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Best Pool Heater | Gas, Electric, Sauna, Heat Pumps – Huge Buying Guide

Pool heaters are mostly overlooked by many pool owners, not only do they provide numerous benefits, many models only cost an extra 100$-200$. Some of these benefits include the ability to use an above ground pool during the colder months of the year as well as using a pool in a colder climate.

Here at HomeTechie, we’ve spent the time of looking at specifications, reviews and looked at many pool heaters to decide which ones are the best for you.

Our reviewers have decided on 6 of the best pool heaters available in the market today.

We’ve got reviews on Gas, Solar and Electric pool heaters/Heat pumps. We hope our pool heater reviews can help you get the top pool heaters today.

Our Editor’s choices for the Top Pool Heaters

Hayward HP50TA Titanium

In the entire market, the Hayward HP50TA is one of the only heaters that heat and keep a pool at over 80 degrees fahrenheit. Gas pool heaters are usually a good choice for more heavy duty users, Hayward is well known for their good quality in heaters. The reason why the heater has “Titanium” in it’s name is because the HP50TA uses dual-flow heat exchangers made of durable Titanium that can perform durably and reliably in adverse conditions as well as ideal ones. The heater also includes acoustic compressors to make sure the fans are quiet, you can use this in a dense sound environment without being disturbed.

Highlights:

  • High quality acoustic compressors for a smaller sound profile
  • Heats up to 80 degrees fahrenheit
  • Keeps a high temperature consistently
  • Contains dual-flow heat exchangers made of Titanium

Hayward Universal H-Series

As we said earlier, Hayward is well known for their quality, we decided on the Hayward H-Series vs a couple of others due to a durable cupro-nickel heat exchangers for good heat transfer, as well as a patented polymer valve design for durability and high hydraulic performance as well as maintaining stabilities in high-flow or acidic or basic conditions.

It also has a easy-to-use LED control panel which provides easy control of temperature, timing and various other options. The forced draft control combustion system allows for extra durability, such as different wind conditions, this allows the Hayward H-Series to sustain consistent good performance while in hostile conditions.

Highlights:

  • Includes a durable Cupro-Nickel heat exchangers
  • Patented Polymer valve design
  • Easy to use LED control panel
  • Forced draft combustion system allows for extra durability

 

Hayward CSPAXI11 11-Kilowatt Electric Spa Heater

This is the first Electric heater on our list, electric pool heaters can combine reliability, compactness and budget-friendliness in one package. This heater model is a great alternative to more expensive gas heaters. Gas heaters will still be the top models for those who don’t care about their downsides, but electric pool heaters like the CSPAXI11 are catching up in terms of value.

This will be optimal for smaller to medium sized pools, or those who don’t wish to purchase natural gas to use a heater. This heater will be slightly less consistent and will have slightly lower performance overall, but the lower price overall will make it worth it.

Highlights:

  • Budget-Friendly
  • Great alternative to expensive gas heaters
  • Optimal for small-mid sized pools
  • Doesn’t require natural gas to work

Smartpool WWS601P Sunheater Solar

We do not recommend this heater for anyone who has a larger pool model and expects fast heating and/or consistency. Don’t mistake this for meaning that the WWS601P cannot be a reliable heater, it can keep your pool heated without any electricity or gas. The main plus for this model is that other heaters will have higher costs in the long run as well as initial costs due to gas and electricity requirements. Solar heating only requires the sun and will only cost what it costs at Amazon.

Highlights:

  • Extremely budget friendly
  • Great alternative to more expensive gas and electric heaters for those who don’t want to pay extra for gas or electricity costs
  • Doesn’t require either gas or electricity to work

Smartpool WWS421P Above Ground Pool Sunheater

This heater is the only heater on this list that is designed to be workable as an above ground pool heater. The heater has a polypropylene water collector that can heat your pool up to 10 degrees extra, however, being a solar pool heater, this model takes a very long time to heat up a larger pool. The tradeoff is having no requirement for gas or electricity meaning lower overall costs in the long rong. If you have a smaller pool and have the patient to wait for some time for the pool to heat, you will have a great pool heater in this.

Highlights:

  • No requirement for electricity or gas

  • Designed to work with Above Ground Pools

  • Lower overall costs in the long run

  • Cheaper than a gas heater

Hayward HP21404T HeatPro Titanium / HP2114T / HP21254T

This model has some of the best specifications of any pool heater out there today and it is designed for large pools with high water capacity, it has a durable dual-flow titanium-heat exchanger that is designed for durability and efficiency. It has an ultra-gold corrosion resistant evaporator fin for extra efficiency in hostile environments. Most gas and heat pumps will have a large sound profile if they don’t have a good acoustic compression cover, this model has a great one. Last but not least, durable injected UV-resistant molded body frame for less rust and deterioration over time. It also has models that are cheaper but with smaller BTU capacities and for smaller pools.

Highlights:

  • Durable, fast and reliable
  • Dual-flow titanium heat exchanger
  • Ultra-Gold corrosion resistant evaporator fin
  • Durable injected molded UV-resistant body framework

Some benefits of having a Pool Heater

One of the main benefits of having a pool heater is simply having a warm pool, warmer pools are more comfortable and easy to relax in and they provide better pain-relief and exercise. Having a pool heater can extend the overall time in the year where a pool is usable, most above ground pools will only work in the spring to early fall parts of the year, in a cold climate this will be reduced only to the summer months. Having a pool heater will extend the pool’s usability potentially a couple of months which means you will get more out of your money overall. Some heaters can even bring usability in a 50 degree fahrenheit climate.

 

What Types of Heaters are there?

Solar Pool Heaters

This is lowest cost option for purchasing a heater, a small pool will work best with these heaters. Solar pool heaters are unfortunately the slowest and are the least effective type of heater out there. They are less effective but they don’t require gas or electricity to work and operate all on solar energy, meaning it is green-friendly and will work best in tropical regions with a non-stop supply of energy. However, after they are setup they have the least maintenance costs but also require a pump to pump water in and out.

Positives:

  • Cheap, budget friendly
  • Eco-friendly
  • Don’t require any gas or electricity to work
  • Least maintenance costs

Negatives:

  • Slowest, least effective type of heater
  • Require a pump to work
  • Only small pools will work with it

Electric Pool Heaters

Electric pool heaters are a middle of the road option, it’s much cheaper than a gas heater and much more effective than a solar heater. It’s a great option for those who don’t want to spend a huge amount on purchasing a gas heater (along with the natural gas costs) and want a heater that is faster and has a higher capacity than a solar heater.

 

Positives:

  • Much more effective and efficient than a solar heater
  • Eco-friendly
  • Middle-way approach to Gas and Solar heaters

Negatives:

  • More expensive than a Solar heater
  • Requires electricity
  • Has higher maintenance costs than a solar heater

Gas Heaters

These are the best heaters out there, they are the most effective, durable, reliable and highest capacity heaters out there. They are without a doubt the top-tier of heaters, unfortunately they are the most expensive and have higher maintenance costs due to natural gas (some models might use propane instead) and pump carbon dioxide into the air (the least eco-friendly model).

Positives:

  • Most effective, durable and reliable heaters
  • Can heat larger pools than solar and electric heaters
  • Good for those who want consistent and fast heating

Negatives:

  • Require natural gas or propane depending on the model
  • Not very environmentally friendly
  • Generally expensive
  • Louder than other types of heaters

Heat Pumps

These types of heaters have been gaining popularity over time, they have the same durability and reliability of a gas heater, but they don’t cost as much in maintenance as gas heaters do. Heat pumps use electricity to pull out heat from the air or water to heat up the pool. As a result they are much more eco-friendly and have seen a surge in popularity over the recent years.

Positives:

  • Good alternative to Gas and Electric models
  • Similar durability and reliability of a gas heater
  • Don’t have the same carbon footprint as gas heaters

Negatives:

  • Still has a carbon footprint
  • More expensive than a solar or electric heater
  • Has electricity maintenance costs

Things to consider when purchasing a heater for your pool

Heating Capacity requirements

Your heater model will have a heating capacity in BTU, this is the measuring stick that will be used to tell if your pool can

be heated by a specific heater or not, it shouldn’t be hard to tell that your heating capacity should be determined by the

volume of water in your pool, if your pool has more water, it will require a higher heating capacity and will take longer to

heat the water in the pool. If your heater has a large capacity, it will generally take up a lot more power but will also

be faster. Generally speaking, gas heaters and heat pumps have the best heating capacity, electricity the second best and solar

the worst heating capacity.

Your climate

If your climate is a cold climate where the sun doesn’t shine in most days, than buying a solar heater would be an inefficient waster of money as the heater won’t have enough time to gather up heat from the sun,

Similar to this, an electric pool heater will be useless if you don’t have the proper electricity grid to use for the heater.

If you live in a colder area, you should purchase a heater with a higher BTU than is normally expected, the cold air will seep a large amount of heat energy away from the pool, and will therefore cause it to cool off more quickly.

Living in an area where natural gas is rare and expensive will be very costly in the long run, if this is the case try purchasing a heat pump, an electric pool heater, a propane heater or a solar heater instead.

Budget

This is the most important factor, the least expensive option is a solar heater, while a gas heater can cost as much as 1500$ or more while a solar one will only cost 300$ at most. However, you also need to consider the costs of installing and maintaining your heater, so make sure to keep that in mind when purchasing. Some heaters will cost less in initial costs but cost more due to lower efficiency or other factors.

Purchasing an electric heater can give you both the positives and negatives of both gas and solar heaters at a decently reasonable cost, Some positives is that they are generally easier to setup and are more effective than solar heaters and also have less of a carbon footprint. Unfortunately they are still more expensive than a solar heater and will have a harder time with heating up larger pools, this is great for those who want a “middle of the road” approach to heating.

Heat pumps are a great alternative to gas heaters, they are both the most expensive option but heat pumps have less of a carbon footprint, they use electricity to pull heat from the surrounding area and heat up the water that way, they have the effectiveness of a gas heater, with less footprint and more efficiency, but they still cost an extraordinary amount in terms of initial costs.

Solar heaters while cheap, are usually less effective in heating and will usually have a very hard time heating up a larger pool,they are also painful to setup and are slow at heating. Gas heating is the more effective way but have a bad carbon footprint and often require a decent amount of expensive natural gas or propane depending on the model to maintain, electric heaters are more effective than solar heaters but still require electricity which indirectly has a carbon footprint and will also increase your electricity bill.

In-ground vs Above Ground

In-ground pools have different requirements vis-a-vis an above ground model, some models of pool heaters will have been

specially designated for use in above ground pools (although plenty of heater models will work with both types), consider

this when buying.

Some frequently asked questions (FAQ)

What is the best place to purchase a heater?

You can purchase one at a local store, however this is not very convenient and will often require you to manually ship it to your

home, a better option is to purchase from Amazon, we already have links to the top models on Amazon on our site.

Are Pool heaters Eco-Friendly?

It depends, Solar and Electric heaters are typically at least somewhat eco-friendly as they don’t directly emit Carbon dioxide into the air, Solar heaters are unfortunately the slowest and least effective type of heater. Electric heaters and heat pumps are somewhat eco-friendly, but not as much as a solar heater is. It’s usually a tradeoff for eco-friendliness vs effectiveness.

How to reduce noise from a heater?

On our Top 6 heaters, the gas heaters which are usually the loudest type all have effective sound compression covers which dramatically lowers their noise, however noise profiles can still be a problem. Most electric and all solar heaters will not have much of a noise profile while gas heaters will. If you wish to purchase a gas heater, make sure to buy one with effective sound compression. Electric heaters only need to be placed slightly farther away from the pool to reduce noise if causing trouble at all. If your gas heater already generates too much noise with a compression system, place the heater 10 feet or more away from the pool and you should be set.

Should I get help for installing my heater?

First-time buyers are recommended get help unless having some experience otherwise, some possibilities of screwing up this are damaging the heater and requiring the whole expensive return and reimbursement process. If you are not knowledgable on the connections, parts and pipes of a heater then this becomes a much more scary proposition. Make sure to take this into account when purchasing a model.

How much in general do heaters cost?

The price of a pool heater depends on the type and the heating capacity of such a heater, the cheapest solar models only cost 250$ or so while the most expensive gas and heat pumps may cost upwards of 2500$. Maintenance costs are also a factor as electric/heat pump heaters require electricity to work and gas heaters require natural gas or propane depending on the model. Solar heaters will usually require a pump but other than that have no other maintenance requirements.

Conclusion

Buying a pool heater is a great way to extend the usability and durability of your pool, you can extend the usability from a couple of months to almost the entire year except for the winter and will allow you to more comfortably use your pool during the day. If you purchase a good pool heater like the models on our list you can have durability, effectiveness and efficiency for your pool heating.

Thank you for reading our guide for the best pool heaters available on the market today!

 

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