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A Comprehensive Guide to Solar, Vinyl, Mesh, and Automatic Pool Covers

A Comprehensive Guide to Solar, Vinyl, Mesh, and Automatic Pool Covers

The day is over, and it's time to say goodbye to your pool after a day filled with fun and splashes. But before you head back inside, you must cover your pool to keep it safe and clean. As a new pool owner, you might be confused about which pool cover to choose, and that's completely understandable. Don't worry; we're here to help you out! 

Pool covers are essential for your pool's maintenance, and they can help conserve water and save you a lot of money in the long run. That's why we're going to break down the four different types of pool covers available:

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

We'll take you through the pros and cons of each type so you can decide which one suits your pool and your budget. Speaking of budget, we know that cost is always an important factor, so we'll also include a brief section on the price ranges. 

At J Designs Pool and Spa, we've been helping our clients keep their pools in top-notch condition for over 15 years now, and we're here to do the same for you. So, let's dive in and discover which pool cover is perfect for your backyard oasis!

Solar "Bubble" Covers

Solar covers, also known as "bubble" covers due to their bubble wrap texture, are popular among pool owners. They are available in blue or silver, making them aesthetically pleasing to most homeowners.



Solar covers are perfect for heating your pool and soaking up the sun's UV rays. They also reduce evaporation effectively, so you don't have to refill your pool with water often. Additionally, they are inexpensive and popular among homeowners who prefer a DIY approach to pool maintenance. Since the material is thin and malleable, it can be easily cut and measured to fit the shape of your pool perfectly. Bubble covers can also be molded into a circular shape to fit your hot tub when it's not in use.


The thin material of solar covers provides virtually no safety measures. Since it is essentially a sheet floating on top of your pool water, it cannot even support the weight of a small child, making it unsuitable for families with young kids. While the cover is excellent at keeping out small debris, it does not have the most extended durability. You will likely have to replace the cover after just a few years of use.


Mesh Cover

Living in a place with a lot of rainfall? Consider installing mesh covers for your pool. These covers have a woven design which allows rainwater to pass through and into the pool. This can save you time and money, as you won't have to refill the pool as frequently in the summer.



Mesh covers are sturdier and more elastic than bubble covers, as they are made of cords that strap around the pool edge with anchors. They are also more child-friendly and keep debris out effectively. Moreover, their thicker material makes them durable and long-lasting.


Mesh covers do not help with water evaporation or temperature control as they are woven and block sunlight. Installing them may require more than one person, and you might even need professional help depending on the size of your pool.                                                                                       Photo courtesy of Leslie's Pool Supplies

Key Takeaways

Mesh covers are sturdier, more elastic, and effective at keeping debris out. However, they do not help with water evaporation or temperature control and may require professional help for installation.


Vinyl Cover

Vinyl pool covers are a sturdy option that can be attached to the edges of your pool with anchors, just like mesh covers. They offer some advantages and disadvantages you should consider before deciding if they are the right choice for your pool.


Photo Courtesy of Google Images


Vinyl covers are incredibly sturdy. Manufacturers have tested their strength by sending cars and even elephants across the surface of vinyl pool covers in their advertisements, and not a single one fell in. This makes them safe for children and pets. Additionally, because they are solid covers, they are highly effective at preventing debris from getting into your pool. Vinyl covers can also be customized to fit any pool shape.


One of the main disadvantages of vinyl covers is that they require a lot of springs and anchors to secure them, which complicates installation and may require more than one person and a longer time. Also, because they are usually open on the sides, they are less effective at preventing evaporation than mesh covers. Moreover, snow and rain may accumulate on the surface of the cover because it is not webbed like a mesh cover. The water must be drained regularly, or it could cause damage to your cover. 

Key Takeaways

Overall, vinyl covers are a great option if you need a sturdy cover to protect your pool from debris and want it to fit your pool's exact shape. However, installation can be complicated, and they are less effective than mesh covers at preventing evaporation. 


Automatic Cover

Automatic pool covers were the most popular choice among homeowners in 2021. These covers are mostly made of vinyl, the most expensive option. However, due to their durability and ease of operation, many homeowners prefer this cover over others.



Regarding safety, the automatic pool cover takes the top spot as the number one choice for families. Knowing that your pool is securely covered and inaccessible to children and pets provides peace of mind. In terms of durability, this cover surpasses all other options. Regular maintenance and care can last an impressive ten years or even longer, making it a worthwhile investment.

By utilizing an automatic pool cover, you can significantly reduce water evaporation, which not only helps conserve water but also cuts down on maintenance costs. With this cover, you can enjoy a consistently filled pool without frequent refilling.

Convenience is another key advantage of an automatic pool cover. With a simple switch or key, you can effortlessly open and close the cover without touching it, saving you time and effort.


While an automatic pool cover has numerous benefits, it's essential to consider a few drawbacks. Installing this cover requires professional assistance due to its mechanical features, which can add to the overall cost.

Additionally, automatic covers are designed to fit square or rectangle pools effectively and are not customizable to different pool shapes. If you have a uniquely shaped pool, this cover may not be the best option.

Once an automatic pool cover is installed, it becomes a permanent fixture. Removing or adjusting the cover can be a complex and delicate process that, if done incorrectly, may cause damage to your pool, pool deck, or even the cover itself.

Key Takeaways

An automatic pool cover offers unparalleled safety, durability, water conservation, and convenience. However, weighing these advantages against the installation requirements and limitations regarding pool shape is essential.


How much does a pool cover Cost?

When buying anything, there's a golden rule - the larger the item, the more money you're likely to spend. This rule also applies to pool covers. If you have a larger pool, you'll need a bigger pool cover, which might cost you more. To help you get a clearer idea of what would be the right option for you and your budget, here's an updated price range for different pool cover options.

Automatic Cover $16,000 - $22,000*
Vinyl Cover $1,200 - $3,000*
Mesh Cover $1,200 - $3,000*
Solar "Bubble" Cover $100 - $600*



Every pool is unique, and finding the ideal cover can sometimes seem impossible. Fortunately, this article has explored the various types of pool covers available, along with their respective advantages and disadvantages. With this knowledge, you can feel more confident selecting the perfect cover for your pool.

If you still have lingering questions about pool covers or need assistance with their installation, we invite you to contact us and schedule a consultation with our team of leading experts. With over 15 years of experience serving pool owners throughout California, J Designs Pool and Spa is dedicated to providing the tools and guidance necessary to make the most of your pool-buying experience. Our ultimate goal is to help you create and maintain a pool you and your family can enjoy for many years.

If you're not quite ready to meet with one of our experts. We have additional articles that may pique your interest and provide further insights into the world of pool covers.

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