5 min read

Which Pool Cover Is Right For Me: Solar, Vinyl, Mesh, or Automatic? (Pros and Cons)

blue automatic cover on backyard pool

The day with your pool has finally ended. For hours you enjoyed the fun that your backyard oasis provided. Splashing in the cool crystal clear water all day never seems like enough and is the favorite pastime for you and your family. But it’s time to leave your pool for the night. Now what? 

You need a pool cover. 

However, being a new pool owner, you might see several options available and become overwhelmed. It’s not just important to choose a cover, but you must decide which kind of pool cover is right for you and your home. 

Pool covers are one of the main necessities for your pool. With the right choice, they can better conserve your water and save you thousands of dollars in pool maintenance in the future. 

To help you achieve this, we are going to break down the four different types of covers to use for your pool:

  • Solar “Bubble” Cover
  • Mesh Cover
  • Vinyl Cover
  • Automatic Cover

By reading this article, you will not only gain a better knowledge of each type of pool cover, but we will be listing the pros and cons for each one so that you can make an executive decision about which one is right for your pool! Also, because we know that cost is always an important factor when making any decision, we will include a brief section about the price ranges. 

For 14 years, J Designs Pool and Spa has assisted our clients with keeping their pools in top-notch shape by providing them with the information that suits their needs.

Let’s break down these pool covers and see what your type is! 

 

Solar “Bubble” Cover

Getting its nickname from the bubble wrap texture it’s made of, solar covers are perhaps the most popular among customers. It typically comes in a blue shade or silver, so it’s aesthetically pleasing to most homeowners. 

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Pros

Soaking in the UV from the sun rays, this cover is perfect for heating your pool, all while still being effective against a lot of evaporation. So, you don’t have to worry about refilling your pool with a lot of water. 

Being inexpensive, this cover is popular among homeowners who prefer a DIY approach when it comes to maintaining their pool. 

It’s a fairly thin and malleable material that can be measured and cut to fit the shape of your pool perfectly. 

Do you have a hot tub? Bubble covers can even be shaped into a circle to fit your spa when it’s not in use. 

 

Cons

Because the material is so thin, it has virtually no safety measures

It’s essentially a sheet floating on top of your pool water. So if you have small kids, this may not be the best option for you, as the cover is not able to even support the weight of the smallest child. 

While the cover is great at keeping out small debris, it doesn’t have the longest durability. You will most likely have to switch out covers after just a few years of use. 



Mesh Cover

Do you have a lot of rain where you live? Mesh covers might be a good option for you because, with their woven design, they can allow the rainwater to pass through and into your pool. 

This effectively saves you money and time to refill your pool when it’s ready to be used again in the summer. 

 

Pros

Because this sturdier and elastic pool cover is made of cords that strap around the pool edge with installed anchors, it is more child-friendly than the bubble cover. 

Movement is very minimal, and debris can be kept out. 

Also because of its thicker material, the mesh covers do last a longer time

 

Cons

Because the material is woven, it doesn’t help with water evaporation or keeping the temperature.  

Because it does require anchoring on the edges, the installation of the mesh pool cover may require more than one person. You might even have to call in a professional to help you install it, depending on the size of your pool. 

 

Vinyl Cover

Vinyl covers are similar to mesh covers because it’s also a sturdier option and can be attached to the edges of your pool with anchors. 

 

Pros

It’s pretty darn sturdy. Manufacturers have sent cars and elephants across the surface of vinyl pool covers in their advertisements and not a single one fell in. 

So it has been proven safe for children and pets. 

Also because it is a solid cover, it is proven effective for guarding against any extra debris getting into your water. 

Vinyl covers can be customized to any pool shape

 

Cons

Because there are so many springs and anchors involved in securing a vinyl pool cover, installation is pretty complicated and may require more hands and a longer length of time

Because the pool cover is usually open on the sides, it is not as great at preventing evaporation. 

You will notice that snow and rain may gather on the surface of the cover because it’s not webbed like the mesh cover. This must be drained regularly, or it could rip a hole and cause damage to your cover. 



Automatic Cover

In 2021, automatic pool covers were the most popular among homeowners. 

Mostly all made from vinyl, this is the most expensive out of all the cover options for your pool. However, because of its durability and ease of operation, many homeowners have chosen this particular cover over others. 

HubSpot Video

 

Pros

This is proven the #1 safest pool cover to use and is the top choice for homes with families.

Out of all the pool cover options, this one will go the distance when it comes to durability. It’s recommended to have it checked yearly, but if kept in good shape, it can last you for 10 years or more

By utilizing the automatic pool cover, your pool water will have virtually no evaporation and your maintenance costs for your pool will cut down exponentially

With the switch or key it comes with, you can easily open and close your automatic pool cover without even having to touch it. 

 

Cons

Automated covers have more mechanical features and require a professional installation, which can get pretty pricey. 

Only able to be installed effectively on square or rectangle pools, automatic covers are not customizable to different pool shapes

Once they're in, they're in. Removing and adjusting automatic pool covers once installed is a complicated process that if done wrong could damage your pool, your pool deck, and the cover itself. 

 

How Much Do They Cost? 

There’s one golden rule when it comes to purchasing anything:  the larger the item, the more money you’re going to spend. This same rule applies to pool covers. If you have a larger pool, you’re going to need to bigger pool cover and your wallet might stretch a little more. So below is an up-to-date range of prices for the different pool cover options to give you a clearer picture of what would be right for you and your budget. 

Automatic Cover                                $16,000 - $22,000 

Vinyl Cover                                         $1,200 - $3,000

Mesh Cover                                       $1,200 - $3,000

Solar “Bubble” Cover                       $100 - $600



The Perfect Cover Story

Every pool is different, and because of that, choosing the perfect cover can feel like an impossible task. However, you have just read about the different types of pool covers and the pros and cons that are associated with each. By reading this article you now have the knowledge to choose for yourself which cover is right for your pool. 

Do you still have more questions about pool covers and their installation? Please contact us and schedule a consultation with our leading experts. 

At J Designs Pool and Spa, we have assisted pool owners for 14 years all across California and given them the tools to make the most out of their pool buying experience. Our goal is to help you build and maintain your pool so that you and your family can enjoy it for years to come. 

Not Ready to meet with one of our experts? No problem. You may be interested in these additional articles:

5 Common Mistakes First-Time Pool Buyers Make And How To Avoid Them

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