The 9 Best Solar Pool Covers

Updated May 24, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

9 Best Solar Pool Covers
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 41 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. Heating your swimming pool can get very expensive rather quickly. The solar pool covers on our list will not only save you money on your energy bills by preventing heat loss at night, but they will also help to warm up your pool throughout the day and reduce water loss by evaporation, saving you on your water bills, as well. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best solar pool cover on Amazon.

9. Robelle 1836RS

The Robelle 1836RS offers coverage in any one of 11 different cuts and sizes. Its diamond-shaped bubbles are uniquely crafted for high temperature retention, and its aluminum heat shield undercoating reflects warmth back into the pool.
  • maximizes surface area capture
  • reduces water evaporation
  • plastic material rips easily
Brand Robelle
Model 1836RS-8SBD BOX
Weight 29.1 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

8. Solar Sun Rings

If you aren't interested in deploying a large sheet of bubbles across the surface of your pool, but you want to capture some heat from the sun, the Solar Sun Rings are small, circular coverings that float in the water as densely packed as you can place them.
  • festive design and coloring
  • no anchors necessary
  • won't lock in temperatures at night
Brand Solar Sun Rings
Model pending
Weight 15.6 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

7. In The Swim 12 Mil Rectangle

The In The Swim 12 Mil Rectangle is highly efficient at transferring the sun's heat directly into your water and keeping it there. You can easily trim it to fit around ladders or to conform to unique pool shapes with simple scissors.
  • environmentally friendly
  • attractive blue color
  • individual bubbles can chip off
Brand In The Swim
Model pending
Weight 95 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

6. MidWest Canvas

With an 8-millimeter thickness and a blue and silver round bubble pattern, the MidWest Canvas is a great option for above ground, circular pools in open areas that don't require anything designed to stand up to lots of leaves or debris.
  • provides uv protection
  • lightweight but durable
  • takes two people to apply
Brand MidWest Canvas
Model BLUE/SILVER 21 RD 5YR
Weight 17 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

5. In The Swim 16 Mil Ultra-Clear

The In The Swim 16 Mil Ultra-Clear is one of the thickest and most durable options on the market. It will stand up to all sorts of weather, and you can remove it, roll it up, and redeploy it many times without worrying about its constitution.
  • easy to cut and shape as needed
  • heat-reflective bottom layer
  • eight-year limited warranty
Brand In The Swim
Model pending
Weight 114 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

4. Sun2Solar Round

The Sun2Solar Round is U.V. protected to keep it safe from intense rays, and it's reinforced to prevent wear and tear, and to stand up to twigs, hail, and more. It is capable of raising your pool's temperature by 5-10 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • assembled in the usa
  • saves on heating costs
  • thinner than other options
Brand Sun2Solar
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

3. Blue Wave NS520

Backed by a six-year warranty and featuring innovative, close-packed heat-retaining bubbles, the Blue Wave NS520 will capture warmth while the sun is shining and shield your pool from temperature loss when those chilly nights set in.
  • heavy-duty construction
  • thick 14-gauge material
  • clear color for greater sun exposure
Brand Blue Wave
Model NS520
Weight 32.2 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. Splash Pools Oval

For swimmers who own and maintain above-ground, ovular bodies of water, the Splash Pools Oval is cut with two short, rounded edges and slightly straight sides to fit the bill. It helps block out dirt and debris that might clog your filter, too.
  • tightly packed bubbles
  • heats water by up to 15 degrees
  • weighs a sturdy 11 pounds
Brand Splash Pools
Model SCV 2412
Weight 11.1 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. Harris Rectangular 16 Mil

The Harris Rectangular 16 Mil comes to you backed by a full two-year warranty, as well as a partial seven-year guarantee against any kind of degradation. The product should not lose its flexibility or become brittle for some time.
  • prevents chemical dissipation
  • available in clear or blue shades
  • 10 size options
Brand Harris
Model H1632RTCC16
Weight pending
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

Solar Powered, But Not Electric

We've all jumped into a pool that was just a little too cold. Or a lot too cold. It's a shocking moment, and if it's intense enough, it could take all the pleasure and peace out of what is supposed to be a refreshing dip. What's more, if you rely on swimming as a primary source of exercise–maybe you've got joint issues, for example–, the window through which you can enjoy your outdoor pool is severely limited by the seasons.

Even in southern California, an outdoor in-ground pool is only comfortable for swimming from about late April through early September. A solar powered pool cover can make an immense amount of difference. With one installed over my pool, our comfortable swimming period has been extended from late March to mid-November.

The material is designed to absorb sunlight and transfer that heat to the water below. The process takes time, but it can increase the temperature of your pool by five degrees over the course of 12 hours.

Perhaps even more important than the heating ability of your solar pool cover, is its heat retention. Pools lose a tremendous amount of heat throughout the night, when the air above the water dips below the temperature of the water itself and the water evaporates.

The inverse of what happens during the daytime happens with your solar pool cover in the night, as its backside is designed to trap heat in the pool water and prevent it from being transferred to the night air.

By these means, your pool will get significantly warmer, and insignificantly cooler each day until it levels out at a wonderful average.

Bubble Up To The Top

I can imagine the look of confusion and disappointment on the face of a customer whose pool cover has just arrived, only to be a round shape floating awkwardly in his rectangular pool.

Picking the right cover for your pool is paramount, and that starts with the shape. It's the most obvious piece of advice, but you definitely want to confine your purchase to a shape that most closely resembles your actual pool. Don't get any bright ideas about saving $5 by buying a round cover and cutting it and reshaping it to fit your quadrilateral. Remember, these covers are as much about insulation as anything else, so the less cutting you have to do to get it to fit, the better.

From brand to brand, one of the most easily recognizable factors in the price of a pool cover is its thickness. A thicker cover is going to be more durable against falling debris from trees, satellites plummeting out of orbit, etc., and it's going to do a better job keeping the heat you've built up in the water from escaping.

Some pool covers will brag about the size of their bubbles, while others will flaunt fancy bubble shapes, or spout some statistic about how they've crammed more bubbles onto their cover than anybody else. This is one of those "six of one, a half-dozen of the other" moments. The thing you want to be sure of is that the space between the bubbles is limited. After that, the size, shape, or quantity of the bubbles is pretty irrelevant to the fact of the bubbles themselves, which represent the best heat transfer of any cover type.

Pools Of The Rich And Famous

One of my earliest memories swimming in the ocean involves a large, as-yet-unidentified fish swimming beside me and bumping up against my leg. It scared me nearly to death, as I had only recently seen Jaws for the first time, and was sure I was about to be eaten alive.

For that and other reasons, I find it hard to believe anybody would willingly choose to have fish living in their swimming pool, but the swimming pool as we know it dates back far enough that we find several Roman emperors who kept fish in their pools with them.

Pools and baths and spas of these sorts were popular among the noble classes, and many of these were naturally occurring hot springs like the baths in Ibsen's famous play An Enemy Of The People. It really wasn't until several public pools were constructed in the mid-19th century UK that the concept of confined recreational swimming became a popular option for laymen.

The development of private swimming pools in people's homes came from exactly where you'd expect: Hollywood. The notion of having a private pool of your own gained traction as a status symbol in the Hollywood boom eras following each of the World Wars. As of 2009, the total number of pools in the US according to the International Aquatic Foundation was just north of eight million.

That's a lot of lost heat. Up until the late 50s, most people just threw some canvas down around the pool and weighed the edges with sandbags if they wanted any kind of cover. It wasn't until 1959 that a retractable canvas cover was created, the popularity of which spurred on the development of cheaper, lighter, more efficient alternatives, a development process that has given us these feather-light, supremely effective solar covers.



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Last updated on May 24, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.


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