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Inspiring Ideas for Modern Home

8 Best Solar Pool Heaters of 2024 [Buyer’s Guide]

If you have a pool at home, you surely love all those refreshing and fun-filled swimming sessions.

Warm swimming pool with blue water and wooden Russian bath in sunny winter weather, outdoor.

But the problem starts when the cold winds begin to blow. Although using gas or electric pool heaters does give you warm pool water, it also means spending a lot on gas or power bills. As such, many of you might choose to wait for next summer.

However, bringing a solar pool heater at home would put an end to all such problems. It would give you the warm water that you desire and will also save valuable energy and money.

Now, there are hundreds of options available out there, which makes it difficult to choose the ideal one. But you need not worry anymore, as we make the task easier for you by presenting this comprehensive list of the 10 best solar pool heaters to consider.

So, without any further ado, let’s dive into the reviews.

Best Solar Pool Heaters

Aerial view of a new autonomous house with solar panels and water heating radiators on the roof and green yard with blue swimming pool.

Whether you have a small above-ground pool or a large in-ground one, here's the list of the 8 best Solar Pool Heaters that will transform your swimming experience and maximize your pool's enjoyment potential.

  1. GAME 4721-BB SolarPRO Curve Solar Pool Heater - Best Compact Design

If you are on the lookout for a solar pool heater with a compact design, this model will be an ideal choice. It also uses smart technology that enables efficient performance, making your pool water just as warm as you want it to be. Note that this pool heater can be used for above-ground as well as in-ground swimming pools.

GAME 4721-BB SolarPRO Curve Solar Pool Heater, Made for...
  • SOLAR POOL HEATER: The GAME SolarPRO Curve Solar Pool Heater...
  • DURABLE CONSTRUCTION: We’ve designed this above-ground...

Why Did We Like It?

To begin with, we found the unique curved shape of this swimming pool heater to be its most significant feature. That’s because this specially engineered design helps to maximize heat collection to provide you with the ideal warmth and comfort in the pool. Plus, this model comes with treaded ports that offer versatile plumbing options.

You will also like its foldable and adjustable legs that can be set up easily to provide maximum exposure to sunlight. Besides, there is a clear cover that helps to lock in the heat absorbed.

Another great benefit of using this heater is that it works by gradually increasing the temperature of the water by a few degrees. It is designed to offer a temperature rise of 5 degrees in 4 days. As such, you get an extended pool season and great heat output while saving considerable space.

And in addition to offering such features, the heater is also made from high-quality materials that can comfortably withstand frequent exposure to the sun. This makes it much more long-lasting than most pool heaters on the market. 

What Could’ve Been Better?

We were extremely satisfied with the performance of this product. Although, initially we observed a minor leakage from one of the pipes that connected the heater to the pump. The threads which bound the pipes kept slipping back and thus stopped the gasket from sealing. That said, we could stop the leakage quickly by changing the gasket and attaching it firmly with tape.



Pros

  • Maximizes heat collection
  • Can be set up easily
  • Efficiently locks the heat absorbed
  • Offers long-lasting performance




Cons

  • Pipes connecting the heater to the pump may leak sometimes



Heating Capacity: Up to 8,000 gallons | Panel Size: 2 ft x 20 ft | Max Temp Raised: Up to 5°F | Installation Type: In-Ground or Above Ground | Compatibility: Intex-style fittings
  1. Smartpool S601 Pool Solar Heaters - Best Rapid Heating

The next product in the line is this pool heater from Smartpool, a well-known brand in the solar power industry. It is suitable for heating both in-ground and above-ground pools and gives you great value for your money. Also, note that it acts much faster than many other products available out there.

Smart Pool S601 Inground Pool Solar Heating System, Includes...
  • Keep your pool warm with a polypropylene heat collector....
  • Solar heater features 80 square feet of solar panels

Why Did We Like It?

Featuring solar panels spread across an 80 sq ft area, this model collects solar energy that can quickly increase your pool water temperature by up to 6-10°F. Besides, its polypropylene heat collector offers a durable and advanced performance that keeps your pool warm across all seasons.

The other feature which caught our attention was the set of purpose-built tubes designed to further increase the temperature of the surface receiving solar radiation. Thus, the heating system as a whole offers you the warmest and most comfortable experience in your pool.

Added to this, the heater is designed to make it convenient to handle and much more long-lasting than average products. For instance, the individual sections of the solar panel are attached by interlocking channels to enable greater flexibility. Hence, you can easily place it on surfaces such as a fence. 

What Could’ve Been Better?

Although the product fares quite well in terms of efficiency, we felt that the instructions were not descriptive enough. We couldn’t comprehend some of the steps for installation and had to refer to an online installation guide.



Pros

  • Increases water temperature by 6-10°F
  • Keeps your pool warm throughout all seasons
  • More long-lasting than average products
  • Can be easily placed on surfaces such as a fence




Cons

  • Instructions not descriptive enough



Heating Capacity: Up to 10,000 gallons | Panel Size: 2 ft x 20 ft | Max Temp Raised: 6-10°F | Installation Type: In-Ground | Compatibility: Standard 1.5" or 1.25" fittings
  1. Intex Solar Heater Mat - Best Eco-Friendly Option

Looking for a pool heater that is easier to handle and install than conventional solar panels? Then, this product is the right one for you, as it comes in a compact size and a convenient design. It is perfect for heating up small to medium-sized pools and comes with all essential attachments required for installation.

Intex 28685E 47 Inch x 47 Inch Solar Pool Water Heater Mat...
  • Solar heater mat uses solar technology to increase the...
  • Features an 11-square-foot surface to absorb the sun's rays...

Why Did We Like It?

Firstly, the heating system of this product is built with eco-friendly technology to deliver the desired increase in water temperature in an energy-efficient way. Note that it can warm the water of small to average-sized swimming pools by up to 10°. Also, the pool water is circulated back very quickly, giving you almost instant results.

Further, we really liked how this solar mat was compatible with all Intex pumps, or for that matter, any filter pump having a flow rate of up to 2500 gal/hr. So, you don’t have to be concerned about compatibility issues at all and can be assured of getting the desired warmth with most filter pumps.

Another great feature that we found in this product was its 32 mm hose attachment points, which enable easy and efficient connection. You are also provided by a sturdy bypass valve to make the connection extra secure.

And that’s not all. Besides facilitating easy installation and handling, the compact size of the solar mat makes for space-saving storage during the off-season.  

What Could’ve Been Better?

The product serves the purpose quite well as it gives you the warm water that you desire almost instantly. Although, we didn’t find the thin vinyl material of the solar mat to be durable enough for long-term use. After using it for about a year, you may find some leaks at some points on the surface.



Pros

  • Warms water by up to 10°F
  • Compatible with most filter pumps
  • Bypass valve makes connection extra-secure
  • Facilitates space-saving storage




Cons

  • Material is not durable enough



Heating Capacity: Up to 8,000 gallons | Panel Size: 4 ft x 4 ft | Max Temp Raised: 3-5°F | Installation Type: Above Ground | Compatibility: Intex filter pump system
  1. SunHeater S120U Universal Solar Pool Heater

If you want a cost-effective pool heating solution that can be installed on a wide variety of surfaces, this one from SunHeater is a perfect choice. Also, given its affordable price, it offers an admirable performance that many expensive products can’t compete with. So, let us have a look at its beneficial features in a nutshell.

SunHeater S120U Universal Solar Pool Heater 2 by 20-Feet,...
  • Simple DIY installation; for in ground or above ground pools
  • Installs on roof, rack, ground or fence

Why Did We Like It?

To begin with, we loved the patented web design of this pool heater, which provided maximum exposure to the sun’s rays. It made the pool as warm as we wanted within just two days. Also, note that this model can heat up the pool water by 10°F, which is quite amazing given its affordable price.

Further, even when the weather is rainy or cloudy, you can rest assured that the product will give you warm water within the same duration. And it can also extend your pool season by several weeks.

Lastly, we liked how the heater could be installed within a short time by simply following the well-described instructions that came along with it. Note that you can install it on a variety of surfaces including on racks, fences, roofs, or simply on the ground. 

What Could’ve Been Better?

This pool heater is more heavy and bulky than other products, so carrying it along might be tiring. This is especially true for cases when the heater has to be placed on the roof. Also, you will need to purchase some extra accessories along with the product to install it in the right way.



Pros

  • Provides maximum exposure to sun’s rays
  • Extends the pool season to several weeks
  • Makes the pool warm within 2 days
  • Easy and quick installation




Cons

  • Heavier than other products



Heating Capacity: Not Specified | Panel Size: 2 ft x 20 ft | Max Temp Raised: 6-10°F | Installation Type: In-Ground | Compatibility: Any existing pool pump
  1. SunHeater Pool Heating System

Our next pick for you is this superior-quality Pool Heating System from Sunheater which provides you with the ultimate comfort and warmth. It also maintains the level of heat very consistently and keeps your pool warm for a long time.

Sale
SunHeater Pool Heating System Two 2’ x 20’ Panels –...
  • SOLAR POOL HEATER – The SunHeater Solar Pool Heating...
  • EXTENDS POOL SEASON – Your pool’s pump pushes the water...

Why Did We Like It?

We found the tube-and-web design of this product to be its most significant feature. That’s because such a design lets the heater capture as much solar energy as possible, thanks to the numerous tubes in the two 2’ x 10’ panels. As such, it can warm up the pool water by as much as up to 15°F in one go.

Also, each of the 2’ x 20’ panels is made from durable polypropylene material, which makes sure that this product continues to work throughout all seasons. Plus, this heater can provide your pool water with the same warmth for weeks, thereby extending your pool season considerably.

Besides, you will also find it very easy to install this pool heating system, thanks to its lightweight structure and the system kit that comes with it. The latter includes 6 stainless steel hose clamps, 4 end caps, 1 roll of Teflon tape, 2 elbows for flex hose, and a few rubber connector hoses.

With all these tools, you can install this heater quickly using your existing filtration system by following the detailed guide that comes with it. 

What Could’ve Been Better?

This product works quite wonderfully to warm up inground as well as above-ground pools. However, after using it for a long time, you might observe a few pinhole leaks in some of the small tubes. This can be dealt with by putting a small screw in each hole.



Pros

  • Warms up the pool water by up to 15°F
  • Offers a durable performance
  • Comes with complete tool kits
  • Installation instructions are easy to follow




Cons

  • Pinhole leaks may develop in a few small tubes



Heating Capacity: Not Specified | Panel Size: 2 ft x 20 ft | Max Temp Raised: 6-10°F | Installation Type: In-Ground or Above Ground | Compatibility: Any existing pool pump
  1. Kokido Keops Solar Dome Swimming Pool Water Heater

This unique pool heater from Kokido is built to offer maximum efficiency but is also quite eco-friendly in nature. It works by connecting your filter pump and pool return. Also, this heater makes sure that your fun time in the pool extends beyond just the summer season.

Kokido Keops Solar Dome Above Ground Swimming Pool Water...
  • Pool heater extends your swimming season by heating your...
  • Dramatically reduces or eliminates pool heating costs...

Why Did We Like It?

The best thing about this pool heater is that it utilizes the greenhouse effect of evaporation and steam to heat water more rapidly. It is much smaller than many other pool heaters with large flat solar panels, but don’t go by the appearance. This heater can comfortably heat up medium-sized and even larger swimming pools to give you the perfect warmth that you desire.

Further, this product has an integrated rack to help you set up an optimal angle so that it receives the maximum exposure to the sun. As such, you can adjust the heat received by the solar dome according to your needs.

Plus, you will be happy to hear that this solar pool heater is compatible with most above-ground pools. And it also comes with 4 stainless steel clamps, 4-foot hoses, and fittings for easy installation. Lastly, it includes a cover that protects it from any damage while it is stored. 

What Could’ve Been Better?

The only issue that we had with this heater was that it took slightly longer to heat up the water on cloudy days or after a spell of rain. Hence, during such weather conditions, you have to wait for some more time for your fun-filled swimming sessions.



Pros

  • Facilitates more effective and rapid heating
  • Lets you adjust the exposure to the sun’s rays
  • Compatible with most above-ground pools
  • Can be installed easily




Cons

  • May take longer to heat up water during cloudy or rainy days



Heating Capacity: Up to 10,000 gallons | Panel Size: 2 ft x 2 ft | Max Temp Raised: Not Specified | Installation Type: Above Ground | Compatibility: Not specified
  1. Doheny's Solar Heating Systems

The next pick that we have for you is this durable as well as energy-efficient solar heating system from the popular brand Doheny’s. It keeps your pool comfortably warm for a long time and can be easily installed in line with your existing swimming pool pump. Note that this heating system is meant for above-ground swimming pools.

Doheny's Solar Heating Systems for Above Ground Swimming...
  • SOLAR DOME POOL HEATING SOLAR SYSTEM: Easy to install with...
  • ABOVE GROUND SOLAR HEATING PANEL SYSTEMS: These energy and...

Why Did We Like It?

First and foremost, this heat collector has a high-quality solar panel with a large surface area that promotes faster and more effective heating. Thus, you can get a temperature rise of up to 10°F in just 7 days.

Besides, if you need to increase the heating efficiency further, you can also connect multiple collectors in series. A bypass kit will be required for hooking up the heaters together. This arrangement will prove to be great for heating up large pools.

As for the installation of the heater, it can be simply mounted on plywood and kept beside an above-ground pool, or can even be placed on the roof. To facilitate easy mounting and installation, a roof/rack mounting kit containing all essential hardware is included with the product.

Notably, this kit also consists of a sturdy 2-way diverter valve, which can be plumbed into an existing filter or solar heating system. It would act as an on/off switch for the pool heater to enable easy operation. 

What Could’ve Been Better?

Although this product comes with a promising 5-year warranty, it may not be beneficial in case there is a minor fault or a small part has to be replaced. In such situations, you may have to consult a local plumber to fix the problem.



Pros

  • Promotes faster and more effective heating
  • Can be mounted on a variety of surfaces
  • 2-way diverter valve facilitates easy operation
  • A series of multiple collectors can efficiently heat large pools




Cons

  • 5-year warranty may not be useful for minor repairs



Heating Capacity: Not Specified | Panel Size: 2.5 ft x 20 ft | Max Temp Raised: Up to 10°F | Installation Type: In-Ground or Above Ground | Compatibility: Any existing pool pump
  1. SOLARPOOLSUPPLY Solar Pool Heater Panel

SOLARPOOLSUPPLY is known for its highly durable, yet cost-effective solar heating systems. And this convenient solar panel from the brand is another great choice that gives your pool water the ideal warmth. It can replace any solar pool heater that contains a round 2” I.D. or 2.375” O.D. header manifold.

SolarPoolSupply Highest Performing Design - Universal Solar...
  • QUALITY ASSURANCE - Manufactured from high-grade materials...
  • HIGHEST PERFORMING DESIGN - Constructed in a tube-and-web...

Why Did We Like It?

We begin our discussion with high tolerance and durability, thanks to the superior-quality materials used to manufacture the product. In fact, we can assure you that it is one of the most sturdy solar pool heaters that you will ever find.

It can withstand the ravages of different types of weather as well as harsh conditions when placed on a rooftop. And if maintained in the right way, this heater can last for as long as 15-20 years.

Plus, you will like the tube-and-web design of the product, which gives it the ability to expand and contract normally with the heating and cooling of the panel. Thus, there is minimal chance of any cracks or leakages on the surface. 

Added to this, a metered manifold maintains a balanced flow through the collector and rules out any hot spots. Note that you should install the panels vertically to ensure optimal drainage and performance.

What Could’ve Been Better?

Although we found the product to be perfectly fit for heating up pools of moderate size, we were a bit disappointed that it arrived without any attachments. So, we had to purchase all the foot hoses and stainless steel clamps separately.



Pros

  • Can withstand rough weather conditions
  • Lasts for 15 to 20 years if maintained properly
  • Minimal chance of leakages or cracks on the surface
  • Facilitates balanced water flow through the collector




Cons

  • Attachments must be purchased separately



Heating Capacity: Not Specified | Panel Size: 4 ft x 8 ft | Max Temp Raised: Not Specified | Installation Type: In-Ground or Above Ground | Compatibility: Any existing pool pump

Best Solar Pool Heaters Comparison Table

ProductHeating CapacityPanel SizeMax Temp RaisedInstallation TypeCompatibility
GAME 4721-BB SolarPRO Curve Solar Pool HeaterUp to 8,000 gallons2 ft x 20 ftUp to 5°FIn-Ground or Above GroundIntex-style fittings
Smartpool S601 Pool Solar HeatersUp to 10,000 gallons2 ft x 20 ft6-10°FIn-GroundStandard 1.5" or 1.25" fittings
Intex Solar Heater MatUp to 8,000 gallons4 ft x 4 ft3-5°FAbove GroundIntex filter pump system
SunHeater S120U Universal Solar Pool HeaterNot Specified2 ft x 20 ft6-10°FIn-GroundAny existing pool pump
SunHeater Pool Heating SystemNot Specified2 ft x 20 ft6-10°FIn-Ground or Above GroundAny existing pool pump
Kokido Keops Solar Dome Swimming Pool Water HeaterUp to 10,000 gallons2 ft x 2 ftNot SpecifiedAbove GroundNot specified
Doheny’s Solar Heating SystemsNot Specified2.5 ft x 20 ftUp to 10°FIn-Ground or Above GroundAny existing pool pump
SOLARPOOLSUPPLY Solar Pool Heater PanelNot Specified4 ft x 8 ftNot SpecifiedIn-Ground or Above GroundAny existing pool pump

white with blue solar panels, background image

Buying Guide For The Best Solar Pool Heater

Purchasing the right solar pool heater is not difficult if you take into account some key factors. At the end of the day, the heater should offer you the right value for your money. So, here are some essential points to consider before moving on to buying a solar pool heater.

  1. The Pool Size

This is, of course, a key factor when it comes to choosing the right solar pool heater. Not all heaters are suitable for pools of any size. So, you need to keep in mind the size of your pool and check whether the option you are considering is compatible with that size. While, larger pools may need a powerful system, small and medium-sized ones can be heated up with standard solar panels.

  1. Temperature Rise

Every solar pool heater is built to provide a specific rise in the temperature of the pool water. Hence, it is essential to consider the temperature rise that would be ideal for you. This, in turn, will depend on the weather conditions of your region. For instance, regions that experience extreme weather would need a higher temperature rise, such as about up to 10°F or 15°F.

  1. Materials Used

Choosing a solar pool heater with good build quality is important to make sure it does its job in the right way and is also long-lasting. Heaters made from polypropylene are sturdy and also perform better than those made from low-quality vinyl material. So, make sure you check the building material while going through the details of any product.

Solar Pool Heaters FAQ's

  • Are solar pool heaters suitable for all pool sizes?

    Solar pool heaters are available in various sizes and capacities to accommodate different pool sizes. Whether you have a small above-ground pool or a large in-ground pool, there are solar pool heaters designed to meet your needs. It’s essential to consider the size and capacity of the solar heater to ensure it can effectively heat your specific pool volume.

  • Do solar pool heaters work in cold climates?

    Solar pool heaters can still be effective in cold climates; however, their performance may vary. In colder regions, it’s recommended to use solar pool heaters in combination with other heating systems or to choose models specifically designed for cold weather conditions. It’s important to consider the local climate and consult with a professional to determine the most suitable heating solution for your pool.

  • Can solar pool heaters be installed on any type of roof?

    Solar pool heaters can be installed on various types of roofs, including asphalt shingles, tile, metal, or flat roofs. However, the specific installation requirements may vary depending on the roof type. It’s important to consult with a professional installer to ensure proper installation and adherence to building codes and safety regulations.

  • Are solar pool heaters maintenance-free?

    Solar pool heaters require minimal maintenance, but some routine tasks are necessary to ensure optimal performance. This may include periodic cleaning of the solar panels to remove debris or dirt, inspecting the system for any leaks or damage, and ensuring proper circulation of water. It’s recommended to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and consult the user manual for specific maintenance requirements.

  • How much can solar pool heaters increase water temperature?

    The temperature increase provided by solar pool heaters can vary depending on factors such as the size of the solar system, available sunlight, and the desired water temperature. On average, solar pool heaters can raise the water temperature by around 5 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing for comfortable swimming even in cooler weather.

  • Can solar pool heaters be used with saltwater pools?

    Yes, solar pool heaters can be used with both saltwater and freshwater pools. The materials used in solar pool heaters are designed to withstand the conditions of saltwater pools, but it’s important to choose models specifically labeled as suitable for saltwater use. Consult the manufacturer’s specifications or consult with a professional to ensure compatibility with your specific pool type.

  • Beautiful luxury outdoor swimming pool in hotel resort - Vintage Light Filter

    Conclusion

    And with this, we come to the end of our guide. We hope you will find it easier to choose the best solar pool heater now.

    But before we sign off, we would like to recap our favorites from the list. The SunHeater Pool Heating System will be a wise choice if you want a product that fares well both in terms of efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

    On the other hand, if you are on the lookout for a product with enhanced durability, you can go for the SOLARPOOLSUPPLY Pool Heater.

    Let us know whether you agree with our verdict in the comments section below.

    With that, we’ll take our leave! Till next time!

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