7 Best Solar Pool Covers in 2020 (Review)
The most demanding electrical consumption in any household is always related to heating. Using heaters for your indoor areas and also for heating water consumes a lot of electricity. Therefore, it has an important impact on your energy bill at the end of the month.
If you own a pool, then you probably like to have tempered water, but by installing a traditional pool heating system, you will spend a lot of money in equipment and installation — not to mention the increased energy costs that you will have to pay for every month. A simple and economical solution to this problem is to install a solar pool cover. Solar pool covers use the sun’s heat to keep water warm and save money on electricity. Furthermore, these pool covers can also be used as a protection to your pool which in combination with solar pool cleaners, will keep the water of your pool free from contamination and bacteria.
In this buying guide, you will find the best solar pool covers in 2020. You will be able to take a look at features, specs, details and also learn valuable tips that will show you how to properly choose a solar pool cover.
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The Best Solar Pool Covers
1. Intex 15ft Solar Pool Cover
Intex 15ft is a Canadian brand focused on delivering home type products such as airbeds, air furniture, and above-ground pool items.
The Intex solar cover is a blanket that retains solar heat inside the pool for a longer period of time. This product is intended for above-ground pools that have a 15ft. diameter and especially for those customers who do not want to install a complex and expensive pool heating system.
The 15 ft round solar pool cover can reduce evaporation of water by 95% which allows keeping water temperatures inside the pool and allows a maximum and efficient use of the water. The pool cover is designed to fit inside the edges of the pool, this allows it to float in place without the need to make any adjustment. Also, an additional advantage of a solar pool cover like this is that you can keep debris and dirt out of the pool always.
Keep in mind that when not in use, the solar pool cover needs to be immediately stored in a shaded area, away from direct sunlight, otherwise the air bubbles could burst.
2. Sun2Solar Blue 16-Foot Round Solar Pool Cover
The Sun2Solar solar pool blanket 1200 series is another excellent choice for using the sun’s energy to heat your swimming pool.
This solar cover for an above ground pool is made of a film of thousands of tiny bubbles that create a bubble wrap that works to collect and retain the heat inside the pool at night and especially during chilly days. The pool cover is designed to keep water from evaporating up to 95% while maintaining a warm temperature. This avoids the need to refill your pool in those hot summer days, reduces chemical loss, and allows you to keep heat trapped inside.
An interesting feature of this solar blanket pool cover is that it can be trimmed to fit any shape or size. All you need to do to provide the right shape is placing the cover on top of the pool and make sure to mark it accurately to fit inside it. However, keep in mind that this pool solar cover has been specially designed for 16 ft round shape pools.
Keep in mind to keep the tiny air bubbles facing down when installing the cover, otherwise, you will lose heat efficiency.
3. Blue Wave NS110 Solar Pool Cover
The Blue Wave NS110 8-mil is an 18 ft round solar pool cover that has been designed with multiple tiny air bubbles that trap the sun’s heat below the blanket to keep water warm up to a pleasant pool temperature of 15°F. This extends your pool swimming season and allows you to save money as well.
The Blue Wave solar pool blanket has been specifically designed for round above-ground pools with an 18 feet diameter and has a dark blue color that ensures heat retention is enhanced. The blanket is rated for UV protection on both sides and can provide many years of coverage. According to the brand, durability and performance of these solar blankets is their main standard.
The round solar pool cover can be easily trimmed to fit the corners and curves of the pool walls properly by using simple household scissors. Moreover, keep in mind that extreme temperatures can also damage or shorten the life of the pool solar blanket, if you detect that the temperature of your pool is raising above 90°F, then you should remove the cover.
4. In The Swim Rectangle Swimming Pool Blanket
In The Swim, a brand especially focused on developing all kinds of tools, items, and equipment for pools brings the 12 Mil thick pool solar cover.
This product has been manufactured using a UV-stabilized resin that guarantees the maximum performance under solar radiation, not only to enhance solar heating efficiency for water temperature increase, but also to ensure the durability of the bubble wrap blanket.
The product is intended mainly to cover rectangle shaped pools that have dimension parameters equal to or lower than 18 x 36 feet. Moreover, the blanket has been designed to raise the pool temperature up to 15°F while at the same time reducing chemical loss by preventing evaporation.
An interesting feature about this 18 ft solar pool cover is that the flat seams of the cover have been reinforced with top quality materials to ensure better wear and tear resistance for everyday performance.
Also, despite that it has been designed specifically for rectangle shape swimming pools, you can also trim or cut the blanket to fit kidney, oval, rounded or any irregular shape pool that fits within the 18 x 36 feet area. Thanks to the properties, quality and performance of this model, it has earned multiple positive solar pool cover reviews.
5. Blue Wave NS520
Another valuable model available from Blue Wave NS520 clear solar blanket. Designed with small tiny air bubbles, this 14 Mil solar blanket can cover your swimming pool and use solar energy to transfer heat to the water and increase the temperature up to 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
The thermal bubbles ensure that the temperature of the pool stays within a pleasant warm value throughout the night and the cloudy days as well. Moreover, this solar blanket cover has been specifically designed to fit an inground pool and it is able to resist constant ultraviolet radiation as well as pool chemicals — without getting damaged or deteriorated over time.
The pool cover also has a clear light color design that allows more light and heat to pass through the plastic.
Among other things, the solar cover for an inground pool should be used for rectangular shaped pools that have dimensions similar to 16 x 32 feet. This cover is also made of a polymer-based material. Keep in mind that you should remove the cover in case that temperature of the pool exceeds 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, you must remove the cover when the swimming season ends; the cover is not intended to withstand winter temperatures.
6. Thermo-Tex 2831632
The Thermo-Tex 2831632 solar pool cover is another product intended to keep the sun’s heat trapped inside the pool that is expected to extend your swimming season by up to 2 months. These products are made of high-quality UV stabilized polymer materials that are designed to withstand many hours under direct sunlight without receiving any damage or getting deteriorated over time.
This 16 ft solar pool cover is mainly intended for a rectangular-shaped inground swimming pool.
7. Thermo-Tex 2831224
Another option is the Thermo-Tex 2831224 12’ x 24’ rectangle solar cover. Designed with a light blue color, the cover traps the heat from the sun inside the swimming pool to make the best and most efficient use of solar energy. Similar to other products, the blanket cover uses small air bubbles that when placed facing the water, they can retain heat inside and transfer it to the water.
The 12 ft solar pool cover is also designed with a UV protection and a polymer material that is also resistant to chemicals contained inside any pool. Among other things, the blanket cover has a 6-Mil thickness that is thinner than other regular bubble covers, which makes it extremely lightweight and easy to handle when compared to other similar products.
How to Choose a Solar Pool Cover – 3 Key Things to Make Sure Of
Size of your pool
One of the first details that you must look into when selecting swimming pool solar covers is related to the size and dimensions of the product. Here, you must also consider what is the shape of your pool. Typical configurations are rectangle, round, oval and kidney-shaped swimming pools.
According to the configuration, you must verify that the pool cover has been designed for your specific shape. Some pool covers will have a rectangular shape, but you may adjust or fit the bubble wrap to the size of the pool. The best way to measure this would be to check the size of your pool (if you don’t know it, you would need to go and measure with tape) and then calculate if that particular pool shape and size would be able to fit within the rectangle bubble wrap. For instance, a 15 ft solar pool cover may be used to fit a 10 ft round pool (depending on width), while a 10 ft solar pool cover may be too short to be trimmed. Keep in mind to always leave around 4” extra to trim the cover.
Keep in mind that the reference values for parameter sizing are:
Rectangle: Width x large
Oval: Minor axis x major axis
Kidney: Large, shallow end and the deep end
Another factor that must be considered is the color of the pool cover. Some pool covers are designed with a transparent layer that allows more light and energy to pass through the cover to the water, this means that the heat gain is higher and therefore, water gets warmer faster.
The bad side of a clear transparent cover is that it absorbs less heat, which means that the cover would not be able to maintain heat as much as a darker color cover would. Besides, since almost all UV radiation is allowed to pass through the cover, the chemical loss is higher and also customers say that clear covers are not as aesthetic as blue ones.
The other two options are a light blue or a dark blue solar pool cover. The light blue cover will do a better work trapping the heat inside and also keeping UV rays out (which reduces chemical losses), however, the downside is that it will block out some of the heat. Meanwhile, dark blue covers are the best ones to trap heat inside, but the heat gain can be as low as half when compared to clear solar blankets.
In a few words, a transparent cover is best for heat gain (warming water faster), while a dark blue cover is best for trapping heat inside. Finally, a light blue color solar blanket is probably the best balance between them.
Another useful parameter to consider is the thickness of the solar pool cover. Thickness can be usually found between 8 Mil, 12 Mil, 14 Mil and up to 16 Mil. When evaluating performance, a thinner solar blanket cover allows heat to pass through to the water more easily, however, it does not trap heat as efficiently. A thicker solar cover will trap heat more efficiently inside but will heat the pool at a slower rate than a clear one would. The trade-off between these two factors is usually a 12 Mil solar blanket, which is the one that most people use.
What are the Different Types of Solar Pool Blankets?
Solar pool blankets can be classified according to three categories.
The first category would be related to shape. In this aspect, there are rectangular, round, and oval shape covers. If you own a kidney shape cover, you will need to trim a rectangular solar blanket to fit the size of your pool.
The second category is related to color type. As we discussed in the section above, there are three color types: clear, light blue and dark blue. The darker the color, the better it will be for heat retention, while the lighter, the better it will be for heat absorption. If you intend to use the blanket during the night, then it would be best to use a darker color one, while if you intend to use it during the day, then use a clear transparent one.
Finally, the third category is the type of pool that is designed for. It can either be for in-ground or above-ground pools.
How Much Warmer Will Your Swimming Pool Be?
Average pool covers can raise the temperature up to 15 additional degrees Fahrenheit than what the temperature of the pool would be without the blanket. This is dependent on the solar radiation of your location and season. Using a clear solar blanket in a cloudy location will not raise temperature as efficiently and will not keep the water warm. In that case, using darker models may be better.
If you still want to raise temperature values with an eco-friendly solution, then combining solar pool covers with solar pool heaters is probably the most environmentally and economically attractive option.
How to Make Sure the Cover Doesn’t Get Damaged in Bad Weather
The solar cover is just a simple polymer material blanket designed to trap the heat of the sun inside the pool, so in bad weather conditions, you should take care of it. To get started, when the swimming season is over, simply remove and store the pool cover inside a cool temperature place which temperature does not exceed 120°F. Pool covers are not designed for low temperature and snow conditions during the winter season.
For the colder months, you will need a winter cover for the pool. Under bad weather conditions such as storms, you must remove the cover and store it in a dry but cool place. Among other maintenance considerations, keep in mind that when you remove the cover you need to avoid or remove any nearby sharp points. Also, the blanket is not designed to be placed under the sun for long periods of time without water beneath it, therefore is better that you place it under the shade when it’s not on the water.