Are you thinking of investing in a pool heater for your home? But are confused about which one to buy because there are so many types of swimming pool heaters available in the market?

We will help you. This article will briefly explain the most popular types of swimming pool heaters along with their pros and cons. Our endeavor is to help you choose the best one for your home in terms of needs.

What is a swimming pool heater?

A swimming pool heater works continuously to heat your pool. It ensures that the pool water remains perfectly enjoyable at 77-85 degrees. This pool temperature is neither too hot nor too cold — giving you an optimal experience.

The water heater allows you to enjoy your swim time to the maximum. Not only in winters, but a pool heater is also helpful in summers. It effectively lessens the chill during those early morning laps in the pool. And, because of this wonderful swimming pool equipment, you can conveniently take a dip all through the fall. The water temperature remains perfect — neither too hot nor too cold. 

For a pool owner, getting energy-efficient heating that fits into the planned budget is crucial. Apart from this, there are various factors to consider when determining which is the best heating solution for your ground pool.

Before we begin, one needs to know that all pool heaters are sized according to the British thermal unit. A BTU is the measured amount of heat that is created by a pool heater. Most outputs range from 75,000 Btu to 450,000 Btu.

So, let’s give you a glimpse into the most practical heating solutions for your pool.

Read more: In-ground pool costs

1. Gas swimming pool heaters

Cost to run a gas pool heater: On average, the cost to run a natural gas pool heater is $300-$600 per month. The cost is more for a propane heater.

Historically, gas heaters have been used for many years and by many people. Moreover, today, thanks to the ever-progressing technology, we have smart gas pool heaters. Most of these natural gas heaters are pilotless with electronic ignition, fan-assisted combustion, and low-Nox emissions.

Gas heaters burn either natural gas or propane to create heat. The mechanism is simple — gas burns inside a combustion chamber with a lot of copper coils. As it burns, water passes through the coils and heats.

These heaters save you significant energy and money.


  • Inexpensive.
  • Heats the pool water quickly.
  • Works independently of air temperature.
  • Great for any size or any design of swimming pool.
  • Emits low emissions.


  • Expensive to operate.
  • Uses gas or propane — both costly alternatives.
  • Not an eco-friendly option.
  • Causes air pollution.
  • Not very energy efficient (COP 0.80 and 0.85)
  • Has a short lifespan of about 5 years.

2. Pool heat pumps

Cost: Pool heat pump prices start at $2,000 – $3,000 and go as high as $4,000 – $5,000.

Electric pool heat pumps are one of the most cost-efficient ways to heat-up your pool. Powered by electricity, it absorbs heat from the air and transfers it to your pool water.

As compared to gas pool heaters, heat pumps cost more initially. But, in the long run, they cost less because of their unique heat generating ability. They also last longer.

While air-source heat pumps transfer heat from the air, water-source aka geothermal heat pumps transfer heat from the water. Due to their energy-efficiency, these heat exchangers are rapidly growing in popularity.


  • Eco-friendly: uses a renewable energy source.
  • Is energy efficient with COP of 5-6
  • There are no emissions, causes no pollution.
  • Cheap to run.
  • Has a lifespan of 10-20 years.


  • Expensive to buy.
  • Heats pool water slowly.
  • Requires continuous electricity supply with 220V outlet.
  • Doesn’t work well in colder temperatures.

3. Solar swimming pool heaters

Cost: A solar pool heating system usually costs between $3,000 and $4,000 to buy and install.

Here’s a heater that uses the sun’s energy to deliver a high output solar heating system. The science is simple — the solar panels collect heat from the sun. Then, the swimming pool pump pushes water through the solar panels. As the water passes through the solar panels, it heats.

For cloudy and rainy days, many people use auxiliary heaters besides the solar pool heater.


  • Eco-friendly option for heating a pool.
  • Doesn’t cause air pollution.
  • Uses a free source of energy.
  • Not expensive to operate.
  • Lasts 15 to 20 years.


  • Relies a lot on direct sunlight.
  • You will need a backup gas heater or heat pump.
  • Costs a lot initially.
  • Works only on a sunny day.
  • Heats water very slowly.
  • The solar panels make your backyard look messy.

4. Electric resistance heaters

Cost: Most electric resistance heaters are available for under $2,000

These resistance heaters use electric currents to create heat. A current is applied to the resistor located inside the unit. As a result, the resistor heats. Water then washes over the resistor and heats — causing the resistor to cool.

As they require large amounts of electricity, such heaters are not suitable for large-sized pools. They are usually used to heat small, portable spas and therapy pools.


  • Inexpensive to buy
  • Doesn’t depend much on air temperature.
  • Environment-friendly.
  • Doesn’t cause air pollution.
  • Perfect as spa heaters.


  • Costly to operate.
  • Expensive installation.
  • Requires complex wiring and large-amperage circuit breakers.
  • It’s not very energy efficient with a COP of 1.00.


Pool heaters make your swimming sessions more comfortable even when the air temperature isn’t. From heating the water on a chilly winter night to helping you enjoy your early morning dips in summers — these water heaters work tirelessly to give you the perfect swimming experience. Any time of the day or year!

Apart from this, a heated swimming pool can add immense value to your home and attracts new home buyers. We hope our guide on the different types of swimming pool heaters, along with useful pros and cons, will make it easy for you to choose the best option for your pool. 

Read more: Beautiful above ground pool decks

What Are the Different Types of Swimming Pool Heaters? was last modified: November 11th, 2022 by Ramona Sinha
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