Homeowners lucky enough to own swimming pools know how amazing a blessing their pools are for them. Pools are mainly used in the summers to take out the heat from the hottest days so you can cool down and enjoy yourself. If you live in a warm climate, a swimming pool is perfect for helping you, and your loved ones remain cool. Have you wondered what it might be like to enjoy a good swim on a cold and wintery day?
You know it is impossible even to take a bath in cold water during winter. You need warm water that will be more suitable for your body. Luckily, the best pool heater in the business can help you enjoy the fantastic experience of swimming even in the coldest months. You can use the right pool heater to make sure the water is at a high enough temperature for you to swim in your pool for a long time without worrying about things getting too chilly for your liking.
Pool heaters provide warm water in your swimming pool so you can use your pool all year long. If you have looked for pool heaters before, you might have found hundreds of products by several manufacturers claiming to be the best pool heater. Making the right choice for your swimming pool is critical if you want to make the most of it.
To make things easier for you, we have created this article to guide you to our top picks for the best pool heaters. We have written detailed reviews of the top-of-the-line products in the market in this category to give you an idea about their capabilities.
Additionally, we have written a guide that will give you all the information you need to equip you with what you should consider when you are buying one for your swimming pool.
Between the reviews and the buyer’s guide, we are confident that you will be able to make the perfect choice in picking out the best pool heater for your needs.
At a Glance: Our top picks for the Best Pool Heater in 2020:
- Max-E-Therm Black Propane Gas Pool and Spa Heater by Sta-Rite
- Universal H-Series Pool and Spa Heater by Hayward
- MasterTemp High Performance Eco-Friendly Pool Heater by Pentair
- Electric In-Ground Swimming Pool Heater by FibroPool
- HeatPro Titanium Heat Pump by Hayward
- Electric Above Ground Swimming Pool Heat Pump by FibroPool
- SunHeater Solar Swimming Pool Heater by SmartPool
- Natural Gas Swimming Pool and Spa Heater by Raypak
- Eco-Friendly Electric Tankless Pool Heater by EcoSmart
- Electric Pool and Spa Heater by Hayward
The Best Pool Heaters in 2020
Now that you have the list of our top picks for the best pool heaters in 2020, we are going to take a closer look at each of the products. The detailed reviews are based on hours of research about the product and reviews of people who already own them. The reviews of each product will give you a better idea of what you can expect from it before we move on to the buying guide.
When it comes to accessories and tools related to owning a swimming pool, Hayward is one of the top manufacturers. Its Universal H-Series Pool and Spa Heater is another ideal entry among our top picks for the best pool heater. It is more of a traditional pool heater that requires a natural gas supply to operate. The unit is quite bulky compared to electrical counterparts, but it makes up for its size by including advanced features to offer customers more value for money.
The natural gas heater makes sure you will never have to swim in cold water ever again. It is effective in heating the water and keeping it warm while it swims. Its use of natural gas allows it to efficiently heat substantial bodies of water, making it ideal for large in-ground swimming pools. The product has a specialized, corrosion-resistant heat exchanger which lasts quite long for a natural gas heater. Its large size makes it unsuitable for use with above-ground swimming pools.
- It has a long-lasting heat exchanger
- The pool heater is effective in keeping the water warm
- It has a corrosion-resistant housing
- The pool heater has an easy-to-use control panel
- The overall product is durable and can operate efficiently for several years
- It is not suitable for above-ground pools
- It is a bulky pool heater
- The product is quite expensive
If you are looking for a compact device that can operate effectively on the electrical supply to your home instead of natural gas, the Electric In-Ground Swimming Pool Heater by FibroPool might be an ideal option to consider. It is a pool heater designed for use in smaller spas and swimming pools. Designed to keep the water warmer than the outside temperature for a long time, it is an efficient device.
The FibroPool heater is one of the more affordable options you can consider. It uses a standard 220V electrical output but creates an ideal amount of heat to keep the water in your pool warm. The device is compact in size, making installation convenient. It features an intuitive control panel with digital readings that enable you to set different temperature ranges depending on your needs. The pool heater is extremely energy efficient since it does not use an electrical heating element. It is cost-effective and will not have a significant impact on the energy bills, no matter how long you use it.
- It has a rust-resistant housing
- The machine effectively keeps the water warm
- It features adjustable temperature settings
- It has a digital controller for more intuitive adjustments
- The product uses electricity efficiently
- The customer support from FibroPool is poor
- It does not come with a warranty by the manufacturer
- Not suitable for larger swimming pools
It should not be surprising to see more Hayward products in our top picks for the best pool heaters in 2020. The brand has been in the business for a long time and built a solid reputation throughout the years. Its HeatPro Titanium Heat Pump is another fantastic pool heater that comes with a reasonable but expensive price tag. The product is built for use in large swimming pools.
The massive 140,000 BTU heating capacity of the swimming pool heater allows it to make quick work of getting you warm water in pools with a 25,000-gallon capacity. Its high price tag is justified for its effectiveness on such a large scale. The product ensures an ideal environment for swimming in relatively harsher climates by keeping the water warm. The machine is bulky but built to stand the test of time. Its acoustic compressor cover soundproofs the device to make sure it does not make a lot of noise while operating. It is an energy-efficient unit that has a corrosion-resistant housing. It can operate effectively for several years and keeps your electricity bills low.
- It produces less noise due to the acoustic compressor cover
- The pool heater has a durable design
- It has a digital control panel
- It is a long-lasting machine
- It is one of the most expensive pool heaters on the market
- Not suitable for use in above-ground swimming pools
If you have an above-ground swimming pool and you need a pool heater specifically for your needs, this FibroPool model might be an excellent option to consider. We like the Electric Above-Ground Swimming Pool Heat Pump for several reasons. FibroPool specifically designed this product to cater to the needs of swimming pool owners with above-ground pools and offer them an effective heating solution.
The product is another affordable swimming pool accessory that makes keeping your swimming pool water warm, more efficient, and affordable. It uses electricity to power compressors that channel radiant energy into a heat exchanger to keep the water warm. Since it does not use an electrical heating element, this pool heater has a low cost of operation. It can keep almost 7500 gallons of water warm, so it is suitable for most medium-sized pools as well.
- It has a corrosion-resistant design
- The pool heater is best suited for above ground swimming pools
- It has a durable construction
- The product is efficient in keeping the water warm
- It is not suitable for use in in-ground pools
Solar-powered swimming pool heaters are not the most effective in heating the water in rough climatic conditions, but they are a popular choice for many customers. We have included the most effective solar-powered pool heater we found in our top picks for the best pool heaters, making it a worthy inclusion. The SunHeater Solar Swimming Pool Heater by SmartPool is the most energy-efficient product we have reviewed in this guide. It keeps the water warm for a long time, but it comes with its limitations.
The solar heater absorbs light from the sun and converts it to heat to raise the temperature of your swimming pool’s water. The installation for the swimming pool is easy, and it takes simply five minutes when you use it with an above-ground pool. The heater works only with 4×20 above-ground swimming pools. It uses propylene heat collectors that efficiently absorbs the sun’s heat and transfers it to the water in the pool. You can also mold the curvature of the panels to make it more effective in capturing the sunlight and keeping your pool warm.
- It does not use any nonrenewable energy
- The product does not affect your electricity bills
- It is best suited for smaller above-ground swimming pools
- The installation is quick and simple
- This pool heater is not suitable for larger pools
- It is not suitable for in-ground swimming pools
Swimming pool owners looking for a traditional natural gas heater to keep their swimming pool water at more desirable temperatures for a long time might like the Natural Gas Swimming Pool and Spa Heater by Raypak. The product utilizes the natural gas supply coming from the mainline to your home to increase the temperature of the water and keep it warm.
It is a product with a high price tag, but it is relatively more affordable compared to similar products by other brands. The pool heater has a protective housing that keeps the unit safe for a long time but also makes it a bulky swimming pool accessory. Installation for the pool heater is quick, but it is recommended to use the services of a technician no matter how simple it seems. The product is good at what it does, and its durable construction gives it an effective operating life of at least five years.
- The product features durable construction
- It is suitable for large in-ground swimming pools
- It is an energy-efficient pool heater
- The product is quick and simple to install
- It is not suitable for above-ground swimming pools
- It has a slightly high price tag
Related – 7 Best Above Ground Pools 2020
Another environmentally-friendly option we have in our top picks for the best pool heater is the Eco-Friendly Electric Tankless Pool Heater by EcoSmart. It is an electric pool heater that utilizes a heating element to warm water in a tankless system. The swimming pool heater is effective in raising the temperature of the water in your pool and keeping it warm for a long time without using a lot of electricity.
The device is one of the most compact units we have reviewed. Its performance, despite its size, is quite impressive and a price tag that reflects its quality. Installation for this tankless pool heater is quick and simple. You can install it anywhere without worrying about the constraint of space. The flow activation technology used in this pool adjusts its performance based on the temperature of the water flowing into the pool, making it more energy-efficient than other similar heaters. The feature we love the most about this device is its remote control capability that allows you to adjust the temperature settings based on your needs.
- It uses less electricity
- It has a very compact size
- You can adjust the settings using a remote control
- It has a flow activation system
- A little pricey for its size
- Not suitable for use in large swimming pools
The last entry on our list for the best pool heaters is another product by Hayward. This time, it is a compact electric heater made by the reputable brand that upholds Hayward’s high standards when it comes to meeting the needs of swimming pool owners. It is a versatile unit that you can use to keep the water warm in a swimming pool, spa, or even a hot tub. It has a compact size which enables you to install it in tight areas without worrying about space.
It uses a heating element to warm up the water in its tankless system. It comes with a heating element sensor that alerts you if the machine is overloaded. It comes with a simple on and off control button. Adjusting temperatures is easy with the control panel on the front of the unit. Its internal controls are easy to access for maintenance. Installation should be done by a qualified professional. It is an effective product for smaller swimming pools, but it does not do an admirable job for larger pools. You might face issues with the heating element burning out if you do not pay attention to its indicator that warns you of overload.
- It comes with a limited one-year warranty
- The device is versatile
- It has a compact size
- The installation is simple and fast
- It is not suitable for larger swimming pools
- It can increase your electricity bill considerably if you use it for extended periods
- It is not the most durable product among our top picks
The Max-E-Therm is the ideal product to start the list of the best pool heaters in 2020. A product of Sta-Rite, this pool heater, is regarded as one of the best in the market for several reasons. One of the things we love the most about this product is that it is highly energy-efficient. The product is quite compact and produces results quite fast from the point you turn it on.
Its small size makes it easier to adjust with an in-ground swimming pool, effectively taking out any worries about the impact of outside temperatures affecting the machine. Due to its low energy consumption, the Sta-Rite product is rated as number 1. It consumes less energy and retains 84% efficiency at the same time. Its overall design is durable, sturdy, and rustproof. Unfortunately, the customer support for this product by the brand is not as good as customers would like it to be.
- It is a lightweight and compact machine
- The pool heater consumes less energy
- It is efficient at keeping the water warm
- Best suited for use in-ground swimming pools
- It comes with an expensive price tag
- The customer support is less than ideal
Pentair is another significant brand when it comes to pool accessories. Its MasterTemp High-Performance Eco-Friendly Pool Heater is well-reputed among swimming pool owners for its ability to heat their pools in a short time. It is a worthy inclusion on the list of the best pool heaters your money can buy. Its fast action gets you warm water within five minutes of turning on the device.
As effective as the product is, the Pentair model is also one of the most expensive pool heaters on the market. The pool heater is energy efficient and keeps the water in your swimming pool warm for a long time, once it is at the ideal temperature. It means the operating cost will not be high due to enormous natural gas bills. The manual gas shut off option makes it easier to conserve costs by letting you turn it off when you do not need it anymore. It is not something you want to use for smaller swimming pools or above-ground pools.
- It is a highly efficient pool heater
- The product uses less natural gas
- It features a fast-acting heating system
- The product has a manual gas shut off valve to conserve gas
- It has a durable construction
- It is not suitable for above-ground pools
- You cannot use it for smaller swimming pools
- It has a high price tag
Buying Guide for the Best Pool Heater in 2020
Now that you have the reviews of all our top picks for the best pool heaters in 2020, we can move on to the guide. In this section of the article, we will give you the information you need to understand pool heaters better, so you can make a well-informed decision for your purchase.
What is a Pool Heater
Just like how many people prefer to use hot water when they are doing their dishes, laundry, or even showering, hot water can be perfect to enhance your swimming experience. Regular water heaters do not work when it comes to making the water in your swimming pool warmer. A Pool heater is a specialized tool that has a design suited to ensure warmer water in your swimming pool, regardless of how cold it can get.
Pool heaters are the perfect swimming pool accessory for people who live in colder areas. Instead of getting to swim in the shorter warm summer months, it can help you extend your swimming season by a few months, or even enable you to swim all year round.
The right product can help you enjoy ideal water temperatures in your swimming pool. Choosing the right product can make a world of difference in how well it can cater to your needs. If you go with something too powerful for your swimming pool, you might end up spending more money than you needed to. Similarly, getting a pool heater too small could be a waste of money since it might not get you the desired results.
Different Types of Pool Heaters
You need to understand the product so you can find the best pool heater for your swimming pool. There are various types of pool heaters in the market. Let’s take a better look at each type, the merits it has, and possible problems it can pose for you. This can give you a better understanding of pool heaters so you can make the right purchase decision.
Natural Gas and Propane Pool Heaters
Natural gas and propane gas heaters have long been the most popular option when it comes to keeping your water supply warm. As the natural gas price has increased over time, the demand for natural and propane gas pool heaters has decreased, but not completely diminished.
They use propane or natural gas supply as fuel to keep the water warm. As the water in the swimming pool circulates, it passes through these heaters. The gas burns in the heating chamber of the unit, raising the temperature of the water that passes through it. The warm water is circulated back into the swimming pool.
Typically, they are the most affordable option due to the lower initial cost. The operating cost requires using natural gas, which can end up costing a lot more than their alternative counterparts. If you’re someone who doesn’t need to use the pool heater too frequently, it could be an excellent option.
Electric Pool Heat Pump
Electric pool heat pumps are heaters that utilize the main electrical connection from your home to operate. These machines do not utilize a heating element to bring up the temperature of the water in the swimming pool. Instead, they rely on using the warmth from the surrounding air and channel it into raising the temperature of the water.
These are very energy efficient pool heaters that can give you a reliable and long-lasting performance. If you live in an area with a colder year-round climate, Electric pool heat pumps are not ideal. If the outside temperature generally stays above 40, they could be perfect for use.
Electric Pool Heater
Electric pool heaters also rely on the electrical connection in your home to raise the temperature of the water in your swimming pool. Unlike heat pumps, they contain a heating element that is powered by electricity. These are very effective in warming up the water in your swimming pool, but they come at a cost.
Once you start using an electric pool heater frequently, you can expect your electricity bill to climb up. Besides heating the water in your pool quickly, another advantage they have is the ability to extend your swimming season through the whole year. If you can afford to pay the higher electricity bill, this can be an ideal accessory for making your swimming experience better.
Solar Powered Pool Heater
The name is self-explanatory. Solar-powered pool heaters rely on the energy of the sun to warm up the water in your swimming pool. The solar panels capture energy from the sun and transfer it to your pool to bring up the temperature. They take their time to work and rely heavily on how much sun there is to do a good job.
With solar-powered pool heaters, you can expect the initial cost to be quite high. Once you install them, however, there is no monthly cost for the electrical bill or any expense on natural gas. This is the most eco-friendly option in the market, but not the most effective one if you live in an area where you don’t get a lot of sunlight.
Despite its initial upfront cost, a solar-powered heater can offer you the most value for your money.
How do Pool Heaters Work?
After the filtration system, a pool heater can be the most important investment in your swimming pool. It is a better idea to understand what you are spending your money on and how it operates to perform its function.
We’ve discussed different types of pool heaters. While each of them has the primary task of warming up the water in your swimming pool, there is a slight difference in how they operate. We’ve touched on their functionality in the previous section. Here is a quick overview of the general principle most pool heaters follow.
There is a water intake in each swimming pool heater and a control panel that connects with a thermostat. There is a control module in the thermostat that transmits information about the temperature of the water, and the other parts of the heater like the igniter.
Depending on the type of pool heater you have, it can have gas input valves or electric cables that provide the heat. There is a heat exchanging unit that wraps around a tube through which the swimming pool water flows. When the water flows through the heat exchanger, it transfers the warmth from the heating source or burner to the water.
Once the heat is transferred to the water, the water reenters the circulation in your swimming pool.
Pool Heater vs. Heat Pump
In this section, we are going to elaborate on the differences between pool heaters and pool pumps. While both types of pool heaters rely on electrical energy to increase the temperature of water in your swimming pool, their methods are different.
A conventional electric pool heater relies on generating heat through a hot coil and transferring the energy into the water to raise its temperature. It uses the electrical connection to pass through a heating element with high resistance. As electricity passes through the element, it heats up. It consumes a lot of energy to produce heat.
A heat pump, on the other hand, relies on the warmth of the surrounding air to raise the temperature of water in the pool. It requires electrical energy to power the compressor that collects the warmth from the surrounding air and transfers it into the swimming pool water. It does not encompass the use of a high-energy heating element.
A conventional electric heater is more affordable than a heat pump in its initial cost. When it comes to long-term usage, however, a heat pump saves you more money, because it uses much less energy than the electric heater. It is also going to give you more value for your money because it costs up to five times less than a natural gas or propane gas heater to operate.
Benefits of Having a Pool Heater
The exact benefits of having a pool heater can differ depending on the type of pool heater you get for your swimming pool. There are a few common benefits that you generally stand to enjoy by adding a swimming pool heater to your accessories for the pool.
Swimming Season is Longer
Getting a swimming pool for your home is no small investment. It takes a considerable amount of money to make one or buy one for your home. It is unfortunate that even after spending so much on it, you can only use the pool for certain months rather than throughout the year. If you live in areas where the weather is generally colder, your swimming pool can only be used for two or three months every year.
What is the point of investing so much in a pool if you cannot get the most out of it? This is where the most significant benefit of the best swimming pool heater comes in.
The right swimming pool heater can help you extend your swimming season by warming up the water to a more comfortable temperature for use. There are some pool heaters that can operate in icy cold conditions as well. Some pool heaters may not operate well in extremely cold conditions, but they can improve the water temperature in moderately cold weather.
If the winters are mild where you live, the right pool heater can help you extend your swimming season to last the entire year!
Swim Easily Day or Night
If you live in an area where the climate is generally warm, swimming at night might not be a problem at all. In certain areas, however, the water temperature can drop drastically as the sun goes down even if the day was generally warm. In places like this, your swimming pool can become practically unusable during the night.
If you have a pool heater in the mix, that can change. If you ever have an overnight pool party at your house or a family gathering, or perhaps if you want to enjoy an early morning swim, a pool heater can regulate the water temperature and get you more out of your swimming pool each day.
Healthier Swimming Experience
Swimming in warmer water is a more enjoyable experience for a lot of people, but not many people realize that it can be better for your health as well.
Generally, swimming is a fantastic exercise for people. It is a fantastic aerobic exercise. People with joint pain, however, will find that swimming in cold water causes the problematic areas to ache a lot. Swimming in colder water can also have an adverse effect on people who have weak immune systems, younger children, and people who have arthritis.
A pool heater does not just counteract the possible risks of swimming in cold water. It also adds more benefits for you. Swimming in water with a temperature closer to or slightly higher than your body temperature can help relax your muscles and loosen stiff joints.
Swimming Pool Heater FAQs
Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about swimming pool heaters that can help you get more information.
Q. Can I install a pool heater myself?
A. The various types of pool heaters require specialized skills and knowledge for proper installation. The person installing them needs to have professional certification as a technician certified by the NEC and the CEC. Only flexible solar panel heaters do not require professional help, but they are also not quite effective in getting you proper results.
Q. Can a pool heater be installed under a deck?
A. The more compact units can be installed under a deck if there is space. Gas heaters are typically larger and require good ventilation, making them less than ideal for installation under a deck.
Q. How effective are pool heaters in the winters?
A. The best pool heaters can be quite effective all year round, but most units cannot operate well in extreme winters.
Q. Are pool heaters environmentally-friendly?
A. Depending on the type of heater and the individual model, pool heaters can be environmentally-friendly. Solar panel pool heaters are the most environmentally friendly since they use no electrical input or gas for power.
Q. Are pool heaters noisy?
A. The noise levels a pool heater depends on the model and manufacturer. The noisiest units are ones with compressors and fans that can generate some noise depending on how powerful the motors are.
After your swimming pool’s filtration system, the best possible accessory is the heater. It does not only extend the swimming season you can enjoy but also helps you get more value out of your swimming pool. It makes swimming a lot healthier and more enjoyable for you and your family.
We hope that this guide will help you find the perfect fit when you are looking for the best swimming pool heater to use at home.
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