Pool Heater Reviews Consumer Report: 10 Best Rated Picks

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A pool heater is an incredible machine that allows you to have fun in the pool even during winters. Pool heaters can work with both in-ground and above-ground swimming pools, but when it comes to buying a pool heater, things can be very tricky. Reason being, the colossal amount of options that are available on the market.

With pool heaters installed in your swimming pool, you have the ability to extend your swimming season. You get to experience a different kind of fun while swimming in a pool filled with hot water. If you are itching to get a pool heater for your in-house swimming pool, then I have got a few interesting options for you, which you can find in pool heater reviews consumer report. So, without any further ado, let’s start with unbiased and accurate reviews of the 10 best pool heaters.

Reviews Of 10 Best Pool Heaters Consumer Report

1. Hayward W3HP21004T Pool Heat Pump

Best Pool Heater Reviews Consumer Reports

If you’re looking for a power-packed pool heater, which does its task quietly, then this is the unit to go for. It comes with an acoustic compressor cover along with a scroll compressor connected with profiled fan blades, which decreases the noise and wind resistance to deliver quiet operation.

The evaporator fin has been carved out of a high-quality material, which is resistant to corrosion. Such a feature allows users living in coastal or tropical areas to consider this product because of its low impact from salt and water. To ensure maximum heat transfer, the company has added a titanium heat exchanger into this pool heater. With a tremendous heat output of 95,000 BTU and sturdy design, this pool heater is meant to keep your pool warm for years to come. With three different sizes available, you can buy the one you think will suit your requirements the best.

2. Raypak RAY-014941 Digital Natural Gas Pool Heater

Best Pool Heater Reviews Consumer Reports

Raypak is an incredible brand with many high-quality products and RAY-014941 Digital Natural Gas Pool Heater is one of them. The pool heater features a high-quality Cupro-nickel fin tube, which is capable of withstanding harsh water conditions such as high flow, low pH or heavy use. Then, there are Capron resin headers, which don’t let rust to accumulate on the unit, thus keeping the pool clean as well. The unit keeps the water temperature above 105 degrees Fahrenheit, thanks to its Unitherm Governor.

As far as the thermal efficiency of the pool heater is concerned, then that is above 83%. A digital control LCD has been integrated into the unit for selecting the heater settings and temperature. You can monitor the operating status with the help of a diagnostic readout, which is integrated into the smart microprocessor. Making connections in this pool heater is quite easy, thanks to PVC 2-inch threaded union.

3. SmartPool S240U SunHeater Solar Pool Heating System

Best Pool Heater Reviews Consumer Reports

This is a smart pool heating system, which incorporates a polypropylene heat collector to keep the pool warm and welcoming. The pool heater comes with two threaded elbow adapters using, which you can turn on the device. Installing this solar heater is anything but difficult, as the company provides an instruction manual in English, French and Spanish.

When it comes to the accessories, then you will find 4 stainless steel hose clamps, a roll of Teflon tape, four end caps, solar pill, and robber connector hose, which make installation quick and easy. One of the notable features in this unit is that the flow system for each heating up has a header hole, which helps heat up the water much quicker than any other pool heater. Buy this pool heater to believe its efficiency.

4. Hayward HP50TA HeatPro Titanium 50,000 BTU Heat Pump

Best Pool Heater Reviews Consumer Reports

Hayward HP50TA Heat Pump has a heat output of just 50,000 BTUs, yet it is being rated as one of the most amazing pool heaters. The unit is capable of heating a large pool having a capacity of 15,000-gallon to 85 degrees in just two days. As far as the energy efficiency is concerned, then you can expect it around to be 84%, which is on the higher side compared to other pool heaters with the same build, features and performance.   

Despite being an expensive buy compared to gas pool heaters with higher BTU outputs, you can expect it to cover its high costs as soon as you begin to use it. The pool heater is made up of a durable polypropylene exterior and is equipped with a titanium heat exchanger, ultra-gold evaporator coil and digital LED controls. As a result, you can set the exact temperature of the pool water.

5. Sta-Rite SR400LP MaxETherm Pool Heater

Best Pool Heater Reviews Consumer Reports

If you are scouting for a pool heater, which quickly heats up a small to the medium-sized pool. The pool heater is equipped with Max-E-Therm technology, which is what delivers fast and efficient heat to the pool. Along with that, the pool heater features PMG burner technology, which along with temperature safety lockout enables you to use it without an outdoor draft hood as well. This is one of the lightest models on the list with having a weight of around 138 lbs. The pool heater can be easily fitted with the existing system. The product has been rated quite high for its energy efficiency, as it touches 84%.

With a rust-proof design and ability to withstand all kinds of weather conditions, you can’t expect a better pool heater than this. Installing this pool heater is a breeze, and once you’re done installing it, you can set the controls effortlessly, thanks to its 6-position control panel, dual thermostat controls and LED temperature readout. The inclusion of PVC union connections help in easy installation of the unit. The large digital display that this unit comes with indicator lights as well, which doesn’t just let you easily control the unit, but troubleshoot as well. The only drawback in the unit is that you need to get it installed by a professional, which will add up to your costs.

6. Pentair 460736 MasterTemp High-Performance Eco-Friendly Pool Heater 

Best Pool Heater Reviews Consumer Reports

Now, check this one heck of a pool heater, which has an energy output of 400,000 BTUs, but that’s not the only interesting thing about the product. It is not as pricier as you would think it is. So, you are getting a highly efficient and durable product at a price that you can easily pay.

Sporting a rugged exterior made up of composite material, it will be able to ward off the rust and effects of harsh weather conditions. As far as adjusting the temperature is concerned, then that can be done quite easily with the help of its digital control panel. It is also equipped with indicator lights to allow you to use the pool heater rather easily. The unit has been certified for low nitrogen oxide emissions, which makes it an environment-friendly unit as well.

7. Hayward H150FDP Pool & Spa Heater

Pool Heater Reviews Consumer Reports

The compact and elegant design of this pool heater will definitely grab your attention and make you go for it. The standard cupro-nickel heat exchanger is perfect for quick and efficient heating. The heater comprises of a polymer header and a bypass valve design that enhances hydraulic efficiency of it.

Despite being a gas heater, it won’t harm the environment as much as one would think, plus the NOx emissions are also way less than any other pool heater. The power capacity of the pool heater is 150,000 BTUs, which is good enough to heat a medium-sized in-ground swimming pool or a large aboveground swimming pool.

Moreover, setting up this pool heater is a breeze, so you may not require a helping hand from a professional. However, you must cover your pool when it is not in use to avoid loss of heat or water evaporation. The only drawback of the unit is that it produces noise during operation.

8. Hayward H400FDN Pool & Spa Heater

Pool Heater Reviews Consumer Reports

When it comes to the most famous pool heater brand, Hayward comes right at the top. There are many models manufactured by Hayward in all these years, but H-Series is among the most advanced and efficient pool heaters. This standard cupro-nickel heat exchanger provides fast and efficient heating of the water. The polymer header of the pool heater has a unique design and therefore, been patented by the company.

The polymer header of the pool heater is such uniquely designed that the company has patented it. The header when combined with the bypass valve enhances the hydraulic efficiency of the pool heater. This pool heater is all about power and performance, but at the same time, it is highly environment-friendly with low NOx emissions. This is a 400,000 BTU pool heater, which makes it a highly powerful unit, so you can expect it to heat up a 20,000-40,000 gallon swimming pool in a quick time. This pool heater is ideal for those who live in an area where the sun doesn’t come too often.

While heating the water in the pool, it is important to cover the pool with a solar bubble cover or else you are going to lose a lot of heat and water from evaporation. To raise the temperature from 45 degrees to 80 degrees, the pool heater is going to take 12 to 18 hours. The only drawback of this heater is that it’s quite loud, especially during the night.

9. Fafco Solar Bear Economy Heating System

Pool Heater Reviews Consumer Reports

This pool heater is specifically made for above-ground swimming pools, as the solar heating panels that come along with the system can be attached to the side, top or bottom of the swimming pool. The pool pump will then push the cool water through the heating system, which will result in hot water pouring out from the other side, into the swimming pool.

During sunny days, this heating system can easily increase the temperature of the water by 10 degrees. Each panel produces 80,000 BTUs of energy to heat up the pool, so you can buy the panels as per that equation. However, it is not easy to install the system on the roof, plus you may require some extra parts during the installation process.

10. Smartpool S601P SunHeater Solar Heating System

Pool Heater Reviews Consumer Reports

This is an excellent solar pool heating system for in-ground swimming pools. You can install the panels on the roof or near the swimming pool, and let them absorb the sun’s heat, which will heat up the water. That water will be transferred to the swimming pool through a dedicated pipe.

You just need to make sure that the pump connected to the panels, so that the water can be passed through the piping and back into the swimming pool. On a bright sunny day, the system will heat up the water rather quickly. During odd weather conditions, you can simply cover the panels, as there is no need to uninstall them.

You can install the panels horizontally as well as vertically, as those will work both ways. The only drawback in the system is that you will have to get the installation kit separately, which may increase your budget, as the whole system isn’t that cheap as well.

Types of Pool Heaters

Gas Pool Heaters

A gas pool heater is ideal for those who have got a natural gas connection at home. If the natural gas connection is not there, then a liquid propane heater would do the job perfectly.

Gas pool heaters are economical compared to other types of pool heaters. A gas pool heater enables you to raise the pool temperature by several degrees in a short amount of time depending upon the size of the heater and pool. You may be able to save on purchasing and installation, but the operating cost for a gas pool heater is going to be way more than other types of pool heaters.

Electric Pool Heaters

Electric pool heaters are further divided into two types; heat pumps and electric resistance heaters. Heat pumps are quite expensive initially, but their running cost is very inexpensive.  The operation of heat pumps is extremely easy to understand, as the heat pump takes heat from ambient air and then, that heat is transferred to the water.

The whole process is simple and economical. However, a heat pump is only effective when the temperature is slightly warm outside. In cold weather conditions, it will take a lot of time for the entire pool to heat up. Then comes electric resistance heaters, which are not as expensive as heat pumps, but the installation is on the expensive side because heavy-duty wires and large amperage circuit breakers are used to install the unit.

Solar Pool Heaters

From the name itself, it is clear that these pool heaters will harness the energy from the almighty Sun to heat up your swimming pool. If you are looking for an economical and eco-friendly pool heater, then go for a solar pool heater. Only the initial cost of the pool heater is high whereas the running cost is hardly anything.

What To Consider When Buying A Pool Heater?

The decision to buy a pool heater should not be taken casually because if you get hold of a wrong product, then you will regret it for a long-long period. So, consider the following factors before buying a pool heater.

Size Of Pool Heater

The size of pool heaters is measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units). How much should be the BTUs of the pool heater depends upon the surface area of the swimming pool and the gallons of water in the pool. The higher the BTUs, the faster will be the heating time of swimming pool.

Heating Time

How much time a pool heater is taking to heat up the entire water in the pool depends upon the type of pool heater you’ve invested in. Where electric heaters take the minimum time to heat up the pool, solar heaters take a lot.

Budget

It all boils down to the budget eventually. So, outline a budget and then, begin scouring the web for a pool heater. Gas heaters are the cheapest, with the range starting from $1500 and solar panels, on the other hand, are on the expensive side, with the range starting from $4000. You should also take installation cost, running, and maintenance cost into the consideration while investing in a pool heater.

Type Of Swimming Pool

Swimming pools come in two types, aboveground and in-ground. A pool heater that works well for the above-ground pool may or may not work as efficiently for an in-ground pool, as the size and connection ports vary. So, do proper research as to which pool heater would suit your swimming pool.

Size & Shape Of Swimming Pool

The size of your swimming pool will play a major role in deciding as to how powerful of a pool heater you require. Large pools take a lot of time to heat, especially with solar pool heaters in place. Moreover, the shape of the pool should also be taken into consideration because the type of heater you want for your pool may or may not work as efficiently as other pool heaters.

Weather Conditions

The decision of a pool heater depends a lot on the local weather conditions. For instance, if you live in a city where it rains a lot or remains overcast for most of the year, then you can’t go for a solar heater, as they only operate when the sun is shining brightly in the sky.

Wrapping Up

A pool heater is, in fact, an integral part of the swimming pool setup besides a swimming pool cleaner. A pool heater extends your swimming season to autumn and winter as well. However, you need to zero in on the best pool heater, which you only can if you go through pool heater reviews consumer report. Take a look at the 10 pool heaters discussed above and pick the product that you think would work perfectly with your swimming pool