Best Solar Heater for Above Ground Pool in 2019

Solar Heater for Above Ground Pool

Wouldn’t it be nice if we all enjoyed the tropical weather? Never having to worry about chilly, gloomy days? But far from it, summer always goes too soon. Unwillingly, you have to close down your pool. This is where swimming pool heating comes in. And not just any kind of heating, we are talking solar pool heaters. You can now open your swimming pool in late spring and close it a month into fall. In this article, we take a look at the best solar heaters for above ground pools.

Choosing a solar heater for swimming-pool-heating is cost-effective, it also creates the perfect swimming environment in cold weather. All you need is a few hours of the sun shining, and your pool will be warm and toasty.

Solar Heater for Above Ground Pool in 2019

In a hurry? Choose your Solar Heater from this quick buying decision list:

  • Our Top Pick: Game 4714 SolarPRO Contour Solar Pool Heater for Intex
  • High heat transfer: Fafco Solar Bear Economy Heating System
  • Easy to install: Kokido Keops Solar Dome K835CBX/RV
  • Durable construction: SunQuest Solar Pool Heater with Diverter
  • Cost-effective: Sungrabber Solar Pool Heater with LiquidHeat Solar Blanket
  • Bubbles Included: Sun2Solar 800 Series Blue 15ft Round Solar Cover
  • Best Value for Money: Intex Solar Heater Mat

The biggest challenge in selecting a solar heater is identifying products that maximize efficiency. You will have to know how much temperature rise your pool deserves. Also, don’t forget the size and ease of installation are also important before making a buy. We’ve considered all the above features and so much more to bring you only the top performers.

 

1. Game 4714 SolarPRO Contour Solar Pool Heater for Intex

GAME 4714 SolarPRO Contour Solar Pool Heater for Intex

Game 4714 SolarPRO Contour is one of the most popular solar pool heaters. Thanks to its compact size, this heater is eye-pleasing and super easy to install.

Heating Efficiency

This model is ideal for small above ground pools. It is capable of raising your pool’s temperature by 5 degrees in about six days. This way, you can maintain the pool’s temperature at the ideal warmth for everyday swimming.

For those who live in areas where nights are much cooler, you will need to add a solar cover. It prevents high heat losses which help keep the pool warmer than the outdoors.

Design and Installation

The dome-shaped design of this solar heater is its highlight. It creates a greenhouse effect to increase heat transfer. Although it has 90 days of warranty, its injection-molded construction lasts long.

When it comes to installation, it is a simple do-it-yourself situation. It includes the adapters for Intex and Best Way Pools. You will need a 1.5HP pump so that water can flow at an ideal rate. The included hose is quite short. If your pool is not located where there’s plenty of sunshine, you will need to invest in longer hoses.

Also, to effectively warm a large pool, two or more of these solar heaters are required. You may need to perform some modifications. For example, have a pump that filters the water and another that runs the warm water without a filter. This way, you won’t deal with a decrease in flow rate due to the filter.

Pros
  • Clear dome for high heat transfer.
  • Easy installation.
  • Includes Best Way and Intex Pool adapters.
  • Increases pool temperature by 5 degrees.
Cons
  • Requires lots of sunlight.
  • Ideal for up to 15 feet round pools.

 

2. Fafco Solar Bear Economy Heating System – Best High-End Choice

Our second pick for the day is the Fafco Solar Bear Economy Heating System. It is a pricier solar pool heater owing to its large size and effectiveness.

Heating Efficiency

This solar heater has two-inch headers. These headers are important for excellent heat transfer and consistent circulation. Solar Bear does not follow the standard transfer of heat, instead, water pumps through the heater and out again. It results in faster and effective heating.

It is recommended to run Solar Bear between 10 am and 4 pm, but we all know this is dependent on where you live. You may also want to tilt the heater south in a 30-degree angle for the best results.

Design and Installation

Fafco Solar Bear Economy Heating System is an extra-large mat measuring 4ft by 20ft It comes pre-plumbed, so you won’t need professional installation. What’s more, it comes with the installation hardware, plugs, elbows, and instructions.

This model offers three installation options; it can go on the roof, a rack, or on the ground. With the help of the built-in manual, you’ll be able to turn it on and off whenever you want. It works best for pools up to 24 inches round. That means a bigger pool will require two of these heaters.

The only thing you have to deal with is the considerable amount of space it takes. If you don’t want to have dry grass patches, you’ll want to install it on the roof. But remember, this is not an install and forget device, you have to keep checking it from time to time.

Pros
  • Raises water temperature by 10 degrees.
  • Comes with installation hardware.
  • Offers three installation options.
  • Ensures high heat transfer and consistency.
Cons
  • Takes up lots of space.
  • Does not work well in very cold climates.
  • Complaints about quality control.

 

3. Kokido Keops Solar Dome K835CBX/RV- Best DIY Solar Pool Heater

Many are times we have so many pieces to put together when installing a solar pool heater, but that is not the case with Kokido Keops Solar Dome K835CBX/RV. Its compact size allows for flawless DIY action ideal for small pools.

Heating Efficiency

This solar pool heater works much like our top pick, and they do look the same. The clear dome also creates a greenhouse effect. This feature allows it to improve heat transfer, so you won’t wait for more than a couple of days for comfortable swimming temperature.

Kokido Keops works well with pools having a capacity of up to 10,000 gallons. It is ideal for warm to cold climates as it only raises the water temperature by about 5 degrees. You don’t want to depend on it if your area is prone to cold winds and very low temperatures. But you can complement it with a solar cover that will prevent loss in warmth during the night.

Design and Installation

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this heater is the simple installation process. You will get four hoses, stainless steel clamps, and fittings. All you have to do is connect it between the pump and the pool return and you are set. The heater is compatible with both 1.25-inch and 1.5-inch flexible hoses.

It allows you to use it with longer hoses if you have to install it further from the pump. With its dome shape comes an integrated rack, which is quite important for angling it to the direction it will receive the most sunshine. And when the swimming season is over, its protective cover will come in handy during storage.

Pros
  • Comes with an integrated rack.
  • Super easy to install.
  • Dome shape increases heat transfer.
  • Can work with more heaters for larger pools.
  • Takes up little space.
Cons
  • It has only a 30-day warranty.

 

4. SunQuest Solar Pool Heater with Diverter and Roof/Rack Mounting Kit- Best for Large Pools

2-2'X20' SunQuest Solar Pool Heater with Diverter And Roof/Rack Mounting Kit

Don’t want to wait a couple of days to swim in warm toasty water? Grab the SunQuest model. You get two 2ft x 20ft panels that work fast to heat your pool water. Its effectiveness allows this model to be of use in both in-ground and above ground pools.

Heating Efficiency

The first thing you notice about SunQuest is the premium quality of the panels. They are large, making them efficient for heating medium and large-sized pools in a matter of hours. The SunQuest solar collectors feature copper absorber plates and Tefzel glazing. These features provide UV-resistance and durable performance.

This solar heater can raise your pool’s temperature by ten degrees. Most people who live in colder regions with only a few hours of sunshine will benefit from this model. Whether you lose 3 or 5 degrees of warmth overnight, your pool waters will always be comfortable.

Design and Installation

The SunQuest panels are flexible like mats. Although they are quite heavy, you won’t have lots of trouble mounting them. It is best to unroll the panels in the sun, they are pretty stiff when cold, but when exposed to sunshine, the warmth makes them a bit soft, so they are easy to unroll. Better still, it comes with a mounting kit and straightforward instructions.

After everything is set, you will enjoy the MAX-FLOW design. This design includes two-inch OD headers that improve water circulation. It’s no wonder why it is capable of raising water temperatures in a couple of hours.

However, there are complaints about the quality of the fittings. This is where you will need quality plumbing and proper installation. This way, you won’t encounter the problems that come with poor installation.

Pros
  • Reasonably priced.
  • Includes roof or rack mounting kit.
  • Raises water temperature in hours.
  • Durable copper absorber plates.
Cons
  • Fittings could be of better quality.
  • Warranty honoring complaints.

 

5. Sungrabber Solar Pool Heater with LiquidHeat Solar Blanket- Best for Small Swimming Pools

Sungrabber 2-2'X20' Solar Pool Heater-Above-Ground Swimming Pools- W/Add-on Kit & LiquidHeat Solar Blanket

The Sungrabber Solar Pool Heater looks like the SunQuest model, but instead of copper solar absorbers, this one uses polymer solar collectors. It is, thus, cheaper and lighter than its SunQuest cousin. However, you will have to wait a few days to feel any change in the water’s temperature.

Heating Efficiency

Sungrabber has received high ratings in its heating efficiency. The two panels have lots of tubes in comparison with solar heaters in their price range. As such, the panels can heat water fast and keep the temperature ideal as long as the system is running.

This solar heater works best with small above ground swimming pools up to 15ft round. Any larger and the heaters cannot meet the rise you need. In this case, you will require more panels which will take up more space. It is better to stick to the size recommendations.

Design and Installation

For a polymer solar heater, we are impressed by its efficiency. This model boasts compatibility with any pool pump. It is also mountable on a roof or rack, but most people agree it is best set on the ground. At the price, you can expect leaks after some time. Leaks are hard to repair on a roof than on the ground.

The installation is very straightforward, you only need the hoses, the pump, and the fittings. The only thing you’ll need to ensure is that the hoses can take the pressure of the water. Otherwise, you are looking at a blow-up in a matter of days.

Pros
  • Two panels offer reasonable heating.
  • Includes LiqquidHeat Cover.
  • Cost-effective.
  • Can raise water temperature by 10 degrees.
Cons
  • Instructions are not straightforward.
  • Panels need grounding for stability.

 

6. Sun2Solar 800 Series Blue 15ft Round Solar Cover- Best Solar Cover

Sun2Solar Blue 24-Foot Round Solar Cover | 800 Series | Heating Blanket for Above-Ground Swimming Pools

Solar blankets are not your typical way of heating pool water, but if you live in warm areas, you don’t need to go all the way with a pool heater. The Sun2Solar may be what you need.

Heating Efficiency

Did you know that solar blankets prevent up to 95% of pool water evaporation? That is what the Sun2Solar is all about. Preventing water loss during the night means you will be filling your pool less frequently. This way, you won’t interfere with the water temperature, and you can go in with confidence.

The blue bubbles in the Sun2Solar are what makes this blanket different. It does not just prevent water evaporation, it also uses the sun’s rays to warm up the water. At night, the cover goes to work to prevent heat loss. You can depend on it to maintain the ideal swimming temperatures.

Design and Installation

This cover comes in a slim design which allows for fast rolling and unrolling when you enter and leave the pool. You still need an extra pair of hands to do the rolling and unrolling though. Also, it comes in different sizes; the 15ft round cover will only fit 15ft round pools, the same thing goes for 12ft, 18ft, up to 36ft.

If you have a pool, in a different shape, we recommend measuring the widest part and going for a cover that size. After that, you can cut off the extra material and it won’t void your warranty. That’s it for this solar heater since it does not require any form of installation. Just lay it on your pool and it’s good to go.

Pros
  • Contains thousands of bubbles.
  • Prevents up to 95% of water evaporation.
  • Can raise water temperature by 5 to 7 degrees.
  • Up to 3 years of warranty.
Cons
  • Issues with quality control.

 

7. Intex Solar Heater Mat- Best Cheap Solar Pool Heater

Intex Solar Heater Mat

This product may be the least noticeable solar power heater, but if you are on a budget, you can bet on the Intex Solar Heater Mat to warm your swimming pool.

Heating Efficiency

This Intex solar heater is capable of raising water temperatures by up to 9 degrees within 7 days. It works with pools up to 8,000 gallons hence not ideal for large pools. This model is also highly dependent on the weather for it to work perfectly.

That means, when the weather is quite chilly it will struggle more than other solar panels. Its black color, however, ensures that it gets very hot on sunny days. This way, it can raise the pool temperature and keep it that way. Combined with a solar cover, you can use this mat solely to increase your swimming period by one or two months.

Design and Installation

The best thing about Intex Solar Heater is its small size. Measuring 47 x 47 inches, it is barely the size of a regular solar panel. It won’t take lots of space and installation is easy too. The mat works with hoses with up to 0.5HP and 1.25-inch hose attachments. It comes with the connecting hose and the bypass valve.

During installation, you will want to be careful of the pressure and the connections you make. This model relies on O-rings to prevent leaking. It also requires that you do not use a low-pressure hose to prevent busting.

What if you have a large pool and want to use as many Intex mats as possible. Well, in this case, you have to divert the water flow through different pipes. If not, you may end up with hose busts more often than not.

Pros
  • Raises water temperature up to 9 degrees.
  • Small and compact.
  • Simple to install.
  • Ideal for pools up to 8,000 gallons.
  • Can be used with more Intex solar mats.
Cons
  • Not ideal for large pools.
  • A high-temperature increase is reliant on using more mats.

 

8. SmartPool S240U Universal Sun Heater – Best Design

SmartPool S240U Universal Sun Heater, 4 by 20-Feet

For those keen on details, we have picked SmartPool S240U Universal Sun Heater for you. This solar pool heater is conveniently engineered with perfection in mind, but you may have to pay a little more for the extra convenience.

Heating Efficiency

The take away feature on this pool heater is in the solar collectors. The polypropylene heat collector is complemented by an internal baffle. The collector tubes are fed individually. This way, the heat collector ensures maximum heat transfer is achieved. With the internal baffle, it has double heating potential. It makes it possible to heat the water faster and efficiently.

SmartPool S240U is quite sizable, it measures 4 x 20ft, allowing it to be of use with large pools. It is capable of increasing your pool’s temperature by 10 degrees. Even with chilly weather, you can get in the pool earlier and leave later.

Design and Installation

We have touched a bit on the design, you will notice that this heater has tube-on web design. It is vital in increasing the surface area of the tube that is exposed to sunlight. Also, this heater comes with individual panel sections that are interlocked together.

The panel remains flexible during the installation process. It includes a mounting channel which you can use to mount the heater onto a fence. In addition to the mounting channel, SmartPool S240U also has wind vents. It maintains durable performance even in windy conditions.

Pros
  • The over-molded header is fiberglass-reinforced.
  • Comes with threaded headers.
  • Uses the direct flow system.
  • Capable of heating large pools.
Cons
  • Installation is not the most straightforward.

 

9. GAME 4721-BB SolarPRO Curve- Most Flexible Option

GAME 4721-BB SolarPRO Curve Solar Pool Heater, Made for Intex & Bestway Above-Ground and Inground Pools, Includes Intex Adapters, 2 Hoses & Clamps

When we talk flexible, it’s all about the options that GAME 4721-BB SolarPRO Curve offers. It comes in a unique design that speaks volumes about its effectiveness.

Heating Efficiency

GAME is not a new name in the solar pool heater world. In fact, this particular model is one of the most popular models. Designed in a curve shape, this model is capable of capturing the most energy from the sun. It raises pool temperature by up to 5 degrees, so it is desirable if your pool does not experience high heat losses during the night.

The good thing with this solar heater is that you can adjust the legs so that it angles in the direction of the sun. While other solar heaters may be a pain to adjust, this one can move with the sun as it crosses the sky.

Design and Installation

A unique aspect of GAME 4721-BB is that it is made to be wind resistant. It minimizes the impact of cold winds, which in turn helps to keep your pool water warm for a longer period.

This model is one of those that will not give you trouble during the installation process. It has threaded ports, it is compatible with most plumbing systems on the market, and it comes with hoses and stainless-steel clamps. These items and features will start you easy on the installation process.

What you will encounter, though, is the hoses are too short. If you have to place it a considerable distance from the pump, you have to purchase longer hoses, otherwise, it is an incredible product that will extend your swim season.

Pros
  • Curved design improves heat absorption.
  • It has adjustable legs.
  • Built to withstand the elements.
  • Raises pool temperature by five degrees.
  • Multiple units can be used as one system.
Cons
  • It may need modifications to run efficiently.

 

Conclusion

As a pool owner, you’d like to get the most out of your investment. Don’t let the cold weather stop you. All you need is one of our top picks for your above ground pool and you are set. These units have been individually reviewed to give you our best take on each of the brands.

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