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Swimming Pool Heater VS. Heat Pump

swimming pool heater vs heat pump

If you’re looking to extend the pool season, heaters and heat pumps are among the best options. But what makes one different from the other? To ensure an educated decision, we’ve compared the main features of a swimming pool heater vs heat pump:

Pool Heaters

Swimming pool heaters are the most popular option when it comes to heating your pool. Heaters utilize natural gas, propane or electricity to heat water returning back into your pool. They have a lower upfront cost and heat water temperatures quickly. Although heaters have a lower upfront cost, they require the cost of propane or natural gas which can exceed the run costs than that of a heat pump. Depending on whether propane or natural gas is used and the location of your pool, cost can range from about $3.00 to $9.00 per hour to heat your pool.

Natural Gas Heaters are typically a few dollars cheaper to run per hour vs Propane Heaters. Depending on where you live, natural gas can cost about 84% less than propane gas.

An Electric Pool Heater is another great option, if propane or natural gas won't work for your pool. Again, this will increase your utility cost for electricity, but a dependable way to heat any pool - from small residential pool to commercial pools.

Swimming Pool Heater


  • Lower upfront cost
  • Heats pool water quickly
  • Works in any temperature
  • Easily installed into plumbed gas line from your home


  • Higher utility costs
  • More moving parts compared to Heat Pumps



Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are becoming increasingly popular for pool owners. They use the ambient air surrounding the unit to heat your pool. The air passes over an evaporator coil using heated refrigerant to heat water returning back into your pool. This process does not require natural gas or propane resources, which lowers run (utility) costs drastically. Heat pumps
cost about $.63 an hour to run; a fraction of propane or natural gas.

Although run costs are low, heat pumps do have a slight disadvantage. Since heat pumps use the surrounding (ambient) air around the unit, temperatures cannot drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. When temperatures drop below 50 degrees, heat pumps loose the ability to effectively heat your pool water.

To learn how Heat Pumps work, make sure to read our detailed article HERE

Swimming Pool Heat Pump


  • Lower run cost
  • Energy efficient
  • Easier to install
  • Great for mild climates


  • Higher upfront cost
  • Ineffective below 50 degrees




Both, heaters and heat pumps are a good solution for pool owners. The main factor when deciding will be your location, budget and needs. If you live in a colder climate and want to extend the pool season for as long as possible you'll probably lean towards a heater. However, if you want something that will save you money in the long run and live in a climate that does not drop below 50 degrees, a heat pump is a great option for you.

Shop the best deals on Natural Gas Pool Heaters, Propane Pool Heaters, Electric Pool Heaters and Heat Pumps from the leading manufacturers like Jandy, Pentair, Hayward and Raypak!