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When it comes to protecting and maintaining the swimming pool, a lot of methods come to mind, from pool filters to cleaners; the list is endless. Still, there is one particular pool equipment that does both protection and maintenance all at once, especially during the high swimming season.
The solar pool cover is a piece of multi-functional pool equipment designed to protect the pool surface from dirt and debris, help retain heat, help reduce pool heating costs, and of course, keep the pool all good and ready for you whenever you need it.
The good news is, there are way too many solar pool covers in the market, but to answer the gnawing question of what is the best solar pool cover for anyone, we would encourage you to come aboard and find out.
What is the Purpose of A Solar Pool Cover ?
First off, we should know that a solar pool cover or a solar blanket is a large sheet of plastic that varies in looks from a bubble wrap to a plain sheet designed to cover the top of your swimming pool.
As to the purpose of these Solar pool covers, we know that they are multifunctional and provide a wide range of uses. One of the purposes of a solar pool cover is to protect the swimming pool from heat loss due to water evaporation by acting as a barrier between the pool water and the air. A solar pool cover can save your pool from losing up to 75% of the heat to the sun’s heat.
A solar blanket also reduces pool heating costs as it serves as a natural pool heater and saves you more on the price than the electric or gas heater. While the energy source is pure and clean from the sun, costing you absolutely nothing, the likes of a gas pool heater would require at least 4 gallons of gas per hour to heat your pool.
While saving your pool from heat loss, it also helps prevent loss of the pool chemicals through evaporation that occurs during heat loss. A solar blanket is capable of reducing your chemical loss by up to 60%.
And of course, solar pool covers protect your pool from the accumulation of dirt and debris as well as the growth of algae in the pool, thereby cutting down maintenance costs and also elongating the life span of other pool equipment used in cleaning the pool.
Top 3 Recommendations
- Best Overall – Sun2Solar Blue 18-Foot Round Solar Cover
- Runner Up – Sun2Solar Clear 20-Foot-by-40-Foot Rectangle Solar Cover
- Best Insulated – Blue Wave NS410 12-mil Solar Blanket
Top 9 Best Solar Pool Cover Choices In 2021
1. Sun2Solar Blue 18-Foot Round Solar Cover – Best Heating for Round Pools
As their names imply, solar pool covers are specifically designed for heat retention and keeping your pool temperature at an adequate level. For round pools, the Sun2Solar Blue 18 foot cover is the champion.
With an aesthetically appealing blue color, Sun2Solar Blue round focuses on transmitting solar energy through the UV rays into heat through the small air bubbles designed into the blanket, making it perfect heating pad for round above ground pools and inground swimming pools as well.
In addition to retaining heat, the 1600 series 18 inches round solar cover helps prevent up to 95% of pool water evaporation thanks to its durable resin material.
And, of course, it helps protect your swimming pool from the accumulation of unwanted dirt and debris.
- Strong heat retention capabilities with air bubbles
- Efficient at preventing water loss
- Easy fit with allowance for trimming
- Stops debris accumulation
- Easy to store
- Light to be used as a safety cover
2. Sun2Solar Clear 20-Foot-by-40-Foot Rectangle Solar Cover – Best Heating for Rectangular Pools
Keeping in mind that swimming pools come in various sizes, Sun2Solar designed a swimming pool solar cover suited for the rectangular pool as well as the square one too.
Fitted with heat-trapping air bubbles, the 20 x 40 inches clear Sun2Solar cover serves as the perfect trap for the UV rays to transform the sun’s energy into heat to keep the water temperature at an ideal level for you, extending the swimming season.
While doing this, the durable resin-made pool cover helps you save costs when it comes to water quantity as well as chemical input by reducing pool water evaporation up to 95%.
The model is an easy fit for all kinds of pools, from the inground swimming pool to the above ground one with allowance for trimming and protecting the pool from debris.
- Saves energy costs with heat-retaining capabilities
- Lightweight and durable
- Perfect for reducing evaporation
- Comes with a long warranty
- Not suitable for small pools
3. Blue Wave NS410 12-mil Solar Blanket – Best Insulation Level
For pool owners on the lookout for pool covers that have a higher insulation capacity level that will retain heat at maximum level, then Blue Wave is your hot bet.
Designed with a UV-resistant polymer material, the 12 mils solar cover fits amongst the best solar pool covers as its insulating thermal air bubbles trap heat and retain it for a longer period.
The inground pool solar cover is designed to resist deterioration caused by chemicals and UV rays and also raises the pool water temperature to up to 15°F.
Plus, pool water evaporation is reduced by 95% by this 14 x 28 feet rectangular solar cover.
- High-level thermal insulation
- Saves energy costs
- Prevents heat loss and chemical loss
- Long-lasting guarantee
- Could get water extremely hot
4. Blue Wave NS510 14-mil Solar Blanket for Rectangular InGround Pools – Best Insulation for Rectangular Inground Pools
If 12 mil solar covers are thick for you, imagine the 14 mils solar cover offered by Blue Wave through its epic NS510 14- mil solar cover.
As one of the best solar pool covers on the market, the 14 mils clear cover offers 12 by 24 feet of heat-trapping and energy saving capacity and employs insulating thermal air bubbles for more prolonged heating capacity for every season.
The cover design favors long-term use as it embellishes it with the capacity to withstand chemicals and UV rays with ease. Plus, there is an added 6-year warranty from the manufacturer. On the plus side, water evaporation is reduced up to 95%.
- High-level insulation
- Reduces energy cost
- Thick and long-lasting material
- Reduces evaporation
- Water could get extremely hot
5. Solar Sun Rings Solar Pool Heater – Best Solar Ring
Solar Sun Ring is for those swimming pool owners that are not after heating the whole pool but a smaller section while still keeping the process effective.
Constructed from two distinct layers of UV resistant vinyl with an upper clear layer designed to direct the sun’s rays to the bottom blue layer for absorption, this floating solar ring absorbs close to 50% of the solar energy it gets, which is about 1070 BTU’s of heat energy and converts it into heat.
And although it is the best fitting for smaller pools with a 17.75 x 11.75 x 7.5 inches total dimension, and it cannot serve as an efficient cover for the pool, it is still worth every penny, and it’s a decent solar pool cover.
- Highly efficient heating capacity
- Innovative floating design
- No installation required
- Perfect for small pools
- Not big enough to keep the whole pool covered
- Only serves as a pool heating pad
6. Intex Solar Cover – Best Solar Blanket for Round Pool
Intex Solar Cover beckons to round pool owners are truly after the true definition of solar cover.
This 16 feet solar blanket offers an efficient design with air bubbles that absorb and transfer the sun’s energy into the swimming pool.
As one of the best solar pool covers, the blanket helps to insulate your pool from heat, chemicals, and water loss through evaporation.
Plus, it is easy to set up with an easy-to-set frame and is perfect for protecting your pool from debris, and includes central drainage holes to prevent rainwater pooling on the cover. And it comes with a bag for easy storage.
- Solid solar blanket
- Fair insulation
- Features drain for accumulated water
- Comes with a carry bag
- Only fit for round pools
7. In The Swim 24 Foot Round Basic Solar Blanket Cover – Best Lightweight
Lightweight and well designed, In The Swim solar blanket offers top-notch heating and protection capacity for your pool with its lightweight and durable polyethylene material composition.
The design allows the solar cover heat capacity to reach up to 8-10 degrees within a 5-7 days constant sunlight supply while reducing water and chemical loss through evaporation.
The 8 mils thick blanket also protects the pool from debris accumulation and keeps the pool in optimum condition at all times.
It is easy to install and can be trimmed to fit the pool’s shape and size.
- Lightweight and sturdy
- Perfect heating capacity
- Protection from dirt
- Easy fit
- Can be easily displaced by wind
8. Intex Solar Cover for 18ft X 9ft Rectangular Frame Pools – Best Optional Solar Blanket for Rectangular Pools
Here is another Intex Solar blanket that offers optimum quality for rectangular pools with ease.
Designed for 18 feet pools, the blanket offers an efficient model with air bubbles intended to absorb and transfer the sun’s heat to the pool.
Equipped with optimum insulation capacity, it protects the pool from heat, chemicals, and water loss with a reduction in evaporation at up to 95% less.
The 18 x 9 pool blanket offers protection for the pool from debris as well as rainwater pooling with central drainage holes. The product features easy set-up and comes with a bag for easy storage.
- Solid solar blanket for heating
- Reduces evaporation
- Prevents accumulation of debris and rainwater
- Comes with a carry bag
- Only fit for rectangular and square pools
9. Natural Chemistry Cover Free Liquid Solar Blanket – Best Liquid Solar Cover
Although not a cover or ring, Natural Chemistry Cover is liquid solar protection that offers adequate protection for your pool.
As a liquid-based solar blanket, it entails an advanced mono-layer technology that provides a monolayer of protection.
The protection reduces heat loss by up to 70% and reduces water evaporation by 85%, saving pool owners on the cost of chemicals and water.
Contained in a 32-ounce container, the liquid blanket provides an invisible barrier on the pool water to conserve water heating and energy while heating the pool water to 6 °celsius with very little effort.
- Liquid and easy to use
- Covers the entire pool
- Needs monthly refill
Buying Guide: Features to Choose the Best Solar Pool Cover
Yes, one of the first things to look out for in a solar pool cover is the type. Invariably, there are three main types of solar pool covers; solar blankets, solar rings, and liquid solar covers.
Solar blankets are the most common type. They cover the pool entirely and come in various shapes and sizes suitable for above ground pools and inground pools alike.
The blankets are the classic solar covers that heat your pool and help reduce water and chemical evaporation, as well as protecting the surface from debris accumulation.
Solar rings on their part are smaller and usually round floating solar pool covers that float on the surface of the water without covering the entire surface of the pool water.
A solar ring, of course, helps to heat the pool and retain heat but would require multiple rings to cover the entire pool for effective heat retention and heat transfer.
Liquid solar covers
Unlike the solar blankets and rings, the liquid solar cover is the pool’s version of the sunscreen. Made of a chemical combination of which calcium hydroxide serves as the carrier and dispersing agent of the liquid solar cover while an aliphatic alcohol compound functions as the actual cover.
The liquid solar cover acts as a thin layer of liquid protection over the pool that traps heat from the sun and uses the solar heat to heat the pool. The liquid cover is FDA and EPA approved and is guaranteed to function perfectly.
A solar pool cover thickness is measured in mil, and the thicker the insulation, the longer the solar cover can retain heat and increase the water temperature.
The standard thickness for a solar blanket is between 10 – 16 mil. Also, keep in mind that the thicker the material, the slower it takes to increase the pool temperature.
Shape and Size
There are rectangular solar pool covers for rectangular swimming pools as well as square pools, and round solar pool covers for oval-shaped pools. Solar pool covers also come in various sizes for all pool sizes.
You could decide to use a solar ring for a compact-sized pool or just trim the solar blanket for it. One thing to note is always to buy a solar pool cover that is larger than your pool size and trim off the excesses to ensure that it fits at the end of the day.
Solar pool covers, especially the bubble wrap ones, come in shades of blue or silver, and the blanket also offers light or deep blue shades.
The main rule is, darker colors trap more heat than the lighter ones; hence, for those who stay in colder or less heated regions, the darker shades are perfect vehicle pool owners in warmer/hotter areas are better off with the clear solar covers.
Do solar pool covers heat the water?
Yes! Solar pool covers work to heat the pool water by allowing more of the sun’s heat to enter the pool.
Solar pool covers are the most inexpensive pool heaters available in the market as they simply convert the heat from the sun to heat the pool.
Do solar pool covers cause algae?
Directly no, they do not cause algae to grow in the pool. But indirectly, they do; by constantly keeping the water warm, they do accelerate the growth of algae within the pool.
You can prevent this by using chemicals like algae starver and also clean the pool regularly.
How to clean solar pool cover?
To clean a solar pool cover, you need a solar pool cleaner, a disinfectant, a soft brush, and fresh, clean cold water.
Use the solar pool cleaner alongside the disinfectant and a soft brush and lightly scrub the blanket. Rinse off with clean cold water, roll it away and store it in a dry, cool space away from the sun. You can also spread out the cover on the lawn to dry it off and clean it.
How long does a solar pool cover last?
Generally, solar pool covers are estimated to last for about 3-7 years. The longevity depends on the quality of the solar cover, the level of usability, and other climatic and chemical exposures.
How to store solar pool cover?
For temporary storage, you can use hooks to pull the solar pool blanket away from the above ground pool, while for an inground pool, you can use a solar blanket reel.
In the case of long-term storage, thoroughly clean the solar pool cover, fold it by the seams or roll it up, then place it in a big bag. Store the bag in a clean, dry shed away from rodents and with temperatures below 48°C.
Is a Solar Pool Cover Worth It?
A solar pool cover does not only serve as heat retention equipment but helps invariably to maintain your pool and keep it safe for use at all times. If these don’t give it reasons to be worth it, then what else would you want?
With better information on the best solar pool cover available, you can now adequately make your choice to protect and maintain your pool most cost-effectively and assuredly possible.