The best rated pool heaters 2016
A pool heater is an expensive piece of equipment. Not only are they expensive to buy, they can be very expensive to run too, and on top of this they are rather sensitive pieces of equipment so it is best to get it right the first time.
We have divided this article on the best rated pool heaters in three sections: Best rated solar pool heater, Best rated natural gas or propane pool heater and Best rated pool heat pump:
Best rated solar pool heater
The choice of your pool heater will and should depend upon where you live and what you expect your pool heater to do (we will go deeper into this a bit further down). But if you live in a relatively sunny area you could go a long way with a solar heater. It is a DIY project anyone a bit handy can do and you can easily raise the temperature 16-20 degrees F. Our best choice for Solar Panel heater is the Smartpool WWS601P and you can get it on Amazon. It is a very inexpensive option and if it turns out that you need more heat, you can always run the return of this into a heat pump or a heater and save yourself some serious money as the water is already several degrees hotter.
The best rated sola pool heater is the Smartpool WWS601P
In about 3-4 hours you can have the solar heater running. It is that easy to assemble.
You would need two panels for a pool of around 15,000 gallon pool. There are two panels in the box. If you have a bigger pool you might want to consider buying two boxes.
A video review of the kit:
This is how they look installed on the roof:
Get a sump pump for you solar panel
In a normal setup you would have to run your pool pump to be able to run the solar heater, and that would rise your electric bill. But to get a sump pump for just the solar panels is actually not expensive. This way you can run the solar heater say 8-12 hours a day at practically no cost at all. That is what one amazon client did!
Best rated gas or propane pool heaters
In what cases would you want a gas or propane heater?
If you want to be able to swim in your pool in mid winter or when temperatures have dropped below 50ºF (10ºC), then what you want is a propane or gas heater. These are heaters that will heat your pool fast, they can even melt ice on the pool, which is nice. This is probably not a heater you would want to run every day. Typically these heaters are for heating up for weekend swimming and even this way the bills can easily get upto 500-600$ a month.
Whether or not to chose natural gas or propane is just a matter of having access to natural gas on your property or not. If you do not have natural gas, then you will have to chose a propane heater.
Our choice is the Sta-Rite Max-E-Therm Digital Pool Heaters
This is a very energy efficient heater without that affecting the efficiency of the heater. It heats fast and it is not too noisy.
They come with a weather-proof frame. All models are prepared for saltwater pools and are corrosion resistant with cupro-nickel heat exchanger. However if your pool is a saltwater pool we would still recommend that you upgrade to their HD models (200k BTU HD, 333k BTU HD and 400k BTU HD)
Read our article on how to do an chlorine to saltwater pool conversion.
Starting price on Amazon $1,690.00
Starting price on Amazon $1,871.45
What size heater do you need? or How to determine how many BTU's you need?
In the US we size the pool heaters in BTU's (other parts of the world would use Kw/h). A BTU's (British Thermal Unit) is a number that indicates the energy it takes to rise the temperature of 1 pound to water by 1 degree Fahrenheit. So how many BTU you want for your heater will depend on how big your pool and how many degrees you want to raise the temperature and how fast you want it to be raised.
When we talk about the size of your pool, we need to take into account the surface area of your pool and the volume, meaning the amount of water it holds. The surface area is important because most of the heat-loss is through evaporation. This is also why a pool cover is almost crucial here.
You can use this calculator and find out the amount of BTU’s you require for your heater. Once you know how many BTU you require you should always buy a heater bigger than your BTU requirement. That will always be more cost efficient in the long run as a smaller heater will have to work harder and run longer to heat up you pool.
Best rated pool heat pumps
A heat pump is the best choice if what you want is to extend your pool season a bit on both ends of summer. It would allow you to open your pool say may/june and keep it open until sept/oct, depending on where you live. It is more expensive up front, but a heat pump is way more efficient than a gas or propane heater. With a heat pump you heating bills will come out about 80-100€ a month. Additionally some heat pumps can actually lower the temperature for you during the hottest summer months.
When it comes to heat pumps you don't need the same amount of BTU's. Basically because you are not going to heat the pool up as fast as you would with a heater. Use the same calculator to size the heater, but keep in mind that you cannot set the temperature below 50ºF (10ºC) and you should increase the time needed to like 48 hours.
Our choice is the Hayward HeatPro Titanium
Starting price on Amazon $2,625.00
Beware that the image and also model number may change when you change the BTU's on Amazon. Pick the size that is appropriate for your pool.
This heat pump has a titanium exchanger and is suitable for saltwater pools.
Are you in the market for a pool cleaner? If so then take a look at our article on Top rated robotic pool cleaners 2016