Having a swimming pool in your backyard is a luxury that most people dream. Good thing, there is an inexpensive alternative. An above ground swimming pool is cheap that an average-income family can afford. However, seasons change and the water temperature drops, how would you make this pool comfortably warm?
Don’t let winter or fall rob you one of life’s pleasures. When it comes to swimming pool heater, the solar heaters are one of the most economical choices because they draw energy from the sun, so they don’t increase your electric bill.
This article features the top-selling solar pool heaters, the buying guides, and the installation procedure.
- Our Top Recommendation for Solar Heater for Above Ground Pools
- Tips & Installation for Above Ground Pool Solar Heater
Our Top Recommendation for Solar Heater for Above Ground Pools
We have reviewed the most popular solar pool heaters today. They vary in features, price range, coverage, and more.
So without further ado, here is the best solar pool heaters for above ground pools that suitable for your needs and preferences:
1. Game 4513 SolarPro XD2 – Our Top Pick
The Game 4513 SolarPro XD2 is probably the most compact and aesthetically pleasing solar heater in the list. Its dimensions are 30.7 by 15.35 by 30.7 inches and weigh 23.1 pounds. Because of its portability, it is easy to set up and can heat up to 16,000 gallons of pool water.
This pool heater can increase the water temperature by up to 10 degrees in three to eight days depending on the pool size. For increased efficiency, a pump is required to circulate the water. The Game 4513 SolarPro XD2 is an efficient and convenient solution to the cold pool water.
You don’t need additional tools for setting up the Game 4513 SolarPro XD2 solar heaters. As a solar heating device, it doesn’t require gas or electricity. However, for larger above ground pools, you need a by-pass kit so you can connect two solar heaters.
2. Fafco Solar Bear – Solar Heating System for Above Ground Pool
One of the longest-running manufacturers of solid solar panels is the Fafco Solar Bear Economy. It is made of two-inch headers that guarantee consistent pool circulation and exceptional transfer of heat from the panel to the pool water.
Although the this solar heating system from Fafco quite expensive, it comes in a complete package. The package includes two six-foot long 1.5-inch diam hoses with four clamps, by-pass valve, four by a 20-foot extra-large solar collector, and the necessary tools for set-up.
It has a mechanism that pumps water to improve circulation and heat dispersion. The Fafco heater can be conveniently placed on the ground, on a rack, or an adjacent roof. It works more effectively when tilted 10 to 30 degrees to the south.
The overall construction of this pool heater is a UV-stabilized polyethylene that can withstand many seasons under the extreme sun.
3. Kokido Keops Solar Dome Heater
Another solar powered heater for above ground pools with small dome shape is the Kokido Keops Solar Dome water heater. It has dimensions that are almost the same as the Game 4513 SolarPro XD2. But the main difference is that the Kokido Keops comes in a more complete package and less expensive price.
The package includes four-foot hose, fittings, and stainless steel clamps. It is compatible with most above-ground pools but requires additional units for larger pools. The integrated rack allows you to place the heater in the best angle to receive the maximum amount of solar energy.
Because the Kokido Keops Solar Heater comes in a small size, it is easy to assemble and place it anywhere without taking up too much space. It is an environmentally friendly device that draws energy from the sun. It doesn’t use fuel or gas that may be harmful to people and the environment.
4. GAME 4721-BB SolarPRO – Curve Solar Pool Heater for Intex
We featured the GAME 4513 SolarPro XD2 at the beginning of this review section. The GAME 4721-BB SolarPRO Curve Solar Pool Heater has broader coverage and more flexible functions and design.
It is a curve solar heater that enhances solar heat collection. It is well-engineered that consists of threaded ports intended for additional plumbing options for easy installation.
Moreover, the GAME 4721-BB SolarPRO Heater is equipped with adjustable legs so you can set it according to the optimal angle for sun exposure.
The transparent cover traps the heat to guarantee solar energy collection. This curve solar pool heater is compatible with many above-ground pools such as Intex and Bestway as well as in-ground pools.
The capacity of this curve solar heater is up to 8,000 gallons. It increases the pool water heat by up to five degrees in four days.
5. SunQuest Solar Swimming Pool Heater
One solar pool heater equipped with one of the unique heating mechanisms is the SunQuest 2-2’X10 Solar Swimming Pool Heater.
It circulates the pool water through the panels and utilizes solar energy to increase the water temperature as it returns to the pool. With an additional roof mount and diverter, the unit creates an overall appealing aesthetics when installed.
This solar panels from SunQuest have a standard size that easily attaches to 1 ½-inch and 1 ¼-inch flexible hose. It is compatible with most existing pool pumps. Moreover, the SunQuest pool heater features a Max-Flow design with two-inch OD headers that enhance the water circulation and reduces back pressure on the pump.
Any average person can easily set up this unit. It comes with an easy-to-understand instruction manual and every tool required for the set-up. Once installed, the unit can heat the pool water by up to ten degrees. It can also be used for in-ground swimming pools.
Tips & Installation for Above Ground Pool Solar Heater
What to Before Buy Solar Pool Heater?
Solar pool heaters vary significantly in cost and functions. To help you choose the product that best suits you and your family’s needs, we have listed the guidelines for the solar pool heaters.
Above-ground heaters usually come with installation manuals that enable you to set up by yourself. However, some manuals are confusing and difficult to understand. If you still need to hire a professional helper, it will cost you more amounts of cash. Therefore, consider the installation when buying a solar pool heater for less hassle and cost.
Solar pool heaters draw energy from the sun. Therefore, some units are typically big and take up a lot of space. Smaller units are intended for smaller above-ground pools. If you have a limited room in your yard or are concerned about the set-up, this is the factor to take into consideration.
An average solar heater for above-ground pools raises the temperature by approximately five to ten degrees. More expensive units can increase it up to 15. The maximum temperature that you can achieve is 15 degrees which are quite more than enough to make the pool comfortably warm.
4. Passive solar pool heaters
While solar pool heaters usually come in a complex unit that replaces gas and electric pool heaters, there are also passive or partially active solar heating options. These are the mechanisms when solar energy is directly applied to the surface of the pool water.
Examples of passive solar heating are the following:
- A heat-absorbing pool blanket that warms the water and reduces the loss of heat
- An area that receives the maximum amount of direct sunlight
Budget solar pool heaters cost at least $100 but make sure that they can meet your expectations. They typically work best for smaller above-ground pools that require less heating. On the other hand, expensive solar pool heaters have more advantage in temperature, the heating mechanism, and overall performance.
How to Install a Solar Pool Heater for Above Ground Pool?
One good thing about solar heaters for the above ground pool is they are easy to install and last for up to 20 to 30 years. However, each installation step is crucial and must be thoroughly done despite the ease and convenience.
1. Make your plan
The first thing before you install the solar heater is to plan how it will connect into your pool’s plumbing system. The solar heater will attach to the center of the water source and the pool. The water is passed through the heating panel and then is diverted back to the pool.
Decide where to place the solar heater. You can’t just set it near the pool or stick it on any roof because it might not be positioned to receive sufficient sunlight. Choose an area that gets a lot of direct sunlight to maximize your solar panel.
Choose the appropriate kind of solar heater. The critical factor is the size and the amount of heat you want for your pool. Typically, a solar heater that is half as big as your pool provides the ideal amount of heat. One of the featured solar heaters above may be suitable for your pool and preferences.
2. Mount the solar heater
Once you have chosen the right place for your heater, mount it using the installation tools and manual included in the package. If you decide to place the solar panel on the roof, be careful not to break any of the tiles.
3. Pump the water
You need a pool pump for this step. The pump may come with the solar heater package or is sold separately. It should be big enough to pump the water around the heater.
For solar heaters installed on the roof, you need a powerful pump so that it can immediately thrust the water to the heater and then back to the pool.
4. Installing the valves into the plumbing system
This is the final step to control the flow of water. The diverter valves can manage whether the water passes through the solar heater or is diverted back into the pool. A thermostat often controls these valves.
After a thorough evaluation and consideration of features, what is the best above ground pool heater? We choose the GAME 4721-BB SolarPRO because it can be used in in-ground pools too. It has a well-engineered design that makes it extremely versatile when it comes to functions, installation, and more. It has extensive coverage and can heat up the water temperature in several days.
In choosing an excellent above ground pool solar heater, it is essential to consider the price, coverage, installation, and temperature. Once you have the most appropriate solar heater for your pool, you are all set to install it correctly and enjoy life’s great pleasure.