Solar covers effectively keep your water warm and inviting and ensure that other unwanted things like debris do not get to your water. However, putting the cover on and off by hand is always a time-consuming and tedious job.
Luckily, there is an easy solution to make the job quicker and more effortless for you, which is investing in the best solar cover reel. You can unroll the cover over the pool and roll it back for storage almost effortlessly with one of these reels.
A good solar cover reel should be durable, easy to use, and able to cover your pool. Our detailed review of some top-rated models and in-depth buying guide below will make it easy to get the perfect one for your pool.
7 Best Solar Cover Reel – Review
1. Best Overall: VINGLI Pool Cover Reel Set
- Size: 14 – 18 Feet
VINGLI Pool Cover Reel Set takes our best overall spot as it is highly durable, easy to assemble and use, fits all pool shapes, and remains stable on the pool.
The construction includes 3 sections of high-quality aluminum tube, stainless legs, and an aluminum reel. Besides being durable, these components do not require maintenance and will never rust to ensure long service life.
Assembling the solar cover reel takes little time and effort as the different components snap together easily and fit perfectly. Also, usage is easy thanks to features like an embedded strap link design, lockable telescoping tube, and comfortable hand crank.
You can use this solar cover reel for all inground pool shapes, provided the width does not exceed 18 feet. Also, you can be sure it will remain stable on the pool since it includes some large and full solid tires.
Although this solar cover reel comes with limited instructions, this should not be a big concern given how easy it is to set up and use.
- Highly durable construction
- Works for all pool shapes
- Easy assembly and usage
- More stable tires
- Limited instructions
2. Best for the Money: Swimline Above-Ground Pool Solar Blanket Reel System
- Size: 21 – 24 Feet
If you are looking for a solar cover reel that will give you great value for money, this model by Swimline is a fantastic choice. It comes at a more affordable price tag, and with most of the things, you need to ensure an even better value.
Besides the excellent value for money, the reel takes little time and effort to set up, and it is also socket mountable to make it even more convenient.
When you buy the reel, you will get some high-quality straps that will hold your solar cover in place without sagging and all the hardware you need to set up and use the reel. Additionally, pool owners will love that the reel rolls and unrolls your cover smoothly.
The two main drawbacks of this solar cover reel are that it does not come with a tube and the plastic material also feels thinner. However, both should not be a big concern for such an affordable reel, given it still works well.
- More affordable to ensure good value for money
- Comes with everything you need
- Quick and easy setup
- Moves the cover smoothly
- Tube not included
- The plastic feels thinner
3. Best for Above Ground Pools: Intex 28051 Solar Cover Roller
- Size: 9 – 16 Feet
For those that have an above ground swimming pool, the Intex 28051 Solar Cover Roller is a fantastic choice. The reel works perfectly for all rectangular above ground pools as it will attach quickly to the pool’s metal structure.
The sole cover roller uses a non-corrosive crank that, besides being durable enough, is also comfortable to use to ensure smooth cover rolling. Additionally, the crank has a locking mechanism to allow you to hold the cover in a specific position.
The overall build of the solar cover reel is also top-notch and will include an aluminum connecting shaft that will deliver many years of exceptional service.
With this reel, installing the cover is more straightforward, and you can be sure that using it will take little effort.
There seems to be a bit of friction when turning the crank, but it is not significant enough to cause problems or damage the unit.
- Easy attachment to pool metal structure
- Handle includes locking function
- Highly durable construction
- Allows for quick and easy cover rolling
- A bit of friction when turning the crank
4. Best for Inground Pool: Nova Microdermabrasion Swimming Pool Cover Reel Set
- Size: 17.5 – 21 Feet
This Nova Microdermabrasion Reel Set is the perfect choice for those that have an inground pool. It can fit pools up to 21-feet wide and has several fantastic features that will ensure it delivers exceptional performance.
Key among them are the highly durable polishing aluminum tubes that you can also adjust to fit most inground pools. These tubes will not rust or even droop, no matter how often you use the reel.
The user-friendly design of the reel includes a nice hand crank on one end that makes it super easy to operate. Also, this crank ensures a smooth operation, and you will also get a thermometer to ensure easy water temperature monitoring.
The reel includes a couple of solid wheels designed to be more durable and stable so that it never falls into the pool. You can also be sure of an easy time when it comes to the assembly as the reel comes with everything you need and clear directions on what to do.
The only issue with this solar cover reel is that it can sag slightly in the middle when you extend it completely, but this is not a deal-breaker.
- Highly durable components
- User-friendly design for smooth operation
- Easy to move and more stable
- Quick and easy assembly
- Can sag a little in the middle
5. NSdirect Pool Cover Reel
- Size: 5 – 22.5 Feet
You will never need to get someone to help you roll or unroll your solar cover with the NSdirect Pool Cover Reel, as it allows for easy one-person operation. It includes a sturdy hand crank that makes the operation more effortless.
The solar cover reel will work for almost any inground pool out there as the adjustable design allows it to fit any pool between 5 and 22.5-foot wide.
Assembling the reel takes little effort as there is nothing much to do since there are only a few parts. What’s more, storage and carrying it should be more effortless for you.
Pool owners will also love the overall construction, as the reel uses a lightweight aluminum tubing that will not require any maintenance and is rust-resistant. What’s more, it comes with large treaded wheels that ensure easy mobility and maximum stability.
There are some customer complaints about missing hardware, but this is probably due to poor quality check or shipping, and any piece you do not get should be easy to find locally. Also, the instructions do not seem well written, but they are hardly a concern as this reel is super easy to set up.
- Requires only one person to operate
- Fits a wide variety of inground pools
- Durable and lightweight construction
- Large treaded wheels
- Missing hardware
- Poor instructions
6. Intex Solar Cover Reel
- Size: 9 – 16 Feet
The ease of installation and use seems to give the Intex Solar Cover Reel an edge over many other reels out there. It is a straightforward model that you can set up and use without using any tools.
Additionally, the reel includes an interlocking shaft that enhances the ease of use and makes the reel more convenient for the users.
The overall construction is also heavy-duty with a lightweight and rust-resistant aluminum tube and a high-strength plastic crank. Besides being durable, the crank includes a lock to allow you to keep the cover in place.
You can use this reel for rectangular above ground pools between 9 and 16 feet wide, and it attaches to the metal structure easily.
The clips that hold the cover are not the best, as they can sometimes pop loose if you have a heavier solar cover. However, you can provide an extra layer of security by adding some zip ties.
- Takes little effort to install
- Heavy-duty build
- Interlocking shaft is more convenient
- Crank includes a lock
- Cover clips can pop loose
7. Rocky’s 3A InGround Pool Solar Reel
- Size: Up to 20 Feet
Rocky’s 3A In-Ground Pool Solar Reel is a heavy-duty reel that will make covering and uncovering your inground pool more effortless.
One of its key highlights is the 12-sided adjustable tubing that ensures minimal sagging regardless of the pool size. This tubing is easily adjustable, and it will make rolling and unrolling the cover quick and smooth.
The overall build of the cover reel will ensure maximum durability as all the components are of top-notch quality. They include die-cast aluminum tubing and main housing with a baked enamel finish to resist corrosion and harsh weather.
There are also some excellent casters on the reel to make it easy to move over the pool and a comfortable crank handle that adds to the ease of operation.
Although the assembly can be a little tricky, it is still not overly complicated, and you should be okay if you read and follow the instructions keenly.
- Easily adjustable and does not sag
- Durable and resistant to harsh weather
- Easy movement with the inclusion of wheels
- Comfortable hand crank
- Assembly can be a little tricky
How to Buy the Best Solar Cover Reel?
1. Solar Cover Reel Type
Before anything else, you will need to decide the solar cover reel type that you prefer. Here, the type classification is often according to the mode of operation, and hence you will have two broad categories: manual and automatic solar cover reels.
Manual Solar Cover Reel
As their name suggests, these reels are the kind that you have to operate by hand when unrolling or rolling your cover. They are the most popular option since they give you more control over the process, are affordable, and are generally less problematic.
With these reels, you have to turn the crank to fold or unfold your cover, which takes a little elbow grease and means more work for you. However, the mechanism that most use allows the cover to move with less effort.
Automatic Solar Cover Reel
With an automatic solar cover reel, the process of folding and unfolding the cover is automatic. Some models require you to connect to an outlet, while some modern ones are solar-powered to ensure they do not increase your electricity bill.
Instead of a hand crank like with the manual models, the automatic reels will have a motor that drives the folding/unfolding mechanism.
These reels tend to be slower than the manual models, and they are also more expensive to buy and maintain.
2. Construction Material
The next crucial element you need to consider is the material, as it will determine how long the reel lasts and how well it serves you. Remember that the reel will spend a lot of time outdoors and face more abuse from regular use, so it needs to be tough enough.
Most of these products will feature a metallic construction, with aluminum and stainless steel being the most common materials. However, most will include several plastic components.
In many cases, what matters more is the quality of the materials and not the type. Therefore, if you go for something with many plastic parts, make sure it is heavy-gauge enough for maximum durability.
3. Ease of Assembly and Use
The majority of solar cover reels will come with multiple parts and sections that will need some assembly. Therefore, when choosing one, you have to make sure it will be easy to assemble.
The ease of assembly largely depends on the number of pieces you get and how well they fit together. Something that comes with a few pieces that snap together quickly and with clearly illustrated directions on what to do will give you the easiest time.
For ease of use, make sure what you choose has an easy-to-use mill mechanism like the Intex 28051 Solar Cover Roller. A model that includes a comfortable crank mechanism and an excellent strapping system will also give you an easy time.
A good solar cover reel should include some wheels to make it easy to maneuver and move around the pool. When it comes to wheels, you can get a reel with either plastic or rubber wheels.
Plastic wheels make the reel more affordable but do not last very long under the sun, while rubber wheels are much better quality and move well even on wet surfaces.
Besides the wheel material, their size also matters. Some models like Rocky’s 3A In Ground Pool Solar Reel have simple casters to make transportation easy. Others like the VINGLI Pool Cover Reel Set include larger treaded wheels with better stability and move well on most surfaces.
With the best solar cover reel, rolling and unrolling your pool solar cover is always quicker and more effortless. There are many fantastic reel models, and narrowing down your option should be easy with our review and guide above.
From our product list, the VINGLI Pool Cover Reel Set is our best overall model. This heavy-duty reel is easy to assemble, fits all pool shapes, and comes with all the hardware you need.
However, if you are looking for something that will give you the best value for your money, the Swimline Above-Ground Pool Solar Blanket Reel System is what we recommend.
Solar pool covers save time by making pool maintenance much easier. Although there are few downsides to solar pool covers, they are worth keeping in mind. The most significant disadvantage to a prefabricated pool cover is that it will not offer the same security as a custom pool cover.How many years does a pool solar cover last? ›
Over time, your solar cover will slowly deteriorate. You will need to replace your solar cover when it begins to flake and when bubbles begin to fall off of it. Most solar covers last for up to three years, though many people replace them more frequently.Is clear or blue solar cover better? ›
“A UV-protected, translucent blue color offers a better balance between heat retention and pool chemical protection,” Dobrica says, adding that a clear cover will warm the pool water the most, but it will also allow more UV rays, which can make chlorine less effective as a disinfectant.What is the difference between a pool cover and a solar pool cover? ›
Solar pool covers are just like the standard pool cover. However, there are added features! These covers can heat the pool water and reduce evaporation. Thanks to these features, they save on energy and water consumption and costs.Can you run pool pump with solar cover on? ›
Yes, you can safely use both at the same time! The pool cover does not have any effect on the pool pump circulating water around the pool. In fact, we would recommend it as it reduces the number of hours that the pump needs to be run and therefore extends the lifespan of your pool pump.What thickness solar cover is best? ›
|8 mil||Lightest||Up to 10°F|
|12 mil||Moderate||Up to 15°F|
|16 mil||Heaviest||Up to 18°F|
How Quickly Will a Solar Cover Heat my Swimming Pool? According to the experts, a fully covered pool will heat between 10-15 degrees in about 6 hours. There is mixed information out there. Some experts say that you will get 7-10 degrees with three consecutive days of sun.Do solar pool covers cause algae? ›
So while a solar cover won't actually 'turn your pool green', it will warm your water by up to 8 degrees, so if the other conditions are right, adding a solar cover can easily accelerate algae growth, very rapidly. You need to get the water balance in your pool right before putting the cover back on.What is a good solar cover for pool? ›
|Company||Forbes Home Rating||UV RESISTANCE|
|Midwest Canvas Ultra 16 Mil Solar Blanket||4.4||Excellent|
|Blue Wave Clear Solar Blanket for Inground and Above Ground Pools (14-Mil)||4.2||Excellent|
|Intex Round Solar Cover||4.2||Excellent|
|Sun2Solar Blue 15-Foot Round Solar Cover | 1600 Series Style||4.2||Excellent|
The simple answer is they should face down, always. The way they heat your pool is through the sun warming up the air that is trapped in the bubbles. The heat is therefore then transferred into your pool.
Cleaning a solar pool cover is a simple process that only requires clean cold water and a soft brush. You can also use a chemically-safe cleaner during this process. Whenever you're about to store your solar pool blanket, make sure you hose all the chlorine off using cold water, brushing any dirt, mildew, or algae.Will a solar cover help keep chlorine in pool? ›
Solar covers can help reduce chlorine loss. By preventing evaporation and keeping pool water warm, solar covers keep heat from dissipating as you use less chemicals for maintenance of your pool.Should I run my pool pump when the pool is covered? ›
Absolutely! A cover does nothing to interfere with the water circulating through your system. It doesn't touch your pump or any other piece of equipment you have. When your pool is covered during these winter months, you can run it less, thus protecting the pump from premature aging.How do you heat a pool with a solar cover? ›
To get the most out of your solar pool cover, put it on whenever the pool isn't being used. During the day, you're most likely to get the most heat from your solar blanket. But it is also helpful to leave the solar blanket out during the night, as this will significantly decrease evaporation and heat loss.How should a solar cover fit on an above ground pool? ›
One of the most common fits is to have the solar cover sit right at the edge of the pool wall, which will fit your solar cover on your pool's surface perfectly. Another option is to leave 2″-3″ around from the edge of the pool wall to remain folded upward on the pool edge.Should the cover on a pool be on or off to warm? ›
In dry and/or windy conditions, the evaporation rate of the pool increases. Therefore, it is generally beneficial to have a transparent or bubble cover on during daylight hours. In warm, humid conditions the evaporation rate decreases. In this case, it may be more beneficial to leave the cover off during the daytime.Should I leave the pool cover on when it rains? ›
If you use a pool cover during a light rain shower, this is totally fine and can help make the clean up a little easier as it protects the water from debris. However, if heavy rain or a large storm is on the way, it's best not to use your pool covers.Can I leave my solar cover under winter cover? ›
If you have a solar cover, you need to remove this over the winter as if left on the pool, it will become brittle and become useless for next season. A winter cover should be installed in place of a solar cover for the colder months.What is the best color for a pool cover? ›
Today, green and blue covers are the most inviting, popular choices for homeowners, but you can also find shades of black and gray as well as Earth tones to complement virtually any backyard or color scheme.What is the thickest solar cover for pool? ›
Being the thickest solar cover on the market at 16 mil, the Ultra 16 Mil Solar Cover provides superior heat retention. The Ultra pool solar cover's revolutionary aluminized bottom and UV-stabilized resin construction enables the solar pool cover to better capture the sun's rays to heat your pool.
Black Solar Covers
The color and level of opaqueness allow for very fast heat absorption that will heat your pool quicker than the other covers listed above.
Solar covers will help a pool warm up faster in the spring and help maintain warmth in a pool a little longer in the fall but one misconception about them is that they will warm up a pool in the dead of winter, which simply is not the case.How much will a solar cover heat a pool? ›
A well-functioning solar cover can increase a pool's temperature by up to 15 degrees. The second way solar covers heat your pool is by keeping water from evaporating. Approximately 70% of heat loss in your pool happens through evaporation, so this is important.Should I run my solar pool heater at night? ›
Generally speaking you should run your panels throughout the sunniest part of the day. The most basic advice is to simply run your solar panels during the sunniest time of the day. This actually means not just when the sun is out, but when the sun is directly hitting your panels.Do pool solar panels need to be cleaned? ›
If your panels are installed at less than a 5 degree angle, then they should be washed periodically because rain alone might not carry away the accumulated dirt. Engineers also found a few sites where photovoltaic panels were dirty enough to warrant cleaning due to specific, localized circumstances.How much water evaporates from a pool with a solar cover? ›
The typical evaporation reduction rate of Liquid Solar Covers are 15 - 40 percent! Upon considering that a typical pool contains 15,000 gallons of water, and loses approximately 1500 gallons per month in summer, a Liquid Solar Cover can save you between 225 - 600 gallons of water per summer month.Does solar cover burn chlorine? ›
A cover reduces chlorine consumption by around 50% – if the chlorinator is not turned down, it will produce too much chlorine, and damage the cover.What happens when it rains on a solar pool cover? ›
If you leave the pool covered in water or even just with pools of water on it the effectiveness of your solar pool blanket will be compromised. The rainwater, once the sun shines again will evaporate from the water on top of the blanket and this takes heat through the blanket, thus causing the pool water to cool.Should a solar pool cover be larger than the pool? ›
These covers are a good choice for both inground and above ground pools. Purchase a solar blanket slightly larger than pool measurements. You can then place it over your pool's surface and trim it as needed to create a perfect fit.Do thicker solar covers work better? ›
In terms of performance, a thinner solar cover will allow more heat to pass through to the water, but a thicker cover will absorb more heat. Thicker covers are also more durable against UV rays, water chemicals, and punctures or tearing.
The best way to store your solar cover is with a roller, or a solar cover reel. The solar cover is attached to the roller with straps, and is rolled up when the cover is not in use. Most rollers have wheels that can be used to store the cover and reel when it's party time or when you just don't want it around.Can you leave a solar cover on too long? ›
Leaving your solar pool cover on during hot days is not a good idea as it can negatively affect water temperature. Taking off the cover during a hot day may seem counterintuitive, but leaving the cover on will result in uneven water temperatures.How much warmer does a solar cover make a pool? ›
Depending on the weather, a solar blanket can heat a pool even up to 10-15 degrees Fahrenheit in a single day. However, on cool, cloudy days, a solar cover will not be as effective at warming up the pool. On average, expect about a 5-degree increase within the first day.Does a pool heat up faster with the solar cover on? ›
Solar covers will help a pool warm up faster in the spring and help maintain warmth in a pool a little longer in the fall but one misconception about them is that they will warm up a pool in the dead of winter, which simply is not the case.Will pool get warmer with solar cover on or off? ›
The short answer is YES. Many pool owners say that their pools are warmer after installing a solar pool cover.Will a solar cover keep debris out of pool? ›
Another benefit of a solar blanket is that it keeps debris out of your pool, which means you have to clean it less. Leaves, branches and other debris are all reduced with a solar cover.Should I take my pool cover off during the day? ›
In dry and/or windy conditions, the evaporation rate of the pool increases. Therefore, it is generally beneficial to have a transparent or bubble cover on during daylight hours. In warm, humid conditions the evaporation rate decreases. In this case, it may be more beneficial to leave the cover off during the daytime.Should I cover my pool every night? ›
Pop quiz: should you cover your pool every night? If you want your pool to be ready for swimming tomorrow, yes, you should! Don't underestimate how powerful a simple solar cover can be: according to In the Swim, a properly fitting cover can reduce up to 95% of heat loss.How long does it take for a pool to heat up with sun? ›
Your pool water absorbs sunlight and warmth just by sitting out in the sun. An average pool will heat up about 0.7° per hour under the noontime sun.Should pool cover touch water? ›
Your pool water level should not be too low, as the water must support the cover in situations where you receive a heavy snowfall. At the same time, ideally you don't want the water to touch the underside of the cover under general conditions as that contact will create a wet spot where debris will accumulate.
Absolutely! A cover does nothing to interfere with the water circulating through your system. It doesn't touch your pump or any other piece of equipment you have. When your pool is covered during these winter months, you can run it less, thus protecting the pump from premature aging.Are pool solar covers just bubble wrap? ›
The covers, also called solar blankets, are made of numerous bubbles and look like a large piece of bubble wrap. The bubbles trap the heat from the sun and transfer it to the pool, like how a magnifying glass works. The material traps the heat in the pool so that it's not lost during the cooler evening hours.