Best Solar Pool Covers

Finding the Best Solar Blanket for Your Pool

We started reviewing solar blankets in 2015. We found blankets of various sizes and thickness for above-ground and in-ground pools and compared their features to identify blankets for a cross-section of consumers. We researched online and consulted with professionals to decide which features were the most important and to determine the best products in different categories.

Best Overall

The Poolcenter 16 Mil is a thick, durable solar blanket that you can use for above-ground and in-ground pools of different sizes and shapes. It is a thick solar blanket with a durable aluminized bottom layer that comes in a variety of colors. While its thickness makes it harder to roll up and store, it is also more efficient than most blankets at trapping heat and warming your pool. It is also backed by a generous eight-year warranty.    

Best Value

The Standard Blue 8 Mil is thick enough to insulate your pool from wind and capture the sun’s rays to keep it warm and raise your pool’s temperature several degrees. It is a pleasing blue, which is nice to look at but may not be quite as effective at warming your pool as a clear solar blanket. Still, this is a solid, affordable blanket that will effectively protect and heat a midsized pool.  

Best for Above-Ground Pools

The Blue Wave Magni-Clear solar blanket is made of a durable clear polymer material that keeps excessive dirt and debris out of your pool, as it effectively insulates the pool from wind while absorbing the right kind of sun’s rays to warm your pool. It has a protective cover that’s resistant to harmful rays. This blanket may take a little more effort to fold up but, if properly maintained, will last a while as evidenced by its five-year warranty.

Solar Blankets: What to Look For

The most popular pool covers for saving energy and raising pool temperature are solar blankets with air bubbles. These have translucent polyethylene cells that appear as tiny bubbles on the surface of the blanket. These retain heat, which in turn will heat your pool. The thickness of the blanket, ultraviolet resistance, color and fitting are also important factors to consider when finding the right solar blanket for your pool.

Although solar blankets are not as thick as pool covers intended to keep pets and young children out of pools, they are still strong enough to keep leaves and dirt from blowing into the pool. The thickness of solar covers varies from 8 mils to 16 mils (800 to 1,600 gauge). The Poolcenter 12 Mil is an example of a durable solar blanket with standard thickness. Thicker solar blankets are not only more effective at keeping out dirt than thinner ones but are also better at retaining heat and do not get blown away easily in windy conditions. However, they are more expensive and harder to move and roll up.

Ultraviolet Resistance & Color
Solar blankets come in different colors. While pool blankets with aquamarine and dark colors look good resting on swimming pools, they are not as effective as clear solar blankets at allowing rays of sun to pass through. A black blanket heats up quickly and would seem a good choice for keeping pools warm, but it’s actually not very effective because it blocks sunlight. Some solar blankets, like the Doheny’s 8 Mil, come in different shades so you can choose between aesthetic or practical features. Since solar covers spend a lot of time sitting in the sun, it is important to get one with a high resistance –  stabilized solar blankets last longer than those without protection.

Size & Fitting
The size of your swimming pool is also an important factor to consider when shopping for a solar cover. While covering a portion of your pool with such a blanket is still better than leaving it exposed, it is best to get a solar blanket that covers all of the water surface. To get a blanket of the right size, make sure to measure your pool at its longest and widest sections. Then you can trim the blanket to fit the exact dimensions of your pool.

Solar covers will keep your swimming pool warm enough to take swims at night and as the weather cools. Whether you use fossil fuel or electricity to heat your pool, getting the right solar blanket can significantly cut the cost of keeping your pool warm. In addition, solar pool covers are reusable, recyclable green products that do not contribute to environmental pollution.

Contributing Reviewer: Noel Case