The debate between clear vs blue solar pool covers is a hot topic. They’re both eco-friendly and affordable options for pool owners to help generate heat and retain heat, but the big questions remain. “What’s the difference?” and “Which one is better?”
Here we’ll compare the two in-depth, and help you find out.
Clear Solar Pool Covers
Clear solar pool covers are colorless, so they do not absorb light. Without absorbing sunlight, the transparent covers do not build up any heat. Any heat that they do collect is passed directly to the water under the blanket.
Despite the clear cover remaining cool, the water heats up because of the light passing heat through to the water. The difference between regular clear covers and solar covers is that a clear solar cover can help hold heat in, even when the sun goes down.
Blue Solar Pool Covers
Blue solar pool covers collect heat into the tiny bubbles, then send it into the water. They hold UV rays more effectively then clear covers because the blue color absorbs more light than the colorless covers (1).
Blue solar pool covers absorb light and heat and help insulate your pool.
Both types of solar pool covers can help trap heat, but it’s clear that blue ones are more efficient at both conveying the heat to the water and blocking heat from escaping.
Comparing the Details: Clear vs Blue Solar Covers
When you are heating tens of thousands of gallons of water, knowing the differences between clear vs blue solar pool covers can save money and keep your pool at a comfortable temperature.
Both pool covers generate heat, but they do it differently. The clear covers stay cool themselves but pass more heat to the water. For a great visual of this process, check out these savvy homeowners raising the temperature of their small pool to 80 °F using a clear cover:
On the other hand, blue covers will heat up while also transferring heat into the water. This causes blue pool covers to generate more heat themselves, but also, allows less heat to be transferred straight down to the water. The good news is that covering your pool means reduced pool heating costs (1).
Covering a pool when it is not in use is the single most effective means of reducing pool heating costs. Savings of 50%–70% are possible.
Winner: Looking at heat generation, clear pool covers perform better. They absorb less heat themselves than blue covers and trap it to help keep your water warmer.
Read More: Best Solar Pool Heater
Both clear and blue solar covers help pools retain heat. However, clear covers release more heat because they do not absorb any heat themselves. Blue covers absorb some UV rays themselves, so they retain heat while transferring less of it into the water than clear covers (2).
Dark colors absorb a lot more heat than lighter ones because they absorb more light energy.
Winner: Clear covers retain more heat because they hold less heat themselves. You may also find that your pool’s chemicals remain better balanced because less evaporation occurs.
The size and shape of a solar pool cover determine the price. Irregularly shaped solar covers cost more than basic rectangles. Consider the pool water condensation and the cost of chemicals. If clear covers have less condensation, chemicals last longer in the water.
Winner: Both types of solar covers have similar prices, but clear covers release fewer chemicals. Therefore, clear covers save money on other pool-related expenses.
You can purchase clear and blue solar covers through online retailers, big-box stores, and your local pool supply store. If you have a standard-shaped pool, you should be able to find a blue cover in stock. When you have a customized shape, you will need to order your pool cover to fit, regardless of the color.
Finding a clear pool cover is more difficult. Pool supply stores usually stock standard shapes and sizes, but you won’t find them at big-box stores. You can order clear covers online.
Winner: Blue solar covers are readily available at most stores and in standard shapes and dimensions for above- and in-ground pools.
If you take care of your solar pool cover, they can last for many years. The two most destructive forces for these solar covers are UV rays and pool chemicals. One drawback of blue covers is that they can absorb UV rays and release more chemicals, which leads to them wearing out sooner.
Any pool cover can sustain damage from the sun, but the type you choose can dictate its longevity.
Clear covers do not absorb heat, and they help pools retain water and chemicals.
Winner: Clear covers have a longer lifespan because they do not absorb UV rays as quickly as blue covers.
The best choice in the debate between clear vs blue solar covers is clear – literally and figuratively. The clear solar pool covers last longer, cost less, and retains more heat than blue covers.
Do I Need a Heater if I Have a Blue Solar Pool Cover?
If you have a blue solar cover, you may not need a heater, but it all depends on your personal temperature preference for your pool. Having both can help to keep your pool warm when the temperatures drop in the evening, and in regions with colder climates.
Do I Need to Put the Solar Pool Cover on Every Night?
You do not need to put the solar pool cover on every night if the temperature stays warm. However, warm water evaporates faster, as does water in dry conditions, so you may not need to top off the pool if you use your cover regularly (3).
Can I Repair the Solar Pool Cover If It Tears?
In some cases, yes, you can repair a pool cover if it tears. This is usually done best with waterproof tape or plumbers tape that you can find at any department store or via ordering online. Simply patch the hole or tear, then make sure your cover isn’t sinking.
If your cover is beyond repair, check out our Buyers’ Guide Here with the year’s top models for a quality replacement.
- Energy Savers: Swimming Pool Covers. Retrieved from: https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/swimming-pool-covers
- What Colors Absorb More Heat?. Retrieved from: https://sciencing.com/colors-absorb-heat-8456008.html
- Evaporation and Climate. Retrieved from: https://serc.carleton.edu/integrate/teaching_materials/food_supply/student_materials/905