Best Above Ground Pool Heater Reviews [August 2017]

Do you urgently need to get the best above ground pool heater but scared of making a wrong choice?

Well, yes,  we have a fair idea of what your fears are because we have been there. As the winter fast approaches the need to get your pool all-set becomes even more critical.

Trying to pick a pool heater for your swimming sessions could be a real hard nut to crack sometimes.

Still, it’s not an impossible task once you know what to locate in your search. This review will guide you through a recommended list of above ground pool heaters and what’s in it for you!

Best Above Ground Pool Heater 2017

Product Name Type Material Price ($$$) Our Ratings
Hayward pool heater Gas & propane Gas chamber $$$ 4.5/5
Pentair pool heater Natural Gas Gas chamber $$$ 4/5
Fafco Solar bear Pool Heater Solar Solar panel $$ 4.5/5
Game 4512 SolarPro XD1 Solar Solar panel $$ 4/5
EcoSmart US 27 Electric Electrical $$ 3/5
Blue wave solar blanket Solar Solar blanket $$ 4.5


Category of Above Ground Pool Heaters

No doubt there are a variety of pool heaters to choose from. They also come in various makes, designs, sizes and more. So, in locating the above ground pool heater of choice there are several categories to choose from. But here are four key categories:

1. Electric Pool Heater

Heat pumps are quite popular due to their operations and efficacy. Electric pool heaters are of two types. You have the electric resistant heaters and the heat pump.

The heat pumps directly transport heat from the air chamber in the form of energy to the water to make it warm.

Electric pool heating system works best in areas where the temperature is above 45 degrees.


  • Relatively cheap to purchase.
  • Perfect choice for areas with poor solar access.



  • High installation cost for resistance heaters and heat pumps.
  • A higher cost of operation for resistance heaters.
  • Low cost of operations for heat pumps.
  • Heat pumps only works better when it is warm and not in cold weather.
  • Energy or power consumption is high at 220volts.

2. Solar pool Heater

The solar pool heater is quite a unique one. Its mode of operation involves passing water through a solar energy chamber. The water is then channelled through pipes which serves are solar collectors and then heated by sunlight. Once the heating process gets to an appreciable degree it is further passed to the pool, heated through the filtration pump.

The solar pool heating systems could be expensive based on your choice. The major drawback is that you must have direct access to sunlight to function effectively. Solar pool heating saves you cost since it does not require electricity to operate. Also, it is free and eco-friendly so it protects society from harm.


3. About Solar Pool Cover

Solar pool covers can also be referred to as solar blankets or bubble covers. Solar pool covers can serve as complements in helping to trap as much heat into your pool always. No pool heater, whether electric, gas or solar can trap enough heat within a short time into your pool. The solar pool cover therefore provides an opportunity to help achieve faster pool heating. Some users combine the solar cover with others category, others stick to using only the covers.

Solar covers once placed on a pool’s surface helps trap as much heat into the pool but most times up to 20 degrees in a week. The bubbles contained in the covers serve as retention chambers and then dispels the heat into the pool.

Most solar covers are made from polypropylene, closed-cell foam or plastic and a sanitization system. Solar covers use UV light and other thermal as well as electric heater/ solar panels to create energy and transfer to the pool achieving up to 104 degrees.

4. Natural Gas Pool Heater

The Natural gas or propane water heater allows you to work freely. Liquid propane heaters can serve as an alternative to a natural gas heater. You can place your gas chamber at a location where it’s most convenience since it is an above ground pool heater. Since it uses natural gas, it helps for speedy operations, creating the needed heat to warm up the pool.


  • Gas pool heaters are far cheaper to purchase than electric or solar heaters.
  • Far cheaper to install than electric or solar heaters.
  • Work far better
  • It’s easier to increase temperature quickly without notice.


  • Operating costs is far higher over time.
  • Gas is more expensive with greater price fluctuations.


5. Wood Pool Heater

The wood pool heating system is gradually losing its popularity. It works by heating timber in a closed chamber with heated water flowing through a pipeline to keep the pool warm. It requires constant checks and adding of firewood to keep the pool warm.


Solar Pool Heaters for Above Ground Pools

1. Fafco Solar Bear pool heater

The Fafco solar bear heating system is an advanced heating system that depends on access to sunlight for optimal performance. Unhindered access to sunlight from 10a.m to 4p.m and tilting 10 to 30 degrees to the south should guarantee peak performance.


To get better access to sunlight the 4ft x 20ft extra-large solar collector circulates water through the heated pool pump. In simple terms, water gets into one side of the pool pump and comes out at the other end and into the swimming pool. All these makes the Fafco one of the best above ground pool solar heater in the market.


To install you will need to mount the solar system on the ground or a rack or roof to attract enough sunlight.

And Fafco management offers you a 10-year warranty as a sign of their confidence about your purchase.



  • Very easy to install.
  • One of the largest above ground pool heater.
  • Very pocket-friendly price.
  • Heats up to 10 degrees.
  • Very durable and efficient.


  • User complaints of defective issues.
  • Might require technical assistance.
  • Consumes space.
  • Requires scheduled maintenance.


2. GAME 4512 SolarPro XD1 Solar Pool Heater

The Game 4512 solar Pro pool heater can heat up as much as 8,000 gallons of water for your swimming needs. So go green with this solar based panel, requiring no gas or electrical connection to deliver high precision pool heating performance.

It comes with an adapter that’s compatible a variety of pool heating system.  The water gets up to 5 degrees Fahrenheit within a space of one week for an average 8,000 gallons pool.


Because the pool heater works using solar-system, it helps save cost from the use of electricity or gas as well as the ecosystem.


  • Connects up to 2 pools
  • Easy to install.
  • Compatible with different pools
  • Most pocket-friendly heating pool.


  • Relatively short hose.
  • User complaints of product defects.



Propane or Gas Pool Heater

3. Hayward Universal H-Series pool heater

Hayward offers decades of experience in the heating and pool business, providing excellent services as always. It comes in series ranging from 150,000 – 500,000 BTU and at different capacities.


The Hayward is just perfect and environmentally friendly emitting less noise in line with air quality standards.

It uses the Cupro nickel heat exchanger to guarantee a high-quality and reliable heater for above ground pools to industry standard.


Armed with a new technology that combines both electric, gas and water connections the Hayward offers hydraulic-solution to your pool heating needs.

It’s a light weight modern design compatible with both new and existing pool heating needs. With the front digital panel, it allows you to regulate heat temperature to suit the season all year round.


  • Energy saving up to 18%
  • 3-in-1 heating systems
  • Perfect for residential pools and spa.
  • Safe and easy to use
  • User-friendly LED control
  • Heats pool quite fast


  • User-complains of a defective control panel.
  • Still noisy.



4. Pentair 460736 MasterTemp High-Performance Pool Heater

The Pentair pool heater offers a broad range of pool heating system for your pool needs. The Pentair high-quality heater runs on natural gas with a technological system that guarantees low emissions with an anti-rust body.

The Pentair manual shut-off system is uniquely designed to aid smooth operations when heating service is required. At least that caters for any obstruction to operations as some have experienced with other pool heating systems.

Added to the above is the mechanical heat pressure switch and stack flue sensor to avoid overheating.


  • Sleek exterior designs
  • Easy viewing rotating digital displays
  • Suitable for pools and spa
  • Electronic ignition systems
  • Noiseless heater
  • Indicator light for easy regulations
  • Pre-mixed air and gas system for faster heating
  • Precision in digital thermostat


  • Temperature only works when the heat pump is running.
  • Difficulty connecting water supply due to vertical plumbing


Electric Pool Heater

5. EcoSmart US Smart Electric Pool 27 Heater

The EcoSmart electric pool heater is an innovative concept in pool heating business. It offers both comfort and class in the same package. With the EcoSmart electric pool heater no worries about gas or propane or solar installation as total dependence is on electricity.


The smart option of a remote control helps to regulate the temperature as is necessary. The easy to use digital dial makes it a lot faster to get your pool heated up and ready to use.


The remote control serves as a booster point to the heat pump and it can get to 5 to 10 degree Fahrenheit. The heating system is well regulated as the thermostat helps ensure no fluctuations of heat temperature.

The EcoSmart 27 is the biggest of three options all work using the most advanced flow technology instead of switch activation to reduce risks of getting burnt. It can heat up for 15,000 gallons.


  • Compact and easy to install.
  • Fast and reliable heating system.
  • Remote control systems


  • It uses a lot of power.
  • Customer complaints on defective issues.
  • Needs 200Amps main breaker to work properly.


Solar Blanket Pool Heaters

6. Blue Wave 33-Feet Round Solar Blanket

The Blue-Wave Solar blanket surely stands out of the crowd for an above ground pool heater solar system. Blue-Wave Solar comes in a variety of sizes but at a relatively cheaper rate than the Natural Gas, electric or other solar pool heaters.


The Blue wave is a transparent sheet made from a 12” thick gauge that allows direct contact with the sun’s rays. It possesses the ability to absorb and retain heat due to the thermal bubbles thereby raising the temperature of the pool water.


The blue wave pool water heater is an inexpensive way to enjoy a warm swimming experience and backed by a 5-year warranty.


  • Covers 33 foot above ground surface
  • Heats up to 8 degrees
  • Easy-setup without installations.
  • Free from noise emissions.
  • Cheaper maintenance cost




  • Requires better handling care
  • Wear and tear time is shorter
  • More expensive in the long run


How to Choose the Right Pool Heater

You must understand that beyond a difference in preference other factors can affect your decision as to what to buy. The final judgment depends on you so always check properly. I’m sure with the above ground pool heater reviews already presented here you should be able to make a perfect choice.

It is a must that your pool heater should keep your pool warm enough to suit your needs if not why is it a pool heater? However, choosing the best might not come so easy, there are certain things to look out for when shopping for the best. No doubt above ground pool heater reviews like this can be a first point of call for ideas so let’s help you find the answers.


6 Simple Tips for choosing the good pool heater

  • What’s the right size of pool heater for your pool?
  • How many gallons of water can your pool retain? Pool heaters have a specific number of gallons they can heat per hour so it’s very vital to know.
  • To know the size and number of gallons do this:


  • To get the depth of your pool, add the measurement of the depth of both the shallow and deeper end of your pool then divide by two.


  • Multiply your initial score by the width of the pool and multiply again by the length. That equals the volume is the cubic feet. Now multiply 7.5 (7.5 gallons of water = a cubic feet). Viola! That’s the number of gallons your pool requires.


  • With this review, you should have a fair idea of what type of pool heater to look out for so you can go straight online to check!

Final Verdict

Having gone through the entire product description and above ground pool heater reviews they all have unique and innovative designs and features. However, based on durability and uniqueness, I declare the Hayward H400FDN Universal H-Series pool heater as the clear winner of this contest.


Although the solar pool heaters offer cheaper energy saving mode with eco-friendly conditions, the Hayward pool heater provides multiple alternatives.


The Hayward pool heater gives natural gas, electric and water connection options. With its 18% energy saving mode, LED control panel that makes it user-friendly and quick pool heat up time, the Hayward is our top pick in this contest.

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