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The 7 Best Solar Pool Heaters in 2020

best solar pool heater
best solar pool heater

It is great to have your own pool in the backyard. The purchase is particularly worthwhile for the beautiful summer days. Be it to swim in it, to relax or to play with the children in it. (Of course, this assumes that you don’t have any algae in the pool.)

Unfortunately, bathing is not possible every day of the year. The necessary outside temperatures, which ensure warm pool water, only exist over a relatively short period of time.

This is reason enough to look for ways to heat the pool water in a cost-effective way. The environmentally friendly pool solar heaters are a great option.

The solar heaters only need a few rays of sunshine to have their full effect. Even outside of the official bathing season, the systems raise the water temperature in the pool to a comfortable level.

The solar heaters are ideal for those not so nice summer days when the pool water should still be nice and warm in the evening. Especially if you come home after work and just want to relax, a warm bath in the pool water is ideal.

The pool solar heaters are already known to many pool owners. Few people know which are the best solar heaters for pools.

We present you the best pool solar heaters in this article and explain in the following what you should consider if you want to buy a solar pool heater.

Brief Summary

Solar pool heaters can extend the bathing season by many days - at least with a garden pool. The only prerequisite for this are a few rays of the sun and sufficiently large solar collectors.

The sun-powered heaters are inexpensive to buy, environmentally friendly, extremely low-maintenance and do not cause any ongoing operating costs.

The individual solar heaters only heat the pool water by a few degrees. However, if you combine the individual elements with each other or connect several together, the effect increases.

What are the best Solar Pool Heaters in 2020?

Zelsius Solar Tarpaulin

The manufacturer Zelsius offers solar tarpaulins for various pools. You simply place the tarpaulin over the pool on the water surface and the warming effect begins. Since the solar tarp is particularly suitable as a support for solar mats, we recommend a combination of the two solar heating methods.

The solar tarp comes in a standard size of 6 x 4 meters, which should already be too large for some pools. However, this is not a problem as you can change the shape and size of the tarpaulin with normal scissors.

The many satisfied customers emphasize how well the tarpaulin is perfect for keeping the temperature constant. According to customer statements, the nightly heat loss of the pool water can be prevented almost completely. Another plus point is the quality. A customer has had the tarpaulin for over 4 years and it does not show any wear yet.

The handling of the tarpaulin was somewhat criticized, which, according to a customer, was somewhat cumbersome.

Advantages

Good quality

Size

Easily customizable

Reduces heat loss

Disadvantages

Handling sometimes cumbersome

4.6/5.0
4.6/5

Steinbach Speed Solar Pool Heater

The Speedsolar solar mat is a product of the manufacturer Steinbach. It is made of high quality LDPE plastic and is available in 6 different versions. The sizes range from the dimensions 3.0m x 0.7m to 6.0m x 1.4m. The mat with the largest dimensions has the best price-performance ratio.

If you don’t know if you want to start with the largest version right away, that’s no problem. The products are compatible with each other. So you can start with a small solar mat and, if necessary, buy additional elements with the same dimensions. You can then connect these to the existing ones to achieve higher performance.

The solar mats can be installed directly on the floor, on wooden structures or on the roof. The required space should always be calculated in advance to avoid problems later.

Depending on the size, the weight of the solar mats is between 6 and 20 kilograms. For the small elements, you will probably not need any help with the assembly. With the larger models, however, another pair of hands cannot hurt.

Another important factor of the solar mat is the water flow, which is at least 2,000 liters per hour and a maximum of 10,000 per hour.

Customers are very happy with the solar mats. It increases the temperature of your pool water by up to 8°C. Since the absorption effect of the mats is very good, only a few of the mats are required. The mats are also good for mounting on the roof or directly in the garden.

A point of criticism that is addressed by several customers is the sometimes leaky connections. At this point, a little help is needed. A customer recommends positioning the mats in such a way that the connections can be easily reached and fixed.

Advantages

Fair price

Strong heating output (heats up to 8°C more)

Compatible with other elements

High water flow

Easy to assemble anywhere

Disadvantages

Not always available

Leaky connections

4.6/5.0
4.6/5

vidaXL Pool Solar Collector

The vidaXL  Pool Solar Collector only comes with an area of 71.5 cm². This solar heating is suitable for small pools in rather small gardens. If the collector is to be used for a larger pool, you can connect several of them together to increase the effectiveness.

The solar collector has a 3-way valve, a T-hose connection, 3 adapters and 6 hose chambers. After a simple and quick installation, maintenance work is no longer necessary.

The flow rate is a maximum of 7,500 liters per hour.

According to customer statements, the performance of the vidaXL solar collector is good. The price-performance ratio was right and the heating output met the expectations. Many customers take advantage of the fact that the collectors can be combined to accelerate the heating of the pool water.

The customers are also convinced of the easy assembly and speak for the good quality. The extensive scope of delivery including connections, terminals and valve is a further plus point.

Advantages

Good quality

Price is ok

Great selection of accessories

Takes up little space

Can be combined with several elements

Easy assembly

Disadvantages

Not always available

4.5/5.0
4.5/5

Arebo's Solar Tarpaulin

The Arebos solar tarpaulin are available in different shapes and sizes. It does not matter whether your pool is round or angular. If even the small solar tarpaulin is too large for your pool, you can simply use scissors and cut the tarpaulin back to the desired size.

The application of the solar tarpaulin is very simple. Once placed over the pool, you can sit back and the tarpaulin does the work. Since solar tarpaulins mainly ensure that the pool water does not gets cold too fast, you should consider connecting an additional solar mat or solar collector. This creates an optimal combination of warming during the day and non-cooling of the water at night.

The great thing about the tarpaulin is that it is environmentally friendly and protects the pool from contamination. Overall, it is suitable both for keeping the water clean, preventing evaporation and for thermal insulation.

Customers are very happy with the solar tarpaulin. It has a good price-performance ratio, makes a very qualitative impression and works significantly better than comparable products. Other customers are impressed by the robust tarpaulin and the durability.

Advantages

Low price

Good quality

Easily customizable

Long durability

Disadvantages

Not always available

4.4/5.0
4.4/5

Steinbach Speedsolar Solar Collector

The Steinbach Speedsolar solar collector is a modern device that converts solar energy into heat. With the dimensions 110 x 69 x 14 cm, the collector does not take up much space and still ensures good heat output. If the water temperature rises too slowly in larger pools, several elements can also be connected.

The delivery includes the collector itself, a connection hose and 2 hose clamps. However, the manufacturer specifically states that an additional bypass set is recommended for the assembly.

Customers like how quickly the pool water is heated by the solar collector. Many of them also use several models that accelerate the whole thing. Overall a good price-performance ratio and simple construction.

Some negative reviews have been written by customers who have problems with the seals of the collector. It takes several attempts to finally get the connections completely tight. Since other customers don’t complain about this issue, it’s likely an exception.

Advantages

Space saving

Good heat output

Can be combined with other collectors

Fair price

Disadvantages

Partly leaky connections

An additional bypass set is recommended for the setup

4.3/5.0
4.3/5

Zelsius Solar Mat

The Zelsius solar mat makes a very good impression. With dimensions of 6.0 x 0.8m, the mat is one of the larger models and ensures a good heat output. If this is not sufficient for very large pools, the individual elements can be combined and can be easily connected in series, which increases the performance accordingly.

We like that the solar mat is environmentally friendly and easy to set up. The mat only has to be rolled out and connected. As soon as the solar mat is in the filter circuit, the sun does the rest of the work.

The customers are convinced of the heat output and the processing quality. Many of them use several elements that are connected to each other and thus ensure even faster heating of the pool water. Depending on the sun, warming up the pool by 10°C within a few days is not uncommon.

In negative reviews, dissatisfied customers complain about the quality after the winter break. According to their statements, the pipes suffer frost damage, which makes the solar mat unusable. We would like to inform these customers that the solar mats are not suitable for being stored outside during the winter. As soon as the temperatures become very low, the mats should be stowed in the basement.

Advantages

Good heat output

Great quality

Easy construction

Can be combined with other solar mats

Disadvantages

Not always available

4.3/5.0
4.3/5

well2wellness Solar Plus

The well2wellness Solar Plus is not a bargain, but it scores with good heat output. Depending on the sun exposure and pool size, an element can already cause a temperature increase of up to 5°C. Since the pool heater can be combined with other solar collectors, several elements can be connected in series to improve this heating power even more.

With the dimensions 57 x 57 x 25 cm, it is not only very space-saving, it also ensures very efficient pool water heating thanks to a maximum flow rate of 7,500 liters per hour. The simple application rounds it all off thanks to the bypass set included in the package.

Advantages

Strong heat output

Can be combined with other elements

Space saving

Disadvantages

Not always available

4.1/5.0
4.1/5


How to Buy The Right Solar Pool Heater?

In this guide you will find everything you need to know about pool solar heaters. We go into the advantages and disadvantages, introduce you to the different types of solar heating and examine exactly which factors play a role in the selection.

Advantages and disadvantages of pool solar heaters

Before we go deeper into the matter, you should be clear about whether solar heating makes sense for you. A simple, yet efficient method is to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of the systems. If you are convinced of the majority of the advantages and the disadvantages, solar heating systems are the right choice for you.

Advantages

  • Low maintenance system
  • Inexpensive to buy
  • No running costs
  • environmentally friendly

Disadvantage

  • Effectiveness depends on the weather
  • May take up a lot of space
  • Water can only be warmed by a few degrees

Types of Solar Pool Heaters

Solar Mats & Solar Collectors

A cheap type of solar heating are solar mats made of plastic. These systems are suitable for all garden pools, but work best with pools that are not too large. The reason for this is that the solar mats take up a lot of space. The larger the pool, the more mats are needed.
You can comfortably combine the solar mats with each other so that they take up less space. However, if there is enough space, the mats are worth considering.

In the case of solar mats, the material is of crucial importance. Most models are made of plastic, but there are also individual differences. You should make sure that it is a high-quality plastic that is not affected by environmental influences such as UV radiation and temperature fluctuations. The material should also be able to tolerate moisture and be corrosion-resistant.

Before you decide on a solar mat, it is recommended that you find out about its properties. Important factors of a good solar mat are high thermal conductivity, strong radiation absorption and the lowest possible flow resistance. Only if these properties are present, the pool water can be heated efficiently.

Solar Tarpaulin

Solar tarpaulins are part of the pool solar heaters, but are more of a supportive nature. Simply using a solar tarpaulin to heat the pool water is not a good idea. In combination with a solar mat, the whole thing looks different. 

The solar tarpaulin absorbs the sun’s rays in the form of heat over the surface. This heat is stored on the surface itself and in the small air cushions inside the tarpaulin that is used to heat the pool water.

The great advantage of solar tarpaulins can be seen at night. Pools often lose a lot of heat in the dark hours – even when tarpaulins are used. Solar tarpaulins perform better because the air cushions within the tarpaulin are very good insulation. The heat of the water is kept in the pool and is only released to the cool night air in small quantities.

Black solar tarpaulins have a particularly good effect. The color absorbs many of the sun’s rays and reflects only a very small proportion. As a result, the solar tarpaulin heats up faster. Another positive effect is that this process prevents algae in the pool.

How Do Solar Mats & Solar Collectors Work?

Solar mats and solar collectors are specially designed to bundle the heat from the sun’s rays. The stored heat is then used effectively to heat the pool water.

The use of solar mats and solar collectors is very simple. The systems are simply connected to the pool pump, thus ensuring integration into the pool’s filter circuit. The larger the surface of the solar mats or the more solar collectors are connected in series, the more power the circulation pump will need.

The pool water is led through the special hoses and absorbs the collected heat. This effective way of using the sun as a heat source is ideal for saving electricity costs and protecting the environment.

Purchase Criteria for Solar Pool Heaters

Not every solar poor heating is suitable for every purpose. Many systems are only designed for small pools, even if you connect them in series. Nevertheless, there are enough models that are suitable for larger garden pools. In the following, we clarify which criteria should be considered when assessing whether a pool solar heating system is suitable for your own needs.

Maximum Heating

The maximum possible heating of the pool water is of great importance when choosing a solar heating. Depending on the time of the year and the conditions under which you want to use the pool, there are different requirements for maximum warming.

If, for example, you only use your pool on warm days after work, it would be sufficient for you to choose a solar heating system that only keeps the pool water warm for you and does not heat it further.

However, if you want to use it in the first summer days when the water cannot warm up due to the low energy of the sun’s rays, an increased output makes a lot more sense.

With most pool solar heaters, temperature increases of 5 – 8°C are expected. If you want to achieve more, it is a good idea to combine several systems. For example, you can connect two solar mats together and use a solar tarpaulin.

Dimensions

The dimensions of a solar heater determine how much heat can be generated overall. However, since almost all of the systems can be connected to one another, the size of a single solar heater is not very important.

Overall, you should be aware that strong heating of the pool water can only be guaranteed if you have sufficiently large solar collectors. The size of the collectors depends on two factors.

On the one hand from your available space in the garden or on your roof and on the other hand from the performance of your circulation pump. If it is too weak to pump the water through the pipes, the solar heating cannot fulfill its purpose.

Pool Size

The size of the pool is directly related to the dimensions of the solar heating. The more bigger it is, the more heat is required to raise the pool water temperature. The size of a potential solar tarpaulin depends on the pool size. 

Water Flow Rate

The flow rate provides information about how much water can be pumped through the pipes so that the water is heated sufficiently. Depending on how large your pool is, the flow rate should also be high.

A strong circulation pump is a prerequisite for a high flow rate. If the output is too weak, it cannot support high flow rates. For large pools, it is therefore not only advisable to invest in solar heaters with a large flow rate, but also in a powerful pool pump.

Construction

Building a pool solar heater can be complicated. If you purchase a system that you are unfamiliar with, you probably need an expert to connect the heater for you. This service is usually quite expensive and negates the relatively low purchase cost of solar heating. We therefore recommend that you only purchase solar heaters that have been proven to be installed by beginners.

Costs

The price of a pool solar heater depends on the quality and size of the system. While cheap solar tarpaulins can be purchased for a few dollars, some solar mats can break the $100 range. If you plan to order solar heating for a larger pool, you should set aside a budget of several hundred dollars.

FAQ: Solar Pool Heaters

Can I use the Solar Pool Heater during Winter?

The sun-powered heaters have no purpose in winter. There is neither enough sunshine to generate enough heat, nor are solar heaters designed to heat more than 8°C.

Another point is that the solar heaters can get frost damage if they are not properly stowed away in winter.

As soon as the cold season arrives, it is time to dismantle the solar heaters and store them in the basement. We do not recommend storing in in a tool shed, because very low temperatures can also occur there, which can have a detrimental effect on the service life of the heater.

Even if there is still no official pool solar heating test in which various models have been tested for their frost resistance, we recommend that you do not take the risk and play it safe.

Where Can You Buy a Solar Pool Heater?

Pool solar heaters can either be purchased online in various stores such as Amazon or Ebay. These marketplaces usually offer the various systems at much cheaper prices than you would pay for them in the hardware store or in specialist shops. Another advantage of the online shops is the free delivery, from a minimum order value, which should be easily achieved when purchasing a solar heater.

Can You Build a Pool Heater on your own?

Enthusiastic hobbyists are particularly tempted to build their own solar pool heating. While this is possible, you should know exactly what you are doing if you are tackling this challenge. To give you a rough direction, you can use the following instructions:

  1. Determine the size of the area that is required for later use.
  2. Acquire two distribution pipes and a corresponding number of flow pipes.
  3. Now connect the distribution pipes to the flow pipes so that only the ends of the distribution pipes are exposed.
  4. Then integrate the construction into the filter circuit.

Are there any Alternatives to Solar Pool Heaters?

If you want to heat your pool water even without sunshine, we can recommend heat pumps or instantaneous water heaters. In contrast to the sun-powered systems, the alternatives require access to the power network. In addition, these models are associated with relatively high acquisition costs.

If you bring the necessary change, heat pumps and instantaneous water heaters are an excellent choice for heating your pool water.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps convert the ambient temperature into heat using electrical energy and transfer this energy to the pool water. These systems work regardless of whether the sun is shining or not, but they rely on a power supply.

The advantage of heat pumps is the good performance efficiency, which ensures that large amounts of pool water can be heated in a short time. The obvious disadvantage is the initial cost.

Instantaneous Water Heaters

Continuous flow heaters are the cost-effective version of the heat pumps. They are easy to connect to the filter circuit and ensure rapid heating of the water. A disadvantage of the instantaneous water heater is the high operating costs. These are higher than for heat pumps.

Where Do You Install a Solar Pool Heater?

The common practice is to install the solar panels on roofs. The installation is very simple. The solar collectors are simply placed on the roof of the house, garage or shed and connected to the filter system of the pool. For the most part, these are simple plug-in systems that do not require professional support and can be expanded with additional panels in just a few steps.

Tips for Choosing The Right Solar Pool Heater

Do Not Save on the Purchase Price

Solar heaters for the pool are installed once and should then last for 15 to 20 years. Cheap models may have a reduced lifespan and may need to be replaced earlier. Maintenance costs are also typically higher for low-cost models.

Check the Price-Performance Ratio

The price is of course an important factor but you should not accept low quality. However, you should ask yourself what you need for your situation. You don’t need high-end heating systems for a small swimming pool, which could be significantly more expensive than a simple solar tarpaulin.

Combine Solar Pool Heating with Solar Tarpaulins

Cover the swimming pool to keep the pool water warm. With a tarpaulin on the pool, solar pool heating works much more efficiently because much less heat is released into the air.

Our Solar Pool Heater Conclusion

There are many different pool heaters on the market. Depending on the sunlight, these models can heat the pool water quickly and efficiently.

The pool solar heaters are particularly suitable for smaller pools, but they can also be used for large models. Since smaller solar heaters cannot heat a lot of water at the same time, it is advisable to combine several elements and thus increase efficiency.

However, the area required increases with several of these heaters. If your own garden is not sufficient, the house or garage roof can also be used as a storage space. An additional way to keep the pool water warm and to increase the effect of the solar heating is to use solar tarpaulins. You simply place these on the water surface in the evening or on days when the pool is not in use. The heat of the pool water cannot escape or can only escape in small quantities. Another advantage: The pool is shielded from foreign objects such as leaves or rain.