How Much Does A Pool Heater Cost? (Is It Worth It?)

Kenneth Wilson

Jumping into an ice-cold pool is hardly ever refreshing, even on the hottest of days. Installing a pool heater will allow you to have a comfortably heated pool to a temperature of your liking.

Before investing in a pool heater, it’s reasonable to want to know the costs of purchasing and installing a pool heater. There are several factors to be considered when selecting a pool heater. This guide will provide a cost breakdown and give you all the details you need to choose a pool heater suitable to your requirements.

The average cost of a pool heater is between $800 and $8,000. Installation fees range from $500 to $1,000. Monthly operating costs range from $0 to $400. Many variables play into these costs, which is why the price range is so vast.

When selecting a pool heater, you need to consider your budget and how warm you want to heat your pool. Many elements play a role in how much it will cost to heat your pool. The type of pool heater you choose, along with the desired water temperature of your pool, will significantly affect the cost of your pool heater. Read on to gather the information you need to understand the costs of a pool heater.

Average Cost of a Pool Heater

The cost of a pool heater depends on the type of heater you purchase. When selecting a heater, you’ll want to consider the volume of the pool, the climate near the pool, and the desired water temperature. Deciding how quickly you want the pool heated is essential, as well.

There are three different types of pool heaters:

  1. 1
    Gas Pool Heater
  2. 2
    Electric Heat Pump
  3. 3
    Solar Pool Heater

Each of these types has varying unit price ranges, installation fees, and different performance qualities. The average cost of a pool heater ranges from $1,300 to $9,600. Here is a chart providing a price breakdown for the various types of pool heaters:

Type of Pool Heater

Unit Price

Installation Price

Total Price

Gas Pool Heater

$800 - $4,800

$500 - $1,500

$1,300 - $6,300

Electric Heat Pump

$1,800 - $6,700

$500 - $1,000

$2,300 - $7,700

Solar Pool Heater

$1,800 - $8,100

$500 - $1,500

$2,300 - $9,600

All the numbers in these charts are estimates based on the current market. These estimates do not include the monthly costs to operate the pool heater. Operation costs will depend on how quickly you want the pool to be heated, along with what type of pool heater you choose to install. Faster water heating times require units with higher energy output. These units tend to be on the more expensive side and can have higher operating costs.

Selecting a Pool Heater

Selecting a pool heater can seem daunting at first. With so many styles and energy outputs to choose from, the choice can feel overwhelming. However, once you understand the differences between pool heaters, making a choice becomes much more manageable.

There are three critical factors to consider when selecting a pool heater:

  1. 1
    Volume of the Pool
  2. 2
    Climate Around the Pool
  3. 3
    Desired Water Temperature

By considering these three factors, you can gather the information you need to find the right size pool heater. There is a lot of components to consider before deciding about purchasing a pool heater. Unit costs, installation costs, and operating costs will vary depending on the type of pool heater you choose to purchase.

Read more to learn about the different types of pool heaters and how to find a unit suitable to your needs.

Finding the Right Pool Heater

To figure out what size and type of pool heater you need, you must understand the varying amounts of energy output each unit has. This energy output is measured in British Thermal Units (BTU). There is a wide range in variety for how much Btu a pool heater unit can expend.

To figure out how much BTU you want in a pool heater, you’ll have to do a bit of math. Once you know the total Btu needed to heat the pool to your desired water temperature, you can choose a pool heater unit that matches your Btu requirements.

This equation can help figure out how much BTU energy you need for your pool heater unit to expend.

Volume (gallons) x 8.3 lbs/gallon x Temperature Differential = Total BTU Needed

This equation can seem confusing at first, but with a breakdown of each component, it’s relatively simple. Once you figure out the volume of your pool and the temperature differential, you can figure out how powerful of a pool heater you will need. (Related: What Size Of Pool Heater Do I Need? (And How To Calculate It))


The calculation of your pool’s volume usually won’t be exact, especially if you don’t have a standard rectangular pool. However, an estimate is all you need to successfully calculate the amount of BTU you require from your pool heater unit.

To find the volume of your pool, use the equation suitable to your pool shape:

Straight-Walled Pool:
Average Length x Average Width x Average Depth x 7.5 = Volume (Gallons)

Pool Without Straight Walls:
Average Length x Average Width x Average Depth x 7 = Volume (Gallons)

Temperature Differential

To find the temperature differential, you need to determine what temperature you want the pool water to be. You also need to determine the lowest air temperature that your pool will be exposed to. The temperature differential is the difference between the desired water temperature and the lowest air temperature surrounding your pool.

Determining the Required BTU

Now that we have the numbers we need, let’s plug them into the equation above to calculate the total BTU needed.

Volume (gallons) x 8.3 lbs/gallon x Temperature Differential = Total BTU Needed

Example: My straight-walled pool is 30 feet long, 15 feet wide, and an average of 5 feet deep. To find the volume of my pool, I would plug my numbers into the equation to find the volume.

Average Length x Average Width x Average Depth x 7.5 = Volume (Gallons)
30 x 15 x 5 x 7.5 = 16,875 Gallons

The number of gallons should be rounded up to the nearest hundred. The volume of my example pool would be 16,900 gallons. To calculate temperature differential, let’s assume I want my pool heated to 85 degrees Fahrenheit and the lowest temperature in my region in 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature differential between these two numbers is 45. Once you have the number for your volume and temperature differential, you can plug these into the BTU determination equation.

16,900 gallons x 8.3 lbs/gallon x 45 degrees = 6,312,150 total BTU

This BTU number represents how much will be used in 24 hours, so to find the hourly BTU output needed, divide this number by 24.

6,312,150 BTU / 24 hours = 263,006.25 BTU/hour

This number should be rounded to the nearest hundredth, meaning I need a pool heater with a minimum output of 263,000 BTU/hour to warm my pool to 85 degrees within 24 hours. A pool heater with low output could also be used, but the results will be slower.

Types of Pool Heaters

When searching for a pool heater to buy, you might be overwhelmed by the variety of units there are on the market. Some are powered by gas, some are powered by electricity, and some are powered by the sun's rays. Each different type of unit has its own range of energy output and efficiency.

There are three main types of pool heaters on the market you can choose from:

  1. 1
    Gas Pool Heater
  2. 2
    Electric Heat Pump Heater
  3. 3
    Solar Pool Heater

The difference in these pool heaters lies in the means of energy production each unit has to offer. Some pool heaters are more energy-efficient than others. Some pool heaters are capable of significantly more BTU output than others. If you want to keep a pool warm in a colder region, you may need a unit with a higher BTU output.

  • Gas Pool Heater - A gas pool heater can have an energy output ranging from 75,000 to 450,000 BTU. Gas pool heaters are very effective when it comes to heating a pool quickly. These units come in a wide variety of BTU outputs so that you can choose one suitable to your needs. Gas pool heaters are more affordable than electric heat pumps, but they have higher operating costs.
  • Electric Heat Pump - An electric heat pump can have an energy output ranging from 50,000 BTU to 150,000 BTU. These units are not ideal if you want to heat a pool quickly in a frigid environment. Electric heat pumps are the most expensive out of the three types of units, but the operating costs are significantly lower than a gas pool heater.
  • Solar Pool Heater - A solar pool heater is going to give you the lowest BTU output. Because these units are powered by the energy of the sun, they are extremely energy efficient. Solar power heaters have the lowest operating costs of them all. However, they are not capable of efficiently warming a pool in cold environments. Solar pool heaters are ideal for pools in warmer regions.

How Much Does It Cost to Run a Pool Heater (Each Month)?

When choosing a pool heater, you need to consider how much energy the unit will use and how much it will cost to run it per month. Each type of unit has a different price range for operating costs. Some units are more cost-efficient than others.

Gas pool heaters have the highest operating costs, ranging from $200-$400 per month. Electric pump heaters have the second-highest operating costs, ranging from $100-$200 per month. Solar pool heaters have the lowest operating costs, averaging $0 per month, not including maintenance fees.

If you live in a cold region and want to heat a pool to a consistently high temperature, you may want to invest in a gas pool heater. If you don’t live in a cold region but want to heat your pool at an affordable monthly cost, investing in an electric pump heater is the way to go. And if you live somewhere with warm weather year-round, a solar power heater will be sufficient for your needs.

Budget, location, and desired water temperature are all factors to consider when deciding which type of pool heater to purchase. These factors will all directly affect the cost of running your pool heater. Once you have a grasp of the different types of pool heaters and the amount of Btu you need, you can move forward with purchasing and installing a pool heater.

Pool Heater Cost: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Will a Pool Cover Affect Water Temperature?

Yes, having a pool cover will affect the water temperature. Having a pool cover can reduce heat loss by 75%. Investing in a pool cover is a brilliant idea if you plan on heating your pool.

Do Pool Heaters Require Maintenance?

Yes, it’s essential to have your pool heater inspected and maintained annually. This can help prevent damage and future costly repairs. These maintenance checks can be done yourself, but it’s best to have a specialist come check it out.

How Long Do Pool Heaters Last?

The answer to this really depends on the unit, but most pool heaters are expected to last a minimum of five years. Proper installation and maintenance will help extend the life of your pool heater. Many pool heater units will come with a warranty in case they malfunction within a few years of installation


Purchasing a pool heater can be overwhelming without having a basic understanding of the types of pool heaters on the market. The cost of a pool heater can vary greatly depending on the type of unit you choose. Gas pool heaters, solar pool heaters, and electric pump heaters are all going to have vast differences in the unit costs, installation fees, and operating costs.

This guide can help you learn the ins and outs of pool heater costs. Once you decide what type of pool heater is suitable for your needs, you can seek a unit that fits within your budget.

Kenneth Wilson
September 24, 2021
Cost Guides, Pool

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done. I also operate remodeling design service for homeowners.

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