Heating an inground pool can become a challenge. It’s an expensive task and you never know if the heater you choose will work as well as you want it to. So don’t waste your time. Check out my recommendations for the best solar pool heaters for inground pools.
These solar pool heaters are energy-efficient and are perfect for any size pool, particularly if your area gets plenty of sunshine. This may just be the ideal solution to heat your inground pool.
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The 4 Best Solar Pool Heaters for Inground Pools
I’ve sorted through the market and dug deep with some extensive research. I was able to narrow down the market to share with you the very best pool solar heater options that were designed to work for inground pools.
I’ve got detailed reviews, including a list of pros and cons for quick reference.
1. Solar Pool Supply Universal Solar Panels
This first option is my top pick overall. The Solar Pool Supply Universal Panels (on Amazon) are very well-made. This particular option comes in a pack of 2 panels but you can purchase a variety of sizes and packages from this same brand if you’re looking for another size option. The ones listed here measure 4 x 8 feet by 2 inches.
These pool universal solar panels are made in the USA and they carry a quality assurance guarantee from the company. Each panel is made with high-grade materials that are intended to be weather-resistant to even the harshest weather conditions. They are made to last up to 20 years.
According to the listing, these go through more than 40 varying quality control inspections from start to finish. These are made with a tube and web design. The design is meant to be high-performing and powerful so you get as much solar power as possible when installed properly.
The materials are polypropylene and hold up against UV light. The company guarantees that there will be no defects and you won’t lose your panels to freezing weather, corrosion, or scale deposits. You’re covered by a 5-year full and 10-year limited warranty.
- Made in the USA
- Hefty warranty coverage and guarantees
- Multiple size options are available
- Made with durable materials that won’t be damaged by weather
- Universal compatibility
- These panels are a bit on the pricy side but the quality seems to be there
- If you are replacing old panels, you need to be sure to watch the dimensions for the right fit
2. Sun Heater S120U Universal Solar Pool Heater
The Sun Heater S120U Universal Solar Pool Heater is a great budget-friendly pick for solar pool heaters. This panel measures 2 x 20 feet and can be installed for both inground or above-ground pools. It is large and powerful and highly rated by users who have given it a try.
This panel option is easy to install and comes with simple installation instructions when you receive it. You can attach it wherever it is convenient for you to get the best sunlight – a roof, rack, fence, or even the ground. It is designed to sit at a slant and circulates from cold to warm.
This panel has a patented web design that is meant to draw in the maximum power of the sun’s rays for heating your pool. It can work with your existing pool pump to circulate warm water into the pool and is designed to raise your pool temperature by 6-10 degrees.
This panel is also made in the USA. It’s simple and easy to use. They offer a handy chart to know whether the sizing of the panel will work well for your pool based on the BTU rating. You may need more than one system if you have a large pool.
- Made in the USA
- Simple DIY installation
- Raises water temperatures up to 10 degrees
- Can be installed wherever is convenient for you
- Works with your existing pool pump
- Made for 1.25 flex hoses, which may limit some pump connections
- The pool tends to heat slowly as the panels run small amounts of water
3. Smart Pool S601 Pool Solar Heaters
Next up, we have the Smart Pool S601 Pool Solar Heaters. These heaters use a polypropylene heat collector to warm your pool and operate on a direct flow system. This means there is one header hole for each heating tube of the heater. This is a pretty large solar panel model that has 80 square feet of panels.
These were designed specifically for inground pools. When set up, this solar panel measures 4 x 20 feet. It is also designed to raise temperatures by 6-10 degrees. If your water is extremely cold, it may not warm up as much as you want it to.
The downside to this particular panel set is you also need to purchase an installation kit, which is sold separately. It’s unclear how much that additional purchase will cost so that could add up. Apart from that, the panels themselves seem to work quite well and this is a highly-rated system.
The panels have an internal baffle that is meant to heat quickly and efficiently. The thread headers provide flexibility for your connections. The headers are also made with fiberglass reinforcement, which makes them incredibly durable.
- Internal baffles to heat more efficiently
- Large panel design to make the most of the sun’s rays
- Wind vents so the wind doesn’t tear up your panels
- Collector tubes are fed individually for water flow
- Heats water 6-10 degrees
- Required installation kit is sold separately, although some users recommend other options
- Installation appears to be a bit of a challenge
4. Outdoor Solar Dome Swimming Pool Heater
This last option is a Black Outdoor Solar Dome Swimming Pool Heater. This is a fairly new model so some information is limited but it appears to work quite well overall and it’s not nearly as large as your typical solar panels for inground pool heating.
It can be used for inground and above-ground pools and is a simple concept that works.
This little solar heater reserves space and even has a bit of an aesthetic appeal since it is not a huge and bulky panel model. It’s unclear just how much it will heat your water temperature but it does heat efficiently.
The solar dome has a protective cover that you can place over the panel when you don’t need to use it. It can get sunlight through the protective cover but it is best to remove it when you want heating to prevail. The cover helps to protect from the elements outdoors.
This tiny little heater weighs only about 11 pounds and has 38 inches of hose wrapped up in it. This package comes with a single solar dome and the attached water heater device that you will need as well.
- Small and simple solar dome
- Includes a protective cover for when you’re not using it
- Comes with everything you need
- Save space and no bulky panels
- Efficient water heating device
- The compatibility with your pump could be a challenge
- It may take some getting used to for use and placement overall
Choosing the Best Solar Pool Heaters
I’ve made every effort to provide you with a variety of different options here. Each of these best solar pool heaters for inground pools has something unique to offer that makes it stand out. Before you make a final decision, take a look at these characteristics, and determine which will work best for you.
You want to be sure that the size of the solar heater you are purchasing will work efficiently with the size of your pool. Keep in mind that there are times you may need more than one solar heater in order to efficiently heat your pool.
Sizes and ability to heat a coverage area efficiently can vary by brand and design so take a look at those specs before you buy
One important factor will be the installation. You have to be able to get your solar heater up and running for your inground pool when you receive it. Determine what is needed for installation and whether installation will be simple as well.
Some solar heaters are more complicated than others. Dig a little bit into the details and be prepared with any additional accessories you might need to heat your pool effectively.
You’re making quite the investment when you purchase a solar pool heater for an inground pool, or any type of pool at that. You want to be sure that your investment isn’t going to be worthless a year down the road. Look for warranty coverage and guarantees as you check out your options.
Ideally, you will want a good warranty that covers several years. This is also an indication that the company stands behind their work.
I hope that you find the best solar pool heaters for inground pools here in my article. Whether you want the best of the best or something small and simple, I’ve got you covered!
Your pool should be a cozy and welcoming place, regardless of the weather outside.
How Much Will a Solar Pool Heater Raise the Temperature of Your Pool?
This can vary based on the model of the solar pool heater but you should expect no less than 6 degrees of added warmth. The best heaters out there might provide up to 15 degrees of added warmth to your water temperatures.
How Much Will It Cost to Run a Solar Pool Heater?
Solar pool heaters are meant to be energy-efficient. There is some cost to running them which can vary depending on your hole and how the solar pool heater is equipped overall. Regardless of the setup, you should notice very little by way of cost and it will be much cheaper than using a traditional pool heater.
Do Solar Pool Heaters Really Work?
Yes, they do! These have been tested for years and there is enough proven information that a solar pool heater can raise your water temperature up to 15 degrees. They certainly work the best when there is plenty of sunlight, but they do work.