As summer temperatures heat up and we start to crave any semblance of refreshment from the heat and humidity, many of us will finally decide to buy an above ground pool this year.
The options for above pool accessories are endless, and it can feel overwhelming, trying to determine what is really necessary and what is optional.
You’ll soon find that the price of owning an above ground pool is not as easy as simply purchasing the pool – you must also buy or upgrade accessories such as pool ladders or steps, pool pumps and filter systems, pool heaters and coolers, pool lights, and pool covers.
While one might assume that there isn’t much to a pool cover, or many options available, a little bit of online research will show that this simple decision isn’t so simple!
Your pool will more than likely come with a standard pool cover sent from the manufacturer, though these typically don’t hold up to long term use, especially in hours of direct sunlight every day in dry, especially hot, or windy climates.
Many times they will stretch out so that wind eventually gets underneath one side and whips the cover away from the surface pool.
When this happens, not only does it not keep out debris, it may tear and shred with wind damage, or be blown into a neighboring yard or treeline!
Color can also affect your desired outcome – light colored pool covers will not attract or hold as much heat as a black solar cover, for example.
Depending on your climate, you may have different goals for your pool cover, such as weather you want the water to stay cool or warm up.
Table Of Contents
- 1 Importance of Using An Above Ground Pool Cover
- 2 Above Ground Pool Safety Covers
- 3 Above Ground Pool Cover Alternatives
- 4 Types of Above Ground Pool Covers
- 5 Standard Covers for Leaf & Debris Protection
- 6 Above Ground Pool Leaf Cover
- 7 Solar Covers for Above Ground Pools
- 8 Blue Wave 8-mil Solar Blanket for Above Ground Pools
- 9 24 Foot 12 mil Blue Swimming Pool Cover
- 10 Winter Pool Covers for Above Ground Pools
- 11 Robelle 5124-4 Winter Cover for Swimming Pools
- 12 Robelle 3528-4 Winter Cover for Above Ground Pools
- 13 Helpful Tips for Above Ground Pool Covers
- 14 Hydro Tools 52000 Solar Blanket Reel System
Importance of Using An Above Ground Pool Cover
It can also be tempting to simply go inside after a long day (or night) of swimming, without replacing the pool cover after every use.
While the temptation to forego this step is heavy, you must fight the urge! Your pool cover is protecting every other major component of your pool.
Without the pool cover, dust, sand, leaves, sticks, flower petals, insects, bacteria, and pebbles can all fall into the pool water.
These items will either float on the surface or sink to the bottom of your pool.
Eventually, as your pump cycles, they can be sucked into the pump filter, skimmer basket, pool vacuum, or intake valves, clogging your system, leading to an overheated pool pump motor in only hours.
You may wake up to a burnt motor and green pool! Replacing the pool cover after each use only takes a few minutes. Using a skimmer, pool vacuum, or replacing components will take much longer. Cover the pool after every use!
Above Ground Pool Safety Covers
Many first time pool owners may not realize there are special covers specifically designed to prevent accidental or unauthorized entry into your above ground pool.
Because many laws apply premise liability laws to any accidental drowning or slip and fall accident at the scene of a privately owned pool, even if the victim was not invited and the homeowner was not present, it is important to enact as many safety measures as possible as a new pool owner.
Safety covers assist in protecting not only your family from accidents, but you as the homeowner from liability. These covers are the sturdiest, thickets pool covers, locked into place with springs and ground anchors.
They offer all the same benefits as winter covers with added protection from accidental entry and debris. Security covers can withstand rain, ice, snow, and high wind, as well as the weight from any settling debris, and are ideal for any part of the world.
Above Ground Pool Cover Alternatives
There are some really interesting alternatives to solar above ground pool covers, both chemical and non-chemical products.
One of the chemical alternatives to an above ground pool cover is Heatsavr Liquid Swimming Pool Heating blanket.
This mixture somehow reduces evaporation, conserving energy use in heated pools and at the very least conserving wasted water in all above ground pools.
It is safe for all filters and pumps, and works with both salt-water and ozone pools. Most reviews on this sort of product makes it very clear that liquid alternatives simply do not work, so please be mindful and do your research before purchasing any sort of pool cover alternative.
Not only will they generally not work as well for heat retention, but they also don’t provide any sort of protection from debris entering your pool.
Types of Above Ground Pool Covers
There are pool covers for different uses, as well. Your standard pool cover is made to cover the pool from debris when not in use.
There are also solar covers, primarily used to heat the water temperature using solar rays. Then there are above ground pool covers meant for use when closing the pool down for winter months. In the “winter covers” family, there are four different types of winter covers to fit different weather needs.
One factor to keep in mind when shopping for a pool cover is the weave of the fabric: the tighter the weave, the more durable the cover.
Safety covers are made specifically to stop accidental entry by pets and children into the pool. There are also some pretty awesome cover alternatives out there, usually in the form of chemicals you can add to the pool water.
Standard Covers for Leaf & Debris Protection
A very inexpensive, entry level option would be a standard above ground pool cover meant strictly for debris and leaf protection.
These covers do not protect from rising temperatures and algae growth, nor are they meant to be used through the entire off-season.
These covers may be utilized when the pool is not in use during the day or evening while it is swimming season.
Above Ground Pool Leaf Cover
This cover, meant for 24 foot circular above ground pools, sells for cheap including free shipping. A standard above ground pool cover such as this product is meant to prevent dead leaves from collecting on the surface of the water and clogging your pool vacuum or pump system.
These covers are great for pools with lots of tree coverage, especially as autumn nears and leaves are dropping from the trees overhead.
You can also put your winter cover on first at the end of the season, adding the leaf cover at the beginning of fall.
Leaves will drop on to the top leaf cover and you may remove it when the leaves are bare, so that leaves are not in place for the entire season.
These leaves stick to the winter cover and decay, leaving one huge mess to store at the beginning of the swimming season.
- Includes fastening loops, wire cable, and metal winch for securing to pool
- Lightweight and easy to install
- Allows for quick cleanup of winter cover at the beginning of the next swim season
- Not meant for long term use
- Mesh material allows for sand, dirt, or pollen to enter pool water
Solar Covers for Above Ground Pools
Solar covers are a cost effective way to heat the water of your pool without raising your utility expenses.
Solar covers heat up during the day, attracting the sun’s solar rays and trapping this heat in thermal bubbles, retaining the warmth gathered through sunlight overnight and shielding the pool surface from the cooler night temperatures and chill from any wind.
All high-quality solar covers will be UV protected and last for years properly stored when not in use.
Many solar covers work by trapping water evaporation from the surface of the water, sort of like a greenhouse warms up. This process may raise water temperatures by up to 15 degrees with daily use.
Blue Wave 8-mil Solar Blanket for Above Ground Pools
Blue Wave offers a standard 8-mil solar blanket for above ground pools in a variety of sizes: Starting at 12 feet in diameter and ending at 36 feet in diameter.
Other options available: 15-feet, 18-feet, 21-feet, 24-feet, 28-feet, 30-feet, and 33-feet. This solar pool cover claims to warm water by up to 15 degrees. Product sold with a three year manufacturer’s warranty.
- Can heat pool by 15 degrees
- Inexpensive entry level solar cover
- Blue transparent color traps maximum amount of heat and is visually pleasing
- May split with long term use in hot sun, dry weather, or harsh wind
- Not meant for multiple years of use
24 Foot 12 mil Blue Swimming Pool Cover
This swimming pool cover is double the thickness and can raise temperatures of pool water up to 17 degrees with daily use.
Reinforced seams enhance longevity and resistance against normal wear and tear. The product comes with a 7 year manufacturer’s warranty plus free shipping online.
The reviews on many cheaper alternatives offering half the “mil” rating mention disintegrating solar covers after only one year of use, so the high 12 mil rating should hold up to wear and tear much better than the entry level solar covers.
- Higher rated solar cover for longevity
- Heats water temperature by up to 17 degrees
- May be too heavy for some users to remove independently without assistance
Winter Pool Covers for Above Ground Pools
Winter above ground pool covers are typically manufactured with a high strength weave, sturdy enough to keep your above ground pool protected and healthy over the long cold seasons in many climates.
The purpose of winter pool covers is primarily to block as much light and heat as possible, preventing algae and bacteria from blooming under the cover (no one wants to open the pool at the beginning on the season and see a swamp!).
As they are much lighter than safety covers, winter covers won’t prevent children or pets from accidental entry, so exercise extra caution when using this type of above ground pool cover.
Robelle 5124-4 Winter Cover for Swimming Pools
This above ground pool cover comes in the following sizes (measured in feet) for round above ground pools: 15-feet, 18-feet, 21-feet, 24-feet, 28-feet, 30-feet, and 33-feet, for cheap price tag for the smallest size option and more expensive for the largest size.
These amazing winter pool covers are backed by a whopping 20 year warranty and even come in a variety of colors for aesthetically picky pool owners.
The fabric is made of the highest grade polyethylene material, weighing 5.2oz/yard2. The cover includes the winch and cable, though you may prefer to buy anchors or other accessories for a custom setup.
There is a four foot standard overlap on any size.
The standard charcoal option is coated to prevent UV damage and prevent algae growth over the winter months.
At 14×14 scrim (threads per inch), this cover is the strongest, thickest, most durable winter cover on the market.
- Measurements include 4 foot overhang for truly secure winter protection
- Highest rated thread count available
- Charcoal color prevents algae growth and prevents UV damage
- May be too heavy for some users to cover without assistance
- Does not include springs or anchors which may be purchased separately
Robelle 3528-4 Winter Cover for Above Ground Pools
The Robelle 3528-4 Above Ground Pool Cover comes in a variety of options from 12-feet round pool covers to 33-feet round, with a different price tag.
This is a step down from the previously mentioned winter pool cover as this winter cover has a measured scrim of 8×8, and only 2.36oz/yard2, not nearly as durable or thick for winter protection as the Robelle 5124-4.
However, we understand that budget may simply limit the quality of pool cover you are able to buy, therefore we wanted to explain what you get for a cheaper price.
Otherwise, the two covers operate functionality the same, both including in their measurements a four foot overhand for sealing the pool from any wind or debris for the entire winter season.
Another difference between the two is that this cover is blue on the outside instead of black, not offering as much protection from UV rays, which can lead to algae and bacterial growth.
On both covers, grommets are placed every four feet around the outside border of the cover to be used with the included winch and all weather cable to secure the pool cover. Additional weights or springs could be used if desired.
- Inexpensive entry level winter cover
- Can be placed over pool with limited assistance
- Will protect pool from debris and UV rays during winter months
- Not as durable or thick as higher-rated winter covers
- May have trouble with algae or bacteria growth in low scrim, lighter weight pool covers
Helpful Tips for Above Ground Pool Covers
Before we cover the different types of above ground pool covers, we should mention there are a few other accessories that will make your pool maintenance much easier.
One of these products is a cover reel. This device mounts to the side of your pool and allows you to roll and unroll your pool cover, making it much easier for one person to cover and uncover the pool independently without assistance.
These devices can usually range between couple of hundred of dollars, so be sure to diligently research the pool cover reel options available for your pool cover before settling on a final budget.
Hydro Tools 52000 Solar Blanket Reel System
The Swimline 5200 is an above ground pool cover reel system which includes straps and hardware to attach a solar blanket to the reel.
The poles must be purchased separately but can be found online as well. Installs quickly, rolls on plastic rollers allowing even small adults to cover and uncover pool with little assistance.
- Assists in one-person setup and take down of solar blanket
- Does not come as complete system, additional parts necessary
Another useful accessory to any above ground pool cover would be an air pillow to help protect pool walls and reduce wear on your winter cover.
These can typically be added on to your order for really cheap, depending on the size. Blue Wave 4.5×15 Foot Air Pillow for Above Ground Pool is ideal for this.
As mentioned previously, air pillows can help hold your above ground pool cover in place and reduces wear and tear on any winter cover for your above ground pool.
These pillows are made of heavy 16-guage vinyl and built to withstand even the coldest winter temperatures. They work by absorbing freezing water’s pressure and reducing excess rain, snow, and ice over the course of the winter months.
- Easy to setup and install over winter cover
- Includes 4 grommets to secure the pillow in the middle of the pool
- May be filled with electrically pumped air or hairdryer
- No instructions included in package
- Cap may come out with use
- May not hold air, requiring refilling before end of winter season
It is obvious that there are many options available in the above ground pool cover market, and you may even need one of each type of pool cover.
Consider your climate, local flora, and needs before purchasing any pool cover and remember: the higher the scrim, the more protection for your above ground pool.