The Automatic pool cover guide
A big part of being a responsible pool owner is making sure that it is clean and safe at all times.
Chemically treating, regularly cleaning, and vacuuming out your pool is a big piece of this puzzle – but so is investing in a high-quality, solid pool cover that’ll block dirt and debris from getting into your water, to begin with.
The best pool covers are also going to help protect your loved ones – especially young kids and pets. The last thing you want is to have someone fall into the pool when it isn’t open or when they aren’t supervised. A rock-solid pool cover helps to protect against exactly that.
At the same time, dealing with a pool cover every single time you want to go for a swim isn’t exactly something folks look forward to. Rolling it up when you want to swim and then rolling it back out when you are done (maybe even a couple of times a day) gets pretty tedious in a hurry.
With the help of the best automatic pool cover, however, all of that issue fades away completely.
Instead, you can enjoy complete pushbutton convenience and a truly automatic experience – even if it is going to cost a little more upfront than a traditional pool cover board.
Below we highlight a couple of key details you’ll want to think about before you purchase an automatic pool cover. Then we dig a little deeper into the benefits and drawbacks of these types of pool accessory before moving into our four favorite options on the market today.
By the time you’re done with the details below, you’ll be able to get the perfect pool cover for your needs and your budget.
Let’s get right into it!
What to Look for in an Automatic Pool Cover
Your pool cover is going to be your first line of defense against dirt and debris as well as a bit of extra security and protection for your loved ones.
When you invest in a sturdy pool cover you are going to be able to keep leaves, dirt, and other debris that blows around out of your swimming pool as well as out of your filtration system. This means your pool stays cleaner for longer and you don’t have to worry about your pool filtration system getting overtaxed because it has to clean out a lot of dirt and debris almost around-the-clock.
On top of that, you get to put a physical barrier across your swimming pool that helps keep out kids and pets from an otherwise potentially dangerous situation. Swimming pools – especially unsupervised swimming pools in the off-season – can present pretty nasty traps for horrific accidents, but a physical automatic swimming pool cover does a great job at protecting against exactly that.
Of course, you’re also going to see a couple of other big benefits when it comes to the thermal properties of a medic pool covers and the sheer convenience of this option as well. We get into that a little more in-depth in just a moment.
At the end of the day, there are a handful of things you should be looking for when you purchase an automatic pool cover. Those key criteria include (but aren’t limited to):
- That you are purchasing your pool cover from a reputable manufacturer with products you can trust
- That your pool cover is going to fit your swimming pool perfectly
- That your automatic system includes all the necessary mounting and installation hardware
- That your automatic pool cover is quick to cover and uncover
… And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
Benefits of Automatic Pool Covers
The biggest benefit you’ll enjoy from an automatic pool cover is simply never again having to fiddle with a cover physically ever again.
These amazing little pieces of technology are going to keep you from having to rollout, rollup, or cover up your pool by dragging your pool cover around. Instead, at the touch of a button (sometimes even remote-controlled), you are going to be able to cover or uncover your swimming pool with zero heavy liftings on your behalf.
Every pool safety also has to be able to support at least 485 pounds per square feet of space that it takes up and automatic pool covers are no exception. This guarantees that you’re able to support the weight of two average adults and a single child all at once – plenty of protection for a couple of young children and pets that might have wandered into the swimming pool on accident.
Lastly, you’ll be able to enjoy some pretty significant thermal protection from your automatic pool cover as well.
You’ll be able to keep warm pool water at the perfect temperature for longer stretches of time, but you’ll also be able to heat your pool water from the sun and trap that energy, too. As you can see there’s a lot of advantages to this kind of technology stretching out over your swimming pool.
Drawbacks of Automatic Pool Covers
This is not to suggest that automatic pool covers are without their drawbacks.
For starters, and automatic pool cover is going to cost quite a bit more than your traditional pool cover – especially if you hire a contractor to install it for you.
The DIY approach can prove to be a lot less expensive in the short-term. But unless you have tackled this kind of project in the past or feel really comfortable with your construction skills it may be worth the extra upfront expense.
Secondly, you’re introducing quite a few extra moving parts and pieces with automatic pool covers. There’s a mechanical motor that will move your pool cover in and out of its holding compartment, complete with all kinds of pulleys, gears, and other mechanical components that are (like anything else) prone to wearing out or breaking down.
You’ll have to keep on top of the maintenance of your pool cover going forward, that’s for sure.
Finally, you might find that your automatic pool cover superheats your water beyond what you were hoping for (getting temperatures up to or above 95°F a regular basis in the summer) – or that it cannot be used in the winter because of the weight of snow loads.
These are all important things to think about, too.
Our Four Favorite Automatic Pool Covers
Now that we’ve covered all of the basics let’s dive right into highlighting our four favorite automatic pool covers on the market right now.
The flagship option from the folks at Automatic Pool Covers, the APC 365 is one of the best automatic systems you’ll find on the market right now for a variety of different reasons – even if it’s a little bit on the pricier side of things.
Complete with all the installation hardware you need to make this a breeze (and available in a variety of different sizes and configurations), you’ll be blown away by the advanced features and thermal retention properties of this particular set up.
Strong, durable, easy to use, and from one of the industry leaders, there’s a lot to like when it comes to the APC 365.
AutoGuard Top Track
Also from Automatic Pool Covers, this particular unit combines a top track pool cover with and under track configuration that provides a much cleaner look and almost invisible footprint when you have installed incorrectly in your swimming pool.
You’ll be very impressed by the discrete cover that this system utilizes not only when it is actually rolled out and protecting your pool but when it has been retracted as well. One of the toughest challenges with any swimming pool cover – automatic or otherwise – is finding a way to elegantly store it when it’s not in use.
The Top Track system from APC takes care of that completely!
Latham has made amazing automatic pool covers for years and years and is one of the most trusted names in the business. The Eclipse option that they offer is one of their best automatic solutions for 2020.
The flagship offering from Latham, there are a lot of people that consider this the best automatic cover that money can buy.
Taking advantage of stainless steel construction materials (and with the only completely stainless steel mechanism on the market right now) you’re going to get incredible strength, durability, and reliability out of this cover that other options just can’t match.
The build quality here is off the charts and the reputation for extreme durability from Latham products is second to none. This is a great-looking and well-functioning automatic pool cover well worth your consideration.
This model from Latham is time-tested and about as durable and reliable as they come, perfectly balancing aesthetics and functionality in a way that a lot of other pool covers have a tough time pulling off.
Made almost completely out of marine-grade anodized aluminum materials, with stainless steel components throughout, you won’t have to worry about this system becoming compromised by rust, corrosion, or other issues your swimming pool may introduce anytime soon.
The mechanical torque limiter that this option from Latham features is really impressive, helping to prevent early burnout and cover overrun almost completely.
At the end of the day, you really can’t go wrong with any of the four top options for automatic pool covers that we highlighted above.