Having a bath in warm water is something that gives you profound relaxation. In the winter months, it becomes an even more delightful experience.

To turn your above ground pool into a soothing warm water bath, you need to install one of the best above ground pool heaters. They are compact and give an incredible experience, especially during the winter months.

But to get that feel, you first need to buy an above ground pool heater.
You would be happy to know that there are hundreds of heaters available in the market.

They are easy to install and work like wonder.

They promise to keep you and your family hooked to the pool even during the chilly winter months.

In this article, you will get to know everything from A-Z about getting the above ground pool heaters.

There are three main types of above ground pool heaters – solar heaters, electrical heaters and gas heaters. Though the purpose of all of them is to heat the water in the pool, they apply different methods.

Each type of heater has its own sets of advantages and disadvantages.
Getting an idea about the different types of above ground pool heaters will help you to pick one that will fulfil your needs.

Best Electric Pool Heaters

1) Hayward CSPAXI11 11 Kilowatt Electric Spa Heater

The Hayward CSPAXI11 is compact and easy to install an electric water heater. It is an 11-kilowatt pool and spa heater.

One of the best things about the heater is that it features a 304 stainless steel tank. The heater comes with an electric heating unit that provides energy-efficient heating. There is a safety sensor and a light to indicate the status of heating. The heater uses 240 voltage with a pipe size of 1.5 Inch to heat spa or pools with a capacity of up to 1,000 gallons.

Though it has a small form size, the features of the Hayward heater match the bigger ones. The CSPAXI11 is durable and considered one of the best above ground pool heaters.

2) FibroPool FH120 Above Ground Pool Heat Pump

An affordable electric powered above ground pool heater, the FibroPool FH120 gives clean and adequate heating to your pool. All-Metal design with enamel coating has been done to make the heater durable. The heater has a smooth and compact design with easy to set up options. It will take approximately 30 minutes to install the heat pump. All the pipes and PVC joints must measure 1.5 Inch.

This heater is energy efficient and has a COP of 4.81. It can heat 18 ft round or 12 ft x 24 ft oval above ground pools.  It has an output of 20,000 BTU. A digital control panel lets you adjust the temperature and heat the water as per your preference. It requires an input of 120 Volts.

3) EcoSmart SMART POOL 18 Electric Tankless Pool Heater

This is a tankless electric heater that works on flow activation technology. It features a digital thermostat that enables you to restrict the temperature of the pool.

It does not have a heating chamber like other heaters. This reduces maintenance costs due to the burning of heating elements. The heater requires an input of 240 Volts. The EcoSmart heater warms the water instantly using a smart activation flow technology.

EcoSmart Smart Pool heater can be used as standalone heating equipment for above ground pools. In addition to that, you can also use it to boost the efficiency of heat pumps. The product comes with a 2-year warranty and can heat pools having a capacity of 8,500 gallons.

More about Electric Pool Heaters

Electric powered best above ground pool heaters require a dedicated electrical circuit to heat the water in your pool. It transforms electrical energy into heat energy, for effectively heating the

Electrical above ground pool heaters are easy to install and operate. They are considered efficient for small pools and bathtubs. If you stay at a location where there is a lack of consistent sunlight or it is difficult to get a gas pipeline, an electrical heater is what will work best for your above ground pool.

It works by heating the water that is pumped through the above ground pool pump system. The heated water is circulated to the pool and the process is repeated until the water is heated to the desired temperature.

These have low maintenance costs and take considerably less amount of time to heat the water when compared to solar and gas above ground pool heaters. Electric above ground pool heaters are considered a good option as they have low initial investment and moderate operating costs.

Almost all homes have access to electricity 24×7 which helps to heat your pool on demand. You would need the help of an electrician to patch up your electrical heater with the electrical circuit.

Read More: Best Above Ground Pools

Best Natural Gas Heaters

1) Hayward Universal H-Series Pool & Spa Heater (H150FDN)

This is one of the best above ground pool heaters which features advanced technologies. A digital LED control panel helps to set and read the heating status of water. It uses natural gas to heat the water The heat exchanger is constructed from superior quality Cupro Nickel that lasts long and provides high-performance heating.

A forced draft combustion system ensures that outside temperature does not affect the heating Hayward Universal H150FDN is also environmentally friendly as it produces low NOx emissions.

The heater has a BTU/HR of 150,000 with a thermal efficiency of 82.7%. It can heat up to 1,000 gallons of water in 125 minutes. The design of the heater is compact and it conveniently fits in your backyard or even indoors.

2) Pentair 460792 Stainless Steel MasterTemp Grey/Almond Heater

Pentair 460792 Stainless Steel Heater is one of the best options to heat your above ground pool. It features an incredible heating system but costs much cheaper than other expensive models. It has manual gas shut off switch to regulate the flow of fuel.

The MasterTemp technology in the heater is certified for generating low NOx emissions, in spite of providing superior heating. The gas heater helps to quickly heat the pool so that you do not have to wait for long hours. Hook up the power cord and gas pipeline to start heating the water.

It is easy to set up with any above ground pool system. The heater requires a 240 Volt power input to operate. The heater has a BTU of 175.

3) Raypak 105,000 BTU Swimming Pool Heater

An amazing gas-driven above ground pool heater, the Raypak 105,000 delivers high performance from its compact design. The grey and blue metal frame add a spectacular charm to its looks.

The heater features an analogue control dial and a digital lighting system to display temperature and functions. It connects to a 110 Volt power line which can also be converted to 220 Volt if required.

They can be used to heat small above ground pools or bathtubs. Powered from gas, the heater can warm the water in no time. Raypak gas heater has a solid build quality which makes it a durable product. The solar heater has a BTU of 105,000 which helps to heat pools with a capacity of up to 8,500 gallons.

More About Natural Gas Heaters

These are the most widely used and best above ground pool heaters. They use propane or natural gas as an input to heat the water. Gas heaters are fast and can heat the pool at any time of the day. However, the water will not stay warm for very long periods. The water from the pool is made to enter the combustion chamber of the heater.

Once it enters the combustion chamber, the gas inside the heater is burnt to produce heat energy. This heat is used to warm the pool water that has entered the heater. The warm water is then made to flow into the pool. This helps to heat your pool in a very short time. You need to hook the heater to a natural gas or propane gas supply.

These heaters can help to keep your pool warm any time of the year. If you do not have a natural gas or propane gas pipeline in your area, it would be of no use of installing a gas-powered heater. However, gas-powered solar heaters are expensive as they require natural gas to heat your pool.

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Best Solar Energy Heaters

1) SunHeater S120U Universal Solar Pool Heater 2 by 20-Feet

A worthy solar heater to be mentioned in our list. It features an easy to do it yourself set up option. Just procure the necessary hoses and connectors from the local plumbing store and you will have it up and running in no time.

You can install it on the roof, ground or even your fence. It does not require any additional adapter as it uses your existing pump to draw water from the above ground pool. The panel is durable and lightweight which makes it easy to install and remove. Place it at an angle that lets maximum sunlight fall on it.

Depending upon the intensity of UV light, it can increase the temperature of the pool from 6-10F. A single SunHeater S120U system can heat an above ground pool measuring up to 18 ft round or 12’ x 24’ oval. For pools larger than this you can pair it up with another S120U system.

2) GAME 4714 SolarPro Contour Solar Pool Heater

This is an interestingly designed and portable solar pool heater. The dome-shaped heater produces a greenhouse-like effect to heat the water in your above ground pool.

You do not have to install any fancy solar panels on the roof or the ground. Just place this dome-shaped heater near your above ground pool and hook it up with your pool pump. Pools having a capacity of up to 10,000 gallons can be heated using the GAME 4717 SolarPro heater. It has a water-holding capacity of 1.5 gallons. Due to the small size, it might take a little longer for the water to get warm.

It does wonders when it comes to heating Intex and Bestway above ground pools. Supported adapters are also included with the solar heater. The solar heater costs considerably less than other premium heaters but delivers almost an equivalent performance.

3) XtremepowerUS Pool Solar Panel Heating System 28″ X 20′

Built from high-grade materials, this solar heater will last longer than most other above ground pool heaters. It can withstand all kinds of harsh weather which safeguards your investment.

The set up features 2’ x 20’ panels that are made from flexible and durable black polypropylene. It has been constructed in a unique panel tube construction design to provide a large heating surface area.

Unfold the panels and place them on the ground or the roof. Within a few days, you will observe that the solar panels have heated water up to 10F.

The flexible panels come with convenient placement options and provide a cost-effective heating mechanism for your above ground pool. It is best suited to heat medium size pools.

More about Solar Energy Pool Heaters

As the name suggests, these types of heaters use sunlight to heat the water in your pool. It does not use gas or electrical charge to heat the water in your pool.

It uses a simple mechanism to heat the water. Water from the pool is circulated and deposited in a collector.

The collector is placed at a location where the direct sunlight of the sun falls. It could be placed on your roof or in the backyard. The water gets heated inside the collector.

The heated water then flows back into the pool. The flow of water depends upon the size and the height at which the container is placed. Bigger the size, the faster would be the flow of the water.

Solar above ground pool heaters are considered a one-time investment and result in high energy savings. If you care for the environment and prefer limiting your carbon footprint, getting a solar-powered heater is an ideal option.

However, there is one drawback about them. They need direct sunlight to heat your pool. This limits as to when you can heat the water.

You cannot use it to heat water in the night or on cloudy days when there is a lack of adequate sunlight.

For this reason, gas and electric powered above ground pool heaters are considered a better option. Uninterrupted access to natural gas and electricity, lets them heat your pool throughout the year.

Read More: Best Above Ground Pool Covers

DIY Above Ground Pool Heaters

To heat your above-ground pool you can purchase any of the above-mentioned pool heaters.

While all of them will do a great job heating your pool, the incidental costs of installing them would be high.

Also, some of these pool heaters might increase your monthly energy bills. This might act as an impediment to purchasing a solar heater for your pool.
For a cheap and compact pool heating solution you can consider DIY pool heaters.

You can set them on your own without taking anybody’s help. The best part is that these DIY setups are affordable and easy to make.

1) Hula-Hoop Heaters

Black Patches of Hula Hoop Heaters

You can use hula hoops to heat your above ground pool. It is easy and the cheapest DIY way to heat your pool.

Below listed are the steps to make cheap and best above ground pool heaters with Hula hoops.

Things you need – Hula Hoops, black trash bags, pool noodles, knife and duct tape. Follow these steps after you got your hands Hula Hoops:

Step 1: Put your hula hoops inside the plastic bags. Make sure you completely insert the hula hoops inside the bag. You can twist and turn them.

Step 2: Use the duct tape to secure the plastic bags. You do not need to worry if some air is left inside the bags. Cut the extra edges of the plastic bag with your knife.

Step 3: Cut the pool noodles into 6-inch pieces and slice opens their sides. Insert them to the hula hoops.

Step 4: Repeat the steps to make more hula hoops and place them on your above ground pool. The hula hoops look like a lily pad floating in the pool. It is easy to remove them and you can even carry them to your friends above ground pool.

2) Solar Heater using Hose

Heating Pool with Hose

Another quick and cheap DIY is to use a hose and mount it on plywood to heat your pool. It is cheap and will hardly take a few hours to make.

Follow the steps to make one:

Step 1: Paint the plywood black and take the ½ Inch vinyl irrigation hose and coil it on the plywood. You can coil the hose in a circular or rectangular manner. Use UV-resistant zip ties to secure the hose to the plywood

Step 2: Hook one side of the hose with your existing pool pump. This will act as an inlet for the pool water to enter the heater. You can also install valves and “Y” adapters to regulate the flow and heating.

Step 3: Next, connect the other side of the hose with the pool’s return. This will let the heated water to enter the above ground pool. Use plumber grease to secure the joints.

Step 4: To ensure that the water in the DIY solar heater gets enough time to heat, you would have to manually switch the pump on and off. Alternatively, you can install a timer in your pump.

Step 5: This setup will heat your above ground pool without you having to spend a single dime on electricity or gas charges.

3) Solar covers to heat your pool

Woman covering pool with solar pool cover

This is perhaps the cheapest and most effortless way to heat your above ground pool.

You do not need to construct any structures nor do you need to make modifications to your existing pool setup.

Solar covers can be purchased from the market and they are very good at heating your pool.

You can extend your pool season by almost 2 months.

They directly convert solar radiation into heat energy to warm the water. 12 hours of cover can help to raise the temperature by about 5F. In addition to that, it also prevents water from getting evaporated.

Solar covers also help to prevent dust from entering the water as they act as a blanket for your above ground pool. Solar pool heaters from leading manufacturers are available under $100.

Benefits of Above Ground Pool Heaters

There are many things you can do to make your above ground pool experience more exciting.

To add some fun you can install a pool slide or get an inflatable game. This will make you and your family have a wonderful time.

We all know about the several health benefits of swimming. That said if there is a way to make it more interesting why shouldn’t you make that happen.

But if you are the kind who just likes to spend quality time in your above ground pool, installing one of the best above ground pools will make the feel more tranquil.

You can spend time relaxing under the sun with warm and comforting water that impregnate you with deep relaxation.

Installing a heater will warm the water in your pool which has tremendous health benefits.

Some benefits of the best above ground pool heaters are:

1) You will get to spend more time in the pool

At the onset of winter, you are forced to say goodbye to your above ground pool.

It becomes quite impossible to even dip your leg into the chilly water, let alone taking a dive inside the pool.

No matter how much you want, you cannot step inside the pool after August.

Installing the best above ground pool heaters will assist in increasing the temperature of the water. This will let you and your family use the pool for longer.

You can open your pool early in the season and keep it up running for an extended period.

Above ground pool heaters will ensure that winter does not prevent you from stepping inside the pool.

Besides, you will also have the luxury of swimming in the pool during the night. The cold water can be heated to a suitable temperature to make this possible.

2) Spend more time with family and friends

As a family man, you always look forward to spending more time with your family. Children are always enthusiastic about playing in the pool.

However, cold water can result in them catching a cold or flu. Installing one of the best above ground pool heaters will warm the pool which will ensure that they do not catch a cold.

You can watch your children spend long hours playing and enjoying the warm water. You can also, get inside and participate in their fun activities.

Alternatively, you can call your friends to have a cosy and comforting feel inside the water.

Whatever the company or activity, installing a pool heater will surely help to improve the bond between everyone.

3) Numerous Health Benefits

Not many people are privy to the fact that swimming in warm water has several health benefits.

Getting inside the water helps to relax the body and calm your mind.
Warm water will aid to relieve pain and aches from your body.

If you are experiencing pain in your joints, you can just switch on your heater and jump into the pool. Half an hour of relaxation will work like magic to cure your pain.

It also opens the pores which aid in removing dead skin. At the mental level, swimming in warm water also helps in dealing with stress and anxiety.

Warm water helps to lower blood sugar levels and is also observed to stabilize blood pressure.

In addition to that, it also cures cold and minimizes the frequency of headaches.

Installing an above ground pool heater is a worthy investment that will improve your health in several ways.

4) Exercise any time of the day

Having a busy schedule during the day leaves you with very limited option to exercise during the day.

And going to the gym, in the night can be a daunting task.

Alternatively, you can exercise inside the pool. Robust exercise therapy will keep you fit and energized. Installing a water heater will ensure you can exercise even during the night.

The cold waters will ensure that you can continue with your fitness routine. You can also buy swimming pool exercise equipment to make your therapy more robust.

This will help to keep your body toned and your mind fresh. Warm water will also enhance the effectiveness of your exercise routine by helping you burn more calories.

5) Can be installed on a pool of any size

Best above ground pool heaters can be installed on pools of all types and sizes. Whether you have a small or large pool, pool heaters can work on almost any type of pool.

Water heaters are an external accessory that is linked to the pump system. These heaters use different resources to heat the water inside the pool.

You do not have to be concerned about space and other constraints. Pool heaters require limited space and setup requirements.

In most cases, you will only have to link the heater with the pump. The latter will circulate the water inside the pool, increasing the temperature of the water.

6) Increases the value of your investment

Installing an above ground pool is considered an investment for your home. It helps to increase the value of your property and also enhance your lifestyle.

Usually, homeowners try to maximize the benefits derived from their investments. Use of above the ground pool is generally limited to Spring and Summer months.

Installing the best above ground pool heaters will help in letting you use the pool, even beyond the regular swimming months.

This will help you make the most out of your investment by spending time with your family and friends inside the pool.

7) Durable and easy to operate

Unlike other pool accessories, above ground pool heaters are durable. Their body is made from materials that last longer with a little amount of care.

No matter how long you run them for, the heater will work smoothly for close to 5-7 years.

Periodic cleaning of the heater, alongside servicing and cleaning of the pool, would further help to enhance durability.

The costs involved in running the heater is also low. The only consideration would be the energy units that it would utilize.

Best above ground pool heaters are also easy to operate which makes them a popular pool accessory.

Benefits of Electric Heaters

Energy Efficient

One of the primary benefits of electric heaters is that they are energy efficient. The standard for measuring energy efficiency is facilitated by the Coefficient of Performance or COP.

It depicts x unit produced for every unit consumed. Most above ground pool heaters have a COP of 1.0 which means 100% efficiency.


The control panel of the heater helps you adjust the temperature of the heater. It is convenient and easy to operate the electric heater. You can easily switch on or switch off the heater.

This is why it makes it one of the best above ground pool heaters.

All Year Round Heating

The benefit of electric heaters is that it can provide heating throughout the year. Unlike solar and gas-powered heaters that need specific inputs to heat the water, electric heaters make use of electricity to heat the water.

Their operation is not affected by the weather and temperature of
the environment.

Installation and Maintenance

First, you need to set up an electric line. For this, you should call an electrician. Any mistake in setting up the electric line can prove to be fatal.

Next, you need to connect the heater’s power socket with the electrical line.
You will need plumbing equipment to connect your heater with the pool.

Install water connection line between the pump and the heater input. This will ensure clean water enters the heater.

Install another line from the heater output to the pool return. This will supply warm water to the pool. Use PVC cement to glue all the pipes and their joints.

Before buying the plumbing equipment make sure you check the size of the pipe that is required for the heater.

Carry out periodic maintenance to ensure the longevity of the heater. You can clean the heating element once in a while to remove pile-up of minerals. Inspect the pipes to see if there are any leakages.

You can look into the heater’s manual to know more about maintenance methods.

Benefits of Gas Heaters

Quick and easy heating

When it comes to rapidly heat the water in the pool, nothing matches the effectiveness of gas pool heaters. Burning the gas generates a high amount of heat which warms the water very fast.

Within 30 minutes your pool can be heated to the desired temperature. Unlike solar heaters, gas heaters can work even during the night.

Cheap and efficient

In some places, gas is cheaper than electricity. Using gas heaters can help you save from incurring high energy.

This is because as gas heaters are not required to run for longer periods.
They are used at a max stretch of 30-60mins. This helps to save money in heating your above ground pool.

Small Set Up

Gas heaters are considerably easy to set up and operate. Electric heaters require an electrical line to provide power and solar heaters need solar panels. But in the case of gas heaters, no such ancillary equipment is required.

You just need to connect the gas heater with a gas pipeline.

Installation and Maintenance

To connect the above ground pool with the gas heater you need to route the filter and pump system to the heater input. For this, ensure that you have first turned the filter off.

Measure the distance between the different units and purchase plumbing equipment accordingly. Hook your PVC pipe from the filter outlet to the heater input.

This will ensure clear water enters the heater.

Next, install a pipe from the heater outlet to the above ground pool. This will carry the warm water from the heater to the pool. Use a securing compound like PVC cement to tighten all the joints. You can also install valves to regulate the flow of water.

After that hook up your gas line with the heater. Ideally, you should check with your supplier before hooking the gas line. Also, it is advisable to consult a gas installation professional for hooking the gas to your heater.

Finally, connect the electric plug of your heater.

Regular and proper maintenance can help improve the performance and efficiency of the gas heater. Inspect and clean the tank and burner openings to clear pile-up of debris. Check gas supply lines for leakage with the help of a bubble solution.

Following these easy maintenance tips will improve the life of your heater.

Benefits of Solar Heaters

Low Maintenance

The best part about solar heaters are that they have low maintenance costs. Gas and electric powered heaters need to be cleaned regularly for giving optimal performance.

Solar heaters are better in this respect. Once you install the solar panels, you do not have to spend much time maintaining the setup.

Energy Saving

Gas and electric heaters contribute to high energy costs. More the frequency and duration of running these heaters, more would be expenses incurred.

But when it comes to solar panels, there are no such costs involved. Sunlight is freely available and that is the only input that these
set up required.

Long-lasting Heating

Solar heaters can keep the water warm for longer periods. Gas and electric heaters are switched on for a limited period to save energy. This results in the water turning cold soon after the heater is switched on.

Solar heaters, on the other hand, can utilize the sunlight to keep the
water warm for the entire day.

Installation and Maintenance

Installing solar heaters is a little tricky. First, you need to install the solar panels on the roof or the ground. The panels should be installed at an angle that ensures that maximum sunlight falls on them.

This will help the solar heater to warm the water systematically.
If the solar heater is a standalone one like the one offered by GAME, you do not have to install solar panels.

Just place the heater in a convenient place beside the pool.
Next, connect, the above ground pool pump and return line with the heater’s inlet and outlet nozzles, respectively.

This will ensure that cold water enters the heater from the pool and warm
water returns to the pool.

To further heat the water, you can increase the number of panels or units in your solar heater set up.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Question 1: Which type of above ground pool heater should I install?

This depends upon some factors. You need to consider the size of your pool, how long you intend to use the heaters, your location and your budget.

If you want an instant solution to warm your pool, you should buy water or gas-powered solar heater. These type of heaters will warm the water within 30 minutes.

However, if you do not want to spend much on installation and monthly energy bills, you should buy a solar heater. Solar heaters are cheap and do not incur monthly energy expenditure.

Question 2: Can I install the pool heater on my own?

The best above ground pool heaters are easy to install and will not require the help of any other person.

Setup instructions are mentioned in the product manual and you can just follow them to install the heater. But some heaters may require the help of professionals to hook up the gas or electric supply lines.

For solar heaters also you would need support if there are solar panels on the roof of your house.

Question 3: How much time will the heater take to warm the water in my pool?

Gas and electric heaters are faster than solar heaters. They can increase the temperature of the water within a few hours. Solar heaters, however, take much longer to heat the water in your pool.

Some solar heaters might even take a day to increase the temperature of water in your above ground pool.

Question 4: How should I carry out maintenance of my pool heaters?

Gas and electric heaters are the ones which would require periodic maintenance.

You will have to clean the joints and ensure there are no leaks in the PVC pipes. This is necessary to save energy costs.

In the case of solar heaters, there is not much maintenance work that would be required. You can just clean the solar panels or check the pipes to ensure there are no leakages.


Above ground pool heaters help you to keep the water warm in the pool. They extend your pool season and also make swimming a relaxing experience.

There are different types of heaters to choose from – gas, electric and solar heaters.

All these types of pool heaters end up heating the pool but you should pick one that will help to warm the water up to the desired temperature. All the best above ground pool heaters mentioned in our list are exceptionally good.

Our favorite pick is EcoSmart SMART POOL 18 Electric Tankless Pool. The smart and instant activation flow technology of the heater does great work in heating the pool.

The thermostat feature helps to regulate the flow of temperature and conserve energy.

The heater does not release chemical emissions which makes it an environment-friendly above ground pool heater. Some of the best above ground pool heaters in the list are energy efficient.

If you want to limit your energy bills and use a solar heater, you can buy GAME 4714 SolarPro Contour Solar Pool Heater. The compact design of the heater provides high performance and is very easy to install. It uses sunlight to warm your water without requiring high set up costs.

About the Author

Jude Wilson

Founder & Editor

I am the guy behind PoolCorrect. I love pooling and have been doing this since I was a child.

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