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The Swimming Pool Heat Pump Comparison Guide

The keys to choosing a swimming pool heat pump consists of knowing what size you need and what makes one brand model different from the rest. To help you out, we have comprised a chart of four different heat pumps and listed the important specs that you should look for when choosing a heat pump.
The heat pumps we have compared are from Jandy, Pentair, Hayward and AquaCal. They are in the 110k BTU to 118K BTU range because there is no standard heating temperature. This list only features the important items we felt were most relevant when looking for a heat pump and of course each heat pump offer other features but this way we get to compare what would be like comparing the heat pump “engine sizes”.
Jandy A.E.
Pentair ThermaFlo
Hayward Titanium
AquaCal HeatWave
BTU 118K 117K 110K 110K
COP 5.4 4.4 5.8 5.7
Breaker Size 50 amps 70 amps 50 amps 39 amps
Flow Rate min/max 30-125 GPM 30-125 GPM 30-75 GPM 30-70 GPM
Voltage 230 230 230 208-230
Heat Exchanger Titanium Titanium Titanium Titanium
Compressor Type Scroll Scroll Scroll Scroll
Electric temp control Yes Yes Yes Yes
One of the most important things that we have highlighted in the above table is the coefficient of performance (COP). COP is a number that represents how much energy will be created for the amount of energy used. For example, if you have a COP of 3.5, for each 1kW of energy used you will generate 3.5kW of heat.
You can read more on how heat pumps work to help you better choose the ideal heat pump for your specific swimming pool needs.
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  • Tonya

    I live in Oregon and have a 16′x32′ oval, above ground swimming pool. It goes from 4′ to 6′ deep at the lowest point on one end. I’m looking for the “heating” unit size I would need and any addtl. info. you have. I’m thinking of a heat pump, if that would work for me. Thanks!

  • Glenn

    I’m looking for a heat pump or heater for a 16′ x 32′ inground pool, 8-1/2′ deep at most. We live in zip 01606 and are looking for what would be most cost effective long term, operating the pool May through October if cost effective. We’re willing to pay more upfront if there’s a payback within 5-7 years in terms of lower operating costs. What would you recommend?

    • PoolSupplyWorld

      Hi Glenn, before deciding between a pool heat pump or pool heater, we recommend reading our comparison guide so as to fully understand the differences between the two. Though the upfront cost may be higher than a pool heater, a heat pump, in the long term, may be a more cost effective, energy efficient way to heat your swimming pool water.

      That said, living in Massachusetts, a heat pump may not heat your pool as effectively in the early-season and late-season months, as it uses the warmth of the outside air to heat your pool. Overall operational costs may be higher for a natural gas, propane or electric heater, but a pool heater is a more controllable and predictable form of heat, as it doesn’t rely on air temperature to operate. Please contact us, and we will be more than happy to help you find a heat pump or heater that will work for you.

  • Greta

    I think I am clear on the difference between an electric pool heater and a heat pump. But I don’t understand how natural gas factors in. We already have a natural gas available, so can that be used with either an electric pool heater or heat pump?

    • PoolSupplyWorld

      Hi Greta, a natural gas presence or connection is meant for use with natural gas heaters only; neither an electric pool heater nor a heat pump require the use of natural gas. If desired, you can use a natural gas heater and heat pump together to heat your pool, however, you need not use both an electric heater and natural gas heater.

      If you have any further questions on the differences between natural gas heaters, electric heaters and heat pumps, we invite you to read our “Swimming Pool Heat Pump and Pool Heater Comparison Guide” blog for more information. Please let us know if we can be of any further assistance.

  • joseph martinez

    i have a 16 X32 pool i currently have it heated via solar pannels, but wanted something to use to start heating the water earlier and to extend the swimming season, the solar works great but does take some time to reach a decent temp, during the hot summer months i have to turn of the solar as it gets too hot, looking for either a heat pump or gas pool heater for start up and end of season any recommendation gas / heat pump and BTU’s

    • PoolSupplyWorld

      Hi Joseph, since you are looking for something to heat your pool more quickly and help extend your swimming season on both ends, we would recommend a gas heater over a heat pump. Heat pumps are designed to convert ambient air temperate to heat that warms your water, but when the temperature is low, they are not as effective. With a gas heater, you will be able to control how quickly your pool heats up, and it will be easier to maintain your desired temperature.

      Gas pool heaters are available in both propane and natural gas models. Certain states or cities regulate the type of gas you can use, so before purchasing a heater, we recommend first determining the kind of gas available to you. Also, gas heaters require the installation of a gas line, and if you live in a high elevation, the heater must be designed for high altitudes, due to the low oxygen.

      The higher the BTU of the heater, the more quickly it will heat your pool. You should not need a 400,000 BTU heater for your 16′ x 32′ pool, though it would heat your water up extremely quickly. The Jandy Legacy LRZ 175,000 BTU, Digital, Natural Gas, Polymer Headers Pool and Spa Heater should be able to effectively heat your 16′ x 32′ pool while maintaining a 25 to 35 degree differential between your pool water and the ambient air temperature. If you would like a heater that could heat your pool even more quickly and efficiently, the Jandy Legacy LRZ 250,000 BTU, Digital, Natural Gas, Polymer Headers Pool and Spa Heater is a slightly larger version of the same heater that will provide even more heating power. Both are dependable, effective natural gas heaters from a very reputable brand.

      If you need a propane heater, the Jandy Legacy LRZ 175,000 BTU, Digital, Propane Gas, Polymer Headers Pool and Spa Heater and Jandy Legacy LRZ 250,000 BTU, Digital, Propane Gas, Polymer Headers Pool and Spa Heater are the propane versions of the same heaters.

      If you have any further questions or would like more information on heater options for your pool, please feel free to contact us, and one of our customer service representatives will be happy to assist you.

  • Ladd

    Hi pool supply, I have a clent that wishes to heat their pool from October till May. They live in the Fort Myers Florida area. Would you recommend the Hayward Titanium Heat Pro as the COP is 5.8?

  • Aaron

    I live in West Palm Beach, FL. and I would like to heat my 12 x 30 pool from the middle of May to the middle of September. However, I am concerned about the cost of running a heat pump continuously for four months. Can someone tell me how long it would take to heat my pool which is on the average 5 feet deep when there is a 10 degree differential. Can someone tell what they pay per month to run their heat pump with a 10 degree differential? If the cost is too high, does it pay to run the heat pump only on the weekends when it will be used the most?

    • PoolSupplyWorld

      Hi Aaron, heat pumps generally cost less to run than traditional pool heaters. They run off electricity, draw in ambient air and compress it before transferring it into the water to heat the pool. The rate at which your pool is heated will depend on factors such as heat pump BTUs, outside air temperature and wind. The higher the BTU, the faster your pool will heat.

      Generally, it costs approximately two-to-five times less to run a heat pump than a gas pool heater. So in the end, the answer is “it depends”. The cost will also depend on how much you’re charged for electricity. Since you live in a warmer climate, it won’t take as long to heat your pool as it would in a cooler climate. Once the desired temperature is reached the heat pump shuts off and resumes operation when the temperature drops below its setting.

      So, although heat pumps are more expensive initially, they can save you money in the long run. If you have further questions about heat pumps, please feel free to contact us for immediate assistance.

  • missbliss

    Hi, I live in south florida (boynton beach) and have an in ground pool and spa. I don’t care to heat the pool in winter, but I am looking to heat the spa to about 100 degrees. I would prefer to maintain the spa at temperature rather than heat it up for each use because I plan to use it a lot (every other day on average). If i isolated the spa (which I can easily do) would a heat pump make sense in this application? Is it able to maintain temperature efficiently, or will there be too much heat loss through the concrete bottom of the spa? I would have a cover for it. Any idea what it might cost to maintain the temperature?

    • Dylan (PoolSupplyWorld)

      A heat pump is a great option for maintaining a temperature for a pool, however with the high temperatures of a spa it is not quite as effective. It would take a heat pump the majority of the day to reach such a high temperature, and then would lose that temperature gain as soon as it is night time and the outside temperature drops. In my opinion a gas heater would provide you with better results and be able to reach the high temperatures in a short amount of time.

      Having a cover for the spa is certainly a helpful addition as it will retain some of the heat in the spa on a day to day basis. And as for the cost, the heater would be used for very short periods of times and would have a relatively higher cost than a heat pump. But again the trade off is the heater will reach the temperatures you desire and will be able to do so quickly.

      Feel free to contact us at 800-772-0467 to speak with one of our trained sales reps who can help size a heater and answer any further questions you may have.

    • Ben Blythe (PoolSupplyWorld)

      Hey MissBliss,

      I made a video response to your question, pretty much talking about how to size the heat pump for your needs. I didn’t go into the heat loss from the concrete, but if we assume the concrete will effectively decrease your average water temperature we should be safe. Instead of the 25 degrees like I mention in the video, lets plan to heat your water by 38 degrees.

      Dylan is right, a cover is going to be key to making this work. Also, avoid using the jets while you are trying to heat your hot tub to where you want it, the bubbles will help push heat up and out of the hot tub.

      If you have any questions feel free to let me know!