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Solar Cover Buying Guide

Solar Cover Buying Guide

Solar pool covers capture the energy of the sun and transfer it directly into your pool water to keep it warm. These covers can help you save not only money on heating and chemical costs but also water. Solar covers are available for both above ground and in ground swimming pools and have many benefits in addition to cost. Solar covers help raise and maintain the temperature of the water through a unique design of tiny air bubbles or pockets that come in different shapes. Air is contained in these pockets that capture heat from the sun which is then transferred to the pool water. These pockets also serve as insulators to help retain the heat in the pool at night or on cloudy days. This is the reason why solar covers should always be installed bubble side down in the swimming pool

When purchasing a solar cover there are a few factors to consider. These factors are thickness, color and bubble or pocket shapes.


There are different models and thicknesses of solar covers available. The thicknesses usually range between 5 mil and 16 mil. Thicker covers will cost more however they usually last longer and are more durable. Thicker covers also help retain the heat longer in your swimming pool.


Clear solar covers allow more of the sun's rays to penetrate into the pool water.

Just as the solar covers are available in different thicknesses, they are also available in different colors. Color is an important factor in the retention of heat in your swimming pool. Different colors can perform certain tasks and better in different environments compared to others. Certain colors will block more sunlight and prevent the penetration of light to the water. The color of a cover can affect the transference of heat. Blue Solar Covers are the standard in color for solar covers. They tend to offer the heat retaining feature that is expected in a cover and are lower in price than other covers. The translucent blue material allows UV rays to pass through the cover and blocks heat from escaping the swimming pool.

Blue/Silver “Space Age” Solar Covers are two-toned solar covers that provide positive features of both the translucent blue and reflective silver covers. The topside is translucent and allows the UV rays through the cover into the pool. The reflective silver side provides insulation by preventing the solar rays from bouncing back out of the swimming pool. This would reflect the solar rays back into the pool helping to keep the heat into the pool.

Clear Solar Covers are ideal when your yard receives long periods of sun. The transparent clear bubbles allow UV rays to penetrate deeper into the pool water compared to other colors.


'Space Age' cover swatch with diamond bubbles

Solar covers are available with both round bubbles and diamond shaped bubbles. Round air bubbles are the most commonly used style on most pool solar covers. All air bubbles do an effective job at transmitting heat from the bubble’s interior air pocket to the water touching the exterior surface of the air bubble, raising your pool water’s temperature. Diamond shaped solar cover bubbles work exactly the same way as round solar cover bubbles, however their shape provides one distinct advantage of allowing bubbles to sit closer to one another. The diamond design reduces the gaps between the air bubbles and creates a larger heating surface area, meaning more water is touching the surface of an air bubble at a time. This allows heat to be transferred faster and easier than a cover with less surface area. With all other conditions being equal, a diamond bubble solar cover can transfer more heat to your swimming pool than a round bubble cover over the same amount of time.

Save Money!

In addition to warming your swimming pool, solar covers also provide money-saving benefits. Solar covers reduce evaporation which in turn also helps retain heat in the pool by not having to add more unheated water. Solar covers keep dirt and bugs out of the pool water. Lastly, solar covers reduce chemical costs due to reducing evaporation. Whether you choose Blue, Clear or a Space Age, 8 mil or 12 mil, or a round vs. diamond shaped bubbled cover there is no wrong decision as they all retain heat. Solar reels are also available to make putting your cover on and off easier. And remember, bubble side always goes down!