Choosing the Best Solar Pool Heaters

If you’re thinking of getting something efficient and eco-friendly to heat your pool, you’ve come to the right place! 

Even on the hottest days, most backyard pools still feel less tempting to dip our toes in, nevertheless jump in. This is because the sheer surface area of pools makes it easier for hot air to evaporate, leaving your backyard oasis something little to be desired. Let’s be real – you want to be refreshed, not freezing cold. 

While most pool owners, including yourself, already have a gas or electric pool heater, this gets quite costly and it’s just not as sustainable in the long-term. You want to be lounging and swimming, not paying bills. 

An average solar pool system will cost around $3,000 to $4,000. But the payback is worth it. Solar panels are reliable, low maintenance, and will last you a long time (anywhere between 20 to 25 years). Wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy your pool longer with peace of mind?

Well, it’s more than possible to kick it back with a floatie once you have the perfect solar pool heater. We’re incredibly lucky with the sun’s rays to have a sustainable energy source all year. Now that you’re read to take the plunge, here’s some questions to consider before purchasing a solar pool heater. 

Top 6 Solar Pool Heaters

# 1
GAME 4721-BB SolarPRO Curve Solar Pool Heater, Made for Intex & Bestway Above-Ground and Inground Pools, Includes Intex Adapters, 2 Hoses & Clamps

Designed to heat most in-ground, and above-ground pools, the GAME SolarPRO features high-quality materials in order to combat exposure to the elements. With a unique shape, this curved solar pool heater works to increase the overall pool temperature, of an 8,000 gallon pool, by 5 degrees Fahrenheit in a 4 day period. Most gradual heaters, like the 4721-BB SolarPRO, increase your pool’s overall water temperature, thereby extending your pool season.


Not only does a solar pool heater save on space, it also provides the maximum heat output for your pool. This curved solar panel does not require gas or electricity to operate, but also provides foldable legs for maximum sun exposure. Intex adapter, 2 hoses, and clamps are included, and this solar unit is covered by a 90 day warranty. The GAME SolarPRO solar pool heater weighs 18.3 pounds, and measures in at 24.56”x5.91”x44.88”.

Sale # 2
Smartpool S601P SunHeater Solar Heating System for In Ground Pool

The S601P SunHeater from SmartPool features a polypropylene heat collector with a direct flow system. These panels feature black, durable polypropylene, that are easily mounted to the roof of your home or outbuilding. Overall, it raises the pool temperature by 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit, utilizing 80 square feet of solar panels.

 If you are looking to begin pool season early, or keep it open later, the SmartPool Sunheater is a great accessory for heating in-ground, and above-ground pools. Each panel measures 48”x1”240”, weighs 29 pounds, and heats over 10,000 gallons. An installation kit is required, and sold separately. Proudly made in the USA, S601P SunHeater is covered by a 5-year limited warranty.

Sale # 3
SmartPool S240U Pool Solar Heaters

The S24OU Pool Solar Heater, from SmartPool, utilizes your pool’s existing filtration system to pump pool water through heating panels, in order to heat the water using power from the sun. A simple installation means less time spent fretting over solar heaters, and more time enjoying more time in a warm pool. By raising the water temperature by 6 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit, homeowners can open their pool early, or extend the season by several weeks. 

A unique tube-web-tube design enables the SunHeater to capture as much of the sun’s power as possible throughout the day. With rigid flexibility, panels are allowed to expand and contract, as needed, with fluctuating outdoor temps. This system is made to heat pools up to 18’x36′, or 31′ around, and is covered by a 5-year limited warranty. Included are two 27.5”x16”x240” polypropylene heating panels, weighing in at 18 pounds.

# 4
SunHeater S120U Universal Solar Pool Heater 2 by 20-Feet, Black

The S12OU Universal Solar Pool Heater is designed to utilize the sun’s rays in order to raise the overall temperature of your pool’s water by 6 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Featuring a variety of installation options, this solar heater may be mounted to the roof of your home, rack, fence or even on the ground. Allows you to enjoy warmer water, without the hassle of a higher electric bill, thanks to a patented web design. 

Using your pool’s existing pump, the S12OU allows homeowners to open their pool early, or extend the season with warm, heated water. Proudly made in the USA, this solar pool heater works without the need of gas or electricity. This heating system measures at 120”x27.5”x16”, weighs 18 pounds, and features a 5-year limited warranty.

# 5
SmartPool SunHeater-Solar Heating System

Homeowners looking to heat their pool with the convenience and power of the sun, will appreciate the options offered by the SmartPool SunHeater solar pool heating system. For use with either in-ground, or above-ground pools, SmartPool’s solar heating panels are made out of polypropylene, rather than cheap, inferior polyethylene systems.

Heat your pool with free power from the sun, utilizing your pool’s existing pump system. One box is meant to heat oval pools measuring: 12-24′, two boxes: 15-30′ or 16-25′, three boxes: 16-32′ or 18-34′. Alternatively, one box will heat a round pool measuring: 12-18′, two boxes: 21-24′ or three boxes: 27-28′. Proudly made in the USA, these solar heating panels measure: 288”x1.5”x24”, and weigh 10 pounds.

# 6
FlowXtreme NS1003 Mat Pool Solar Heater, Black

Extend your overall pool season, with the FlowXtreme NS1003 Pool Solar Heater Mat. Utilizing the power of the sun, homeowners can heat their pool without the worry of inflated electric bills. Because this system connects using standard 1.25-1.5 attachments, it makes a great solution for pools with small filtration systems.

Simple installation means you only need to attach the filter and pump system for a flow of warm water, heated by the sun. With enough sun exposure, your pool will be kept consistently warm. Measuring in at 55.9”x33.9”x2.8”, and weighing just under 3 pounds, the FlowXtreme NS1003 is covered by a 1-year manufacturer defect warranty, in addition to a 90 day limited warranty.

How much sunlight does your location receive?

While there is no exact way to predict how much solar energy your location receives, it’s still relevant in assessing how much solar energy your location can collect. Remember that you can install solar panels almost anywhere at your site, as long as they have plenty of sun exposure.

You don’t need to live in the tropics, but you should definitely have a generous portion of your backyard unshaded. And if you live in a cooler environment, you may need a bigger solar heater or in some instances a back-up system.

What is the size and breadth of your system?

Pool size

When figuring out the sizing of your solar heating system, you want the surface area of whatever model you choose to be at least 50 percent of your pool’s surface area. This means your roof space should also be sufficient.

Pool type

Above-ground pools are easily heated with sheet heaters while below-ground may need a more powerful exchange heater.


Obviously, this is the ideal goal of this investment. This will still be important to think about in regards to deciding on sheet heaters for the surface (raise by 10-15 degrees) or exchange heaters (which can sometimes increase temperature to 100 degrees). Though exchange heaters will generally cycle less than half the pool over a day.

Parts of a system

  • Unglazed vs. glazed solar collectors. Unglazed solar collectors are rubber or plastic panels made with UV light inhibitors and are more cost efficient – especially for indoor pools in cooler climates. Glazed solar collectors are made from copper tubing on an aluminum plate with an iron tempered glass covering. They are more pricey but durable for the whole year in all climates.

  • A pool filter to remove debris

  • A flow control valve to move pool water through the solar collector

  • A powerful pump or an additional one for good water circulation

Installation and Warranty

The cost and operation for installation will depend on what kind of system you buy. But most solar pool heaters online only include the price of the panels themselves. Sometimes, these can be hooked up to standard pool pumps, but you should consult with a professional solar installation company to get it done right.

There may also be some unexpected hiccups in the future (as with anything!) so confirm a warranty with whatever solar pool heater you decide to buy.