Going swimming is a great way to beat the heat on a hot summer day, but if you love to swim and you want to extend your swimming season by a few more months, you’re going to need a pool heater.
When it comes to pool heaters, there are several different types; propane, natural gas, electric resistance heaters, pool heat pumps, and solar heaters.
The different types of pool heaters all have their pros and cons and we’re going to share some information about each type so you’ll know what to look for when shopping for a pool heater.
Pool Heater Reviews
Low NOx 400,000 BTU Natural Gas Residential Pool and Spa Heater
The Hayward H400FDN Universal H-Series Natural Gas Residential Pool and Spa Heater is our number one pick. It’s more expensive than the other heaters we’re going to look at on this page, but it is a reliable and efficient heater that is getting great reviews from customers.
The Hayward Pool and Spa Heater uses a state-of-the-art finn plate heat exchanger made from cupro nickel. This material makes the heat exchanger incredibly durable and long-lasting, even in high flow or salt-based water conditions.
This heater also uses a forced draft combustion system that moves air through the combustion chamber at a very precise flow rate. This helps to eliminate any outside whether variables that would otherwise affect the heating performance.
If it’s windy or cold outside on a particular day, the Hayward Pool and Spa Heater will still work very efficiently.
Some of the customers who left reviews online for the Hayward Universal H-Series Pool and Spa Heater said that they were a little nervous because this was the biggest purchase they have ever made online.
However, after receiving the heater they were pleased with how well it worked and they were very happy with their purchase.
Some customers are saying that they hired someone to install the heater for them and having someone else install it can be pretty expensive. Other customers said that they installed the heater themselves and it was pretty easy using the included instructions.
A lot of people are also talking about how well this heater works to heat up their pools and spas. One customer said that they have a pool that is 18 x 32 x 5 feet and they are able to raise the water temperature one degree per hour.
Another customer said that they use this heater for a 500 gallon inground spa and they are able to heat the water from 70° to 98° in about 25 minutes.
According to our research, the Hayward Universal H-Series Natural Gas Pool and Spa Heater is a durable, efficient heater and it is getting great reviews from customers. Because of that, it is our top pick.
High Performance Eco-Friendly Pool Heater, Natural Gas, 400,000 BTU
The Pentair 460736 MasterTemp High Performance Eco-Friendly Pool Heater is a 400,000 BTU heater and it comes in a little cheaper than the Hayward heater. This heater is also fast and efficient and its designed to be safe, durable, and easy to use.
The Pentair MasterTemp Pool Heater has a rugged exterior and you can easily adjust the temperature with the digital control panel. It also has user-friendly indicator lights to make operating this heater as easy as possible.
The exterior of this heater is made from a composite material that is rustproof and can handle not only the heat that the unit itself produces, but also any weather conditions that mother nature can throw at it.
The Pentair 460736 MasterTemp High Performance Eco-Friendly Pool Heater is getting good reviews from customers online, but there were some negative reviews. Many of the negative reviews however came from people who said that the heater was damaged during shipping.
Reviews like that don’t reflect on the quality of the product itself so during our research we tried to find pros and cons and we found that most people were very happy with this heater.
Of course whenever you buy a big ticket item that is shipped to you, it’s a good idea to open up the packaging and inspect the item before you sign off on the delivery.
Most customers are saying that the Pentair MasterTemp Pool Heater is a very good heater for the price. One customer said that their pool technician is the one who recommended this heater to him because he said that they are easy to work on and parts are readily available.
Another customer said that he was surprised at some of the negative reviews he saw online. He said that he has been in the pool industry for a long time and that this particular heater has a reputation for being one of the best on the market.
There was also a review from one customer who said that the Pentair MasterTemp Pool Heater is the best pool/spa heater money can buy.
He said that it is more efficient than any other heater he has ever used and he has owned several over the years. It’s an efficient, dependable heater at a price that is tough to beat.
Low NOx 100,000 BTU Natural Gas Residential Pool and Spa Heater
The Hayward H100ID1 H-Series 100,000 BTU Residential Pool and Spa Heater is a more budget friendly option. However, unlike the Hayward and Pentair heaters, which are 400,000 BTU units, this heater is only a 100,000 BTU unit.
It’s designed primarily for spas or small swimming pools that are under 450 square feet.
The Hayward H100ID1 H-Series Pool and Spa Heater uses a one-piece copper heat exchanger that will provide you with years of reliable service. It also features jet ported eugenox burners that are designed not only for durability, but also easy maintenance.
Other features include an electronic ignition system and induced draft technology that helps this pool heater work perfectly under any weather conditions.
The Hayward H100ID1 H-Series 100,000 BTU Pool and Spa Heater is also getting great reviews from customers online. Several customers said that they used this heater to heat above ground swimming pools.
One person in particular said that they have an 18 x 36 x 52″ above ground pool and they can get the water “nice and toasty.”
A number of customers also commented on the longevity of this heater. One person said that they just recently got rid of their pool after nine years and they used the Hayward H100ID1 H-Series Heater for the entire nine years that they had their pool.
Another customer said that they finally purchased another Hayward H100ID1 H-Series Heater to replace the one that they had been using for 12 years. During the last two years, they had to put some money into repairs, but it ran flawlessly for 10 years and this customer was very satisfied with that.
If you have a small pool, or a good sized hot tub and you need a heater that is reliable, efficient, and affordable, the Hayward H100ID1 H-Series 100,000 BTU Pool and Spa Heater would be a good choice.
The Smartpool WWS601P Sunheater Solar Pool Heater is another budget friendly option with a price tag of just over $200. Of course one unit is probably not enough to heat even the smallest pool, so you may need to buy three or four of them.
Still, even buying multiple units will save you a lot of money when you compare that to spending $1500 to $2000 or more for a propane or natural gas pool heater.
Each Smartpool Sunheater package comes with 80 ft.² of solar panels. The panels are easy to install and only require a few simple tools. The Smartpool Sunheater features a direct flow system with one header hole for each heating tube.
Water is passed through the heating tubes using your existing pool pump and as water passes through the tubes, the sun heats the water before it is reintroduced to your pool.
The Smartpool WWS601P Sunheater Solar Pool Heater is getting great reviews from customers online. A number of customers said that using this solar pool heater, they were able to extend their swimming season by about two months.
One customer said that he has an 18 x 36′ pool that holds about 26,000 gallons of water. He bought three boxes of these solar panels and during the first day the temperature of his pool went from 70° to 77° by sundown.
Another customer said that their pool was 76° one day, and 80° the next day using this solar heater. This person also said that their solar heater does not get direct sunlight all day long.
They get about 5 to 5 1/2 hours of sunlight per day, but that was enough to significantly raise the temperature of the water in the pool.
Many customers are leaving similar reviews saying that the Smartpool WWS601P Sunheater Solar Pool Heater is easy to install, raises the temperature of their pool very effectively, and extends their swimming season.
According to our research the Smartpool Sunheater is an affordable, effective, and environmentally friendly way to heat your pool.
Different Types Of Pool Heaters
Gas Pool Heaters
If you have natural gas service to your house, a natural gas pool heater would be an option. If you don’t have natural gas service, a liquid propane heater would be an alternative.
One of the main benefits of gas pool heaters is that they are a lot less expensive to purchase than an electric heat pump or a solar heating system. An electric heat pump my cost anywhere from $3000 to $5000 whereas a gas pool heater will be somewhere in the neighborhood of $1500.
A gas pool heater will also be less expensive to install than an electric heat pump. Having a professional install your gas pool heater will run you approximately $300 to $500 and that includes all labor and materials. Installation for electric heat pump can be 2 to 3 times that price.
Another benefit of gas pool heaters is that they work really well. You can raise the temperature of your pool by several degrees fairly quickly depending on the size of your heater.
Now for the drawbacks. Although gas pool heaters are effective and they are cheaper to purchase and install, the operating costs for gas pool heaters is substantially more than that of an electric heat pump.
Prices of natural gas, propane, and electricity fluctuate regularly, but on average it will cost 4 to 5 times more to heat your pool with a gas pool heater than with an electric heat pump.
Electric Pool Heaters
When it comes to electric pool heaters you have two options; electric resistance heaters, or heat pumps. Like gas heaters, electric resistance heaters are relatively inexpensive to purchase, but that’s where the similarities end.
The operating costs for electric resistance heaters can be quite expensive. Installation can be expensive as well because heavy duty wiring and large amperage circuit breakers are required.
Heat pumps are expensive to install but they are very inexpensive to operate. The monthly operating costs of heat pumps will generally be between $50 and $150.
Heat pumps work by taking heat from the ambient air and transferring that heat to the water which is why they are so energy efficient. A heat pumps energy efficiency is also the reason why this type of heater has become so popular in recent years.
Of course, there are drawbacks to this type of pool heater as well. In addition to being considerably more expensive to purchase and install, this type of heater works best when it is already warm outside.
During cooler weather, when you need to heat your pool more, it will take a lot longer to heat the pool and you may not even be able to get it up to your desired temperature.
Solar Pool Heaters
Solar pool heaters harness the energy from the sun to heat the water from your pool. This makes them very environmentally friendly and because energy from the sun is free, there is virtually no monthly operating costs with this type of heater.
Although this type of pool heater is very inexpensive to operate, one of the drawbacks is that they are somewhat expensive to purchase and install. Another obvious drawback is that if the sun is not shining brightly, you won’t be able to heat your pool very efficiently.
Choosing the Right Pool Heater
Choosing the pool heater that’s going to be best for you depends on a number of different factors. You’ll have to decide if you want to invest a little more money up front for savings in the long run in the form of lower monthly operating costs, or if you want to save money on the initial purchase and installation, you’ll have to be willing to pay a little more each month to operate the heater.
Your location and climate will also be a big factor in deciding what type of pool heater to buy. If you live in a cooler climate that doesn’t get a lot of sunshine, solar pool heaters and electric heat pumps won’t be the best choice. You’ll have to use an electric resistance heater or a gas heater.
Getting the Right Size Pool Heater
Pool heaters are designed to be able to heat a certain number of gallons per hour. To make sure you’re getting a pool heater that is the right size for your pool, you have to know approximately how many gallons of water your pool holds.
If you already know this, you’re ahead of the game. If you don’t know what the capacity of your pool is, some measurements and simple math will help you get the answer.
Start by figuring out the average depth of your pool. Measure the depth of the shallow end, measure the depth of the deep end, add these numbers together and then divide by two to get the average depth of your pool.
Take this number and then multiply it by the width of the pool and then multiply that figure by the length of the pool. This will give you the volume of your pool in cubic feet. Finally, take that figure and multiply it by 7.5 because there are 7.5 gallons of water in a cubic foot.
Sure, it takes a little bit of effort, but figuring out how many gallons your pool holds is not terribly difficult.
With all of this information in mind it’s time to start doing some comparison shopping. First decide which type of pool heater would be best, then go online and start comparing features, specifications, and pricing.
With a little bit of research, you will be able to find the best heater at the best price.
Shopping online also allows you to quickly research customer reviews to help you make your purchasing decision. If you can find a pool heater that is the right type of heater, at the right price, and is also getting great reviews from customers, then you’ve found the right pool heater for you.
Hayward H400FDN Universal H-Series Residential Pool and Spa Heater
Hayward H400FDN Universal H-Series Residential Pool and Spa Heater