Updated: August 10, 2016
Pool Cover Reviews:
- What is a swimming pool cover?
- Benefits of using a pool cover
- How much do swimming pool covers cost? Which should I buy?
A home with a swimming pool is a great attraction during the hotter months of the year, but the responsibility that comes with a pool are many. The first thing any homeowner needs to think about if they have a pool is safety. When the pool is not in use or during the winter months, a good pool cover will provide the necessary protection from children falling in as well as keeping leaves and debris out and maintaining the water level and temperature.
Many people think swimming pool covers are only used as a safety device, but as you will find out below, there are many other reasons to put a pool cover on your swimming pool. A pool cover is a great investment so you can have piece of mind knowing that the pool is protected against kids, pets, and adults from falling in.
The monetary savings can add up as well over time if you regularly place the cover over the pool when it's not in use. Which type is best for you? We go into a generic buying guide of pool covers below with tips and benefits of each type.
The video below shows the basic functions of a pool cover so you know what to expect:
What to look for in a swimming pool cover?
There are generally 2 types of pool covers, those for in-ground swimming pools and above-ground pools. There are some pool covers which will fit on either type of pool. The majority of swimming pool covers are solid, but some are made with a fine mesh material to keep out debris (like leaves) and still allow rainwater in. Bubble-wrap style covers are excellent at heat retention.
The vast majority of pool owners say they often neglect to cover their pools because it's a hassle or they forget. If you happen to have a rectangular pool, then a reel system for storage is your best bet. They are easy to deploy and bring in within minutes as the cover rolls off the reel. If you are really lazy, then look into an automatic pool cover for your in-ground pool. You literally just push a button and the cover extends or retracts over the pool.
With smaller pools, there are simple strip covers you can place by hand on the surface of the water which will at least retain heat and keep debris out. A safety pool cover is recommended for any family with small children that may be around the pool and not always watched by adults. The best safety pool covers allow you to actually walk on top since they can support a lot of weight and not collapse.
Winter pool covers are best for families where everyone can swim and the cover is really only used in the off-season. The lightweight solar pool covers are easy to put on and off and work well at keeping your pool at a decent temperature for swimming. Pricing varies based on the material, size, and if the pool cover is automated.
The top brands are Aquamatic Cover Systems, Cover Pools, Latham, LOOP-LOC, Meyco, Doheny, and Feherguard. If you go online for reviews you will find some at Epinions (a touch old) and at Poolspaliving.com. We could not find any ratings from Consumer Reports to help with our findings. You can browse the top selling swimming pool covers online here.
Best Pool Cover:
In terms of safety, few pool covers can compete with the Loop Loc swimming pool covers. They make extremely safe covers for in-ground and above-ground pools and their LOOP LOC MESH is advertised as holding an elephant (a little one). Still, the product has a series of anchors around your pool that the cover attaches to. They make security fencing for pool areas as well and luxury liners. It's hard to put a "best" tag on any pool cover, but the LOOP LOC series are recognized as being some of the safest in the business (we feel safety should be your #1 priority). These types of covers are roughly $1000.
To check out how to use a pool cover as part of a complete swimming pool maintenance routine - click the image below to go to video.
Top Rated Automatic Swimming Pool Cover:
There are plenty of automatic pool covers on the market, but we repeatedly saw the Aquamatic cover systems listed on websites as top sellers. The HydraMatic Automatic Safety Pool Cover is a popular product and it can be suited to most pool configurations. The hydraulic power operates the pool cover and a built in "pressure relief valve" senses obstructions and will stop automatically if anything is in the way. The pool cover drive is "fully submersible" so drains and recess flooding don't hamper it's performance.
You get a 20 year warranty on the mechanism and 7 year limited warranty on the fabric. Automatic Pool Covers is another company that makes both top track and under track automatic pool covers. Their AutoGuard Top Track is a great solution for safety, keeping debris out of your pool, and the heat retained in the water. The real drawback to these types of covers is the price, which can range up to $7000. See an automatic pool cover here.
Manual Pool Cover:
Manual pool covers are a little more labor intensive than their automatic counterparts, but they are still a good value considering they give you much of the same benefits. Most automatic pool covers are safer than the manual types, but the manual covers still provide a shield to keep leaves and debris out. You also get good heat retention with solar reel covers. Many of the manual swimming pool covers have a reel (looks like a roll of carpet) at one end of the pool that slowly gets rolled out or rolled in.
Often the end of the cover that gets rolled out has a rope or loop attached to it so you can quickly pull out the cover and attach it at the other end of the pool. Normally not the most reliable for safety purposes, manual pool covers are best for families that have older children who can all swim and need it more for energy saving and debris blocking purposes. You hand crank many of the manual systems to let out the cover. They range in price from $200 to $350 depending on the size of your pool.
Solar Pool Cover:
Per the US Department of Energy and the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) department, an outdoor pool that gets heat from the sun absorbs about 75-85% of the solar energy that hits the waters surface. Therefore, you want to have your pool exposed to the sunlight in the daytime and have a cover over it in the evening to retain that heat.
There are some solar pool covers that have a bubble cover which will reduce solar energy absorption by about 5-15% but are still a good buy. Solar pool covers more often than not come in reel, or wheel, systems in which you roll them out over your pool. Costs are close to $200. RECOMMENDED - We suggest viewing all the top rated solar pool covers online here.
Above Ground Pool Cover:
Finding a good cover for your above ground pool can be a bit tricky. Many above-ground pools don't have the same areas around them to place a cover so you'll be hard fetched to get the right fit. Some will latch around the edges of the pool and secure fairly well, while others simply fold over the water surface.
Some of the "solar blankets" are similar to a hot tub cover (soft cover) that are cut to the exact shape of your above ground pool and fit nicely into the pool area. For safety purposes, you will want a canvas material cover that will attach to the sides of the above ground pool and not allow kids to open it without an adult around.
If you do you have decking around your above ground pool, your options are greatly increased as you can then buy a reel cover or better solar cover. A basic above gound solar cover (16 X 32 oval) runs about $100. Browse the most popular above ground pool covers here.
More videos and resources are here on our Pool Cover Resource Page.
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