Best Pool Heaters for 2021: Buying Guide

Swim season seems to end so fast. With a pool heater, you can make the season last longer. Pool heaters let you take a dip even when the weather is cool, so you can enjoy more recreation time and family time. In turn, you can maximize the value of your investment.

Best Pool Heater

What Types of Pool Heaters Are Available?

If you want to control the warmth of the water in your swimming pool, you have four heater options – electric, gas, a heat pump and solar. Like any other appliance, each type of pool heater has a unique set of advantages.


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Pool Heater | Recommended


Our Pick No. 1
EcoSmart SMART POOL 27 Electric Tankless Pool...
EcoSmart SMART POOL 27 Electric Tankless Pool...
Flow Activation; Eco smart Pool Heaters are compact and easy to install for a new or existing pool

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Pool Heater | Recommended


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Electric Pool Heater

Inside an electric pool heater, there is a resistor, which is heated by an electric current. As the water runs over the hot resistor, the heat of the resistor is transferred to the water. Electric heaters are not affected by ambient temperatures, and they don’t pollute the environment.

Gas Pool Heater

As the name suggests, gas pool heaters use propane or natural gas to generate heat. A gas pool heater contains a metal-coil combustion chamber where the gas burns. When the water enters the coils, it becomes hot. Like an electric pool heater, outdoor temperatures do not impact a gas heater’s performance. Plus, gas models have a rapid heating time.

Pool Heater

Pool Heat Pump

While all heat pumps rely on electricity to warm your swimming pool’s water, some grab the heat from the surrounding air while others take heat from a source of water. Pool heat pumps are ultra-energy efficient and last for a decade or longer. These pool heaters don’t hurt the environment either.

Solar Pool Heater

Solar pool heaters are the most environmentally friendly option. They work in conjunction with solar panels to collect the sun’s heat and warm the water as it makes its rounds through the pool’s circulation system. Although it isn’t required, many people pair a solar pool heater with an auxiliary heater, so they can get the benefits of warm swimming pool water when it’s overcast.

Related Post: What Size Pool Heater Do I Need?

Our Recommended Pool Heaters in 2021

Hayward, EcoSmart and Pentair are among the top manufacturers of pool heaters as of this year. Here are some of the best swimming pool heater models they produce.

Pool Heater

5) SunHeater WS220P S220 Solar Heating System

The SunHeater S220 is like any typical solar-powered heating system. It connects to your pool’s current pump, which pushes water through the polypropylene collectors that heat the flowing water using nothing but solar power. A single S220 box comes with 40 feet of solar panels, hose clamps, and a connector for a second S220 kit.

SunHeater WS220P S220 Solar Heating System
SunHeater WS220P S220 Solar Heating System

However, solar-powered heating systems like this one require plenty of sunlight. Customers with tree-less yards swear by the S220’s solar-powered heating abilities, but others haven’t had the same experience. If everything goes as planned, you can expect up to three additional weeks of heated pool water.

SunHeater WS220P S220 Solar Heating System 2' X...
  • SOLAR POOL HEATER – The Sunheater Solar Pool Heating System allows you to capture free heat from the sun’s...
  • EXTENDS POOL SEASON – Your pool’s pump pushes the water through the panel’s many tubes where it’s...
  • EASY TO INSTALL – This solar pool heater uses your existing filtration system & comes with the necessary...

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4) Raypak PR206AEN 206K BTU Electronic Ignition Natural Gas Swimming Pool Heater

For pool owners who don’t get enough sunlight, then you should consider getting the PR206AEN natural gas heating system by Raypak. This system is rated at 206,000 BTUs to provide quicker heating times. A digital control panel will let you choose heating and temperature settings to better maintain optimal swimming water temps long into the first month of autumn.

Raypak PR206AEN
Raypak PR206AEN

The control panel also comes with a digital readout, which constantly monitors water temperature and informs users of its operating status. This device works well for the most part, according to customer reports, but its heat exchanger may require frequent maintenance. Raypak also offers pool and spa heaters of up to 406,000 BTUs.

Raypak 206,000 BTU Digital Electronic Ignition...
  • Part Number: 009216
  • Model Number: P-R206A-EN-C
  • LCD digital display

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3) EcoSmart SMART POOL 27 Electric Tankless Pool Heater

Small and energy-friendly. The 27-kilowatt Smart Pool 27 is a breeze to install, and it can be used in place of or to enhance an existing pool heat pump.

EcoSmart SMART POOL 27 Electric Tankless Pool Heater
EcoSmart SMART POOL 27 Electric Tankless Pool Heater

The inclusion of flow sensor technology makes the pool heater’s element unlikely to fail. Plus, you can use it with or without an EcoSmart remote to change the temperature degree by degree.

EcoSmart SMART POOL 27 Electric Tankless Pool...
  • Flow Activation
  • Eco smart Pool Heaters are compact and easy to install for a new or existing pool
  • Set your temperature digitally to increments of 1-Degree. Set it and forget it.

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2) Pentair 460805 MasterTemp High Performance Eco-Friendly Pool Heater

The MasterTemp contains a cupro-nickel exchanger that will have you enjoying warm pool water in no time flat. A rust-resistant housing means the gas pool heater ultra-durable, and an electric ignition makes startup is a breeze.

Pentair 460805 MasterTemp
Pentair 460805 MasterTemp

It’s also equipped with multiple safety features like a manual gas shutoff, a stack flue sensor, a water-pressure switch and a high-limit temperature mechanism.

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1) Hayward H200FDN Universal H-Series 200,000 BTU Pool and Spa Heater

Dependable heat regardless of the weather thanks to a cupro-nickel fin plate and a draft combustion system. The Universal H-Series natural gas pool heater works with a variety of swimming pools, including saltwater pools.

Hayward H200FDN
Hayward H200FDN

Rounding out its list of efficient features is an LED panel, a polymer bypass valve and a low emissions rating.

Hayward H200FDN Universal H-Series 200,000 BTU...
  • Standard Cupro nickel heat exchanger for superior value and reliability
  • Patented polymer header and bypass valve design for the ultimate in hydraulic efficiency and reliability
  • Hayward Universal design for easy and versatile professional installation

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Pool Heater Buying Guide

Don’t go into your pool heater purchase blindly. If you make the right choice, warm water will be yours whenever you wish. Make the wrong choice, and you’ll shell out countless dollars on repairs and operating costs. Here’s what you need to know.

Pool Heater Guide

BTUs

BTUs, or British Thermal Units, measure the amount of heat an appliance can produce. In general, a pool heater with a high BTU rating can raise the pool water’s temperature fast, meaning less wait time to take a dip.

While a high-BTU pool heater uses more energy than a low-BTU model, one that is undersized for your swimming pool’s capacity will work too hard and be unable to keep up with the pool’s demands, leading to inefficient performance and energy consumption.

Therefore, you must get a heater with enough BTUs to support the size of your swimming pool. A 50,000 BTU heater is sufficient for pools up to 200 square feet while a 500,000 BTU heater works for pools 800 square feet or larger. Gas heaters up the temperature faster, making them great for large swimming pools.

Noise

Nothing kills fun and relaxation like yelling over the sound of a loud motor and fan. Many manufacturers address this issue by infusing noise-dampening elements into their pool heaters, including but not limited to specially designed fans and casings. Also, some control panels are quieter than others, so pay attention to the amount of noise made when you adjust the heater’s settings.

Best Swimming Pool Heaters

Durability

If you want a decade or longer of smooth performance, your pool heater must be built to resist the elements of the weather and regular wear and tear. Take a close look at the materials on the inside and outside of the pool heater. Materials such as titanium and stainless steel on the housing and heat exchanger prevent rust.

A housing that keeps out water is also important, especially if you have a saltwater pool. Some heaters can even block ultraviolet rates, which lends to their durability. With the appropriate safety components in place, like a temperature-limiter switch, small problems won’t cause major breakdowns.

Usability

While you want a pool heater that’s sized correctly, quiet and durable, the user experience is integral. The controls should be in a logical layout. Pool heaters with an LED panel and digital controls make temperature adjustment easy. Some work with a remote, which is extremely convenient. If you opt for a gas heater, make sure it has an automatic and a manual shutdown mechanism.

Heat Pump Swimming Pool Heaters

FAQ

How Much Does It Cost to Run a Pool Heater?

The operating cost of a pool heater varies according to the type of unit you have. Electric pool heaters can run an upward of $50 per month extra on your utility bill. The time of year and local rates may make the cost less. Gas pool heaters are usually cheaper at about half the yearly cost, particularly natural gas.

Even less expensive are heat pumps. In comparison to gas-powered pool heaters, heat pumps cost cents on the dollar to run. Then, there are solar swimming pool heaters. Since solar heaters utilize the sun’s rays, the cost to use them is minimal.

How Do I Correctly Size a Pool Heater?

To get the ideal efficiency from your pool heater, it should be sized corresponded to your swimming pool’s capacity and the region in which you live. The more water your pool can hold, the more BTUs the pool heater should have. If you live in a cold climate, your pool heater needs plenty of power behind it. Conversely, a warmer climate necessitates a less powerful swimming pool heater.

Pool Heater Pumps

What’s the Average Heating Time?

Of course, you want to enjoy the relaxing and warm water of your swimming pool as soon as possible. However, it takes a little time for a heater to warm the water upon startup. Even though the heating time varies by the unit’s BTUs, the pool’s size and other factors, the approximate temperature increase rate is approximately 20 degrees in 24 hours.

How Much Maintenance Is Involved?

A pool heater is a large appliance. As such, it requires routine maintenance to ensure it lasts for years and operates at peak efficiency. Professionals recommend that pool owners get their swimming pool heater serviced on an annual basis. By adhering to a once-per-year maintenance schedule, you can avoid the cost and hassle of mechanical repairs.

How Long Do They Last?

Like air conditioners and heat pumps, pool heaters are built to last. A particular pool heater’s lifespan depends on the type of heater and how well it’s maintained. For instance, gas and electric heaters can last at least 10 years while heat pumps may work for as long as 20 years.

Best Pool Heaters

With proper maintenance, your swimming pool heater can reach and even exceed the end of its expected lifespan. It also helps to run the heater regularly, which prevents the moving parts from locking up or corroding.

Pool Heater | Recommended


Our Pick No. 1
EcoSmart SMART POOL 27 Electric Tankless Pool...
EcoSmart SMART POOL 27 Electric Tankless Pool...
Flow Activation; Eco smart Pool Heaters are compact and easy to install for a new or existing pool

Last update on 2021-12-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Pool Heater | Recommended


Last update on 2021-12-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


This website is supported by readers. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.


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About the author

Hi I’m Alexander, founder of HouseholdMe.com and I’d like to say thank you for dropping by. Like most of you, the first thing I look at before buying something online is reviews or buying guides. By reading what other people say will help me gauge whether or not a product is good or not.  I am trying to help people find answers, solve problems, and get inspired.

1 thought on “Best Pool Heaters for 2021: Buying Guide”

  1. Hello, I have an Index pool 24x12x52” (about 85000 gal) and I would like to heat it up in fall and spring season. I live in CT and I have natural gas systems. What heater or heating system would you suggest?
    Thank you

    Reply

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