Pool & Spa
10 Best Pool Heaters of 2020
A pool entices its owners all winters long. However, the mere thought of stepping into ice-cold water is good enough to snap you out of the fantasy, unless you have the best pool heater to let you enjoy swimming in winters.
Before you can make a suitable purchase, it is important to know all the varieties of pool heaters available online. These are solar, electric, natural gas, and heat pumps.
You can imagine from their names that they vary in operation. However, the most crucial difference between these models is of cost.
In this review, you will learn about different features of each of these pool heaters followed by some of the spectacular recommendations. Let’s start.
10 Best Pool Heaters – Review
1. SmartPool S240U (Lightweight)
2. Pentair 460736 (High Capacity)
3. Fafco Solar Pool Heater (10-year Warranty)
4. EcoSmart Pool Heater (Flow Sensor Technology)
5. SmartPool S601P (Cost-effective)
6. Sta Rite SR400LP (Most-Durable)
7. FibroHeat FH055 (Convenient Digital Control)
8. Hayward H150FDN (Superior Hydraulic Performance)
9. Jandy JX1400N (Energy Efficient Design)
10. Hayward HT21404T (With Acoustic Compressor Cover)
1. SmartPool S240U
2. Pentair 460736
3. Fafco Solar Pool Heater
4. EcoSmart Pool Heater
(Flow Sensor Technology)
5. SmartPool S601P
6. Sta Rite SR400LP
7. FibroHeat FH055
(Convenient Digital Control)
8. Hayward H150FDN
(Superior Hydraulic Performance)
9. Jandy JX1400N
(Energy Efficient Design)
10. Hayward HT21404T
(With Acoustic Compressor Cover)
1. SmartPool S240U – Lightweight Pool Heater
- Type: Solar
The SmrrtPool Universal is the best solar pool heater, and the most lightweight products on our list with net weight of merely 18-pounds. Therefore, the setting up of this products will be easy.
There is a polypropylene heat collector that has to be installed in a place where there is direct sunlight for the maximum time. Some people prefer installing it on the roof as well. However, the material could have been better as this is not the highest-grade polypropylene.
It has direct flow system in which the water goes to the heater through one hose and after heating up, it gets back to the pool through the second hose.
Attached to the heat collector is the two threaded elbow adapters, four end caps, and 4-stainless steel hose clamps. Plus, you also get a roll of Teflon tape, a rubber connector hose and a bonus solar pill. It comes with all the necessary installation accessories.
Also, there is a trilingual installation manual available in English, French, and Spanish languages to help you follow the instructions.
2. Pentair 460736 – High Capacity Pool Heater
- Type: Natural gas
- Heating Performance: 400,000-BTU
The MasterTemp series has a variety of pool heaters that vary in their heating performance. This product comes with the largest capacity of 400,000-BTU which can warm up 20,000-gallons of water.
It is suitable for large pools. The model has got tough exterior and digital controls. The system is quite easy to operate due to hot surface ignition, push button and digital controls.
Plus, there is rotating digital display to help you see the settings conveniently. This natural-gas heater is quiet in operation and compact in size to fit anywhere.
The operating mechanism is completely user friendly. You can ensure safe operations through a couple of features such as water pressure switch that sense running of the pump to prevent overheating.
Of course, the cost of this product is too high. Plus, there is no warranty with this model.
3. Fafco Solar Pool Heater – Pool Heater with 10-year Warranty
- Type: Solar
- Heating Performance: 80000-BTU
The USP of Fafco solar heater is that it comes with 10-year warranty. This means that this product is your safest bet.
It is available in sole size of 4 x 20-feet. This solar heater comes with great heating tendency. It is ideal for above-ground pools in small size.
There is a polypropylene heat collector that has to be set on the ground, roof, or anywhere where there is constant exposure of sun. The pool pump circulates pool water through the heat collector and thus, the water in the pool warms up.
This can only provide optimum performance when the heat collector is in constant sunlight from 10 am to 4 pm. It has simple working as any other solar pool heater.
It comes with 2, 6-feet long hose with 4 clamps, integral bypass valve and all other important hardware to install the heater. We don’t suggest self-installation because it will be tricky, especially for the first-time users.
Also, among the competitive solar heaters, this product is a bit overpriced.
4. EcoSmart Pool Heater – Pool Heater with Flow Sensor Technology
- Type: Electric
- Heating Performance: 92,000-BTU
The EcoSmart electric pool heater is a great choice to make if you don’t mind spending huge operational cost. It comes with flow sensor technology that increases the reliability by keeping the accidents at bay.
The heating performance of this product is 92000-BTU. This means that it can only heat up water up to 5000-gallons.
This is suitable for small pools or spa tubs. The simple heater has working mechanism quite similar with any water heating unit installed in your house.
The digital display helps in keeping an eye on the water temperature. Plus, you can digitally increase the temperature on an increment of 1-degree through the remote control.
This is a durable machine and has a lot of fancy features to lure the buyers. However, the small heating performance can be a concern for many people.
You can rather use it as a backup heater or with a heat pump to enhance its performance.
5. SmartPool S601P – Cost-Effective Pool Heater
- Type: Solar
If you are on a budget then this solar pool heater is the best thing that you can install to keep pool water warm.
It comes with a polypropylene heat collector. You have to install it in the direct sunlight area. This way, the heat is constantly collected and as a result, the performance of the heater enhances. Also, since high-quality material is used in construction, this is a durable product.
The 4 x 20-feet of solar panel is great for massive heat collection. Also, it is suitable to be used with any in-ground or above-ground pool.
Also, this model comes with direct flow system which has a header hole for each heating tube. This way, the water is collected very easily.
The installation kit is sold separately and you won’t get it with the package. This means that you have to spend few extra dollars on the kit.
6. Sta-Rite SR400LP – Most-Durable Pool Heater
- Type: Propane
- Heating Performance: 400,000-BTU
Sta-Rite has manufactured the finest series of best propane pool heaters in its class. It is extremely durable due to dura-glass construction that handle heat and weather elements effortlessly.
With the heating performance 400,000 BTU, this is one of the most powerful models in the market.
It has the tendency to heat 20000-gallons of water. This is compact design for retro-fit installation.
The features include LED temperature readout with dual thermostat controls, temperature safety lockout and 6-position control panel. This is suitable for indoor and outdoor installation.
The model is not environment friendly because of the emission of the gas. Plus, the operational cost is also high.
7. FibroHeat FH055 – Pool Heater with Convenient Digital Control
- Type: Electric
- Heating Performance: 55,000 BTU
FibroHeat electric pool heater is made with advanced technology and has easy set digital panel that give quick control to a variety of features in this model.
The heating performance of 55000-BTU. This means that it can heat up at least 1000 gallons of water.
Mostly, you can use it with the spa-tubs but this is also suitable for small in-ground pools. The titanium heat exchanger enhances the performance of the heater and makes it energy efficient as well.
This is a sleek product that you can install outdoor or indoors. The digital display helps in keeping a check on the water temperature and other essential features of the heater. Plus, the rugged body is enamel coated to endure the outdoor abuse.
Unlike other electric heaters, this one is energy efficient and thus, the operational cost comes down.
However, you won’t be able to use it with large pools. Plus, as per the heating performance, the price is quite a lot.
8. Hayward H150FDN – Pool Heater with Superior Hydraulic Performance
- Type: Natural Gas, Propane
- Heating Performance: 150,000-BTU
The key thing about this model is the patented polymer header and bypass design that gives ultimate hydraulic performance for more reliability and efficiency.
The heating capacity of this model is 150,000-BTU which means that it is only suitable for small pools or spa tubs.
The LED design panel not just help in accessing the features but it also shows the functions in use for quick monitoring.
The installation is quite difficult so you may need to call a professional. This model is quite durable and manufactured with high standards.
As far as being environment friendly is concerned, this model comes with low-No emission technique which means that this will not pollute the environment. Also, it comes with a year long warranty.
9. Jandy JX1400N – Energy Efficient Pool Heater
- Type: Natural Gas
- Heating Performance: 400,000-BTU
If you are concerned about the environment then don’t be because this model comes with low-No emission system and is 83% thermal energy efficient, despite of being a natural gas heater.
It comes with heating performance of 400000-BTU. It can warm up 20000-gallons of water easily. Also, this model gives you quick plumbing flexibility with Max-E-Therm replacement. It does not requirement any plumbing as such.
This is an ultra-compact machine, suitable for both, indoor and outdoor usage. There are other attractive features to this product such as 180 degrees rotatable top that completely abolishes the need of rotating headers.
It has digital controls, rotating top for better accessibility, rugged housing and corrosion-resistant sensors that make this product more appealing to the buyers. However, this model lacks in warranty.
10. Hayward HT21404T – Pool Heater with Acoustic Compressor Cover
- Type: Electric
- Heating Performance: 140,000-BTU
The Haywards heat pump is a combination of excellence and diligence. In order to ensure that the heater don’t cause a lot of noise, there is an acoustic compressor cover and profiled fan blade. It is super silent while heating up the water.
This model comes with heating performance of 140000-BTU. You can expect up to 5000-gallons of water to be heated effortlessly.
There is ultra-gold corrosion resistant evaporator fin that ensure the durability of the product. With the titanium heat exchanger, maximum amount of heat is transferred to the pool in the most reliable way.
You should also not be worried about the outer body of the heaters because of the double injection UV-resistant body. Also, it is available in round design to conveniently fit on equipment pad.
No wonder the quality of this model is great but the size is not suitable for in-ground pools since they have more water. Thus, the performance will be hampered.
How to Buy the Best Pool Heater
So, we will now procced this pool heater review and mention some of the significant tips to help you buy the most efficient pool heater.
1. Type of Pool Heater
If you have been following our guide since the beginning then you must know about all the different types of pool heaters.
However, we will share a comprehensive theory on each on of it.
Solar Heater: We will start with the most budget friendly option in the market which is the solar heater. Well, it is run by the sun energy.
Used by the solar panels that are installed in a place where there is direct sun, this heater consumes a lot of energy in the day time and then heat the pool water eventually.
Water is first circulated from the pool into the panels where it is heated up and then recirculated to the pool.
The heater is not recommended for the people that live in wet places that experience rains most of the time of year. It works best in sunny areas.
This can be an auxiliary option but if you like swimming a lot then we don’t really recommend it. The reasons are the it is slower than the counterparts plus not as effective.
Our brightest recommendation in solar pool heaters is the Fafco solar pool heater as it is great in performance and comes with prolonged warranty.
Natural Gas/ Propane: If you want an uncompromised heater option and are willing to spend a high amount then, natural gas or propane heaters have no substitute.
The heater uses combustion chamber to heat up the water. The water is passed through a super-hot tube channel and when it returns to the pool, the temperature is already up by 30 degrees.
Now, the drawback is the while these heaters are absolute winners, they come with huge price tags. But, they don’t require long operational time i.e. you only have to use them for hours before diving inside the pool.
Electric Heater: Well, this is the most common type in this category. Clearly, the electric heater runs on electricity.
These heaters are less expensive and conveniently installed, yet the drawback is that they are not energy efficient. You can expect huge electricity bills. If you don’t mind paying the hefty bills then this heater is for you.
These models are suitable for in-ground as well as above-ground pools.
Heat Pumps: So, a heat pump is based on quite unique phenomenon where the heater pulls warm air from the surrounding and compressor optimize it to the right temperature. Technically, they run on electricity which is used to collect the air.
As a result, the air is heated and sent to the pool water. This way, you enjoy one of the safest and eco-friendly ways to heat up the pool. Irrespective of the pool size, the heat pumps can efficiently work with them.
These are expensive than others however, the efficiency is also worth-appreciating. The operation cost is very less.
The Hayward HT21404T pool heater is a suitable choice to make in heat pumps.
People that on strict budget can make a choice between solar, natural gas and electric heaters. While the upfront cost for electric and natural gas heaters is less than the heat pumps, they demand huge operational cost.
At the same time, if you wish to go energy efficient and require a highly suitable heater then pick the heat pump. But be ready to spend some hefty amount of money on the initial purchase.
We would like to elaborate the point of size with a simple table below. Most of the heaters comes with their respective heating performance. From there, you can assimilate the surface area covered by the heater and amount of water that it is capable of heating.
Size of Heater in BTUs
Surface Area (In Sq. Ft)
Gallons of Water
100,000 – 200,000
Up to 200
1000 - 5000
200,000 - 300,000
200 – 300
5000 – 10000
300,000 - 400,000
300 – 500
10000 – 20000
400,000 - 500,000
500 – 800
20000 – 40000
500,000 or above
800 - 1200
40000 - 80000
3. Type of Pool
There are two types of pools, In-ground and Above Ground. The requirement of heaters is different for both the types of pools. However, there are some heaters that are cordial with both the types.
In-Ground Pool Heater: Some of the heaters are classified as best in-ground pool heaters for a reason. Such units are more powerful, have high BTU output and are energy efficient.
There are no such thing as in-ground pool heaters as such because all the kinds such as solar, natural gas, or electric heaters can be installed in such case.
However, the strength and water heating tendency of a heater makes it suitable for in-ground or above-ground usage.
Above Ground Pool Heater: Identically, all kind of heaters are suitable for above-ground pools as well.
The capacity of above-ground pool is usually less than in-ground pools. That is why, these require mediocre sized heaters unless you have a massive pool with capacity of 40000 gallons.
Mostly we recommend solar pool heaters for above ground pools.
For any kind of large pool, we don’t recommend electric heaters. They will charge massively and the power expenses will multiply. Solar heaters are also not suggested for the same because they are not as effective.
This section has two main parts. First is the initial expense that come while purchasing the product. The second is the operational cost of the heater.
Other than the solar heaters, none of the other options come without any operational cost. Electric heaters have less initial cost but the bills are increased.
At the same time, you can expect an expense of around $500 per month in case of gas heaters. The heat pumps also run on electricity so they also cost a lot later.
So, we would like to conclude our pool heater review by saying that there are various options available in the market but you cannot rely on all.
The Pentair 460736 pool heater is an absolute favorable choice for those with large capacity needs. It is available in 400,000-BTU heating capacity.
If you want to go with a natural gas pool heater, without compromising with the environment and by keeping the maintenance cost low then the finest option is Hayward H150FDN pool heater.
You are sure to find suitable options as per your needs. Take a look and pick wisely.
- Best Pool Heater Option: Gas/Propane vs. Heat Pump vs. Solar - River Pools
- Sizing Your Pool Heater - Inyopools.com
- 10 Best Pool Heaters – Review
- 1. SmartPool S240U – Lightweight Pool Heater
- 2. Pentair 460736 – High Capacity Pool Heater
- 3. Fafco Solar Pool Heater – Pool Heater with 10-year Warranty
- 4. EcoSmart Pool Heater – Pool Heater with Flow Sensor Technology
- 5. SmartPool S601P – Cost-Effective Pool Heater
- 6. Sta-Rite SR400LP – Most-Durable Pool Heater
- 7. FibroHeat FH055 – Pool Heater with Convenient Digital Control
- 8. Hayward H150FDN – Pool Heater with Superior Hydraulic Performance
- 9. Jandy JX1400N – Energy Efficient Pool Heater
- 10. Hayward HT21404T – Pool Heater with Acoustic Compressor Cover
- How to Buy the Best Pool Heater