7 Best Solar Cover Reels for Inground Pools & Above Ground Pools
Solar covers effectively keep your water warm and inviting and ensure that other unwanted things like debris do not get to your water. However, putting the cover on and off by hand is always a time-consuming and tedious job.
Luckily, there is an easy solution to make the job quicker and more effortless for you, which is investing in the best solar cover reel. You can unroll the cover over the pool and roll it back for storage almost effortlessly with one of these reels.
A good solar cover reel should be durable, easy to use, and able to cover your pool. Our detailed review of some top-rated models and in-depth buying guide below will make it easy to get the perfect one for your pool.
7 Best Solar Cover Reel – Review
1. Best Overall: VINGLI Pool Cover Reel Set
- Size: 14 – 18 Feet
VINGLI Pool Cover Reel Set takes our best overall spot as it is highly durable, easy to assemble and use, fits all pool shapes, and remains stable on the pool.
The construction includes 3 sections of high-quality aluminum tube, stainless legs, and an aluminum reel. Besides being durable, these components do not require maintenance and will never rust to ensure long service life.
Assembling the solar cover reel takes little time and effort as the different components snap together easily and fit perfectly. Also, usage is easy thanks to features like an embedded strap link design, lockable telescoping tube, and comfortable hand crank.
You can use this solar cover reel for all inground pool shapes, provided the width does not exceed 18 feet. Also, you can be sure it will remain stable on the pool since it includes some large and full solid tires.
Although this solar cover reel comes with limited instructions, this should not be a big concern given how easy it is to set up and use.
- Highly durable construction
- Works for all pool shapes
- Easy assembly and usage
- More stable tires
- Limited instructions
2. Best for the Money: Swimline Above-Ground Pool Solar Blanket Reel System
- Size: 21 – 24 Feet
If you are looking for a solar cover reel that will give you great value for money, this model by Swimline is a fantastic choice. It comes at a more affordable price tag, and with most of the things, you need to ensure an even better value.
Besides the excellent value for money, the reel takes little time and effort to set up, and it is also socket mountable to make it even more convenient.
When you buy the reel, you will get some high-quality straps that will hold your solar cover in place without sagging and all the hardware you need to set up and use the reel. Additionally, pool owners will love that the reel rolls and unrolls your cover smoothly.
The two main drawbacks of this solar cover reel are that it does not come with a tube and the plastic material also feels thinner. However, both should not be a big concern for such an affordable reel, given it still works well.
- More affordable to ensure good value for money
- Comes with everything you need
- Quick and easy setup
- Moves the cover smoothly
- Tube not included
- The plastic feels thinner
3. Best for Above Ground Pools: Intex 28051 Solar Cover Roller
- Size: 9 – 16 Feet
For those that have an above ground swimming pool, the Intex 28051 Solar Cover Roller is a fantastic choice. The reel works perfectly for all rectangular above ground pools as it will attach quickly to the pool’s metal structure.
The sole cover roller uses a non-corrosive crank that, besides being durable enough, is also comfortable to use to ensure smooth cover rolling. Additionally, the crank has a locking mechanism to allow you to hold the cover in a specific position.
The overall build of the solar cover reel is also top-notch and will include an aluminum connecting shaft that will deliver many years of exceptional service.
With this reel, installing the cover is more straightforward, and you can be sure that using it will take little effort.
There seems to be a bit of friction when turning the crank, but it is not significant enough to cause problems or damage the unit.
- Easy attachment to pool metal structure
- Handle includes locking function
- Highly durable construction
- Allows for quick and easy cover rolling
- A bit of friction when turning the crank
4. Best for Inground Pool: Nova Microdermabrasion Swimming Pool Cover Reel Set
- Size: 17.5 – 21 Feet
This Nova Microdermabrasion Reel Set is the perfect choice for those that have an inground pool. It can fit pools up to 21-feet wide and has several fantastic features that will ensure it delivers exceptional performance.
Key among them are the highly durable polishing aluminum tubes that you can also adjust to fit most inground pools. These tubes will not rust or even droop, no matter how often you use the reel.
The user-friendly design of the reel includes a nice hand crank on one end that makes it super easy to operate. Also, this crank ensures a smooth operation, and you will also get a thermometer to ensure easy water temperature monitoring.
The reel includes a couple of solid wheels designed to be more durable and stable so that it never falls into the pool. You can also be sure of an easy time when it comes to the assembly as the reel comes with everything you need and clear directions on what to do.
The only issue with this solar cover reel is that it can sag slightly in the middle when you extend it completely, but this is not a deal-breaker.
- Highly durable components
- User-friendly design for smooth operation
- Easy to move and more stable
- Quick and easy assembly
- Can sag a little in the middle
5. NSdirect Pool Cover Reel
- Size: 5 – 22.5 Feet
You will never need to get someone to help you roll or unroll your solar cover with the NSdirect Pool Cover Reel, as it allows for easy one-person operation. It includes a sturdy hand crank that makes the operation more effortless.
The solar cover reel will work for almost any inground pool out there as the adjustable design allows it to fit any pool between 5 and 22.5-foot wide.
Assembling the reel takes little effort as there is nothing much to do since there are only a few parts. What’s more, storage and carrying it should be more effortless for you.
Pool owners will also love the overall construction, as the reel uses a lightweight aluminum tubing that will not require any maintenance and is rust-resistant. What’s more, it comes with large treaded wheels that ensure easy mobility and maximum stability.
There are some customer complaints about missing hardware, but this is probably due to poor quality check or shipping, and any piece you do not get should be easy to find locally. Also, the instructions do not seem well written, but they are hardly a concern as this reel is super easy to set up.
- Requires only one person to operate
- Fits a wide variety of inground pools
- Durable and lightweight construction
- Large treaded wheels
- Missing hardware
- Poor instructions
6. Intex Solar Cover Reel
- Size: 9 – 16 Feet
The ease of installation and use seems to give the Intex Solar Cover Reel an edge over many other reels out there. It is a straightforward model that you can set up and use without using any tools.
Additionally, the reel includes an interlocking shaft that enhances the ease of use and makes the reel more convenient for the users.
The overall construction is also heavy-duty with a lightweight and rust-resistant aluminum tube and a high-strength plastic crank. Besides being durable, the crank includes a lock to allow you to keep the cover in place.
You can use this reel for rectangular above ground pools between 9 and 16 feet wide, and it attaches to the metal structure easily.
The clips that hold the cover are not the best, as they can sometimes pop loose if you have a heavier solar cover. However, you can provide an extra layer of security by adding some zip ties.
- Takes little effort to install
- Heavy-duty build
- Interlocking shaft is more convenient
- Crank includes a lock
- Cover clips can pop loose
7. Rocky’s 3A InGround Pool Solar Reel
- Size: Up to 20 Feet
Rocky’s 3A In-Ground Pool Solar Reel is a heavy-duty reel that will make covering and uncovering your inground pool more effortless.
One of its key highlights is the 12-sided adjustable tubing that ensures minimal sagging regardless of the pool size. This tubing is easily adjustable, and it will make rolling and unrolling the cover quick and smooth.
The overall build of the cover reel will ensure maximum durability as all the components are of top-notch quality. They include die-cast aluminum tubing and main housing with a baked enamel finish to resist corrosion and harsh weather.
There are also some excellent casters on the reel to make it easy to move over the pool and a comfortable crank handle that adds to the ease of operation.
Although the assembly can be a little tricky, it is still not overly complicated, and you should be okay if you read and follow the instructions keenly.
- Easily adjustable and does not sag
- Durable and resistant to harsh weather
- Easy movement with the inclusion of wheels
- Comfortable hand crank
- Assembly can be a little tricky
How to Buy the Best Solar Cover Reel?
1. Solar Cover Reel Type
Before anything else, you will need to decide the solar cover reel type that you prefer. Here, the type classification is often according to the mode of operation, and hence you will have two broad categories: manual and automatic solar cover reels.
Manual Solar Cover Reel
As their name suggests, these reels are the kind that you have to operate by hand when unrolling or rolling your cover. They are the most popular option since they give you more control over the process, are affordable, and are generally less problematic.
With these reels, you have to turn the crank to fold or unfold your cover, which takes a little elbow grease and means more work for you. However, the mechanism that most use allows the cover to move with less effort.
Automatic Solar Cover Reel
With an automatic solar cover reel, the process of folding and unfolding the cover is automatic. Some models require you to connect to an outlet, while some modern ones are solar-powered to ensure they do not increase your electricity bill.
Instead of a hand crank like with the manual models, the automatic reels will have a motor that drives the folding/unfolding mechanism.
These reels tend to be slower than the manual models, and they are also more expensive to buy and maintain.
2. Construction Material
The next crucial element you need to consider is the material, as it will determine how long the reel lasts and how well it serves you. Remember that the reel will spend a lot of time outdoors and face more abuse from regular use, so it needs to be tough enough.
Most of these products will feature a metallic construction, with aluminum and stainless steel being the most common materials. However, most will include several plastic components.
In many cases, what matters more is the quality of the materials and not the type. Therefore, if you go for something with many plastic parts, make sure it is heavy-gauge enough for maximum durability.
3. Ease of Assembly and Use
The majority of solar cover reels will come with multiple parts and sections that will need some assembly. Therefore, when choosing one, you have to make sure it will be easy to assemble.
The ease of assembly largely depends on the number of pieces you get and how well they fit together. Something that comes with a few pieces that snap together quickly and with clearly illustrated directions on what to do will give you the easiest time.
For ease of use, make sure what you choose has an easy-to-use mill mechanism like the Intex 28051 Solar Cover Roller. A model that includes a comfortable crank mechanism and an excellent strapping system will also give you an easy time.
A good solar cover reel should include some wheels to make it easy to maneuver and move around the pool. When it comes to wheels, you can get a reel with either plastic or rubber wheels.
Plastic wheels make the reel more affordable but do not last very long under the sun, while rubber wheels are much better quality and move well even on wet surfaces.
Besides the wheel material, their size also matters. Some models like Rocky’s 3A In Ground Pool Solar Reel have simple casters to make transportation easy. Others like the VINGLI Pool Cover Reel Set include larger treaded wheels with better stability and move well on most surfaces.
With the best solar cover reel, rolling and unrolling your pool solar cover is always quicker and more effortless. There are many fantastic reel models, and narrowing down your option should be easy with our review and guide above.
From our product list, the VINGLI Pool Cover Reel Set is our best overall model. This heavy-duty reel is easy to assemble, fits all pool shapes, and comes with all the hardware you need.
However, if you are looking for something that will give you the best value for your money, the Swimline Above-Ground Pool Solar Blanket Reel System is what we recommend.