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Best Solar Pool Heater 2019

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What is the Best Solar Pool Heater?

If you have a pool and want to heat it up, you might want to think about getting a solar pool heaters. Solar pool heaters are relatively inexpensive compared to electric pool heaters. Many electric pool heaters are over $1,000. Solar pool heaters cost anywhere from $80 to $500. We have compared the best solar pool heaters and our #1 choice is the Sun Quest Solar Pool Heater. It may cost slightly more than other solar pool heaters, but it has quality that lasts. Keep scrolling to find out more!

How Do Solar Pool Heaters Work?

The solar panels themselves are not typical solar panels you see that power houses. Pool solar panels are essentially hundreds of small tubes that are black. Water is pumped through the tubes and heated up from the heat that is absorbed from the sun by the black color. The same pool pump you have runs the water through the panels before going back into the pool. This system operates using your existing pool circulation pump and a 3 way valve that either directs water to the solar panels or the pool. So all you have to do is move the valve lever so it is no longer pushing water through the array.

How Many Solar Pool Heater Panels Do You Need for Your Pool Size?

If you are buying a solar pool heater, you need to figure out how many you will need based on the size of your pool. If you buy too little, your pool won’t get heated. If you buy too many, you have wasted money.

The general rule of thumb is to get panels that are close or equal to 60% of the surface area square footage of your pool. For example, if you have a pool that is 18′ x 36′, the total square footage is 576. If you are getting panels that are 2′ x 20′, the square footage of each panel is 40 sq. ft. In that case, you will need about 8 panels max.

Try our calculator to see how many panels you will need! Something to also take into consideration is the amount of sunlight you get in your geographic location. If you live in an area that gets a lot of sunlight and heat, you will need less panels, than say if you live in New York and have more cloudy days.

Problems with Solar Pool Heaters

Since solar pool heaters are made up of a series of pipes and pipe connectors, the main problem with them is leaking. If the panel is made of cheap material, it will crack and leak after being exposed to sunlight and weather for a long period of time. Some cheaper solar pool heaters will start leaking after a couple of years. That is why it is important to get the best quality solar pool heater. That way you will not have to reinstall a new one in a couple of years. It’s also less work if you install a good quality solar pool heater the first time. If you are installing a solar pool heater on the roof, it will take a couple hours to get it set up right. You don’t want to have to re-install another one next season.

Solar Pool Heater Installation

Solar pool heaters can be installed on the roof or on the ground. They are connected to your existing pool circulation pump. The system comes with a 3 way valve that either directs water to the solar panels or the pool. You can install solar pool heaters yourself or have a pool maintenance company install them.

Solar Pool Heaters vs. Other Pool Heaters

Better For the Environment

Solar pool heaters use the heat from the sun to heat the water in your pool. They have zero carbon emissions. Electric pool heaters use electricity which comes from power plants. The more electricity you use, the more energy has to be produced from the power plants. Power plants cause pollution, carbon emissions and are generally not good for the environment. Gas heaters also have emissions that are not good for the environment


Solar pool heaters are generally cheaper than electric pool heaters and natural gas pool heaters. Most solar pool heaters are less than $500, depending on how many panels you need. Electric and natural gas heaters normally cost around $1,000 or more.

No noise

Solar pool heaters make no noise. They use the pool pump you already have so there are no additional motors running or machinery involved.

Solar Pool Heater Reviews

#1 Best Solar Pool Heater

SunQuest 4-2X12 Solar Swimming Pool Heater Complete System with Roof Kits

This is our #1 pick for solar pool heaters. It comes with 4- 2 foot by 12 foot panels. They cost about $5.80 per square foot. It got the best reviews out of all solar pool heaters with 4.7 out of 5 stars. Customers have also reported great customer service with SunQuest, mentioning that damaged panels have been replaced within days. The system comes with everything you need to install the panels, so no additional kits are needed. You are able to install them on the roof, on a ground mound or anywhere suitable for sunlight. Some customers have reported that these solar panels have lasted up to 10 years.

#2 Best Solar Pool Heater – Best Value

SmartPool S240U Universal Sun Heater, 4 by 20-Feet

This solar pool heater is cheaper than the #1 heater. It costs about $2.50 per square foot. The size of this heater is 4 feet by 20 feet. It can be used on inground or above ground pools and comes with everything you need to install it. A couple customers reported leaking, but were able to get the panels replaced by SmartPool.

#3 Best Solar Pool Heater

XtremepowerUS Inground/Above Ground Swimming Pool Solar Panel Heating System 28″ X 20′

This is the #3 best solar pool heater. Is it made by XtremepowerUS. The solar pool heater is similar to the others, but it comes in a size of 28 inches by 20 feet. It costs even less that the other solar pool heaters at about $1 per square foot. Also, people with pool pumps greater than 1.5 horse power will need to purchace a diverter kit separately. This is the cheapest of the 3 in our review, but you know how the saying goes….You get what you pay for.

5 Best Solar Pool Heaters Comparison


If you need a pool heater, think about getting an solar one as opposed to an electric or gas powered heater. Solar pool heaters have many advantages and are better for the environment and your health than gas powered pool heaters. Solar pool heaters are cheaper, and they are better for the environment, this is definitely a utility hack you need to try!

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Utility Hacker

The utility hacker is passionate about saving people money on their utility bills and protecting the environment. I was a utility bill auditor in Texas for 10 years. I am sharing my knowledge to help people survive the crazy utility industry that we live in today.