This website requires cookies to provide all of its features. By using our website, you agree to our use of cookies - Learn more

Use code HEAT15 to receive a massive 15% off all Inverter heat pumps!


How to Heat an Inflatable or Above-Ground Swimming Pool

How to Heat an Inflatable or Above-Ground Swimming Pool

If you’re looking to make the most of summer, an above-ground pool is the perfect way to indulge in the sunshine!

Sadly, the summer’s sunny weather alone won’t be enough to warm up the pool, especially in the UK! However, there are ways you can create a much more relaxing experience and warm-up that water!

Here at 1st Direct Pools, we’ve been working with pool owners for many years, helping them to find the perfect solutions for their pool. We stock a wide range of options, from the popular swimming pool heat pump to solar heat systems and electric/gas heaters.

Above-ground pool heaters are a fantastic way to get more use out of your pool! Heating your pool will not only make it more appealing during the summer, but it will also help you get more from your pool outside the summer season.

Read more in our guide: Swimming pool heat pump: costs and options

Can You Get a Heater for an Above Ground Pool?


A lot of above-ground pool owners assume that you can't use a heater for an above-ground pool; this simply isn't true. You can easily heat them using an array of different methods!

Above-ground swimming pool heating options include:

  • - Swimming pool heat pump
  • - Solar heating system
  • - Solar cover
  • - Gas heater
  • - Electric heater

Most pool heaters will fall into one of four categories:

  • - Solar
  • - Gas
  • - Electric
  • - Heat pump

Two feet splashing about in water

Heating an Above-Ground Pool Vs In-Ground Pool


When it comes to options, there isn't a big difference between heating a below and above-ground swimming pool. However, the distinctive nature of these pools means that there are some different things you should consider.

Above-Ground Pool Volume

First of all, above ground and inflatable pools tend to be considerably smaller than pools built into the ground. Less water means a smaller amount of power required to heat the pool.


Particularly for inflatable pools, some people may install their above ground swimming pool purely for use in the summer before closing it for the winter. Only using the pool during the summer months makes certain options much more viable than the continuous demands of an in-ground pool.

Light refracting off of the surface of pool water

Pool Heaters for Above-Ground Pools


Here we explore the different heaters you can use to heat your above-ground pool.

Solar Pool Heaters

A solar heater generates its heat by using the renewable energy of the sun. The heat is collected from the sun and then dispersed into the water.

Solar Pool Heaters are hugely cost-effective, but its productivity can fluctuate depending on the weather.

The obvious downside is that this heating system only works with consistent sunshine, which can be hard to rely on here in the UK. For this reason, many people combine solar heating with another method to ensure their pool retains its heat during cloudy weather.

There are several different types of solar heaters. You can find a variety of solar heating systems such as:

  • - Domes
  • - Mats
  • - Covers
  • - Covers
  • - Sun rings

Solar Pool Covers

Evaporation is the leading cause of swimming pool heat loss, which is why investing in a solar cover is a great starting point.

Solar swimming pool covers are designed not only to protect your pool from debris, they also harness the sun's heat and retain it, keeping your pool warm.

A swimming pool solar cover is essential if you want to keep your pool's heat overnight or for an extended period without use. The only downside is that solar covers are not that effective at heating a pool from cold.

Gas Pool Heater

Gas heaters run on either gas or propane and are recognised for their time efficiency. They work by burning gas to generate heat which is then transferred to the water.

Gas heaters tend to be a little pricier to run when compared to other heaters, but they can be the most reliable for those living in colder climates, as they won't need to rely on the sun or warm air to work.

Electric Pool Heater

Electric pool heaters are recognised for being reliable and efficient heating systems, while they also consume a lot less energy than a gas heater.

Electric heaters can be confused with swimming pool heat pumps as they both use electricity, but an electric heater warms the water by using electric currents to generate heat.

Heat Pump Heater

Heat pumps work by extracting the outside air and then magnifying its temperature using a compressor. The heat that is generated is then transferred to the water.

Although this method is somewhat slow, it is highly cost-efficient and environmentally friendly compared to other heating methods.

Check out our above ground pool heaters

What is the Fastest Way to Heat an Above-Ground Pool?


Gas heaters are generally the fastest regarding the rate at which they can warm up a swimming pool. Most pool heaters will take a day to increase a pool’s water temperature by three degrees. However, a gas heater will only take an hour.

Although it's worth noting the rate that a gas heater will warm up the pool, it will come at a cost. You will need to way up which you prefer: convenience or expense.

What is the Cheapest Way to Heat a Swimming Pool?


It can be confusing when trying to choose a cheap method of heating swimming pools. Some heaters may initially appear expensive, but they can be incredibly cost-effective in the long term, such as swimming pool heat pumps!

We've picked out some of the cheapest ways you can keep your pool warm:

  • - Solar sun rings
  • - Pool heat pump
  • - Wind-proof your pool
  • - Run your pool heater during the warmest part of the day

If you're looking for a cheap and effective pool heater for your above-ground or inflatable swimming pool, you should consider a heat pump.

When it comes to a combination of value, ease of use and heating ability, heat pumps are the perfect middle ground. These devices use a small amount of electricity to generate heat that warms the water flowing through your pump system.

Alternatively, there are many solar heating options for your pool. Solar heating, in most cases, involves a similar setup to the swimming pool heat pump above. However, instead of relying on electricity, the water flows through what is essentially a greenhouse, using sunlight to heat the water.

If you are only using your pool during the summer months and can rely on reasonably consistent sunshine, this is a great option. Solar systems are relatively cheap, super simple to set up and can deliver efficient heating in the right conditions.

A hand resting off an inflatable in a swimming pool

The Most Economical Pool Heater


There are many reasons why swimming pool heat pumps are so popular, but the main reason is their value.

Compared to gas or electric pool heaters, heat pumps are considerably cheaper to run. The only drawback is that they can be initially expensive. However, for an above-ground pool, you may only need a small pump.

Because heat pumps rely on a decent water flow, if you have an inflatable pool, you may need to ensure your current pump system is strong enough to accommodate the heat pump.

It's worth remembering that heat pumps take a little while to heat a swimming pool fully, but generally speaking, this is a great choice.

Check out our swimming pool heat pumps

Are Above-Ground Pool Heaters Worth it?


Swimming heat pumps for above-ground pools are a great way to make your pool more enjoyable You won't be needing to jump in and "get used" to the water temperature; this is especially important if you live in a colder environment.

Extended the Pool Season

Pool heaters allow you to use your pool for much longer. Without a pool heater, you'll find that you may need to close down the pool long before the outside temperature starts to dip.

Relaxation and Stress Relief

Owning a warm pool allows you to destress and relax, which can, in turn, soothe any aching muscles.

We hope this blog has helped answer some questions you had about heating options for your swimming pool. If you have any more queries, don't hesitate to give our experienced team a call; we are always on hand to help!

Latest Articles