Pool Heat Pump versus Solar

The Arctic Pool Heat Pumps are by far the most energy efficient means to heat your pool. However, what about solar? Solar Pool Heaters are very popular, and they can have an operating cost of almost $0. So, what are the pro’s and con’s of solar pool heaters versus heat pumps for pools?

Solar Pool Heaters

Use the sun’s energy directly by absorbing the thermal radiation and transferring it to the pool water. Unlike Solar PV, solar pool heaters transfer the suns energy directly resulting in a much higher efficiency. In fact solar pool panels are 80-90% efficient versus 12-18% on most PV panels. The cost to operate a solar pool heater is almost nothing except for electricity of the pool pump.


  • Use virtually no extra energy.

  • Almost zero maintenance is required.

  • Can heat your pool comfortably during the summer months

  • Easy to install for a DIY

  • 100% environmentally friendly


  • Higher initial cost

  • Slower pool heating times

  • Only provide heat energy during the day not in the evening

  • Requires large roof space or ground space

Pool Heat Pump

Similar to solar pool heater, a heat pump harnesses solar energy but not directly, instead is takes the solar thermal energy found in the air and removes this energy, compresses it to create a high temperature and transfers the temperature to the pool via an internal heat exchanger. The heat pump is efficient because the energy it “pumps” from the air is FREE. However, there is a mechanical cost to this cycle and energy is needed to turn the fans and compressor motor. However, this energy is significantly less that the amount of energy it can pull out of the air, thus Pool Heat pumps have a COP greater than one. In fact, the Arctic Heat Pump has a COP exceeding 6.


  • Can operate day and night.

  • Heats up faster than solar pool heater

  • Lower upfront cost and installation cost

  • Does not take up much room (about 6 square feet)

  • Can also act as a pool chiller


  • Less cost-effective overtime versus solar pool heater

  • Repairs are costly

  • Life expectancy is less than solar

Hybrid System

Many pool owners are taking the extra step to gain maximum energy saving and installing both. The solar becomes the primary source of pool heating and the heat pump is used to assist the solar when extra energy is needed such as at night. A Hybrid pool heating system can save you up to 90% compared to a gas or pure electric heating system.

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