A pool heater is one of the most important accessories you should invest in if you own a swimming pool. The job of the pool heater is to keep your pool water warm and comfortable so that you can enjoy a long & relaxing swimming session even during seasons that aren’t usually favorable for swimming. Even when the weather outside is cold, you could enjoy swimming in a warm pool if you have a heater that works as it should.

This is why it is a good idea to invest a bit of time and effort in deciding what is the best pool heater to suit your requirements. You will come across various types of pool heaters in the market. Some may be solar energy-powered while some may run on electricity. Some others may use gas while some may use pumps to heat your pool. Each of these different heaters offers unique benefits, so having a good understanding of the pros and cons of each one will help you make the best choice.

Getting the pool heater that suits your budget and pool requirements will avoid disappointments later on. In this article, we have listed the 10 best pool heaters in the market today. We have covered the best heaters in each of the categories so that it makes your decision-making process better and easier.

1. Different Types of Heaters

1.1. Solar Pool Heaters

If you are thinking about a solar pool heater for your pool, here are some important points that you have to keep in mind:

  • Solar panel installations cost a lot of money initially; however, you don’t have to pay anything toward operating or maintenance costs every month
  • Solar heaters take a long time to heat the pool, but they are ideal if you are looking for heaters that are eco-friendly and don’t require any maintenance
  • They help you to conserve energy as much as possible

1.2. Electric Pool Heaters

Electric Pool Heaters are the most commonly used heaters today. They run on electricity and here are some important points to remember while using them:

  • They don’t require a huge investment initially, but they result in huge costs every month, based on their power consumption and your hours of usage
  • You have to shell out a large sum towards operating/maintenance costs of these heaters every hear
  • They heat your pools very quickly
  • They consume a lot of energy and are not great options if you are looking for environment-safe heaters

1.3. Electric Pool Heat Pumps

These are the heaters that use a pump to derive the heat from the air or water to keep your water warm. Some important points to know while using them are:

  • Electric pool heat pumps are great options if you are looking for a durable heater; they last for years together
  • They take a longer time than electric heaters to heat the water in your pool
  • You don’t have to spend much towards monthly operating costs when you use these pump-based heaters

1.4. Propane Gas Pool Heaters

Gas Heaters are very rarely used these days because gas prices have been continuously rising in many places across the globe.  While the heater doesn’t cost you much to install and operate, you have to pay a lot of money for the gas that triggers the performance of the heater.

2. A list of the 9 best pool heaters is mentioned herewith:

2.1. Solar Heaters

2.1.1. SmartPool S240U Universal Sun Heater, 4 by 20-Feet
Overview

If you are looking for an affordable solar pool heater that gives you the flexibility to mount it the way you want for your big swimming pool, the SmartPool Above Ground Solar Bear Heating System is a good choice for you. This is one of the few solar heaters in the market that will help you customize the unit based on the heating needs of your pool. Here are some more details of this product that will explain to you why this heater is a decent buy.

Features

  • It comes with a 4 x 20 solar collector, which is quite large, a couple of 6ft. long hoses that have 1.5 inches diameter size, four clamps, and all the elements that you require to install the kit
  • Comes with a bypass valve as well that allows you to have control over the water that passes through the unit
  • Gives you the flexibility to mount in three different ways – against your pool’s side, on the ground, on a rack, or a roof near the pool
  • The pool gets heated the best when the solar panel is mounted in such a way that it is slightly tilted between 10 and 30 degrees to the South
  • Powered to increase your pool temperature by at least 10 degrees on a bright sunny day
  • A single panel comes with the power to produce 80000 BTUs (British Thermal Units) for your pool; therefore, you can buy as many or as few panels as you want, depending on your pool size
  • Comes with the useful feature of unobstructed sunlight between 10 AM and 4 PM, thereby providing optimum heating to your pool during this time

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Good pricepoint
  • Comes from the stables of SmartPool which has been in the business of heating swimming pools through solar panels for more than 4 decades now
  • Made from UV-stabilised polyethylene, which is very sturdy and built to last for many years
  • Comes with a detailed installation and user manual, which makes it easy for you to set up the unit easily
  • Comes with a manufacturer’s warranty of 10 years

Cons

  • Solar Bear Panels are quite huge; therefore, they take up considerable space
  • Some users noticed leaks in the tubes and panels quite often
  • While installation on the ground is quite easy, the same cannot be said when you are installing the panel on a roof

Bottom Line

The Heating System for Above Ground Pools from SmartPool is one of the lower-priced models when compared to its peers but it is a great choice. Most of you may be on the lookout for solar heaters due to budget constraints. If that is the case, we would recommend this model. However, that doesn’t mean that this product isn’t good enough.

This pool heater a great choice is under three circumstances – if you have a lot of space for installation if you do not mind some extra work with the solar panel installation, and if you don’t mind spending a little more for a better solar pool heater.
Check Price on Amazon

2.1.2. SunQuest Solar Swimming Pool Heater Complete System with Roof Kits
Overview

If you are looking for a versatile solar pool heater that can be used for in-ground as well as above-ground pools, the SunQuest Solar Swimming Pool Heater is a good choice for you. This system uses the optimum use of solar energy to generate consistent warmth in the pool waters so that you can enjoy an extended swimming session. The water flows through the high-quality solar panels that are very durable, thereby giving you a chance to enjoy the heat in your pool almost all through the year. Yes, this pool heater does require a huge investment, but here are some details of this unit that will tell you why the price is justified.

Features

  • Made from professional grade high-quality solar panels, which are built to last for many seasons and many years providing consistent heating to your pool water
  • Packed with superior technology that ensures that the panels make optimum use of the free solar energy in providing you luxurious warmth in your pool
  • The highly reliable heater comes as a complete kit with all the essentials you need for installation, thereby making it a breeze to install even for first-time pool users
  • Panels come with connectors so that they are compatible to be used with a 1.25” or 1.4” flexible hose
  • Comes with an additional connector that makes it possible for the heater to be used along with a 1.5 rigid pipe
  • Comes with Max Flow design technology with 2” OD headers to allow good water circulation and reduce your pool pump’s back pressure
  • Guaranteed heat increase by up to 10 degrees
  • It comes in various quantities of the dimension 2ft. X (you may choose from a pack of 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16 or 18 panels)

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Very easy to install as the unit comes as a complete kit
  • Very high quality and professional-grade solar panel that promises optimum use of solar energy and converting it to heat
  • One of the most consistent and reliable solar pool heaters in the market; you can enjoy the warm water in your pool consistently for many seasons

Cons

  • Quite steeply priced; a 4-pack solar panel kit can run into several hundred dollars
  • Need to spend extra on the piping essentials as it is not included in the kit

Bottom Line

The SunQuest Solar Swimming Pool Heater Complete System with Roof Kits is a pure delight if you are looking for a high-quality pool heater. It can be used for in-ground and above-ground pools, and it comes with an entire installation kit, making your job very easy. The main reason we are pleased with this product is the quality of its solar panels. The quality, durability, and reliability of these panels are top-notch, and you won’t find them in most of the other models in the industry today. If you can afford a significant initial investment, this is a great product for you as you wouldn’t have to pay much as part of its maintenance.
 Check Price on Amazon

2.1.3. SmartPool S601P SunHeater Solar Heating System for In-Ground Pool<
Overview

When you are looking for an effective, affordable, and durable solar pool heater for your large in-ground swimming pool, the SmartPool S601P SunHeater Solar Heating System seems to be the right choice. Made from sturdy materials, this heating unit makes use of solar energy to make the water warm when it is returned to your pool. Here are some features of this heater:

Features

  • The high-quality solar collector made from heavy-duty polypropylene that provides matchless heating to in-ground pools of various sizes
  • Direct Flow System ensures that each of the heating tubes has one header hole for better flow and circulation of water
  • Made from 80. feet of solar panels, which makes it quite effective in heating large-sized swimming pools
  • Guaranteed increase in temperature in your pool by up to 6 to 10 degrees F
  • Can be installed to perfection when you buy the SK21 Installation Kit (which is sold separately)
  • For pool sizes 15’ x 30’, you will need 2 of these heaters; for pool sizes 16’ x 36’, you will need 3 of them; for pool sizes 20’ x 40’, you will need 4 units – you will need to buy the SK21 Installation Kit anyway, irrespective of your pool size

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Quite affordably priced
  • Very durable as it lasts for many years
  • Effective heating with an increase in temperature of about 6 degrees F even on pools that are not directly exposed to the sunlight

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with an instruction manual and you have to invest in a separate installation kit to get the unit to start working
  • Not very easy to install even after following the instructions on the kit
  • Some users found that their pump started leaking after a few months of usage
  • Not easy to replace the difficult parts

Bottom Line

We always believe that when a product is designed for a purpose, it should be able to fulfill that purpose or at least come close to fulfilling it, without having to depend on any other product. We are not sure why a reputed company such as SmartPool would design a good-quality solar pool heater in the form of the S601P and then leave the users baffled when it comes to the installation part. Unfortunately, we wouldn’t recommend this product to you even though it is affordably priced because you will have to spend a lot of time, energy, and money in installing and getting the unit to start working in the first place!

Check Price on Amazon

2.2. Electric Pool Heaters

2.2.1. FibroPool FH055 In-Ground Swimming Pool Heater
Overview

When you are looking for an electric pool heater for your swimming pool, one of the first things that you should check is its energy consumption. You don’t want a heater that eats up into the monthly budget by generating exorbitant energy bills, do you? The FibroPool FH055 In-Ground Swimming Pool Heater is one such unit that is considered one of the most energy-efficient heaters in the market. Here are some features of this heater:

Features

  • Comes with a 100% Titanium Heat Exchanger, a robust rotary compressor from Mitsubishi, and sturdy exteriors made from enamel-coated steel; one of the most powerful designs that you will find in this price range
  • The electric heat pump does a great job of using the environment’s heat to provide warmth to your pool, thereby helping you conserve a lot of energy
  • Comes with a digital display and controller, which makes it easy to use the unit
  • Comes with piping that can be quickly disconnected, 1.5” PVC, and 17Amps Power

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Increases the heat by around 20 degrees on a 10000-gallon pool
  • Extremely energy efficient as it draws the environment’s heat to warm up the pool
  • Can be installed quite easily in about an hour, which helps you to get your pool up and running in very little time
  • Each unit gives out about 55kBTUs, which is more than enough for your medium to large-sized panel

Cons

  • Though the product is made in a slim-fit pattern, it is still quite huge and occupies a lot of space
  • Slightly overpriced compared to most of the other electric heaters that you find in the market today

Bottom Line

Being an electric pool heater, the FibroPool FH055 In-Ground Swimming Pool does a fabulous job in energy conservation.  It has been regarded as one of the top energy-efficient systems by the US Department of Energy. Yes, it does occupy a lot of space, and it costs a little more than a grand, but we feel that you should go for this heater if you have the space for the unit. The amount that you pay during purchase is the only huge investment that would be required of you.
 Check Price on Amazon
2.2.2. Ecosmart US Smart Pool 27-Electric Pool Heater

Overview

The Ecosmart US Smart Electric Pool Heater is a good choice for you if you are looking for a heater that uses the latest technology to heat the waters in your pool.  Are you somebody who loves to have the freedom to set the temperature for your pool water? If yes, here are some features that will tell you why this model is the perfect fit for your pool.

Features

  • Uses the latest sensor flow technology, thereby reducing all the risk of over-use of the machine
  • Guaranteed reliability, durability, and longevity of the unit
  • Comes with digital thermostat control, which allows you the flexibility of setting your pool temperature; you can use increments of 1 degree to set your desired temperature
  • Compatible to be used with an Ecosmart Remote Control, thus making your job easy and comfortable
  • Powerful enough to serve as a replacement for a booster or heat pump

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Very compact and occupies less space
  • Quite easy to install and get the unit to start working
  • Comes with Flow Activation Technology, which guarantees you maximum performance while heating your pool water
  • Up to 5 to 10 degrees increases in temperature can be noted, when you use this heater
  • Makes your job very easy as you just have to set the temperature on the digital control and watch the unit do the rest of the job
  • Comes with a 2-year warranty
  • Great fit for small to medium-sized pools that can hold up to 15000 gallons of water

Cons

  • Not very energy-efficient; you will notice a huge increase in your power bills when you start using this pool heater
  • Customer service is not very effective
  • The unit is prone to rust after a few months of usage

Bottom Line

The EcoSmart Smart Pool 27 Electric Tankless Pool Heater did make some tall claims when it was launched. We were impressed when we heard the terms flow activation technology and the latest flow sensor technology being used in the unit. However, in reality, we feel that the heater is a huge letdown. It is priced at less than a grand, and it is natural for us to expect it to honor its claims. Unfortunately, it doesn’t. There are some issues when you set the temperature and to top it all, it consumes a lot of energy, leaving you with a huge electricity bill! We wouldn’t recommend this heater for you if you aim to save money on your heating unit.
Check Price on Amazon

2.3. Electric Pool Heat Pumps

2.3.1. Pentair 460934 Ultra-Temp 140High-Performance Pool Heat Pump
Overview

Pentair is one of the leading names in the field of manufacturing swimming pool accessories. It has managed to create a niche for itself, thanks to its high-quality products that provide value for money to the users. The Pentair 460934 Ultra-Temp 140 High-Performance Pool Heat Pump is no exception to this rule. Yes, electric pool heat pumps are costlier than their electric counterparts, but there is a reason why they are overpriced. Here is why we feel that this pump from Pentair justifies its price.

Features

  • The heat exchanger is made from 100% Titanium made from corrosion-free elements, which speaks volumes about the durability and longevity of the unit
  • Technologically sophisticated Emerson Copeland Scroll compressors ensure that this heater does its job of heating the pool quickly
  • Comes with a user-friendly LCD on its front panel, which makes it easy for you to set the temperatures to your preference
  • In-built with self-diagnostic software that monitors the unit for peak performance and helps it to deliver high performance at all times, without any hassles
  • Comes with TXV (Thermostatic Expansion Valve) controls that help the unit to perform to its maximum efficiency and give out anywhere between 50000 and 75000BTUs
  • Unit is made from safe refrigerants, EPA-approved, and eco-friendly
  • Comes with an automatic defrost feature that maintains the refrigerant temperature always and avoids instances of freezing

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Comes with a 10-year warranty on compressor parts and a lifetime warranty on the titanium exchanger, which gives you enough reasons to try it
  • Packed with technological features that improve the performance of your heater and give optimum warmth to your pool water all through the year
  • One of the sturdiest and eco-friendly units available in this price range; therefore, you don’t have to be worried about spending a lot on maintenance or machine breakdowns

Cons

  • Will set you back around a few grants; therefore, may not be affordable for many people

Bottom Line

We only have one simple recommendation for you regarding this unit – if you can afford it for your pool, then go for it because it is a great unit and worth every penny that you invest in it, if not, it may be a good idea to look for a less costly option.
Check Price on Amazon
2.3.2. Hayward HP21404T HeatPro Titanium Heat Pump, Square

Overview

If you are looking for a pool heater that lasts for many years and delivers consistent pool heating for those years, the HP21404T HeatPro Titanium Heat Pump from Hayward is a good choice. The best part about this heater is that it is available in many sizes based on its BTU output. Currently, this heater is available in sizes of 110,000 BTU, 120,000 BTU, and 140,000 BTU. Here are some details about this heater:

Features

  • Comes with an ultra-gold evaporator fin that is resistant to all types of corrosion, which makes this heater durable and reliable
  • The evaporator coil is well-protected by a polyethylene coil that helps the unit to maintain peak efficiency at all times
  • Made from high-quality titanium, which promises you optimum warmth to your pool and efficiency at all times
  • The exteriors of the heater are made from injection-molded UV-resistant panels, which improve the longevity of the unit
  • Resistant to dust, corrosion, and all types of wear and tear
  • Comes with heavy-duty, acoustic scroll compressors that deliver noiseless performance and uniform airflow, thanks to the unit’s profiled fan blade feature

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Comes from the highly-respected and reputed brand of Hayward which has been in this business for over 8 decades
  • Comes in various sizes to give you the flexibility to choose the one that suits your pool needs
  • Delivers peak performance by heating your pool efficiently at all times, irrespective of the temperature outside
  • Considered as one of the sturdiest and long-lasting models in this price range

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with an owner’s manual, which makes installation and usage a little challenging initially
  • Customer care department of Hayward is not very helpful when it comes to replacing broken parts

Bottom Line

While the HP21404T HeatPro Titanium Heat Pump is a very reliable, durable, and efficient unit, we cannot deny the fact that it is priced at around four grand for a heater that has an output of 140,000 units. If you can afford this cost, you can go for it.
 Check Price on Amazon

2.4. Natural Gas Heaters

2.4.1. Hayward H400FDN Universal H-Series Pool and Spa Heater, Natural Gas, Low NOx

Overview

Natural gas heaters that meet or go beyond the air quality emission standards in your particular locality are a great choice for you because they help you to enjoy the best of both worlds that way – the comfort of using high-performance gas heaters without any guilt of damaging your environment. When you invest in the high-quality H-Series H400FDN Pool and Spa Heater from Hayward, you will experience this delight that we have just spoken about. Why? Read on these features to get a better understanding of this product:

Features

  • Comes with Cupro Nickel State of the Art Finn Plate Heat Exchanger – a feature that you will find only in the heaters manufactured by Hayward; this ensures that the heater exchangers remain durable and strong even when the water quality is low
  • Header equipped with premium and patented polymer; this helps to improve the overall hydraulic performance of the unit and protects it from the effects of corrosion and wear & tear
  • Equipped with a Forced Draft Combustion System which ensures that air moves at a consistent flow rate, thereby reducing the risk caused by the fluctuations in the outside temperature
  • Comes with an LED Digital Control Panel, which is easy to read and control; you can set the temperatures, and automatic on/off timings easily

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • High performance and reliability are guaranteed at all times, thanks to the cupronickel heat exchangers and patented polymer header design
  • Comes from the reputed brand of Hayward which has been a well-respected name for over 8 decades in this field
  • Great for heating pools and hot tubs, as it is easy to install
  • Comes in various sizes to suit your pool heating needs; available in sizes that produce 150,000BTU, 200,000BTU, 250,000BTU, 300,000BTU, 350,000BTU, 400,000BTU and 500,000BTU
  • Low NOx emissions, which makes it one of the most eco-friendly gas heaters in the market today

Cons

  • Priced on the higher side; you have to invest around two grand for a 400,000BTU unit
  • Makes a lot of noise when it is in operation
  • Some users noticed that their touch-screen LED digital panel became non-functional after a few months of usage

Bottom Line

Normally natural gas heaters emit a lot of toxic chemicals into the air and bring down the air quality to a great extent. However, with the Hayward H400FDN Universal H-Series Low NOx Natural Gas Residential Pool and Spa Heater, you will not face this issue. This is because the unit is powered by low Nitrogen Oxide emissions and meets the air quality standards. Also, the exteriors and interiors of this unit are made of heavy-duty materials, which make it very durable and long-lasting. Yes, you have to pay a lot initially, but the unit gives you good returns over many years. Therefore, we would recommend this unit for your residential pool or spa.
Check Price on Amazon
2.4.2. Pentair 460736 MasterTemp High-Performance Eco-Friendly Pool Heater, Natural Gas

Overview

Are you looking for a natural gas pool heater that is eco-friendly as well? Do you want your heater to come in different sizes so that you have the flexibility to pick the one that suits your pool size? If yes, the MasterTemp High-Performance Eco-Friendly Pool Natural Gas Pool Heater from Pentair is the right choice for you. Here are some details of this unit:

Features

  • Comes in various sizes (175K BTU, 200K BTU, 250K ASME, 250K BTU, 300K BTU, 400K ASME, 400K HD, and 400K BTU
  • Comes with easy to view, rotating digital display feature that gives you ultimate ease and comfort while operating the heater
  • Comes with a Cupro-Nickel heat exchanger that protects the unit from all corrosion
  • Contains a sturdy exterior made from rust-proof and weather-resistant materials which improve the longevity of the unit by helping it combat all external disturbances with ease
  • Comes with a pack of safety-first features such as a water pressure switch (to prevent over-burdening of the pump), high limit switch (to check if water exceeds the prescribed temperature levels), manual gas shut-off (to switch off manually when required), and stack flue sensor ( to protect the unit from over-heating)
  • Comes with 2” PVC Slip unions and is compatible with 120V or 240V

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Powered with low Nitrogen Oxide Emissions, which helps you improve the quality of the air and environment around you
  • The very durable unit that lasts for many years
  • Comes in various sizes to suit your pool requirements

Cons

  • Requires a huge investment from you (a 400K BTU costs you around two grand)
  • Trouble-shooting the unit is a huge challenge
  • The customer service department was not very helpful

Bottom Line

While the Pentair 460736 MasterTemp High-Performance Eco-Friendly Pool Heater is a good unit, what we found is that many people noticed broken parts that arrived when they ordered online. This is because the internal chamber of this unit is quite heavy and it is likely to damage or break the other parts during shipping. When you are about to spend over $2000 on your pool heater, you should take enough care that you also get it delivered to you properly, isn’t it? For this very reason, we don’t recommend you to buy this heater online. Yes, the unit is great, but only when you buy it from your nearest retail unit.

Check Price on Amazon