How to Choose Solar Heaters for Above Ground Pool?

What are the best solar heaters for the above ground pool?” you may ask. Well, there are many!

Why swim in the ocean where the water can get freezing cold when you can swim at a favorable temperature in your own pool?

In addition, when you have a swimming pool at home, you can swim at whatever time you want. You can even swim in the night! This kind of flexibility comes at a cost, especially for people who use electrical pool heaters.

However, we have some good news for you. If you choose the best solar pool heater, you will have a warm above ground swimming pool. Consequently, you will save yourself from hefty monthly power bills.


What to Consider for the Best Solar Heaters for Above Ground Pool

While there are not so many options for pool solar heaters, well, you still need to consider the available options keenly. Do not pick just the first one that you come across.

Here are a few important factors to consider …


When it comes to the best solar pool heater, size matters a lot. In addition, the bigger it is, the faster it will heat the water. You see, the water from the pool has to pass through the solar heater to collect heat. Therefore, it will keep circulating that way until all the water is warmed. In the same line, you can see that if the solar heater is small, it will take too long.

Mostly, the common above ground solar heater measures about 20 feet by 2 feet. However, some measure 20 feet by 4 feet. Of course, what you buy depends on the size of your pool.


Type of Solar Heater for Pool

There are different designs for solar heaters for pools. For instance, the most common ones are the solar panels that roll out and stretch to their full size. Furthermore, these heaters come rolled up and then you have to unroll them before installation. While they feel a bit flimsy, they are quite good and durable.

In addition to the panel types, there are dome swimming pool heaters. Indeed, these look like domes. However, like the panel designs, they also connect to your available pump. In addition, they come with their installation accessories, so you probably don’t have to get anything from the store.

The third type of solar heater for above ground pools is the solar rings. However, these are not common at all. For instance, in this article, we reviewed just one of them. Despite this, they are efficient and they act as a pool cover.

Price and Warranty

We always say that you should consider the features before the price. However, it eventually comes down to the price.

On the same note, these heaters can cost a substantial amount of money. Therefore, make sure that the features are worth the money that you are paying for it. In addition, ensure that it comes with all installation accessories, including Teflon tape.

The price of the solar pool heaters depends on a few important things. For instance, bigger heaters will cost more than small ones. In addition, do not let any manufacturer cheat you into buying a small solar heater.

Some solar heaters for pools come without warranty information. However, for the ones that do, most of them have a 12-month warranty. Therefore, always opt for one that has a warranty rather than one that does not.

Ability to warm the water

Well, to tell you the truth, these solar heaters for above ground pools will not make the water hot. However, they will make it warm enough to swim even in the cold season.

Therefore, most of them promise to raise the water temperature by 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Likewise, some do slightly higher or lower than that. Of course, this also depends on the amount of sunshine that is available per day. Therefore, on cold days, you may not get enough warmth.


Ease of Installation

The above ground solar heaters should be easy to install. However, this is not something that you can do straight from your head. Therefore, you need a package that comes with a proper installation guide. Some might be poor translations from the Chinese language and such can be a bit of a bother.

Another thing that you should look for before you make your order is the installation accessories. For instance, these include hoses, elbows, end caps and others. Likewise, if the package does not have such, the manufacturer should disclose that information and advise you to buy separately.

Frequently Asked Questions


Here are a few frequently asked questions that might enlighten you further regarding above ground pool solar panels.

What is the difference between a pool solar heater and a regular solar panel?

A regular solar panel or a photovoltaic panel converts sunlight into electrical energy and stores it in a battery for later use. However, the solar heater for the pool has tubes through which the pool water circulates. It continues circulating until it warms up or until you switch off the pump.

What are the best solar pool heaters?

There are many of them. However, topping the list are brand names such as SunHeater, Heliocol, Game SolarPro, SmartPool and others. Just make sure that what you buy meets your size needs, can raise the temperature of the water and many more. In addition, you can consider the price and warranty. Also, you might consider brands such as Intex, Fafco and many more.

How warm can a solar heated pool get?

You can get the water temperature up to 85 degrees Fahrenheit/29°C, which is quite good! Of course, to get to this level of warmth, the solar heater system must be working correctly. Therefore, you have to do proper care and maintenance so that your system works correctly all the time.

Solar Heater for Above Ground Pool Reviews

1. SunHeater S120U Solar Heater for Above Ground Pool

With the Sunheater S120U, you are going to be able to capture the sun’s energy. Therefore, you can use it to warm your above ground swimming pool without increasing your energy bills. However, you should see its features first before you buy it.


You might love the versatility that comes with this solar heater for in-ground pools. In addition, you can also use it for above ground pools. When you get this solar heater, you can install it on the roof, ground, rack or fence. However, it does not come with mounting hardware so you would have to buy them.

You need not buy any different accessories. This solar pool heater comes with everything that you need to install it. Therefore, you can go ahead to install it, of course, following the user manual.  However, if you have to install it on the roof, you may need to buy a longer hose. Apart from that, the installation is smooth and hustle-free.

You can use the pool pump that you already have to install this solar heater. However, even if you want to use a dedicated collector pump, you can. Therefore, this is a versatile solar heater for a pool when it comes to installation.

SunHeater above ground solar heaters are really good. However, they also have some design flaws. For instance, this solar heater can only raise the temperature of the swimming pool by about 10 degrees.


  • Designed to capture as much sunlight as possible
  • Installs using the existing pump
  • Raises water temperature considerably when there is full sunshine
  • Versatility in installation since you can install it on roof, fence, etc


  • Will not make the water warm on dull days

Bottom Line

This no-frills above ground pool solar heater is easy to install and operate. In addition, it will enable you to prolong your swimming season without racking up power bills.


2. SunHeater S240U Above Ground Pool Solar Heater

For many years, Sunheater has been helping people from all over the world convert the sun to energy, to heat their swimming pools. Therefore, they have a good legacy backing them and you can invest with them without fear. However, first, let us look at the features that you can expect.


First, if the size of this solar panel does not impress you, we don’t know what will. In addition, the large size is good news because it means you can capture more sunshine. Therefore, heating the pool with this panel is a bit faster than when using a smaller one. It measures 20 feet by 2 feet.

By design, this above ground swimming pool heater works just like the others. For instance, it pushes water through the tubes integrated with the panel. The panel heats the water and it goes back to the pool. On the same note, the water keeps circulating this way until all the water in the pool passes through the heating system.

If you are apprehensive about the installation process, you need not worry. For instance, this solar pool heater works with your already existing filtration and pumping system. In addition, it comes with a comprehensive user manual to help you fix everything just right. Some of the accessories that it comes with include 2 elbows for the hose, steel clamps for the hose pipes, Teflon tape, 4 end caps and so on.

There is no doubt that this is one of the best solar heaters for above and in-ground pools in the market. However, it still has its flip side. For instance, it will only increase the temperature of the water by up to 10°F.


  • Comes with the installation accessories
  • The compact design is good and safe for outdoor use
  • The large size warms more water faster
  • The price is quite good considering the features


  • Heating capacity is low so it will not extend your swim days long into winter

Bottom Line

It will definitely take a number of these solar heaters to heat your pool. However, the investment will be totally worth it.


3. SunHeater S220 Above Ground Solar Pool Heater

SunHeater is one of the most trusted names for pool heating in the USA. Therefore, you might want to try one of their many above ground pool heating systems powered by solar. Of course, the WS220P S220 Solar panel heater for the pool is just one of many that we have reviewed here. However, don’t just take our word for it. See some of its features below:


This solar panel heater for the above ground pool can keep your water warmer for longer and extend your swimming season. In addition, this solar heater comes with a hose for a second collector, Teflon tape, end caps, elbows and even steel hose clamps. Therefore, unless you want to modify the installation a bit, it pretty much comes with everything you need.

This is a big solar panel, which measures 20 feet long by 2 feet wide. Of course, this is quite bulky, so you might also need some help to move it from place to place. On the other hand, you can agree that having all of 40 square feet for warming your pool water is great.

In addition, Sunheat provides a small guide to help you buy the right solar panel heater size for your pool. For instance, when buying solar heaters for around the pool, SunHeater says that you ought to order 12 by 18 feet panels. In addition, for oval pools, try the 12 by 24 feet panels.

There are so many good things to say about SunHeater solar pool water heaters. However, everything has its flip side. For instance, with this one, the bulky size can be a bother if you have to change the positioning.


  • You get the opportunity to warm your pool without using electricity
  • Raises the water temperature by up to 10 degrees
  • Easy to install even on your own
  • It will work with your existing pool pump


  • You will have to build a mounting rack to install them on the ground
  • You might need help to install on the roof

Bottom Line

If you install this solar heater for above ground pool, you will extend your swimming season by a few weeks. However, on super dull days, it will not do much to warm your water.


4. Smart Pool S601 Pool Solar Heater

When you want to prolong your swimming season, you need an efficient above ground pool solar heater. Therefore, you can try the SmartPool S601. Also, it comes in a unique design and it is efficient. Keep reading to see the features of this solar pool heater system.


First, you can use these solar panels with an above ground or in-ground swimming pool. However, in this case, every heating tube has its own header hole. In addition, the header hole has a reinforcement of fiberglass. Therefore, you are assured of its durability.

Second, this is really large, although you might still have to buy more than one set for your pool. For instance, it comes with an 80 sq. ft of solar panel area. Therefore, with just one turn of the pump, a lot of water will be going through the heating tubes.

If you do not live in a super cold place, you can extend the swimming season by months. On the same note, this solar heater for above ground pool raises the water temperature by up to 6°C. Of course, on the dreary days, it may not get to that.

In spite of the good features and fair price, still, the manufacturer should have provided the installation kit. However, in this case, you have to buy it separately.


  • You can use it with above ground or in-ground pool
  • Good for use in the large pools
  • Designed with reinforced material for durability
  • Good price considering the size and features


  • You will need to buy piping to use it with the above-ground pool
  • Installation instructions could be better

Bottom Line

These large-sized solar panels are just perfect for people with large pools. However, the installation can be a bit hefty but totally worth it once you are done.


5. Fafco Solar Swimming Pools Solar Heater

Fafco has been around for a long time, heating swimming pools across the world. Therefore, when you need a solar heating system for an above ground pool that you can buy with confidence, try this one. However, first, you need to see its main features.


First, this is a solar collector. Therefore, when you switch on the pump of your above ground swimming pool, the pool water is going to pass through the collector. Additionally, as the water circulates through the solar collector, it will heat up in the process. Consequently, it warms up the entire amount of water in the pool.

One of the biggest worries for many people is how they are going to install solar heating above ground pool. However, in the case of the Fafco solar heater, just relax. This one comes with all the installation accessories. In addition, it is so simple to install it and it is almost tool-free. On the same note, you just need to refer to the user manual.

One of the boons of using a solar heater for a swimming pool is that you get the flexibility to install it where you wish. Therefore, you will be happy that with the Fafco solar heater for above ground pool, you can install it anywhere. For instance, if you think it will catch more sunshine on the roof, install it there.

In spite of the many good things about this solar heater, there is a serious disadvantage. For instance, many users report that they experienced leakages when they switched on the pump. Therefore, they had to make use of the warranty.


  • Easy installation with accessories and user manual provided
  • High-quality material for the material with UV-stabilization
  • There is the bear version, which is costlier and the cheaper cub version
  • You can install it almost anywhere
  • Has a long warranty


  • It Will take a bit longer to warm all the water in a large pool

Bottom Line

Fafco is a tested and proven name in the swimming pool solar heaters space. Therefore, you can buy with the confidence that it is going to serve you well.


6. SunHeater S421P Solar Pool Heater for Above Ground Pools

This is yet another one of the solar pool heaters from SunHeater. Since 1972, this company has been meeting the swimming pool heating needs of thousands of people. Now, you get the opportunity to harness the power of the sun to warm the water in your swimming pool. However, keep reading to see the features of this Sunheater Solar Pool Heater.


This is a big and bulky solar heating system for your swimming pool. For instance, its dimensions are 20 feet long by 4 feet long. Therefore, you are going to get all 80 square feet of heating power. In addition, the propylene material used in this above ground swimming pool solar heater is very good at capturing heat.

When you purchase these solar panels, they will come with rubber hoses, hose clamps, PVC caps, input and output PVC fittings and many others. In addition, it is compatible with your pump and filtration system, so you will not need to buy much else. Also, ensure that you read the user manual before you start putting everything together.

Although this solar heater for the above pool does not come with mounting hardware, you can feel free to install it wherever you want. Therefore, choose the hottest spot so that it can capture a lot of heat. In addition, you can also mount it on the roof, although you would need a longer hosepipe to connect to the pump.

There is quite a lot going on with this above ground pool solar heater. However, as happens with just about any other product, there are some downsides. For instance, if you install it too far or too high, you might need at least a 1HP pump to push the water up.


  • You can raise the temperature of the water considerably in a few days
  • You can install the solar panel wherever you want
  • Installation is not any trouble but you need a mounting space
  • The price is quite fair for the features


  • Bulky due to the large size
  • You will need a mounting rack

Bottom Line

Sunheater solar heaters for above ground swimming pools do not disappoint. However, they are large and so you need to be prepared to make a mounting rack.


7. Kokido Keops Solar Dome Heater for Above Ground Pool

The Kokido Keops solar dome is small. Therefore, it is most suitable for small above ground swimming pools. In addition, it can raise the pool temperature by up to 7°F. Keep reading to see more features.


The size rating for this swimming pool solar heater is 4000 gallons. Therefore, if you have a larger pool, it might not help you. However, you can perform a bypass connection where you can connect it with another heater. Therefore, water would pass through the dome and the second heater for more heat.

If you prefer not to use bulky solar panels such as we have reviewed here, this dome is perfect for you. In addition, if there is a lot of sun, this solar heater will truly keep the water of the pool warm enough.

You will not need to buy any extra adapters to connect this solar dome to the pool pump. Therefore, you do not even need a technician to help connect it. You can do the installation on your own.  In addition, if you should require adapters, just make sure they are 1.5 inches in diameter.

For a small pool, this solar dome is excellent to use. However, it will only do its job in full sunshine. Therefore, during the overcast days, it is not going to make your swimming pool warm.


  • Sold at an affordable price
  • So simple to install to your circulator pump
  • You can do a by-pass connection with another solar heater for faster heating
  • Nice looking design


  • It will not help much if there is not enough sunshine
  • No warranty information

Bottom Line

If you live in a place where you experience long days, this above ground pool water heater is going to help keep water warm for a comfortable swim.


8. FlowXtreme NS1003 Swimming Pools Solar Heaters

The FlowXtreme NS1003 is, without doubt, one of the unique looking swimming pool solar heaters. In addition, it comes in a mat design with coiled tubes. Therefore, the water enters on one end and exits through the other. Some users say that on a hot day, this can heat water to up to 120°C.


The design of these coils is quite outstanding. Therefore, if you would like to try something that looks a bit out of the ordinary, try this one. However, apart from the design, you might also love the simplicity of installation. In addition, it comes with the required accessories.

This is large enough so it might be perfect for a small pool. It measures 4.7 by 2.6 by 0.2 feet. However, the biggest advantage is that it allows a huge volume of water to pass through. Therefore, with several of them, you might extend your swimming seasons even with the onset of the cold season.

To install this system, you can use the provided attachments or you can buy your own. However, it works with your filtration and pump system. Therefore, if you follow the user manual, you will do a fast installation job.

Despite these features, you still have to keep an eye on the solar heater because it is prone to leaking. At least, leaking is one of the biggest complaints.


  • The price is affordable
  • Has a warranty of 12 months
  • Heats water faster and more efficiently than other systems
  • Good for small pools


  • You will definitely find the need to make use of the warranty

Bottom Line

This looks like a floating solar heater, but you have to connect it to the filter and set it where it will get the most sunshine.


9. SunQuest Solar Swimming Pool Heater

SunQuest Solar is an expert at designing solar systems for different outdoor uses. Therefore, with the SunQuest 3-2X20 solar swimming pool heater, you are going to warm the water enough to prolong your swimming season. But first, see its features.


This is a DIY installation best solar pool heater for in-ground pools and above ground pools from SunQuest are so easy to install. In addition, you don’t need to buy anything for installation, unless you want to modify it. Therefore, it comes with everything that you need to connect it to the pump.

The OD headers are 2 inches in diameter. Therefore, there is not too much pressure when the water is getting back to the pump. On the same note, this enhances the lifespan of your pump.

When you install this above ground solar pool heater, you will be able to increase the water temperature by up to 10°F. Of course, this is not too high but it is good. Therefore, if you get a few of these solar heaters, you will increase the temperature of the water considerably.

Despite the nice features of this SunQuest solar heater for above ground pool, it still has its disadvantages. For instance, it takes some work to install this system. Therefore, you might require a technician.


  • Comes with roof installation kit
  • Sturdy build quality and design
  • Raises the temperature of your pool water without increasing your bill
  • Works with the existing pool pump


  • It May be delivered with missing parts

Bottom Line

This solar heater for in-ground and above ground pool works as advertised. However, you might need a technician to install it on the roof.


10. SSR SSRA-100 Solar Heater for Above Ground Pool

This may not be a regular solar heater for above ground pools. However, you can use these solar sun rings to heat your pool. While these are just rings, they warm your water using solar energy. That is the reason why we have featured them here.


By design, these rings come with two layers of construction. The first one is a clear layer while the bottom one is a blue layer. Therefore, the first layer allows the sunshine in and directs it to the bottom blue layer. In addition, the blue layer absorbs 50% of the sunlight and converts it to warmth and heat.

These are solar discs, so they are not panels. In addition, they come in packs of three, nine and ten. They will cost you a substantial amount of money especially since you will need many if you have a large pool. However, they do such a nice job and you might even want to buy more.

When you buy these solar sun rings, you just need to inflate them. Of course, they are big since they measure about 5 feet in diameter. In addition, when you want to store them, you can just deflate them.  Therefore, if you have a small pool, two or three of them will be enough for you.

Despite the awesomeness of these solar rings, they come with anchors, which take in water to keep these covers in place. However, emptying the anchors can be a bit of a bother.


  • They look so nice on your pool
  • They can act as your pool cover and they retain the warmth very well
  • They are quite effective at heating your pool water
  • They have water anchors to keep them in their position


  • They collect dirt and leaves easily
  • They feel a bit delicate

Bottom Line

If you would like above ground pool solar heaters that can raise the temperature of the water and act as a cover at the same time, try these ones. However, you might want to keep an eye on them because they collect dirt and leaves easily.

Conclusion and Recommendation

That is it for the best solar heaters for above ground pool. Now, it is decision time!

We definitely recommend the SunHeater S120U Solar Heater for Above Ground Pool. For instance, the price is just about right. In addition, it comes with everything that you might need for its installation. Likewise, this solar heater installs with your existing pool pump.

When you get to install the above ground pool heater, choose the sunniest spot for it. In addition, buy enough heaters depending on the size of your pool.

Finally, even the best solar pool heaters for above ground pools require excellent care and maintenance. Therefore, learn how to care for them from the user manual.

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