Best Above-Ground Pool Heaters in 2024

When extending the swimming season, having the above-ground pool heaters is a game-changer. These heaters are engineered to maintain a comfortable water temperature, allowing you to dip even in the cooler months.

Whether it’s a gas heater, an electric heater, or a solar heater, choosing the right one can significantly enhance your swimming experience. This article explores a variety of top-notch above-ground pool heaters, dissecting their features, pros, and cons to provide you with the essential information you need.

Discover which heater can turn your above-ground pool into a year-round oasis of warmth and enjoyment.

Best Above-Ground Pool Heaters: My Top Picks

1. Intex Solar Heater Mat for Above Ground Swimming Pool, 47.25 in X 47.25 in

The Intex Solar Heater Mat is a cost-effective and eco-friendly solution designed to increase the water temperature of your above-ground pool. This heater mat is ideal for those who are environmentally conscious and looking to save on energy costs.

Its dimensions of 47.25 inches by 47.25 inches make it a compact choice, and it’s designed to work best with Intex pools, although it can be used with other above-ground pools as well.

The Intex Solar Heater Mat is an excellent choice for pool owners looking for an eco-friendly and cost-effective solution to extend their swimming season. While it may not provide instant or intense heating, it’s a gradual process that does make a difference.

Especially on sunny days, this solar mat can make your swimming experience more comfortable without any added cost to your electricity bill. Plus, the effortless installation and compact design make it a convenient choice for many above-ground pool owners.

Product Features:

  • Solar Powered: Harnesses the sun’s rays to raise the pool water temperature gently.
  • Eco-Friendly: A green alternative to other heating methods, reducing your carbon footprint.
  • Easy to Install: Simple hook up, compatible with filter pump up to 1/2 hp or pump flow rate less than 2500 gallons/hour.
  • Compact Size: The mat’s square shape and compact size allow for easy storage when not in use.
  • Comes with Bypass Valve: Allows you to control the water flow, ensuring optimal performance.

Pros:

  • Cost-effective heating solution with no ongoing energy costs.
  • Environmentally friendly, utilizing solar energy.
  • Simple installation process.
  • Compact and easy to store when not in use.

Cons:

  • It may be less effective in cloudy or colder regions with minimal sunlight.
  • Heating efficiency may not compare to electric or gas heaters; it’s a gradual heating process.
  • Ideal performance is mostly with Intex pools; it may need to work more efficiently with other pool brands.
  • It might require more than one mat for larger pools to achieve the desired temperature.

2. GAME 72000-BB, Made for Intex & Bestway SolarPRO Curve Solar Heater

The GAME 72000-BB SolarPRO Curve Solar Heater offers a green solution to pool heating, designed explicitly for Intex and Bestway above-ground pools. By harnessing solar energy, this heater helps increase the pool water temperature while reducing your carbon footprint.

Its curved design maximizes the sun’s rays, ensuring more heat absorption and better efficiency. It is a smart choice for pool owners looking to extend their swimming season without incurring additional energy costs.

The GAME 72000-BB SolarPRO Curve Solar Heater is a solid choice for environmentally conscious pool owners with Intex or Bestway above-ground pools. Its unique curved design and adjustable legs allow optimal sun exposure, translating to better heating efficiency.

While the temperature increase might not be drastic, especially in less sunny regions, the cost-saving and eco-friendly benefits make this solar heater a worthy consideration. Moreover, the ease of installation and durable construction make it a practical and long-term solution for those looking to extend their swimming season in an eco-friendly manner.

Product Features:

  • Solar-Powered: Utilizes solar energy to heat the pool, reducing energy costs.
  • Curved Design: Unique curve design captures more sunlight, providing better heat absorption.
  • Adjustable Legs: Allows for maximum sun exposure and ensures stability.
  • Durable Construction: Built with high-quality materials to withstand outdoor conditions.
  • Easy Installation: Comes with all necessary fittings and hoses for a hassle-free setup.
  • Compatibility: Designed for Intex and Bestway above-ground pools, but can be used with other pool brands with additional adapters.

Pros:

  • Eco-friendly and cost-effective heating solution.
  • The curved design maximizes solar energy absorption.
  • Easy to set up and operate.
  • Durable construction ensures longevity.
  • Adjustable legs for optimal sun exposure.

Cons:

  • Heating efficiency may be affected by the climate and is less effective in cloudy or colder regions.
  • It may require additional adapters for compatibility with non-Intex or non-Bestway pools.
  • Might need multiple units for larger pools to achieve the desired temperature increase.
  • The temperature increase may not be as significant as electric or gas heaters.

3. SunHeater Aboveground Pool Heating System

The SunHeater Aboveground Pool Heating System S421P has two 2’ x 20’ panels, providing 80 square feet of heating surface to raise the pool water temperature effectively. Designed for above-ground pools, this solar heater system made from durable polypropylene aims to provide a cost-effective and eco-friendly way to extend the swimming season.

The system claims to raise the pool temperature to 15°F, which could make a significant difference in water comfort, especially in the early and late swimming season.

The SunHeater Aboveground Pool Heating System S421P is a viable option for those looking to heat their above-ground pools in an eco-friendly and cost-effective manner. With the ability to raise the water temperature to 15°F, it can make the pool more comfortable, especially during the cooler days.

The durable polypropylene construction ensures that the system will last for several seasons. Although it might take longer to heat the pool than gas or electric heaters, and efficiency could be weather-dependent, the cost-saving and environmental benefits could outweigh these drawbacks for many pool owners.

Product Features:

  • Solar Heating Panels: Two 2’ x 20’ solar panels efficiently absorb solar energy to heat pool water.
  • Durable Polypropylene: High-quality material ensures durability and longevity even in harsh weather conditions.
  • Significant Temperature Rise: Claims to raise water temperature to 15°F.
  • Easy Installation: Designed for simple installation and comes with necessary hardware.
  • Eco-Friendly: Utilizes solar energy, reducing carbon emissions and energy costs.

Pros:

  • Effective solar heating with significant temperature rise.
  • Durable construction made to withstand outdoor conditions.
  • Easy installation process with included hardware.
  • Cost-effective and environmentally friendly heating solution.
  • Large surface area for better heat absorption.

Cons:

  • Efficiency may be affected by geographical location and weather conditions.
  • It may require professional installation if the user is not handy.
  • It might take a long time to heat the pool, especially in colder climates.
  • It may require additional purchase of a solar cover to maintain the temperature overnight.

4. XtremepowerUS Inground/Above Ground Swimming Pool Solar Panel Heating System

Sale

The XtremepowerUS Inground/Above Ground Swimming Pool Solar Panel Heating System is designed to provide a cost-effective and eco-friendly way to heat both inground and above-ground pools.

With a size of 28″ x 20′, this solar panel system can be an efficient solution for those looking to extend their swimming season without incurring high energy bills. It’s a flexible system installed on a roof, rack, or directly on the ground, making it a versatile choice for different pool setups.

The XtremepowerUS Inground/Above Ground Swimming Pool Solar Panel Heating System is a solid choice for pool owners looking for an eco-friendly and cost-saving heating solution. Its flexible installation options and the ability to extend with more panels make it a versatile choice.

Although it might take longer to heat the pool and require professional installation for optimal performance, the long-term savings on energy costs could make it a worthwhile investment. This system is particularly beneficial for those living in sunny regions where the solar panels can operate at peak efficiency.

Product Features:

  • Solar Panel Dimensions: The dimensions of 28″ x 20′ provide a substantial surface area for solar heat absorption.
  • Versatile Installation: It can be installed on roofs, racks, or the ground, giving flexibility in setup.
  • Eco-Friendly Heating: Utilizes solar energy to heat the pool water, reducing carbon emissions and energy costs.
  • Compatibility: Designed for both inground and above-ground pools, catering to various pool types.
  • Extendable: Panels can be connected with more solar panels for larger swimming pools.

Pros:

  • Eco-friendly and cost-effective heating solution.
  • Flexible installation options to suit different setups.
  • Compatible with both inground and above-ground pools.
  • Extendable design for larger pool heating requirements.
  • Significant surface area for effective solar heat absorption.

Cons:

  • It may require professional installation for optimal performance.
  • Efficiency might be affected by geographical location and weather conditions.
  • It might take a significant amount of time to heat the pool, especially in colder climates.
  • It may require additional purchase of a solar cover to maintain the temperature overnight.
  • The system might only be sufficient for very large pools with additional panels.

5. FAFCO Solar Cub – Solar Pool Heater for Above-Ground Pools

The FAFCO Solar Cub is a solar pool heater designed specifically for above-ground pools. This heater, with its universal design, aims to provide an efficient and green solution to extend the swimming season. With a dimension of 2ft x 20ft, the Solar Cub captures solar energy to warm the pool water, making it a cost-effective option over the long term.

The FAFCO Solar Cub Solar Pool Heater is a solid choice for above-ground pool owners looking to incorporate a green and cost-effective heating solution. The universal design and extendable system make it a versatile option.

However, heating efficiency may be challenged in areas with less sunlight or during colder seasons. It’s a long-term investment that can pay off over time, especially in sunnier climates.

The ease of installation and the option to extend the system with additional panels add to its appeal, making it a worthy consideration for those looking to extend their swimming season in an eco-friendly manner.

Product Features:

  • Solar Panel Dimensions: With a 2ft x 20ft dimension, it provides ample surface area for solar heat absorption.
  • Universal Design: Engineered to be compatible with most above-ground pools, offering flexibility.
  • Eco-Friendly Heating: Utilizes solar energy to warm the pool, reducing reliance on electric or gas heaters and lowering carbon emissions.
  • Easy Installation: Comes with necessary hardware for a straightforward installation, although professional installation is recommended for optimal performance.
  • Extendable System: The design allows additional panels to be added if more heating capacity is needed.

Pros:

  • Green, cost-effective heating solution for long-term savings.
  • Universal design fits most above-ground pool setups.
  • Extendable system to cater to larger pools or higher heating requirements.
  • Comes with the necessary installation hardware, simplifying the setup process.
  • Significant surface area for effective solar heat absorption.

Cons:

  • It may not provide rapid heating, especially in less sunny or colder regions.
  • Professional installation may be required for optimal setup and performance.
  • Efficiency is highly dependent on the amount of direct sunlight received.
  • Additional panels may be needed for larger pools or higher temperature requirements.
  • It may require a solar cover to retain heat overnight.

6. Hayward W3H150FDN Universal H-Series 150,000 BTU

The Hayward W3H150FDN Universal H-Series is a robust natural gas heater engineered for in-ground pools and spas. With a substantial 150,000 BTU heating capacity, this unit is designed to provide reliable and rapid heating, ensuring a comfortable swimming environment.

Though intended for in-ground setups, its high performance and durability make it a notable choice for those willing to invest in a high-quality heating solution.

The Hayward W3H150FDN Universal H-Series is a powerful and reliable heating solution for in-ground pool and spa owners who prioritize rapid and consistent heating. Its natural gas power source and high BTU capacity ensure quick heating, while the durable construction promises a long-lasting performance.

Although the initial investment and the necessity for professional installation might be deterrents, the unit’s reliability and performance can justify the cost for those prioritizing a high-quality heating solution.

This heater is a substantial investment towards extending the swimming season and enhancing the comfort of your pool or spa.

Product Features:

  • 150,000 BTU Heating Capacity: Powerful heating capacity to quickly raise water temperatures even in larger pools or spas.
  • Natural Gas Powered: Utilizes natural gas, ensuring consistent and reliable heating.
  • Patented Polymer Header: Designed to improve hydraulic efficiency and reliability.
  • Digital LED Control Panel: Provides easy temperature control and diagnostics.
  • Cupro Nickel Heat Exchanger: Offers excellent corrosion resistance and longevity.

Pros:

  • High heating capacity is capable of warming large pools and spas quickly.
  • Natural gas power ensures reliable and consistent heating.
  • Easy to control and monitor with a digital LED control panel.
  • Durable construction with a corrosion-resistant heat exchanger.
  • Improved hydraulic efficiency and reliability with a patented polymer header.

Cons:

  • High upfront cost compared to other heating solutions.
  • Professional installation is required, adding to the initial expense.
  • Natural gas supply is necessary, which may only be available in some areas.
  • Solar or electric alternatives are more eco-friendly.
  • It may have higher operating costs depending on local gas prices.

Tips on Choosing

When it comes to selecting the perfect above-ground pool heater, various factors need to be taken into consideration to ensure that you are making an informed decision. Here are some essential tips to guide you through the selection process:

Determine Your Heating Needs:

  • Size of the Pool: Larger pools require more heating power to achieve the desired temperature. Measure the surface area and volume of your pool to get an idea of the heating capacity you’ll need.
  • Desired Temperature: If you like your pool water warmer, you’ll need a more robust heater. Determine the temperature you find comfortable.

Type of Heater:

  • Solar Heaters: Solar pool heaters are eco-friendly and can be cost-effective in the long run, but they depend on sunny weather to be efficient.
  • Gas Heaters: Gas heaters (natural or propane) are powerful and can heat your pool quickly but tend to have higher operating costs.
  • Electric Heaters: Electric heaters are reliable and can maintain a consistent temperature but might be less powerful than gas heaters.
  • Heat Pumps: Heat pumps are energy-efficient and economical over time but may heat slower than gas heaters.

Efficiency and Performance:

  • Look for heaters with a high-efficiency rating to ensure you get the most heat for your fuel or energy dollar.
  • Consider heaters with fast heating times if quick heating is a priority.

Installation and Maintenance:

  • Ensure the installation process is straightforward or budget for professional installation if required.
  • Look for models that are easy to maintain and have accessible customer service for troubleshooting.

Durability:

  • Look for durable materials and solid construction to ensure your heater will last through many swimming seasons.
  • Check the warranty period and what it covers to protect your investment.

Compatibility:

  • Ensure the heater matches your pool size, type, and equipment.

Cost:

  • Budget accordingly and consider both the upfront cost of the heater and the long-term operating costs.
  • Sometimes, investing more upfront for a more efficient or durable heater can save money.

Local Climate:

FAQ

How do above-ground pool heaters work?

Above-ground pool heaters use solar energy, electricity, or gas to generate heat, which is then transferred to the pool water. The mechanism of heat transfer and the efficiency at which it occurs can vary depending on the type of heater.

Which type of pool heater is the most cost-effective?

Solar pool heaters are often the most cost-effective in the long run as they utilize the free energy from the sun. However, the initial investment can be higher. Heat pumps, which use electricity to transfer heat from the air to the water, are also considered cost-effective and energy-efficient over time.

How can I determine the right heater size for my pool?

The size of the heater you need is generally determined by the surface area of your pool and the temperature rise you desire over a specific period. It’s advisable to consult with a pool professional or use online calculators to determine the right size heater for your pool.

Can I install an above-ground pool heater myself?

While some pool heaters come with DIY installation kits, it’s often advisable to have a professional install your pool heater to ensure it’s installed correctly and safely, especially when dealing with gas or electric heaters.

How long does it take to heat an above-ground pool?

The time it takes to heat a pool can vary widely based on the type of heater, the size and temperature of the pool, and the outside temperature. Gas heaters generally heat pools the fastest, followed by electric heaters, with solar heaters being the slowest.

How can I maintain my above-ground pool heater to ensure it lasts?

Regular maintenance, including checking for any signs of damage, keeping the heater clean, and following the manufacturer’s maintenance instructions, can help prolong the lifespan of your pool heater. It’s also advisable to have a professional service your heater annually.

Are above-ground pool heaters safe?

When installed and operated according to the manufacturer’s instructions, above-ground pool heaters are designed to be safe. It’s crucial to follow all safety guidelines, especially with gas and electric heaters, to prevent any accidents.

Is it necessary to cover my pool to retain the heat?

Yes, covering your pool with a pool cover when not in use can significantly retain the heat, reduce evaporation, and save on energy costs regardless of the type of heater you use.

How do I choose between a solar, gas, or electric heater?

Your choice between solar, gas, or electric heaters would depend on your budget, the climate you live in, how quickly you want to heat your pool, and your willingness to deal with maintenance. Each type has advantages and disadvantages, which should be weighed according to your circumstances.

Can I use an in-ground pool heater for my above-ground pool?

It’s essential to use heaters designed for above-ground pools as they are engineered to meet the specific needs and safety requirements of above-ground pools. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when selecting a heater for your pool.

Conclusion

Choosing the right heater for your above-ground pool can be a task that requires a good amount of research and understanding of your pool’s specifics and your personal preferences. Whether you opt for a solar, electric, or gas heater, ensuring it’s the right size for your pool and installed correctly is crucial for its efficiency and safety.

The products reviewed in this article are among the above-ground pool heaters, each with unique features and benefits. By considering the tips and addressing the FAQs provided, you can make an informed decision that will allow you to enjoy a warm and inviting pool whenever you wish.

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