The 5 Most Efficient Pool Solar Panels on the Market in 2020

Most Efficient Pool Solar Panels
Most Efficient Pool Solar Panels

Pools are a great addition to a home. They are typically the center of events and bring much joy to homeowners and friends. Along with joy, it also brings a hefty price tag. Many homeowners prefer to heat their pool to avoid icy cold water. Heating a pool can cost a homeowner up to an average of $600 per month. This comes to an annual average of $7,200, a steep price that many homeowners cannot or do not want to pay.

There are cost-effective alternatives to heating a pool that will not put a large dent in your bank account. Utilizing solar-powered panels is the best way to save money while maintaining the ideal water temperature all-year long. Many homeowners think of solar panels and picture a large, solar panel array on the top of a building. These are used to save money on electricity by generating its own electric current. The property owner can even sell power back to the grid with this method. Luckily, there are different types of solar panels that can be utilized for many things. Solar panels for pools are specifically designed for the purpose of raising the water’s temperature.

How the Solar Heating Systems Work?

A pool solar panel does not generate any electricity and will only serve its intended purpose of heating pools. The energy collected from the sun in a pool solar panel is heat in lieu of electricity, also known as solar thermal. Most solar heating systems have four components: a solar collector, filter, pump, and flow control valve.

The average system works by pumping water out of the pool using the pool pump and pushing it through the filter and solar panels (solar collector). The water is heated when it goes through the panels with heat transferring from the pipes. The warmed water is then returned to the pool. Systems will also either have an automatic or manual valve that diverts water through the panels.

The Best Pool Solar Panels

There are a lot of different pool heating systems on the market involving solar panels. Not every system is created equal and can produce desirable results. The best pool solar panels are durable, long-lasting, and versatile. Below are top-of-the-line solar heating systems that give you bang for your buck.

The SmartPool Sunheater Solar Heating System is a do-it-yourself kit that is suitable for inground and above ground pools. The parts are constructed out of polypropylene, a highly durable material known for its longevity. Once the solar panel heating system is installed, it only needs less than a day to effectively warm the water by at least ten degrees. The Smartpool works is recommended for inground pools but can work for an above ground pool just as well. The SmartPool Sunheater can connect to any existing pool pump, making installation a bit easier for the homeowner.

Most Efficient Pool Solar Panels

Price

$289

Product Dimensions

4 feet wide x 20 feet long panel array (80 sq. feet)

Pros

  • Raises water temperature by 15 degrees fahrenheit
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    Environmentally friendly
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    Has a direct-flow design
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    Contains interchangeable connectors
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    Low-cost to operate

Cons

  • Larger panel size
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    Slightly difficult installation
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    Installation kit is required but sold separately

The Fafco Solar Bear Heating System contains a single strip of solar paneling that works to heat above ground pools. Fafco has been heating pools using solar panels since 1972. The panel has two-inch, oversized headers that do not hinder the flow of water and ensure efficient heat transfer. The panel is made from UV stabilized polyethylene that will last in direct sunlight for several years.

The Fafco system has an integral bypass valve which allows for manual shut-off whenever desired. It also includes two, six-foot-long hoses and four clamps for easy installation. The panel can be mounted to a nearby roof, onto a rack, or on the ground. The system’s durability, longevity, and effectiveness is what makes one of homeowners’ favorites.

Most Efficient Pool Solar Panels

Price

$399

Product Dimensions

4 feet wide, 20 feet long single panel

Pros

  • Comes with a ten year warranty from the manufacturer
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    Has a UV-resistant design
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    Contains no connectors or couplings for an easy and quick installment
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    Environmentally friendly
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    From a reputable company

Cons

  • Takes up a large amount of space- not suitable for small yards
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    Tube leaks have been known to occur

The Heliocol Swimming Pool Solar Heating Panel uses state-of-the-art technology to deliver optimum results. The solar panel has a patented over-molded design that provides durability that is unmatched by other manufacturers. With proper care the Heliocol can last a lifetime for homeowners. Heliocol has been revolutionizing solar pool heating since 1977.

Almost all components of the heating system are developed and patented by Heliocol. Their plastic polymer clamps are a better alternative to rubber hoses and metal clamps, which will degrade and rust over time. Their solar panels can be used for both inground or above ground swimming pools. The panels are versatile and can be installed on ground racks, fences, and rooftops.

Most Efficient Pool Solar Panels

Price

Around $800

Product Dimensions

1 foot in width, 9.5 feet in length panels

Pros

  • Has an individual tube design
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    Tubes contain an open design to resist high winds
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    Panels have a one-piece, unibody construction
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    Has a strapless mounting system using patented Heliocol gator clamps to allow the panel to expand and contract
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    Maintenance free
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    Replacement panels available
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    Highly reputable manufacturer
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    Is known for its industry-leading heating efficiency
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    Environmentally friendly

Cons

  • Larger pools may require additional paneling

The Universal Pool Solar Heating System is another top-notch solar panel heating system from SmartPool. It is one of the best pool solar panels on the market that can be purchased in a box. The installation is not complex and homeowners can have their solar heating system up and running in little time. The panels effectively heat both inground and above ground pools. The system is also compatible with all pool pumps, making it versatile and easy for any homeowner to use.

The panel is constructed with lightweight, black polyolefin. Combined with the SmartPool patented tube design, the panels produce excellent heat transference to effectively warm the water by several degrees. The versatility, durability, and dependability of the SmartPool Universal Pool Solar Heating System come together to make it one of the best on the market.

Most Efficient Pool Solar Panels

Price

Under $365

Product Dimensions

Two panels that are four feet wide and 20 feet long

Pros

  • Are easy to install by the homeowner
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    Has universal pool pump compatibility
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    Direct flow design helps to efficiently warm water
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    Has patented tube construction
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    Comes with a mounting kit, diverter valve kit, pipe adapters, and end caps
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    Environmentally friendly
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    Increases water temperature up to ten degrees fahrenheit
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    Contains two-inch OD headers

Cons

  • Is large and needs plenty of ground or roof space
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    Provides passive warmth and not a large temperature increase

The SUNHEATER Solar Heating Universal System is a highly effective system that warms water by up to 15 degrees fahrenheit. The SUNHEATER connects to any existing pool pump, but unlike some of the other featured solar panels, a homeowner may want help from a professional to install the system. Suitable for both inground and above ground pools, this system has a tube design that effectively heats the water before returning it back to the pool. It can heat the water by a several degrees in just the first day.

Most Efficient Pool Solar Panels

Price

$125

Product Dimensions

Two feet in width, ten feet in length

Pros

  • Raises water temperatures by 10-15 degrees fahrenheit
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    Direct flow system for effective heat transference
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    Is adaptable with interchangeable connectors
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    Panel is lightweight and easy to maneuver
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    Environmentally friendly
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    Gentle enough to be used against soft-side pools such as Intex
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    Comes with an installation kit and a set of soft-side pool adapters

Cons

  • Not for homes with a lack of yard or roof space
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    May be difficult to install to some
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    Larger pools may need additional panels

How to Choose the Right Solar Panels

The type of solar panel heating system purchased should reflect a few different factors. The size of pool the homeowner has, the space they have available for solar panels, the amount of sunlight available in their region, and the level of efficiency they need all need to be taken into account. Properly researching the various systems available on the market will ensure the right solar pool heating system is purchased.

Solar panels are mostly effective if they have unobstructed sunlight during the sunniest time of the day. This is between 10am and 5pm. Even on cloudy days the solar panel collects the heat from the sun. This allows the system to effectively warm pool water when the pump is turned on during the peak hours of sunlight. Most quality solar heating systems will also diffuse solar energy as well, so a homeowner does not need to live in a constantly sunny region to effectively heat their pool with solar thermal.

The general rule of thumb is to choose solar panels that are 50% less than the surface area of the pool. If the homeowner’s climate is typically cooler and overcast, the solar panels will likely need to cover more surface area in order to effectively warm the pool. Installing solar panels also have to abide by the homeowner’s local codes and regulations. Always check with local municipality about installing solar panels to ensure no violations take place. Remembering the few factors to look into will lead to a warmer pool in no time.

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