The Best Solar Pool Heaters

The Best Solar Pool Heaters

Charlie Hardcastle

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Solar Pool Heaters are great because they don’t require electricity or gas.

A solar pool heater uses the sun’s rays to provide heating for your swimming pool.

They also save energy and reduce carbon emissions, allowing you to live a more green life and do something good for the planet while you relax in your pool. 

However, there are many different types of solar pool heaters on the market today.

So which one is best for you? We have put this guide together to educate you on the different types of solar pool heaters available, answer your questions, and also offer recommendations for some of the best options on the market today.






Aqueon 10 Gallon Black Aquarium

Best Overall

Smart Pool S601 Solar Pool Heater


Aqua Culture 10 Gallon Aquarium

Best Budget

GoPlus Solar Dome Swimming Pool Solar Heater


Marina LED Aquarium Kit

Best For Above Ground Pools

Game 4721-BB SolarPro Curve Solar Pool Heater


Best For In-Ground Pools

Solar Pool Supply SwimEasy High Performance DIY Solar Pool Heater System


Best For Small Pools

VidaXL Solar Pool Heaters

Types Of Solar Pool Heaters

Before we take a look at our top picks it is important that you understand the difference between the different types of solar pool heaters available. 

There are three different types of solar pool heaters and knowing what each one does is a great way to narrow down your choices.

Below we explain what a flat-plate, evacuated tube, and batch collector solar pool heaters are and how they work.


A flat-plate solar pool heater is the most common type.

This heater consists of a large flat sheet that is made of black polypropylene or hard durable plastic, and this material absorbs the heat from the sun. 

These flat sheets are mounted onto the roof of a home or placed on a rack in the ground to make sure it can absorb as much sunshine as possible.

It is possible to buy flat-plate solar pool heaters as a freestanding unit or you can also buy these heaters with a frame to stand them up and adjust the sheet to face the sun. 

Specific tubes and plumbing connect the flat-plate to the pool’s pump.

Water is pumped through channels, or tubes, that run through each polypropylene panel, this heats the water as it circulates around the flat-plate before being pumped back to the pool, giving you heated water in your pool.

Evacuated Tube

An evacuated tube solar pool heater differs from a flat-plate in both appearance and operation.

This type of solar pool heater consists of glass tubes that are placed in parallel rows. 

The rows of glass tubes contain a metal heat pipe that is connected to a fin that absorbs the sun’s heat.

The heat is then transferred from the fin to fluid in a metal collection tube and this fluid is then heated and goes on to heat the water in the pool. 

This type of solar pool heater gets its name from glass tubes as they act like vacuums as the air is evacuated from them.

The Best Solar Pool Heaters

Batch Collector 

This is the third and final type of solar pool heater and is possibly the most basic of the three, but it is still very effective.

This heater consists of a water tank that is placed inside an insulated box, or tubes placed in an insulated box. 

The water in the tank or tubes is heated by the heat from the sun before it is recirculated back to the pool.

It is vital that you place a batch collector in a space in the garden that gets a lot of sunshine, so depending on the positioning of your pool this type of solar pool heater might not work for you. 

1. Best Overall: Smart Pool S601 Solar Pool Heater

Smart Pool is a well-known company that has been making pool products and accessories for many years.

Their Smart Pool S601 solar pool heater is a flat-plate heater and works effectively and efficiently to heat the water over your pool with results within a number of days after installation. 

The solar panels are made from polypropylene which acts as a brilliant heat collector.

There is one header hole for each heating tube and a direct flow system which means your water heats up even quicker.

This heater works alongside your existing pool pump meaning there is one less expense when purchasing this system and this also makes it easier to install. 

This fantastic solar pool heater can raise the temperature of your pool water by 6 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit over several days.

1 system can effectively heat a rectangular pool that is 12 feet by 24 feet big and up to 4 systems can heat larger pools measuring up to 20 feet by 40 feet in size.

This system needs to be installed onto a roof and unfortunately, the installation kit is sold separately so you will need to order this before you can mount it to the roof of your home. 


  • 80 square feet of solar panels in 4 20 feet long panels
  • Durable, high-quality construction and long-lasting heater
  • Perfect for in-ground pools
  • Direct Flow System
  • Great price


  • The installation kit is sold separately and instructions are lacking

You can buy this solar pool heater on Amazon by clicking here.

2. Best Budget: GoPlus Solar Dome Swimming Pool Solar Heater

This budget-friendly solar pool heater is a fantastic product that also saves space with its compact design and can easily blend into your garden. 

On the inside of the dome, coils wrap into a spiral shape and the clear plastic cover traps the heat, which then heats the water that flows through these coils, pumping cold water out of your pool and heated water back into your pool.

The adjustable legs enable you to adjust the angle of the dome to ensure it receives maximum solar exposure.

The legs fold away making this product easy to store during the winter months. 

It measures 22.5 x 22.5 inches and 8.5 inches tall and can produce enough warmth to heat a 6,000-gallon pool by 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

The protective cover must be taken off when the heater is in use.

Multiple domes can be hooked up together to expand the power of this unit.

1 system can effectively heat a round or rectangular pool that is 8 feet long and up to 3 systems can heat larger pools up to 32 feet long.


  • Adjustable legs
  • Best suited to above-ground pools
  • Dome-shaped flat-plate pool solar heater
  • Small size makes it less obvious looking
  • Connects to 1.5-inch hoses
  • Protective cover included


  • Only suitable for smaller pools to get the best results
  • Protective cover must be used when not using this heater, protective cover comes with the product

You can buy this solar pool heater on Amazon by clicking here.

3. Best For Above Ground Pools: Game 4721-BB SolarPro Curve Solar Pool Heater

Do you have an above-ground pool? The Game 4721-Bb SolarPro Curve could be exactly what you need to heat the water in your pool, effectively heating up to 8,000 gallons of pool water.

The freestanding unit is 28 inches by 45 inches in size.

The temperature in your pool will increase by 5 degrees Fahrenheit or more after only 4 days after installation.

You can also add a bypass kit if you want to add additional heaters, depending on your pool size.

This flat-plate heater’s unique curved design and adjustable legs allow the heater to soak up more sunshine throughout the day as the sun’s position moves in the sky.

This compact unit is also easy to store during the winter months thanks to its compact size.

You can connect this solar pool heater to your existing pool pump or any standard above-ground pool water pump.


  • Curved shape and adjustable legs for optimum sun exposure
  • Clear cover locks in heat
  • Durable construction and weatherproofed design
  • Freestanding, compact unit
  • Additional systems can be attached for larger pools


  • Warms water gradually so takes almost a week to notice results

You can buy this solar pool heater on Amazon by clicking here or directly from the manufacturer by clicking here.

4. Best For In-Ground Pools: Solar Pool Supply SwimEasy High Performance DIY Solar Pool Heater System

The Best Solar Pool Heaters

Heat your large in-ground swimming pool using Solar Pool Supplies premium SwimEasy solar pool heater.

This product has been constructed using premium products and it is expected to operate in perfect condition for 15 to 20 years.

You can buy this versatile kit in a number of sizes making it perfect for a range of pool sizes.

The kit also includes necessary accessories to install the panels on a roof and connections to connect the pool’s water pump to the heater. 

This specific kit, linked below, has four 4-foot by 10-foot panels and provides 160 square feet of solar heating surface, meaning it is suitable for use if your pool has approximately 260 square feet of surface area.

The polypropylene panes, which make up the flat-plate heater, are equipped with a dense network of channels that heat pool water as it is pumped from the pool, through the heater before returning to the pool at a warmer temperature.


  • 15 to 20 year life expectancy
  • Premium and high-performance panels
  • Available in 21 different sizes
  • Can be mounted on roofs or the ground
  • Flat-plate design
  • Suitable for large in-ground pools


  • Premium price tag but for a premium product
  • Requires a large space for installation

You can buy this solar pool heater directly from the manufacturer by clicking here.

5. Best For Small Pools: VidaXL Solar Pool Heaters

The Best Solar Pool Heaters

If you are looking for a heater to heat a smaller pool this vidaXL unit can do just that and it is also exceptionally easy to install. 

It features a stand-alone design and adjustable legs to ensure you can get the maximum sunshine available to heat your small pool effectively.

The heater comes with two hoses that connect to a standard pool pump.

The cold water is pumped and circulated through the panels which heat the water before it is sent back to the pool. 

This heater is 29.5 x 29.5 inches in size and can raise the temperature of a small pool by up to 5 degrees Fahrenheit.

If necessary you can easily add additional panels to heat a larger pool of water. 


  • Stand-alone unit
  • Adjustable legs
  • Easy to install
  • Durable construction


  • May take up to a week to notice results

You can buy this solar pool heater directly from the manufacturer by clicking here.

Buyers Guide

When choosing a solar pool heater, here are some things to consider:

Size & Capacity

The size and capacity of your pool will hugely impact what solar pool heater you should be getting.

Naturally, it takes more energy to heat up the capacity of a larger pool than a small one.

To help understand what size solar pool heater you need, the surface area of your heater should be equal to roughly 50 to 100% of the surface area of the pool you want to heat to ensure you can effectively warm the water in your pool.

If you live in a cooler area you should try to find a heater closer to 100% of the surface area of the pool, but if you live in a sunnier or warmer climate, then a heater closer to 50% of the surface area of the pool would suffice.

If you want to keep your pool warm all year round it is best to get a larger heater to extend the pool season and keep your pool warmed through fall. 

Size also impacts the temperature that the heater will be able to heat your pool water to.

The Best Solar Pool Heaters

Larger heaters that get a considerable amount of sunshine can warm the water in a pool by up to 10 degrees over a number of days, as long as the size of the heater is equally matched to the pool.

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency refers to the amount of heat produced per watt. The higher the number, the better the energy efficiency.

Make sure that the solar pool heaters you’re considering have high energy efficiencies. 

How efficient your heater operates is also impacted by the number of hours of sunshine the heater will be able to absorb each day and also the size of the heater.

For example, on a cloudy day, a solar heater would not be able to warm the pool’s water at all. 


Another important factor to consider is where you get the most sunshine in your back garden.

This will impact the type of solar pool heater you can get, and in turn where you will need to install or mount the heater.

If you are getting a flat-plate heater you need to consider the overall cost of having it safely installed on the roof on a mount in your garden. 

If you are getting a batch collector or an evacuated tube you need to think about where in the garden you will be putting it, near the pool, but with plenty of sunshine.

If you need mounts to check that they come with your purchase and if they don’t look into the cost of buying mounts separately before making your purchase. 

Durability And Material

The materials used in solar pool heaters are what make them expensive but spending a bit extra will give you a more durable heater that won’t need to be replaced in a few years. 

Most solar pool heaters are made from black polypropylene, which is a great material for absorbing heat.

Polypropylene is lightweight and flexible and so it is easy for DIYers to work with this material and mount it securely. 

This material is not affected by water, it can be damaged by UV rays and so you will need to ensure that it is treated with a stabilizer (see also ‘How To Add Stabilizer To Pool Without Skimmer‘) that prevents damage and gives an average lifespan of between 15 years to 20 years to your solar pool heater.

Smaller stand-alone solar pool heaters are often designed to be placed on the ground and they are made from plastic tubing or polypropylene tubing.

These tubes are then encased in a weather-resistant box that often has either a translucent plastic cover or a glass cover and a metal frame.


You should clean your solar pool heaters regularly to remove any debris from collecting on top or around them which could affect how well it operates.

You should check the manufacturer’s manual before purchasing a solar pool heater to see what kind of additional maintenance requirements are included.

You should also drain your solar pool heater during the cooler, winter months to avoid damage to the tubes in temperatures where the water may freeze and burst the tubes or damage the surface of the solar pool heater.

The Best Solar Pool Heaters


It’s important to keep in mind that solar pool heaters aren’t cheap but if you plan to purchase a solar pool heater, it’s worth doing so because it will save you money in the long run.

Try to consider how much you can afford to pay while also thinking about the potential savings you will have over the next number of months.

This will enable you to spend a bit extra when you know the money will make its way back to you eventually.

Safety Features

Some solar pool heaters come with safety features such as alarms and automatic shut-off systems.

These features ensure that your pool stays safe when unattended.

These features are not essential but if you live in areas where you receive a huge amount of sunshine it may be worth capping the temperature that the heater should reach to ensure your pool water is not like an uncomfortably warm bath.

We hope that you found this guide informative and that you can now find the perfect solar pool heater for you and your needs.

If you didn’t find the one for you from our list of top picks don’t forget to remember our key considerations from our buyer’s guide above to help you narrow down the choice of solar pool heaters on the market to find one that suits your pool size, locality, and budget.

Investing in a solar pool heater is a great way of benefiting the planet while also helping to save money on your household bills in the long run.

Enjoy the luxury of a heated pool and invest in a solar pool heater today.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do Solar Pool Heaters Work?

Most solar pool heaters work by using a thermal battery, also known as a thermal capacitor, to store the sun’s rays during the day.

When the sun goes down, the thermal battery begins to release its stored heat.

This heat then gets transferred to the water in your pool via a circulating pump.

What Are Some Benefits Of Using A Solar Pool Heater Over Other Types Of Pool Heaters?

There are several benefits to choosing a solar pool heater over other types of pool heaters.

For example, a solar pool heater will not use any electricity or natural gas.

It also doesn’t emit harmful chemicals like chlorine. In addition, solar pool heaters are more efficient than traditional electric pool heaters.

They’re able to transfer more heat into the pool water and last longer.

How Much Does A Solar Pool Heater Cost?

You can expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 – $5,000 depending on the size of your pool and how much energy you want to save.

Most homeowners choose a solar pool heater because it saves money over time and reduces their carbon footprint.

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