Taking a quick dip into the pool on a hot summer’s day can be a refreshing way to end any day, but that experience can sometimes be lessened by the fact that sometimes the pool’s water is a bit too cold. This is especially true at the beginning or the end of the swimming season. And this can result in the pool owner looking for ways to keep their pool just the right temperature.

One way that homeowners can ensure that their pool is the perfect temperature all through the season is by purchasing a solar pool heater. These heaters do a great job of harnessing the power of the sun to keep the pool at the perfect temperature. This allows the homeowner to get more use out of their pool without spending extra money on electricity. Let’s look at ten models and see which ones will are the best.

Best Solar Pool Heaters

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10Smart Pool In-Ground Pool Heaters


This is one of the best solar pool heaters available because it’s not only easy to install but can raise a pool’s temperature by 6 to 10-degrees Fahrenheit in a little under a week’s time. It’s capable of accomplishing this features because it’s 4×20-foot panel array is capable of capturing more of the sun’s radiant energy than comparable solar heaters. This system has 80 square feet of surface area, so it can grab more of the available sunlight. Although this unit doesn’t come with an installation kit, once that’s been acquired, it’s still pretty easy for just about anyone to install.

9Smart Pool Universal Sun Heater


This 4×20-foot pool heating system is made out of polypropylene that’s designed to capture as much sunlight as possible and use it to raise the temperature of just about any pool. Since this system uses a Direct Flow System that allows one header hole for each of the tubes, it’s able to heat up the water quickly and easily. For convenience, this model comes with steel hose clamps, end caps, a rubber connector hose, and even Teflon tape. The most important thing about this system, however, isn’t just its ease of installation but the fact that it can raise pool temperatures by up to 10-degrees.

8Fafco Solar Bar Above-Ground Pool Heating System


At first glance, this heater may not look impressive, but it does do a great job at warming most compatible pools. This system includes a 20-foot by a 4-foot solar collector, a couple of hoses, a bypass valve, clamps and all the other hardware needed for its proper installation. Once fully installed and tilted up to 30-degrees to the South, this heater can raise a pool’s temperature by up to 5-degrees in just a week. And because the system is made from UV stabilized polyethylene, it will hold up to use year after year. Now anyone can enjoy warmer pool water.

7Game Solar Pro Contoured Heater


Of all of the domed heaters, this model is designed to be one of the largest ones available. And it does, in fact, do a great job of raising a pool’s water temperature. This model can raise the average temperature of a compatible pool by up to 5-degrees Fahrenheit in just under a week. It’s a heater that’s injection molded, has foldable legs, and is easy to set up for most Bestway or Intex swimming pools. If this unit is used with a 1.5-HP pool pump, then this model is able to be used without even having to use a bypass. And this allows the homeowner to easily heat their pool without a whole lot of fuss.

6Doheny’s Above Ground Pool Heating System


Although many solar pool heaters are designed to raise the temperature of a pool but 3 to 5-degrees, this model is actually capable of raising a pool’s water temperatures by up to 15-degrees. It’s capable of doing this by using two 2.5-foot by 20-foot panels that capture the sun’s rays and focus that energy into the pool’s water. This allows homeowners to significantly raise their pool’s temperature without having to spend money on natural gas, propane, or electricity. And since this kit comes with all of the mounting hardware necessary for installation, this system is easy-to-setup by just about anyone.

5Game Solar Pro Curved Heater System


Although this heating system is specifically designed for Bestway and Intex above-ground or in-ground pools, it’s probably a product that could be used by any pool owner. This unit features a curved shape that allows it to collect more sunlight than flat or domed systems, and it concentrates that sunlight for the best heating results. And it also has adjustable legs that can be set by the user to maximize its sunlight collection. When properly installed, this system will increase the average pool temperature by up to 5-degrees in just 4-days, as long as the pool is 8,000-gallons or less.

4Sun Quest Complete 2×20 System


Every day the sun radiates the Earth with a powerful source of heat, so why not take advantage of that power to warm your pool? Fortunately, the folks at Sun Quest have designed a system that can capture this “free” energy and use it to warm up a homeowners pool. This product is designed to be easily installed and can usually be accomplished as a DIY project by most pool owners. Once installed, this system uses 2-inch headers to better circulate pool water, which increases this unit’s efficiency and reduces the stress placed upon the user’s pump by back pressure. All of which makes this a system that some pool owners may want to investigate.

3Sun 2 Solar Ground Mounted Solar Panel System


This system is designed to adequately capture the power of the sun to keep the homeowner’s pool nice and warm, even on cooler days. It’s composed of two 20-foot long and 2-foot wide panels that are made of black polyolefin and has a neat tube construction that increases the unit’s overall surface area. With a greater surface area, this system can not only warm more pool water at one time, but it can do it quicker. And if the pool owner needs even more heating power than what this system provides, then they can connect additional panels using a rubber hose connector.

2Flow Xtreme Flat-Panel Heater


When using this product, one of the first things any pool owner is going to notice is the size and shape of this heater. It has a flat-panel structure that’s approximately 41-inches long and 28.8-inches wide, so it has some surface area to soak up the rays of the sun. This unique shape allows it to absorb up to 40% more sunlight per heating cycle than comparable size heaters. The next thing worth mentioning about this product is that it’s easy to install using only standard fittings and is designed to be attached to the pool’s filter and pump system.

1Flow Xtreme 21-Inch Dome Heater


Although this product may be a bit odd looking thanks to its domed design, it’s actually an easy-to-use solar pool heater that really gets the job done in a pinch. It hooks up to the pool pump and filter system using standard fittings, and it’s dome shape easily captures the power of the sun and magnifies it through its housing. This allows it to slowly raise the temperature of the pool, especially on sunny days. And if extra pool heating is required, the user can install another one of these units to work in tandem with the one they’ve already installed.

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A Guide To Solar Pool Heaters

Getting into cold pool water can be a shock to the system—even during the hot months of summer. What’s even more of a shock to the system, however, is having to pay a large electric bill to keep the pool at a nice even temperature. It can make even the most dedicated pool owner want to shut down their pool permanently and look for another summer activity. Fortunately, no one has to do that because there is another option available.

More and more people are beginning to use solar heaters in their pools, and there’s a good reason why. It’s because these heaters use the power of the sun to keep pool water at a perfect temperature, even after most people’s swim season has officially ended. And it does it without driving up the pool owner’s electric bill or creating a huge carbon footprint. It’s a green solution that many people are going to want to check out for themselves.

Unfortunately, some people still have transitioned their pools to solar heaters because they either don’t understand how to get started or have misconceptions about the process. We want to correct that and help more people enjoy solar heating for their pool, so we decided to write this guide. It’s our earnest hope that this guide will help everyone become more comfortable with the technology and purchase a solar heater for their pool.

The Pros & Cons Of Solar Pool Heaters

Since we want all of our readers to be happy with whatever pool heating system they buy, we thought that we would start things off with the pros and cons of these solar heaters. Even the best solar pool heaters might not be right for every pool owner, and some people may want to opt for a gas or an electric heater that suits their needs more. To help our readers determine whether a solar heater is right for their pool, we’ve listed the following pros and cons to help guide them. After they consider these pros and cons and decide they want a solar heater, then they can read the rest of our guide to find out everything about them.


  • They are almost free to operate
  • They’re very eco-friendly
  • They work well in warmer climates
  • They can last up to 20-years


  • They need a lot of direct sunlight
  • Can be expensive to set up at first
  • Can take up a lot of space

How Do Solar Pool Heaters Operate?

Although there are slight differences between solar pool heater models, most of them operate in very much the same way. They work by using solar collectors to warm pool water as it’s being pumped back into the pool. How effectively the heater heats a pool depends on a variety of factors such as the amount of sunlight the collectors receive and what kind of system the pool owner has, but as a general rule, most solar heaters can raise a pool’s temperature by anywhere from 5 to 10-degrees. These systems work especially well in warmer climates that get a lot of sunlight, but they also do a pretty good job in colder climates and can help the pool owner keep their pool open longer than they ordinarily would have been able to.

The Main Types Of Solar Pool Heaters

When it comes to these types of heaters, consumers have two choices available for them. They can buy a Non-Glazed Heating System or a Glazed Heating System. What’s the difference between these two models? The main difference is that non-glazed systems are cheaper, have fewer parts and don’t have glass-covered collectors. They’re usually made from a high-quality rubber that can stand up to years of use. Glazed models are more expensive than their non-glazed counterparts because they’re made with copper tubing, aluminum plates, and glass-covered collectors. Glazed models usually are harder to install as well, but they are capable of heating more efficiently than glazed heaters.

How Much Space Do Solar Pool Heaters Need?

As most people probably already realize, one of the main drawbacks of using one of these solar heaters for a pool is that they require quite a bit of space. Although electric and propane heaters only need a little bit of space for their heaters, solar heating systems require a whole lot more. How much space does a solar pool heater need? Well, as a general rule, usually the surface area of these heaters require about 75%-80% of the surface area of the pool. However, if the pool owner wants their pool heated all year round, then they’re going to need a solar collector that’s at least as big as their pool.

For example, let’s take the most popular size pool, the 16×32-foot rectangular pool, and see how many square feet of solar collectors are needed to heat this pool in both northern and southern climates. Up north, the pool owner is only going to use the pool 6-months of the year, so they’re going to need a collector that’s approximately 3/4 the size of their pool. So we take the dimensions of the pool (16×32=512 square feet) and then multiply it by 0.75 to get 384 square feet. That’s the square footage of solar collectors required to heat the pool during the swim season. Now, let’s talk about a pool in a southern climate. That pool will operate all-year-round, so the pool owner is going to need a collector that’s as large as their 16×32-foot pool, so they will need 512 square feet of solar collectors.

Another thing for pool owners to consider is that they are either going to need a larger pump or to buy an additional pump for their solar pool heater. That’s because these systems require that water be pumped through the solar collectors to be warmed before they’re pumped into the pool. So pool owners should make sure that either their pump is up to the task if they aren’t will to buy an additional pump.

One Final Thought

As can be seen, these solar pool heaters are great for keeping a pool nice and warm. These devices are great ways for consumers to extend their summer swim season, so they can get more use out of their pool. If the consumers buy the best model available and install it correctly, it will keep their pool nice and warm for many years to come.