Swimming Pool Guides & Reviews by Certified Pool & Spa Operator®
How to Select the Best Solar Cover Reel for a Swimming Pool
Here’s Everything You Need To Know
The concept of using a solar cover for your swimming pool sounds like a good idea. Instead of consuming a lot of electricity to heat your pool water, you can simply use the sun to heat the water with the aid of the solar cover.
The only problem is when you need to remove and reinstall the solar cover on the pool. It can be a major pain to do this if you don’t have a solar cover reel handy.
Overview of a Solar Cover Reel
You can choose from different solar covers, such as liquid solar covers and solar rings. But if you choose solar blankets, then you need a solar cover reel. Here is what a solar cover reel can do:
- Causes the solar blanket to cover your pool quickly when no one is using it.
- Quickly removes the solar blanket from the pool when it is about to be used.
- Helps keep the solar blanket temporarily stored.
How it Works
For an inground swimming pool, the solar cover reel is positioned on one end of the pool deck. It has a lengthy metal pole in the middle of 2 different T-bars. You’ll find wheels on the bottom to make moving things around much easier. This is great because after you roll up the wet cover, it gets rather heavy. So, you can use the wheels to move the heavy rolled up cover around easily. There are certain solar cover reel models which can permanently be fixed onto the deck.
The longer bar in the middle has many sturdy straps that are suspended from it. Each strap has an end clip which attaches to the cover’s edge. You’ll need to turn either a wheel or hand crank for the cover to be spooled back onto the reel. The design is a lot simpler than it may sound. It allows you to wind up the cover easily without causing you too much physical anguish in the process.
The design of all the solar cover reel models may seem the same, but there are several differences between them. These differences will help you determine which reel is right for you.
Stainless Steel vs. Aluminum
These are both durable metals for a reel. The choice really comes down to the pool size. Larger pools with larger covers weigh more, so it is better to choose stainless steel because it’s the stronger of the two metals and will keep your cover secured.
Rubber Wheels vs. Plastic Wheels
If you purchase a cheaper solar cover reel model, then it’ll probably have plastic wheels. It will only take a few years of sun and water exposure for the plastic to wear down and crack up. Besides, plastic wheels are terrible when it comes to gripping the pool deck surface. Some people have claimed their entire reel fell into the pool while trying to wind up their covers with a plastic wheel model.
Therefore, it is better to choose rubber wheels because they’re thicker and do a better job of gripping the surface. Their lifespan is also greater, which means you won’t be spending money on replacement reels anytime soon.
Straps (Hook & Loop or Embedded)
When a reel winds up the cover, they use either embedded straps or hook and loop straps on the metal bar. The embedded straps have grooves which enable them to attach to the metal bar.
Which one is better?
First, there are some more things you need to understand about pool solar covers. If you don’t know what they look like, imagine a huge bubble wrap sheet over your pool water. Instead of smaller bubbles in the sheet, there are large bubbles that are very tempting to pop. But don’t pop the bubbles because they’re responsible for generating heat from the sun for your pool water.
Thick plastic is used to make solar covers. Mil is a unit of measurement which measures the thickness level of plastic. The United States considers a Mil to be equal to one-thousandth of one inch. The average solar pool cover has a mil measurement of 16 mil, eight mil, or 12 mil.
Higher mil amounts mean the plastic is thicker, and the cover is stronger. These thicker and stronger covers cost more money, but they’re a great investment if you care about heating your pool with a solar cover that lasts for a long time.
As for solar cover reels, each reel model is compatible with only a select number of covers based on their mil measurement. For example, if you have a 16-mil solar cover, you must purchase a solar cover reel which supports 16-mil covers and not just 12-mil covers or 8-mil covers.
Before anyone swims in the pool, make sure the solar blanket is completely removed first. Partially folding the cover doesn’t count because a child or animal in the water could easily get caught under the cover and die.
The Best Choices for Solar Cover Reel
You understand solar covers and solar cover reels. Now you must make the best choice when shopping for a good solar cover reel.
Splendoress Solar Cover Reel
The Splendoress Solar Cover Reel is constructed from stainless steel that is resistant to corrosion. The reel is 40’ in length and 20’ in width. You don’t need any special experience to assemble and operate the reel. After it is set up, you just manually control the hand crank to reel in the solar cover.
It is easy to maneuver the reel because of the bigger wheels included. The cover kit includes eight straps w/ clips.
VINGLI Aluminum Solar Cover Reel
All the features you could ever want are included with this solar cover reel. It comes with an aluminum rod that is durable and resistant to rust. To reduce the chances of sagging, the rod features three lockable sections to keep it secure. The huge rubber wheels and stainless-steel legs give you even more stability when moving the cover. The straps are embedded.
The telescopic central rod allows you to adjust the size for a pool that is 6’ x 18’. After you roll up the cover, the lockable sections keep it secured. The solar cover reel is positioned somewhat higher in comparison to other covers. It is easier to use as a result.
Nova Microdermabrasion Aluminum Solar Cover Reel
This solar cover reel comes with an aluminum rod that is rust-resistant and includes seven sections. The telescopic nature of the reel allows you to adjust to a pool that is between 17.5’ and 24’ in width.
The rod grooves have embedded cover straps to ensure the cover stays put. These are particularly longer straps than usual, so they should be compatible with pools of any shape. The reel is portable and easy to operate, thanks to the ergonomic hand crank. If you want to avoid unrolling, then use the anti-spin locking feature on the crank.
Aqua Splash Inground Pool Solar Cover Reel
The Aqua Splash solar cover reel can be stationary or portable. It can accommodate a pool that is no more than 16’ in width and solar covers that are either 12 mil or 8 mil. Turning is smooth due to the wide-track bearings. There is also a handle on each end for easier handling by two people.
The center rod is telescopic. Droopiness is prevented by the rib-locking design. Clips, hardware, and straps are included with the reel. All buyers get a three-year warranty.
Topeakmart Stainless-Steel Solar Cover Reel
There are five sections that are 63 inches each in the center rod. As a result, the Topeakmart solar cover reel can be used on a pool that is 40’ in length and 20’ in width. The rod is rust-resistant and made from aluminum. It contains grooves which will secure the embedded straps. Speaking of which, the straps are long enough to be used on a pool of any size.
The reel contains plastic wheels and a stainless-steel frame. You can operate the reel by using a hand crank. The cover stays secured with the help of the mechanical locks which stop the roller from rotating.
Consider your pool size and solar pool cover carefully and then make the best choice when shopping for your solar cover reel.