We have already looked into electric, gas and heater pump heaters for any size pools in our review of the best pool heaters. Now it’s time for check out less expensive methods. Enough of gas and electricity, it is the era of solar energy! Today we’ll outline the best solar pool heaters available on the market and will pick top 5 solutions for heating your pool.

Solar Pool Heaters FAQ

How does a solar pool heater work?

Solar pool heaters represent the cheapest and simplest technology there is for heating the swimming pools at the moment. The principle of operation is similar to that of a heat pump. The crucial disadvantage here is utter dependence on the weather. The heater will operate at full capacity in bright sunshine as the dazzling rays will heat the item and the water circulating in it, but the power will reduce significantly once it becomes overcast.

Is it really profitable to obtain a solar heater for an above ground pool in particular?

Yes, it is, for the following three reasons:

  1. You save when you buy a solar heater

    When buying an above ground pool, you don’t invest as much as you would if it were a proper pool. The same works for the heaters.

  2. Solar heater maintenance doesn’t cost a penny

    If you use an electric heater, your electricity bill will amount to a fortune from $1200 to $2400. Owning a solar pool heater doesn’t cost a penny!

  3. A small pool requires a small heater

    An above ground pool can easily be transported when you move and a portable solar heater will even fit into your trunk!

Why is a solar pool heater less powerful than the energy-consuming heaters?

Despite its name, a solar pool heater doesn’t actually have any solar panels. It looks like a panel with pipes that heat up in the sun and increase the temperature of water circulating inside. It’s all fun and games, but do remember that since the sun doesn’t shine so brightly in the fall, the heating will not be as intense.

How do I assemble a complete solar heater?

The website energy.gov lists general recommendations and tips regarding assembly and maintenance of complete solar heaters. As an option you can consult an agency that installs solar generators.

However, if you don’t see an issue in making DIY useful household items, then why would you pay for installation? Choose one of the best heaters which you’ll be able to set up on your own within a couple of hours!

Top 5 Best Solar Pool Heaters & Accessories from ~$11

Intex Solar Heater Mat for Above Ground Swimming Pool – #1 Pool Heater Best Seller

Intex Solar Heater Mat for Above Ground Swimming Pool
Intex Solar Heater Mat for Above Ground Swimming Pool

✔ Increases temperature of the pool water by 3 ~ 5 DegreeC (5 ~ 9 DegreeF)
✔ Pump up to 1/2 hp or pump flow rate < 2500 gal/hr (9463 L/hr).
✔ Suitable for above ground pools up to 8000 gal (30,280L)


This Intex product is quite popular with the pool owners as it is a #1 Best Seller in the Swimming Pool Heaters category on. However, you might wonder what caused a suspiciously low user rating of this device? Well, mostly the reason for that is that certain buyers tend to misunderstand the purpose of the device. This product is definitely unsuitable for heating a large pool over 50000 gallons, some more powerful heaters will be required for that matter. However, if we’re talking a 15”x48” above ground pool, the device will be quite effective and will undoubtedly add an extra 15 degrees a day if the weather is sunny.

The model is in the lower price segment, hence the drawbacks. Many users criticize its fragility: the heater won’t reconnect once you accidentally drop it. Don’t expect the assembly to ultra robust. Still, this is definitely a leading model in its price segment.

Price: Check the current price

GAME 4721 SolarPRO Curve Solar Pool Heater – A Universal Pool Heater For Above Ground And In Ground Pools

A Universal Pool Heater For Above Ground And In Ground Pools

A heater compatible with Game and Intex pumps (or with anything else if you’re witty enough to make it work) is available in two variations. The first one is a hemisphere which isn’t typical of solar heaters. The second one appears to be a classic concave solar polar with pipes full of circulating waters instead of classic solar heat accumulators. The difference between the two is the design. The performance and capacity of the two are identical.

The unique selling point of the devices is that they can be used to heat in ground pools: you can warm up an 11500 gallon pool for 3-5 degrees every day with two such heaters. Mind that your energy costs will be zero in that case!

A combination of power sufficient to heat up a small above ground pool, lack of maintenance costs and the possibility to install several heaters makes this product an efficient and affordable yet slow heater for an in ground or above ground pool. The device can compete with seasonal costly electric heaters on the market.

Price: Check the current price

Pool Solar Panel Heating System Inground Above Swimming Pool w/ Divert Kit

The Biggest and Most Powerful Solar Pool Heater

What does the most powerful solar pool heater of our review looks like? It consists of 20 ft long roll with water circulating inside. The main peculiarity of the device is its substantial size: its installation may become a challenge if your backyard is small enough. Ideally you should install this heater on the roof where it will achieve its maximum performance: a 3000 gallon pool, for instance, will be heated for 8-10 degrees daily if it is sunny for only.

You can easily assemble a single heater from several kits for a large pool and forget about the electricity bills. This heater is also suitable for both above ground and in ground pools, but keep in mind that it takes up a lot of space.

Price: Check the current price

A solar blanket is another cheat device. Obviously, it isn’t a complete heater, but it is a convenient device for adding a couple of dozen degrees to your pool water temperature.

Blue WaveRectangular 12-mil Solar Blanket for In Ground Pools

Solar Blanket for In Ground Pools

This is more of a supplementary device for adding several degrees to your pool water temperature daily than a separate heater. It is extremely popular.

How does it work? A solar blanket is made of a special material which draws sun light: for instance this device provides for additional 10-15 degrees on a daily basis for a 12x24 ft pool. Obviously, this trouble-free device only works when it is sunny. Read over 600 customers’ reviews to know more about tricks for using it.

There are 10 (!) different sizes available ranging from 12x20 ft to 30x50 ft, so you won’t find it challenging to pick the right one once you measure your in ground pool’s dimensions.

Price: Check the current price

Final Life Hack: Keeping Warm at Night

Intex Solar Cover for Easy Set and Frame Pools – For Conserving the Temperature In the Above Ground Pool

For Conserving the Temperature In the Above Ground Pool

Fall nights can be rather chilly and it can be a matter of a couple of hours for the heated water of your above ground pool to cool down. You can use a special solar cover to solve the problem as it will conserve up to 95% of the heat. Sizes ranging from 10 to 18 ft are available.

Price: Check the current price

Extend your swimming season and enjoy your pool for as long as possible!

Best Solar Pool Heater Comparison Chart

Product Type Price
Intex Heater Mat
Intex Solar Heater Mat min: photo
Solar Mat
GAME 4721 SolarPRO
SolarPRO Curve Solar Pool Heater min: photo
Solar Panel
Pool Solar Panel
XtremepowerUS Swimming Pool Solar Panel min: photo
Solar Panel
Blue Wave
Blue Wave Solar Blanket min: photo
Solar Blanket
Intex Cover
Intex Solar Cover min: photo
Solar Cover