Best Pool Heaters of 2024 (2024)

Best Pool Heaters of 2024 (1)

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A reliable pool heater can keep your backyard swimming pool at a comfortable temperature even during chillier days, so you can extend your swimming season. Some pool heaters can also make the water cooler when the outdoor temperature is exceptionally hot, providing you with a relaxing oasis during the dog days of summer.

Our top picks:

But pool heaters can vary significantly in terms of performance, price, energy efficiency, size and noise output. Which is why the Good Housekeeping Institute took on the task of finding the best pool heaters on the market.

Below, you’ll see reviews of the six best pool heaters of the year. You can also check out our picks of the best swimsuits for women, the best men’s swim trunks, the best above-ground pools and the best pool toys for a fun day in the water.


Best Overall

Hayward W3H200FDN Universal H-Series

Best Pool Heaters of 2024 (9)

  • Best Pool Heaters of 2024 (10)Great temperature control
  • Best Pool Heaters of 2024 (11)Fast heating
  • Best Pool Heaters of 2024 (12)Low emissions
  • Best Pool Heaters of 2024 (13)A bit heavy

Like the majority of pool heaters, this Hayward pool heater runs on natural gas. But it stands out from the crowd for its decent price for its heating capacity as well as its thermal efficiency and low emissions, according to the manufacturer.

Multiple online reviews on Amazon said the machine delivers fast heating. One customer who called it a "dynamo," said of the first time using it overnight with their pool which holds 20,000 gals of water: "The pool temperature rose from 74°F to 92°F; that is a rise of 18 degrees in seven hours."

It features a highly durable cupronickel heat exchanger — which helps prevent corrosion, making it a great choice for saltwater and chemically treated in-ground pools — and provides 200,000 BTUs (British Thermal Units) per hour. Plus, it’s equipped with a digital control panel that’s easy to use, according to one customer review on the manufacturer's website. But at 123 pounds, the unit is heavier than some other pool heaters in its class.

Pool typeIn-ground; chlorine and saltwater
Power sourceNatural gas
Heating capacity200,000 BTUs


Best Value

Pentair EC462025 MasterTemp 125

Best Pool Heaters of 2024 (14)

  • Best Pool Heaters of 2024 (15)Affordably priced
  • Best Pool Heaters of 2024 (16)Quiet operation
  • Best Pool Heaters of 2024 (17)Low environmental impact
  • Best Pool Heaters of 2024 (18)Not designed for larger pools

This natural gas pool heater from Pentair offers some serious bang for your buck, generating 125,000 BTUs per hour. The compact design runs quietly too. "The quietness of the unit running is amazing," one Amazon reviewer wrote.

It’s also certified for low nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions and equipped with a digital display that’s easy to read. One caveat: It’s not a good fit for smaller pools; according to the manufacturer, it’s designed for pools up to 15,000 gallons.

Pool typeIn-ground; chlorine
Power sourceNatural gas
Heating capacity125,000 BTUs


Best Propane Tank

Pentair 460737 MasterTemp

Best Pool Heaters of 2024 (19)

  • Best Pool Heaters of 2024 (20)Stellar heating capacity
  • Best Pool Heaters of 2024 (21)Lightweight
  • Best Pool Heaters of 2024 (22)Low emissions
  • Best Pool Heaters of 2024 (23)Expensive

Talk about a powerhouse. This propane tank pool heater from Pentair produces 400,000 BTUs per hour — the highest output of any machine on this list. "Once connected and turned on, I could not believe the speed at which my 18 x 54 foot pool heated up," said one customer review on Amazon.

It also boasts top-notch energy efficiency, weighs only 65 pounds and is certified for low NOx emissions. It’s one of the most expensive pool heaters out there, but it could be worth the splurge depending on your needs.

Pool typeIn-ground; chlorine
Power sourcePropane gas
Heating capacity400,000 BTUs

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Best Solar Panel

SunHeater S601 Solar System Panel

Best Pool Heaters of 2024 (24)

  • Best Pool Heaters of 2024 (25)Energy efficient
  • Best Pool Heaters of 2024 (26)Environmentally friendly
  • Best Pool Heaters of 2024 (27)Durable
  • Best Pool Heaters of 2024 (28)Expensive to install
  • Best Pool Heaters of 2024 (29)Slower heating than gas-powered pool heaters

Solar pool heaters are usually more costly, running around $2,500 to $4,000 to purchase and install, according to But they cost very little to operate once they’re up and running. If you have a sizable budget, the Smart Pool S601 is worth considering.

Each unit comes with 80 square feet of solar panels. The system keeps your pool warm with a heat collector, raising the water temperature by as much as 15°F, however it will work slower than a gas-powered model.

The panels, which can be installed on the roof of your house, mounted on a rack or placed on the ground, are made of lightweight and durable polypropylene. But solar panel pool heaters require professional installation, which can be costly.

Pool typeIn-ground; chlorine
Power sourceSolar energy
Heating capacityN/A, but raises temperature by up to 15°F


Best Heater-Cooler Combo

Raypak Crosswind Heat/Cool Electric Pool Heat Pump

Best Pool Heaters of 2024 (30)

  • Best Pool Heaters of 2024 (31)Heating and cooling functions
  • Best Pool Heaters of 2024 (32)Compact
  • Best Pool Heaters of 2024 (33)Very quiet
  • Best Pool Heaters of 2024 (34)Pricey
  • Best Pool Heaters of 2024 (35)Heavy

This dual-function pool heater-and-cooler heat pump is very quiet, according to customer reviews on Amazon. It features an easy-to-use digital display and heats water quickly using a spiral titanium heat exchanger. The cooling mode allows you to lower your pool’s temperature — a blessing during a steamy day.

While the unit is compact, it weighs a fairly heavy 152 pounds and delivers only 61,000 BTUs per hour, so it’s only designed for smaller above-ground pools. It's also pricey, but the convenience of offering warmth and cooling in one may be worth it if you want to extend your pool season and/or live in a climate with extremely hot weather.

Pool typeAbove-ground; chlorine
Power sourceElectric
Heating capacity61,000 BTUs


Best for Above-Ground Pool

Raypak 014779 PR106AENC

Best Pool Heaters of 2024 (36)

  • Best Pool Heaters of 2024 (37)Low priced
  • Best Pool Heaters of 2024 (38)Wind-resistant design
  • Best Pool Heaters of 2024 (39)Limited heating capacity

An affordable choice for an above-ground pool, this Raypak features a wind-resistant design, according to the manufacturer, so the pool heater can withstand inclement weather. It’s outfitted with polymer headers that will help prevent rust stains on your swimming pool. But, since it delivers a maximum heating capacity of only 105,000 BTUs per hour, it’s not well-suited for larger pools.

Pool typeAbove-ground; chlorine
Power sourceNatural gas
Heating capacity105,000 BTUs

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How we choose the best pool heaters

Best Pool Heaters of 2024 (40)

To select the best pool heaters, we partnered with the experts at Popular Mechanics who conducted their own reviews of pool heaters. Our Lab pros also researched the popular brands on the market, compared specs of the best-selling models and read over 100 online reviews to find out what customers think of their pool heaters. We also consulted’s swimming pool heating guides for buying advice.

What to consider when shopping for a pool heater

Best Pool Heaters of 2024 (41)

There are several important factors to consider when you go shopping:

✔️ Pool type: Pool heaters are compatible with in-ground pools, above-ground pools or both, depending on the product. If you have a saltwater pool, make sure to confirm that the filter is designed for saltwater.

✔️ Heating capacity: This is measured by how many BTUs (British Thermal Units) a pool heater generates per hour. Most residential pool heaters produce between 50,000 and 400,000 BTUs an hour. BTU output impacts whether a pool heater is designed for a small, medium, or large pool; the fewer the BTUs, the less amount of water it can heat effectively.

✔️ Power source: Pool heaters run on natural gas, propane gas, electricity from a heat pump or solar energy. Gas-powered heaters tend to have a bigger impact on the environment in terms of emissions and may be more costly to operate.

✔️ Energy efficiency: Electric heat pumps and solar-powered pool heaters tend to be more energy efficient and, as a result, cheaper to operate than natural gas and propane gas pool heaters.

✔️ Emissions: Gas pool heaters produce nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas emission that's bad for the environment. Low NOx pool heaters are designed to minimize these harmful emissions. All gas heaters must meet the federal standards for NOx emissions.

✔️ Warranty: Pool heaters typically come with a warranty of anywhere from one to 10 years, depending on the product and manufacturer.

How much does it cost to install a pool heater?

Best Pool Heaters of 2024 (42)

Getting a pool heater professionally installed can cost anywhere from $300 to around $5,700 or more, depending on the heating capacity, heat source, size, brand and other variables, according to home remodeling resource ANGI. The average cost typically runs $1,803 and $4,134.

Installation costs can vary depending on the type of pool heater too. According to ANGI, electric pool heaters cost $1,000 to $6,000 to install on average; natural gas or propane pool heaters cost $1,500 to $6,000 to install; heat pump pool heaters cost $2,500 to $7,500 to install, and solar panel pool heaters cost $2,500 to $9,500 to install. The size of your pool and where you live can also affect the cost.

Pool heaters also require maintenance, such as keeping the heater clear of debris and checking for rodent activity periodically. You can do these maintenance tasks yourself or hire a pool company to do them for you.

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Should I install a pool heater myself?

Best Pool Heaters of 2024 (43)

It’s best to hire a professional to install a gas pool heater because they require a gas line connection, which can be complex. Propane heaters require connecting the tank to your pool's heating system, a task best left to a professional. Proper installation also helps ensure the pool heater runs efficiently, according to

Electric heat pumps and solar panel heating systems are a bit easier to install, but hiring a professional can provide peace of mind that the system was properly installed for optimal performance.

What’s the ideal temperature for pool water?​

Best Pool Heaters of 2024 (44)

Temperature preference can vary from person to person, but generally people feel the most comfortable in pool water between 78°F and 82°F, according to ANGI, which points out that temperatures above 82°F can promote algae growth and lead to cloudy water.

Why trust Good Housekeeping?

Best Pool Heaters of 2024 (45)

Daniel Bortz is a freelance writer who has written about home improvement for more than a decade, including testing-based product reviews across every major category from outdoor power equipment to smart home technology. His work has been published by the New York Times, Washington Post, Consumer Reports, Newsweek, Money magazine and other outlets.

For this article, Bortz worked closely with Dan DiClerico, director of GH's Home Improvement and Outdoor Lab. DiClerico has tested and written about home improvement and outdoor power equipment for more than 20 years. Prior to joining Good Housekeeping, his expertise appeared in Consumer Reports and This Old House.

Best Pool Heaters of 2024 (46)

Daniel Bortz

Daniel Bortz (he/him) is a freelance writer in Arlington, Va who has written about home improvement for more a decade, including product reviews across every major category, from appliances to smart home technology, as well as articles on real estate, personal finance, and more. His work has been published by The New York Times, The Washington Post, Consumer Reports, Newsweek, Money magazine, among others. He’s also a licensed real estate agent who watches way too much HGTV.

Best Pool Heaters of 2024 (47)

Reviewed byDan DiClerico

Home Improvement & Outdoor Director

Having written thousands of product reviews and how-to articles on all aspects of home ownership, from routine maintenance to major renovations, Dan (he/him) brings more than 20 years of industry experience to his role as the director of the Home Improvement & Outdoor Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute. A one-time roofer and a serial remodeler, Dan can often be found keeping house at his restored Brooklyn brownstone, where he lives with his wife and kids.

Best Pool Heaters of 2024 (2024)


Best Pool Heaters of 2024? ›

Gas-fired pool heaters remain the most popular system for heating pools. Today you can find new gas-fired heater models with much higher efficiencies than older models. However, depending on your climate and pool use, they may not be the most cost-effective option when compared to heat pump and solar pool heaters.

Are newer pool heaters more efficient? ›

Gas-fired pool heaters remain the most popular system for heating pools. Today you can find new gas-fired heater models with much higher efficiencies than older models. However, depending on your climate and pool use, they may not be the most cost-effective option when compared to heat pump and solar pool heaters.

What is the best heating for a swimming pool? ›

Energy Efficiency: Heat pumps are highly energy-efficient, making them a cost-effective heating solution for your pool. They work by transferring heat from the surrounding air to the pool water, requiring minimal energy input.

Which pool heater lasts the longest? ›

Gas and electric pool heaters typically last between 5 to 15 years, while solar pool heaters can endure for 10 to 20 years or more. Remember, before deciding to replace your pool heater, accurately identify the problem and explore repair options.

What is the most efficient way to heat a pool? ›

That's why we are sharing these ideas for how to cheaply heat a pool, including the absolute cheapest way to heat a swimming pool.
  1. Use solar heating as the primary source. ...
  2. Use your heat pump during warmest time of the day. ...
  3. Use pool blankets to control evaporation. ...
  4. Shield your pool from the wind.

Who makes the best pool heaters? ›

Pentair, along with Raypack and Hayward, is among the "top three" pool heater manufacturers so you can be sure you're in good hands.

Is it better to oversize a pool heater? ›

The higher the BTU, the more quickly you will be able to heat your water. This measurement applies to both natural gas and electric heat pumps. Pro Tip: Always go with the largest size (BTU) of heater your pool can accommodate. This leads to quicker water heating and lower operating costs.

What is a comfortable temperature to heat a pool? ›

Pool water temperatures typically run between 78 and 82 degrees. Any cooler than 78 and you may come out of the pool shivering. Any warmer than 82 and you may feel like you're taking a bath. So you could say that 78 degrees is the minimum swimming pool temperature and anything over 82 degrees could be too warm.

How can I reduce the cost of pool heating? ›

You can reduce the cost of heating your swimming pool by installing a high-efficiency or solar heater, using a pool cover, managing the water temperature, and using a smaller pump less often.

How do I choose a pool heater? ›

Consider the size, shape, and location of your pool, as well as the climate and your desired pool temperature. Different types of pool heaters have different heating capacities and efficiency ratings. Compare the initial cost, installation cost, operating cost, and maintenance cost of different pool heaters.

What is the most quiet pool heater? ›

The HeatWave SuperQuiet (the flagship product) from AquaCal is proven to be the quietest unit in the pool heater industry. While many other units even have some form of “quiet” in their name or marketing, the AquaCal is proven to be the best in terms of decibel rating.

What ruins a pool heater? ›

Water Chemistry Issues

High pH levels (hard water) create mineral buildup inside the heat exchanger, which restricts water flow, and increased water acidity levels cause deterioration and perforation of copper heat exchanger tubes.

How long will a Pentair pool heater last? ›

The average life of a pool heater is between 15 and 25 years with regular usage and proper maintenance, but there are various factors that impact that projection.

What is the black hose trick to heat a pool? ›

The Black Hose Trick

Grab your black garden hose, fill it up, and leave it in direct sunlight. This will warm the water within and heat your pool as you refill. However, this method has several problems, as a lack of sunlight will prevent your hose from warming up. Also, this method only works when refilling your pool.

Is it better to heat a pool at night or during the day? ›

Most residential swimming pools have power-efficient heating units and do not require that much energy to reach a comfortable temperature. We only recommend keeping your pool heater on overnight if you expect family or guests to take a dip.

How do I heat my pool all year round? ›

10 Cheap Ways To Heat Your Pool
  1. Use a Solar Cover for Your Pool. ...
  2. Invest in Solar Sun Rings. ...
  3. Try a Liquid Solar Pool Cover. ...
  4. Build a Windproof Pool Enclosure. ...
  5. Use the Black Hose Trick. ...
  6. Snag a Pool Heat Pump. ...
  7. Combine a Solar Cover and a Pool Heat Pump. ...
  8. Install Solar Panels for Pool Heating.

How often do pool heaters need to be replaced? ›

Most good pool heaters are durable and run for ten to fifteen years when maintained properly. However, everything has an expiration date and so do heaters. The important thing is to understand when to replace or repair your pool pump.

How do I know if I need a new pool heater? ›

Your pool heater shouldn't sound like a distressed dragon guarding its treasure hoard. Unusual clanging, grinding, or other noises can signal internal problems. Similarly, a musty odor or a smell resembling rotten eggs could indicate a leak or other issues requiring professional attention, or even replacement.

Is it cheaper to leave a pool heater on all night or shut it off at night and restart it in the morning when the pool temperature drops 10 F? ›

Also, turn the temperature down or turn off the heater whenever the pool won't be used for several days. This will save energy and money. It's a myth that it takes more energy to heat a pool back up to a desired temperature than you save by lowering the temperature or turning off the heater.

Are newer pool pumps more efficient? ›

You could save up to 83 percent in annual energy costs (give or take, depending on where you live and other variables) just by upgrading your pool pump. Variable- speed pumps are much quieter than the other two options. The quieter operation is one of the biggest benefits people notice right away.

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