Last Updated on January 29, 2023
Nowadays, we have access to effective and eco-friendly solar pool heaters that will keep your pool water feeling pleasant, not just during swimming season, but all year round without the heating costs burning a hole in your pocket with high energy bills.
We all love to take a dip in the pool to unwind and relax, but it can be hard to find enough time during the day to enjoy your pool when you’re working. Luckily, solar heaters were invented to heat your pool water so that you can swim any time of the day or night!
What Are Solar Pool Heaters?
A solar pool heater is a device that heats your swimming pool using the sun’s rays. It does this by absorbing heat from the sun and transferring it to your water through a process called convection. This means it doesn’t need any electricity or gas to do its job but will typically use some form of power for circulation with the help of your existing pool pump.
The pool water passes through your solar heating system and it goes back to your swimming pool warm.
What to Consider When Choosing A Solar Pool Heater
As pool owners, it’s important to be mindful of the energy costs associated with running your pool all summer long. One way you can save money and reduce your impact on the environment is by choosing a solar pool heater. There are many different types available in stores today but before you make a decision, consider these factors:
Every pool owner has a different heating system for their pool and it’s important to know what size your pool is before ordering a heater. One of the most common mistakes that people make when they buy a new heater is not considering the size of their pool or how long it takes to heat up, which can lead them to spend unnecessary money on an inefficient system.
Pool owners should consider the location of their pool since this can have a huge impact on how much energy it takes to heat it. The best location for solar pool heating systems is a south-facing roof or flat area as they provide the most sun exposure during the day. North-oriented racks should not be considered, but west or east orientation is preferred in the northern hemisphere.
When installing a solar pool heating system it is important to determine what location will work well with your house and the type of installation you desire (roof-mounted vs ground-mounted). The efficiency of this kind of system depends on how much sunlight can be collected during different times throughout each day so choosing an appropriate location is crucial!
The speed at which the water circulates through the panels must not exceed what these solar-powered devices are designed for. Solar pool heaters will not work properly if the water flows too fast through them. The heat from the sun won’t have enough time to be absorbed by your pool water and you’ll end up with an unheated swimming area.
Let’s consider a solar pool heater that is 2 feet by 10 feet as an example, this solar panel works well at 1.5 gallons per minute. If you have a 30-panel solar heating setup, you only need your pool pump to bring about 45 gallons per minute for the system to work at its best.
How Many Solar Panels Do I Need For My Pool?
Homeowners should always consider a solar collector that is the full size of their pool, or larger if they want to keep it open throughout the year.
You can increase this number depending on how warm you prefer your water to be and how many months out of a whole year you plan to use your swimming pool.
For example, if a pool is 20 feet wide and 30 feet long, it has 600 square feet of surface area. Therefore, the total surface area covered by your solar panels should be at least 600 square feet.
For those living in warmer regions, you can go by with just 50% to 80% of your pool’s total surface area for your solar collector.
Pro Tip: To make your solar heating system more efficient, you should use black PVC pipes and fittings for your plumbing system.
5 Best Solar Pool Heaters
Believe it or not, the number one question I get from pool owners is what kind of solar heaters are best for their pools. With so many types and brands on the market, choosing among the available options becomes such a daunting task.
But don’t worry! That’s why we’re here to help you find the perfect heater for your needs.
1. SunQuest 6-2X12 Solar Swimming Pool Heater Complete System with Roof Kits
- SOLAR POOL HEATER: SunQuest pool heating system is easy to install and works with your existing swimming pool pump. The pump sends cold water to the solar panels. The sun's warm rays heat up the...
- EFFICIENT HEAT DESIGN: Our solar pool heater for inground pools and above ground pools features 2-inch OD headers giving you max water flow. Increased water circulation means your swimming pool will...
- DURABLE & RELIABLE SYSTEM: Extend your swimming season with our solar powered heat panels. Enjoy a lifetime of warm water with the high performing swimming pool heater. The black pool solar cover is...
- MAINTENANCE-FREE: Once properly installed, our solar powered heat panels require little to no upkeep going forward. Routine rubber hose maintenance is needed to ensure proper water circulation to the...
Our choice for the best solar pool heater is the SunQuest Solar Pool Heater System. It can be used on inground and above ground swimming pools. They will increase water temperature by up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit, which is perfect if you live in cooler climates or just want a warmer pool!
The solar panel design also allows more efficient circulation of the heated water so it isn’t wasted on heating only one section of your pool at a time. It’s equipped with a check valve to ensure that you get the maximum water flow for improved heating.
2. SwimEasy DIY Solar Pool Heater System Kit
- TOP-TIER MANUFACTURING - State-of-the-art manufacturing and special additives enable SwimEasy to withstand your roof's harsh conditions, in all types of weather, for up to 15-20 years!
- QUALITY FROM START TO FINISH - Made in USA from high-grade materials. SwimEasy solar panels are put up against more than 40 quality control inspections throughout the manufacturing process to ensure...
- HIGHEST PERFORMING DESIGN – SwimEasy solar panels are among the highest performing panels on the market. Each panel features 8 thermally welded collector plates with a direct, metered manifold that...
- PROVEN RELIABILITY - SwimEasy panels are used by industry leading installers around the world due to performance and reliability. Save thousands of dollars on the same panels with our easy to install...
SwimEasy solar heaters are great if you want to enjoy swimming in a heated pool year-round. Their newest innovation is an affordable kit that can cover any size inground or above ground swimming pool to keep it warm with minimal effort!
Manufactured from high-grade materials proven to last in all types of weather, these kits can withstand the harsh conditions that surround a rooftop.
The best thing about this kit is it comes in various sizes. You can choose between 4 feet by 10 feet and 4 feet by 12 feet solar panels. One of their kits can cover 160 square feet which is enough for most small to medium-sized pools or you can go with their larger versions that can cover up to 480 square feet.
3. Smart Pool S601 Pool Solar Heaters
- Keep your pool warm with a polypropylene heat collector. Direct Flow System - One Header Hole for Each Heating Tube
- Solar heater features 80 square feet of solar panels
- Pool accessory is perfect for heating any in-ground swimming pool
- Panel array measures 4 feet wide x 20 feet long. Raises Pool Water Temperature 6-10°F (4-6°C)
The Smartpool Solar Heater will increase your pool’s heat by 10 to 15 degrees within 24 hours. The panels are large enough to efficiently collect the sun’s energy to warm up your swimming pool.
This heating system’s interchangeable connectors make it a great solar heater for inground pools and above ground pools. The direct flow system also helps in keeping your solar heating system running smoothly.
4. GAME 4714 SolarPro Contour Solar Pool Heater
- For pools up to 10,000 gallons, Solar Dome Heater creates "Green House" effect to increase heat transfer;No electric or gas connections
- Water Capacity 1.5 gallon. Heats 5 degrees Fahrenheit in 6 days.
- 1.5 HP Pump, upto 19 GPM flow rate
- Injection molded, foldable legs
If the design of your new purchase matters just as much to you as its construction and durability, then perhaps this GAME 4714 SolarPro is the right choice for you.
This solar panel heats the water quickly while reducing your carbon footprint with its energy-efficient design that includes curling tubes to collect more heat from sunlight in less time than other models.
This specific model only works with above ground pools and is the perfect solar pool heater for Intex pool owners.
5. Doheny’s Solar Heating Systems
- SOLAR DOME POOL HEATING SOLAR SYSTEM: Easy to install with NO gas or electric connections! Heat your pool water the GREEN way using solar energy. Add weeks to your season with free energy from the...
- ABOVE GROUND SOLAR HEATING PANEL SYSTEMS: These energy and money saving solar pool systems collect the sun's rays, warming the water that circulates through the panels channels and returns it to the...
- SOLAR PANEL COLLECTOR KIT CONFIGURATIONS AVAILABLE IN THE FOLLOWING SIZES: 2.5' W x 20' L; 5' W x 20' L (Comes as (2) 2.5' W x 20' L Panels); and 5' W x 10' L (Comes as (2) 2.5' W x 10' L Panels)....
- ABOVE GROUND ROOF/RACK MOUNTING KITS include all hardware necessary for mounting panels on roofs or sheets of plywood that will be installed on a slope (as shown in image). Kit includes (5) 6' straps,...
Don’t let your pool water get cold when the weather cools off. Keep it warm with Doheny’s Space Saver Collector. It heats a large area of water in just one hour and can maintain those temperatures on its own, so you’ll save money by not heating the whole thing all day long.
You also can install this collector without professional help thanks to its user-friendly design that makes installation super easy- no need to worry about any complex wiring or drilling holes into your wall!
Final Thoughts About Solar Pool Heating System
If you’re considering installing a solar pool heater for your swimming pool, it’s important to do your research before making the decision. Many people don’t know how they work or what they need to install one properly, we are hoping that this buying guide of ours has been helpful.
Solar heating can save money on gas or electric bills which makes this option appealing but you must get your set up right to enjoy its benefits.