Solar covers are a necessity for keeping your pool temperature regulated, and help keep debris out of your pool. There are so many types of covers to get though, so which one should you get? The answer to that depends on your preference and price range, as the different varieties of cover have different strengths.
This is a handy chart we at PoolSupplies.com have created to help pool owners searching for solar covers.
What does this all mean though? Here’s some definitions:
Mil – A mil is a standard unit of measurement used in solar covers which each mil is one-thousandth of an inch.
Style – This is what we call the 9 different solar covers we sell, each one having different qualities.
We rate each kind of cover on a one to six star scale in the three most important categories (after mil), with six being the best at the quality measured. These are:
Longevity – How the manufacturer’s warranty holds up with the life of the solar cover. This gives a relative scale as to how long your solar cover will last before needing replacement and the likelihood that a manufacturers warranty will cover a replacement.
Heat Retention – The covers’ ability to cut water evaporation and the effectiveness of reducing heat loss at night. This helps your pool stay warm once it’s already warm, and lessens the amount of water you have to add to keep your pool level.
Heat Production – How effective the cover is at allowing the sun’s rays to penetrate into the water and to what depth during the day. If what’s most important to you is to heat your pool to a comfortable temperature quickly, this is the category you should be most interested in.
Pool Cover Size – This isn’t listed as a quality of a solar cover, but in some ways it’s the most important one! Solar covers should be the same size and shape of your pool, as a too large cover won’t contact the water enough to heat it up properly, a too small cover won’t be as effective at its job as it could be, and a misshapen cover will have both problems.
This chart gives some rules of thumb for buying the right solar cover, but let’s cover some more details.
If you look at the chart closely, you’ll see that mil is most important to the heat retention of your pool. Our 8 Mil Standard Blue solar cover has less heat retention compared to our 12 mil and 16 mil covers, but it has the best value out of any cover for the price-conscious consumer. 12 mil solar covers are our most popular mil, being in between the thinner 8 mil and the heavy-duty 16 mil. When choosing which mil your cover will be, the higher the mil, the greater the thickness and therefore, weight. A 16 mil cover is substantially heavier than a 12 mil and especially a 8 mil, so check the weight limit on the solar reel you use before purchase. You don’t want to bend your reel because the solar cover weighs too much!
Longevity and Heat Production
When you want to make your pool go from cold to warm, the thing to look for in solar covers is bubble size. The larger the bubbles are compared to the space in between them, the faster and warmer the pool will heat up. For example, our 12 Mil Supreme Solar Cover has round bubbles with plenty of space in between them. While quite good at heat retention, it is not nearly as effective as our 12 Mil Clear Diamond Solar Cover at heat production. Any cover with diamond-shaped bubbles will be better at creating heat in the pool due to minimal space between those bubbles. A side effect of this ability, though, is decreased longevity. The water that collects between the spaces will degrade the pool cover over time, and the increased number of bubbles doesn’t allow the water to run off like round-bubbled covers. So with solar covers, as with life, there is always a tradeoff.