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How to Buy a Winter Pool Cover

When the air gets cooler and the days get shorter, you know it's time to close up shop, and winterize your pool — swim season has come to an end. There are many factors that go into properly winterizing your swimming pool, but the first thing to think about is your winter pool cover. With so many styles, sizes, and price tags, how do you pick the right one?

That's why we're here! We will discuss the different types of winter pool covers and how to pick the best one for you and your pool. Let's get to it.

What Type Cover Should You Buy?

When deciding what style of winter pool cover to purchase, consider the following factors:

  1. What kind of climate do you live in? Will your pool experience snow? If so, how much?
  2. Will children, animals, or other people be around your pool while it is covered?

The answers to those questions will determine which cover — mesh, solid, or safety — is best for you. Let's go over the features of each cover.

Mesh Winter Pool Covers

mesh winter safety cover

As their name suggests, mesh winter pool covers are not solid, opaque covers. The tiny openings in the mesh material allow sunshine, rainwater, snow, and fine debris to pass through into the pool. Larger pieces of debris can't pass through the mesh netting and get trapped on top of the cover. The benefit of the mesh material is that water and debris don't accumulate on the top and weigh the cover down, which can cause it to break. The disadvantage of this type of cover is that it permits debris buildup and algae growth in your pool, which will require extra work and chemicals to clear up come pool opening season.

Additionally, mesh covers do not retain much, if any, pool water heat. So if you're worried about your pool freezing during winter, this is not the best cover for you.

Solid Winter Pool Covers

solid winter safety cover

Made of tightly woven, laminated material, solid winter pool covers protect your pool water from sunlight, contamination, and chemical fluctuations. Like mesh covers, there are beneficial aspects to solid winter pool covers, and inconvenient aspects to them too. Because of their impenetrable design, solid covers keep rain, snow, and debris out of your pool water — keeping it clean and contaminant free. But that rain, snow, and debris has to go somewhere, and it usually ends up sitting on top of your solid cover and weighing it down unless disposed of. Solid winter pool cover maintenance includes regularly pumping the cover to remove debris and excess water.

Safety Pool Covers

Safety pool covers get their name from the superior safety and pool coverage they provide. Unlike their other cover counterparts that fit flush to the edge of your pool, safety covers extend onto and are securely anchored to the deck. This feature prevents animals and people from falling into the pool. Safety cover straps have a break strength of over 4,000 pounds and support the weight of people, pets, and even heavy tree branches or patio furniture. Solid safety pool covers will keep out sunlight and contaminants more effectively than mesh safety covers, which require more work to maintain clear water in spring time.

What Size Cover Should You Buy?

Once you decide what style of cover you want, measure your pool to determine the size you need. Measure from the inside edge to the inside edge of your pool to find the diameter. Our winter pool covers feature a bit of overlap to ensure full coverage of your pool, even after the water level is lowered for winter.

PRO TIP: We list our winter pool covers by pool size, not by cover size. When looking for a cover to purchase, have your pool dimensions ready, so you buy the right size!

What Grade of Pool Cover to Buy?

Don't worry, we're not talking about school grades! In The Swim offers comprehensive quality grading on our winter pool covers — Good, Better, and Best. We have a cover for every pool, and most importantly, every budget, whether you want a cheap, temporary cover or a more costly, but long lasting option.


1. Economy winter covers with an 8-year limited warranty.


2. Pro-Strength Polar winter covers with a 10-year limited warranty.

3. Pro-Strength Polar Plus winter covers with a 12-year limited warranty.

4. Pro-Strength Super Polar Plus winter covers with a 16-year limited warranty.


5. Polar Protector winter covers with a 20-year limited warranty.

Purchasing a winter pool cover can be a big, costly decision. But when in doubt, or if you're in a bind, buy the best quality cover you can afford. Protect your pool with a quality pool cover and cover accessories, to keep out dirt and algae, and you'll enjoy easier winters and faster spring openings, with less mess and less stress!

In The Swim makes every effort to provide accurate recommendations based upon current ANSI/APSP/ICC-5 2011 (R2022) standards, but codes and regulations change, and In The Swim assumes no liability for any omissions or errors in this article or the outcome of any project. You must always exercise reasonable caution, carefully read the label on all products, follow all product directions, follow any current codes and regulations that may apply, and consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures. In The Swim assumes no legal responsibility for your reliance or interpretation of the data contained herein, and makes no representations or warranties of any kind concerning the quality, safety, or suitability of the information, whether express or implied, including, without limitation, any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.