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Homesthetics

10 Best Solar Pool Heaters of 2021 [Buyer’s Guide]

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

Disclaimer | This article may contain affiliate links, this means that at no cost to you, we may receive a small commission for qualifying purchases.

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

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 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

Document
IMAGEPRODUCTDETAILS
Our Top PickOur Top Pickhstcstbl-table__imageGAME 4721-BB SolarPRO Curve Solar Pool Heater
  • Curved shape
  • Adjustable legs
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hstcstbl-table__imageSmartpool S601 Pool Solar Heaters
  • Polypropylene heat collector
  • 80 sq ft of solar panels
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hstcstbl-table__imageIntex Solar Heater Mat
  • Surface has dimensions of 11 sq. ft.
  • 32 mm hose attachment points
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hstcstbl-table__imageSunHeater S120U Universal Solar Pool Heater
  • Patented web design
  • Uses existing pool pump
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hstcstbl-table__imageSunHeater Pool Heating System
  • Panel dimensions of 2’ x 20’
  • Tube-on-web design
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hstcstbl-table__imageKokido Keops Solar Dome Swimming Pool Water Heater
  • Has an integrated rack
  • Includes a protective cover
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hstcstbl-table__imageDoheny's Solar Heating Systems
  • Panel has dimension of 2.5’ x 20’
  • 2-way diverter valve
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hstcstbl-table__imageSOLARPOOLSUPPLY Solar Pool Heater Panel
  • Panel has dimensions of 4’ x 12’
  • Tube-and-web design
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hstcstbl-table__imageFlagman Shop Swimming Pool Water Heater
  • Comes with attachments
  • Weighs 6 pounds
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hstcstbl-table__imageFlowXtreme NS1002 Flat-Panel Pool Solar Heater
  • Consists of solar coils
  • Collapsible base legs
VIEW LATEST PRICE →

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

  1. GAME 4721-BB SolarPRO Curve Solar Pool Heater

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...
  • UNIQUE CURVED SHAPE: The GAME solar pool heater has been...
  • ADJUSTABLE LEGS: This solar heater is compatible with Intex,...

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 the 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 in the market.

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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 a tape.

Pros
  • Maximizes heat collection
  • Can be set up easily
  • Efficiently locks the heat absorbed
  • Offers long-lasting performance
Cons
  • Pipes connecting heater to pump may leak sometimes
  1. Smartpool S601 Pool Solar Heaters

The next product in 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.

Sale
Smart Pool S601 Pool Solar Heaters, Pack of 1, Black
  • Keep your pool warm with a polypropylene heat collector....
  • Solar heater features 80 square feet of solar panels
  • Pool accessory is perfect for heating any in-ground swimming...
  • Panel array measures 4 feet wide x 20 feet long. Raises Pool...

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 most warm and 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.

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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
  1. Intex Solar Heater Mat

Looking for a pool heater that is easier to handle and install than the 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.

Sale
Intex Solar Heater Mat for Above Ground Swimming Pool, 47in...
  • Eco-friendly solar technology increases temperature of the...
  • Simple hook up, compatible with filter pump up to 1/2 hp or...
  • Suitable for above ground pools up to 8000 gal (30,280L). 1m...
  • 1 ¼” (32mm) hose attachment points, includes 1 adaptor A...

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.

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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
  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
  • Patented web design for maximum exposure to sun's rays
  • Uses existing pool pump

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 be 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.

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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
  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 consistent 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...
  • EASY TO INSTALL – This pool solar heater uses your...
  • TUBE ON WEB DESIGN – The tube-web-tube design allows the...

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
  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 between your filter pump and pool return. Also, this heater makes sure that your fun time in the pool extends much beyond just the summer season.

Sale
Kokido Keops Solar Dome Above Ground Swimming Pool Water...
  • Don't let summer's end keep you from swimming, this Kokido...
  • Extend your swimming season with warm water and heat your...
  • Environmentally friendly heating energy
  • 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.

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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 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
  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...
  • SOLAR PANEL COLLECTOR KIT CONFIGURATIONS AVAILABLE IN THE...
  • ABOVE GROUND ROOF/RACK MOUNTING KITS include all hardware...

Why Did We Like It?

First and foremost, this heat collector has a high-quality solar panel with 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 efficient heat large pools
Cons
  • 5-year warranty may not be useful for minor repairs
  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 Solar Pool Heater Panel Installation Kit,...
  • Contains the necessary hardware for installing a solar pool...
  • Panel connector hoses are molded EPDM rubber designed...
  • Durable UV-resistant EPDM rubber for long life in direct...
  • Outlet header bracket, strap brackets and hose clamps are...

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 the 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 cooling of the panel. Thus, there is minimal chance of any cracks or leakages on the surface.

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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
  1. Flagman Shop Swimming Pool Water Heater

The next product that we have for you is this easy-to-use solar mat from Flagman Shop. Suitable for above-ground pools, this solar heater is an eco-friendly option that will be loved by anyone willing to reduce their carbon footprint.

Sale
Flagman Shop Solar Mat Above Ground Swimming Pool Water...
  • Eco-friendly solar technology
  • Increases temperature of the pool water by approx. 5 to 9...
  • Simple hook up and you're ready to take the heat
  • Compatible with filter pump up to 1/2 hp or pump flow rate...

Why Did We Like It?

What we liked the most about this solar mat was that it is super-easy to set up and use. You just need to connect the included hose to your filter system and attach the return hose of the pump to the other end of the mat. In comparison, heaters with solar panels have a much more complicated working mechanism and require more effort to be set up.

Added to this, the solar mat is suitable for any above-ground pool with a capacity of up to 8,000 gallons. And you can efficiently increase the pool water temperature by about 5 to 9°F depending on the weather on any day.

Also, you can connect this product with filter pumps with a power of up to ½ HP or having a pump flow rate of 2,500 GPH. So, it will be compatible with most of the filter pumps used in residential swimming pools. Lastly, the solar mat also comes with the needed attachments, so that you can start installing the product straightaway after it arrives.

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What Could’ve Been Better?

The only issue that you might have is with the length of the hose included with the solar mat. It might be a bit short for connecting to high pumps or shady areas. In such cases, you will need to get a longer one.

Pros
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Suitable for any pool of up to 8,000 gallons
  • Increases water temperature by 5-9°F
  • Compatible with most filter pumps
Cons
  • Hose not long enough
  1. FlowXtreme NS1002 Flat-Panel Pool Solar Heater

This Solar pool heater from FlowXtreme features a new and improved design to offer greater heating efficiency than many other products out there. It is compatible with most swimming pool filters and comes with a one-year warranty as well.

FlowXtreme NS1002 Flat-Panel Pool Solar Heater, Black
  • State-of-the-art - an innovative, flat-panel structure...
  • Easy to install - standard, 1.25 - 1.5-in fittings provide...
  • POWERED BY SUNLIGHT - The FlowXtreme Solar Dome Heater uses...
  • 1 Year Warranty - your product comes with a one Year...

Why Did We Like It?

We begin by discussing the superb design of this product since it’s the most striking aspect and increases its efficiency to a great extent. It consists of a flat panel with small solar coils that heat up the water considerably as it flows through them.

Note that the coils increase the heating capacity of the panel by 40% in each cycle. As such, you get blissfully warm water in your pool much faster. Also, this improved heating capacity helps to maintain the warmth for a longer time and thus lets you enjoy a longer swimming season.

Plus, this pool heater comes with built-in collapsible legs that make it easy to adjust and more mobile. And that’s not all. You will be happy to hear that this heater is designed to heat above-ground pools of any size with the same efficiency.

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What Could’ve Been Better?

The product seems great in terms of its efficiency, but we would’ve liked it even more if its price was slightly lower. Also, the attachments included with the pool heater are not enough for the installation. So, you will need to purchase quite a few more, and needless to say, that will add to the expense.

Pros
  • Heats above-ground pools of any size
  • 40% increased heating capacity
  • Extends pool season
  • More mobile
Cons
  • Is a bit expensive

white with blue solar panels, background image

Solar Pool Heater Buyer’s Guide

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 buy 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 more 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.

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

Verdict

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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