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Best Pool Heaters in 2020 – Reviewed

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  (review)
 Best Solar 
Fafco Solar Bear Economy Heating System for Above-Ground Pools  (review)
 Best Natural Gas 
Raypak 336,000 BTU Digital Electronic Ignition Natural Gas Pool Heater  (review)
 Best Solar Blanket 
Blue Wave NS520 14-mil Solar Blanket, 16-ft W x 32-ft L x 0.5-in H, Clear  (review)
 Best Affordable 
EcoSmart SMART POOL 27 Electric Tankless Pool Heater, 27kW  (review)

Reviews

Editor’s Choice: Hayward H150FDN Universal H-Series 150,000 BTU Pool and Spa Heater, Natural Gas, Low Nox

A natural gas pool heater from the reputable brand that is Hayward, it has 150,000 BTU behind it to efficiently heat a pool or spa. Its heat exchanger is made from standard cupro nickel making it one of the most reliable on the market. The polymer header and bypass valve have been designed to provide the most efficient hydraulic heating system.Although it requires professional installation, it is easy to use once it is ready to go and is available in different sizes so any pool on the larger side can benefit from a Hayward pool heater. It heats rapidly and has quality parts such as stainless steel burners with low NOx emissions as well.

PROS:

  • Lots of different BTU options
  • Heats rapidly
  • Low NOx emissions
  • Easy to use
CONS:

(none)

Best Solar: Fafco Solar Bear Economy Heating System for Above-Ground Pools

Made for above ground pools, this solar pool heater is as efficient as you could hope for. After the initial expense, they are cheap to run and can raise the temperature of the water by enough to more than taking the edge off. With a 10-year warranty included, they can be installed in various places including the roof, ground, or on a rack.With an internal bypass value, these solar heaters can be turned on and off and are best used between 10 am and 4 pm when there is peak daylight. The headers are large enough to not slow down the pool’s circulation system and they are known for being some of the most efficient panels in the business.

PROS:

  • Low maintenance
  • Saves money
  • Does not impact the circulation system
CONS:

  • Not for in-ground pools

Best Natural Gas: Raypak 336,000 BTU Digital Electronic Ignition Natural Gas Pool Heater

With an LCD display to make it easy to set up and maintain, this natural gas pool heater has an output of 336,000 BTU to make it one of the more powerful, and capable of heating a large pool. The thermostat is easy to set with up and down buttons and because the pilot will only come on when there is a call for heat, this is a product that uses less energy than a lot of the alternatives.Although it doesn’t come with one, this is a pool heater that is compatible with most pool remote systems and features a polytuff powder coating to protect it. The one-piece copper tube means it can attain a larger maximum heat transfer and works at a heating rate of about 1 degree an hour. With onboard diagnostic controls, it is easy to maintain and get to the bottom of any issues along the way.

PROS:

  • Powerful 336k BTU heater
  • Compatible with pool remote systems
  • Onboard diagnostic controls
  • Quiet operation
CONS:

  • 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

Another popular technique for extending the weeks that a pool can be used for is with a solar pool blanket. This is one of the best available and it means a pool can be warm enough to swim weeks before and after the summer is in full flow. By minimizing heat loss and transferring the heat from the sun it can raise the temperature of the water by up to 15 degrees F.The thermal bubbles collect the heat but the blanket stops evaporation by up to 95% which means the chemicals and pool water won’t escape so you don’t have to use so much of it. Made for in-ground pools, this is one of the more durable products and it even comes with a 6-year limited warranty.

PROS:

  • Heats the water by up to 15 degrees F
  • Extends the weeks the pool can be used
  • Prevents evaporation by up to 95%
CONS:

  • Relies on the sun to warm the pool

Best Affordable: EcoSmart SMART POOL 27 Electric Tankless Pool Heater, 27kW

A tankless eco electric pool heater that is reasonably priced, this is available in two sizes including an 18kw version that can heat a pool of around 11,000 gallons. It is easy to use and the temperature can be increased in 1-degree increments with ease. They can be used with an existing or new pool and has an activation flow of – 12 +/- 2 GPM.It can be controlled via an EcoSmart remote and takes around 7 hours to increase the temperature of the water by 5 degrees in a 15,000-gallon pool. The digital thermostat makes it easy to control and it can be set and left to heat. It comes with a 2-year warranty and a reputation for being energy efficient and quiet.

PROS:

  • Available in two sizes
  • Easy to use
  • Digital thermostat
  • Good value
CONS:

  • 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

Air Temperature

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.

Climate

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.

Pool Size

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.

Installation

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.

Durability

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.

Control Panel

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.

Electric

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.

Solar

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.

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