With so many types to choose from, selecting a new pool heater can be a daunting task. Everyone wants to be able to get. into their clean water as much as possible, but outside of the summer months, unless you have a decent pool heater, this isn’t possible. By increasing the temperature a few degrees, you might expect to top run up the operational costs, but this is only the case with sub-par heaters.
To make this decision easier, we have created a list of the best pool heaters available. Each one has built its reputation on reliability and we have considered all of the most common types of pool heaters to create a definitive list. Although some are more energy-efficient than others, they all do an excellent job of making the water invitingly warm.
Quick Summary of Best Pool Heaters
Editor’s Choice: Hayward H150FDN Universal H-Series 150,000 BTU Pool and Spa Heater, Natural Gas, Low Nox
- Lots of different BTU options
- Heats rapidly
- Low NOx emissions
- Easy to use
Best Solar: Fafco Solar Bear Economy Heating System for Above-Ground Pools
- Low maintenance
- Saves money
- Does not impact the circulation system
- Not for in-ground pools
Best Natural Gas: Raypak 336,000 BTU Digital Electronic Ignition Natural Gas Pool Heater
- Powerful 336k BTU heater
- Compatible with pool remote systems
- Onboard diagnostic controls
- Quiet operation
- Can be tricky to install without an expert
Best Solar Blanket: Blue Wave NS520 14-mil Solar Blanket, 16-ft W x 32-ft L x 0.5-in H, Clear
- Heats the water by up to 15 degrees F
- Extends the weeks the pool can be used
- Prevents evaporation by up to 95%
- Relies on the sun to warm the pool
Best Affordable: EcoSmart SMART POOL 27 Electric Tankless Pool Heater, 27kW
- Available in two sizes
- Easy to use
- Digital thermostat
- Good value
- Not as useful for larger pools
Pool Heater Guide
To get the most out of your pool every year, you need to raise the temperature during certain months. It doesn’t matter what type of pool you own, there are quality pool heaters for every type. You need to more about them than the relevant capacity though as some are better suited to different climates and pool types than others.
This is why we have created the following buyer’s guide, to help make this purchase simple.
What To Consider When Looking For A Pool Heater
The difference between the temperature of your pool water and that of the air can have a big influence on the type of pool heater you require. The colder the air, the harder the heater is going to have to work so you will have to purchase a product that has higher power output.
This leads on from the previous point – the amount of sunshine you get can mean some types of pool heaters are more suitable than others.
If you live in a place with plenty of sunshine all year round then a solar pool heater can be a good choice as they will save you money in the long run. Anyone in a cooler climate might wish to use an electric pool heater or natural gas as they heat the pool fast and have a high BTU output.
This is a major consideration as the bigger the pool, the harder the heater will need to work. Buying the right strength of pool heater is important and if you have an above ground pool you won’t need to need to purchase a product with such a high output compared to in-ground pools.
Some pool heaters are easier to install than others but this is where you should consider hiring the services of an expert. Since some need to be hooked up to the gas or mains, it is best to use a professional.
Other types such as solar heaters might not be as challenging but can still require some know-how.
The product you choose is only as good as the amount of use you get out of it before it causes any concerns. The best products come with a warranty to protect your purchase.
Since a lot of pool heaters are quite expensive, this is always a wise thing to look for.
There is no use buying a product that promises the world but you find it difficult to use. A lot of products make life simple with basic controls on their control panel. This is where you will get more use out of it as you know how to set the heater in advance so it is ready for when you need it.
Different Types of Pool Heaters
There are a variety of options which is good news for the consumer, although some are better than others. Here are the ins and outs of the main types of pool heaters:
Natural and Propane Gas
These are some of the fastest pool heaters and can also be efficient compared to others. The downside is that they require you to live within a certain distance of a gas pipeline and will need a professional to install.
Another downside is the running cost ads they tend to be more expensive to run although a lot depends on the gas prices.
These are one of the most common types of pool heaters available and can be cost-effective when you buy a decent product. Often known as heat pumps, they work by using the air outside to raise the temperature of the pool. This is why they are more suitable for those who live in warmer climates.
They do tend to last longer than a lot of the alternatives and when they are up and running, an electric pool heater can last up to 20 years.
Again, these are better for anyone who lives in a warmer climate as the number of hours you get in the sun is going to determine how well they work.
The initial outlay might be more expensive but it takes less than a year for some of them to pay for themselves when you consider how little they cost to run. They are the most environmentally friendly option when it comes to heating your pool and is the easiest to maintain.
Can I Install My Own Pool Heater?
Not all pool heaters are difficult to install, especially if you know what you are doing.
However, this comes with its risks. Sometimes the warranty will be void if you make a mistake or damage any of the heaters during the installation process which might not be the case if hiring a professional.
When it comes to electricity and gas, it is always best to use a professional.
Are Pool Heaters Noisy?
This depends on the brand. Some companies pride themselves on their whisper-quiet pool heaters whilst others are more intrusive to the ears. The quietest tend to be electric heaters, especially if you have the budget to spend on a quality product.
How Long Do Pool Heaters Take To Work?
Although this is different depending on the brand and the type of pool heater you are using, you generally need to think in advance. When you know you want to swim, it is best to give yourself at least a day as most take 24-72 hours to raise the temperature by around 20 degrees F.
This will vary depending on the time of year, temperature, type of heater you use, and the size of the pool.
How To Maintain The Pool Temperature
It is not a good idea to leave the pool heater on constantly as you will soon notice the significant difference to your bills. One of the best ways of maintaining the template is by using a pool cover.
Some are better than others but you can find products that trap the heat in so the water stays warmer for longer and those that absorb the heat from the sun to warm it up.