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What Are The 5 Best Pool Solar Rings?

There are plenty of ways you can heat your swimming pool, but only a few can be done for very little money.

With solar energy gaining traction in today’s modern world, it makes sense that the pool industry would be a proponent of such a technology. Solar rings are now being used as a heating device to keep pools warm.

We’ll give you the 411 regarding these eco-friendly beasts, and let you know which are the best solar pool rings currently on the market.

IMPORTANT: If you want the most heat retention for your buck, traditional solar pool covers (solar blankets) are far superior to solar sun rings.

Our Picks For Best Pool Solar Rings

We looked at the industries line up of best solar rings (solar sun rings) for swimming pools, and these came out on top:

Best Pack of Solar Rings

SSR SSRA-100 Solar Sun Rings Pool...
SSR SSRA-100 Solar Sun Rings Pool...
  • HEAT YOUR POOL - Solar Sun Rings are passive solar...
  • WARMING DISCS - The majority of heat loss from a...
  • WHAT'S INCLUDED - Each unit contains 6 magnets...

Best Square Solar Ring

Solar Sun Rings SSSA-SB-02 UV...
Solar Sun Rings SSSA-SB-02 UV...

Best Cheap Solar Ring

SSR SSRA-100 Solar Sun Rings Pool...
SSR SSRA-100 Solar Sun Rings Pool...
  • Solar Sun Rings are passive solar swimming pool...
  • The upper clear layer directs the suns rays onto...
  • The remaining sunlight filters through the ring...

Best For Above Ground Pools

Bestway 14ft Round Above Ground...
Bestway 14ft Round Above Ground...
  • POOL COVER: The Bestway 14-foot Solar Cover is a...
  • INCLUDES: Pool Cover & Carrying Bag
  • COMPATIBILITY: This cover is simple to use. It...

Best For Intex Pools


What Is A Pool Solar Ring?

A pool solar ring is a circular cover that rests on the surface of the pool. Like a normal solar pool cover, they’re made of dual layers of heavy duty, UV-resistant vinyl – but they’re smaller, and look like a lily pad. 

The idea behind them is to not only raise the water temperature by harnessing sunlight, but also keep warmth locked into the water, as heat mainly escapes through the pool’s surface via a process called evaporation. You might have heard of it.

With solar rings, sunlight hits the top layer of vinyl and transfers 50% of the heat through the bottom layer and into the pool. They can also protect the pool water from backyard debris that can upset the chemistry of the water. This will save you on sanitizing chemicals as well as skimming the pool to remove any pollutants in the water.

Inflatable and containing multiple magnets, solar rings can be interlocked to cover as much of the surface of the pool as possible. Linking them together is also a preventative measure from having them sucked in by the pool’s skimmer. However, due to their circular design, you’ll always have small areas of the surface that won’t be covered.

Their inflatable quality makes for quick deployment as well as break down. You can easily blow them up when you need to use them, and they won’t require much storage space simply by deflating them.

SSR SSRA-100 Solar Sun Rings Pool...
SSR SSRA-100 Solar Sun Rings Pool...
  • Solar Sun Rings are passive solar swimming pool...
  • The upper clear layer directs the suns rays onto...
  • The remaining sunlight filters through the ring...

Are Solar Rings Worth It?

With many heating options available, are solar rings worth the investment? Let’s weigh the pros and cons:

Pros:

  • One of the cheapest ways to keep the pool warm
  • Can be purchased in packs to save money
  • Eco-friendly option
  • Solar powered for zero operational costs
  • Retains heat well
  • Can protect the pool from backyard debris and upset water chemistry
  • Easy to inflate/deflate for quick deployment and storage
  • Helps reduce pool water evaporation and chemical loss
  • Protects the pool’s chlorine from being destroyed by sunlight
  • Can be used with inground, semi inground, and above ground pools

Cons

  • Require long exposure times to sunlight
  • Slow for actually heating the water
  • Dependant on how much sun your pool gets
  • A bit of an eyesore if you’re not into the lily pad look
  • Some algae and debris can accumulate on the surface of them
  • Circular design means they won’t cover the entire surface of the pool
  • Can be a pain to inflate/deflate multiple rings
  • Need replacing every 3 years (on average)

What You Need To Consider

Now let’s talk about the most important aspects and features to consider when it comes to choosing the best solar pool rings for your swimming hole.

Does Ring Size And Shape Matter?

Obviously, when using solar rings, you want to have enough of them to cover as much of your pool as you can. 

This is one of the downsides of the ring design. Most pools are rectangular or free form, so having circular rings will leave gaps in the pool where heat can escape.

One solution to this is to use square solar panels. They function exactly the same as solar rings, but cover the entire surface for rectangular pool shapes. Another solution is to go with a traditional solar pool cover instead.

Solar Sun Rings SSSA-SB-02 UV...
Solar Sun Rings SSSA-SB-02 UV...

Those that wish to use a solar cover on a spa will be happy to know there are spa specific solar rings which are designed around the dimensions of most spas for a potentially perfect fit.

How Many Rings Do You Need?

The answer to this question is a minimum of 4, and a maximum of 30, but it all depends on your pool size, and shape. Rings are usually around 5 feet in diameter, covering 70% to 80% of the pool’s surface. 

You can use this chart to measure out how many rings your pool would require: 

Rectangular PoolNumber of RingsRound PoolNumber of RingsOval PoolNumber of Rings
12 x 20812 ft.412 x 206
12 x 24815 ft.512 x 246
16 x 241218 ft.715 x 3012
16 x 321621 ft.1216 x 3212
16 x 362024 ft.1418 x 2812
18 x 362027 ft.2018 x 3314
18 x 382028 ft.2218 x 3616
18 x 402230 ft.2618 x 4018
20 x 403033 ft.3020 x 4020

Should You Focus On Thickness?

Ring thickness will play a part in prolonging their lifespan and also increasing heat retention. 

Like solar covers, rings are measured in mil, which is a thousandth of an inch (0.001 inch). Mil is not the same as millimeters. Anything under 8 mil will have a shorter lifespan and inferior heat retention.

The solar rings you go with should measure between 12 and 16 mil for multiple years of use, and superior heat retention. Spa-specific solar rings will automatically be on the thicker side to keep the warmer spa temperature locked in well.

Do You Need Rings With Drain Holes?

We would recommend it.

Drain holes will provide the solar ring with not only added rigidity, but it will help to drain any water that has accumulated on the top of the ring. This can happen during rainstorms, or improper installation. 

The last thing you want is an ineffective solar ring that has sunk into the pool water.

Do You Need Rings With Anchors?

There have been reports of even the best pool solar rings blowing away due to high winds, so it really depends on where you live and how much wind your pool is subject to.

If possible, we’d suggest going with a ring that comes with anchors. That way you have the option and you’re covered if you need to use them.

SSR SSRA-100 Solar Sun Rings Pool...
SSR SSRA-100 Solar Sun Rings Pool...
  • HEAT YOUR POOL - Solar Sun Rings are passive solar...
  • WARMING DISCS - The majority of heat loss from a...
  • WHAT'S INCLUDED - Each unit contains 6 magnets...

Should Quality Be A Concern?

Obviously, a higher quality product will (or at least should) last a lot longer than an inferior product.

Solar rings are made with 2 layers of heavy vinyl. This is to protect them from the wear and tear that comes with constantly inflating/deflating when adding/removing them from the pool. 

UV resistance is built into the vinyl as well, protecting the rings from sun damage due to long exposure times. Additionally, the thicker the vinyl, the better it tends to keep heat locked into the water – but not always.

Speaking of longevity, with regular use you should be able to get an average of 3 years out of a solar ring, though you’ll be lucky to get more than a season out of some of the cheaper options.

Should You Get A Solar Pool Cover Instead?

As we made clear at the start of this article, sun rings can be a little more practical than traditional solar covers, but they aren’t nearly as effective.

Not only can they leave large gaps that defeat the purpose of any solar cover, but putting on and taking off dozens of rings can be labor intensive than just using a regular solar pool cover, also called a solar blanket.

If you have a bit more budget to play with, it’s a good idea to consider a pool solar cover and solar cover reel combination.

This is the easiest, most effective way to use a solar pool heater and leverage that sweet, sweet solar heat for your pool. It’s also the least likely to disappoint in terms of performance.

How To Use Pool Solar Rings

Deploying solar rings isn’t complicated, and you can have them floating in your pool in a matter of minutes.

Placing Them

Solar rings are inflatable. They have valves on them and you blow them up with your mouth. Because they aren’t overly large (around 5 ft. in diameter), and the amount of air needed to inflate them is minimal, you shouldn’t have a hard time doing this. 

However, depending on how many rings you need to blow up, you may want to take a break to avoid becoming lightheaded.

One by one you can lay them into the pool. They also contain magnets which keep them “locked” together so they don’t drift aimlessly and expose more areas of the water surface. This also prevents them from being sucked into the skimmers. 

Removing Them

Removing is just as easy as placing them. All you have to do is grab one and pull it out of the water.

The magnets they’re designed with aren’t overly strong, so they should “unlock” from attached rings pretty easily.

Storing Them

After removing them from the pool, you can stack the rings somewhere where they’ll be out of the way. They’re also designed with an exterior loop which can be used to hang them. This allows them to dry off, unlike stacking which will usually keep them a little bit wet.

Solar rings are prone to algae growth on their surface, and inflatables in general can accumulate white water mold on the underside of them. Cleaning them every few weeks is a good idea, but be careful that you don’t accidently rip or tear them.

If you want to maximize storage space, you should fully deflate them and carefully roll or fold them up.

Our Top Pick

SSR SSRA-100 Solar Sun Rings Pool...
SSR SSRA-100 Solar Sun Rings Pool...
  • HEAT YOUR POOL - Solar Sun Rings are passive solar...
  • WARMING DISCS - The majority of heat loss from a...
  • WHAT'S INCLUDED - Each unit contains 6 magnets...

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