8 Best Solar Pool Heaters

solar pool heater beatiful home

Are you looking for the best solar pool heater? Well, then, you’ve come to the right place.

When it comes to solar energy, Sunvival Guide has you covered with the absolute best products and information. That’s why we’ve done our research and compiled a list of the 8 Best Solar Pool Heaters on the market, guaranteed to satisfy a wide variety of pool owners.

After all, in the summer, no one enjoys the feeling of stepping into freezing cold water. Plus, solar-powered pool heaters are an environmentally friendly way to increase your pool’s temperature while saving money on energy bills.

From small above-ground models to larger inground pools, this list of the 8 Best Solar Pool Heaters will cover everything you need to know before deciding which option best fits your needs.

Please consider this your guide for eco-friendly warm water swimming in all seasons.

8 Best Solar Pool Heaters

Lets jump right into our list of the 8 Best Solar Pool Heaters, so you can take the first step towards heating your pool to the ideal temperature. For pools of all shapes and sizes, one of these sun powered products is sure to do the trick.

Solar Pool Supply - DIY Solar Pool Heater System Kit

solar pool supply DIY heater kit

Why did we choose this one?

If you’re searching for an all-inclusive, do-it-yourself solar heating kit, look no further than this option from Solar Pool Supply. Made from highly durable and high-quality material, this solar pool heater is designed to last.

With this in mind, this kit may be the only solar pool heating system you will need to purchase for your brand-new outdoor living space.

This Solar Pool Supply kit has not only undergone over 40 quality assurance inspections but backs up its high-performance design with a multi-year guarantee on all of its panels.

Great for above-ground and inground pools, you can’t go wrong with this sturdy solar pool heating kit.

What are users saying about this product?

Premium Quality - Choosing a product made from premium materials helps save you both time and money in the long run. The pre-compounded polypropylene material provides resistance to UV rays and increases the solar pool heater's longevity.

A tube-and-web design lets the panels expand and contract naturally, so you won't have to worry about there being any costly damage to your solar pool heater. After all, replacing cheap or old systems will cost you more in the long run.

Everything Included for DIY- Sometimes, the best way to do things is to do them yourself. Another reason this heater made our list of 8 Best Solar Pool Heaters is because it includes all the components you need to mount and install successfully.

Complete with solar panels, panel mounting kits, a row kit for water connection, and solid hold-down straps, this solar pool heater can easily be secured to a roof or rack.

Guaranteed Durability - This solar pool heating kit can withstand harsh outdoor conditions and weather for 15 to 20 years, compared to just the 1-2 year lifespan of lower quality options.

There is also a 5-year full manufacturers guarantee and a 10-year limited guarantee, which protects the panels from freezing temperatures and corrosion. Tested and proven, the Solar Pool Supply DIY Solar Pool Heater System is a heavy-duty competitor.

Goplus Solar Dome Swimming Pool Heater

Why did we choose this one?

For those who are looking for a quick, easy, and eco-friendly way to heat their pool, the Goplus Solar Dome Solar Pool Heater provides the solution. This solar pool heater is specifically designed for somewhat smaller above-ground pools and requires no additional electricity.

Although it is not the most powerful option on the market, the price and simplicity of the Goplus heater are great for pool owners with limited space or funds.

With its compact and portable build, this solar pool heater is not restricted to roof mounting and can be adjusted as needed. This makes it the perfect option for smaller yards or semi-permanent inflatable pools.

What are users saying about this product?

Small Size - Measuring just 22.5” x 22.5” x 8.5” and weighing just 11 pounds, the Goplus Solar Dome Swimming Pool Heater is a space saver, taking up only minimal yard area. The sleek compact appearance is another benefit, heating your pool without being obstructive.

Low Price Point- Everyone loves a great deal. The low cost of this solar pool heater combined with its excellent service is one deal you won’t want to pass up.
You’ll increase your water temperature and extend your normal swimming season with a minimal investment. For vacation homes and pools that are used infrequently, this product may be all you need to heat the pool when it is in use.

Protective Cover- A protective dome cover assures that your solar pool heater stays in working condition even during the off season. Even with the cover on, this product stays very light and compact which makes it perfect for storing indoors or outdoors.

With this in mind, the ample protection, low price, and ease of use, make this solar pool heater a terrific value.

XtremepowerUS Inground Above Ground Solar Pool Heater

Why did we choose this one?

Another great value for the price. The XtremepowerUS Solar Pool Heater is an all around reliable and effective solar heater. With panels also crafted from pre-compounded polypropylene, they will endure tough weather conditions and perform year after year.

The XtremepowerUS Solar Heater can be set up in various locations, as long as there is enough space to accommodate the 4’ x 20’ panel.

What are users saying about this product?

Installation Versatility- Mount this solar pool heater on your house, garage, shed, rack, or even lay it out on the ground. The versatility of this product gives you plenty of options when choosing the sunniest location.

Significant Temp Increase- The multiple tube design of this solar pool heater allows the water to absorb the maximum amount of heat. The exact temperature increase depends on a range of factors from location to available sunlight to pool size. In general, you can expect a water temperature increase of up to 10 degrees, with a 15-degree increase possible under certain conditions.

Compatible with all pools- Small above ground pool owners, larger inground pool owners, and everyone in between can benefit from this solar pool heater. Those with large inground pools may want to consider adding extra panels depending on the pool size. Overall this solar pool heater consistently performs well.

SunHeater S120U Universal Solar Pool Heater

Why did we choose this one?

A top performer that is eco-friendly and reliable, The SunHeater S120U Universal Solar Pool Heater is a great choice to heat inground and above ground styles of pools. As a “Universal” option, this product is perhaps the best “one size fits all” solution for solar powered pool heating.

That adaptability is an added bonus on top of this solar pool heater’s easy to install kit and patented heat collector design. Another option with a price tag that's bound to please, this universal pool heater deserves its recognition.

What are users saying about this product?

Easy DIY- The SunHeater S120U Universal Solar Pool Heater is easy to install and set up on your own, eliminating the need for costly outside installation. Made from sturdy materials and manufactured in the USA, an option like the SunHeater S120U is an easy choice.

As a bonus, the company who manufactures this product has a great reputation for answering questions or replacing faulty parts. With this in mind, pool owners can feel empowered.

Patented Web Design- The patented web design of this solar pool heater lets the heat collector panels take full advantage of the sun’s rays. Its high heat transfer from sunlight to the water has made this heater a favorite among pool owners.

As a highly efficient system, this means that even a large pool will heat up quicker with the SunHeater system. Depending on the capacity, swimmers may enjoy 10 degrees warmer weather in as little as an hour.

Works with both pool types- Not all solar pool heaters are interchangeable between inground and above ground pools. Knowing that this particular model can do just that, is an added perk.

Need to transport this device from one pool to another? No problem, you can mount this on a roof, rack, fence, or simply rest it on the ground.

Also check out SunHeater - S601P for Inground Pools

intex solar heater above ground pool

Why did we choose this one?

Ideal for above ground pools, the Intex Solar Heater Mat is perfect for those looking to add a little extra warmth to their swim. This low cost solar pool heater is easy to use and can fit in almost any space.

Pools with a capacity up to 8,000 gallons can benefit from this powerful solar heater, while additional mats can be added if necessary. The simple and easy hookup system works with most ⅓ hp pumps or a pump with a flow rate less than 2000 gallons/hour.

What are users saying about this product?

Best Budget Option - The Intex Solar Heater Mat has the benefit of being the lowest priced option on our list of the 8 Best Solar Pool Heaters. However, that doesn’t mean it lacks quality. This budget-friendly solar pool heater can raise water temperatures 5 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re looking for a convenient way to heat your above ground pool, this may be a perfect solution.

Lightweight & Portable - Weighing just over 5lbs, this solar pool heater is also the lightest on our list. It can be folded and easily stored for those times when it’s not in use. Completely flat when no water is flowing, the Intex Solar heater measures 47.25” x 47.25”.
These aspects of Intex’s unique design make it great for easy transportation and storage during the colder, winter months. In fact, it's so easy that you may be tempted to bring it out in the spring as quickly as possible.

Simple - With this solar pool heater you don’t have to worry about mounting it on a roof or rack. Simply unfold the mat and lay the solar pool heater flat on the ground in a sunny location.

This will not only save you time, but also potential headaches from putting holes in your roof while mounting other types of systems.
With easy to connect hose attachment points you’ll waste no time getting your water flowing through the heater and back into the pool where it’s needed.

poolmaster slim line above ground pool heater

Why did we choose this one?

The first thing you notice about the Poolmaster Slim Line Above Ground Pool Heater is its appearance. With a stand-alone curved design, this solar pool heater offers benefits not found with other heaters.

Convenient and easy to install, the Poolmaster Slim Line can add an extra 5 degrees of warmth to your above ground pool. Efficiently warming up to 5,000 gallons, this solar pool heater is best used for pools on the smaller side.

What are users saying about this product?

Unique Curved Design - The main benefit of having a curved surface is the ability to capture the sun’s rays as it travels across the sky. The curved panel allows for maximum sunlight absorption throughout the entire day. This makes the Poolmaster Slim Line solar panel even more efficient.

Plastic Covering- Another aspect adding to the Poolmaster Slim Line Above Ground Pool Heater’s efficiency is the clear plastic covering. Essentially acting like a greenhouse, the covering concentrates and traps the sun’s energy and heat.

This, in turn, boosts the heater's production despite its small size. With this in mind, the Slim Line can fit in tight locations that other solar pool heating solutions otherwise may not.

Convenient - Adjustable aluminum legs give this solar pool heater its own stand, so once again you don’t have to deal with any type of mounting. Its small size and strong weather-resistant materials make it easy to care for and store when not in use.

More than anything, the Poolmaster Slim Line is designed for people who would like to extend their swimming seasons with minimal upkeep or headache

Doheny's Solar Heating Systems

Why did we choose this one?

The final product on our list of the 8 Best Solar Pool Heaters is the Doheny’s Solar Heating System. This model of solar pool heaters is another great option for above ground pools.

The Doheny’s Solar Heating system features a warranty that will keep you satisfied for years, so you can reap the benefits of free solar energy season after season.

Its moderate panel size is also an appealing aspect to many pool owners. A Doheny system is the perfect choice for those with limited roof area, or those looking to take up slightly less space.

What are users saying about this product?

Moderate Size- The solar panel size for this model of solar pool heaters falls in the middle of the pack. Smaller than some of the more heavy-duty options, but significantly larger than the more compact solar pool heaters on our list.

In the realm of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, this solar heating system provides a good middle ground choice for above ground pool owners.

Good Warranty- You can trust your Doheny’s Solar Heating System to provide several years of service. Backed by a 5-year warranty, you’ll have that valuable security behind your purchase.

Of course, it should be noted that the warranty is contingent on the use of the Doheny’s mounting kit. However, any normal installation and operation is usually covered by a reputable company.

Customer Approved- One of the best ways to really learn about a product’s quality is by asking the customers. Doheny’s has had over 300,000 happy customers, all of whom have given this solar pool heater their seal of approval.

This is incredibly important both in your purchase and for years to come. Whereas some manufacturers have housed numerous complaints from poorly handled situations, Doheny’s customer service reputation makes a good experience with their products almost guaranteed.

What To Look For

We’d recommend any of our 8 best solar pool heaters, however, we understand if you find yourself split between two products. When picking the best solar pool heater for our home, here are the most critical aspects to look out for.

Pool Size

pool size

Pool size is important. Our list of the 8 Best Solar Pool Heaters covered options for every type of pool owner so you can find the right heater for your pool. The larger your pool, the more likely you’ll need a solar collector panel with a large surface area.

Oftentimes multiple solar panels are needed in order to reach your desired temperature. Small above ground pools can generally get by with more compact solar pool heaters.

Solar Panel type

windynation lightweight 100w flexible thin solar panel

The two main types of solar heating panels are non-glazed and glazed. Non-glazed solar pool heaters are usually less expensive and constructed from either heavy-duty rubber or plastic with no additional covering.

The polypropylene used in many of the heaters on our list is an example of the non-glazed option.

Glazed solar pool heaters are sometimes made from copper tubes featuring a glass covering. They can be more efficient in trapping heat, particularly in colder climates, but are often more expensive

Temperature Control Functionality

Being able to control just how warm you want your water is an important factor. Some solar heating systems may be equipped with automatic control units, which can stop or start the flow of water through the heater depending on the water temperature.

Most other solar pool heaters will have manual controls. Manual controls let you choose when you want your pool water flowing through the heating panels. This allows you to stop further heating if the pool is too warm, or begin heating if the water is too cold.


The cost can be a significant variable when shopping for the perfect solar pool heater. Depending on how large of a pool you are looking to heat and how many panels/heaters you’ll need, the cost can vary. Additional mounting kits, hoses, and pumps may not be included with all solar pool heaters.

By using the sun’s energy to heat your pool, you won’t have to worry about any of the costs associated with operating any electric or gas pool heaters. Within a short period of time, you’ll find that your investment in a solar pool heater has already paid for itself.

UV Stabilized Material

Solar pool heaters are continuously exposed to direct sun. Over time, this can degrade certain materials. By using UV resistant materials like pre-compounded polypropylene and EPDM rubber, the life of a solar panel can be significantly extended.

With this in mind, UV stabilized materials are critical for your solar pool heaters return on investment. The longer your system stays operating, the less time you will have to use utility power or a replacement pool heating system.

Types of Heating System

There are a few different types of solar pool heaters available on the market, as the technology has been used in some form or another for hundreds of years.
The first option is a mounted solar panel heating system, which can be installed on a roof or rack. These are often the largest and most expensive options, which are primarily used for inground pools or larger above ground pools.

The second option is a stand-alone solar pool heater, which is usually placed in an open area near the pool itself. These heaters tend to be smaller in size and less expensive. Since they are not as powerful as the first option, they are better for above ground pools.

The third option is a solar pool cover, which is placed directly on top of the water’s surface. These can be used for both inground and above ground pools. Depending on the size and depth of your pool, your options will vary.

Flow Control Valve

H2 flow control

A flow control valve is basically what allows you to either maintain maximum flow, regulate the flow, or bypass the solar heating system entirely.

By allowing slightly less water to flow through, you can actually increase the water's temperature by giving it more time to navigate the heating system.

By bypassing the solar heating system you can cut off the water supply.

Pump Quality

Most types of solar pool heating systems require a pump to move the water through the system. Many of the products on our list are compatible with already existing pool pumps.

Some however have specific pump requirements. You should check the specifications of your solar pool heater before installation to ensure the system runs properly and is not damaged.

Above Ground vs In Ground

above ground pool vs in ground pool

The type of solar pool heater needed will depend largely on the style of pool. In general inground pools are much larger than above ground pools. They require either a larger solar panel to produce the necessary heat, or several panels working together.

Above ground and inflatable pools are better suited for smaller or portable solar heaters. It’s crucial to check the heating capacity of your solar pool heater in order to choose the best option.

How Does A Solar Pool Heater Work

Our list of the 8 Best Solar Pool Heaters features a variety of heaters that all work in similar ways. Here is a brief description of the heating process.

A dark-colored multi-tubed solar panel, or solar collector, is mounted or placed in a sunny location where it absorbs sunlight and heat. That panel is connected to the pool via two hoses, one for water intake and one for water output.

A pump then forces the cold pool water through the tubed panel, which transfers the heat and warms the water as it passes. The heated water is then returned to the pool.

So clearly, in order for a solar pool heater to work, there must be sunlight present. Most solar-powered pool heating systems come with installation directions, a guide for safe operating temperatures, and storage recommendations.

Common FAQ

Still, have questions about the best solar pool heaters? Here are some quick answers to help you learn even more.

How much does a solar pool heater cost to run?

There is essentially no added cost to run the solar pool heaters on our list. They provide a cost-effective alternative to pricier heating options. As many of these heaters work with existing pumps, there is no additional gas or electric costs.

How can you winterize a solar pool heater?

You can take simple steps to ensure that your solar pool heater is ready for winter. First, you’ll want to turn off the water circulation from your pool and disconnect the pump. Then you’ll want to sufficiently drain the tubes of all water to avoid damage from freezing. Some more robust panels can be left out during winter, while others should be stored in a warmer space.

Check out our guide on how to clean solar panels

Can you install a solar pool heater on the roof?

Yes, solar pool heaters can be installed on the roof. Solar pool heaters can be installed anywhere with adequate sunlight and within the necessary proximity to the pool. House, garage, and shed roofs are common installation points.

What size solar pool heater do I need?

The size of the solar pool heater needed is based on the size of the pool, location, and access to direct sun. 50 - 100% coverage offset is usually recommended.

For example, if you have a 400-square-foot swimming pool, you’ll want 200 - 400 square feet of solar heating panels.

How much can a solar pool heater raise the temperature of a pool?

The total temperature increase caused by a solar pool heater depends on a range of factors, including:

  • Panels size
  • Available sunlight
  • Geographic location
  • Pool size
  • Time of year.

On average, you can expect a temperature increase of 5 - 15 degrees.

Can a solar pool heater work at night?

Direct sunlight is the best way to ensure you get the most out of your solar pool heater. Warm days with mild to moderate overcast are also okay. Running a solar heater at night or on rainy and heavily overcast days will not allow the system to heat the water adequately. In some cases, it can decrease the pool temperature.

How warm does a solar pool heater get?

Properly functioning solar pool heaters should feel relatively cool to the touch when water is flowing through them. They are designed to absorb as much heat from the sun as possible, but ideally, that heat is then transferred to the water. This keeps them from overheating.

Can you use a solar pool heater in the winter?

Whether or not you can use a solar pool heater in the winter depends on where you live. A solar pool heater can operate through the winter in locations with year-round sun and warmth.

Those in colder climates can extend their swimming season by several weeks but are not advised to use these solar pool heaters in the winter. Damage from freezing conditions can occur if a solar pool heater is used outside its recommended ambient temperature.

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