Protect Your Pool: Different Types of Pool Covers

Kenneth Wilson

If you’ve just moved into your new home with a pool, the water probably won’t be clean and clear, especially if it hasn’t been taken care of for a long time. Your next step would be to clean and maintain the pool or get a professional to do it, ensuring that it’s safe to swim in anytime you wish to.

After spending time, effort, and money on getting your pool water to sparkle again, make sure that it all wouldn't go to waste by getting a pool cover. Even if you plan to swim in it every day, protecting it during the evening or times it’s not used will make it easier to maintain your pool.

Aside from preventing leaves and other debris from drifting into your pool, there are also other benefits of getting a pool cover. Find out what are the advantages and disadvantages of having a pool cover as well as the different types of pool covers you can choose from.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Having a Pool Cover

The most common reason to buy a pool cover is to protect your pool from leaves and other debris. Aside from that, here are other benefits and drawbacks of owning a cover:

Source: Amazon


  • Warmer water: Covering your pool will keep the pool water warmer than not covering it
  • Reduce chemical usage: Will help you cut on pool chemical expenses
  • Lower consumption of chlorine: Since chlorine degrades under ultraviolet light, covering your pool will lessen the amount of UV hitting the water
  • Easier to maintain: Less dirt and debris means it’s easier and faster to clean your pool
  • Lower water bill: Having a pool cover will reduce evaporation, saving you money on water refills
  • Fewer chances of blockage: The chances of large debris blocking the skimmer basket is reduced
  • Improve filter performance: Filter performs more efficiently if it collects fewer leaves and other debris 
  • Save on electricity: You can save on electricity, fuel, or gas - whichever you need to run your heater - because covers keep your pool water warmer
  • Prolonging equipment life: Preventing leaves and other debris from entering the pool water will make it easier for your pool system and pumps
  • Safety: Lowers the chances of children and pets from falling and drowning


  • Unappealing look: There are some people who see pool covers as unsightly
  • Having an irregular-shaped pool: Difficult to find pool covers for irregular-shaped pools
  • Preparing to swim: You can’t just jump or leave the pool because you have to remove and cover the pool
  • Requiring space: Covers need space for the roller or an area to store the cover when the pool is being used
  • Covering the cover: You will need to cover the cover when it’s on the roller to maintain its quality

Different Types of Pool Covers

The different types of pool covers can be categorized based on their purpose and material. The first two covers I will discuss is the safety pool cover and the winter pool cover, which are different based on its usage and set up. After, we will discuss the difference between popular pool cover materials, which is solid and mesh. I will also mention other types such as covers that focus on warming the pool and automatic pool covers.

Safety Pool Cover

A safety pool cover can be made out of solid vinyl or woven mesh and needs to be secured to an in-ground pool deck using straps and anchors. These straps are around five feet apart covering the entire perimeter of the pool. Most covers come with an installation tool and a storage bag to help you install and keep the cover when not in use.

As the name suggests, this cover is also used as extra protection for children and pets as it prevents accidental drownings. Aside from protecting people, this cover will also block leaves, dirt, and other debris from going into your pool. In the long run, this will hinder algae growth as the temperature outside increases. 


  • Comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors
  • Durable and has a long lifespan
  • Protects the pool from the debris
  • Hinders algae growth
  • Reduces evaporation
  • Prevents accidental drownings


  • Difficult to install
  • Only works for in-ground pools

Winter Pool Cover

A winter pool cover is a great way to protect and maintain your in-ground or above ground pool whatever the season. Not only does it keeps leaves and debris from entering the pool, but it also inhibits algae growth by blocking the sunlight.

This is a budget-friendly option for those who need a cover, and you can choose between a solid or rugged mesh. Unfortunately, winter covers do not offer the same security as safety pool covers. 


  • Comes in different shapes
  • Reduces evaporation
  • Keeps the pool clean and debris-free
  • Lessens chemical usage
  • Less expensive
  • Suitable for above ground and in-ground pools
  • Easy to install


  • Not as durable and long-lasting
  • Does not offer the same protection for accidental drownings

Solid Pool Cover

A solid pool cover usually has vinyl or plastic appearance with no holes, making it completely solid, as the name suggests. This makes it smooth to the touch, but it will be heavier and harder to install. You would probably need another person to assist you or get a professional to cover your pool.

If you’re getting a solid cover, you should be aware that water will collect in the middle. So you’ll need to get a pump to remove the puddle of water. You can get an automatic pool cover or a manual one, for those who are on a budget.


  • The cover texture is not rough
  • Comes in a variety of shapes and colors
  • Blocks UV light
  • Does not affect chlorine levels
  • Prevents sediment and debris from entering the pool
  • The pool will require less cleaning and maintenance
  • Prevents algae growth


  • Heavy
  • Collects water
  • Requires pump for drainage
  • More expensive to buy and install than mesh
  • Difficult to install

Mesh Pool Cover

A mesh pool cover is composed of fine and tightly-knitted vinyl fibers. This allows water to penetrate through the cover but prevents debris from contaminating the pool. Since it is not solid, it has a more textured appearance and is rough to the touch, but this makes it lighter and easier to install. So if you’re planning to frequently cover the pool, you might prefer a lighter cover or an automatic one.

You also won’t have to worry about collecting pool water on top of this cover because the material will allow water to pass through. Unfortunately, this means that dirty water can mix in with your pool water.

Source: Amazon


  • Lightweight
  • Durable and lasts longer
  • Comes in a variety of shapes and colors
  • No need for a pump
  • Doesn’t collect water
  • Cheaper to purchase
  • Less expensive to install
  • Easy to install


  • Some sediments may still enter the pool
  • The UV light may still penetrate the cover
  • May reduce chlorine levels
  • May stimulate algae and bacteria growth
  • Need to remove the excess pool water
  • The pool will still require the same amount or won't cut back on maintenance

Hybrid Pool Cover

If you can’t choose between solid or mesh, there are some companies that are selling a hybrid cover. You can choose between a double mesh pool cover, which ensures that the water entering your pool is cleaner or a tighter solid pool cover, which prevents water from collecting on top of it. This means you have less or maybe you won’t have any water to pump off.

Leaf Net Pool Cover

Also called pool leaf net, the primary purpose of this cover is to prevent leaves, small branches, toys, and other large debris from entering your pool. This cover has a wide mesh net that is reinforced with broad seams and aluminum eyelets. It’s not as heavy as a mesh pool cover, which makes it easier for you to remove your cover and the leaves.

You can opt to use this cover only or as a secondary cover to prevent algae growth. Since leaves are an organic matter which can lead to algae growth, by doubling the protection, fewer leaves that will get pass through the covers. Unfortunately, it will still let water and light in, which may affect chlorine levels and require you to drain excess pool water.


  • Lightweight
  • Less expensive
  • Easy to install
  • Can be used on its own or as a secondary cover


  • Only blocks large debris
  • Allows water and light to penetrate
  • May affect chlorine levels
  • The pool will require the same amount or won't cut back on maintenance

Solar Pool Cover

Another cover you can get for your home is a solar pool cover. This one is designed to naturally heat your pool, allowing you to cut down on electricity or energy costs. Solar pool covers use the sun’s energy to warm the pool water. It will also help lower your water bill since this will reduce water evaporation and prevent your water line from sinking.

These are benefits on top of what a regular pool cover does, which is to prevent debris from entering your pool and cutting down on maintenance.


  • Comes in different types
  • Keeps you pool debris-free
  • Cuts back on maintenance
  • Warms your pool
  • Reduces electricity bill or energy usage
  • Lowers water bill and reduces water evaporation
  • Prevents water line from sinking


  • Expensive
  • Need to have it sized for your pool
  • Difficult to cover and uncover the pool
  • May not be suitable for irregular-shaped pools

Liquid Solar Pool Cover

If you want a solar cover that is easy to use, you can opt for a liquid solar pool cover. This is a monomolecular liquid that forms film and evaporation inhibitors. It is made out of alcohol and calcium hydroxide, making it lighter than water and forming it into a thin film on the pool’s surface.

Similar to solid covers, this will keep the pool warm and reduce water evaporation - even if you don’t see or feel it. It may sound like a toxic chemical that you shouldn't touch but it actually is biodegradable and has only a little chemical in it, making it safe for people to swim with. But to be safe, some people may be sensitive or allergic to the ingredient, so it’s better to test it out first.

It may not prevent accidental drownings, but it won’t trap children or pets underneath. This will also allow your pool to breathe and reduce the chances of algae or bacteria growth. 


  • Reduces evaporation
  • Retains heat
  • Lowers energy and water bill
  • Safe to swim in and it is a non-toxic chemical
  • Environmentally-friendly
  • No preparation before or after swimming
  • Easy to use


  • Won’t be as effective as regular solar covers
  • Works best when the water is stagnant
  • Not recommended for those who live in windy or rainy areas

Thermal Pool Blankets

The main difference between solar pool covers and thermal pool blankets is the latter doesn’t heat the water. It only retains the heat, which is suitable for heated pools. It is made out of thick and waterproof polyethylene foam and works as insulators. Aside from retaining heat, it also blocks sunlight and UV rays which helps hinder algae growth.

Thermal pool blankets are more expensive and heavier than solar pool covers, which will require you to install roller to cover and uncover the pool. But the price is worth it because they are durable and lasts longer than solar pool covers. 

Source: Pool Web


  • Retains heat
  • Reduces electricity bill
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Prevents algae growth


  • Expensive
  • Heavy
  • Requires a roller
  • Professionally-installed

Automatic Pool Cover

If it’s hard to cover and uncover your pool manually, you can get an automatic pool cover to make the job easier. It’s a convenient and attractive alternative to protecting your pool. Unfortunately, it will be expensive, so you have to weigh the pros and cons before getting one.


  • Cover and uncover with a touch of a button
  • Retains heat
  • Reduces pool maintenance


  • More expensive
  • May retain too much heat
  • High costs to repair
Kenneth Wilson
February 6, 2020
Yard & Garden

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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