What is the best pool heat pump? First, look for devices with durable, non-corrosive titanium heat exchangers. They will provide maximum heat transfer from one area to another. Secondly, a pool heat pump should be efficient, which depends largely on the outside ambient air temperature. The unit’s optimal efficiency typically occurs when the outside air temp is above 45F. to 50F. degrees. Thirdly, the unit should be energy efficient. A COP of pool heat pumps usually ranges from 3.0 to 7.0. The higher the indicator is the better. And finally, consider the noise level. We recommend you to choose a model that produces no more than 60dB of noise. We believe that Hayward HP21404T HeatPro Heat Pump fits these criteria best.

Pool heat pumps are incredibly efficient. Instead of producing heat like electric or gas pool heaters, heat pumps transfer ambient air heat into the pool water. A heat pump is an ideal solution for an in-ground pool located in a humid or mild climate since the more moisture there is in the air, the more heat it can extract. Heat pumps keep your pool operation cost low and extend your swimming, spa, or hot tub season through this extraction and transfer of “free heat”.

What You Will Learn from This Guide:

How Do Pool Heat Pumps Work?

Heat pumps use electricity to collect and transfer heat. Air does not need to be warm for a heat pump to work efficiently. Although heat pumps operate more efficiently in temperatures above 50F. degrees, even relatively cool air contains significant amounts of heat energy.

XtremepowerUS 53,000 BTU Heat Pump: photo

Essentially the pool’s pump draws water in and through a filter and heat pump heater. The heat pump fan pulls outside air in and across the evaporator coil. The coil’s Freon (liquid refrigerant) absorbs heat from the air, which becomes warm gas within the coil. The compressor increases the Freon gas heat and moves it on through the condenser/heat exchanger that transfers the heat to the cool pool water being pumped and circulated through the heater. The heat exchanger warms the water approximately 3F. to 5F. degrees before it is returned to the pool. The hot gas returns to its liquid form as it flows through the condenser coil, back to the evaporator and the process repeats itself affording you a comfortable pool or spa experience.

Types of Pool Heat Pumps

Electric Heat Pump Pool Heaters

Electric pool heat pumps cost less to operate and heat larger pool areas better since they do not generate heat from a heating element like electric pool heaters do. Instead, these heat pumps transfer heat from outside air into the pool’s water. Minimal electricity is needed to run the compressor and other components.

Electric Heat Pump Pool Heater: photo

Electric heat pumps initially cost more than electric pool heaters. However, they cost about five times less to operate than either a gas or electric pool heater. With proper maintenance they may also last longer (10+ years) than electric pool heaters.

Gas Heaters

Gas pool heaters are the most popular pool heating system. They use propane or natural gas, heat quickly, and are less expensive than heat pumps. They also operate differently from heat pumps. Gas heaters produce heat whereas heat pumps do not. Gas heaters draw in pool water, filter it, heat it, and return the warmed water back into the pool. Gas heaters are the most efficient for heating pools quickly or for short periods in any type of weather. They are also a good choice for pools that are used infrequently.

Gas pool heater: photo

Although gas heaters are highly efficient, they may not be the most energy-efficient when compared to electric pool heat pumps or solar heaters and solar heater/heat pump combinations.

Solar Pool Heat Pumps

A solar pool heater/heat pump combination allows you to efficiently heat your pool regardless of weather conditions. Solar heating systems consist of a solar collector, filter, pump, and flow control valve. Pool water is pumped through, and heated by, the solar collectors and returned to the pool.

Solar Pool Heat Pump: photo

This type of heat pump pool heater may connect directly to your solar panels for zero operating cost or to the grid. Any extra energy collected when the heat pump is not in use may be used by other household electrical loads. Excess collected energy beyond that may be sold to your power company. Some of these heat pump units not only extend your pool season in any weather condition, it may have a chiller that cools your pool during extremely warm months as well. Proper solar panel and heat pump sizing can potentially allow year round pool use at a low or no annual energy cost.

What Heat Pump Features Are The Most Important?

Heat pumps typically contain a fan that pulls outside air in, an evaporator coil with a liquid refrigerant that absorbs heat from the air, a compressor that increases the gas’s heat, and a heat exchanger that transfers the heat to the cool pool water being pumped and circulated through the heater.

Heat Exchanger

The most efficient pool heat pumps have durable, non-corrosive titanium heat exchangers that provide maximum heat transfer from one area to another. Pool water and liquid refrigerant swirl together over a coaxial tube located inside the heat exchanger. The combined action increases heat transfer resulting in you getting “more heat for less money.”

Efficiency

Heat pump pool heaters’ efficiency depends largely on the outside ambient air temperature. More energy is required to operate the heat pump and heat the water if the outside air the unit draws in is cold. The heat pump’s optimal efficiency typically occurs when the outside air temp is above 45F. to 50F. degrees.

Energy Efficiency

Heat pump energy efficiency is measured using the COP (Coefficient of Performance) rating system for swimming pool heating equipment. For each unit consumed, x units are produced. While there is not “standard” COP testing method, many manufacturers will measure a heat pump’s COP by testing it at 80F. degree outdoor and 80F. degree pool temperatures. This generally returns a 3.0 – 7.0 COP (300% – 700% energy efficiency). Translated, this means that your heat pump generates 3 – 7 units of heat for every single unit of electricity used to operate the compressor.

Compressor

The compressor pressurizes (raises the temperature of) the liquid refrigerant (Freon) and moves it through the system. The compressor increases the gas’ temperature as much as 5F. degrees as it forcibly compacts it. Reciprocal compressors are standard. Scroll compressors in high-efficiency heat pumps tend to be more proficient however.

Noise Level

The heat pump’s fan motor, fan blades, and compressor all generate noise. Pool heat pump noise levels can vary between 55dB (normal talking range) and 65db (vacuum cleaner noise). The best known brands operate within the 55dB to 58dB noise range. The lower the dB, the quieter the heat pump runs. Any small increase in dB can make a difference.

Be sure to read your heat pump’s manual and warranty. Some heat pump noises occur when the pump is starting up, shutting down, or shifting into “defrost most” to accommodate the cooler winter months. Loud metal-to-metal or gurgling noises may indicate trouble and the heat pump should be shut off and attended to by a professional.

Advantages and Drawbacks of Pool Heat Pumps

Swimming pool heat pumps extend your swim season, are eco-friendly, and offer the highest in cost savings. They are equally useful for above ground as well as for in-ground pools. Their initial cost ($2,500 - $4,500) and installation ($350 - $1,000) is more than electric, solar, or gas/propane pool heaters. But they make up for this in their operation cost as well as their heating consistency and reliability.

Electric heat pumps have an estimated 10+ year life. They have a greater energy efficiently yield (5.0 - 6.0 COP). Their higher BTU output allows them to heat larger pools more effectively. Many heat pump systems allow you to cool your pool water as well as to warm it.

TOP-2 Best Pool Heat Pumps | Product Review

Below, you will find a review of the two most popular pool heat pumps at a price ranging from $3,600 to $4,200. Both are trusted brands — Hayward and Pentair. The former is a powerful 140,000-BTU pool heat pump with a lightweight design. The latter is an eco-friendly and energy-efficient yet high-performance pool heat pump.

Hayward HP21404T HeatPro Heat Pump

Hayward HP21404T HeatPro Heat Pump: photo

The durable, compact Hayward HP21404T HeatPro is an efficient, reliable, 140,000 BTU pool heat pump that requires little equipment pad space. Its lightweight design allows for easy installation and maintenance. The HeatPro’s long-life titanium counter-flow heat exchanger is designed for maximum performance and heat transfer regardless of weather conditions. Its Ultra Gold, corrosion-resistant evaporator fin, injection-molded body, and stainless steel hardware make this unit UV-, rust-, and deterioration-resistant and well-suited for harsher coastal environments.

The Hayward HeatPro pool heat pump also features a heavy-duty, highly efficient, 5.7 COP scroll compressor with quiet profiled air flow blades and acoustic cover. The evaporator coil’s polyethylene screen also helps protect it and achieve maximum efficiency.

Recommendations:

This Hayward HeatPro’s design makes it ideal for new pools and spas as well as for upgrading your existing pool heating system. Its corrosion- and deterioration-resistant construction also makes it suitable for all climates and environmental conditions.

Hayward: Check the current price

Pentair 460931 UltraTemp 90 High-Performance Pool Heat Pump

Pentair High-Performance Pool Heat Pump: photo

The eco-friendly, energy-efficient Pentair 460931 UltraTemp 90 is a heat-only, 230V, 60 Hz, single-phase, high performance pool heat pump. It has a 100%, extra long-life, titanium heat exchanger that is corrosion-free and designed for maximum performance in all weather conditions. Its corrosion- and deterioration-resistant composite cabinet also withstands pool chemicals and harsh environments.

It is the first pool heater to be charged with EPA-approved, non-ozone-depleting R410A refrigerant. A highly efficient TXV (Thermostatic Expansion Valve) controls the refrigerant flow and optimizes BTU output.

The Pentair UltraTemp 90 pool heat pump features an AutoSet time clock water temp monitor that controls circulation and an auto defrost sensor that detects the refrigerant temperature and prevents it from freezing when outside temps are low. The UltraTemp 90 also features an easy-to-use LCD control board that displays a menu-driven, decoded, full-word read out.

Recommendations:

The eco-friendly Pentair UltraTemp 90 has been incorporating the EPA-approved R410A refrigerant years before it was federally mandated. It is highly efficient, compatible with automated control packages, and meets or exceeds existing industry codes and standards. It is corrosion- and deterioration-resistant and suitable for low temperatures and harsh environmental conditions.

Pentair: Check the current price

8 Best-Selling Pool Heat Pumps Comparative Table