Winter Pool Covers: What Is the Purpose of a Winter Pool Cover?

During the winter, your pool isn’t in use, so why should you have to continue regular maintenance on it? The answer is: you don’t need to. There is no point in doing tests on your pool every day and cleaning it if no one is swimming in it.

Instead of attempting to maintain a halfway frozen pool, you should winterize it. Drain the pool equipment, lubricate the o-rings on the equipment, winterize plumbing, and, most importantly, buy a winter pool cover. Winter pool covers do a great job at keeping the pool temperature at a reasonable level throughout the winter season, no matter how cold it gets outside.

You don’t want the pool water to get too cold since it can lead to partial freezing of equipment and if any water is in the hoses or pump, that will also freeze. If you don’t winterize your pool at all in the fall, you will have to replace a lot of parts on your pool because of damage caused during the winter.

If you buy a winter pool cover, you shouldn’t use it in the summer since the water will get too warm. The temperature of your pool should stay under 82 degrees Fahrenheit or 28 degrees Celsius to prevent bacteria from forming and multiplying. Even though you have chlorine in your pool to keep bacteria and algae away, high water temperatures will reduce the chlorine’s effects and increase the strength of bacteria. Bacteria and algae thrive in warm water.

Winter pool covers come in different styles for above ground and inground pools since they are different shapes, and the edge of the pool isn’t the same on them. Above ground pools have sides that a cover stretches over, while inground pools’ edges are level with the ground surrounding the pool, so the cover mounts directly into grass or concrete, whichever is around the edge of your pool.

Winter Pool Covers for Above Ground Pools

Above ground pool covers stretch over the sides of a pool, so they need to have a longer radius than the pool itself. Buy a winter pool cover that is at least two feet bigger than the size of your pool so that it has enough room to cover it completely. If your pool has an inflated ring that goes around the edge of the pool, compensate for that as well.

To install the winter cover on your above ground pool, you will need a friend to help since the cover has to stretch over the top of the pool without the edges falling into the water. It is okay if the center of the cover sits on the water, but if the edges go in that is when it will start to sink.

Once you have the cover in place, you need to tighten the edges of the cover around the top of the pool. Some covers have grommets along the sides for you to put a cable through. Other covers come with a cable sewn into the hem, which you pull tight after positioning the cover. It depends on what brand of winter pool cover you buy.

Best Winter Pool Covers for Above Ground Pools

Winter pool covers are easy to find, especially ones for an above ground pool. They are available at most stores that sell pool supplies, online, and even at some grocery stores. If you need a unique winter pool cover because your pool isn’t a standard square, rectangle, or round shape, you will have to find it online or special order it from a pool equipment supplier.

These are some of the best winter pool covers for above ground pools online. View the list of sizes below each product to see if you can find the right size to fit your above ground pool.

Robelle Super Winter Pool Cover for Round Above Ground Swimming Pools

robelle super winter pool cover

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Sizes: 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 28, 30, or 33 feet.

Pool Mate Heavy-Duty Above Ground Winter Pool Cover – Oval

pool mate above ground winter pool cover

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  • 10’ x 15’
  • 12’ x 18’
  • 12’ x 21’
  • 12’ x 24’
  • 15’ x 21’
  • 15’ x 27’
  • 15’ x 30’
  • 16’ x 25’
  • 16’ x 32’
  • 18’ x 24’
  • 18’ x 33’
  • 18’ x 40’
  • 21’ x 41’

Blue Wave Round Above Ground Pool Winter Cover

blue wave round above ground pool winter cover

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Sizes: 12, 15, 21, 24, 28, 30, 33, or 40 feet.

Winter Pool Covers for Inground Pools

It takes a lot longer to install a winter cover on an inground pool compared to an above ground pool. With the above ground pool, you only have to slide the cover over the top of the pool and then tighten it. Installing the cover on an inground pool is much different; you need tools, buckets of water, sandbags, and all of the supplies that came with your pool cover. You can then follow your instruction book or a tutorial video online to complete the installation of the winter pool cover.

Best Winter Pool Covers for Inground Pools

Winter pool covers for inground pools are sold in most of the same places that you can find covers for above ground pools. The bigger your inground pool is, the harder it will be to find the correct size of winter cover.

Blue Wave Rectangular Inground Pool Winter Cover

blue wave rectangular inground pool winter cover

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Size: 25’ x 45’

Arctic Armor Rectangle Gorilla Inground Winter Pool Cover

arctic armor rectangle gorilla inground winter pool cover

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Size: 20’ x 40’

You Can Add Accessories to Your Winter Pool Cover

One of the benefits of having a winter cover for your pool is that there are accessories that you can add to it to create an even more secure winterization on your pool. Some of the accessories you can use are air pillows and leaf nets.

Air Pillows

Pool air pillows seem like they would be for keeping the pool cover off of the water, but they are meant to help keep pressure off the sidewalls of your pool that ice causes during the winter. Air pillows are for above ground pools only since the cover on inground pools doesn’t touch the water at all.

To use a pool air pillow, complete the winterizing of your pool and then follow these instructions to install the air pillow.

Your pool air pillow will go underneath the winter cover. First, inflate the pillow or pillows as much as you can. Don’t pop the air pillow but fill it until it is firm enough to hold the weight of the cover plus any ice and snow that builds on top of it.

Next, you will need to center the pillow in the pool, if you can since they tend to drift off to one side. It doesn’t have to be precisely in the center, but it needs to be just close enough to the middle that it gives equal support to all sides of the winter cover. You will then need a friend’s help to pull the pool cover over the air pillow and the entire pool.

Pool Mate Heavy-Duty Winterizing Air Pillow

pool mate heavy duty winterizing air pillow

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Winter Pool Cover Air Pillow

winter pool cover air pillow

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Leaf Nets

Pool leaf nets can go on above ground pools or inground pools. You place it on top of your winter pool cover, and it collects all of the leaves and branches that fall during autumn. Once winter ends and it is time to de-winterize your pool, the first thing you will do is take off the leaf net, which pulls all the unwanted debris off for you.

Leaf nets are a good investment because they save you time that you would have wasted skimming all the leaves out of your pool come spring. The leaf net should fit loosely over the winter cover, but it should also cover the entire pool plus extra on the ends.

In The Swim 24-Foot Round Leaf Net Cover for Above Ground Pools

in the swim 24 foot round leaf net cover

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Rectangular Leaf Net for Inground Pool – 24’ x 40’

rectangular leaf net for inground pool

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Why You Should Buy a Winter Pool Cover

Before installing your winter pool cover, no matter what type or size of cover you are using, finish all your pool winterizing first. Otherwise, you might have to remove the cover again to complete the winterizing process, which would be a huge hassle, especially if you have a rather large pool.

Winter pool covers are more than worth the money you pay for them. Other types of pool covers help with many things like keeping your pool cool in the summer and keeping dirt and debris from going into the water, but winter pool covers are a special way to keep the pool water warm in the winter.

You should not use a winter pool cover during any other time of year unless you live in a cold climate since the water might get too warm and turn into a hotspot for bacteria and algae; that would be a nightmare all on its own!