A backyard swimming pool offers fantastic luxuries in one’s life. During summer months, you can quickly cool off and warm up when the weather is chilly. If you are looking to have a pool in your backyard, then you should be aware of a couple of things to ponder. Installing a pool is important, as well as other pool equipment such as heaters to get the water warmed up.
The best pool heater help improve your pool’s overall luxury, especially when the cools evening set in. This equipment still comes in handy in the warmest climate, as it helps raise the temperature of the water by a few degrees.
However, you can’t just walk into any local store and purchase the first pool heater that you come across. There are factors to consider to influence your decision, and with dozens of these products available, making the right choice becomes tiring. But we’ve carefully reviewed the best pool heaters on the market and a detailed buying guide to ensure you make the right choice.
What’s a Pool Heater?
Just as hot water is needed for doing laundry or dishes, showering, you might like to find hot warm for your backyard pool beneficial. Since your household water heater is not meant for swimming pools or spa, you need special equipment known as a pool heater.
This pool equipment can come in handy for pool owners in colder areas and love to keep swimming during these cold times for weeks or even months. However, there are several factors such as type, water temperature, size, and even brand that can influence your decision on the type of heater to purchase. Picking the right pool heater can be a bit tricky.
Choosing a unit offering more power than your pool needs, which costs you more in terms of initial cost as well as monthly bills. Similarly, using a smaller heater for a large pool can be a waste of money, as the unit will not be able to increase the temperature of the water to your preferred level.
Types of Pool Heater
There are several different kinds of pool heaters, with each having its upsides and downsides. Without further ado, let’s take a quick review of these types before reviewing the top 5 best of pool heaters on the market.
Solar Pool Heater
Just as the name implies, this heater runs on solar energy. It’s powered using solar panels, which capture solar energy and transfer it into the pool to increase the water temperature. This type of heater is not a fast option and depends entirely on the intensity of the sun.
While solar pool heater has a very high initial cost, there’s no monthly bill, and above all, little to no maintenance is required. Besides, if you are concerned about eco-friendliness, then this unit won’t disappoint.
Further, they are an excellent choice for those living in a place with extreme sunlight and are not looking for budget-friendly equipment. Moreover, this is a worthy investment that will serve you for long and save money over time.
Electric Pool Heater
This should be simple to figure out; the equipment is powered by electricity. They are super fast and will heat your pool water quickly all year round.
Electric pool heaters are ideal for those you don’t have issues paying high monthly electricity bills and always want the pool heated up as fast as possible.
Electric Pool Heat Pump
These innovative equipment run off of your electrical connection, similar to an electric pool heater. However, they are slightly different as they don’t heat but takes advantage of the surrounding air temperature.
These models are durable, long-lasting, and won’t leave you huge monthly electricity bills to pay. They are an excellent choice for pool owners with a surrounding temperature that’s always above 40 degrees. Sadly, during the colder weather, it will be less efficient.
Natural & Propane Gas Heaters
This option has been in the market for a long time. Sadly, its demand is crippling because of the increasing price of gas over the years. They use natural or propane gas. The water gets to the heater after being filtered. The gas burns in the heating chamber, which transfers the energy to the pool water. Therefore, the water becomes hot and flows back to your pool.
Among the types discussed, this equipment is the cheapest option with a small initial cost. However, over time, the cost of running them becomes expensive. Nevertheless, they are an ideal choice for people who don’t need to heat the pool water frequently.
How to Pick the Right Pool Heater
To ensure you have the ideal pool heater, the factors discussed below should be considered:
Before anything, determine the surface area of your pool or find out its water holding capacity. This info will help you get the right swimming pool heater to offer enough heat. The heater power is always rated in British Thermal Units, BTUs. You can find a list of heater and power ratings to guide you online.
If you love to have your pool water heated within a couple of minutes, then you should lean more towards a high power electric heater. On the other hand, if rapid heating isn’t on the top of your priority, then a solar pool heater is the way to go. Moreover, it’ll help save more money on the monthly energy bills.
For this equipment, there’s two cost attached – an initial cost and a monthly bill. In most cases, you have to compromise one for the other when making a decision. A gas heater is the most affordable option, and the solar pool heater comes with very high price tags.
Keep in mind the cost of installing these units. However, in terms of monthly bills, solar option is cost-free but electric, and gas heater always comes with monthly bills which depends on how frequent you heat the pool.
Shape and Size of Pool
The shape and size of your pool can influence your decision on the type and power of the heater to splurge on. Needless to say, pools with large capacity and complex shape will require a heat with high power rating and vice versa.
Heaters for Above Ground Vs. Inground Pools
The best heater for an above ground pool might not be the right pick for an in-ground pool. For example. Solar heaters are not suitable for an in-ground pool since they offer low power. On the other side, a powerful electric heater is known for its high power, which will be absolutely perfect for large above-ground and in-ground pools.
As discussed above, some pool heater models rely on sunlight or the ambient temperature of the surroundings to increase the temperature of your pool water. Therefore, the climatic condition is an essential factor to put into consideration when choosing a unit. When determining the power needed to heat your pool, the climate plays an integral part of that energy requirement.
Casing of the Heater
Spa/pool heaters are likely to fail sooner than later as a result of galvanic corrosion. Therefore, some model comes with attached bonding wire to the heater casing reducing the effects of corrosion, which ultimately leads to the premature failure of the heater.
A professional electrician installs the bonding wire to the casing lug, and the other end is connected to the mains for power. In another scenario, a ground installation may be performed through a grounding plate close to your pool equipment.
Top 5 Best Pool Heater by Consumer Reviews for 2020
1. Hayward H250FDN Universal H-Series 250,000 BTU Pool and Spa Heater
If you are in the market to purchase the best pool/spa heater running on natural gas, Hayward H250FDN Universal H-Series Pool and Spa Heater may be the way to go. Also, when considering a natural gas pool heater, you should keep in mind eco-friendliness. And this unit ticks most of the essential features from lower emission to quickly heat up.
Its exceptionally low emissions mean this natural gas pool heater is suitable for use in the coldest seasons. It will heat your pool water all day without having to deal with emissions. Besides, during summer, you can run this equipment without being bothered.
That’s not all; it offers incredible durability thanks to its nickel heat exchanger. Hayward H250FDN Universal H-Series Pool and Spa Heater is capable of handling pool water with too many chemicals or very high saltwater content without breaking down. Another feature that adds to its longevity is the polymer header to protect the unit from erosion during times the heater has to function more than usual.
What we love about this model is its LED control panel. It features incredible technology for ease of use. Coming with a forced draft combustion system, which is easily set and controlled from the control panel for convenience. Even better, you can run diagnostics, check the temperature, set the temperature lock-out, and a lot more. Its intuitive controls and precision makes controlling this heater easily and increases its lifespan.
In summary, it’s a great, powerful pool heater designed for any large, complex pool with a cold environment.
Runs on natural gas
250 000 BTUs
Ideal for large pools
LED control panels
Not as durable as touted
2. Pentair 460736 MasterTemp High Performance Eco-Friendly Pool Heater
This is another powerful heater powered by natural gas. With 400K BTUs, this heater handles the largest pools with ease. It’s designed to warm up your pool in the coldest climate to ensure relaxation. Not only that, this pool equipment will heat your chilled water in the pool quickly regardless of how cold the climate is.
Coming with a hot surface ignition system, Pentair 460736 MasterTemp Pool Heater ignites using a hot plate instead of a naked flame. This ensures you don’t run into a lot of hassles with this model, like other conventional options in the market.
In most conventional natural gas pool heater, flame going out is a prevalent issue, which means you to trigger the lighting system yourself. But with the manufacturer’s innovative hot surface ignition, there’s no need to be skeptical about the ignition system.
Also, it’s an easy-to-use pool heater with indicator light for seamless operation. Regardless of how you place the pool heater, the digital display will always rotate correctly, making it easy to read. The controls are simple and intuitive, offering you full control of the equipment.
What’s more? Pentair 460736 MasterTemp Pool Heater comes with several in-built safety features. The water pressure switch ensures this heater only functions when the pump is running to avoid overheating. Moreover, it’s built to handle harsh weather conditions.
This model is an excellent choice for people looking for a faster and durable heater at an affordable price.
Heat up remarkably fast
User-friendly, self-rotating, and precise digital thermostat
Rust-proof non-metal exterior sheets
Not very quiet
Warranty requires you registering 60 days from the date of installation
3. Hayward HP21404T HeatPro Titanium 140,000 BTU Heat Pump
Another top-rated model from Hayward comes in third on our review. This pool equipment is an ideal choice if you want a heat a smaller pool. This model is more of a heat pump than a pool heater, which means it’s doesn’t come stacked with a powerful punch like most products reviewed on this list. Nevertheless, Hayward HP21404T HeatPro Titanium 140,000 BTU Heat Pump will still do an incredible job with smaller pools.
This heat pump appeals more with its innovative sound-damping technology, which includes a profiled fan blade and an acoustic compressor cover to offer a quiet, yet smooth operation. Also, it features a titanium heat exchanger, which provides impressive longevity and acts as an efficient heat exchange.
Further, the evaporator fin is crafted from corrosion-resistant materials, making this unit a top consideration for the pool located in coastal or tropical regions with a high concentration of salt in the air. The waterline connectors feature a stainless steel construction to ensure they hold up in similar environments.
This heat pump requires a power of 220 -240 volts. Plus, it’s easy to install on existing or new spas/pools or systems. It comes with durable electronic controls. In addition, to offer quiet operations, it includes a compressor cover and scroll compressors.
Sadly, this heat pump has a plastic shell, thus affecting the overall durability, you should expect from this unit. However, it still functions and performs incredibly well to earn it a spot on our list of the best pool heaters.
Sound dampening technology
Stainless steel hardware
Titanium heat exchanger
Corrosion-resistant evaporator fin
4. Hayward H150FDP Universal H-Series 150,000 BTU Pool and Spa Heater
The Hayward H150FDP Universal H-Series 150,000 BTU Pool and Spa Heater is our next pick. This heater comes with a hefty price tag, and we’re going to look at the reason. But in short, it’s efficient and reliable pool equipment to heat your pool water.
This model makes use of cutting-edge cupro-nickel finn plate heat exchanger. This material adds to the durability and longevity of the heater exchanger, even in high salt concentrated water conditions. The equipment features a forced draft combustion system moving air at a precise flow rate through tits combustion chamber to get rid of any external variable that might affect the heating performance.
Regardless of the weather – cold or windy, this heater still performs excellently. Hayward H150FDP Universal H-Series 150,000 BTU Pool and Spa Heater is pricey to purchase and install. But, it’s a worthy investment with incredible durability and efficiency; no wonder it’s a top choice for a lot of pool owners.
1-year limited warranty
Durable and reliable
Superior hydraulic performance
Issues with the coil might arise
5. Sta-Rite SR333LP Max-E-Therm Black Propane Gas Pool and Spa Heater
Coming last on our list is Sta-Rite SR333LP Max-E-Therm Black Propane Gas Pool and Spa Heater. It’s a lightweight, 135-pound heater. On top of that, it comes with a low cost of operation with an astonishing 84% Thermal Efficiency. This model is rated as one of the most effective heaters in this category.
This pool equipment comes in a compact design, which makes it a perfect retro-fit installation. It’s rust-proof and will serve you for many years to come without rusting. Moreover, it has a matte black enclosure made of a particular type of Sta-Rite and Dura-Glass. This enclosure is also referred to as a weatherproof frame.
Now let’s talk about some of its downsides. To begin with, this propane gas heater is not suitable for commercial purposes and only works well for a residential pool. Secondly, the pool equipment cost very high to install, adding to the overall cost of this product. Besides, being lightweight makes it easy to transit, which makes it susceptible to damage during such a period.
Lower operating cost
Compact design for custom or retro-fit
Durable and premium enclosure
Pricey to install
Not suitable for commercial purposes
Either you have an above ground or in-ground pool, a heater helps extend your swimming season and get more value during cold weather. But this post has included the top 5 best pool heaters and a buying guide to ensure you make the right choice.