How to Choose The Perfect Solar Cover Reel For Your Pool

Another pool season, another few months of fun in the sun, and several more wrestling matches with your solar pool cover. It’s enough to make you just ball it up, throw it in the storage shed, and hope for the best. It doesn’t have to be that way, though.

If you use a solar pool cover, you’re ahead of the game, getting lots of benefits from warmer water to lower energy bills. But deploying and removing it is a headache. Or is it? Not with a solar cover reel, it’s not.

What is a Solar Cover Reel?

A few types of solar covers exist, including solar rings If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. , liquid solar covers If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. , and the type that needs a reel, solar blankets If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. .

There’s not much to explain, really. The name says it all. A solar cover reel is a way to:

Blue Wave 14-mil Solar Blanket for Rectangular Inground Pools - 18 ft. x 36 ft. Price: $173.25 Blue Wave 14-mil Solar Blanket for Rectangular Inground Pools - 18 ft. x 36 ft. If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 11/07/2019

How it Works

The device sits on the deck at one end of your inground pool. It consists of a long, metal pole extended between two T-bars, one of which usually has wheels to make it easy to move around. This is nice because once that wet cover is rolled up, it can be a little heavy. Some models can be permanently installed on the pool deck.

Suspended from the long middle bar are several heavy-duty straps with clips on the end. Those clips are attached to the edge of the cover to allow the cover to be rolled onto the reel.

On one end of the solar cover reel is a hand crank or a wheel. This is what you’ll turn to spool the cover onto the metal rod.

It’s a simple design, really. But it makes such a difference in being able to maneuver your cover quickly, easily, and without throwing your back out or inventing new curse words.

Solar Cover Reel

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Features to Look For

While the overall design is pretty standard from one solar cover reel to the next, you will find a few differences between models that can make a difference in what you choose for your pool.

Aluminum or Stainless Steel

Both metals are sturdy and can stand up to the elements. The deciding factor will be how large your pool is, which correlates to how large the cover is. If you have a big pool, the cover will be bigger, and therefore heavier, so stainless steel may be a little better able to hold the cover and remain sturdy.

Plastic or Rubber Wheels

Some of the less expensive models use thin, plastic wheels. After a few years of being exposed to pool water and the sun, it’s possible that plastic will begin to crack and deteriorate.

Also, because plastic wheels can’t really grip the deck surface, there’s a chance that when you’re trying to reel in your cover, the whole shebang might fall into the pool. Kind of defeats the purpose, huh?

Thicker, rubber wheels can stand up to the elements a little better, and they get better purchase on the deck. They also last longer, saving you the time and money of having to replace the reel (or at least the wheels) down the road.

Embedded or Hook and Loop Straps

How the straps are connected to the metal bar can make a difference in how well the reel pulls in the cover. Some solar cover reels use hook-and-loop straps, while others embed them in the bar via grooves in the metal.

We don’t need to tell you which ones are probably sturdier, right?

Mil Accommodation

OK, to explain this feature, let’s talk about solar pool covers for a minute.

If you’ve never seen a solar pool cover, it looks like a huge sheet of bubble wrap. Yes, the temptation to pop all those giant bubbles is overwhelming. You must resist, though, because it’s those bubbles that magically heat your pool while the cover is on.

Solar Pool Cover

The cover is made from a thick grade of plastic. The thickness of this plastic is measured in mil.

This is a standard unit of measure in the United States that equates to one-thousandth of an inch. Solar pool covers most often measure 8 mil, 12 mil, or 16 mil.

The higher the mil, the thicker the plastic, and the sturdier the cover will be. Thicker covers may also be more expensive, but they can be worth the up-front investment to have a cover that heats your pool more efficiently and lasts longer.

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Now, when you’re looking for a solar cover reel, some of them will list their compatibility with covers by mil. So if your solar cover measures 16 mil, make sure you don’t select a solar cover reel that only works with 8 mil or 12 mil covers.

Important: Always remove a solar blanket from the pool before allowing anyone to swim, especially small children and pets. Partially removing it or folding it back isn’t enough. It’s possible for them to become trapped under the blanket. It must be completely removed to avoid this risk.

Reel in a Good Reel

You’ve got your solar cover, you know what to look for in a solar cover reel. All that’s left to do is choose the one that’ll work best for your cover and pool.

VINGLI Aluminum Solar Cover Reel Solar

The VINGLI has all the features you’re looking for. The durable, rust-resistant aluminum rod has three three lockable sections to prevent drooping If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. from holding a heavy cover. Stainless steel legs and large, rubber wheels add stability. The grooved reel rod design means the embedded straps stay put.

The center rod is telescopic, so it can adjust for pools that measure 6 feet to 18 feet in width. Once the cover is rolled up, the reel locks to keep it in place. It also sits a little higher than some other solar cover reels, making it a little easier to use. Cover clips are included.

VINGLI Aluminum Solar Cover Reel Solar - Fits up to 18 ft. Wide x 40 ft. Long Price: $139.95 VINGLI Aluminum Solar Cover Reel Solar - Fits up to 18 ft. Wide x 40 ft. Long If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 11/07/2019

Splendoress Solar Cover Reel

Made from corrosion-resistant stainless steel[/earnist_link], this reel fits covers that measure up to 20 feet wide and 40 feet long. It’s easy to assemble, and the smoothly operating hand crank means just one person can reel in the cover.

The wheels are a little larger for easier maneuvering, and it comes with a cover attachment kit that contains eight straps and clips.

Nova Microdermabrasion Aluminum Solar Cover Reel

Did we say a three-section rod? Try a seven-section, rust-resistant If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. aluminum rod. There’ll be no drooping here! It also telescopes to adjust for pool width ranging from 17.5 feet to 24 feet.

Cover straps are embedded in rod grooves, so that cover’s not going anywhere except onto the reel. The straps are also longer than most to accommodate differently shaped pools. Two wheels and one ergonomically shaped hand crank make for easy portability and use. The crank also has a unique anti-spin locking device to prevent unrolling.

Nova Microdermabrasion Aluminum Solar Cover Reel w/Thermometer - 21 ft. Price: $116.99 Nova Microdermabrasion Aluminum Solar Cover Reel w/Thermometer - 21 ft. If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 11/07/2019

Aqua Splash In Ground Pool Solar Cover Reel

Get the best of both worlds with this reel. It’s portable, but can also be mounted for stationary placement. This solar cover reel fits pools up to 16 feet wide, and is designed for 8 mil or 12 mil covers If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. . Wide-track bearings make for smooth turning, and handles at both ends mean two can move it easily.

The telescoping center rod has a rib-locking design to prevent sagging, and the frame has pre-drilled holes for casters (not included). The reel comes with hardware, straps, and clips, and is backed by a 3-year warranty.

Aqua Splash In Ground Pool Solar Cover Reel - 16 ft. Price: $149.99 Aqua Splash In Ground Pool Solar Cover Reel - 16 ft. If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 11/07/2019

Ready to Get Things Rolling?

Why settle for cutting up your solar cover to make it easier to maneuver? Or inviting five friends over to help you fold it up? You can easily deploy and roll up your cover alone with the right solar cover reel.

Select one that fits your pool and your cover, and then choose between a few extra features, and you’ll be back to enjoying your warm pool before you can say, “Roll ’em!”

Happy Swimming!

Frustrated by adding chemicals and trying to keep your pool clear all the time?

We cut out all the confusion of pool maintenance in this easy-to-read illustrated ebook and video course. It'll help you save $100 right away on pool care!

Click here to learn more
The Pool Care Handbook

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