I Tested And Ranked The Best Solar Pool Covers (With Pictures!)
I review solar pool covers for a living, so you can trust me when I say that these affordable options will keep your pool warm, decrease energy costs, keep bugs and debris out, and protect kids and pets from injury.
FYI, Prices and ratings are accurate as of time of writing.
1. Sun2Solar - 1200 Series Solar Cover
Top-rated: 8,512 ratings
Highlight: Trim To Fit - getting the right fit is as easy as finding a marker and a sharp pair of scissors.
Helpful review: "As one who has used pool covers for the past ten years, I can attest that this is an excellent product. I know that your thinking "how is one pool cover better than another?" Two main reasons: One is that the seams are well sealed. I've had covers where the seams started to become unsealed within a few weeks. Second, it is a precise rectangle. That may seem unimportant but for someone who has rolled up a pool cover at least a thousand times, I can tell you from experience that covers that are off by even a couple inches makes the process of rolling up the cover rather tedious and time consuming. This one I can roll up in maybe 60-75 seconds. Rolling up a pool cover is a pain in the first place but if you know you can do it quickly and efficiently then it makes that spur of the moment midnight dip in the pool that much more likely!
For those of you on the fence concerning a pool cover, let me tell you the benefits I've noticed:
1. You can heat your pool easier. The numbers I see thrown around of up to ten degrees are for the most part true. Before I started using pool covers, I could hope for a summer time high water temperature of 80-82 degrees. With the pool cover I can keep it at about 85 with ease (too warm for my taste but that's how my wife likes it. I was gone last weekend and when I took the cover off on Monday, the water temp was 90 degrees! I had to keep the cover off for a couple days to get it back to a suitable temperature.
2. It saves on chemicals. Now of course, the higher your water temperature the more chlorine you go through. But with the cover on it keeps the chlorine from leaking away into the atmosphere allowing it to work in your pool longer.
3. It saves on water. The way you heat water is by evaporating it, but with a cover, that evaporating water goes right back into the system. During the summer I can lose maybe a quarter inch of water a day without the pool cover on versus a quarter inch every couple days with it on. In fact the only time that I'm losing water is when I take the cover off to swim.
4. It keeps the pool cleaner. I honestly haven't used the automatic vacuum in nearly a month. I pick up the few leaves that get in by net but I haven't had to clean it in any other way. That in itself is a real time saver.
All told, it is a bit of an outlay for the entire reel system and the covers last only about perhaps 18 months at best. But overall I would consider the pool cover system to be one of the better purchases I've made. And as for the pool cover, this one has been an excellent purchase and value. I will surely, 100% buy my next cover from them." — John Dunlop
Get it from Amazon now: $89.96 & FREE Returns
2. Blue Wave - Solar Blanket for Rectangular In-Ground Pools
Top-rated: 2,121 ratings
Highlight: 6-year manufacturer warranty.
Helpful review: "I am a cold person. I am the type of person that will go into the hot tub on a 100 degree day. I HATE going in a cold pool! When we bought our house I didn't realize that the pool that we fell in love with did not come with a heater. We had contemplated putting a heater in, which would have cost a fortune, but decided to just bear the cold pool because after the cost of putting in a heater we'd still be paying a fortune to actually run it. We kicked around the idea of a solar cover, but the only experience I had with a solar cover was a friends pool when I was a child. I just remember that her pool was always freezing so I assumed they just didn't work very well.
Now we have been in this house for 3 years now and with a 3 and 5 year old we use the pool A LOT!! I started hating my decision to buy a house with a pool because it was always so cold and while my kids didn't seem to mind, using the pool was a dreaded part of my day. Finally I decided it was worth trying the solar cover. WOW, I cannot believe how well it works!! We put it on when the temp was at 75 and the weather was upper 60s-low 70s an very cloudy. It raised to 80 within a couple days. Then we hit a heat wave and after 1 day of it being at 100 degrees our pool is now staying at 90-95 degrees! WE CAN ACTUALLY GO NIGHT SWIMMING!!! No more inching our way in and having to "get used to it".
I've never had a solar cover before so I cannot offer a comparison, and we've only had it for 2 weeks so I don't know how long it will last. For your own comparison - our pool is average size but fairly deep (11 feet) and not much of a shallow end. The 95 degrees temp was taken close to the bottom of the shallow end and I feel the water temp is evenly dispersed. Our pool is usually in full sun until about 3 in the afternoon so I can't attest for the effectiveness if your pool is more shaded.
Obviously the one downfall of a solar cover is how difficult it is to take off and put back on. We cut it in half, but I think I'll even cut it more. It takes about 5 minutes to put it back on by myself, so it's not too bad. We got a pool box to store it in so it doesn't look awful bunched up on the side of the pool when we have guests over. I plan on putting colorful stickers or some kind of arrows to make it easier to figure out which side goes where. Overall I'm glad we went with this option over a pool heater. It looks ugly, but we take it off when we have company and I would prefer to have an ugly pool that we can use than a pretty pool that I dread going in." — Nicole Hutton
Get it from Amazon now: $157.99 & FREE Returns
3. MidWest Canvas - In The Swim Round Solar Blanket
Top-rated: 1,890 ratings
Highlight: 3-year manufacturer limited warranty.
Helpful review: "I really don’t know why pools don’t automatically come with this type of cover. It’s amazing! It’s very easy to put on and take off, and it sits right on the water instead of sinking like the manufacturer cover does. We first put ours on for about 20 hours before getting in. The surface water was very warm, so my husband was worried about getting in during 100 degree weather. Once you stir up the water, it is very pleasant - like bathtub temperature. We jumped in after dark, and the water feels like a heated hotel pool. Highly recommend!" — Terry Norman
Trending review: "I have a 22’ foot pool and ordered the 24’, because I have stairs from my deck down into my pool and wanted to be able to cover the handrails. I was originally going to cut around the handrails but the cover is so lightweight. But it was easy enough to take off and put back on that I didn’t worry about cutting it down to size. It keeps debris out of the pool, warms the water, and is so much easier for one person to use than what comes with the typical above ground pool." — Mark Callo
Reassuring review: "I don't know what to compare it to. It is our first cover. Bought the thinnest 24' round to keep it light and easy to handle. It isn't too difficult, we are still figuring out best practices to get on off. We live in woods so it keeps a TON of tree and pollen debris out of pool. We roll it up, move it off the pool and into the yard, and use a leaf blower to remove tree debris. Then we hose it down to remove pollen. It goes back on at night. It increased our pool from 66 deg to 74 degree in two days. All in all, I am glad we have it." — Phil Munro
Most-discussed review: "Was a bit skeptical to order but after some research we did and we are so glad we did. We have a 21 round and ordered a 24 round cover, knowing we had the option of cutting. However, we kept it at that size and we let it hang over the pool a bit. Then we clamp it down with potato chip clips so it doesn't flap or fold. Would highly recommend this. We read that they may rip easily. However we are cautious when removing and placing it in, and so far it's been good to us. It definitely works by keeping the heat inside the pool. After 2 days of sun water temp was great, and it's a big plus that it keeps leaves and debris out! Love it!" — Marla Reyes
Get it from Amazon now: $123.50 & FREE Returns
4. Doheny's - Micro-Bubble Solar Cover for In-Ground Swimming Pools
Top-rated: 754 ratings
Highlight: Can be cut with scissors to fit any shape or size pool, without voiding the warranty.
Helpful review: "So, it’s a solar cover. In my experience no matter how expensive or cheap, they only last a year or two. What I learned? It’s easier to roll and unroll and lightweight one. It also sits better on my Solar Reel. They prevent evaporation and maybe warm the temp a degree or two. We keep our heat at 84 and when we use the cover the heater goes on less, and typically the water stays around 85 - 87 (which is a very nice temp). Keeps bugs out. As far as cutting it to size, took my 3rd cover to fit it right. I like to keep the reel-end longer so there’s no gap where the ties connect to the cover. I like to keep the rounded corners a little higher and I definitely decided the side step is better as a separate piece than trying to roll the odd shape up into the reel while taking it off. Cutting it with a sharp pair of kitchen scissors is more precise than using a knife because I wasn’t worried about accidentally gouging my pool coping or liner." — Josh Sinclair
Trending review: "Purchasing an oversized pool cover was a good choice, because I cut it to fit our kidneybean-shaped pool. The material is quite sturdy but I presumed it would be more clear. However, when the water touches the plastic, it tends to clear up. A clear one is supposed to heat up the water a little faster. I actually does so a lot faster than a dark blue one, which would shade the water to help cool it off when the water tends to get too hot in the summer. With that in mind, I always spend a little more for a product to get a higher quality, thereby saving money in the long run. But this was still a very good price and equally a very good product." — Elias Geddes
Reassuring review: "We were honestly surprised by how effective this cover has been! We put it on in mid May when the water temp was 70, and within a week it was up to 80 (and it was not a particularly hot and sunny week). I expect it will go up even more with the sunny week coming up. We have an irregularly shaped pool that is roughly 18x36’ so we just got the rectangle. It actually works well to have overhang on the corners so we can weigh it down. It is pretty quick and easy to take on and off with 2 people, but challenging for one person alone. Very impressed that we got the pool temp up so quickly for only $150 with no installation of heating systems." — Lori Kerr
Most-discussed review: "After reading all the negative reviews, I thought it was best to send an honest one. This cover is worth every penny. Much better than I expected for the money. Seems thick, seems quality, time will tell. I can say, my pool is 10 degrees hotter here in Huntington Beach than it was before. Haven’t had to refill the water since installing. So there’s enough proof for me. It’s a pain to install and a pain to remove. Definitely need a roller." — Brian Kirk
Updated review: "This cover feels much stronger than the Intex cover I bought last year. That cover started disintegrating this year. So I bought this better one. It's noticeably thicker, so I bet it will hold up to the sun much better! It also traps heat better, so I imagine it's better for evaporation. I haven't measured yet to what extent. I cut this to fit an in ground square concrete pool. And I'm using an Intex cover roller. It's working great!" — Denis Burns
Get it from Amazon now: $134.99 & FREE Returns
5. MidWest Canvas - Silver Rectangle Solar Pool Cover
Top-rated: 367 ratings
Highlight: Extends swimming season by up to six weeks and comes with a 7-year warranty.
Helpful review: "This is by far the best available out there! We’re seasoned! The pool gets really warm, its durable to last a good 2 seasons, until the bubbles start to fall apart, like the rest. It is a labor to roll it up and get it out of the water. So maybe not an option for everyone. But we lay it out on the driveway and take the old one and lay it out on top and use it as a template. You could half or quarter if a big pool, but in windy weather smaller pieces could catch wind and blow off. We’ve done 3” capped pvc pipe to overlay diagonally across the seams, as weight to prevent blow away. Now we have a safety pool net, so nothing can blow up! I think I said to much! But definitely works well longer! Less likely to tear for a long time." — Jerome Brownfield
Reassuring review: "The cover is thicker than I expected. It's pretty heavy duty. I'm not sure if that will make it last longer but time will tell. Easy to cut and fit to my odd sized pool. Just cut it a bit bigger than necessary and then let it sit in the pool to even out and let the folds settle out. Then trim to final size. Seemed to raise my pool temp about 2 degrees per day in April when it was sunny. (I'm in Arizona, so your results may be different). It got the pool up to about 88 degrees and that's where it seems to stay. The only downside is that it's opaque gray and I have very hard water, so there's mineral deposits that show up when water gets on top of it and dries out, but you can't really blame the manufacturer for that. I'll put it in storage for the summer and we'll see how long it lasts." — John Leitch
Most-discussed review: "Solar Cover has an extra width & length. Not sure if we will trim it. Solar cover is grey opaque top and underside has clear octagon shaped bubbles. Pool was 52 degrees 2 days ago. It took 17 hours to raise temperature to 84 degrees. Pool water dropped to 74 degrees overnight in 51 degree air temperature without pool cover.
Nov 19, 2020 First night with solar pool cover on, 82 degree F pool water temperature dropped 2 degrees overnight, to 80 degrees F. Night temperature = 55 degrees F. Pool heater on for 1 to 2 hours per day on Nov 20, 21, 22.
Nov 22, 2020 Pool was 84 degrees at 3:00 PM, Air temperature 79 degrees F.
Nov 23,2020, pool was 82 degrees at 6:00 AM. Air temperature 47 degrees.
Pleased with results to date." — Cheryl Salzmann
Get it from Amazon now: $219.99 & FREE Returns
6. Blue Wave - Solar Blanket for Rectangular In-Ground Pools
Top-rated: 1,944 ratings
Highlight: Increases temperature up to 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
Helpful review: "Those of you who have read my reviews know I don't pull punches. I'm going to divide this into two parts. The solar blanket as a product and this brand of solar blanket. I'm an unemployed scientist who takes care of my neighbors in ground pool. I have 17 instruments on my compost pile. I observe things, weird that way. It was fall and the pool was getting to that point where you couldn't enjoy it. She had me getting it ready to winterize. In order extend the pool season and keep leaves out I suggested a solar cover.
Pool temperatures fall into three categories. Athletic competition 82F, recreational swimming 85-86F, and therapeutic 88-89F. Pools warm during the day and cool at night. 80% of the energy loss is from evaporation. So theoretically anything that seals the surface reduces cooling to 20%. Well it's absolutely true. And it is clear enough solar energy can get trapped under the cover.
The first day was a cloudy raining afternoon. The pool warmed one degree to 86F. It felt fabulous to swim that night with the cool air and relatively warm water. At 86F you can walk into and only hesitate a few seconds when wetting sensitive areas of the body. Therapeutic you walk right in and coo. The next night air got down to 40F the pool stayed at 85F. Over the next two nights of 40s and daytime in the 70s the pool dropped to 82F. That is a phenomenal thermal retention. I am sure most bubble wrap solar pool covers do the same. Down sides are there is no more pool skimmer function, leaves under the cover stay there and leaves over the cover will have to be removed. I would highly recommend a pool cover reel. folding it up and pushing it out of the way is tedious and getting trapped under it is dangerous. I intend to leave it in under the Winter safety cover to float that off the water and ice.
I got the 12 by 24 cover for a rectangular pool with round corners and walk in steps. I will want to trim the corners to fit once I have the reel installed. It does not blow off even in heavy winds. This is made of a very heavy blue bubble wrap. Maybe three times as thick as postal grade. They have welded two 6' strips together to make the 12' width. It's pretty and well made. The shipping bag serves as a storage container. It came in two days from ordering it. The price here on Amazon was either better or within percent of other suppliers, plus you get free shipping. I would definitely recommend this product and the supplier to anyone." — R. Custer
Get it from Amazon now: $199.99 & FREE Returns
7. Sun2Solar - 1600 Series Square Clear Solar Cover
Top-rated: 2,732 ratings
Highlight: The clear color allows UV rays to penetrate deeper into your swimming pool for warmer water temperatures.
Helpful review: "We live in Southwest Florida, Gulf Coast. We recently experienced a cold snap early in the season. During that time I turned off the pool heat until the cover arrived. Not only were we just wasting money trying to heat the pool, only for it to drop several degrees at night, but we were also losing a tremendous amount of water to evaporation. I was beginning to think maybe we had a pool leak. The cover arrived yesterday, and we trimmed it to size, which I will be honest is no easy task. We ordered a 15 by 30 which was enough to do the pool and spa. As soon as I took it out of the package I was really impressed with the heavy duty quality that this liner seems to be. We laid it out over the pool and my husband trimmed it with a very sharp pair of scissors. I think we ordered a little too big. Oh well, I'm sure I can find a use for all the excess. Last night was the first true test. I took pictures of where the water levels were at as soon as the system shutdown and none of the water was circulating. I also made a note of what the water temperature was. This morning when I woke up the first thing I did was check on the pool. We have lost no water, or very minimal lost that it's not even noticeable. I'm happy just with that. It can be very expensive having to put the hose in the pool every couple days. The water also maintained the heat. I won't know what the actual temperature is until the system comes on, but if anything it only lost maybe one or two degrees. If that. I'm excited to see how warm the cover alone will get the water using the power of the sun and not FPL! I have read the other reviews stating that they do not last long. My husband has worked in the pool industry for over 20 years. We knew that before going into this. We also know the Florida sun takes an extreme toll on anything that sits out in it. I would love it if it lasts a few seasons. I'm not sure if we will be using this year round or not. If I use it during the summer it is strictly to control evaporation water loss. I will say that this is way cheaper than constantly filling it with the hose and having the heater run Non-Stop. As of right now, I am very happy with this cover. If things change and I notice any problems I will be happy to update this review." — Florida Mom
Trending review: "I am now starting my 5th season with this cover! The key is to get it out of the sun immediately once it's removed from the pool. The main problem I've had is when the wind blows the sections out of place. My plan to fix this is to use tarp clamps to tie the sections together and secure the ends to the skimmer to keep everything in place. The water temp @ 3PM yesterday was 74 degrees with an air temp of 70; @ 8:00 this morning the water was 73.4 degrees with an ambient air temp of 62.2. After 4 years of use, this cover still heats my pool 4-5 degrees above the air temp and only lost .5 degree overnight. I wasn't sure how much difference this cover would make on my 38 x 13, 19,000 gallon pool. I put it on, trimmed it to size and waited 24 hours and checked the temp. Before I installed this cover, the pool temp was 60*, 24 hours later after a sunny day the water had risen 8*!!! The next day it read 72*. We've had a few storms roll through, but as long as the cover was on the pool, the temp wouldn't drop more than 2-3*. It hit a peak of 76* last week and we pulled the cover off to take a dip. I left the cover off for the last week to see what the difference would be and the water temp yesterday was down to 62*. I cut my cover into 3 x 12" sections to make it more manageable to remove and install. The only problem I've had with this was on a very windy day, one section wasn't completely flat on the water and the wind folded it back. I will be attaching a pvc pipe along the center of each section to roll them up while still on the water. Much better than spending $600 on 3 of the other cover rollers like this. Bottom line, this cover WORKS!!!" — Charles Edwards
Get it from Amazon now: $49.94 & FREE Returns