What’s The Best Solar Pool Heater? Top 10 Revealed

Outdoor swimming doesn’t have to be restricted by seasons and weather conditions. Thanks to solar panel pool heaters, owners of outdoor pools can now enjoy their swims in even the coolest conditions. Did we also mention that solar pool heaters are more cost-efficient than the traditional electricity and gas-powered pool heaters? In the following guide, we tell you how 10 heaters can help you heat up your pool efficiently and effectively without costing you a fortune, and why one solar pool heater is the best on the market today. Read on to find out more!

Comparison Table

Solar Pool Heater FAQ

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What Is a Solar Pool Heater?

A solar heater uses solar power to heat above-the-ground and/or in-ground pools.

What Does a Solar Pool Heater Do?

A solar pool heater uses solar power to heat pool water temperature for swimming in cool weathers.

How Does a Solar Pool Heater Work?

A solar pool heater uses a solar collector to collect and convert sunlight into heat to warm up pools for swimming. Depending on the model, some pool heaters will only work with above-ground pools while others only work with in-ground pools. Solar pool heaters are generally affordably priced and are easy to install. In addition, solar pool heaters may work with existing pool pumps for optimal functionality and versatility.

Where Can You Buy a Solar Pool Heater?

You can buy a solar pool heater at your local pool supplies store or online at Amazon.com.

How We Reviewed

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The following products were reviewed based on the following parameters: Features, Pros & Cons, Price, Where to Buy, and Warranty. We were mainly concerned with the solar pool heaters’ functionality, ease of use, ease of installation, temperature raising capability, versatility, and durability.

Overall Price Range of This Product (and Similar Products)

Solar pool heaters range in price from around $32 to $326. The higher-priced solar pool heaters feature a larger solar collector, more versatility in terms of pool type and installation, longer warranties, and/or greater temperature raising capability.

Solar pool heaters range in price from around $32 to $326. The higher-priced solar pool heaters feature a larger solar collector, more versatility in terms of pool type and installation, longer warranties, and/or greater temperature raising capability.

What We Reviewed

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  • Intex Solar Heater Mat
  • GAME 4721 Solar PRO Curve Solar Pool Heater
  • Smartpool SunHeater Solar Heating System
  • Fafco Solar Bear Economy Heating System
  • SunQuest 1 Solar Swimming Pool Heater
  • HELIOCOL Swimming Pool Solar Heating Panel
  • Doheny’s Above Ground Pool Solar Heating System
  • SUNHEATER Solar Heating Universal System
  • Solar Sun Rings Solar Pool Heater
  • XtremepowerUS Inground / Above Ground Swimming Pool Solar Panel Heating System

Intex Solar Heater Mat

Intex Solar Heater Mat for Above Ground Swimming Pool, 47in X 47in
  • Eco-friendly solar technology increases temperature of the pool water by approx. 3 ~ 5 DegreeC (5 ~ 9 DegreeF) depending on weather condition.
  • Simple hook up, compatible with filter pump up to 1/2 hp or pump flow rate < 2500 gal/hr (9463 L/hr).
  • Suitable for above ground pools up to 8000 gal (30,280L). 1m sq (11ft sq) surface to absorb sun's rays.
  • 1 ¼” (32mm) hose attachment points, includes 1 adaptor A and 1 adaptor B for 1 ½” hose connection.
  • Includes: 0.5m (1 1/4" / 32mm diameter) connecting hose. Bypass valve. Dimensions: 1.2m X 1.2 m / 47 1/4in; X 47 1/4in.

Features

The Intex Solar Heater Mat is an eco-friendly pool heater that lets you increase the water temperature by up to nine degrees Fahrenheit depending on the weather conditions. This pool heater is also easy to hook up and is compatible with a water filter pump of up to 1/2 hp. What’s more, this pool heater is suitable for use with above-ground pools of up to 8000 gallons. Finally, this pool heater is designed to work with most Intex filter pumps and comes with an included bypass valve and a foldable design for easy storage.

Price

This product can be found on Amazon for an affordable price.

Warranty

The Intex Solar Heater Mat is backed with a limited warranty.

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Works with most Intex filter pumps
  • Easy to use
  • Compact design

Cons

  • Leaks for some customers
  • Not great with smaller pools
  • Stopped working for some customers

GAME 4721 Solar PRO Curve Solar Pool Heater

GAME 4721-BB SolarPRO Curve Solar Pool Heater, Made for Intex & Bestway Above-Ground and Inground Pools, Includes Intex Adapters, 2 Hoses & Clamps
  • SOLAR POOL HEATER: The GAME SolarPRO Curve Solar Pool Heater has been designed for above-ground and most inground pools. It increases the pool temperature by 5 degrees in 4 days (for an 8,000-gallon pool).
  • DURABLE CONSTRUCTION: We’ve designed this above-ground solar pool heater with high-quality materials that will hold up against frequent exposure to the sun and outdoor elements.
  • UNIQUE CURVED SHAPE: The GAME solar pool heater has been engineered with a unique curved shape that maximizes heat collection. The treaded ports have been added for versatile plumbing options.
  • ADJUSTABLE LEGS: This solar heater is compatible with Intex, Bestways, and most above and inground pools. The adjustable and foldable legs allow the heater to be set for maximum exposure to the sun, along with a clear cover that locks in heat.
  • THE PERFECT GRADUAL HEATER: This solar pool heater is not intended to be a miracle-cure heater. It’s designed to extend your pool season by gradually increasing the water temperature by a few degrees. Maximum heat output with space saving footprint

Features

The GAME 4721 SolarPRO Curve Solar Pool Heater features a unique curved shape that maximizes the delivery of heat and is capable of heating up to 5 degrees Fahrenheit in about four days. What’s more, this pool heater features a durable construction equipped with commercial-grade collectors for added versatility. In addition, the threaded ports allow for versatile plumbing options. Meanwhile, the two included hoses and stainless steel hose clamps make this heater easy to install and even easier to use. Finally, this pool heater works with most in-ground pools.

Price

This product can be found on Amazon for an average market price.

Warranty

The GAME 4721 SolarPRO Curve Solar Pool Heater is backed with a limited warranty.

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Easy to use
  • Works with most in-ground pools
  • Durable construction

Cons

  • Solar dome may leak
  • Poor leg construction
  • Stopped working for some customers

Smartpool SunHeater Solar Heating System

Smart Pool S601 Pool Solar Heaters, Pack of 1, Black
  • 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)
  • Installation kit required (Sold Separately)

Features

The Smartpool SunHeater Solar Heating System uses a polypropylene heat collector to keep your pool warm in cold weathers. What’s more, this pool heater also features a direct flow system for connects one header hole for each heating tube. In addition, this pool heater features 80 square feet of solar panels for fast and reliable operation. Finally, the pool heater panel measures four feet by 20 feet and is capable of raising temperatures of up to 6 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. However, an installation kit is required and is sold separately.

Price

This product can be found on Amazon for an expensive price.

Warranty

The Smartpool SunHeater Solar Heating System is backed with a 4-year limited warranty.

Pros

  • Energy efficient
  • Easy to install
  • Easy to use
  • Raises temperature fast

Cons

  • Must buy a separate installation kit
  • Fragile panels
  • Poor customer support

Fafco Solar Bear Economy Heating System

BEAR Fafco Solar Economy Heating System for Above-Ground Pools - with LiquidHeat Solar Blanket
  • FAFCO is the world's largest manufacturer of solar heating panels for swimming pools since 1995
  • Made in the USA for quality you can count on
  • Compatible with your existing pool pump
  • Heats 18' to 24' above ground pools producing 80 000 BTU's per day
  • Can be mounted on the roof or ground rack

Features

The Fafco Solar Bear Economy Heating System features a 4-foot by 20-foot extra-large solar collector and two 6-feet long 1.5-inch diameter hoses with four clamps and a bypass valve for easy installation. This pool heater also features a pool pump that circulates pool water through the heated solar collector for added versatility and reliability.

What’s more, the optimal heating construction lets sunlight in between 10 am and 4 pm every day. In addition, the collector can be tilted to 10 and 30 degrees to the South for optimal sunlight collection. Finally, the collector can be mounted on the ground, on a rack, or on the roof to suit your needs.

Price

This product can be found on Amazon for an expensive price.

Warranty

The Fafco Solar Bear Economy Heating System is backed with a 10-year limited warranty.

Pros

  • Heats up fast
  • Easy to install
  • Versatile installation options
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Leaks for some customers
  • Poor customer support
  • Fragile panels

SunQuest 1 Solar Swimming Pool Heater

SunQuest 1-2'X10 Solar Swimming Pool Heater with Roof/Rack Mounting Kit
  • SunQuest Solar panels are designed for both In-ground and Above-ground swimming pools
  • MAX-FLOW design with 2" OD headers - better water circulation - less back pressure on your pump.
  • Compatible with your existing pool pump.
  • Increases pool water temperature up to 10 degrees.
  • SunQuest is an easy do-it-yourself installation.

Features

The SunQuest 1 Solar Swimming Pool Heater is designed for both in-ground and above-ground pools. This pool heater also features a MAX-FLOW design with 2-inch OD headers for optimal water circulation and pump pressure control. What’s more, this pool heater is compatible with all major pool pumps and is capable of raising the water temperature for up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Finally, this pool heater is easy to install and no professional installation is required.

Price

This product can be found on Amazon for an affordable price.

Warranty

The SunQuest 1 Solar Swimming Pool Heater is backed with a limited warranty.

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Heats up fast
  • Works with major pool pump brands

Cons

  • Poor customer support
  • Cheap plastic parts
  • Stopped working for some customers

HELIOCOL Swimming Pool Solar Heating Panel

HELIOCOL Swimming Pool Solar Heating Panel 1' x 9.5' - HC-9.5
  • Original Manufacturers Panel
  • One-Piece Unibody Construction
  • Individual Tubes - open design resist lifting in high winds
  • Long lasting, maintenance-free system
  • Single Replacement Panel

Features

The HELIOCOL Swimming Pool Solar Heating Panel is the original manufacturer’s panel that works with HELIOCOL pool heater systems. This solar heating panel features state-of-the-art solar technology and HELIOCOL’s most advanced production techniques for optimal reliability and durability you can count on.

What’s more, this pool heater also features a sleek and simple design and is constructed with a patented over-molded design that is suitable for any pool. In addition, this heating penal features individual tubes that are resistant in high winds. Finally, this heating panel comes with a long-lasting, maintenance-free design for hassle-free upkeep.

Price

This product can be found on Amazon for an average market price.

Warranty

The HELIOCOL Swimming Pool Solar Heating Panel is backed with a limited warranty.

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Durable construction
  • Sleek and simple design

Cons

  • Poor customer support
  • Pricey
  • Not made in the USA

Doheny’s Above Ground Pool Solar Heating System

Doheny's Solar Heating Systems for Above Ground Swimming Pools (5' x 20' Collector Kit)
  • 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 sun! Multiple collectors can be connected in series to increase heating efficiency. Each dome can raise pool temps up to 10 degrees in approximately seven days. Dimensions: 28" L x 28" W x 12" H. Bypass kit REQUIRED for hooking up two or more heaters or pools that have a 1 HP or larger pump.
  • 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 pool! Collector kit can be mounted on plywood (as shown in image) and rests besides pool, or be roof mounted. Either option REQUIRES a roof/rack mounting kit.
  • 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). **ALL SYSTEMS DO NOT INCLUDE PVC OR FLEX PIPES**
  • 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, 15 SS mounting brackets, and (15) #14 SS screws. 2-WAY DIVERTER VALVE can be plumbed into your filter/solar heating system and acts as an on/off switch. Includes diverter valve and spacer.
  • ABOVE GROUND COLLECTOR SIZING CHART: 12'-15' Round = 2.5' x 20' Collector (40,000 BTU Rating); 18'-24' Round = 5' x 20' Collector (80,000 BTU Rating); 27'-28' Round = 2.5' x 20' & 5' x 20' Collectors (120,000 BTU Rating); 12'x24' Oval = 2.5' x 20' Collector (40,000 BTU Rating); 15'x30' & 16'x32' Oval = 5' x 20' Collector (80,000 BTU Rating); 18'x34' Oval = 2.5' x 20' & 5' x 20' Collectors (120,000 BTU Rating)

Features

The Doheny’s Above Ground Pool Solar Heating System is capable of raising your water temperature to up to 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit without the use of electricity. This solar pool heater is designed to save you buckets of money on your energy bills, thanks to its large and efficient collector. What’s more, this pool heater is easy to install and works with your existing swimming pool pump and other equipment. Finally, this heater features a lightweight polypropylene solar collector for lasting durability you can depend on.

Price

This product can be found on Amazon for an expensive price.

Warranty

The Doheny’s Above Ground Pool Solar Heating System is backed with a 5-year limited warranty.

Pros

  • Works with existing pool pumps and equipment
  • Easy to install
  • Durable solar collector

Cons

  • Leaks for some customers
  • Poor customer support

SUNHEATER Solar Heating Universal System

SunHeater 2' X 10' Solar Heating Universal System
  • SmartPool: The hottest selling solar heater in the pool industry raises the pool water temperature up 10°F or more
  • With this simple do-it-yourself installation it uses your existing pool pump and has a tube on web design for maximum exposure to the sun's rays
  • With no fuel bills or expensive installation of equipment and connections this is an all around great solar heating system.
  • This system can also be used on soft-side pools like Intex.
  • Includes: 1- 2' x 10' panel 1- Installation kit 1- Set soft-sided pool adapters

Features

The SUNHEATER Solar Heating Universal System features a top-selling solar pool heater system that is capable of raising the water temperature to up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. What’s more, this pool heater features a simple do-it-yourself installation that works with any existing pool pumps. In addition, this pool heater is compatible with soft-side pools like Intex models and more for added versatility. Finally, you can count on this pool heater to save you money on energy bills as it comes with a reliable solar collector.

Price

This product can be found on Amazon for an average market price.

Warranty

The SUNHEATER Solar Heating Universal System is backed with a limited warranty.

Pros

  • Raises temperature fast
  • Easy to install
  • Works with existing pool pumps

Cons

  • Poor customer support
  • Leaks for some customers

Solar Sun Rings Solar Pool Heater

Solar Sun Rings Solar Pool Heater (6)
  • HEAT YOUR POOL - Solar Sun Rings are passive solar swimming pool heating devices, constructed from two layers of U.V. resistant vinyl. The upper clear layer directs the suns rays onto the bottom blue layer which absorbs about 50% of the sunlight, converting it to heat. The remaining sunlight filters through the ring into your pool water.
  • WARMING DISCS - The majority of heat loss from a pool comes from the water surface at night. Solar Sun Rings do not cover the entire surface of your pool; therefore it allows heat to escape. To help keep the warm water in your pool at night we recommend you use additional insulation such as solar fish or a solar blanket.
  • WHAT'S INCLUDED - Each unit contains 6 magnets that are used to attach the rings together. Do not over inflate. Do not use as a flotation device.
  • SOLAR ACTIVATED - Use the Solar Sun Rings to provide heat to your swimming pool from the sun. Swim comfortably without wasting energy
  • PLEASE NOTE - These Solar Sun Rings are NOT a solar cover or a replacement for a solar cover. These are floating disc heating devices.

Features

The Solar Sun Rings Solar Pool Heater features two layers of UV-resistant vinyl for added durability and protection against the sun. This uniquely designed solar pool heater uses an upper clear layer to direct the sun’s rays onto the bottom layer to absorb up to 50% of sunlight and converts it into heat. In addition, this pool heater is completely inflatable and measures about 60 inches in diameter, making it easy to use, and no installation is required.

Price

This product can be found on Amazon for an average market price.

Warranty

The Solar Sun Rings Solar Pool Heater is backed with a limited warranty.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Durable construction
  • Raises temperature fast

Cons

  • Traps dirt and leaves
  • Not great for large pools
  • Bad packaging

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Features

The XtremepowerUS Inground / Above Ground Swimming Pool Solar Panel Heating System features a 2-feet by 20-feet solar collector and is capable of raising the water temperature of up to 11 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. What’s more, this solar pool heater also features a quick connect design that is easy to install and requires no professional installation. Finally, a diverter kit may be required for pumps with 1.5 hp and greater.

Price

This product can be found on Amazon for an average market price.

Warranty

The XtremepowerUS Inground / Above Ground Swimming Pool Solar Panel Heating System is backed with a limited warranty.

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Easy to use
  • Works with most pools

Cons

  • Leaks for some customers
  • Poor customer support
  • Cheap plastic parts

The Verdict

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After reviewing all 10 products based on the five parameters, we present our verdict for the best solar pool heater: The Fafco Solar Bear Economy Heating System. This highly functional solar pool heater uses a 4-feet by 20-feet extra-large solar collector that is capable of raising the water temperature quickly without the use of any electricity and gas. What’s more, this pool heater uses a pool pump to circulate the water to provide stable water temperatures all day long. Finally, this versatile pool heater can be installed anywhere, including on a rack and on the roof.

Janice Friedman
 

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