Pool covers have several different functions, ranging from protecting the pool in the winter to keeping children and pets safe around the water. There are several types of pool covers on the market, each with advantages and disadvantages. Knowing how they work can help you choose the best option for your pool. Whether you have an above ground or inground pool, there’s a cover out there to fit your needs.
But, with so many choices on the market, it can be hard to narrow down the best pool cover for your backyard. Today, we’ll take a look at the best pool covers on the market across a variety of different styles and sizes.
Our Top Picks for Pool Covers
Below are a ton of details on our top 6 picks for the best pool covers on the market today.
Blue Wave Bronze 8-Year Round Above Ground Pool Winter Cover
⭐ Best for Above Ground Pools
The Bronze Series cover from Blue Wave is an ideal solution for those looking for an affordable and effective solution for protecting their pool all winter. This cover is simple but still has a selection of high-end features that are usually only found in more expensive covers.
This cover is for 15-foot round pools, but it has a 19-foot circumference, which helps provide additional coverage. Many other affordable covers only have a 3-foot overlap on the sides, which adds more stress to the cover and makes it more likely for the cover to rip during the winter. With a 4-foot overlap, less stress is placed over the cover, allowing for longer life.
Both the skrim and waterproof coating are made from rugged and durable polyethylene with heat-sealed seams, so this pool cover will be able to stand up to the worst that winter can dish out. This pool cover is also treated with a UV-protector to prevent fading or premature wear from the sun beating down on the cover.
The underside of the cover is a dark black color, which helps to retard algae growth, which can be a significant headache when you reopen your pool in the summer. Thanks to this algae inhibitor, you should be greeted each summer by crystal clear water when you remove your pool’s winter cover.
- Pool size: 15 feet
- Cover size: 19 feet
- Protects against sun, snow, ice and wind
- 4 foot overlap to ensure there is no stretching or ripping
- Pool size: 15 feet round
- 19-foot circumference
- Polyethylene skrim and coating
- Black underside to inhibit algae growth
- 3-year warranty
- Extended size prevents excess stress and ripping
- Built to last through the season
- Will only last a season or two in rougher environments
Blue Wave Bronze 8-Year Rectangular Inground Pool Winter Cover
⭐ Most Affordable Inground Cover
Thankfully, Blue Wave’s affordable Bronze series covers aren’t just available for above ground pools. Bronze series covers are also available in a variety of sizes and configurations for inground pools as well.
This cover is designed for 20×40-foot pools, but they also make a variety of different sizes for smaller and larger configurations. Like other Bronze series covers, this option features a polyethylene scrim and coating and heat-sealed seams for added durability. A UV protective coating helps protect the cover from the effects of the sun.
At the sides of the cover are loops every four feet for securing the cover with water tubes. There are also metal grommets at each corner to tie the cover down. This navy blue cover features a jet black underside, which helps inhibit algae growth.
This cover carries an impressive 8-year warranty. However, judging by the material quality and the comments of online reviewers, there’s no way this cover will last that long. But, for the price, it’s a reliable solution that should provide you with one or two seasons of use.
- Pool size: 20 feet x 40 feet
- Cover size: 25 feet x 45 feet
- Number of 8 feet water tubes needed: 16
- Protects against sun, snow, ice and wind
- 5 foot overlap to ensure there is no stretching or ripping
- For 20×40 foot pools (actual size 25×45’)
- Polyethylene scrim and coating
- Black underside to inhibit algae growth
- 8-year warranty
- Easy to install
- Prevents algae growth
- Not super durable
- Difficult to redeem the warranty
Sun2Solar Blue Rectangle Solar Cover
⭐ Best Solar Pool Cover
Solar covers are an ingenious way to keep your pool warm and inviting all summer. These covers are also quite practical considering how expensive it is to install a heater in your pool. Thankfully, solar covers warm your pool with a little help from the sun, and there’s no cost associated with them beyond the initial price of buying the cover.
This cover fits 16×32-foot pools, and there are a few feet of overlap on either side so you can trim it to fit your pool. You can also trim the cover to fit custom-shaped pools as well. Sun2Solar makes this cover in seemingly endless configurations, so you’ll be able to find an ideal cover regardless of the size or shape of your pool. However, if you’re struggling to find the right configuration and really only care about heating your pool, a liquid solar cover might be a better option.
Once installed, the cover takes the UV rays from the sun and transfers that heat into the pool. The cover helps the pool to retain its temperature while it heats the water, and it also helps to slow evaporation by as much as 95%. Thanks to its ability to reduce evaporation, this cover is ideal for people who live in drought-stricken areas where water comes at a premium.
The cover itself is made from a durable and flexible resin material, and it’s available in blue and clear configurations. Regardless of the cover you choose, it will also do a great job of keeping leaves, dirt, and other organic debris from entering your pool.
- ATTRACTIVE BLUE DESIGN - Sun2Solar solar blankets are made from a film of thousands of tiny bubbles, which work together to collect and retain heat...
- MINIMIZE WATER EVAPORATION - The use of a solar cover helps in preventing up to 95% of pool water evaporation. When not enjoying a refreshing swim,...
- JUMP INTO WARMTH - Show friends and family your bravery by jumping in without the standard toe dip. Enter the swimming pool confidently knowing the...
- HEAT RETENTION - After everyone has called it a day with wrinkled fingers from too much fun in the sun, make sure to place this solar cover back atop...
- TRIM TO FIT - Your pool may be uniquely shaped and getting the right fit is as easy as finding a marker and sharp pair of scissors. Have the bubbles...
- For 16×32 pools (2-4’ of overlap on each side)
- Resin construction
- Available in blue and clear
- 8-year warranty
- Keeps your pool warm and comfortable
- Keeps debris out of your pool
- Trimmable for custom pools
- Bubbles start to fail after a few seasons
Happybuy Pool Safety Cover
⭐ Most Durable
For inground pool owners who haven’t been satisfied with lighter-duty covers, which never seem to last as long as the manufacturer claims, this safety cover from Happybuy may be an ideal situation. This heavy-duty cover is built for years of enjoyment, and it’s still more affordable than most covers of this quality.
This cover is made from rugged and thick polypropylene, which should provide year after year of reliability. The material is also porous, so rain and precipitation can make it through the cover, instead of pooling. This cover is heavy and protective enough to allow children and pets to walk across without risking danger.
This safety cover includes installation tools along with the tension springs and bolts you’ll need to attach it to your pool securely.
Overall, this is an excellent cover at an affordable price. But, there isn’t any warranty information available for this product, so it’s safe to assume you’re on your own should anything go wrong with your cover. If you’re looking for peace of mind, you may be better served with a more expensive option.
- Fits a 16 x 30 Ft Pool: Pool Cover Size: 18 x 32 ft; Suitable Pool Size: 16 x 30 ft. The actual cover size is 2ft larger than the ordered pool size,...
- High Strength PP Material: This in-ground pool cover is made of soft and tough polypropylene, aging-resistant, and abrasion-resistant. Double-strapped...
- Complete Hardware Included: The pool cover comes with brass anchors, stainless-steel springs, and installation tools for easy assembly. Drill and tamp...
- Children & Pets Care: Because of the solid tensile characteristic, this swimming pool cover can effectively prevent children, domestic animals, and...
- Tight Mesh Design: Our pool cover adopts tight mesh construction, allowing water to pass through for effective drainage. Moreover, it can also...
- For 16×30 foot pools
- Polypropylene construction
- Includes mounting hardware
- Thick and durable
- Easy to install
- No warranty information available
- Could use more straps to secure the cover to pool
Robelle 352040R Super Winter Pool Cover
⭐ Best for Mild Winters
Robelle is one of the most reputable names in the industry, and their covers are a wise choice for anyone looking for the utmost in protection and reliability.
The Super cover is made from durable polyethylene that weighs in at nearly 2.4 ounces per yard squared. This cover has a lengthy 10-year warranty, so you’ll have peace of mind should your cover fail.
The top side of this cover is a vibrant blue color, while the underside is a dark black to inhibit algae growth. Attaching the cover to your pool is a breeze, and there are water bag loops every four feet to keep the cover secured, while steel grommets at each corner add another layer of security.
- Winter pool cover to be used with in-ground swimming pools
- Solid material will not let water pass through
- Pool Size: 20 x 40 Foot Rectangle - Cover Size: 25 x 45 Feet (includes overlap in total)
- Heavy-duty 8 x 8 scrim
- Heavy-duty polyethylene weighs 2.36 oz./yd2
- For 20×40 foot inground pools (5-foot overlap)
- Polyethylene construction
- 7×7 scrim
- 10-year warranty
- Easy to install
- Inhibits algae growth
- Heavy-duty welded seams
- Not as durable as Robelle’s more expensive covers
Loop Loc Ultra Loc-Solid
⭐ Best for Large Pools
Loop Loc is the most trusted name in pool covers, and their Loc-Solid line of covers is ideal for anyone who needs to protect their inground pool during the winter months.
This cover is designed for 20×40 inground pools and provides 2-feet of overlap to ensure you have the excess material you need for a perfect installation. A drainage section in the center of the cover helps prevent pooling water to extend your cover’s life. This cover uses Loop Loc’s new Ultra-Loc II polypropylene material which is vinyl-free, and exceptionally durable despite its light weight.
All mounting hardware is included for a flawless and secure installation on any size pool. For custom shapes or sizes, you can contact Loop-Loc directly, and they’ll be able to get you a custom solution specially designed for your pool.
- Fits Inground Pools 20' x 40'
- All Hardware included for cement install
- Ultra Loc Solid with Drains Rectangle
- Actual Cover Size is 22' x 42'
- NO STEPS - STRAIGHT RECTANGLE
- For 20×40 inground pools (2-foot overlap)
- Ultra-Loc II polypropylene construction
- 15-year warranty
- Unmatched durability
- Better material quality than competitors
- Impressive warranty
Recap: The Best Pool Covers
- Blue Wave Bronze 8-Year Round Above Ground Pool Winter Cover: Best for above ground pools
- Blue Wave Bronze 8-Year Rectangular In Ground Pool Winter Cover: Most affordable inground cover
- Sun2Solar Blue Rectangle Solar Cover: Best solar pool cover
- Happybuy Pool Safety Cover: Most durable
- Robelle 352040R Super Winter Pool Cover: Best for mild winters
- Loop Loc Ultra Loc-Solid: Best for large pools
Our Research Criteria
When evaluating the best pool covers, there are a few different criteria we use to determine whether or not a given product is worthy of inclusion as one of the best pool covers. These are the specific criteria we use to evaluate the best options.
Type of Cover
There are a few different types of pool covers that you can choose from.
Made of a tarp-like material, standard covers are held in place using water or sand bags for weights. They are cheap and generally do a good job of keeping leaves and debris out of the pool. The cost of a standard cover is relatively low, ranging from under a hundred dollars to several hundred dollars, but they do not last as long as other options.
Standard pool covers do not hold a lot of weight. This has two major disadvantages: people or animals who walk or fall on the cover will wind up in the water, and a pump is required in order to keep water weight from caving in the cover. If enough snow piles up on a standard cover, it may slide into the pool. Standard covers are the only type of pool cover that do not increase safety by preventing animals or people from falling in.
There is a mesh version of the standard cover. It has either fine or super-fine holes in it to allow water to slowly drain through. This eliminates the need to use a pump on the surface of the cover.
Many people do not employ standard covers because their appearance is not ideal – some might even call them ugly. However, they are a quick and economical option in the short term for people on a budget. In the long term, other options may be less expensive when the cost is prorated over the life of the cover.
Safety or Security Covers
There are two basic types of security covers: mesh and solid. They are attached to anchors in the concrete around the pool and have a sort of trampoline-like appearance. Both types of security covers do a good job of keeping out leaves and debris. Security covers are probably the most popular pool cover for inground pool owners. They are more expensive than standard covers but typically perform better. The security covers themselves usually cost between one and three thousand dollars, but solid covers require additional expenses in the form of a pump.
Security covers protect children and pets from falling in the pool. When properly installed, people can walk on them without falling in. This can be an important consideration for people who have small children or pets.
Mesh covers do not require a pump, but they do let rainfall and runoff into the water. This can mean a cloudy pool that requires a few days of work to clear up when opening the pool in the spring. Snow does pile up on these covers, but they can hold a lot of weight and when it melts, it passes right through. Mesh covers can last up to fifteen years.
Solid covers keep the water in the pool clear and ready for use. However, they require a pump to remove rainfall and runoff from the surface. These pumps typically only last a couple of years because of the extreme weather that they work in, although the cover itself may last ten years. When the cost of the pump and bi-annual replacements is considered, solid security covers become significantly more expensive than mesh ones.
The advantages of automatic covers are that they require little effort to use and they keep unwanted guests, animals, leaves, and debris out of the pool. In some states, automatic pool covers are considered acceptable safety barriers and pools with them may not be required to have a fence.
Automatic pool covers are great solar covers. This can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on the outside temperature. During hot weather, they may cause the pool to get too warm, but during cooler weather, they help reduce heat loss.
Unsurprisingly, automatic covers are expensive. They also have lots of moving parts that can break and wear out, which increases the cost of the pool cover itself, and the cost of maintaining them. It is easy to spend several thousand dollars on the cover every few years due to the need to replace the vinyl material and other parts. Given that they cost $2,000 to $4,000 initially (some more expensive), the expense can be a major issue. However, they last significantly longer than safety or security covers, giving you about 5 years of use (on average) before replacing, versus only 1-2 years for cheaper security covers.
Automatic covers are not actually meant to function as winter covers, although they may do that in areas with little or no snow. While they can hold a couple thousand pounds, they cannot hold up to a snow load. This means that in areas where it snows a fair amount, they will need to be replaced by another type of cover during the winter or you will want to regularly remove snow from your pool cover. In areas where heavy snow only happens occasionally, they may be opened if a storm is expected. However, this risks the cover pulling free and caving in if the upcoming snow load is misjudged.
Why Not to Use a General Tarp
All-purpose tarps are sometimes used for swimming pool covers, but they typically do not do a very good job. They are more difficult to set up, do not stay in place properly, and tend to have more issues with water pooling on top. If your budget is not very large, consider a standard pool cover, or a DIY pool cover.
The biggest concern when shopping for a pool cover is its durability, which is a matter of the material it’s constructed with. Durable materials like polypropylene are best, and they generally provide many years of use and enjoyment. While it’s tempting to opt for a low-cost model, these are usually made from low-quality materials that won’t last very long. Granted, you still have to maintain your pool cover throughout the winter regardless of what material it is made of. For more on that subject, read my guide on how to cover your pool for the winter.
The warranty is another critical consideration to make when shopping for a pool cover. Some pool covers don’t come with a warranty at all; others offer a warranty of only a year. Meanwhile, the best pool covers provide a warranty for 8-10 years or longer.
While a warranty may be something you can overlook on a cheap cover you only need to last for a season or two, you’ll want to pay close attention to the warranty if you’re looking for a cover that will last for many years.
Ease of Installation
Closing the pool each year is something most of us dread. So, you must select a cover that you can quickly and easily install at the end of the season. Of course, it should be equally as easy for you to remove and store the cover when the summer arrives again.
The best pool covers make it easy to install and remove them, so you can focus more on summer fun and less on the headaches associated with installing or removing your pool cover.
Most people will need to hire a professional to install an automatic cover. To install a security cover, you will need to drill holes in the concrete around your pool and place anchors. Once the anchors are positioned, the cover is attached with springs.
Standard covers are designed to float on the water with the edges coming up over the sides of the pool. They are held in place with water bags. No other type of weight should be used because if it were pulled into the pool, it could damage the lining. Above-ground pool covers are placed over the top of the pool and then cinched into position with cables.
Pool owners that have already gone through a cover or two already know how critical quality service is. While most manufacturers back their covers with a warranty, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy to redeem the warranty. The best pool cover manufacturers make it easy for you to get a prorated replacement should anything go wrong.
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