Best Pool Solar Panels in 2021 (Reviews and Comparison)

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Owning your own swimming pool is a fantastic way to relax and have fun in warm weather. One of the great things about pools is that they can be quite accessible. While not everyone has the means to have an in-ground pool installed, above-ground swimming pools are comparatively quite affordable, and can still provide summer fun for the entire family.

With this wide range of prices, there also comes a wide range of differences in the features your pool may have, and perhaps most desirable among swimming pool amenities is the presence of a heating system. Most pools do not come equipped with this feature. But never fear; if you find your pool getting too cold to be enjoyable, there are some affordable options for heating up that water. Among the most convenient of these is the solar pool heater.

Coming in a variety of designs, these devices allow you to harness the power of the sun to warm up your water and get the most out of your pool. Today, we are going to be looking at five different options for solar pool heaters, breaking them down based on their features, reliability, and price among other factors.  

COMPARISON CHART

IMAGE PRODUCT

Intex Solar Heater Mat for Above Ground Swimming Pool, 47in X 47in

Intex Solar Heater Mat for Above Ground Swimming Pool
  • Direct solar heating
  • 47 x 47 inches
  • Vinyl construction
  • Chaining capability
  • Warranty: None
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Smart Pool S601 Pool Solar Heaters, Pack of 1, Black

Smart Pool S601 Pool Solar Heaters
  • Direct solar heating
  • 20 x 2 feet (x2)
  • Polypropylene construction
  • Chaining capability
  • Heats pool water 6-10 degrees fahrenheit
  • Warranty: 4 year limited warranty
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SunHeater Pool Heating System Two 2’ x 20’ Panels – Solar Heater for Inground and Aboveground Made of Durable Polypropylene, Raises Temperature, 6-10°F, S240U

SunHeater Pool Heating System Two 2’ x 20’ Panels
  • Direct solar heating
  • 20 x 2 feet (x2)
  • Polypropylene construction
  • Chaining capability
  • Heats pool water 6-10 degrees fahrenheit
  • Warranty: 4 year limited warranty
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XtremepowerUS 90105-V 24" x 10' ft Inground/Above Ground Swimming Pool Solar Panel Heating System Spa Heater, Black

XtremepowerUS 90105-V 24″ x 10′
  • Direct solar heating
  • 10 x 2 feet
  • Vinyl construction
  • Chaining capability
  • Warranty: None
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GAME 72000-BB, Made for Intex & Bestway SolarPRO Curve Solar Above-Ground Pool Heater

GAME 72000-BB, Made for Intex & Bestway SolarPRO Curve Solar Above-Ground Pool Heater
  • Direct solar heating
  • Clear cover
  • 27.56 x 5.91 x 44.88 inches
  • Chaining capability
  • Raises pool temperature by up to five degrees fahrenheit
  • Warranty: None
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Intex Solar Heater Mat for Above Ground Swimming Pool, 47in X 47in

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Intex Solar Heater Mat for Above Ground Swimming Pool, 47in X 47in

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Intex Solar Heater Mat for Above Ground Swimming Pool, 47in X 47in

Specification

Size:47 x 47 inches
Warranty:None

Features

  • Direct solar heating
  • Vinyl construction
  • Chaining capability

This first solar heater comes from Intex, a familiar name in the sphere of above ground swimming pools. Right off the bat, this heater has a lot going for it. The first thing you might notice is its extremely affordable price. The main reason this heater is so cheap compared to many others on the market is its elegantly simple design.

Using solar power in the purest sense, this mat essentially moves water through thin, flat tubes that are exposed to the sun, warming up the water before pumping it back into the pool. Due to this affordable, simple design, you can buy multiple mats and chain them together to create an increasingly effective heating system.

WHAT WE LIKE

This mat’s price tag and simple design are great perks to consider when shopping for a solar pool heater. While the heat that a single mat provides may not be enough for a large pool, the option to connect multiple mats together without spending an exorbitant amount is a great feature to have.

WHAT WE DONT LIKE

One mark against this mat is that it does not come with a pump. This is fine for those who have their own pump already, but the added cost of buying a new one works to this product’s disadvantage. Something else we would have liked to see is a warranty.

This mat has been generally well-received, but like most products, it is not without its occasional issues. Having the peace of mind a warranty affords would make this product a no-brainer.

PROS

  • Affordable
  • Simple design
  • Can be chained together

CONS

  • No included pump
  • No warranty
  • Some users reported durability issues
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Smart Pool S601 Pool Solar Heaters, Pack of 1, Black

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Smart Pool S601 Pool Solar Heaters, Pack of 1, Black

CHECK PRICE

Smart Pool S601 Pool Solar Heaters, Pack of 1, Black

Specification

Size:20 x 2 feet (x2)
Warranty:4 year limited warranty

Features

  • Direct solar heating
  • Polypropylene construction
  • Chaining capability
  • Heats pool water 6-10 degrees fahrenheit 

This next heater has a similar design to the intex heater, but on a larger scale. It is a much longer rectangle at 20 feet long by two feet wide. This larger design can be a bit more unwieldy and force you to get more creative with space. But the option of mounting it on your roof, especially if it faces south, is a great way to save space and get the most out of this heater.

WHAT WE LIKE

These heaters are quite effective due to their large size. When mounted on the roof, especially if chained together, they can yield significant increases in pool water temperature. They are durable as well, and covered by a 4 year limited warranty to protect you in the event of a faulty or damaged product.

WHAT WE DONT LIKE

Compared to the Intex heaters, these mats are quite expensive. While a single mat will yield a greater temperature increase, the heating is not quite as cost-effective. They are also fairly large, meaning you may have a harder time finding space in which to set them up.

PROS

  • Large
  • Effective heating
  • Warranty

CONS

  • Bulky
  • Expensive
  • Installation kit sold separately
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SunHeater Pool Heating System Two 2’ x 20’ Panels – Solar Heater for Inground and Aboveground Made of Durable Polypropylene, Raises Temperature, 6-10°F, S240U

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SunHeater Pool Heating System Two 2’ x 20’ Panels – Solar Heater for Inground and Aboveground Made of Durable Polypropylene, Raises Temperature, 6-10°F, S240U

CHECK PRICE

SunHeater Pool Heating System Two 2’ x 20’ Panels – Solar Heater for Inground and Aboveground Made of Durable Polypropylene, Raises Temperature, 6-10°F, S240U

Specification

Size:20 x 2 feet (x2)
Warranty:4 year limited warranty

Features

  • Direct solar heating
  • Polypropylene construction
  • Chaining capability
  • Heats pool water 6-10 degrees fahrenheit

This set of heaters is similar to the previous set. Like the SmartPool system, this set includes two panels measuring 20 feet long by two feet wide. They can also be chained together if necessary to heat larger pools. The company recommends a single system for heating pools up to 12 x 24 feet.

WHAT WE LIKE

These heaters are effective at providing significant increases in your pool’s water temperature. They can be chained together and are protected by a 4 year limited warranty. Like the previous set, they can increase water temperature by 6-10 degrees fahrenheit.

WHAT WE DONT LIKE

Although you do receive two panels, these heaters are quite expensive, and they run into the same issues as the previous set. Finding enough space to set them up, especially if your roof is not suitable, can be a challenge. 

PROS

  • Large
  • Effective heating
  • Warranty 

CONS

  • Bulky
  • Expensive
  • Installation kit sold separately
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XtremepowerUS 90105-V 24" x 10' ft Inground/Above Ground Swimming Pool Solar Panel Heating System Spa Heater, Black

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XtremepowerUS 90105-V 24" x 10' ft Inground/Above Ground Swimming Pool Solar Panel Heating System Spa Heater, Black

CHECK PRICE

XtremepowerUS 90105-V 24" x 10' ft Inground/Above Ground Swimming Pool Solar Panel Heating System Spa Heater, Black

Specification

Size:10 x 2 feet 
Warranty:None

Features

  • Direct solar heating
  • Vinyl construction
  • Chaining capability

XtremepowerUS brings us a more affordable heating option in a smaller package. Half the length of the previous two sets, this solar heating set is more manageable to install, and its smaller size and lower price make it easier to customize your heating for the exact needs of your pool. Though designed for above ground pools, you can also use this set if your pool is in-ground.

WHAT WE LIKE

These heaters are quite effective due to their large size. When mounted on the roof, especially if chained together, they can yield significant increases in pool water temperature. They are durable as well, and covered by a 4 year limited warranty to protect you in the event of a faulty or damaged product.

WHAT WE DONT LIKE

Compared to the Intex heaters, these mats are quite expensive. While a single mat will yield a greater temperature increase, the heating is not quite as cost-effective. They are also fairly large, meaning you may have a harder time finding space in which to set them up.

PROS

  • Nice size
  • Durable
  • Installation gear included

CONS

  • Only one panel included
  • No pump included
  • No warranty
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GAME 72000-BB, Made for Intex & Bestway SolarPRO Curve Solar Above-Ground Pool Heater

CHECK PRICE

GAME 72000-BB, Made for Intex & Bestway SolarPRO Curve Solar Above-Ground Pool Heater

CHECK PRICE

GAME 72000-BB, Made for Intex & Bestway SolarPRO Curve Solar Above-Ground Pool Heater

Specification

Size:27.56 x 5.91 x 44.88 inches
Warranty: None

Features

  • Direct solar heating
  • Clear cover
  • Chaining capability
  • Raises pool temperature by up to five degrees fahrenheit

Finally, we have a nice little standalone solar heater. This system is incredibly easy to install, with legs that prop up the panel. It also features a curved design that achieves greater exposure to the sun. Like the others on this list, it can be chained to other units to increase heating potential.

WHAT WE LIKE

The ease of this unit’s installation and its ability to stand by itself are great benefits. If you don’t have a lot of space or are worried about setting up other, larger panels to heat your pool, this one is a great option to have.

WHAT WE DONT LIKE

This unit is fairly expensive for what you get. Its heating surface is small compared to some other panels, meaning you may be able to get more bang for your buck elsewhere.

PROS

  • Easy installation
  • Stands by itself
  • Curved design

CONS

  • Extra kit required for chaining
  • Expensive
  • No warranty

Buyer’s Guide

Size

It is important to consider how much space you have for installing solar heating panels before you buy. Finding a good balance between the space you have and the needs of your pool is key. 

Climate needs

Solar heating is great for the planet. If you are considering whether to replace your current heater with a solar system, this is a great reason to do so.

Durability

Getting the most for your money is important when buying any product. Make sure you find a heating system that will last you for a while in your home climate. 

Heating strength

The bigger your pool, the more heating you will need. Match up your pool size to the recommended number of heating panels for best results.

Conclusion

And there you have it. Solar heating is a great, affordable, eco-friendly way to heat your pool. These five heating systems are great options for breaking into solar heating. Pick one up today and watch it pay for itself!

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