When warmer weather gives way to new seasons, it’s time to say goodbye to pool days and that requires the right equipment. The best winter pool covers are made of durable material, whether solid or mesh, that meets your budget needs and protects against the elements – and matches the specific shape of your pool, whether in the ground or above the ground.
Solid Vs. Mesh Covers
The main differences between mesh and fixed pool covers are price, durability, and how much maintenance your pool needs when you are ready to open your pool. Network coverage usually costs a little less than fixed coverage and lasts 10 to 15 years. These covers don’t require you to hold a pump on top, but your pool water gets a little dirty, can grow algae, and requires more maintenance when you’re ready to get your pool water ready for the bathing season. Solid pool covers don’t last quite as long (think about 7-11 years), are more expensive than mesh, but keep your pool water from getting dirty and make your spring pool opening tasks less intense. The main disadvantage of a solid cover is the winter maintenance required as a pump has to drain the standing water. Hybrid covers offer the best of both worlds, with the ability to block dirt and debris while letting water through. If you occasionally want to take a dip back into your pool on milder winter days, a solar pool cover will absorb the sun’s rays to keep your pool warmer.
Solid pool covers are designed to withstand rain, snow and wind and to keep leaves and debris out of the pool. You should choose a pool cover with a suitable scrim (also known as a tight weave). A higher scrim number indicates a higher quality or higher performing pool cover. An 8-by-8 scrim is good quality, and the highest are 12-by-12 or 14-by-14. Remember, Scrim does not apply to solar covers or mesh covers that let rain through but not foreign objects.
Most in-ground pools are rectangular or oval, and the above-ground pools are usually round. Pool covers are sized and shaped accordingly. The average pool size is 14 x 28 feet so I’ve included these dimensions whenever possible, but most of my picks come in multiple sizes too. It’s also worth noting that the size of the pool covers allows for some overhang to accommodate things like pool rails.
A light cover is helpful to make installing and removing the cover easier. Ideally, the hardware required for installation is included in the scope of delivery.
With that in mind, below are the best winter pool covers to keep your pool in good shape until it’s warm enough to jump in again.
1. A mesh cover embedded in the ground that can hold up to 2 tons
- Type: Mesh / hybrid
- Dimensions: 14 by 28 feet; plus four other sizes available
My first choice is this rectangular safety pool cover made of heavy-duty, two-ply mesh with a breaking strength of over 4,000 pounds. One reviewer said it was “worth the quiet with pets and children in the back yard.” Although there is a “high scrim” according to the manufacturer, the exact number is not specified. The fine mesh lets rain through the cover so that it doesn’t weigh things down, but keeps dirt and debris away. And it’s easy enough to have your pool taken down in about five minutes.
This highly rated pickaxe comes with all of the hardware required to install it on concrete decks, including brass anchors, stainless steel springs and buckles, and a storage bag. It is designed to last: stainless steel fittings are rust-resistant; Multiple seam resists cracks; Reinforced wear strips underneath protect against fraying. While this is thought of as mesh coverage, its ability to block dirt and debris while letting in water gives it the characteristics of a hybrid cover.
A helpful review: “We survived the first winter with this cover. I have had a pool for about 30 years, this was the easiest pool opening ever. No fighting with water on the pool cover. The water was also the cleanest I’ve ever seen in spring. The cover still looks brand new. Very happy with it. […]”
2. An affordable high-scrim in-ground pool cover
- Type: solid
- Dimensions: 14 x 28 feet and several other sizes available
Are you looking for a cheaper option for the season? This winter pool cover features a 12 by 12 scrim high performance scrim and withstands cracks, crevices, and tears in cold weather, including rain, snow, and high winds. The material for the pool cover is made of polyethylene, a type of durable plastic, and has been equipped with a UV inhibitor.
The rectangular pool cover can be used for above-ground or in-ground pools with sufficient overlap to accommodate rails. It is also available in round and oval shapes. The interlock fabric on this pool cover is strong enough to resist tearing, but also light enough that it is easy to put on and take off. Remember that no water will seep through this.
A helpful review: “Winter weather in the northeast. It’s only been a few months but it’s been so good so far. It can withstand the freezing temperatures, strong winds and ice. “
3. A round cover for above-ground pools that fans love
- Type: solid
- Dimensions: 24 feet plus seven other sizes available
With nearly 3,000 reviews, this pool cover is a clear favorite for an above-ground pool. The round polyethylene cover has an 8 x 8 scrim and the solid cover does not let water through. A feature that sets this cover apart is that the bottom is black to prevent algae growth and the top has been coated to protect against UV rays. The cover comes with a heavy duty winch and all weather cable to secure it through grommets every four feet.
Choose from more than eight round pool sizes and a dozen colors, including blue and gray.
A helpful review: “We already had quite a few pool covers in our 18-round lap. This one embarrassed these other covers by far. The scrim is nice and wide, the quality is great, and the thickness of the tarpaulin is very thick. My husband was skeptical when I bought it. But when we pulled it out of the box and bag, he was very surprised, not to mention the size of the lid. It’s really a 22 ‘that allows more than adequate coverage over the side of the pool. […]”
4. This solar cover will keep your pool warm for winter dips
- Type: solar
- Dimensions: 14 x 28 feet, plus several other sizes available
For warm dips in the pool in winter and spring, you should consider this solar pool cover. It is rectangular but can be cut to other shapes and is also available as a square. With over 1,000 reviews, one buyer commented on this highly rated pool cover “heated the pool 10 degrees in 2 days” and another reported that she could skip it with a gas heater.
The bubbles on the cover absorb UV rays and store the heat to heat the pool water. The cover also prevents up to 95% of water evaporation. It also keeps leaves and debris out of the pool. Critics say the cover rolled down for easy installation.
A helpful review: “After doing extensive research on the best solar pool cover for my needs, I had high expectations when ordering it. The product more than surpassed them. I have an oddly shaped pool but the cover was easy to cut to fit. It warmed the pool and kept it warm within 3 days of use and I didn’t expect it to work that quickly. It’s very durable and strong. It doesn’t move even on windy days. Very happy with this purchase. “