October 18, 2021

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The 4 Best Solar Pool Heaters 2021 Reviews & Buying Guide

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A solar pool heater is an affordable and efficient solution to heat your swimming pool. But you have to check if the heater can generate enough heat to raise your pool temperature even during the winter season.

We all know that solar heaters work using solar panels. As solar panels receive less sunlight exposure during winter, they generate less heat. So, you need to get a heater that has more solar panels or bigger sized panels. This increases the heater’s efficiency and helps it to generate enough heat to raise the water temperature.

Furthermore, an above ground pool requires a more efficient heater than an inground pool. This is because the heat escapes through the sides and top of an above ground pool. But, in an inground pool, the soil acts as insulation and does not let heat escape through the sides.

Below are the primary features you need to check while hunting for the perfect solar pool heater to heat your pool.

A) Efficiency:

The primary thing to consider while purchasing a solar pool heater. High efficient solar pool heaters can heat your pool faster. This is especially important if you have a large pool or an above ground pool. But, if you have a small pool with lower heating needs, you can compromise a bit on the efficiency.

B) Size

Larger sized solar pool heaters get more sunlight exposure and heat your pool quickly. But they consume more space. On the other hand, small-sized heaters require less space but they are less efficient. So, you will have to find a balance between space available for installation and efficiency while choosing the heater size.

C) Warranty

Solar pool heaters are outdoor equipment that are at risk from harsh weather conditions. No matter how durable your heater may be, they are susceptible to damage. So, go for a solar pool heater that comes with the highest warranty period.

Apart from these primary factors, there are other several factors you need to consider. But before that, you can go through our list of the Best Solar Pool Heaters 2021. We have considered different parameters and prepared the list to help you simplify the choice.

4 Best Solar Pool Heaters 2021

Best Solar Pool Heaters Reviews

1. Smart Pool’s S601 Pool Solar Heater

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It is no wonder that the S601 Pool Solar Heater is ranked first in our list of the best 2021 solar pool heaters. Smart Pool has been delivering effective solar pool heaters for over 20 years. Whether you have an in-ground pool or above-ground pool, the solar heater does a great job in warming your pool.

S601 pool solar heater uses a direct flow system to heat your pool. Each heating tube has a header hole. It uses 80 square feet of solar panels and raises the temperature of your pool water by 6-100 F (4-6°C). Each panel measures 20 feet long and 4 feet wide.

You have to connect the solar heater to an existing water pump. You can place the heating collectors either near your pool or on your rooftop. It is easy to install the pump. But you have to buy the installation kit separately. It does not come with the product.

The solar panels are made from polypropylene which makes them very durable. Furthermore, it has a coating of fiberglass over the molded header. These features prolong the longevity of the product.


  • Fiberglass coated heater
  • Raises temperature by 6-100 F (4-6°C)
  • Large-sized solar panels for maximum heat absorption
  • Durability
  • Ideal for in-ground swimming pool


  • Consume more space due to large size
  • Expensive

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2. Fafco Solar Powered Heating System

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Fafco is one of the first American companies to develop solar water heaters. The brand does not leverage advanced technology to improve the effectiveness of its products. But makes small tweaks in its designs and employs environmentally friendly practices to increase efficiency.

The solar pool heater measures 20 feet in length and 2 feet in width. It delivers a superior heating solution for your swimming pool. Fafco’s solar-powered heating system is environmentally friendly and best suited for above-ground swimming pools.

It comes with a tilted system to increase its effectiveness. When you tilt it 10 to 30 degrees towards the South, it receives more sunlight. As a result, it heats your swimming pool much faster. This process becomes even more effective when you do it during the time frame of 10 A.M. to 4 P.M. when there is good sunlight.

The solar heating system provides you with flexible mounting options. You can mount the system on the ground close to the pool, on a rack, or on the roof. But you have to purchase the installation kit separately.


  • Environmentally friendly solar panels
  • Ideal for above-ground swimming pool
  • Tilted system to receive more sunlight
  • Flexible mounting options and simple installation process


  • Installation requires professional help

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3. Game 4721-BB Curve Solar Pool Heater

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Game’s 4721-BB solar heater features a unique curve design that maximizes heat collection. Whether you have an above ground or in-ground swimming pool, this heater will do a good job in heating it.

The solar pool heater can raise the temperature of an 8000-gallon pool by 5 degrees in 4 days. The heater achieves this by its unique curve design. The curve design has more curve design than the conventional plain design. As a result, it collects more heat and raises the temperature of your pool.

Besides, it comes with adjustable and foldable legs. You can adjust the legs and place the heater in a position that has the maximum sunlight exposure. Additionally, the heater has a clear cover that traps heat.

Game has designed this solar pool heater with high-quality materials. As a result, the heater is highly durable. It can withstand regular exposure to sunlight and other outdoor elements.

It is compact and you can install it easily anywhere. It will only consume less space. Besides, it is compatible with Intex, Bestways brands, and most other above and inground pools.

The heater comes with treaded ports giving you flexible plumbing options. The kit includes accessories such as Intex adapters and 2 hoses and clamps.


  • Unique curved design for maximum sunlight exposure
  • Adjustable legs for positioning
  • Clear cover on the surface traps heat
  • Raises temperature of 8,000-gallon pool by 5 degrees in 4 days
  • Suitable for above and inground pools
  • Accessories include Intex adapters and 2 hoses and clamps


  • Small in size and hence, heat collection is less
  • Not suitable for large-sized pools

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4. SunHeater S120U Universal Solar Pool Heater

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SunHeater’s S120U universal solar pool heater is a cost-effective solution for heating your swimming pool. The heater’s versatility and simple installation process make it one of the preferred solar pool heaters in the U.S.

Similar to Game’s curve solar pool heater, this also has its own unique patented design. But instead of a curve, it uses a web design. This allows the heater to gain maximum exposure to sunlight. With this, you can raise the temperature of your swimming pool from 6 to 10 degrees F.

The installation process is simple. You can install the heater by yourself even if you do not have any prior knowledge of this. But, you have to get the hardware equipment separately that is required for installation. You will find a detailed installation manual online on how to install the heater.

You can connect the heater to an existing pool pump. There is no need to get a new pump. As for the panels, you can mount them on the roof, ground, rack, or fence. Besides, you can use this heater for inground and above ground pools.


  • Affordable
  • Versatile – Suitable for inground and above ground pools
  • Mounted on roof, ground, rack, or fence
  • Patented web design
  • Simple DIY installation
  • Raises temperature of your pool by 6 to 10 degrees F


  • Not suitable for large-sized pools
  • Not very durable

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Important Features of Solar Pool Heaters

While the primary factor to check is the heater’s efficiency, there are several other factors in play while making this choice. Below are such important factors you need to check before you purchase a solar pool heater.

Types of solar collectors

There are three different types of pool solar collectors – flat plate collectors, evacuated tube collectors, and batch collectors.

  • Flat-plate collectors: The flat plate collectors are the common solar heating solutions for swimming pools. You can install them on the top of your roof or the ground near your pool. They do a decent job in heating the pool. But the main drawback is that they consume a lot of space.
  • Evacuated tube collectors: The evacuated tube collectors are the most efficient heating solutions. They use vacuum tubes to generate the heat. Even though they consume less space than flat plates, they produce more heat. The evacuated tubes are the ideal option if you have a large pool.
  • Batch collectors: The batch collectors can heat your swimming pool to a high temperature. But they are less efficient than the other two. Besides, it heats the pool more than needed.


The design of a solar pool heater is not related to its aesthetic value. But, it increases the efficiency and heat collection of the heater. Brands develop and use their patented design to capture more heat. For instance, the prominent pool heating solution brand Game uses a curve design instead of the conventional flat design.

SunHeater also uses a patented design in which the panel design resembles a web. Such designs help the heaters get more sunlight exposure. As a result, they are efficient and heat your pool faster.


Most consumers fail to consider the installation process before buying a solar pool heater. Do not be one of them. Installation of some solar pool heaters requires professional help which will add to the costs.

Others have a simpler installation process. They come with a detailed installation manual using which you do it yourself.

Solar Cover

Some solar pool heaters come with a special cover placed on their top surface known as solar cover. The solar cover traps the heat and retains it. So, this can lead to greater heat collection resulting in quick heating of your pool.


The solar heaters should withstand harsh weather conditions and stand the test of time. So, check the material of the heaters before buying them. If it is made from feeble materials, it will not last long.


In the end, it all boils down to your budget. The price of solar pool heaters varies widely. But remember, you get what you pay for. Do not settle for a mediocre heater just because it falls within your budget. We recommend you not to shy from spending a few extra bucks for a solid and efficient solar pool heater.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do DIY solar pool heaters work?

Yes, DIY solar pool heaters do a decent job in heating your swimming pool. But, you need to be proficient to create a solar pool heater. Furthermore, they are not as reliable as the commercial solar pool heaters.

2. How warm should a heated pool be?

According to the United States Water Fitness Association, the temperature of a pool should be 84 to 94 degrees F for elders. For young children, the pool temperature should be 85 to 89 degrees.

3. How do I keep my solar pool heater from freezing?

There are certain steps you can take to prevent your solar pool heater from freezing. First, use PEX pipings instead of the conventional copper pipes. Additionally, install a recirculation system and freeze protection valve.

4. How many solar panels do you need to run a pool heater?

The number of panels you need to run a pool heater largely depends on the state you live in and its temperature. If you are a resident of Florida, you require anywhere between 6 to 4’ x 12’ solar panels to heat your pool. Besides, your pool size is also a factor in deciding the number of solar panels.

5. Does a solar cover heat the pool?

Yes, a solar cover heats the pool but it is not as efficient as a solar pool heater. A solar cover can raise your pool temperature by 5 degrees during a 12-hour period. Furthermore, they help your pool in retaining the heat and prevent evaporation. Some solar heaters also come with a cover to be placed on their surface to retain heat.


A solar heater is a good investment as it is a cost-efficient way of heating your swimming pool. Remember to consider the amount of heat your pool needs based on its type and size. Depending on it, choose the efficiency of the heater. Besides, you need to have enough space to accommodate the size of the heater.

If you are looking for a powerful and highly efficient solar pool heater, go for the Smart Pool’s S601 Pool Solar Heater. It is durable and can heat even large-sized pools easily.

If you want something affordable and in a compact size, SunHeater’s S120U universal solar pool heater will serve you the purpose. It is versatile and can be used for in-ground as well as above ground pools. Furthermore, you can install this heater by yourself.

If you have any further queries or doubts, let us know using the comments section. We will help you out. You can also share your thoughts and opinions in the comments box.

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