Different types of swimming pool covers

Not all pool covers are built alike and it’s important that we know the distinction between different kinds of pool covers, what each type brings to the table, and which one is the best suited for your swimming pool.

What is a pool cover?

Basically, a pool cover can be anything that goes over the surface of your swimming pool to cover it. While it sounds like an oversimplification (and it is), that is actually what pool covers are in a nutshell. Their differences lie in their purpose and why they’re used in the first place! Pool covers can be as simple as large sheets of plastic to solid slatted pieces of plastic.

Types of swimming pool covers

Different pool covers offer different levels of protection for your pool so knowing what each type does is the best way to get the perfect pool cover for your swimming pool.

Winter Pool Covers

As the name implies, winter pool covers are used exclusively for winter. This is usually made from a mesh-type material that completely covers the pool. The main purpose of this type of pool cover is to keep debris out of the pool during the off-season. Since this is made from a mesh type material, it can effectively keep debris from entering your pool while allowing rainwater or snow (if you live in an area with snow) to permeate, preventing liquid from pooling on top of the pool cover.

This obviously brings with it the problem of water entering your pool and diluting your pool’s chemical levels. It is also worth noting that winter pool covers are not designed as safety pool covers and they do not offer any sort of safety features.

Winter pool covers are also not designed to be constantly removed and installed, making them solely for winter use.

Note: Since winter pool covers don’t do anything to regulate pool temperature, make sure that you take into account the extremes in temperature when calculating your LSI levels to prevent the formation of winter dust.

Slatted Pool Covers

As you may gather from the name, slatted pool covers are made from solid plastic or polycarbonate slats that go over your pool. These will usually come with some sort of automatic controls that will roll and unroll the cover automatically at the push of a button, making it something that can allow you to open and close your pool at will.

Slatted pool covers completely protect your pool from debris and since they’re usually made from transparent polycarbonate material, they can trap a fair bit of heat in the pool as well. Due to its design and construction, slatted pool covers can offer a bit of safety protection to keep small animals from falling into the pool, but they’re in no way a pool safety cover and it shouldn’t be relied on to function as such.

Another advantage of slatted pool covers is that they can come in a variety of colors as to provide an aesthetic look to your pool whenever the cover is in place. The major downside to them is that they have to be custom-fit to any pool as they have to be precisely cut to get a perfect fit and they will often require the services of a professional to properly install.

Safety Pool Covers

As the name implies, the main purpose that safety pool covers are for safety. Their construction allows them to safely bear the weight of children (and adults, depending on the material used) and is designed specifically for this purpose. Pool safety covers also protect your pool from debris and due to its solid nature, protects your pool water from evaporation.

The solid nature of safety pool covers is also the root cause of its disadvantage. Since it’s a solid piece, water pooling can occur on the covers, which can cause damage to the cover itself. To prevent this, periodic cleaning of safety pool covers must be done every couple of days, especially after rains. Safety pool covers, since they’re not touching the water, offer very little in terms of winterization benefits.

Safety pool covers are also some of the most expensive types of pool covers out there. They’re also one of the most difficult ones to install as it will take at least two people to securely fasten and check if it is mounted properly.

Solar Pool Covers

Solar Pool Covers, like the ones from Daisy, are the pool covers of choice here at Mr Pool Man. When it comes to value for money and from a benefit vs cost perspective, you get the most bang for your buck with solar pool covers. Not only that, if we take a look at it on a dollar-per-dollar standpoint, solar pool covers sit there right at the middle of the field. They’re not as expensive as slatted pool covers or safety pool covers and they’re just a smidge more expensive than winter pool covers, and they bring much more to the table!

Solar pool covers are designed to keep heat in your pool, saving you a lot on your heating bills. Not only that, but if you like to use your pool at night, keeping a solar pool cover on your pool during the day can keep your pool water warm enough to swim in when you take it off at night. It also keeps out any debris from your pool.

Solar pool covers come in a variety of thickness levels, the thicker the cover, the more heat is retained in the pool, but all of them provide excellent winterisation capabilities, much more so than winter pool covers!

The real downside that we can see when it comes to solar pool covers is that they offer nothing when it comes to preventing small animals and kids from falling into the pool. So if you have a solar pool cover (as well as a winter pool cover) then you should always ensure that other safety measures are in place like your barriers, alarms, and access point locks.

Must-have solar pool cover accessories

If you have a solar pool cover, you can put the savings from getting a slatted or a safety cover to put into one of the following solar pool cover accessories that can make usage of your solar pool cover a breeze.

  • A pool cover roller - cut down rolling and unrolling your solar pool cover to seconds or minutes, allowing you to roll your solar pool cover on and off quite easily. Not only does a pool cover roller eliminate the problem of not using your cover because of the hassle of rolling it off and on, but it also protects your solar pool cover from damage since it’s getting rolled into a secure spot and not just stowed away on the ground somewhere.
  • An underbench pool cover roller - This provides all of the conveniences and advantages of a pool cover roller but adds usable space on top as well! The bench design provides a seating area for you and your guests or even as additional space to put stuff on!
  • In-ground pool cover rollers - Taking the underbench pool cover roller design another level, in-ground pool cover rollers completely hide your pool cover and frees up your poolside for other activities. See our Ultimate Guide for Pool Cover here.

Pool Covers at a Glance

Pool Cover Type Key Feature Heat Retention Safety Cost

Winter Pool Cover





Slatted Pool Cover

Aesthetic + Protection




Safety Pool Cover





Solar Pool Cover

Pool Protection




Conclusion: So which pool cover is the best?

Obviously, we already made our bias clear when we said that Daisy solar pool covers are our pool covers of choice, but at the end of the day, each type of pool cover has its own advantages and disadvantages. So when you’re looking for a pool cover, answer the following questions so that you can make a decision that’s right for your situation:

  • What type of pool do you have?
  • How often will you be using the pool?
  • Do you have small children/pets that are in danger of falling into the pool?
  • Do you need to remove and install the covers often?
  • What’s your working budget for the pool cover.

SEE ALSO: Guide for the Best Pool Covers in Australia

Need help on how to measure your swimming pool for a pool cover? Check out our pool covers fitting guide here.

Do you have any questions about this topic or the featured products? No worries, we're here to help! Drop us a question down below and we'll get back to you ASAP.

Happy swimming :)

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