Solar Pool Heater Comparison

In the 40+ years since the first polymer solar pool heaters were invented, there have been some great products and some not-so-great products. Though the sun has set on most of the not-so-great products, it’s still true that not all solar pool heaters are created equal.
Here are a few reasons why we think we’re better than the rest….

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Solar Pool Heaters Compared

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Aquatherm-solar-pool-heater
FAFCO
(Sunsaver & Sunsaver ST)
Magen eco-Energy
(Heliocol & SunStar)
solar-pool-heater-made-in-usa
Made in U.S.A.
Solar Pool Heater Yes

Lakewood, NJ
Solar Pool Heater Yes

Chico, CA
Solar Pool Heater No

Magen, Israel
iso-manufactured-solar-heater
ISO 9001:2008 Quality Standards
Globally-recognized quality management standard.
Solar Pool Heater Yes
Solar Pool Heater No
Solar Pool Heater Yes
nsf-approved-solar-pool-heater
Commercial Grade NSF-50 Listed
Meets strict safety, durability, and toxicity standards
required by most states for commercial pool equipment.
Solar Pool Heater Yes

(System Approval)
Solar Pool Heater No
Solar Pool Heater Yes

(Collectors Only)
iapmo-solar-pool-heater
IAPMO Performance Certified
Performance-rated and certified by the International Association of
Plumbing & Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) to SRCC Standard 100
Solar Pool Heater Yes
Solar Pool Heater No
Solar Pool Heater No

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Solar Pool Heaters Compared

by Design

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Tube & Web

Solar-Pool-Heater-Cross-Section

Round tubes separated by an adjoining center- or bottom-web and expansion joints.

Design Benefits:  
  • Highest-performing design
    (FSEC Rating: 1,100 Btus / ft²)
  • Design allows for thermal expansion & contraction; extends service life
  • Web can be “vented” with slots or slits for wind-load and roof moisture relief
  • Multi-plate, thermally-welded and insert-molded construction
  • Direct, metered manifold delivers balanced flow through collector and prevents “hot-spots”
Products:
  • Solar Industries
  • Ecosun
  • Ultrasun
  • Ultra-Swim
  • Sun-Swim
  • Sun-Swim Plus
  • Sunlite
  • Ecolite

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Tube-on-Tube

Square-Tube-on-Tube-Techno-Solis-Solar-Pool-HeaterRound (or square) tubes connected together without any separating web or space in.

Design Considerations:  
  • Plagued by warping and buckling, which weakens collector and reduces lifespan
  • Monolithic design; poor wind-load & moisture relief
  • Design does not permit thermal expansion & contraction
  • Indirect, metered flow using secondary manifold/subplenum results in larger pressure drop
Products:
  • Sunsaver
  • Revolution
  • Solar Bear
  • Techno-Solis (square tubes)

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Loose (Separated) Tube

Sales Preso 2.0

Rounded tubes are not connected to each other or by adjoining web, but surrounded by dead space.

Design Considerations:  
  • Lowest-performing design
    (FSEC Rating: 956 Btus / ft²)
  • Exposed tubes lose heat faster to outside air
  • Loose tubes trap organic debris under collectors
  • Indirect, non-metered manifold causes unbalanced flow
Products:
  • Heliocol
  • SunStar
  • Sunsaver ST

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Sunsaver, Sunsaver ST, Revolution, and Solar Bear are registered trademarks of FAFCO, Inc. (Chico, CA)
Heliocol & SunStar are registered trademarks of Magen eco-Energy (Magen, Israel)

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Solar Pool Heaters Compared

by Certified Performance Ratings

British Thermal Units (BTUs) Per Collector Per Day

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Aquatherm 4′ x 12′

51,744 BTUs

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Heliocol HC-50

48,230 BTUs

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FAFCO Sunsaver 980

39,500 BTUs

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