Best solar pool covers: top-rated reviews
As any pool owner knows, it can cost a small fortune to heat the water. Using the right solar pool cover can save you up to 70% on heating costs by absorbing solar energy and blocking evaporation (1). Here, we’re going to go over the best solar pool cover options available today.
Quick Comparison of our Top 15 Best Solar Pool Covers (For Those in a Rush)
- Sun2Solar 33’ Round (Best Overall): Our overall top favorite pick, the Sun2Solar 33’ Round combines versatility and ease of use to heat your pool efficiently.
- Intex Solar Cover 16’ Oval (Budget Pick): A thin, light cover that works well in warm weather, the Intex Solar Cover 16’ Oval is our top choice for pool owners on a budget.
- Sun2Solar 24’ Round (Best Lightweight Pick): Our favorite pick for lightweight cover is thin enough to move and use with ease, yet thick enough to insulate most sized pools while preventing evaporation.
- Leisure 24’ Round (Most Durable): It’s thick size, robust design, and long warranty period make the Leisure 24′ Round our top choice for the most durable solar cover.
- Sun2Solar 20’x40’ (Best for In-Ground Pools): If you have an in-ground pool, we recommend the Sun2Solar 20’X40’ thanks to its large size, heavyweight thickness, and versatility.
- Blue Wave NS520 16’x32’: This cover is clear, offering quick and efficient heating, with a large size and medium thickness that can insulate in even colder weather.
- In The Swim 24’ Round: This thin, lightweight cover is easy to shape to any pool while offering plenty of insulation, yet durable enough to hold up against regular use.
- Sun2Solar 16’x32’: A medium-weight solar cover, this model gives you a great value option, offers superior insulation, and can be trimmed to fit any pool shape.
- Blue Wave NS525 18’x36’: Fast-acting and efficient, this medium-weight pool cover is able to heat water drastically.
- Sun2Solar 25’x50’: This oversize pool cover is ideal for both rectangular and irregularly shaped pools, easy to set up, and is thick enough to provide plenty of insulation.
- Intex Solar Cover 18’: This lightweight, efficient pool cover comes with its own carrying bag for easy portability.
- Blue Wave NS500 18’x33’: This clear, oval-shaped cover is a medium weight, making it efficient yet easy to set up.
- Sun2Solar 30’x50’: This large, rectangular, medium-weight solar cover can be trimmed to fit most pools and is a breeze to set up.
- Blue Wave NS131 36’: This large, circular pool cover is made of durable material that’s lightweight yet effective at raising your pool’s base temperature.
- Intex Solar Cover 15’: This thin yet effective solar cover offers a simple set up, fits snugly, and is easy to carry around with you.
Solar Pool Cover Reviews
With so many options to choose from, it can be tough to choose the right solar cover for your pool. We’re here to help you decide with our top 15 picks for the best solar pool cover of 2020.
1. Sun2Solar 33’ Round (Best Overall)
Our choice for the best overall solar pool cover is this model from Sun2Solar. It can fit round pools up to 33’ in diameter, and the material is easy to trim to size for smaller pools without voiding the warranty (2).
This solar cover comes in both clear and blue depending on your heating needs, and it’s 16-mil thick for superior insulation. The cover can prevent up to 95% of evaporation.
The Sun2Solar 33’ Round includes a free six-pack of grommets, making it easy to set up and remove the cover without any assistance. The grommets can also help hold the cover in place when it gets windy out.
2. Intex Solar Cover 16’ Oval (Budget Pick)
This solar cover is our top budget pick because it offers an affordable price tag without sacrificing efficiency or durability. It’s an attractive light blue color to keep your pool looking its best, even when covered.
This Intex solar cover is under 8-mil thick, making it easy to move, set up, and store as needed. A single person can easily cover and uncover the pool in just a few minutes.
This cover works best in warmer temperatures. It can block debris and prevent up to 95% of evaporation, all while heating the water underneath to a comfortable degree.
3. Sun2Solar 24’ Round (Best Lightweight Pick)
This SunSolar cover offers an ideal fit for 24; round pools. If you have a smaller or irregularly shaped pool, you can trim the cover to fit. It’s light blue in color, both for aesthetics and to ensure you get the right balance of heat gain and heat retention.
Using this solar cover can help to reduce evaporation by up to 95%, saving you money and keeping your pool warmer for longer.
At 8-mil thickness, this cover is our best lightweight pick. It’s easy to put on and take off of your pool by yourself. It’s ideal for warmer temperatures and can help extend swim season into the cooler parts of spring and fall.
4. Leisure 24’ Round (Most Durable)
This 12-mil solar cover is thick enough for most climates, offering plenty of insulation and tight seals around the edges. It’s designed to fit 24’ pools, though when properly weighted, it can protect smaller pools as well.
The Leisure 24’ Space Age cover raises water an average of 15 degrees on a sunny day. It can also stop up to 95% of evaporation when in use.
This pool cover comes with a 7-year limited warranty and a 2-year full warranty. The manufacturer is confident in its ability to hold up against heavy wear and tear, even year after year.
5. Sun2Solar 20’x40’ (Best for In-Ground Pools)
This rectangular solar cover is ideal for in-ground pools or just about any shape. It’s extra-large 20’X40’ size can be trimmed down as needed without affecting the warranty to fit most in-ground pools, as well as above-ground models.
This cover is 16-mil, making it thicker than many other options. It’s a good choice for insulating pools in cooler climates or during winter weather.
The Sun2Solar 20’X40’ blocks up to 95% of evaporation, especially when sealed tightly around the edges of your pool. It also helps to speed up the heating process so that you don’t have to wait as long to take a dip.
This clear solar blanket allows in the maximum amount of light so that your pool can soak up as many solar rays as possible. It can heat pools more quickly than blue or tinted covers.
The cover fits rectangular 16’X32′ pools and measures 14-mil, which is thick enough to insulate against wind and cold weather without being too heavy. The Blue Wave NS520 can raise your pool’s temperature by up to 15 degrees and prevents up to 95% evaporation.
With this solar cover, you get a six-year limited warranty. It’s thick and durable so that it can withstand months or even years of wear and tear.
This lightweight, 8-mil thick cover is a dark blue to help retain heat better. It can raise your pool’s temperature up to 10 degrees with just a week of consistent sunlight.
The cover fits up to a 24’ round pool. Thanks to its thin design, however, it’s easy to cut to shape for smaller pools or those that aren’t round.
In the Swim is confident in their products, using durable materials and a sturdy overall design. They offer a 3-year limited manufacturer’s warranty for this solar pool cover if it fails due to a defect.
At 12-mil, this cover runs down the middle of the thickness spectrum. It’s light enough to make it easy to carry and set up, yet thick enough to provide plenty of insulation and block up to 95% of evaporation.
This cover from Sun2Solar is designed to fit rectangular pools measuring 16’X32’, though it can easily be cut to work with a different shape. Altering the solar cover won’t affect the manufacturer’s warranty.
This solar cover comes in clear or light blue, depending on how quickly you want to warm up your pool and how much heat you want to retain.
This clear solar pool cover warms pools quickly and efficiently, holding the heat under a 14-mil thick sheet. It can raise temperatures around 15 degrees on a sunny day.
The Blue Wave NS525 can prevent up to 95% of evaporation. It fits best on an 18’X36′ pool, either in-ground or above-ground.
This solar pool cover comes with a six-year manufacturer warranty that covers issues such as manufacturer defects. The material is fairly durable and is resistant to both UV light and chemical wear.
This rectangular pool cover is ideal for 25’X50’ pools. If you have an irregularly shaped in-ground pool, you can easily cut the cover to size without worrying about going against the warranty.
At 16-mil thickness, this solar pool cover makes an efficient insulator. It’s also durable enough to last for years as long as you take care of it properly.
This pool cover comes with a six-pack of grommets to make it easier to keep your pool cover in place. With the grommets, it’s also easier to set up and take down the Sun2Solar cover as needed.
This lightweight pool cover is 12-mil, making it thick enough to insulate water without being too heavy to handle. It fits 18’ round pools, fitting just inside the edge and floating on the surface.
This Intex 18’ Solar Cover can reduce evaporation as much as 95% while warming the area below.
This pool cover is easy to set up and store. It comes with its own reusable carry bag so that when you’re not using it, you can pack it up into a compact space. It will fit easily in just about any closet or car trunk, making it easily portable.
This solar cover is 12-mil to make it a manageable medium weight. It’s thick enough to insulate your pool and raise the temperature up to 15 degrees.
The Blue Wave NS500 has a unique oval shape that fits snugly over 18’X33’ pools. It’s made of clear, weather-resistant plastic for fast and effective heating.
This solar cover can reduce evaporation by up to 95%. It comes with a five-year warranty that covers most manufacturer defects.
Fitting 30’X50’ rectangular pools, this solar pool cover from Sun2Solar is 12-mil thick to protect and insulate your pool. If you have a circular or irregularly shaped pool, you can trim the oversize sheet to fit your needs.
The solar cover can prevent 95% of evaporation on sunny days while retaining solar heat. It comes in clear or blue, depending on which look you prefer.
A six-pack of grommets is included with the cover to help with placement. The grommets allow you to hold the solar cover in place, even on windy days, and make it easy to remove as needed.
This sleek blue solar cover from Blue Wave is both attractive and functional. It’s made of durable UV-protected polymer that holds up against chemicals and UV wear.
This solar pool cover is super lightweight and 8-mil thick, making it ideal for small, circular pools under 36’ in diameter and warmer climates. It’s easy to maneuver and lift on and off your pool when in use.
Despite its thin profile, this solar pool cover can raise your pool’s temperature by as much as 15 degrees. It also prevents up to 95% of evaporation when on top of your pool.
The Blue Wave NS131 comes with a 3-year manufacturer warranty.
Made for 15’ round pools, this Intex solar pool cover fits just inside the edge to offer a seal against both debris and heat loss. It floats in place, making it easy to set up and remove.
The Intex 15′ Cover can block up to 95% of evaporation while also insulating your pool. It’s 8-mil, making it thin and lightweight yet efficient.
A small storage tote comes free with the solar cover so that you can pack it away when not in use. The bag is compact enough to fit in your closet, attic, or car and is easy for a single person to carry.
Buyers’ Guide (Top 3 Tips – How to Buy the Best Solar Pool Cover for You)
1. Pay attention to your solar pool cover’s “thickness”
You can find solar pool covers available in a wide variety of thickness options. Thickness is typically measured in mil, which is one-thousandth of an inch.
In general, the thinnest solar pool covers you can find are around 8-mil thick. These solar covers tend to be more cost-effective than thicker options, but they don’t retain heat as well. They’re best reserved for warmer climates and smaller pools.
If you’re looking for something slightly more durable, a 12-mil solar pool cover will generally hold up better than an 8-mil model. These solar covers also insulate better, and they don’t usually cost much more than thinner options.
Solar pool covers around 14-mil thick are popular amongst pool owners just about everywhere. They’re thick enough to insulate your average pool in most climates, and they’re fairly affordable considering their effectiveness and longevity.
Though you can find thicker specialty solar covers, most standard options top out at 18-mil thick. These solar covers are often pricier than others, but they also offer superior insulation and performance.
2. Look for bonus features that excite you
Many of the best solar pool cover options include bonus features that can improve ease of use or efficiency. There are several things to look for that your solar cover might include:
Some solar pool covers come with a storage bag that makes it easy to carry and store them in a single compact location.
If your solar pool cover has a bag, it might also come with a dedicated carrying strap for easy transport.
Weights or Grommets: Included weights or grommets can help keep a pool cover in place by allowing water to flow over the surface.
Clamps or Fasteners:
If you don’t use weights, clamps or fasteners can help to keep a solar cover snugly situated along the edge of a pool.
When your solar pool cover isn’t in use, side hangers give you a convenient place to store the cover along the edge of your pool frame.
It’s important to clean and maintain your solar pool cover to keep it free of algae, mineral deposits, and debris that can impact its effectiveness.
3. Find the top deal for you
One of the most important considerations for many pool owners when shopping for a solar cover is their budget. A model’s cost can tell you more about the product than you might think.
If a brand gives their product a long warranty, it’s usually because they have confidence in their wares’ quality. It’s a good idea to look for solar pool covers that offer an extended warranty, as they tend to be of high quality. An extended warranty also allows you to purchase relatively risk-free.
Limited Time Deals
If you’re diligent about checking prices, you’ll find that many big solar pool cover brands have regular sales. If you shop at the right time, you can find popular pool cover models at a fraction of their ticket price. Often, pool covers go on sale when the weather starts to get warm, as they’re in lower demand.
The final price of a solar pool cover can give you a fairly good indication of its quality. In general, high-end solar pool covers and well-known brand names will cost more, but they will also perform better and last longer. If possible, it’s best to avoid cheaper solar covers if your area experiences harsher weather, and instead opt for higher-quality options that will be more durable.
Do solar pool covers really work?
Yes, definitely! Here’s how: Pool water absorbs around 75% to 85% of solar energy that hits the water, keeping it warm on sunny days without using an electric or gas heater (3). While adding a solar cover can help insulate the pool, an opaque model can block the natural heat from solar rays.
A solar pool cover solves this problem by allowing more energy to reach the water beneath. In addition to trapping heat and preventing evaporation, a solar pool cover will actively heat the water as well, making it a more effective and efficient choice than traditional options (4).
For those with a inground pool looking for a more powerful heating solution than a cover, you check out our solar pool heaters for inground pools reviews for top-rated options with solar panels.
What is the best thickness for a solar pool cover?
The thickness of the solar pool cover that you choose will largely depend on the climate where you live as well as the size of your pool. In general, a thicker 14 to 18 mil solar cover is better, as it provides superior insulation.
What color solar pool cover heats the best?
Believe it or not, the color of your solar cover can have a significant impact on heating (5). If you’re looking for a solar pool cover to heat the water underneath, a transparent cover will allow in the most sunlight. However, it will also allow more heat to escape, unlike a darker color. In general, most people choose light blue to gain a balance between heat gain and heat retention (6).
The Bottom Line: What is the Best Solar Pool Cover to Buy Today?
Now that you’ve seen all of our favorite picks here at Your Energy Blog for the best solar pool cover of 2020, you’re well equipped to decide which one is best for your home. If you’re still on the fence, we highly-recommend our #1 rated option, the Sun2Solar 33’ Round. It’s a versatile choice that can efficiently heat most sized pools while preventing up to 95% of evaporation. For those looking to buy the best solar pool cover of the year today, it’s tough to go wrong with this one.