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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

Raypak’s gas pool heater, ideal for cold climates, ensures year-round swimming comfort. The Digital Electronic Ignition Natural Gas model boasts easy temperature control, quick startup with electronic ignition, and a durable, corrosion-resistant heat exchanger. Raypak also offers propane heaters for those preferring an alternative fuel type.


  • 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

SunQuest Solar Pool Heater excels in warm climates, using sunlight to efficiently warm above-ground pools during cool mornings, late Spring, and early Fall. Its high-quality polypropylene panels, featuring a direct flow design, maximize heat absorption. Easy to install on roofs, racks, or the ground, this system is both durable and resistant to harsh weather conditions. By harnessing free renewable energy, it extends pool seasons without incurring 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

FibroPool’s heat pump is an optimal choice for maintaining stable pool temperatures throughout the season, especially in areas where temperatures consistently stay above 45 degrees. Utilizing ambient air and a high-efficiency titanium heat exchanger, it operates quietly with a digital control panel for easy temperature management. This cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution includes a defrost function, ensuring reliable operation even in colder climates.


  • 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

For year-round warmth in large above-ground pools, the Hayward Universal H-Series Pool and Spa Heater is the top choice. With a cupro-nickel heat exchanger for durability, precise temperature control, and energy efficiency, it caters to high heating demands. The digital LED control panel ensures effortless operation, making it ideal for commercial-sized pools or maximizing heating capacity in your backyard oasis.


  • 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

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.

  1. Size: Match the heater’s capacity to your pool’s volume (measured in BTU) for efficient heating. Use the formula: 8.33 BTU raises one gallon by one degree Fahrenheit.
  2. Fuel: Select from natural gas, propane, electricity, or solar energy based on availability, cost, and environmental impact. Consider factors like quick heating, operating costs, and sunlight availability.
  3. Climate: Adapt the heater choice to your region’s climate. Powerful gas heaters suit colder areas, while heat pumps and solar heaters are eco-friendly options for milder climates. Consider typical temperature ranges and weather conditions.
  4. Cost: Assess the overall cost, including purchase, installation, and long-term operating expenses. Balance affordability with efficiency; high upfront costs for efficient heaters can lead to substantial energy savings over time.
Swimming Pool

Frequently Asked Questions

What size pool heater do you need?

Selecting the right pool heater size relies on your pool’s volume, calculated by surface area and depth. With one BTU heating a pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit per hour, manufacturers offer guidelines considering temperature goals, heat loss, and environmental conditions for efficient 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.

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

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.