What’s the Best Pool Heater for Your Above Ground Pool?


Are you dreaming of extending your swimming season beyond the summer months? Do you find your above ground pool too chilly to enjoy during the cooler parts of the day? If so, investing in a pool heater could be the perfect solution. But with various types available, how do you choose the best pool heater for your above ground pool? In this guide, we will explore the top options and help you make an informed decision so you can enjoy warm, comfortable water all year round.

Why Do You Need a Pool Heater?

Above ground pools are fantastic for family fun and relaxation, but they can quickly become uninviting when the water temperature drops. A pool heater allows you to maintain a consistent and comfortable swimming temperature, ensuring you get the most out of your investment. Whether you want to extend your swimming season or just enjoy a warmer swim, a pool heater can make a significant difference.

Types of Pool Heaters

  1. Solar Pool Heaters
  2. Electric Heat Pumps
  3. Gas Heaters

Each type has its advantages and disadvantages, depending on your specific needs and circumstances. Let’s dive into each type to see which might be the best fit for your above ground pool.

  • Solar Pool Heaters

How They Work: Solar pool heaters use the sun’s energy to warm your pool water. Water is pumped through a series of solar panels, typically installed on the roof or near the pool, where it is heated by the sun before returning to the pool.


  • Eco-Friendly: Solar heaters are the most environmentally friendly option, as they use renewable energy.
  • Low Operating Costs: Once installed, the ongoing costs are minimal since they rely on sunlight.
  • Long Lifespan: Solar panels generally have a long lifespan with minimal maintenance.


  • Initial Cost: The initial installation cost can be high, especially if you need a large solar array.
  • Weather Dependent: Their efficiency depends on sunlight availability, which can be a limitation in cloudy or rainy climates.

Best For

  • Homeowners in sunny regions looking for an environmentally friendly and cost-effective solution over time.
  • Electric Heat Pumps

How They Work: Electric heat pumps extract heat from the air and transfer it to the pool water. They function efficiently in moderate climates where the air temperature remains above 50°F.


  • Energy Efficient: Heat pumps are highly efficient, converting electricity into heat effectively.
  • Consistent Performance: They can maintain a steady pool temperature regardless of weather conditions, as long as the air temperature is suitable.
  • Moderate Installation Cost: The installation cost is generally lower than solar heaters and comparable to gas heaters.


  • Dependent on Air Temperature: Their efficiency decreases in colder weather, making them less suitable for very cold climates.
  • Electricity Costs: Operating costs can be high if electricity rates are steep in your area.

Best For

  • Pool owners in regions with mild to moderate climates looking for an efficient and reliable heating solution.
  • Gas Heaters

How They Work: Gas heaters burn propane or natural gas to generate heat. Water is circulated through the heater, warmed by the burning gas, and then returned to the pool.


  • Quick Heating: Gas heaters can raise the water temperature quickly, making them ideal for occasional use or rapidly heating the pool for a special event.
  • Not Weather Dependent: They work efficiently in any weather, providing consistent heat regardless of the ambient temperature.
  • Lower Initial Cost: Typically, gas heaters have a lower upfront cost compared to solar heaters.


  • Operating Costs: Gas heaters can be expensive to operate due to the cost of propane or natural gas.
  • Environmental Impact: Burning fossil fuels releases emissions, making them less environmentally friendly.
  • Maintenance: They require regular maintenance to keep them running efficiently.

Best For

  • Pool owners who need a fast heating solution and don’t mind the higher operational costs or environmental impact.

Making Your Decision

When choosing the best pool heater for your above ground pool, consider the following factors:

  • Climate: Solar heaters and electric heat pumps are better suited for milder climates, while gas heaters perform well in any weather.
  • Budget: Consider both the initial installation cost and ongoing operating expenses.
  • Environmental Impact: If being eco-friendly is important to you, solar heaters are the best choice.
  • Usage Patterns: For frequent use, an electric heat pump may be cost-effective, while gas heaters are ideal for occasional, rapid heating.

Final Words

Selecting the best pool heater for your above ground pool depends on your specific needs, climate, and budget. Solar heaters offer long-term savings and environmental benefits, electric heat pumps provide consistent heating with moderate costs, and gas heaters deliver rapid heating at a higher operational cost. By evaluating these factors, you can choose the ideal heater to keep your pool comfortable and extend your swimming season. Happy swimming!