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Swim All Year: The Top 4 Pool Heaters For Above Ground Pools

A refreshing swimming pool is the staple of summer fun and relaxation. Nothing cools you off on a hot sunny day quite like a dip in the backyard pool.

What if you want to enjoy the water when it is chilly outside? You need the best above-ground pool heater to get the most out of your pool all year. Keep reading to learn more.

Pool Heaters for Above Ground Pools

Our Top Picks

Best Overall:
Raypak Digital Electronic Ignition Natural Gas Pool Heater

Solar Option:
SunQuest Solar Pool Heater Panels

Best Heat Pump:
FibroPool Swimming Pool Heat Pump

Best Overall

Raypak Digital Electronic Ignition Natural Gas Pool Heater

Raypak 336,000 BTU Digital Electronic Ignition Natural Gas Pool Heater

The Raypak gas pool heater is the ultimate choice in cold climates. This powerful machine keeps your pool warm enough to swim all year round.

The Raypak Digital Electronic Ignition Natural Gas Pool Heater is designed to deliver exceptional performance and reliability. The digital control panel lets you easily set and maintain your desired pool temperature.

The electronic ignition ensures quick and effortless startup, eliminating the need for matches or pilot lights. The heater’s corrosion-resistant heat exchanger prolongs its lifespan, making it a durable investment.

The Raypak gas pool heater is engineered to provide efficient heating, ensuring optimal comfort and enjoyment in your pool throughout the year. Plus, Raypak manufactures propane heaters if you prefer this fuel type over natural gas.


  • Powerful heating performance suitable for cold climates
  • Easy temperature control with the digital display panel
  • Quick and effortless startup with electronic ignition
  • Corrosion-resistant heat exchanger for durability and longevity


  • Not available in California
  • Not suitable for altitudes above 2,000 feet

Solar Option

SunQuest Solar Pool Heater Panels

SunQuest Solar Pool Heater Panels - 2 (2ft x 12ft) Collectors w/Roof/Rack & Diverter Kit -Solar Water Heater for Above Ground & Inground Pools-DIY-Tube on Web Design Panel-Polypropylene UV Resistant

The SunQuest Solar Pool Heater is the best choice for use in warm and sunny climates. This simple pool heater uses energy from the sun to keep the water comfortable on cool mornings and during the late Spring and early Fall.

The SunQuest Solar Pool Heater Panels harness sunlight to heat your above-ground pool. The panels are made of high-quality polypropylene, ensuring durability and resistance to harsh weather conditions.

The system utilizes a direct flow design, maximizing heat absorption and transfer. It is easy to install, and you can mount it on a roof, rack, or the ground.

The SunQuest Solar Pool Heater saves you money and energy by harnessing free renewable energy. You can enjoy extended pool seasons without worrying about high utility costs.


  • Cost-effective solution using solar energy
  • High-quality and durable polypropylene panels
  • Efficient heat absorption and transfer with direct flow design
  • Easy installation on roofs, racks, or the ground


  • Requires ample sunlight for optimal heating performance
  • Less effective in colder climates with limited sunlight

Best Heat Pump

FibroPool Swimming Pool Heat Pump

FibroPool Swimming Pool Heat Pump - FH255 55,000 BTU - for Above and In Ground Pools and Spas - High Efficiency, All Electric Heater - No Natural Gas or Propane Needed

This heat pump from FibroPool is a great way to keep your water at a stable temperature all season. If temperatures always stay above 45 degrees where you live, this heater is by far the best solution.

Pool heat pumps exchange heat with the air to keep your pool temperature steady without costly gas heating. The FibroPool Swimming Pool Heat Pump efficiently maintains your pool’s temperature using ambient air.

This heat pump delivers excellent performance and durability using a high-efficiency titanium heat exchanger. With its digital control panel, you can easily set and monitor the desired temperature.

The heat pump operates quietly and includes a defrost function, ensuring reliable operation even in colder climates. It is a cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution for heating your above-ground pool.


  • Efficient and quiet heating using ambient air
  • High-efficiency titanium heat exchanger for excellent performance and durability
  • Easy temperature adjustment and monitoring with the digital control panel
  • Defrost function for reliable performance in colder climates


  • Less effective in regions with consistently low temperatures
  • Initial cost may be higher compared to some other options

Best High Capacity

Hayward Universal H-Series Pool and Spa Heater

Hayward W3H150FDP Universal H-Series 150,000 BTU Propane Pool and Spa Heater for In-Ground Pools and Spas

Do you have a massive above-ground pool that needs to stay warm all year? If so, you need the Hayward Universal Pool and Spa Heater.

The Hayward Universal H-Series Pool and Spa Heater can meet the high heating demands of large above-ground pools. The heater features a cupro-nickel heat exchanger, providing excellent durability and resistance to corrosion.

It offers precise temperature control and energy-efficient performance. The digital LED control panel allows for effortless operation and monitoring.

Whether you have a commercial-sized pool or simply want maximum heating capacity for your backyard oasis, the Hayward Universal H-Series Pool and Spa Heater is the ideal choice.


  • Designed for large pools with high heating demands
  • Cupro-nickel heat exchanger for excellent durability and corrosion resistance
  • Precise temperature control and energy-efficient performance
  • Effortless operation and monitoring with the digital LED control panel


  • Higher upfront cost compared to some other options
  • May require professional installation

Pool Heaters for Above Ground Pools Buyer’s Guide

Swimming Pool

Finding the right pool heater can be challenging if you are unprepared. Many factors determine which heater is most suitable. Understanding the following elements will put you on the right track to buying the best above-ground pool heater.


When selecting a pool heater, consider the size of your above-ground pool. The heater’s capacity should match the pool’s volume to ensure efficient heating.

8.33 BTU raises the temperature of one gallon of water by one degree Fahrenheit. This means you will need around an 83,300 BTU heater to slowly warm a 10,000-gallon pool one degree per hour. Larger heaters raise the temperature more quickly for on-demand swimming.

A heater that is too small will struggle to maintain the desired temperature, while an oversized heater may lead to unnecessary energy consumption. If you have any questions, consult the manufacturer’s recommendations or seek professional advice to determine the appropriate size for your pool.


Different pool heaters use various fuel sources, including natural gas, propane, electricity, or solar energy. Each fuel type has its advantages and considerations.

Natural gas and propane heaters offer quick and powerful heating but require a fuel supply. Electric heaters are convenient but may have higher operating costs. Solar heaters utilize renewable energy but depend on sunlight availability.

Consider the availability, cost, and environmental factors of different fuel options when making your decision.


The climate in your region plays a significant role in choosing the right pool heater. If you live in a colder climate, a powerful gas heater is the optimal choice to ensure adequate heating even during chilly weather.

In more temperate regions, heat pumps and solar heaters can be a cost-effective and eco-friendly choice. Assess the typical temperature range and weather conditions throughout the swimming season to determine the heater that can maintain your desired pool temperature.


The cost of the pool heater includes the initial purchase price, installation expenses, and long-term operating costs. While budget-friendly options exist, it is essential to consider the overall value and energy efficiency of any pool heater.

Highly efficient heaters have higher upfront costs but result in significant savings on energy bills over time. Evaluate your budget, anticipated usage, and maintenance requirements to strike the right balance between affordability and performance.

Pool Heater Maintenance Tips

Swimming pool with metal frame for home and garden. Frame swimming pool in the yard. Solar banner.Installation of the pool. The concept of summer holidays and recreation.

Once you’ve selected and installed the perfect above-ground pool heater, it’s important to maintain it to ensure optimal performance and longevity properly. Regular maintenance keeps your pool heater running smoothly, helps prevent costly repairs, and extends its lifespan. Here are some essential maintenance tips to keep in mind:

Regular Inspection

Schedule routine inspections of your pool heater to identify any signs of wear, damage, or leaks. Check the heat exchanger, burners, and connections for any corrosion or deterioration. Inspect the electrical components and wiring for any signs of damage or loose connections. Address any issues promptly to prevent further damage.

Clean the Filter

The pool heater’s filter plays a crucial role in maintaining the system’s efficiency. Clean or replace the filter regularly to prevent debris buildup and ensure proper water flow. Clogged filters can strain the heater and reduce its performance. Refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines for the recommended filter maintenance schedule.

Clear Obstructions

Make sure the area around your pool heater is clear of any obstructions. Remove any leaves, debris, or vegetation that may be blocking the air intake or exhaust vents. Restricted airflow can lead to poor heating performance and potential damage to the unit.

Maintain Water Chemistry

Proper water chemistry is essential for the overall health of your pool and the longevity of your pool heater. Monitor and maintain the appropriate pH, chlorine levels, and alkalinity. Imbalanced water chemistry can cause corrosion and scaling, affecting the heater’s efficiency and lifespan. Regularly test the water and adjust the chemical levels accordingly.


If you live in an area with freezing temperatures, it’s crucial to properly winterize your pool heater to prevent freeze damage. Drain the water from the heater, disconnect and store any removable parts, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for winterizing the specific heater model. Consider using a pool cover and winterizing chemicals to protect your pool and equipment during the colder months.

Professional Servicing

While regular maintenance can be done at home, it’s advisable to schedule professional servicing at least once a year. A trained technician can perform a comprehensive inspection, clean internal components, check gas or electrical connections, and ensure proper calibration and operation. Professional servicing helps identify any potential issues early on and ensures your pool heater operates efficiently.

Read the Manual

Familiarize yourself with the manufacturer’s manual and guidelines for your specific pool heater. It provides valuable information on maintenance procedures, recommended service intervals, troubleshooting tips, and warranty coverage. Following the manufacturer’s recommendations will help maintain the warranty validity and ensure proper care of your pool heater.

By following these maintenance tips, you can keep your above-ground pool heater in excellent condition and enjoy its efficient heating performance for years to come. Remember to always prioritize safety and consult a professional if you encounter any complex issues or concerns. With proper maintenance, your pool heater will provide you with endless enjoyment and relaxation throughout the seasons.

Pool Heater Frequently Asked Questions

Top view of a yellow inflatable mattress in an above ground private backyard swimming pool

What size pool heater do you need?

The size of the pool heater you need depends on the volume of your pool. To determine the appropriate size, calculate the surface area and depth of your pool.

One BTU heats a pound of water one degree Fahrenheit over the course of an hour. For reference, a standard 200,000 BTU heater will warm a 12,000-gallon pool by two degrees every hour.

Consider the desired temperature increase, heat loss, and environmental conditions. Manufacturers provide sizing guidelines based on these factors, helping you select the right heater for efficient and effective heating.

Should you use a solar pool cover?

Using a solar pool cover is highly recommended, regardless of the type of pool heater you choose.

Solar pool covers help retain heat and reduce heat loss through evaporation. They act as insulators, trapping the heat generated by the pool heater and preventing it from escaping.

A solar pool cover enhances the energy efficiency of your pool heater, reducing your overall heating costs.

What is the difference between a heat pump and a pool heater?

While both heat pumps and pool heaters warm swimming pools, they operate differently.

A pool heater, such as a gas or electric heater, generates heat using fuel or electricity and transfers it directly to the pool water. On the other hand, a heat pump extracts heat from the surrounding air and transfers it to the pool water.

Heat pumps are more energy-efficient but work best in moderate to warm climates. Pool heaters provide rapid heating and are suitable for colder climates or when quick temperature adjustments are required.

Swim Anytime With the Best Pool Heater

Choosing the right above-ground pool heater is essential to enjoy your pool throughout the year. Consider the size of your pool, available fuel options, local climate, and budget when selecting a pool heater. With the right choice, you can swim comfortably in your above-ground pool, regardless of the weather.

Do you want to learn more tips for making your backyard an oasis? Explore our Backyard Living hub for the latest guides and reviews.