We’ve been evaluating solar pool covers, looking at their durability and overall value, since 2015. These solar pool covers trap the sun's rays to heat your pool water while also protecting it from the elements. We spent 8 hours looking at covers in a wide variety of shapes and thicknesses to see how effective they are. Here's what we found.
Magni-Clear Blue Wave Above Ground
Magni-Clear Solar Blanket from Blue Wave is a transparent solar cover. It is round, and you can purchase it in a variety of sizes from 15 feet to 33 feet around. It's made of a 1,200-gauge plastic polymer and while it has a protective layer on it, you shouldn't leave it out in the sun for a long time because it can wear on the material, causing the layers to separate. The underside of the blanket is covered with air bubbles to provide your pool with even more protection and its transparency means it won't absorb or reflect light, so just the pool water will benefit from the sun's warm rays. This thick, clear blanket is a great option for protecting your pool.
Doheny’s 5 Mil BlueBlue
The Doheny's BlueBlue Solar Cover is 5 mils thick making it one of the thinnest pool covers available. It's easy to roll up and transport and it's lightweight, so you won't need any help taking it off your pool. Because it's so thin, this solar blanket, made by Clear-Tek, isn't very good at trapping heat. It's not very durable and only comes with a 1-year warranty, which isn't even close to the best warranty packages out there that can cover your purchase for at least five years. This solar blanket would be ideal for single season use in very hot places like Arizona. You can get it in clear, blue, or a clear-blue combo color and the bottom side has air bubbles that insulate your pool from debris and other elements.
Doheny’s 8 Mil BlueBlue
The BlueBlue 8 Mil solar blanket is a Clear-Tek blanket made by Dohney's Water Warehouse. It is made from polyethylene and as the name suggests, is 8 mils thick, making it thinner than most pool covers. What you lose in protection you gain in portability, as this cover is substantially lighter and easier to roll up for storage. Solar pool covers from Doheny's come with a 3-year warranty just in case something does puncture the cover, though comparatively that's a pretty short warranty. It also comes in a variety of sizes in round, oval and rectangle. The bigger the blanket, the more expensive it is. Air bubbles on the underside of the blanket provide insulation and if you're looking for something that will heat your pool water faster, this blanket comes in clear. You can also get it in blue and a 50/50 blue-clear combo color if you want less heat and more protection.
Poolcenter 12 Mil
The 12 mil Poolcenter Swimming Pool Solar Blanket is made of polyethylene and its thick material can raise the temperature of your pool by 10 to 15 degrees. This can really help cut heating costs. Raised air pockets on the surface of this thick blanket prevent your pool water from evaporating and protect it from things like falling tree branches or garbage. The air bubbles also trap heat and keep your pool warm. The thickness of this solar blanket means it’s pretty durable but it comes with a 7-year warranty should anything happen to it. In order to keep it in working order and because it lacks a protective layer for YV rays, you should not use it in full sun all the time and protect is from highly acidic or chlorinated water. It also comes in varying sizes, sure to fit almost any pool.
Poolcenter 16 Mil
ThePoolcenter 16 Mil Solar Blanket is thick and durable, so it’s sure to withstand nature and keep your pool safe, clean and warm. You can get it in a variety of different shapes and sizes and as it’s one of the thickest available, it will undoubtedly protect your pool. The top layer of this blanket is made of polyethylene while the aluminized bottom layer with its tiny air-filled pockets keeps your water insulated. Your pool can be a full 10 to 15 degrees warmer thanks to this thick blanket. The aluminumized bottom layer reflects heat back into the water so you’re not going to waste any sunlight. This blanket’s 8-year warranty also means you’re covered if anything happens to it and even though it’s really heavy, it’s worth it.
Solarcovers.com Sun2Solar 8 Mil
Solarcovers.com's standard Sun2Solar 8 mil pool cover is great for small irregularly shaped pools and comes in a plethora of shapes and sizes. It is made of a resinous polymer and while 8 mils is pretty thin, it will still keep your pool warmer in sunnier climates and protect it from the elements. Because it's a little thinner, it's more lightweight and easier for one person to move and handle. The small air pockets on the underside of the blanket capture and send solar heat back into the water of your pool, keeping it warm even on cloudy days. It only comes in blue though, which can diminish its heat-retaining properties, especially compared to clear blankets that let sunlight right into the water and keep it there. This is a rather basic solar pool blanket, but it's effective.
Thermo-Tex is an affordable solar pool blanket option that is conveniently available at common big box stores, like Home Depot. This means you can go check it out in person rather than blindly buying online. It comes in a range of sizes and shapes like rectangle and round and like most pool covers, a layer of little air bubbles on the underside of the blanket insulate your pool water. This blanket can protect your water from debris while also warming it up by about 15 degrees for swimming on cooler days or evenings. It also comes with a 7-year manufacturer’s warranty and you can choose from blue or clear covers to suit your own needs. The one thing this manufacturer doesn’t note is how many mils thick these covers are, but it does have a UV-resistant coating on it so you don’t have to worry as much about letting it sit in the sun for days at a time.
In The Swim Premium Plus 12 Mil
This solar blanket from In The Swim is 12 mil thick, so it’s going to easily keep your pool water warm. This blanket comes in circles, ovals and rectangles of many sizes to fit a variety of pools. With UV stabilized resin construction, it can withstand the sun’s rays and keep the heat they make in your pool water, raising the temperature of your family pool up by 15 degrees. The small air bubbles on the bottom side of the blanket make it kind of look like bubble wrap, but bubbles paired with the thickness of the blanket work together to keep heat trapped in your pool and any bad weather. In The Swim sells solar blankets in several different thicknesses if you’re looking for something more lightweight, but this 12 mil blanket is one of the best.
Sun2Solar Clear 16 Mil
This 16 mil Sun2Solar blanket is very thick, so it does a good job retaining heat and keeping your pool water warm. You simply cover your pool in the evenings when you’re finished using it and the small air bubbles on the blanket will keep the water warm and protect it from any dirt or debris. This blanket is also trim to fit, so you can simply use a pair of scissors to cut it to fit your uniquely shaped pool. This won’t affect the manufacturer’s warranty either, which is a huge bonus. It’s recommended you leave 2-4 inches of overlap on the edge of the blanket though, so don’t cut too much. This blanket’s heating ability means you’re going to save money on pool upkeep costs and keep it protected. It comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and in both clear and blue.