heater
Global House Products Solar Panel Pool Heater works for both in-ground and above ground pools. If you are looking for a simple and affordable way to heat your pool the GHP Solar Panel Pool Heater is well worth looking at. It’s got a quick connection designed for easy assembly and works with most pool pumps. With a pool water temperature increase of 11 to 15 degrees it can really extend the use of your pool.
Comes in 2 rolls of 24 inch by 20 feet long (40 sq. ft.) along with other fittings and an installation manual.
Customer feedback for the Global House Products Solar Panel Pool Heater is limited yet useful. One customer stating it’s well made and a good performing solar heater. Another received his in a twisted condition which could have been a shipping or packaging issue other than something being wrong with the heater.
Intex Solar Heater Mat For Above Ground Swimming Pools
The Intex Solar Heater Mat is the smallest of the solar heaters but it’s also designed for smaller above ground pools. Did I mention that it’s also one of the Best Sellers on Amazon? The Intex Solar Heater can only heat up pool water a few degrees, from 5 to 9 degrees, depending on weather conditions. While it may be the smallest, it’s also one of the most affordable and it’s very Eco friendly.
It’s only designed for above ground pools up to 8000 gallons of water. A simple hook up that’s compatible with filter pumps up to 1/2 hp or pump flow rate less than 2500 gallons per hour.
The Intex Solar Heater Mat got a lot of customer feedback and it’s a pretty mixed bag of positives and negatives. Most of the positive feed back came from those with smaller pools than the maximum recommended pool and it worked perfectly. A lot of the negatives came from it not having pool quality parts. At the extremely low cost of this solar pool heater, if you have a small above ground pool it’s well worth the investment. Again, this may not be the best pool heater, but it’s well worth mentioning.
Electric Pool Heater
Our next category of pool heaters is Electric Pool Heaters. As the name implies electric pool heaters run off of electricity and can basically heat your pool year round. Electric pool heaters not only run day and night but heat up pool water the fastest of all the heaters. On the down side because they use electricity, it can run up the power bill costing you money each time you run it. There are energy efficient models but obviously it’s nothing compared to solar heaters. The electric pool heaters are without a doubt the most expensive, but they can be well worth the money if you want a longer pool season.
Ecosmart US Smart POOL 27 Electric Pool Heater
The Ecosmart US Smart POOL 27 Electric Pool Heater is a tank-less water heater and is very compact which is one of the coolest features about this heater. It’s designed for an in-ground pool but should work on an above ground pool as well. Ecosmart rates their Smart Pool 27 Electric Pool Heater to work with pools around the 15,000 gallons mark.
The Smart Pool Electric Pool heater is flow activated, you can also use a specially designed Remote Control. You can also digitally set the temperature by increments of one degree. With this heater giving you 92,000 BTU’s, you’ll get between 5 to 10 degrees rise in the water temperature. The pump doubles as a booster to the heat pump or can be used as a main pump if needed.
A lot of positive feed back on the Ecosmart US Smart Pool 27 Electric Pool Heater has been about the size of the unit. Being small and compact allows you to place the unit in places you couldn’t fit some of the other pool heaters. Some of the negative feed back was based on faulty wiring which may or may not have been the pool heater.
OrangeA Pool Heater Electric 11KW 220V Spa Heater Electric Heating and Thermostat Pool Heat Pump
The OrangeA Pool Heater is for those smaller pools, hot tubs, & spas. They can be used as auxiliary equipment for hot pumps as well and includes an Intelligent self-diagnose function. As safety for their customers is top priority.
The self-diagnose monitors all the parts in the heater and displays an error notice on the panel to inform the user or tech about any problems. If the system finds something not functioning properly it shuts the system down immediately. That’s a really nice feature and can help prevent electrical fires.
Software is used to control the flow temperature sensor that allow exact temperature status of the entire system. You can also use the software to maintain the water temperature.
Unfortunately there wasn’t a lot of customer feedback on this product at this time. If you have purchased one of these heaters and would like to give us some feed back, please comment below.
Electric Pool Heat Pump
The electric pool heat pumps are another form of pool heaters that are similar to the electric heaters. Electric pool heat pumps use electricity along with air or water. While they don’t cost as much to run on a monthly basis, they also don’t heat as fast as their electric only counter parts. One thing’s for sure, these types of heat pumps normally last a lot longer, as much as 15 to 20 years. Due to the cost, this heater may be better suited for in-ground pools.
Hayward HP21104T HeatPro Titanium 110,000 BTU AHRI Residential Pool Heat Pump
The Hayward HP21104T HeatPro Titanium Residential Pool Heat Pump is a high efficiency pool heater. It’s a lot safer and more reliable than electric heaters. It offers a digital LED control panel that makes it easy to read and interpret diagnostic codes. If you are looking for that perfect water temperature that is constantly maintained, this heater is for you. By using it’s precision electronic temp control your water will always be the temperature you set it at.
It’s true this Hayward Pool heat pump is energy efficient using 80% less energy than natural gas heaters, yet not as efficient as solar heaters. How does it work? Well it saves energy by using the heat in the air to warm the water. This unit features an acoustic compressor cover and a profiled fan blade that keeps the heater running quiet and efficient. It also has a heat exchange made of titanium to maximize reliable heat transfer.
Even with the high cost this pool heater comes highly recommended. Customers enjoy the easy installs and consistent ability to efficiently and continuously keep their pools heated. What little negative feed back we found was about defective parts and after speaking with customer service, those ended positively.
Hayward HP50TA Residential Pool Heat Pump Titanium 50,000 BTU AHRI
The Hayward HP50TA Residential Pool Heat Pump is a smaller version of the HP21104T HeatPro. Instead of 110,000 BTU it uses 50,000 BTU to heat the pool water. Does that make it any less of a heater? No. When selecting these types of pool heaters you want to make sure you get the one that’s right for your size pool.
The HP50TA is obviously designed for smaller pools, even above ground pools. Like it’s more powerful model, this model isn’t cheap either, but most times, you get what you pay for.
Natural & Propane Gas Heaters
The last type of pool heater we’re going to mention is the natural gas heaters. These are normally the most expensive monthly heaters but that really depends on the ever changing price of natural gas and propane. Natural gas pool heaters also require professional installation which can range in price. Cost is determined by the amount of BTU’s, the higher the BTU’s the higher the cost.
Hayward H500FDN Universal H-Series Low NOx 500,000 BTU Natural Gas Residential Pool and Spa Heater
One thing’s for sure, Hayward knows how to make pool heaters. This Universal H-Series 500,000 BTU is one of the top rated best selling Natural Gas Pool Heaters. Built to last, this heater is crafted with a standard Cupro Nickel heat exchanger for top quality performance. Has a light weight design and modern low profile appearance that doesn’t take up a lot of space.
This Universal H-Series heater features industry leading hydraulic performance that saves energy. Reduced pump circulation run time, and an intuitive easy to read digital LED control panel are just a few of the features offered on this pool heater. Environmentally friendly with low NOx emissions that meet and exceed all air quality emission standards.
Things To Know Before Buying A Pool Heater
Buying a pool heater can be just as big of a task as buying a pool and with that in mind, here are some things you should know before investing in a pool heater.
What size pool heater to get?
As you saw in the content above, BTU’s, which stands for British Thermal Units, is what you need to size your pool heater by. The higher the BTU’s the faster the water heats up, however too fast can over use the heater and too low of BTUs might not heat the water. Use the surface area of your pool and the number of gallons of water the pool holds to figure out how many BTUs you need.
How long should it take to heat a pool?
Heating a pool can take some time, however, how much time depends on a number of factors. Solar heaters are the slowest but can save you the most money, while Electric heaters are the fastest but cost the most. The size and shape of your pool is also an important factor you need to consider.
Does the pools size and shape matter?
Yes. As mentioned above, shape and size matters. The larger the pool, the stronger the heater you’ll need. Oddly shaped pools can also affect the length of time it takes to heat.
Is a pool heater required?
Obviously, pool heaters aren’t required but depending on where you live, they can be very useful. The biggest reason to have a pool heater is to extend the usefulness of your pool. Getting an extra month or two pool use really adds more value to the pool!
Weather conditions & place of residence
Let’s say you live where the weather is always hot or warm, in that case you might not need a pool heater at all. On the other hand, if you live in the North, you would want a powerful heater. Or perhaps you live where it’s always cloudy and rainy, in which case, you wouldn’t want a solar heater. These are all things to consider when purchasing a pool heater, including your budget.
How much do you plan to spend on a pool heater?
Pool heaters can be cheap and easy to install, or they can be expensive and costly to install, and maintain. Deciding on a budget should be one of the first steps you need to make. Each pool heater type can vary in price from high to low, and don’t forget those monthly expenses for electric & gas heaters.
Above Ground Pool or In-Ground Pool?
Just because a pool heater will work with an In-Ground pool doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for an above ground pool. Having a pool heater that is too strong for a smaller pool can burn out the heater by causing it to turn on and off too frequently. Be sure to do your homework before making that decision.
Ultimately deciding what type of pool heater to get comes down to the type and size of pool, how much you plan to spend, and the area you live in. How much is it worth to you and how much you think you would use it are also considerations. Buying a pool heater can be a big investment or a waste of time, so plan ahead and shop around!