Solar covers are some of the best additions to your swimming pool. They offer heat retention, reduced chemical loss, and evaporation prevention. However, there are hundreds of solar covers, all with different colors, shapes, sizes, and densities. Choosing the right solar cover will make a massive difference for your swimming pool.
The best pool solar cover is the Sun2Solar Blue Solar Blanket. It’s a blue solar cover that prevents up to 95% of evaporation. You won’t have to add chemicals or hose water too often with this cover. Furthermore, the 12-mil cover comes with a couple of feet of extra material to overlap the edges.
The Sun2Solar is the best overall option. But depending on your situation, you might prefer one of these solar covers instead:
- If you have an above-ground pool, try the Intex Solar Cover.
- If you have an in-ground pool, get the Blue Wave 14-mil Blanket.
- If you’re on a budget, go for the Steinbach Krystal Cover.
- The best option for large pools is the Blue Wave Solar Blanket.
- If you want an ultra-thin cover, buy the In the Swim Basic Solar Cover.
- If you want a rapid heating cover, get the Sun2Solar Clear Solar Blanket
Throughout this article, I’ll explain what you should look for in a pool solar cover. I’ll also provide a detailed description of each of the solar blankets mentioned above.
What to Look for in a Pool Solar Cover
Pool solar covers come in a wide variety of options. For example, some of them are clear, blue, dark blue, and black. Some of them have wide bubbles, while others have compact bubbles. Every detail of your pool’s blanket makes a significant difference. If you get the wrong measurement, you’ll end up without many of the much-needed benefits.
Here’s what to look for in a pool solar cover:
- Cover thickness: Solar covers come in a wide variety of thicknesses. Believe it or not, a couple of millimeters changes everything. Thin solar covers add a little bit of heat retention and evaporation reduction. On the other hand, ultra-thick covers add tons of heat and prevent almost all of the evaporation and chemicals loss.
- Color: Your pool cover’s color alters the heat retention drastically. For example, a blue solar cover heats the water by about 10%, whereas a clear solar cover can add between 15% to 20% to the pool’s temperature. It’s important to remember that algae blooms thrive in high-heat situations.
- Dimensions: It’s best to get a solar cover that overlaps the edges of your pool. Any gaps will promote evaporation and let debris into the water. The heated water combines with the debris to create algae blooms. Make sure your solar cover is at least one foot longer than your pool’s dimensions on all sides.
As you can see, there’s a lot to keep an eye out for. I’ll dive into each of the details below to help you find the perfect solar cover for your swimming pool.
Thick pool covers offer plenty of benefits, but there’s no doubt that a thin cover is optimal for many pool owners. The thickness is one of the first factors I mention to pool owners. Choosing an ultra-thin cover won’t prevent as much heat loss, but it’s better for those with pools that are always a bit warm. You can still use them to keep debris out of the pool.
Keep these factors in mind when selecting the cover’s thickness:
- Pool cover thickness often ranges from 8-mil to 14-mil. The cover’s thickness often influences the price, too. Thick covers cost more, whereas thin covers tend to be budget-friendly. Many above-ground pools that include solar covers provide the thinnest material possible, which means you might need to upgrade it.
- The thickness affects the heat retention, but it doesn’t impact the evaporation too much. All solar covers will keep debris out of the water. The cover’s material prevents evaporation because it’s made of thin plastic. Since water can’t evaporate through the plastic cover, the thickness is typically irrelevant to this factor.
- A thicker cover isn’t always the best choice for every pool owner. Those who live in cold climates could benefit from a thick cover. However, thin solar covers are great for people who only want to increase their pool’s temperature by a few degrees. These thin covers still prevent the chemical loss, too.
- Regardless of the thickness, always point the bubbles down. The bubbles retain the heat, but they’ll block the heat from entering the water if they’re facing the sunlight. Not only that but the bubbles shouldn’t be exposed to direct sunlight for too long because they’re brittle and can break apart.
Pool covers come in a plethora of colors. However, not all of them are worthwhile. I highly suggest sticking to clear, blue, dark blue, and black solar covers. Special patterns and unique colors might seem stylish, but they typically hinder the cover’s heat retention. Let’s jump into the pros and cons of the primary solar blanket colors below.
- Clear covers are much more expensive than any other solar cover, but they offer the best heat retention and evaporation reduction. If you have a cold pool throughout the year, I recommend a clear cover. However, they can get a little too warm during hot summer months under direct sunlight.
- Dark blue covers are often seen as the best pool blanket color. They offer the perfect balance between heat retention and chemical protection. Dark blue solar covers are a little bit more expensive than traditional blue blankets, but most pool owners believe they’re worth the price increase.
- Bright blue solar blankets are the traditional, well-around pool cover color. Most of them prevent up to 90% of evaporation and heat the pool by up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Bright blue solar covers are quite affordable and come in any thickness you’ll want for the swimming pool.
- Black solar blankets heat quickly, but their maximum heating potential isn’t as good as dark blue or clear covers. Black plastic heats the pool, but most of the heat stays in the material rather than entering the water. I typically steer clear of black solar covers for in-ground pools because the light reflection is too strong.
It’s best to overlap your solar cover by two feet or more. Most solar covers come in their set sizes, but some of them include extra footage for optimized trimming and shaping. For example, an 18 x 36 cover might actually be 20 x 38 to allow you to overlap the edges. Always check the manufacturer’s guidelines to know if you need to trim the cover.
Another quick detail pool owners often miss is the shape. Make sure you check if the cover is a circle, square, or rectangle. Some small solar covers can be used as solar rings to cover a free-form swimming pool. If you have a free-form pool, I suggest getting the biggest dimensions that cover the whole pool, then cutting it down to size.
Our Top Choices
- Best Overall: Sun2Solar Blue Solar Blanket
- Best for Above-Ground Pools: Intex Solar Cover
- Best for In-Ground Pools: Blue Wave 14-Mil Cover
- Best Budget-Friendly Cover: Steinbach Krystal Solar Cover
- Best for Large Swimming Pools: Blue Wave Solar Blanket
- Best Thin Solar Cover: In the Swim Basic Solar Cover
- Best for Rapid Heating: Sun2Solar Clear Solar Blanket
Best Overall: Sun2Solar Blue Solar Blanket
The Sun2Solar Blue Solar Blanket is my favorite pool cover on the market. It comes in numerous sizes, shapes, and colors. These 12-mil solars covers come with up to four feet of extra cover to help you customize it. The dense bubbles won’t crack, flake, or dry out under long-lasting chemical exposure.
These solar covers reduce evaporation by up to 95% and help with up to 15% of heat retention. You can make your swimming pool much more affordable by drastically lowering the chemical loss. Cyanuric acid and chlorine quickly evaporate under direct sunlight, but this protective solar cover preserves the chemicals for several more days.
Each Sun2Solar Pool Blanket is designed to fit varius cover reels. Cut it to the desired size and wrap it around the reel for easy usage. They’re great for circular, rectangular, and free-form swimming pools. The best part is that you can use scissors to shape the solar cover without voiding the manufacturer’s warranty.
Bottom Line: This solar cover always ranks at the top of my selection because it’s affordable, easy to install, and long-lasting. The cover’s bright blue color absorbs plenty of heat and prevents evaporation better than most of the competition. It’s the all-around best choice for almost any swimming pool owner.
- This solar color is available in almost any size.
- The 12mm thickness is ideal for heat retention and evaporation reductions.
- There’s an alternative clear color (more details in another review in the post).
- These covers are made to fit almost any solar cover reel for your pool.
- They include up to four feet of additional material for optimal shaping.
- They’re a bit pricier than the average bright blue solar cover because they’re so durable and reliable.
- The heavy edges are prone to dipping a bit below the water, so they need to go over the pool’s rim.
Best for Above-Ground Pools: Intex Solar Cover
Intex is one of the best above-ground pool brands, so it’s no surprise that the Intex Solar Cover ranks as the top above-ground pool blanket. These covers are lightweight and easy to install, both of which are crucial for above-ground pools. You shouldn’t have to lug around a hefty, heavy cover to keep your swimming pool warm.
These Intex covers include a carrying bag to help you store and move the blanket without exposing it to high temperatures and harsh chemicals. Always wash the cover with hose water before storing it. These covers dry incredibly quickly, making them very easy to take with your wherever you go.
Perhaps the most unique feature of this pool solar cover is that it has eight holes. These small incisions prevent water from weighing the cover and pushing debris into the pool. Furthermore, they’re too small to let any debris into the water. Despite these holes, the solar cover prevents over 90% of evaporation.
Bottom Line: Intex made an impressive solar cover with all of the benefits of an inground pool cover minus the price tag. You can get a cover for multiple round pools without having to cut them to size. However, they’re made with thin valleys between each bubble to help you slice them to the correct dimensions if necessary.
|Dimensions||9.5’ and 15’|
- These covers are customized to fit Intex pools, which means you won’t have to cut them.
- The cover drains itself, preventing you from having to pull it off to remove excess water.
- You’ll receive a carrying bag with each solar cover.
- You can use these solar blankets on metal frames and inflatable rings.
- They’re ultra-lightweight compared to most other solar covers of their size.
- These covers are as thin as they come, so you can’t expect top-tier heating.
- They don’t extend beyond the edges to prevent debris from moving the cover.
Best for In-Ground Pools: Blue Wave 14-Mil Cover
Blue Wave 14mm Solar Covers are as good as they come for inground swimming pools. They come in a variety of large and medium sizes, making them perfect for almost any setup. Furthermore, they can be cut to size without voiding or limiting the manufacturer’s warranty. Each cover prevents up to 95% of evaporation if they fit correctly.
The Blue Wave Covers are the highest thickness on the market. A 14mm solar blanket is enough to heat the pool much quicker than thinner covers. Furthermore, these covers are all clear. You can see the debris below the cover and enjoy quick-heating technology. These solar blankets can warm the pool by up to 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
While they’re a bit more expensive than some inground solar covers, they include a massive six-year warranty. This warranty helps you get almost double the longevity of traditional solar covers. It’s also made with a high-quality plastic that prevents corrosion and deterioration from UV rays, chemicals, and debris.
Bottom Line: Inground pool owners can finally enjoy a long-lasting, warranty-backed solar cover. You won’t have to worry about replacing the cover every on to two years like most old-school pool blankets. You’ll also enjoy quick heating and excellent chemical retention from any of the shapes and sizes available.
|Dimensions||6 size options|
- The clear solar cover lets plenty of sunlight into the water without letting the heat escape.
- It’s a 14mm cover, which means it doubles down on the heat and evaporation protection.
- These covers come in various sizes for all inground swimming pools.
- Your swimming pool will be up to 15 degrees warmer throughout the year.
- You can see everything below the cover since it’s crystal clear.
- They’re a bit heavier than the average swimming pool cover.
- These covers are slightly more expensive since they have a long warranty, they’re clear, and they’re as thick as possible.
Best Budget-Friendly Cover: Steinbach Krystal Solar Cover
If you’re looking for a simple solar cover that gets the job done without breaking the bank, try the Steinbach Krystal Solar Cover. Although it’s much cheaper than other solar covers, it prevents quite of bit of evaporation and debris from getting into the water. Furthermore, this cover includes a carrying bag to store it wherever you want.
These pool covers are incredibly lightweight. Above-ground pools are often difficult to cover because the blankets are too heavy. Lifting the bulky solar blanket over the edges of the pool can be tedious. Thankfully, the Steinbach Krystal Solar Cover is only a couple of pounds. You can spread it out and cover the pool in less than a minute.
This solar cover uses ultra-tiny bubbles for maximum heat retention. You can use it on 10-foot or 8-foot pools. Many pool owners layer a few of these covers to protect their entire swimming pool. They’re perfect for inground and above-ground pools, so you can switch it around if you get a different swimming pool.
Bottom Line: This solar cover might not heat as good as the high-end pool blankets on the list, but it gets the job done for many pool owners. The lightweight design pairs very well with the complete coverage and evaporation protection. Furthermore, you can stretch the edges beyond the rim of the pool to keep debris out of the water.
|Dimensions||10’ round (the company randomly provides more sizes)|
- These solar covers cost about 50% less than the average solar cover.
- It includes a helpful carrying and storage bag.
- These covers drastically reduce evaporation and chemical loss.
- It weighs much less than most pool covers of the same dimensions.
- This solar cover is made of cheaper material, so it’s often used as a one or two-season blanket.
- It only comes in a couple of sizes, which means you might need to layer a few of them.
Best for Large Swimming Pools: Blue Wave Solar Blanket
If you have a big swimming pool, it’s important to get a fitting solar cover. Many solar covers max out around 18 x 36 feet. However, the Blue Wave Solar Blanket comes in massive sizes up to 20 x 44 feet. These covers have a few extra inches of material to overlap the edges. You can trim the cover or keep the excess material to keep debris out of the pool.
These 12mm solar covers match the aforementioned Sun2Solar Pool Cover in heat retention, evaporation protection, and chemical loss reduction. I often review this solar blanket as a larger version of the Sun2Solar Blanket, which is the best overall option available. Those with large swimming pools typically have a harder time heating the water without one of these large covers.
Each Blue Wave Solar Blanket includes a five-year limited manufacturer warranty. Check with the company before cutting or shaping the cover. Spray the bubbles weekly to prevent deterioration. Luckily, the durable bubbles are resistant to UV damage. They also last much longer when they’re submerged for several hours daily.
Bottom Line: People with large swimming pools need much bigger covers. Every square inch of exposed water increases the evaporation and chemical loss. These massive, thick solar blankets are excellent for those who want to get the most out of their solar covers. They also come in medium sizes around 12 x 20 feet.
|Dimensions||8 size options|
- You can choose a size to fit any large swimming pool.
- These 12mm solar covers prevent almost all of the evaporation and heat loss.
- Each pool cover includes a five-year limited warranty.
- It increases your pool’s temperature by up to 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
- These solar blankets have a couple of inches around the edges to overlap the pool.
- Chemical corrosion on the bubbles isn’t covered by the warranty.
- The largest sizes are significantly more expensive than the medium-sized options.
Best Thin Solar Cover: In the Swim Basic Solar Cover
Thin solar covers offer plenty of advantages, including protection against debris and direct sunlight on your pool’s liner. In the Swim’s Basic Solar Cover is an 8mm blanket that increases your pool’s temperature by a few degrees. The top of your pool will be quite warm and you won’t have to deal with rapid chemical loss.
The tiny bubbles are evenly distributed to let you cut around them to fit your pool’s dimensions. You can choose from plenty of sizes to get as close to your pool’s size as possible. Despite the thin material, it’s quite durable and lasts for a few years. Wash it weekly to get the most out of your pool’s solar cover.
One of the best features of this thin solar cover is the pressed seams. The edges won’t fray, which means you don’t have to protect them against corrosion and deterioration. These covers reach their maximum temperature in less than a week, which is much faster than the majority of thin solar covers. They also include a three-year warranty.
Bottom Line: This solar cover proves thin pool blankets are optimal for many pool owners. They’re durable, easy to install, and long-lasting. The warranty provides much-needed comfort, while the chemical retention saves money in the long run. It’s the perfect choice for people who’s pools are always under direct sunlight.
|Dimensions||9 size options|
|Evaporation Reduction||Up to 95%|
- These covers are quite cheap, even in the larger sizes.
- They come in round and rectangular dimensions.
- The pressed seams prevent the edges from fraying, even if you cut the solar cover.
- Enjoy up to a 10-degree temperature increase in the pool.
- It includes a three-year manufacturer warranty.
- They won’t heat your swimming pool as much as the other covers on the list.
- The warranty is a bit shorter than the competition, and it doesn’t cover bubble deterioration.
Best for Rapid Heating: Sun2Solar Clear Solar Blanket
If you want to heat your pool quickly, try the Sun2Solar Clear Solar Blanket. This clear cover can increase your pool’s temperature by up to 15 degrees Fahrenheit on a sunny day. I prefer the clear color because you can see debris and algae below the surface. It’s also light enough for robotic pool vacuums to submerge under the cover and clean the pool.
One of this pool cover’s best features is the durable material. It can withstand sticks, thorns, and other sharp objects without falling apart. It’s also resistant to direct sunlight and chemical corrosion, though I recommend the standard weekly hose wash. Face the bubbles down for optimal heating and chemical retention.
This clear cover lets as much of the sun’s heat into the water, but the thick material prevents it from leaving. The result is a quickly heated swimming pool that stays warm well into the night. You can extend your pool’s swimming season by up to three or four months. The longer it’s on the pool, the better it’ll heat the water.
Bottom Line: Sun2Solar makes the best solar blankets you can find online. They’re reliable and long-lasting, not to mention the heating, evaporation reduction, and durability. The clear variant is a great choice for people with cold pools of all sizes. It’s often seen as the better choice, but it’s much more expensive than the blue option.
|Dimensions||Numerous shapes and sizes|
- You can choose almost any size to fit your swimming pool.
- The 12mm thickness provides excellent heating and heat retention.
- You can heat your swimming pool within a day or two.
- Cutting the solar cover with scissors doesn’t void the warranty.
- The thick cover doesn’t fall apart or shred too quickly.
- Clear solar covers are more expensive than other colors.
- These dense solar blankets are heavier than most blankets on the list.