Electric Pool Heaters Buying Guide – Choosing the Best Models
(updated 2018)

Swimming in a cold pool is really annoying. Or to have a short swimming season. Thankfully, electric pool heaters are available as an option - the perfect water heating devices for your pool! They are more reliable, faster, and cheaper than others – come and see what else they offer!

Gas and propane are the most common types of pool water heaters available in the market, as they are powerful and dependable. However, they use a lot of energy and the fuel supply is not available everywhere. As an alternative, and better solution in some regions, electric pool heaters are offered for the homeowners to buy. They have better energy efficiency, are more reliable and cost less than gas heaters. But choosing the right product can be a real headache.

Here, we are going to talk about important things and tips you need to consider before buying electric water heating devices, so you can eventually make the right choice without the problem. Take a look further and find out!

Considerations & tips for buying electric pool heaters

How they work

The process of an electric heater is reasonably straightforward. They are 100% electric-dependent, using the electricity to heat up a resistor installed inside each device. The resistor heats up until a certain point where the device allows water to go through where the resistor is located, heating up the water and cooling down the resistor immediately. The hot water then gets pumped out to the pool, and the resistor starts heating up until water passes through again.

This process repeats as long as the device is turned on, or there is a call from the thermostat. It happens fast and can warm up a pool in just a few hours. But being a quick and effective process means that an electric heater uses huge amounts of electrical current which could eventually cost a lot of money to the owner. So, they are mostly used in little pools, spas, and hot tubs – as it would mean less cost of use and more efficiency.

TIP: Some devices use less electricity than others but are often a little slower to heat up the water. They will cost less a month as long as you can handle a slower heating process or if you have a small pool.

Initial cost

The initial cost of an electric pool heater may vary according to the model, efficiency of the device, electronic features, and overall capacity and size.

Typically, an electric heater costs about $500 for a not-so-powerful and straightforward option. For electric heaters that are larger and offer additional features, you may find prices that go from $2,000 up to $5,000 or even more.

To these prices, you need to add the installation costs as well. An electric pool heater uses heavy-duty wiring, high amperage circuit connections, and some even require an additional pump to work. This could add up to $1,000 more to the initial price of the device.

Compared to solar panels that can cost $3,000 for a simple device without installation, or heat pumps that can go up to $4,000 in standard models – electric heaters are pretty affordable.

TIP: Choose something that meets your sizing needs. If you have a small pool or a hot tub, there’s no need to pay more than $1,000 for a single standard device.

Cost of operation

Electric pool water heaters do consume less than gas heaters in the long run, but a lot more than heat pumps and solar panels. The energy consumption of an electric heater may cost up to $600 a month for a single pool.

This happens as the Coefficient of Performance or COP of an electric pool heater is 1.0. It means that it doesn’t use energy as efficiently as a heat pump that has a COP of 5.0, or solar panels that have a COP of 10, which are entirely renewable.

TIP: Many people choose smaller devices that don’t consume as much electricity. This is an excellent idea, especially if you have a spa or a hot tub instead of a large pool. If you can handle the price, however, go for a more powerful and expensive model.

Environmental damage 

The good thing about electric heaters, similarly to heat pumps and solar panels, is that they don’t emit any CO2 to the environment, making them eco-friendly. A gas heater, on the other hand, may produce more CO2 than a small car.

TIP: Make sure that your device follows regulations according to where you live and electricity consumption. Some states such as California and Texas oblige pool users to use devices that emit less CO2.

Lifespan

The lifespan of an electric pool heater is not the best but is enough to save you from headaches and budget. Due to highly competent performance and a non-complicated heating process, these devices tend to last about 5 to 10 years in the best cases. If you take care of the device and don’t use it too much, it may last up to 15 years or more.

TIP: The quality of construction and materials matters enormously when it comes to the lifespan of a water heater for pools. Go for the features that use copper, bronze and stainless steel over any other metal. These are often much more reliable in the long run.

Pros and cons of electric pool heaters

Advantages

  • More affordable than other options - $500 base price
  • It works at any temperature and in any weather
  • Don’t contribute to air pollution
  • Much faster and effective than other heaters
  • Can be used at any time of the year

Disadvantages

  • Expensive operation cost – Up to $600 a month
  • Expensive installation – Up to $1,000 to install
  • Use too much energy – COP of 1.0
  • Not as long-lasting as others – 5 to 10 years of lifespan

Benefits of using an electric pool heater

Works at any time

No matter if it is night or day, if there is snow or rain, if there is a lot of wind or too much sun,  electric pool heaters work the same way at all times. They don’t use heat-transfer processes from the wind or any other source that’s not electricity, so the effectiveness of electric pool water heaters is independent of any outside factor. This makes them especially useful in cold climates, especially during winter and fall.

Reliability

An electric pool heater is as efficient as an air conditioner. It only needs to be correctly installed and to receive maintenance once a year to make sure it is working correctly. These devices use high-quality materials and a very safe manufacturing process that makes them outstandingly reliable. They last up to 10 years or even more in the best case scenario, and they won’t malfunction as regularly as a solar panel could, for example.

Compact and well-designed

Most electric pool heaters are small and compact, so they fit almost anywhere without problems. Despite being a little harder to install, they just need to be appropriately attached to a wall or floor (depending on the model), and that’s it, they won’t take much place or be a headache in any way. What’s more, they are safe even when functioning.

Best electric pool heaters to consider

Feel like an electric heater for your pool might be your best choice? Then we have excellent options for you to think about:

Raypak SpaPak Spa Heater 11kW

Not only is the Raypak SpaPak available both in 5.5 kW and in 11 kW, but it is also one of the smallest and most well-designed options out there. It is also incredibly efficient and comes with an outstanding building quality of bronze & copper, making it reliable and durable nonetheless.

Hayward CSPAXI Spa Heater 11kW

The Hayward CSPAXI is a powerful choice for those who have small spas or pools and want excellent heating capacity. This option works at 11 kW and 240 Volts, offering up to 70 GPM without problems. It is mainly made of stainless steel and copper and comes with an electric heating element with a sensor, a threaded head, and a heating indicator. The Hayward is a convenient and reliable model.

EcoSmart SMART POOL Tankless Heater 27kW

If you are looking for a smart device that does not only heats up the water but helps you set up a wide array of options according to your needs, then the Smart Pool Tankless Heater from EcoSmart is what you need. It can be used with the remote control, it uses low electricity, it is small and easy to install. It works at 240v and 112.5 AMPs, making it practical and powerful.

What’s the best electric pool heater for you?

There are many options and features you need to consider when buying an electric pool heater, and no matter what you end up choosing – it is all about what fits your needs and capacity. Remember, however, that electric pool heaters are more expensive in the long run than others – but they are also faster, more efficient and highly reliable. Pick the one you think is best for you!

Tired of swimming in a cold pool? Then electric pool heaters are the perfect water heating option for you. They are fast, reliable and extremely easy to use. Either you choose a Raypak, EcoSmart, Hayward or any other brand, you will definitely enjoy a warmer pool, no matter the weather, and will have a chance to swim longer even during the fall season, or start earlier than your neighbors.

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