An overview of the Best Pool Pillows
Getting your swimming pool ready for winter is always a little depressing – knowing that you aren’t going to be swimming in your pool for at least a couple of months during these stretches of freezing weather.
At the same time, the actual winterization process of getting your pool ready for this colder season is filled with all kinds of stress and anxiety as well.
There are a lot of different pieces of the puzzle you’ll have to put together to get your swimming pool ready to freeze over. You’ll also need to make sure that this freeze over process happens in a very controlled kind of manner, protecting your pool structure from the damage that ice can cause.
That’s where air pillows – pool pillows – come into play.
Below we dig a little bit deeper into the ins and outs of why you’ll want to get a pool pillow for your swimming pool ASAP, how to find the right pool pillow for your specific needs, and we even break down our favorite pool pillow options on the market right now.
Let’s get right into it!
Do I Really Need a Pool Pillow?
If you live in a colder climate with weeks or months at a time with temperatures that dip below freezing the odds are pretty good that you’ll want to get your hands on a pool pillow or two.
A lot of pool owners that live in warmer climates can get away without having air pillows ready to rock ‘n’ roll, but anytime you are looking at freezing temperatures and the potential for a lot of ice build-up – and snowmelt in the summer – a pool pillow is a must-have kind of accessory.
You see, not only are these inflatable and floating pillows going to help break up the ice that’s going to want to establish in your swimming pool (ice that can destroy your pool frame, rip your liner, and wreak havoc on your filtration system), but it’s also going to help you compensate for all the extra snow, snowmelt, and debris that can build up in your pool as well.
They do such a good job at this task that they are often called ice compensators, protecting your pool from everything that Mother Nature throws at it over the winter.
How Many Pool Pillows Will I Need?
A lot of swimming pool owners are going to be able to get away with just a single pool pillow – but some are going to want to invest in two or three, especially if you have larger swimming pool areas that need to be protected from ice.
The most common pool pillow size available is 4’ x 8’ and is a large enough pool pillow to accommodate swimming pools that get as big as 12’ x 18’ in size. Anytime you start to get a little larger than that, though, you’ll want to start looking into pool pillows that are even bigger – or even a couple of 4 x 8 pool pillows that will be able to spread the load out across your pool system.
It’s important to remember the job that this pool pillow is designed to do.
The whole point is to create a void in the water and on the surface of your pool cover that allows ice to expand in words towards the pool pillow itself over the winter months. Without that pool pillow in place the ice would have expanded outward, stressing your pool structure and your pool walls and wreaking havoc on everything from your liner to your pool frame and everything in between.
You also want to make sure that you are only ever-inflating your pool pillows (however many you choose to invest in) to about 60% to 80% of their maximum capacity. This guarantees that you have plenty of room for compression that isn’t going to pop or explode these pool pillows when the weight of snow and ice starts to accumulate.
Our Favorite Pool Pillows
1. Doheny’s Heavy-Duty Air Pillow
One of the most commonly recommended heavy-duty air pillow systems on the market today, this particular option comes in a wide variety of sizes and configurations.
Compact pool pillows that measure 4’ x 4’, standard size pool pillows that measure 4’ x 8’, and larger format pool pillows that run as big as 4’ x 15’ can all be taken advantage of to guarantee that your swimming pool stays in picture-perfect shape over the winter months.
The manufacturer recommends that you only ever fill them up to 75% of their capacity, but does include a lifetime warranty on all of the products that you purchase from them. This should give you a lot of peace of mind to know that these pool pillows are built to last.
2. The Pool Pillow Pal
One of the original pool pillow manufacturers to pop onto the market a handful of decades ago, this company was created to provide inexpensive and affordable pool pillow solutions that work well with the pool covers they made as well.
Today, though, the company makes pool pillow options that can be utilized with covers from pretty much every manufacturer on the market right now.
Strong, durable, and available in a variety of different sizes and configurations, these pool pillows are so well-made that they’ve actually helped to protect pools in the middle of hurricane winds – with the photos and video evidence to prove it!
If you want to be sure that you are investing in a pool pillow you’ll be able to trust for years and years to come this is the kind of option you’ll want to look closer into.
3. In The Swim Air Pillows
Those with smaller sized swimming pools can get away with smaller sized air pillows, and this particular “bubble” measuring in at 4’ x 4’ is maybe the best option for compact swimming pools that need to be winterized.
Made out of heavy-duty 16gauge vinyl synthetic materials, and featuring a multi-year warranty against manufacturer defect or product failure, you’ll be able to rest a lot easier knowing that your swimming pool – and your swimming pool cover – is protected over the colder months with this in the water.
You’ll be able to reduce the stress on your pool walls significantly and eliminate a lot of the ice buildup you would have had to fight in the springtime once you drop this bubble into your swimming pool.
Leslie’s Pool Winterizing Air Pillow
Available in 4’ x 5’, 4’ x 8’, and 4’ x 15’ size configurations – to suit just about every sized swimming pool you can think of – these pool covers, in particular, are very inexpensive but very well made.
Created out of 16gauge high-density final materials that are thick, strong, and durable, these are the kinds of pool pillows that you will be able to rely on for a number of years without any degradation in performance.
Inflation is fast, they hold their capacity well, and are going to be able to protect your pool during the winterization process better than many of the other options out there right now.
Dependability is such a huge part of investing in these kinds of products and few manufacturers have a reputation for durability and reliability that this company has.
National Discount Pool Supplies Air Pillow
The beautiful thing about these particular pool pillows is that they are made from the thickest high-quality vinyl available, material that is 1.5 times thicker than the industry average – guaranteeing that you are going to enjoy extreme protection and performance even when winters are quite harsh.
Another neat feature that these inexpensive pool pillows include is security grommets integrated throughout the pillow itself. That means you’ll be able to anchor this pillow perfectly in the middle of your swimming pool with tie-downs, guaranteeing that it stays in place all winter long.
Not having to worry about your pool pillow migrating to one of the swimming pool edges before frees up is a huge benefit, that’s for sure. Not a lot of other manufacturers include these grommets or make it as easy to anchor your pool pillow in place as this company does.
Importance of Positioning Your Pool Pillow
Now that we have highlighted a couple of our favorite pool pillow options out there right now it’s important to really hammer home the value in positioning your pool pillow perfectly before everything freezes up.
You want to get your pillow as close to the dead center region of your swimming pool as possible. This is the only way to guarantee completely even distribution of ice and snow that builds up, protecting your walls and your liner all winter long.
On top of that, a perfect center point is going to make it a lot easier to remove runoff and snowmelt in the springtime when you want to pop off your cover and get your pool ready to be opened up again. You’ll minimize big chunks of ice almost entirely with this positioning, too.
Be sure to anchor your pool pillow in position or use one with secure tie downs to lock it into place before everything freezes up.