Best Solar Pool Cover For Effective Heat Retention

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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Having a background pool allows you to relax and entertain.

The best solar pool cover is a versatile addition to your pool as it goes beyond giving it a temperature boost. It helps keep your pool clean and debris-free, which means less time and work cleaning and more time swimming and relaxing. It also protects from UV rays.

In this article, we selected the 5 best solar pool covers and outlined factors to consider when choosing them.

Best Solar Pool Covers

1. Intex Solar Pool Cover

Intex Solar Cover for 12ft Diameter Easy Set and Frame...
  • Solar-heat-retaining cover for 12-foot round pools
  • Reduces evaporation by 95%; retains heat
  • Drain holes to prevent water accumulation
  • Easy to store; Includes a reusable carry bag for storage

Intex is considered one of the most popular manufacturers of backyard swimming pools. Though this particular solar cover is designed for their line of round swimming pools, the Intex Solar Cover can easily fit into other brands’ pools.

This is the best solar pool cover if looking for an affordable option. It measures 11.5 feet in diameter and is designed for 12 feet pools.

The round solar pool cover features draining holes to keep water from accumulating on top of the cover and claims to reduce evaporation by 95%. It's a great choice as it retains heat as the air bubbles absorb and transfer the sun's heat to the pool water.

The pool cover works best for those who don't like wrestling with large covers since it's lightweight and easier to handle.


  • Easy to install.
  • Lightweight cover.
  • Retains heat and keeps debris out of the pool.
  • Affordable.
  • Comes in a reusable carrying bag.


  • Doesn't have the best durability.

2. Sun2Solar Blue Rectangle Solar Cover

MidWest Canvas Space Age 12-Foot-by-18-Foot Oval Solar...
  • WORKS AS GOOD AS IT LOOKS - The Space Age Solar Cover will help...
  • 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...

Your search for the best rectangular pool cover may have just come to an end as we've got the perfect option. The solar pool blanket is available in various sizes, including the most common swimming pool sizes, e.g., 15 by 30 feet.

Though it's known as the Blue solar cover, it does come in either blue or clear color. The Blue Solar Covers are designed with thousands of tiny bubbles that face downwards, which work together to collect and retain heat at night and on those chilly days. The blue color gives an appealing look while also using the sun’s rays to help warm your swimming pool.

According to the company, the swimming pool solar cover helps prevents up to 95% of water evaporation. It's a great choice for rectangular pools and those with irregular-shaped pools as it can be cut and shaped to your needs. It's also a perfect choice for inground swimming pools.


  • Easy to cut and install.
  • Versatile and multipurpose pool cover.
  • Great for heat retention.
  • Great for inground and square pools.


  • Bubbles do start falling apart at some point; hence durability is a concern.

3. MidWest Canvas Clear Diamond Oval Solar Cover

MidWest Canvas Clear Diamond 12-Foot-by-18-Foot Oval...
  • DIAMONDS ARE A POOL’S BEST FRIEND - The diamond pattern contain...
  • MINIMIZE WATER EVAPORATION - The use of a solar cover helps in...
  • HEAT RETENTION - After everyone has called it a day with wrinkled...
  • JUMP INTO WARMTH - Show friends and family your bravery by...
  • TRIM TO FIT - Your pool may be uniquely shaped and getting the...

The solar pool cover features a diamond bubble pattern which helps in heat retention as it traps the sun's energy and heat compared to spherical bubbles. The pool cover reduces evaporation by up to 95%, hence lessening the number of times you need to fill in the swimming pool. The bubbled surfaces are designed to face downwards while the smooth top surface collects the debris and dirt.

The solar pool cover can easily be trimmed, making it easier for you to fit into your pool. Additionally, the oval shape fits irregularly shaped pools better. The pool cover comes in 8 size variants to cater to different pool sizes.


  • Durable solar cover.
  • Easy to install.
  • Raises pool temperature quickly and retains heat during cooler nights.
  • Thick and heavy.


  • Tends to stick when folding.

4. Blue Wave NS130 8-mil Solar Blanket

Blue Wave NS130 8-mil Solar Blanket for Round...
  • RETAINS HEAT - Insulating thermal cells trap heat and retain...
  • LONG-LASTING - Created with UV-protected polymer, our solar...
  • EXTENDS THE SEASON - This high-quality 8-mil solar blanket uses...
  • REDUCE EVAPORATION: Prevent up to 95% of pool water and chemical...
  • 3-YEAR WARRANTY - Your product comes with a 3-year manufacturer...

The Blue Wave Solar Blanket is the best solar pool cover if you're looking for a cover that will retain heat and prevent evaporation in your round above-ground pool. The solar blanket is designed for pools with diameters ranging between 12 and 33 feet.

The Blue Wave solar blanket is made from  UV-protected polymer, making the solar pool cover resistant to any deterioration caused by chemicals and UV radiation. The pool cover can withstand sun exposure and pool chemicals while raising temperatures to 15 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Blue Wave pool cover features small thermal bubbles covering the surface, enabling it to retain heat, resulting in warmer water, meaning more swim time.

Blue Wave claims that the pool cover will prevent 95% of pool water and chemical evaporation. The 8-mil thick polymer isn’t the thickest option on the market, but it seems to perform well and comes at a good price.


  • Great at retaining heat.
  • Keeps debris out of the pool.
  • Keeps chemicals and water from evaporating.


  • Doesn't have the best durability.
  • Expensive.
  • Water temperature can get really hot.

5. Solar Sun Rings

Solar Sun Rings Palm Tree Pattern with Water Anchors 3...
  • HEAT YOUR POOL - Solar Sun Rings are passive solar swimming pool...
  • WARMING DISCS - The majority of heat loss from a pool comes from...
  • WHAT'S INCLUDED - Each unit contains 6 magnets that are used to...
  • SOLAR ACTIVATED - Use the Solar Sun Rings to provide heat to your...
  • PLEASE NOTE - These Solar Sun Rings are NOT a solar cover or a...

These covers are passive solar swimming pool heating devices built from two layers of U.V.-resistant vinyl.   They offer an easier way to reduce evaporation and increase the temperature of pool water. The solar pool cover features an inflated ring with a UV-resistant center that absorbs the sun’s energy and heats the water underneath.

The floating solar ring aids in reducing evaporation, but the pool covers don't cover as much surface area as a conventional pool cover. Hence they are the best pool covers for owners with small pools.


  • Reduce evaporation and heat the pool.
  • Best solar cover for small pools as it prevents heat loss.
  • Easy to cover and uncover.


  • Some reviews noted the solar rings don't stay inflated.
  • Only ideal for small pools.

Factors To Consider When Buying Best Solar Covers

a) Type of Solar Pool Cover

Solar pool covers can be grouped into two types:

Solar Sun Rings

Solar sun rings are discs that float side-by-side to keep the swimming pool warm. They are naturally smaller than most solar pool cover and tend to be convenient to use. All you do is throw them over your pool. They are better suited for smaller pools as they need a smaller surface area to operate. You may need to buy many rings with a larger pool to ensure the heat does not escape.

Bubble Pool Covers

Commonly referred to as a pool solar blanket, they are large sheets that feature anywhere between hundreds to thousands of small bubbles. These solar pool covers are designed to cover the pool entirely and are often considered more efficient. The best solar pool covers are effective are preventing debris and leaves from falling into your pool.

Bubble covers are easier to handle and tend to more affordable. The bubbles absorb the solar heat and transfer it to the water during the day, while at night, the bubbles convert into insulators.

The best solar pool covers are UV-ray resistant, meaning they can withstand direct sun exposure. Some covers are lightweight depending on your needs, allowing you to put them on and take them off with ease. Bubble covers can have polyethylene or polypropylene materials. Their thickness can range from 8- 16 gauge. Thicker covers trap heat and are more durable.

Liquid Solar Covers

This type of solar pool cover is a high-fat alcohol additive for your pool. It creates a molecular barrier on the pool water's surface, trapping heat so that it can’t escape. Compared to a non-liquid solar cover, a liquid cover does draw in heat from the sun.

Rather, it acts as a barrier that prevents heat loss and water evaporation. Due to its molecular chemistry, the liquid solar cover floats to the pool's surface, providing it with an invisible blanket. Hence, when people dive in, the blanket disperses into the water. It reassembles when the pool becomes still again.

b) Size And Shape

When looking for the best solar pool covers, you must first consider the size and shape. This is especially necessary if considering bubble pool covers. A good rule of thumb is to select the same shape cover as that of your pool. It's essential to measure your pool to ensure that you have the right size solar pool cover.

It's advisable to buy a larger size; that way, you can tailor the solar cover to fit your pool if your measurements are slightly off. Additionally, a large solar cover allows you to tuck in the cover to secure it if the wind picks up.

One thing to remember, for a solar cover to be completely effective, it has to cover your entire pool. If there are any gaps, that could lead to loss of heat.

Keep in mind the shape of your pool as you don't want a round cover for a square pool. Most covers come in two shapes, circular and rectangular, which ensures they fit most swimming pools. If you have an irregular-shaped pool, you're looking for a solar pool cover that you can tailor fit. You want one that can reach across the widest and longest points of your pool.

c) Inground Pool vs. Above Ground Pools

Depending on your pool type, there are specific pool covers catered for them. Inground pools can be found in all shapes and sizes. They are ideal for relaxation and aquatic exercise. Above ground swimming pools come in round or oval shapes and can be a permanent or temporary addition to your residence. Thus when deciding on a solar pool cover, the type of pool you have will be a factor.

d) Color

Most bubble solar pool cover colors are available in shades of blue or silver (clear). Darker colors are better at trapping heat than lighter ones. If you live in an area that does not receive a lot of sunlight or plan to use your pool during the night, a darker color solar pool cover would be ideal. However, avoid colors that are too dark as they can keep the pool cooler.

Clear solar covers are best suited for areas with bright sunshine as they prevent the pool's temperature from increasing too much. A light blue solar pool cover would be ideal if looking for the best of both worlds.

e) Type of material

Solar pool covers are made from various materials like vinyl, polyethylene, or polyurethane. Vinyl covers are resilient and durable due to their heavy-duty protection.

f) Thickness

Thicker solar pool covers offer better insulation. They can however be heavy. These types of covers are best suited for pool owners looking for heavy-duty insulation. The best heavy-duty worth considering is a 14 or 16-mil cover. If you prefer lightweight covers, then a 10 or 12-mil cover should suffice.

Generally, the thicker your solar pool cover, the better it is as an insulator. Hence, it will have better heat retention.

Most solar pool covers range from 8mm to 12mm and more, but as you go up the thicknesses scale, the cost increases. You can opt for the middle-ground, which is around the 12mm mark. You don't want to have a cumbersome solar cover that you leave boxed up in your storage most of the time.

g) Manual vs. Automatic

Some solar pool covers can be manual, automatic, and semi-automatic. Automatic solar covers require you to push a button to roll and unroll the cover. Semi-automatic covers have a reel system and use electric power to remove the cover, but you'll have to guide the movement. Manual covers are adjusted using your hands.

h) Solar Pool Cover Reels

Cover reels are a fantastic way to simplify the process of putting on and taking off your pool cover. While some covers even come bundled with one.

A pool cover reel is placed at one end of your pool, and you rotate the handle to unravel your solar cover over or across your swimming pool.

Most conventional solar pool covers will work with a reel, but some thinner and more fragile covers can easily crumple under themselves when extending them across your pool. Keep this in mind when considering the solar pool cover thickness.

i) Solar Cover With Drain Holes

Some solar pool covers are designed with drain holes that allow rainwater to filter through and prevent your cover from sinking underweight. Though most covers aren’t a perfect fit-to-size, the gaps that exist on the edges or near the pool steps and ladders will often be sufficient in leveling out the water regardless of any intentional drain holes or be taken care of by your deck drains. If you find that rain is a problem for your cover, you can always poke a few holes in it yourself.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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