best pool cover reviews

Best Pool Cover Reviews 2021: Top Picks for 6 Common Situations

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Looking for a pool cover for your in-ground or above-ground pool?

You’ve come to the right place.

If this is the first time you’ve shopped for a pool cover online, the first thing you’ll probably notice is the huge range of brands, materials, and models there are – and how similar they all seem.

Pool covers come in all kinds of styles from mesh to bubble wrap, and they’re manufactured using a wide range of materials from vinyl to polyethylene to polypropylene.

There are different types of pool covers, too, depending on the job you want them to do. Common types include security covers, winter covers, thermal blankets, solar covers, and automatic covers.

Prices are all over the board, too – from less than $100 to more than $1,000.

So, how do you decide which one to get?

This buying guide will make your shopping easy.

We’ve reviewed dozens of the best-selling, best-rated solar pool covers sold on sites like Amazon and Walmart.com and picked the single best choice for each common homeowner’s need.

Whether you need a mesh safety cover to keep your family safe, a winter cover to keep away debris and algae, or a solar cover to keep your pool warm through the night, we’ll tell you which one to buy and why.


What’s In This Guide?

In this 10-minute buying guide, we review the best pool covers for above-ground pools and in-ground pools, with a comparison table to help you make a quick choice. We’ve selected the best covers for different situations. 

We also explain what to consider when shopping for a pool cover, to make sure you get the right one for your pool needs. 


Best Pool Covers 2021

Pool Cover


Award Type
Size
Warranty
Sun2Solar 1200 Series Rectangular

Sun2Solar Blue 16-Foot-by-32-Foot Rectangle Solar Cover,Heat Retaining Blanket for In-Ground and Above-Ground Rectangular Swimming Pools
Best heat-retaining solar pool cover

For in-ground and above ground poolsAll sizes available up to 50’ long
2yrs full warranty
Sun2Solar 1600 Series Round

Sun2Solar Clear 15-Foot Round Solar Cover Heat Retaining Blanket
Best for round above ground and in-ground pools


For round in-ground and above ground pools
12’ to 33’ diameter

3yrs full warranty
Intex solar cover

Intex Solar Cover for 15ft Diameter Easy Set and Frame Pools
Best budget solar cover for above ground pools



For round above ground pools

9.5’ to 18’ diameter
Not specified
Robelle 352040R

Robelle 352040R Super Winter Pool Cover for In-Ground Swimming Pools
Best winter pool cover





For in-ground pools

12’ x 24 to 30’ x 60’10 years for the Super cover
Robelle 3715-4

Robelle 3515-4 Super Winter Pool Cover for Round Above Ground Swimming Pools, 15-ft. Round Pool
Best winter pool cover for above ground pools







For round above ground pools

12’ to 33’ diameter10 years
Happybuy

Happybuy Pool Safety Cover Fits 20x40ft Rectangle Inground Safety Pool Cover Green Mesh
Best pool safety cover







For in-ground pools


20’ by 40’
Not specified

1. Best Heat-Retaining Solar Pool Cover: Sun2Solar Blue 1200 Series Solar Cover 

best pool covers

Swimming pools are really good at absorbing heat when it’s sunny.

That’s because water absorbs as much as 75 to 85 percent of the solar energy reaching its surface.

Evaporation is responsible for taking away most of this absorbed heat.

Leaving your pool uncovered at night, when there is much less solar energy available, rapidly chills your water.

The Sun2Solar Blue solar cover reduces evaporation by as much as 95%, keeping your pool warm and reducing water loss. 

Pros

  • Stops almost all evaporation, keeping the pool warm. 
  • Reduces how often you have to refill your pool.
  • Keeps dirt and debris from the pool. 
  • Can be trimmed for a perfect fit without voiding the warranty. 
  • Thick and durable material. 

Cons

  • Tedious to roll up when not in use. 
  • Bubbles start to flatten after some time. 

Our Review

Sun2Solar sells some of the most popular and highest-rated solar pool covers online. The biggest reason their solar covers are popular is that they actually work to heat the pool and they don’t fall apart within months like some cheaper brands. 

They sell pool covers with different thicknesses ranging from 8mil (800 series) to 16mil (1600 series). 

We think the 12mil 1200 series pool covers strike the best balance between ease of handling and durability. 

You can roll the cover on and off the pool on your own, though it’s a bit of work. As for durability, many pool owners say they got about 18 months to 2 years from their pool cover. Sun2Solar offers a 2-year full warranty, so you can be sure it’ll last long.

The Sun2Solar cover is a solar blanket and a pool cover rolled into one. 

As a solar blanket, it uses numerous bubbles to trap heat from the sun and concentrate it into the water. The heating combined with the insulation it provides at night and on chilly days heats your pool more effectively than you expect. 

Many pool owners say they are able to keep their pools at 90+ degrees even when the nights are extra-chilly. 

As a pool cover, the Sun2Solar cover keeps debris and dirt out of your pool, reducing how often you have to clean and add chemicals. It also prevents water loss. 

The Sun2Solar pool cover is available in a range of rectangular sizes ranging from 4’ by 8’ to 30’ by 50’. So whatever size of pool you have, there’s a size for it. 

Don’t worry if you don’t get a perfect size match for your pool. Get the next big one available then trim it to size. It will not affect the warranty. 

By the way, Sun2Solar also sells a clear version of the cover, which has a better heating performance. If you live in a colder area, get a clear cover for faster heating. 

Issues & Limitations

While the cover itself lasts long, the bubbles start to flatten after a few months, which slightly reduces heating performance. 

Another issue is the weight. While the cover is not as heavy as the 16mil version, it’s still a bit of work to roll on and off the pool. Some pool owners say they found it better to buy a pool cover reel. 


2. Best Solar Cover for Round Above Ground and Inground Pools: Sun2Solar 1600 Series Clear Round Solar Cover 

best solar pool covers

If you have a round pool, whether in-ground or above-ground, Sun2Solar also sells round solar covers. Similar to their standard rectangular covers, you can get the round cover in either blue or clear color, with the clear version heating the water slightly more than the blue one. 

Pros

  • Thick and durable solar cover. 
  • Available in a wide range of sizes. 
  • Heats water and prevents heat and water loss through evaporation.
  • Includes grommets to make the cover easier to handle. 
  • Long warranty. 

Cons

  • Heavy and difficult to handle even with the drainage grommets. 

Our Review

The Sun2Solar round solar pool covers are available in several diameters ranging from 12’ for small above-ground pools to 33’ for in-ground and big above-ground pools. 

If you don’t get a perfect match for your pool diameter, get the next big one and trim it to size. Trimming the cover doesn’t affect the warranty. 

This is a 1600 series solar pool cover, meaning it has a 16mil thickness. It lasts longer than most other pool covers and comes with a 3-year full warranty. 

If you have an Intex pool, we recommend a Sun2Solar round cover over one those cheap Intex pool covers that break down in months. 

The added thickness also means the cover does a better job preventing heat and water loss through evaporation. 

The round Sun2Solar cover comes with bubbles similar to the rectangular covers. These bubbles concentrate the sun’s heat into the water, heating your pool for free. It’ll take a few days for the water temperature to rise, but once it goes up, the cover does a great job keeping the pool warm.

Issues & Limitations

The 16mil thickness is great for durability and preventing heat loss, but it makes the cover heavy and difficult to handle. 

Sun2Solar includes 6 grommets that you fix on the cover to drain water away from it when you lift it out of the pool. This makes the cover lighter. 

However, even with the grommets, many people say they still have trouble getting the cover off the pool. 

If you are buying the Sun2Solar pool cover for an elderly or disabled family member, the 1600 series may not be the best choice if they’ll have no one to help them take it off and put it in the pool. Consider an 800 series or 1200 series cover instead. 


3. Best Budget Solar Cover for Above Ground Pools: Intex Solar Cover 

solar pool covers buying guide

Sun2Solar pool covers are high quality and durable, but they are pricey. If you are shopping for a cheaper solar cover for your above-ground pool, we recommend the Intex solar cover. 

It’s an Intex cover, but it’ll work with any round above-ground pool with a matching diameter. 

Pros

  • Cheap. 
  • Comes with a storage bag. 
  • Prevents heat and water loss. 
  • Easy to handle. 
  • Keeps dirt and debris out of the pool.

Cons

  • Doesn’t last long – about 1-2 seasons.
  • Doesn’t heat the pool as much as Sun2Solar covers. 

Our Review

This is a basic solar cover, so don’t have high expectations especially when it comes to longevity. It will prevent evaporation just as effectively as pricier solar covers, but it doesn’t last long. 

The Intex solar cover doesn’t have heat-concentrating bubbles. So it warms your pool by keeping the heat that’s already there. So you may want to keep the pool uncovered when it’s sunny, then cover it at night to prevent heat loss. 

The Intex solar cover comes in three diameters: 15’, 16’, and 18’. It’s designed to fit just inside the pool. You can also get a 9.5’ or 12’ diameter cover for smaller above-ground pools.  

All covers have drainage holes to keep water from pooling at the top. You’ll also receive a storage bag to keep the cover protected from the elements when not in use. 

Issues & Limitations

The Intex solar cover is good for just 1-2 seasons. If you are looking for a solar cover you’ll use for a few years, this is not it. But for the price, we still think it’s a good deal. 

Another issue you need to know is that the Intex cover doesn’t warm the pool as effectively as bubble-style covers. It’s more of an insulating cover than a heating cover. 

That’s why we recommend taking it off when it’s sunny to allow the water to heat up. Put back the cover in the evening or when it’s chilly to insulate the pool.


4. Best Winter Pool Cover: Robelle 352040R Super Winter Pool Cover 

solar pool covers

 

A winter pool cover keeps debris and dirt out of your pool when it’s closed for winter. It also prevents algae growth by blocking sunlight. 

One of the highest-rated winter pool covers on Amazon is the Robelle 352040R super winter pool cover. This heavy-duty pool cover comes with a 10-year warranty, giving you an idea of just how durable it is. 

Pros

  • Heavy-duty durable pool winter cover. 
  • Prevents algae growth. 
  • Waterproof. 
  • Multiple sizes are available. 
  • Includes loops for use with water tubes. 

Cons

  • Water tubes not included.
  • Could use more grommets to anchor it down. 

Our Review

The Robelle winter pool cover uses a heavy-duty material to protect your pool from debris when it’s closed for winter. The cover is also waterproof, ensuring rainwater and snow don’t get into the pool. 

A dark underside ensures sunlight doesn’t reach the water, ensuring you don’t find your pool full of algae when you open it. 

The top of the cover is treated for UV protection, so the cover won’t break down after just a season. 

The Robelle cover comes with a 10-year warranty, though the actual lifespan is around 3-5 years depending on how harsh your winters are and how well you take care of it. 

Tip: Be careful to store the cover properly when it’s not in use. More than a few customers say they had their cover destroyed by rats or bugs. 

As for size, the cover is available for all in-ground pool sizes from 12’ by 24’ to 30’ by 60’. Each size comes with overlap so that the cover sits on the pool deck. 

Robelle also sells the cover in different qualities with varying scrim and weight. The higher the scrim and weight, the heavier duty the cover is. 

For instance, this Super cover with a 10yr warranty has an 8 x 8 scrim and a weight of 2.36 ounces per square yard. In contrast, the Optimum cover has a 14 x 12 scrim and a weight of 4.5 ounces per square yard. It costs more but comes with a 20yr warranty. 

There’s a helpful comparison table on the Amazon page where you can check the scrim, weight, and warranty of different Robelle winter pool covers. We recommend choosing the best quality you can afford.

Issues & Limitations

The Robelle winter cover has loops to secure water tubes, but the tubes themselves are not included; you have to buy them separately. 

Most customers say they’d prefer tying the cover to anchors around the pool. That way, they don’t have to fill up tubes with water or deal with leaks. Unfortunately, the Robelle cover has very few grommets, mostly at the corners. 

But many pool owners have found creative ways to secure the cover without using water tubes. Alternatives include large water jugs and bricks. 


5. Best Winter Cover for Above Ground Pools: Robelle 3515-4 Super Winter Pool Cover 

solar pool cover reviews

Robelle also manufactures excellent quality winter covers for above-ground pools. Similar to their in-ground pool covers, the above-ground pool covers are available in a wide range of sizes and qualities. Check the comparison table on the Amazon product page to find the right cover for your budget. 

Pros

  • Wide range of sizes and options. 
  • Heavy-duty and durable. 
  • Opaque and waterproof material that keeps out debris and prevents algae growth. 
  • Includes winch and cable. 

Cons

  • Blows and flaps about when it’s windy. 
  • Fair quality cable and winch. 

Our Review

One advantage of buying a winter cover for your above-ground pool is that it saves you the trouble of emptying the pool and refilling it again after winter. 

Because the Robelle cover keeps out debris and prevents algae growth, you’ll find your pool clean clear when you open it up again.

The Robelle above-ground pool cover is available in different diameters ranging from 12’ to 33’. Each size includes plenty of overhangs that you secure around the pool. 

To secure the cover, use the included cable and winch. Loop the cable through the grommets then tighten it using the winch. 

Depending on your budget and how long you’d like the cover to lake, you can choose from more than a dozen cover options with varying scrim and weight. The higher the scrim and weight, the more durable the cover is. Of course, it’ll also cost you more. 

Issues & Limitations

Many customers say the winch and cable are not enough to secure the cover against wind. When the wind picks up, the cover blows and flaps about noisily. Luckily, it usually stays put. 

Many pool owners are also concerned that the cable and winch won’t last long. They are not as good quality as the cover. 


6. Best Pool Safety Cover: Happybuy Pool Safety Cover 

best solar pool covers

A pool safety cover keeps kids and pets from falling into the pool, while also keeping debris out of the water. The Happybuy pool safety cover has a mesh design that allows water – but not debris – through it. 

It takes more work and time to install compared to other types of pool covers, but everything you need is included. 

Pros

  • Strong and durable design – safe for kids and pets.
  • Mesh material allows rainwater to prevent pooling. 
  • Keeps out debris. 
  • Includes a 4’ by 8’ center stair. 
  • Comes with installation hardware. 

Cons

  • Expensive. 
  • Tedious to install. 

Our Review

If you have kids and/or pets in your home, you need pool safety cover. Pool safety covers are much stronger than solar and winter pool covers. That’s because they have to prevent a child or pet from falling into the pool. 

The Happybuy pool safety cover is made from strong polypropylene mesh. The mesh design allows rainwater to keep it from pooling on top.

It is secured to brass ground bolts using stainless steel tension springs. 

Everything you need to install the cover is included. You’ll just need a drill to make holes on the pool deck for the bolts. 

The cover is for 20’ by 40’ pools. The cover itself is 22’ by 42’, allowing it to sit on the pool deck. It includes a 4’ by 8’ center step. You can also get covers for a 16’ by 32’ or 18’ by 36’ pool.   

Issues & Limitations 

Pool safety covers are expensive. Don’t expect to pay the same as you would for a solar or winter pool cover. 

They are also more tedious and time-consuming to install. You have to drill holes in the ground for the bolts. 

On the upside, pool safety covers are one of the most effective ways to keep your kids and pets safe around the pool. 


Types of Pool Covers

Solar/heat-retaining pool covers

Solar heat covers are designed to heat the pool and/or keep it warm. Bubble-style covers do both. The bubbles on the underside of the cover heat the water while the cover material insulates the water against heat loss when it’s cold. 

Plain solar covers such as those sold by Intex, work only as insulation, retaining heat the pool collects from the sun. 

All solar and heat-retaining pool covers also prevent water evaporation and keep debris out of the water. 

Get a solar cover if your main goal is to keep your swimming pool warm. It saves you the cost of more expensive pool heating methods. You also get to swim in the evening and extend your swimming season by a few weeks before everyone else opens their pools and after they’ve closed theirs. 

Winter Pool Cover

A winter pool cover keeps your pool clean and algae-free through the winter closing. Install the cover after you’ve winterized your pool. The heavy-duty material keeps out rainwater and debris while the opaque design prevents algae growth. 

Safety Pool Cover

Safety pool covers are much stronger than winter and solar covers. They are designed to protect kids and pets from drowning. 

You have to anchor the cover along the pool deck to ensure it can withstand the weight of a child or pet. 


What to Consider When Choosing a Pool Cover

best pool covers

Type of Cover

See above for an explanation of the different types of pool covers and the best one for specific needs. For pool heating, get a solar cover. For winter protection, get a winter cover. If you have kids or pets, get a safety cover.  

Quality and Durability

Pool covers are notorious for breaking down after just one or two seasons. You are better off spending more on a high-quality cover that will last longer instead of a cheap one you have to replace every season. 

A heavy-duty pool cover such as those sold by Robelle will easily last you 3+ years, and some of their pricier covers can last 10 years or longer. 

Size

Get a pool cover that matches the size of your pool. Note that manufacturers take into account the overhang you need when installing the cover. So if you have a 20’ by 40’ pool, get a cover that is the same size. It’ll have a 2’-5’ extension on each side for easy installation. 

For solar covers such as those sold by Sun2Solar, you can easily trim the cover for a perfect fit, especially for irregularly shaped pools. 

Ease of Installation 

Check how easy the cover is to install and whether everything you need is included. Solar covers are typically the easiest to install. You just lay it on the pool; you don’t need to secure it. 

Winter covers need to be anchored or secured with water tubes. 

Safety covers are the hardest to install, as you’ll need to drill the ground and install bolts. 

Pool Covers FAQs

Which is the best pool cover? 

  • Best Heat-Retaining Solar Pool Cover: Sun2Solar Blue 1200 Series Solar Cover 
  • Best Solar Cover for Round Above Ground and Inground Pools: Sun2Solar 1600 Series Clear Round Solar Cover 
  • Best Budget Solar Cover for Above Ground Pools: Intex Solar Cover  
  • Best Winter Pool Cover: Robelle 352040R Super Winter Pool Cover   
  • Best Winter Cover for Above Ground Pools: Robelle 3515-4 Super Winter Pool Cover 
  • Best Pool Safety Cover: Happybuy Pool Safety Cover 

Can I leave a winter pool cover on all year? 

You can, but it’ll deteriorate much sooner because of exposure to the sun and other elements. 

Should I cover my pool every night? 

Covering your pool with a solar cover every night insulates it, preventing heat the water has collected during the day from escaping. It also prevents water evaporation. 

Does solar pool covers really work? 

Yes, they do. How well your cover works depends on how hot your area gets and the type of cover you have. 

With a bubble-style solar pool cover and enough sunshine during the day, you could easily maintain your pool at 90+ degrees. 

Plain solar covers work but won’t heat the pool as much. They only retain heat the water has collected from the sun. 

Can I leave a solar cover on the pool all day?

Yes, if it’s a bubble-style solar cover. That’s because the bubbles actually help heat the water faster. If you have a plain solar cover without bubbles, take it off to allow the water to heat up then put the cover back on in the evening to prevent heat loss. 


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