Choosing the right heater for your swimming pool can seem overwhelming if you’re not sure what to look for.  There are a variety of pool heaters to choose from, but the most common are gas heaters, electric heaters and solar heaters.  Keep in mind your climate, pool size, heating needs and budget when determining the right heater for you, and make sure to read up on the pros and cons of each type.

Pool heater

Make the right choice.

Gas pool heaters

Gas pool heaters (buy them here) offer the best and fastest heating capabilities, highest power outputs and great consistency.  They are available in both natural gas and liquid propane models at competitive prices.  Gas heaters are capable of keeping swimming pools and spas at temperatures of 85-90°F by burning gas and extending its heat throughout the water.  Few disadvantages exist in using gas pool heaters, however, they cost a lot of money initially and require higher running costs—especially when constantly heating large pools and those in cooler climates.  Increasing fuel prices also make gas heaters more expensive to operate.  Gas heaters usually need to be installed by a professional and might be the right choice for you if you are willing to spend the money or only heat your pool on occasion.

Solar pool heaters

Solar pool heaters (buy them here) are the environmentally friendly and efficient means of heating pool water.  Solar heaters harness the sun’s energy by pumping water through a heating device—most often solar panels—kept warm by natural light before releasing it into a swimming pool.  This type of pool heater is the cheapest way to heat a pool, costing less in the long run with no running costs.  They may be expensive upfront, but solar heaters last for up to 20 years (longer than any other type of pump) and pay for themselves within ten or less.  Using a solar heater, in conjunction with a solar cover, can add up to one month to your swimming season.  Disadvantages of solar heaters include the fact that they are only useful on clear, sunny days and not at night or during poor weather.  Solar pool heaters are ideal for pool owners who are looking for a good deal, an easy installation and a consistent pool temperature.

Electric pool heaters

Electric pool heaters are inexpensive but less efficient than other models.  They work by taking in surrounding air, heating it up and transferring it directly to pool water.  Thus, this type of pump only produces heat slightly warmer than the temperature of the air and would not be useful in spring or fall months or in cooler climates.  Electric pool pumps are most effective if the surrounding temperature is above 40°F.  Although relatively inexpensive, electric pool heaters are only ideal for small pools, heating to moderate temperatures or for pools in warm climates and long summers.