If you want to extend swimming season or open it early to your neighbors’ envy? Today we’ll describe to you all of the existing types of pool heaters and will help you pick the best one. We’ll find an option for any budget!

Today we’ll devote this review to all kinds of pool heaters, from simple electric ones to most productive heat pumps for prices ranging within $585 to $3561. We also have a separate article dedicated to Best Solar heaters.

Below you’ll find 5 best heaters including:

How to Pick a Pool Heater? Heater Types and Their Benefits

Are you eager to spend the fall swimming in your pool? Perhaps, you’ve found a bunch of mysterious figures and stats as well as plenty of confusing tubes and boxes instead of a one-piece pool heater you expected to find. In reality, the matter is not really complicated as your only task is to pick a gadget matching your needs and budgets, and the set-up will be left for the experts. How do you keep your head from spinning when the choice is so wide?

We’ll help you figure it out! First let’s sort out what types of heaters exist and how they differ. So far, there are electric, gas and heat pump ones. All of them will be covered below. If you’re not so much into technical details, scroll down to our top 5 models.

Here’s a crash course for those who are too lazy to read the passages below:

  • Heat pumps are the best solution from the point of view of seasonality and total cost. However, if the temperature falls below the expected level, forget about having a warm pool.
  • Use a gas pool heater for a quick and customizable heating, but mind the gas and propane costs
  • If your region’s energy fares are affordable, compare them with gas prices. Perhaps a similar electric pool heater will be a more feasible investment.
  • Make sure the heater is installed by experts only so that you avoid injuries and damage to the device.

Electric Pool Heaters

This might as well be the most compact design ever as a pipe-like device is mounted to a water circulation line, and receives energy from the circuit, transferring it to the heating element. Such a device would have become an ideal compact choice as the price is pleasant, heating mode adjusting is flexible, and the size, if it wasn’t for seasonal operating costs. They depend on the constantly fluctuating electricity rates (the average swimming season will cost from $1200 to $2400). The heating time is not the fastest there is as it is inferior to gas heaters, but superior to the heat pumps: this model with a capacity of 11 kilowatt can heat a 2500 gallons pool from 70º F to 100º F in 6 hours.

Heat Pump Pool Heaters

These pool heaters work as a heat pump. The main idea of such heating is the lack of a single heating element. The energy required for operation provides only for the transfer of heat from a variety of sources depending on the type of heater: sometimes the pipeline is located underground, and after passing it the water reaches soil temperature, which is usually about 40-50º F, and enters the heat exchanger. In some cases, the air is collected in the compressor and the water is heated until it reaches the compressor’s temperature.

Don’t have your hopes up with regard to his device as you won’t be able to maintain a 100 º F water temperature with a 70º F air temperature as this type of heaters is rather geared at slow but steady maintenance of a stable temperature than at intensive heating. Cost-aware users will be fond of it as part of the energy exuded by the compressor is streamed at its operation. In comparison with the electric heaters, a heat pump saves up to 80% of electric energy. In return you’ll have to pay quite a premium price for a heat pump.

Gas Pool Heaters

Such heaters run on propane or natural gas. Their idea of functioning is piece of cake: the gas combusts in the chamber and thus heats up the water circulating through the pump. The main advantage of such a heater is that there are no temperature limits. A solar panel’s or a heat pump’s maximum energy is naturally limited by the intensity of sunlight and soil temperature respectively, for instance. A gas pool heater lets you quickly bring the temperature of the water in the pool to the desired figure. Simply put, its design resembles a huge boiler suitable for high-speed periodic warming of water in the pool.

Such a heater will let you extended even the shortest summer in cold areas. We recommend that those who live in hot and dry areas should opt for solar panels and heat pumps in order to reduce maintenance costs. Compare: propane heater maintenance in Miami will cost $1100-$1465 while a solar panel will remain the best solution for this sunny city.

Solar Pool Heaters

Solar pool heaters are considered to be most state-of-the-art and extraordinary ones nowadays. Why? Well, mainly because they allow for saving. Once you invest in obtaining and installing such a heater, you’ll forget about the unpleasant electricity bills. The heaters work much like boilers except for one detail: the energy comes to the device from solar panels. The main disadvantage is its complete dependence on the weather. The heater will work at its fullest when the sun is shining, but once it becomes overcast, the power will reduce noticeably. Unfortunately, full pack systems are unavailable on the market at the moment as you’ll have to assemble your own collector from details (obtained separately) or consult a special agency. Such a heater will cost you from $3500 to $8000, and there will be no more expenses later on! The warming speed depends on the number of installed panels. On there are only solar heaters for above ground pools, read about them in our special article Top-5 best solar pool heaters.

Above Ground Heaters

This type of heaters is aimed at the owners of above ground pools. There exist electric and solar, large and small models. In case of compact heaters, the costs will be rather low as the best selling Intex heater mat and a solar panel Game heater.

Don’t expect much power from such a device, as the heating is even less powerful than that of a heat pump. Moreover, the customers often complain of quality, even of the leading products. They do their job though and maintain the temperature. In this very case a cheap and robust product is not enough. It’s not the quality that poses problems as inattentive users often forget to check for compatibility of the device and their pool and end up giving such feedback as “I’ve bought a heater which doesn’t work” after attempting to heat an enormous pool with a tiny heater.

5 Best Pool Heaters for Small, Average and Large Pools

Hayward CSPAXI11 11-Kilowatt Electric Spa Heater – The Best Electric Pool Heater For A Small Pool

11-Kilowatt Electric Spa Heater

CSPAXI11 11-Kilowatt Electric Spa Heater will ensure simple and undemanding heating of pool water. Instead of a complicated settings panel there is a straightforward temperature control wheel for making the water cool, warm and hot. Even children will manage operating the heater.

37000 BTUs make the heater run smoothly and evenly: the speed of heating a 15ft x 42ft pool is about 1 º F per hour. Experienced users combine a Hayward heater with special solar blankets (such as Blue Wave, at which we will take a look below) for doubling the speed of heating. To find more helpful tips read all reviews.

Before purchasing a device you’d better get acquainted with electricity fares in your region. It might be quite irrational to maintain an electric heater in your neighborhood.

Price: Check the current price

Blue wave solar blanket – A Supplementary Solar Blanket For A Small Pool

Blue wave solar blanket

We’d say that this is a lean and mean product which can be more of a supplement to an electric heater rather than an independent device. How does it work? The blanket is made of a special material which attracts sunlight; it might as well be called just a solar heater. Our special article “Top-5 Best Solar Pool Heaters” covers proper solar pool heaters.

You’ll be able to warm a 12x24 ft pool for about 10-15 degrees on a day when the temperature is 90 º F or higher. We recommend using this device along with a conventional heater in order to double the efficiency. The blankets are available in sizes ranging from 12x20 ft to 30x50 ft, but don’t expect it to heat up quickly large and deep pools. A solar blanket is scarcely likely to replace a heater.

Price: Check the current price

Hayward HP50TA Residential Pool Heat Pump – An Affordable Heat Pump Pool Heater for a Small or Average Pool

Hayward HP50TA

A 50000 BTU Hayward HP50TA heat pump is a quality and affordable additional for small and average pools. A 24 ft in diameter and 52 ft deep pool will heat for 3-4 degrees per hour on a hot day. This is simultaneously is the main drawback of the device as the heating inevitable slows down once the temperature drops.

Heat pumps often make a lot of noise which can affect your resting by the pool. Hayward device is not known for that as the quality of the assembly of this titanium product is so high that no gaps are possible. You’ll also forget entirely about the existence of this compressor heater when you relax and rejoice in the splashing water.

The price is higher than that of electric pool heaters, but it will be offset by energy cost-saving within a mere season.

Pricе: Check the current price

Hayward H150FDN Universal H-Series – The Best Gas Pool Heater for Any Pool

Hayward H150FDN Universal H-Series

A gas heater is another word for quickly, conveniently and expensive. Hayward has produced a whole range of devices to match any needs or sizes, which is Hayward H-Series. Thermal power of the series varies from 150000 BTU to 500000 BTU. How do you pick the right one? Well, you take your pool size into account. For instance, a 25000 BTU device will be sufficient for heating a 12000 gallon for 20 º F within 6-8 hours.

The most powerful device of the range (its thermal power is 500000 BTU) will take up half of the heating time while its price will see an increase of $1000.

Maintenance price depends on the gas prices in your area, but if it exceeds $2000 then you’d better check out heat pumps or electric heaters,

Price: Check the current price

Hayward HP21104T HeatPro – The Most Powerful Heat Pump Pool Heater for a Middle-Sized Pool

Hayward HP21104T HeatProIf gas and electricity bills become unbearable and the cheap heat pump power is not sufficient, check out the Hayward HeatPro range. The heaters ranging between 95000 and 140000 BTU for various pool sizes. An average 110000 BTU model will be able to heat a180000 gallon pool for over 15 º F for only 4 hours! Maintenance of a heater of such capacity (at a given average fare of 20 cents per kilowatt-hour) will add up to about $150 which is quite an attractive deal.

Will you be able to heat large volumes with it? Yes, but not for a long time. For instance, a 50000 gallon pool will heat for about a day if the weather outside is quite hot.

In general, Hayward has launched a rather reasonably-priced product line for the owners of small pools. You’ll have to invest much in the beginning, but the investment will pay off completely after a couple of swimming seasons.

Price: Check the current price

Best Pool Heaters Comparison Chart

Model Heater Type Thermal Power Price
Hayward CSPAXI11 11-Kilowatt Electric Spa Heater Electric heater 37000 BTU


Blue wave solar blanket Solar blanket -


Hayward HP50TA Residential Pool Heat Pump Heat pump 50,000 BTU

Hayward H150FDN Universal H-Series Gas heater From 150000 to 500000 BTU


Hayward HP21104T HeatPro Heat pump From 95000 to 140000 BTU


Pool Heaters FAQ

Q: How much does pool heater maintenance cost?

It depends on your region and energy/gas tariffs. In Miami, for instance, gas heater maintenance will add up to ~ $2136-$3600 while a heater pump will only cost you $1100-$1465 per season and a solar heater will be undoubtedly the best choice for this sunny city.

Q: For how long can the swimming season be prolonged with a pool heater?

Regular pool heater users start their swimming season in May and end it in October or November, depending on the climate.

Q: Solar energy seems to be an affordable and attractive solution to the issue of heater costs. Why do so few models run on solar panels?

Savvy homeowners have at least a half (or better their entire house) powered by solar panels. The manufacturers have just begun switching to solar energy and have launched only portable solar chargers. For that reason no complete solar heaters are available among the pool heaters.

Q: Where can I find and compare up-to-date electric energy rates and heating options?