The Best Solar Heaters for Above Ground Pool

best solar heater for above ground pool

Using heaters for an above-ground pool can be expensive. Lucky for you, we have reviewed some of the best solar heater for above ground pool, so you can still take a nice warm swim without hurting the wallet.

But before all that, here are three factors to consider when choosing an above ground pool solar heater.

  • Type: There are three types of above-ground pool solar heaters, solid solar panels, individual solar tube panels, and glazed or non-glazed panels. Solid solar panels are the same as regular solar panels but have to be strap-on properly since the wind can easily blow them.

On the other hand, individual solar tube panels have solar absorbing tubes arranged side by side and have addressed the problem of being blown away easily. If you choose glazed and non-glazed panels, choose glaze if you live in a colder region and non-glazed in warmer areas.

  • Size: You will also need to size your solar heater properly. For solar panel heaters, they should be at least half the size of your pool. So, for example, if you have a 10 x 16 feet above ground pool, you will need to have 80 square meters of solar heating units. For the other types, they will usually have a product description on how many gallons they can handle, but small solar heaters should heat an 8000-gallon pool.
  • Quality: Solar heaters can have a variety of components like a pump, filter, and collector. So it is crucial to make sure that they are all durable since they’ll be exposed to the elements all the time. So when looking at the materials, make sure that they are Corrosion, UV, and rust-resistant.

Now that you know what features to look at, here are some of the best above ground solar pool heater in the market so you can start using solar heat for above ground pools.

Best Solar Heater for Above Ground Pool Reviews

1. Intex Solar Heater Mat

The Intex Solar Heater Matt acts the same as any regular solar panel. I have a 16000-gallon above-ground pool with me, which is quite big, so I used two of these to heat it up. The temperature rose to 3 to 5 degrees Celsius, which was enough for me to have a nice swim. So I would say that for a family that há an 8000-gallon pool, one mat would be enough.

Connecting two solar mats was no problem, too, since it came with one connecting hose and a bypass valve. It was easy to install, too, because we can hook them up with no problem.

I also do not have to be worried about it being exposed to the elements that much since the PVC is UV-resistant. And if you want to keep it because it’s off-season, it’s no hassle at all, because it can be folded and stored in the shed easily.

But if your pump is stronger than ½ hp, you will need some hose clamps so they will not detach. For example, I have a 1 hp pump, and the hose started to slowly detach after a while.
Pros
  • Can raise an 8000-gallon pool’s temperature by 3 to 5 degrees Celsius
  • Easy to install and comes with a connecting hose and a bypass valve
  • Made up of durable and UV resistant PVC
  • Foldable for easy storage
Cons
  • Hose will detach if your pump is stronger than ½ hp.
Solar heating for above ground pools is possible with the Intex Solar Matt Heater. Plus, it is easy to set up and install, which I like since I do not want any hassles setting up my solar heaters.

2. GAME SolarPRO Curve Solar Pool Heater

I have also taken a liking to GAME products like its SolarPrO curve Solar Pool Heater. I decided to use two again since I think one would not be enough for my 16000 above-ground pool.

The set-up managed to raise the temperature of my pool to 5 °F more. So an 8000-gallon pool would only need one based on that observation. We can install this heater for inground or above-ground pools due to its compatible design.

I noticed that it was made of high-quality materials too, which is a must if I put it outside. The curve shape design is also great since it allows the solar above ground pool heater to absorb sunlight much more efficiently.

But when we think that is not enough to maximize sunlight absorption, we can adjust the legs too. Now we can set the curved solar heater to a good angle so it can be hit with direct sunlight, heating our pool water more quickly.

Problem is, this product may have hose adaptors and threaded ports, so plumbing is more versatile, but it can be prone to leaking if you do not put any gasket on them. So it would be best to have one ready when you set it up.
Pros
  • An 8000-gallon pool’s temperature can rise to 5 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Ideal for both inground and above-ground pools
  • Constructed with high-quality materials
  • Curve design lets it absorb more sunlight
  • Adjustable legs to set it up to for maximum exposure to sun rays
Cons
  • Ports and hose adaptors can leak without a gasket
There might be a minor inconvenience with the leaking, but gaskets are low-priced, so I would say that The GAME solar curve heater still is a good solar heater for any small pool.

3. Fafco Solar Bear Economy Heating System

The Fafco Solar Bear Economy Heating is the first solar heating panel that I thought was going to be hard to set up since it’s huge, measuring around 4 x 20 feet, but it turns out that it wasn’t.

This efficient solar bear heating system works to raise the temperature of my 16000-gallon pool to 6 °F more, allowing my family to swim comfortably in the cool autumn.

Since this acts as a solar panel, I installed mine on the roof to absorb more sunlight. Users who like to put it on the ground will probably need a flexible hose and find a platform. Instruction manuals are easy to understand, so it’s no hassle.

This product is also made up of polyethylene UV stabilized, so even though it is fully exposed for a long time, I do not have to worry about it. It also has a bypass valve, so turning the system off or on is no problem.

But since this product is like a solar panel, you can only reach the optimum temperature if sunlight is not obstructed. So make sure that there is no shade when putting up this solar heater.
Pros
  • Big size measuring up to 4 by 20 feet
  • Can raise the temperature of a 16000-gallon pool to 6 °F more
  • Easy to understand instruction manuals
  • Polyethylene UV stabilized construction for long-lasting use
  • Has bypass valve making it easy to turn on or off the system
Cons
  • Must be fully exposed to the sun to work properly
Since I live pretty much in a warm area where sunlight is abundant, I had a great time using this product. My family and I could get a warm swim whenever we wanted, which is the ultimate goal for this project.

4. SunHeater Pool Heating System

This is another solar panel type of solar heater, so again, I set it up on my roof to get exposed to direct sunlight without any obstruction, and true enough, I managed to raise the temperature of my 16000-gallon pool between 6 to 10 °F more.

Such a heating system suffices our family’s needs, enough to make us not shiver when dipping our toes. It comes with the web-tube construction, which allows optimal square exposure to sun rays.

I also have no issue with the durability of the materials since it has been constructed with high-quality polypropylene. It also expands or contracts, depending on the temperature and sun exposure.

And if ever it’s time to keep and store in the shed because it is off-season, it’s a breeze since it comes with a reel system. This means we can roll it up for easy storage.

The product also comes with four end caps, rubber connector hoses, six hose clamps, two elbows, and even a Teflon tape, which we need in the installation.

However, the instructions are clear, but they are not well detailed, so we will need to search it up to know the exact steps.
Pros
  • Able to raise the temperature of a 16000-gallon pool 6-10 °F more
  • Web-tube construction for optimal exposure
  • Durable and adapts to changing temperature
  • Comes with a reel system for easy storage
  • Materials are all set for easy installation.
Cons
  • Instructions are not well detailed.
Overall, I think that the Sunheater Pool Heating System is still a great choice to warm up our pool without breaking the bank. Furthermore, it is a very flexible and durable option for long-lasting use.

5. XtremepowerUS Solar Panel Heating Systems

As the name suggests, this is another type of solar heater that acts the same as any regular solar panel. When it gets enough sunlight, the pool temperature can be raised to 8 degrees Fahrenheit more. Also, this system can work well for a pool as big as 16000 gallons.

How was this possible? Well, it’s because I received two solar panels when this solar heating system arrived on my doorstep. So heating my pool just became easier and more efficient.

I also looked at the materials used to make the solar panel heating system and confirmed that it was made of black durable polypropylene. This means it can absorb heat very well without succumbing to damage. This set of heater stands up to any weather with minimal maintenance.

But what made it even better is that the panels were also very lightweight and flexible. So taking it to the roof was no problem at all.

These are all great, but the problem is that it does not have an installation kit, unlike the other solar heaters. So users have to get the tools and accessories ready. I prepared a Teflon tape or gasket so no leaks can happen in the connection.
Pros
  • Raises up to 8 °F for a 16000-gallon pool
  • Two panels in one set
  • Made up of black polypropylene: durable and heat absorbent
  • Requires little maintenance
  • Easy to carry around because it is lightweight and flexible
Cons
  • Does not come with an installation kit
Since I always have my tools and materials for plumbing works, installing this solar panel heating system was not much of a hassle, so I still got a nice warm swim.

6. SunHeater S120U Universal Solar Pool Heater

In my search to find a Solar pool heater for installing anywhere, I stumbled upon this SunHeater S120U Universal Solar Pool Heater. As long as there is direct sunlight, this solar heater works for roof, ground, rack, or even a fence set-up.

The unique design of this solar heater also lets it absorb solar energy much more efficiently, which we will not find in any other solar heating system. This patented design is flexible enough to be installed for above-ground and inground swimming pools.

Due to the durable polypropylene material, frequent exposure to sun rays and harsh weather will not damage it so soon.

Installation is such a breeze with this unique blanket, as we can just attach it to the existing water pump. Then voila, we are good to go!

This heating blanket increases a 16000-gallon pool temperature to about 6 to 10 °F more. It also has a reel system, so when we need to store this solar heater because it’s off-season, we can easily roll it up.

However, this one is indeed a high-priced option that might not fit the requirements of people with low budgets.
Pros
  • Ideal for setting up on your roof, ground, rack, or fence
  • Patented design that lets it absorb more sunlight
  • Made up of durable polypropylene for withstanding harsh weather
  • Easy installation, allowing attaching to an existing pumo
  • Raises a 16000-gallon pool temperature 6 to 10 °F higher
  • Comes with a Reel system for easy storage
Cons
  • A high-priced option or a solar heating blanket
From my experience, this solar heating system is one of the best out there, and users will surely not make a mistake using this for an above-ground pool.

7. Kokido Keops Solar Dome Water Heater

When it comes to summer, we always want to extend it a little further, and having a nice warm swim outdoors is one way to do it. That is why when summer was ending, I decided to use the Kokido Keops Solar Dome Water Heater.

This one works even though, despite the lack of direct sun rays. And with that, my pool water stays warm for me during autumn.

I used two of these solar dome heaters for my 16000 gallons above ground pool to reach the optimum temperature, but my friend who had 12000 gallons said he could raise his pool temperature by up to 5 °F higher. So I would say this product is enough for a small pool.

Why is this so? The solar cover helps heat the water faster, so your pool water can get warm even if you live in a cold climate like in the UK. Installation is easy, too, since this product comes with hoses, clamps, and fittings. It also comes with a protective cover to store it properly when you don’t want to use it anymore.

The only problem that I had was that the hoses were too short. So I had to buy a longer hose to better position the solar dome to direct sunlight.
Pros
  • The solar cover helps heat water more quickly
  • Comes with a protective cover for easy storage
  • The package includes hoses, fittings, and clamps
  • Can raise a 12000-gallon pool’s temperature 5 °F higher
Cons
  • The hoses are too short, limiting options on where you can put the dome.
Although the hoses were too small for my taste, it was effortless to replace them with a longer one. So, in the end, I still got warm pool water.

8. Goplus Solar Dome Solar Heater

Since I have great results using a solar dome heater for my above-ground pool, I thought I should find some more to add to my list. Then, this Goplus Solar Dome Solar Heater caught my attention.

This product is excellent to use when autumn is near, and we want our above-ground pool to stay warm. Due to the solar cover, heat gets trapped in the dome, letting us warm our pool. This is why it also makes it a perfect solar heater, especially when we live somewhere cold.

I managed to increase my pool temperature by 5 °F more to enjoy a warmer swim than usual when I used this product.

I also like the fact that when I received this product, it came with two hoses: A long one that measures 38.6 inches and a short one that is 14.5 inches. Its dome design is beautiful and unique, adding a modern vibe to my swimming pool.

We do not need gas connections to run this solar-powered heater. And we also save up on electricity when utilizing the system.

The only downside that I can see is that the hose is not as durable as the whole system. We should avoid stepping on them too much to prevent damage. I ended up replacing the mine with something more durable.
Pros
  • The solar cover helps concentrate heat in the solar dome
  • Can raise pool temperature to 5 °F higher
  • Includes h a long and short hose for installation
  • It comes with a beautiful dome design
  • Does not use gas or electricity
Cons
  • The hose is flimsy and may easily be damaged
The hose problem was not that much of a hassle when I used this product since tons of hoses are available in the home depot store, so I still enjoy a nice swim.

9. VINGLI Solar Pool Heater

The Vingli Solar Pool heater is another solar dome that looked very promising when I saw it. That is why I wanted to see if I can use it for my pool. When I was setting it up, I noticed that the mounting hoses were easy to use, so installation took shorter than expected.

I was even able to raise the temperature of my 16000 gallons above ground pool with just one of these products for about 5 °F or so, but if you want your pool to be even warmer, you can link two or three simultaneously. And when it’s time to store it because it is off-season, the compact design helps a lot, making it easy to carry and store.

But what I like the most is the foldable legs. This helps me adjust the solar dome to a better angle to heat the water quickly. Plus, with cover on the dome, my pool water will get warmer in no time.

Furthermore, the protective housing that covers the coil prevents debris from getting in and messing with its function. So, I am happy with this long-lasting and energy-efficient system.

The only problem is that the hoses were too short when placing the dome in a more sunlit area. So I had to buy a longer hose.
Pros
  • Easy to mount hoses
  • Foldable legs so they can be adjusted to a better angle
  • Solar cover that can trap heat for more efficiency
  • Protects the dome from debris for long-lasting use
  • Ideal for a 16000-gallon pool to raise its temperature 5 °F more
  • Compact design for easy storage
Cons
  • Hoses are too short of moving the dome around
Hoses are very easy to find in any hardware store, so that was not that much of an issue when I used this product. So, using this product in any above-ground pool will surely raise its temperature for me to have a nice warm swim.

10. SunQuest Solar Heater

This is probably one of the best solar panel-type solar heaters in any above ground solar pool heater reviews. I put mine on the roof to get the maximum amount of sunlight, and when I swam into my pool, I had one of the best warm swims using a solar heater.

When I checked the temperature of my pool, I noticed that I was able to raise it to about 10 °F more. That probably is the highest temperature I was able to get with my 16000 gallons above ground pool.

Notably, this heater features the MAX-FLOW design, incorporates 2-inch headers. Hence, it allows for better water flow, putting less pressure on my pool pump.

I also like that it came with connectors and a flexible hose. Setting it up was easy, too, since it was just compatible with my pool pump. This product also has screws and straps included, so I already had everything when I installed them on my roof.

Instructions were also understandable and clear. I had no problem at all when I read them. As long as you understand basic English, your solar heating system project is sure to be done.

But the only problem is that this product is costly. So you are going to have to increase your budget a little.
Pros
  • Works with an existing pool pump
  • Raises a 1600 gallons pool temperature 10 degrees Fahrenheit higher
  • Includes screws and straps along with the panel
  • Max-flow design with headers, putting less pressure on the pool pump
  • Clear and understandable instructions
Cons
  • It is expensive than other solar panel heaters
Expensive as it is, this solar heater was one of the best I have ever used for my above-ground pool. I was even able to enjoy a nice warm swim even though it was almost autumn and the climate was getting colder.

11. GAME 4513 SolarPro XD2 – Solar Heater 

So I tried looking for another GAME solar pool heater in the market, and I found out that they were also selling solar dome heaters. That is why I wanted to try this product on my above-ground pool, and sure enough, if there are any solar dome pool heater reviews out there, this product would probably be the best.

I was only using one for my 16000 gallons above ground pool, and I could raise it to almost 10 °F within 3 to 8 days. My family and I were able to enjoy a nice swim because of it. Such a temperature increase is impressive compared to other systems I have used.

I also like the fact that I could save space when using this product, unlike solar panel heaters. Installation was pretty easy too, and the instruction manual is very understandable. All you need is to have a pump so you can let water flow in it.

I keep using this heater due to its practical solar-charging function. It does not require electricity and gas to run the system.

With all these benefits, the only problem is that it can be more expensive than the other solar dome heaters.
Pros
  • Raise a 16000-gallon pool’s temperature 10 °F more
  • Save more space than other solar heaters
  • Easy to follow the instructions
  • Does not require gas or electricity
  • Additional adaptors are not required
Cons
  • Expensive than other solar dome heaters.
This solar dome heater is one of the best out there. I had no regrets at all when I used it in my pool. It may be expensive, but I got the results that I wanted, so it was all worth it.

12. Smart Pool Solar Heaters

This is the last solar pool heater for above ground pools tested, which is a solar panel type heater. So, I went ahead and installed it on my roof, and to my surprise, it was pretty easy. It seems that the manufacturers made sure that this DIY solar heater for above ground pools would be as simple as possible.

Since it will be exposed to direct sunlight and the elements outside, I had to make sure that this product can hold out independently. Lucky for me, it’s constructed with rugged polypropylene, withstanding any weather conditions.

It also included a reel system that is pretty useful for storing my solar panel heaters. But the one that caught my eye was that it was pretty big. It’s about 80 square feet which was enough to raise the temperature of my 16000-gallon pool 6 °F higher.

Furthermore, this one is a system that works well for any in-ground pool. So, for a family that wants a compact heater for their inground swimming area, this is it!

But the only problem is that when I receive this solar panel heater, the installation kit is not included. Unlike the other solar heaters here that are ready to install, the installation kit for this product is separate.
Pros
  • Solar panel heater size is 80 square feet
  • Raises a 16000-gallon pool’s temperature 6 °F higher
  • Ideal for in-ground swimming pools
  • Constructed with durable polypropylene
  • DIY installation is straightforward
Cons
  • An installation kit is not included
Overall this solar heat panel was able to do its job properly, so it deserves to be on this list. The installation kit was not that much of a problem since you can still set it up in no time if you have the right tools.

What to Look for When Buying Solar Heater for Above Ground Pools

above-ground-pool-solar-heater

Choosing a solar water heater for pool can be tricky, especially if you are very new to the concept. So, to find out the best solar heater for above ground pool, here’s what to look for.

Clear and Understandable Installation Instructions

Solar above-ground pool heaters can be very easy to install if the instructional materials are clear and understandable. Several components need to be properly set up for your solar heater to work, and not everyone knows the technical aspects. So I choose those that have the simplest instructions.

Solar Collector Size

Solar collectors can have different sizes and the bigger they are, the more solar energy you can gather for heating your above-ground pool. For solar panel type heaters, the rule of thumb is that your solar collecting unit has to at least be half the size of your pool

The pool size supported by your solar collector can also be seen on its packaging. You can use that as a reference on how many you need to install for your above-ground pool.

Maximum Temperature

An average unit of a solar heater can raise the temperature of your above-ground pool to about 5 to degrees Fahrenheit which is good enough to make you not shiver when you dip your toes. But if you go for higher-end units, they will be able to raise the temperature of your pool to 15 degrees Fahrenheit more.

I would recommend that you use solar heaters that can at least raise the temperature to 8 degrees Fahrenheit so you can enjoy a warm enough swim. Using a floating solar heater for above ground pools, to me, will not let you achieve this temperature, and that is why they are not on the list.

Quality of the materials

Apart from your solar collectors, your solar heating unit will also have pumps, filters, and a controller. Since they will be exposed to the elements outside, it would be best that you only use durable materials. So your materials must be made of industrial-grade materials that are Corrosion, rust, and UV resistant.

Easy to use

As well as an easy setup, it would help if you made sure that your solar heater is easy to use. When it comes to portable solar heaters, I would always use the lightweight ones so I won’t have a hard time carrying them around.

How to Install a Solar Pool Heater for Above Ground Swimming Pool

Your solar pool heater should come with an instruction manual on how to install them, and it will usually be like the one below.

So, place your solar heaters in a proper place where they can get the most sunlight. Next, connect one of the hoses to the pump. If there’s a controller with the product, then you should connect it too. From that, connect the end of it to the solar collector. Then connect the hose from the solar connector back to the pool.

How Do You Make a Solar Heater for an Above Ground Pool

solar-heat-for-above-ground-pools

The simplest way to make a solar heater would be to use a black tubing hose and flat spiral coil on plywood or a polycarbonate sheet. Make sure your mounting surface is black, or you can paint it black so it can absorb more heat. If you want to put the glaze on it, you can use recycled windows or a plastic sheet to cover the solar heater.

Your hose length will depend on how big your mounting surface is. After that, attach your pump to it and attach another hose leading to your pool.

How Can I Heat My Above-Ground Pool Fast

If you want to heat your pool as quickly as possible, a gas pool heater is your best bet. It acts like an oven to heat the water, but this method can be expensive in the long run since you will have to replace gas burners every time it runs out.

Do Solar Pool Solar Heaters Work in the Winter

As long as your solar heaters will be exposed to the sun, solar heating for above ground pools is still possible. But because the environmental temperature will be freezing, your pool will still be cold.

Conclusion

Not everyone likes a cold swim, so if you want a cheap way to heat your pool, a solar heater is your best bet. But your above-ground pool will require the proper solar heater if you want to have a warm swim. That is why I reviewed the best solar heater for above ground pool so you can narrow down your list of choices.

An above-ground pool can be a great addition to any, and with the addition of a solar heater, you will be able to enjoy it more.