There's nothing quite like having your pool swim-ready at any given go. But let's face it: More often than not, it's easier said and done. Soon enough, unwanted debris always seems to find a way into our pools, especially in fall and winter. And nobody likes to take a dip in filthy water, which is where the best pool covers come in.
Pool covers are the most effective solution to keep your swimming pool (almost) always on deck. In fact, some stop algae growth by blocking out the sun's rays, while others even keep your pool warmed up. There are several options to pick from on the market, but this guide focuses on the best inground pool covers to help you find the right one for your specific needs.
Types of Inground Pool Covers
Before we get to our comprehensive guide, it's important to go over the different types of pool covers:
a). Solar Covers
These are the best pool covers if you want to heat above and in-ground swimming pools efficiently and affordably. Solar pool covers retain heat from the sun to keep your pool warm. They mostly come in the form of bubble covers.
b). Safety Covers
Also known as security covers, these are specifically designed to prevent people or animals from falling into the pool accidentally. Typically, they have a sturdy construction, with an anchor system around the pool's edges to hold them in place. Safety pool covers come in two kinds: Mesh and solid.
We'll look at the pros and cons of security covers in a later section.
c). Standard Winter Covers
Also known as tarp covers, these are the most basic type of covers. Many pool owners use them to cover their pools for the winter seasons.
d). Automatic Covers
Automatic pool covers are normally made of vinyl material, and they tend to pricier. Their biggest appeal is probably the "set it and forget it" capability.
Now let's get right into our top picks for the best inground pool covers:
1. Best Overall: Sun2Solar Blue 1200 Series
- ATTRACTIVE BLUE DESIGN - Sun2Solar solar blankets are made from a...
- MINIMIZE WATER EVAPORATION - The use of a solar cover helps in...
- JUMP INTO WARMTH - Show friends and family your bravery by...
- HEAT RETENTION - After everyone has called it a day with wrinkled...
- TRIM TO FIT - Your pool may be uniquely shaped and getting the...
If you want a warm in-ground pool without inflating your electricity bill, the Sun2Solar Blue 1200 Series is the best pool cover to consider.
It allows UV light to pass through to heat the pool water, thanks to the bubble design that helps harness the sun's heat and dissipates it to the water below while also retaining the heat under, thus acting as a solar blanket when there's no sunshine. This solar pool cover also features a waterproof vinyl construction to prevent vapor from passing through, ultimately reducing water evaporation by up to a whopping 95%.
The cover measures 16 x 36 feet, although you can also get it in several other sizes to fit all kinds of pools. Furthermore, the vinyl is trimmable so as to customize a perfect fit for uniquely shaped pools. It also comes in an appealing blue or clear color, both effective in light/heat penetration and preventing contamination from dirt and debris.
2. Best Budget: Pool Mate 351632RPM
- Winter pool cover to be used with in-ground swimming pools -...
- Pool Size: 16 x 32 Foot Rectangle - Cover Size: 21 x 37 Feet...
- Heavy-duty polyethylene material - All seams are heat sealed for...
- 5 foot overlap (Includes 5 feet of extra material beyond pool...
- Cover should be able to float loosely on the water, consider...
If affordability is a critical consideration for you, Pool Mate's Winter Pool Cover comes at a very attractive price and still gets the job done quite well.
It's well-built, made of heavy-duty polyethylene to prevent UV rays from passing through. This makes it effective at stopping the growth of algae. It's designed to protect your pool from dirt and debris in harsh winter conditions. However, it also prevents snow from melting through, which can form puddles on the cover.
It comes in multiple sizes so at to fit almost any kind of pool. Regardless of the size, each pool cover features a 5-foot overlap meant to cover most copings for an easier installation. It also includes water tube loops, although the tubes have to be bought separately. The Pool Mate Winter Pool Cover is lightweight, making it easy to carry in and out of storage.
3. Best Mesh Cover: Yard Guard Green Mesh
- High-quality in-ground pool safety cover with porous, tight mesh...
- Resistant to rot, mildew, UV, and damage caused by pool water
- White thread is triple-stitched at all perimeter stress points
- Straps run on both top and bottom of the cover for added strength
- Reinforced webbing on the top and bottom of every seam
Yard Guard's Green Mesh is arguably one of the best inground pool covers for several good reasons.
First, it comes with a brass anchoring system that is fixed into the concrete. Subsequently, dual stainless steel springs are attached to support the whole mesh over the pool. The mesh itself is made of a strong material that allows water to pass through but filters out any silt and debris to maintain a clean pool.
The mesh is triple stitched along the entire perimeter and stress points. It's then protected by rub strips that provide extra reinforcement while also protecting the pool's surface. The whole unit is resistant to UV, rot, mildew formation and damage from harsh pool water. This makes it one of the most hygienic and durable covers for in-ground pools.
4. Best Leaf Net Cover: Blue Wave BWC564
- Pool size: 20-feet by 40-feet
- Cover size: 24-feet by 44-feet
- Eliminates the mess caused by decaying leaves. Blue Wave leaf...
- 4-feet overlap to fit most coping
- Pool size: 20 feet x 40 feet
If your biggest contention is the mess caused by decaying leaves in fall, Blue Wave's Leaf Net Cover is certainly the best bet for inground pools.
As for its construction, it's made of woven polyethylene, making it remarkably durable but still impressively lightweight. Unfortunately, this also means that it can't hold up a lot of weight. For this reason, it's mostly installed on top of winter pool covers; this might be an added cost, but this leaf net cover is relatively cheap.
Typically, it comes as a 20 x 40 feet rectangular cover, although you can also get it in other sizes from 12 x 20 feet all the way to 30 x 50 feet. This trimmable pool cover also features a 4-foot overlap for custom fits, particularly for people with uniquely shaped pools.
5. Best for Winter: Robelle 353050R
- Winter pool cover to be used with in-ground swimming pools
- Solid material will not let water pass through
- Pool Size: 30 x 50 Foot Rectangle - Cover Size: 35 x 55 Feet...
- Heavy-duty 8 x 8 scrim
- Heavy-duty polyethylene weighs 2.36 oz./yd2
The Robelle 353050R is possibly the best in-ground pool winter cover, excelling at keeping your pool clean throughout the cold season.
This winter cover made of heavy-duty polyethylene, which is great at preventing dirt and debris from passing through. It also prevents UV light from passing through, equally protecting your pool from algae growth. But since it's waterproof, rain and melting snow can form puddles on the cover.
The Robelle 353050R comes in several sizes to give you plenty of options to choose from. It's available in several colors, ensuring you can always get a pool cover that appeals to your eyes. Each size also features water bag loops every 4-feet, a 5-foot overlap and a high-quality 8 x8-inch scrim.
Factors to Consider in the Best Inground Pool Cover
1. Solid Vinyl vs Mesh
a). Solid Pool Covers
Solid covers tend to be more expensive and less durable than mesh covers. For starters, they can collect water on top. This means that you also need a pump to clear the water off before the cover sinks from the weight and pressure.
However, solid pool covers incredibly effective at preventing dirt and debris from passing through, ensuring you have a clean swimming pool all through. More so, they're usually made of opaque materials, preventing light from passing through and thus, inhibiting algae growth. Others do allow light and heat to pass through, then trap it inside to prolong your swimming "season".
b). Mesh Pool Covers
Mesh covers allow water and smaller particles to pass through, which can lead to dirty swimming pools over time. As such, you'll probably have to clean your pool thoroughly once you reopen. They also let light pass through, promoting the growth of algae.
On the flip side, mesh covers are porous, and thus, water can't collect on top. They are also stronger and more durable than their counterparts, making them safe for people and pets.
It's pretty obvious that you should buy a cover that's a fitting size for your pool. Therefore, ensure that you know your pool's measurements beforehand to get the right fit. Alternatively, you can go for a trimmable cover that allows you to cut down to the preferred size.
Just like pools, swimming pool covers come in various shapes. Like you would with size, you also have to ensure that you get the right shape for your pool. If yours has a unique shape, a trimmable cover is the best option for customizing. Alternatively, you can get a square or rectangular pool cover that extends over the pool area, so long as every inch of the pool is covered.
The best inground pool covers should be tailored to specific geographical locations and their respective climates. Some covers are more suited to certain seasons. For instance, a leaf net cover is most practical during fall when leaves fall to the ground constantly. Similarly, a solar cover is great for fall since in keeping the pool warm, you can also swim in what would otherwise be an off-season.
5. Quality and Durability
Pool covers don't exactly have a flattering rep for durability; some even break down after just one season. It would then be best to spend a bit more on a high-quality cover that can withstand the test of time. The best inground pool covers should last at least 3 years.
6. Ease of Installation
The best pool cover should be relatively easy to install. Generally, solar covers are the easiest to install since you just lay them on the pool and that's it. Winter covers need anchoring or securing with water tubes. Safety covers are the most difficult to install since you'll have to drill the ground and fit bolts.
Frequently Asked Questions on Inground Pool Covers
1. How do I remove the debris trapped on my swimming pool cover?
For both in-ground and above ground pool covers, you can use one of the following methods:
- Use a leaf blower or gather the debris on one side of the cover, then remove them.
- Use a leaf rake skimmer to scoop out the dirt and debris from the cover.
Never use a yard rake to remove debris from your swimming pool cover.
2. Does a solar pool cover really work?
Yes, they do. But it depends on how hot your area is as well as the specific type of solar cover you have. A bubble-style solar pool cover, plus sufficient sunshine during the day, can maintain in or above ground pools at 90-degree temperatures. Plain solar covers aren't as efficient since they only retain heat the water collects from the sun.