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Best Pool Cover Buyers Guide | Pool Cover buyer advice

Expert pool cover design & installation

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Which pool cover should I buy?

The best pool cover will depend upon your pool design and lifestyle. It’s an important decision, so we recommend that you do your research and get it right!

Buying a quality pool cover is a costly purchase that should not be rushed.  A good quality cover will be backed by a solid warranty and will last for many years.  Adequate time should be allocated to do the proper research and to get the right cover for your pool design and lifestyle.

With literally dozens of different pool covers on the market, making the right choice is a seemingly daunting task.  However, when simplified, all Pool Covers fall into two basic categories and a further two sub-categories.  They are;

Floating Covers

Winter Covers

Floating Covers

Floating covers are used very effectively for improving the thermal efficiency of your pool and for controlling evaporation.  These covers float on the surface of the water and are easiest to manage if cut to the exact waterline of the pool.  Floating covers are thick, bulky and heavy such that a Pool Blanket Roller will be required to manage this type of cover on anything other than a spa or small plunge pool.

Floating covers are held in place only by the surface tension of the water.  Wind skirts can also be added for outdoor pools in high wind areas. They cannot be cut oversize to prevent leaves and debris, nor can they be effectively laced or strapped to the pool, because the material will just tear.  If you want a cover to keep the pool clean – this is not the cover for you!

Solar Blankets

In an outdoor pool, a Solar Pool Cover can warm the water by up to 8ºC – FREE.  The translucent top layer allows solar energy to penetrate into the pool water and warm it, and the excellent thermal efficiency of the bubble material maximises heat retention.

Buyer Beware:- Not all solar blankets are created equal.  We regularly receive calls and emails from people who were lured into buying cheap imported blankets.  These blankets rapidly break down in the Australian sun and often require replacement after only 12 months of use.

The most popular solar heating cover for an outdoor pool is the Daisy 525 micron Solar blanket which allows the sun’s energy to heat the water.  The cover also insulates the pool from the cool night air.  This cover will warm your pool, minimize evaporation and extend your swimming season.

In order to allow maximum heating of the pool water, we recommend Daisy’s light-coloured blue UltraDome™ material which will maximise transmission of the infrared end of the solar spectrum.

There is also a non-heating version of this cover (525TC) which insulates and reduces evaporation, but is designed to minimize heating from the sun.  This is generally used to retain a cool refreshing pool in hot climates but can also be used on indoor pools where collection of sunlight is not possible.  Keeping the pool water dark in these circumstances will reduce algae growth.

All Daisy 525 micron covers carry a 10 year pro-rata warranty.

Thermal Covers

thermal cover is a foam cover which has the greatest insulation rating, but is not designed to collect heat from the sun.  The Thermal Cover will retain heat, but will not collect heat.

A thermal cover is used primarily for indoor pools or in an outdoor resort situation where the cover is not fitted during the day.  Thermal covers are rarely suitable for a domestic pool situation where the pool will generally be covered. This is because the pool will go cold unless external heating is used.

The best closed cell polyethylene (PE) foam Thermal Covers are manufactured in Australia by Daisy under the trade name ThermoTech™. They are made from an industry leading 4.5mm thick, cross linked PE closed cell polyolefin foam. ThermoTech™ Covers have almost double the insulation rating of the UltraDome™ Solar Covers, but remember – they retain heat, but do not collect heat.

Summary of Floating Covers

If thermal efficiency is your main objective from a pool cover, then a floating cover is your best choice.  When fitted, floating covers will also reduce evaporation by at least 95%.   However, please be reminded that this cover will not keep the pool clean.

Your choice of Solar Blanket Vs Thermal Cover will depend upon the desired outcome and also the time of day that the pool is proposed to be covered.  For instance, if the pool will only be covered overnight, then the Thermal Cover with a much higher insulation rating will be the best choice.  Conversely, if your pool will be covered during the day, you can benefit from the solar collection capability of the Solar Blanket.  For most domestic pool owners wanting a warmer pool, the Solar Blanket will be the clear choice.

Winter Covers

Winter Covers overlap the pool coping and are firmly secured using straps, rope or other specialist attachments.  The primary purpose of these covers is to winterize the pool and to keep it free from leaves & debris during the non-swimming season.  A good winter cover will minimize (or eliminate) sunlight from entering the pool, because less sunlight = less algae growth.  Some types of winter pool covers also have a child safety benefit, albeit only during times when the cover is fitted to the pool.

Solid Covers

When properly fitted to the pool, a good quality solid cover such as our Winter Shutdown Cover will prevent all leaves, debris and sunlight from entering the pool.  This means that the pool water will remain fresh and clean without the need for filtration or chemicals during the non-swimming season.  A Winter Shutdown Cover has the Smart Watermark Approval and will reduce evaporation by a massive 99.6%.  Please see full details of our Winter Shutdown Cover and Pool Shutdown.

Pool Shutdown is an enormous cost saving and a fabulous time-saving feature.  However, the downsides of this cover also need to be realized when making an honest assessment.

  • Solid Covers are heavy, typically weighing 30 – 40Kg depending upon the dimensions of the pool.
  • The cover will ordinarily require 2 people to remove and re-fit.
  • Care must be taken to ensure that the cover overlaps the sides when removing and re-fitting or it will sink underwater.
  • A Shutdown Cover is pulled taught, but rests upon the surface of the water for support.  Leaf litter may gather in the depression.  This can be removed with a leaf blower.
  • The Shutdown Cover relies on being supported by the pool water and cannot be fitted to an empty pool.
  • A Shutdown Cover pools water during rain.  This is easily managed with a simple siphon, but it does need to be managed!  See video below.
  • ‍ With repeated pooling of rainwater, the cover will ultimately become soiled and grubby, detracting from the aesthetics of your pool area.

Shutdown Covers (solid covers) are a fantastic product and will save the greatest amount of time and money of any cover available.  However, they are best suited to frugal customers who are less concerned about the presentation of their pool area or the occasional inconvenience of dealing with water accumulation and the removal and refit of heavy cover.  Most owners of Shutdown Covers only remove and refit the cover once a year so they can access the pool during the summer months.

Mesh Covers

Mesh Covers, such as our Premium Leaf & Debris Cover are also in the Winter Cover category and are for the sole purpose of keeping the pool clean.

The Premium Leaf & Debris Cover is extremely attractive, lightweight and easy to use, so it ticks more boxes for more customers than any other product available.

Leaf & Debris Covers are constructed of mesh material and do not pool rainwater.  Our Premium Leaf & Debris Cover has a unique construction so it will remain taught across the pool to keep leaves & debris high and dry above the surface of the water. The cover is self-supporting and flotation devices under the cover will only be necessary on pools with very large spans.

The effectiveness of a leaf cover is governed by the fineness of the weave where finer is better to keep out small particles.  A good leaf cover should also significantly reduce the amount of light entering the pool to deter algae growth.

Another crucial factor is that the cover must be woven because a knitted (shade cloth style) material is very unstable. Knitted material will stretch when under tension and shrink when released.  During use, a knitted cover will sag into the pool and during storage, this type of cover will commonly shrink to the extent that it will no longer fit the pool!

The best quality leaf covers will have welded seams because stitching is prone to premature failure.  Reinforced straps and buckles are also of paramount importance so that the cover can be properly tensioned.  The buckles should securely retain tension but must also be easily released.

The Premium Leaf & Debris Cover is our most popular and versatile pool cover.  Extremely attractive, this cover is very light-weight and incredibly easy to remove and re-fit to your pool.  Being an open mesh material, the leaf & debris cover does not collect rainwater, is neutrally buoyant and will not become water-logged should it fall into the water.

Blocking out 80% of the sunlight, you will be able to significantly reduce maintenance of your pool with this cover in place.  During winter, you should only have to run the pool filter for about an hour per day. Chemical requirements will also be reduced by about 50% with our Premium Leaf & Debris cover fitted to your pool.

The Premium Leaf & Debris Cover is very simple to manage.  It will effectively keep out all leaves and debris, yet does not pool water on top of the cover after rain.  The cover is pulled up tight by the straps and stays dry above the water level.  Leaves and debris falling on the cover will remain dry and generally just blow off.  You can assist this process with a blower if required.  The leaf cover will effortlessly support ducks and small animals, keeping them high and dry above the water.  Our Leaf & Debris Cover is not intended as a safety cover, however, it is firmly secured to the pool surround and does not detract from child safety.

Our Premium Leaf & Debris Cover is made of virgin woven polyethylene fabric.  The fabric is specially formulated for pool cover use and is stabilized against the damaging effects of Chlorine and Ultra Violet light.  The cover is extremely durable and carries a full 5 year warranty against faulty material, parts and workmanship.  With proper care, a life span in excess of 10 years can normally be expected.

The Premium Leaf & Debris Cover will totally solve even the most extreme leaf problem.  Our pool cover experts will design and custom build your cover to fit neatly and accurately around Rock Features, waterfalls and other obstructions.  In fact, we regularly fit covers to pools that our competitors have dismissed as impossible!

Our Leaf & Debris Cover is the best available, featuring:-

  • Guaranteed perfect fit to keep leaves & debris out of your pool.
  • Prevents ducks from accessing the pool.
  • Extremely lightweight & durable, polyethylene trampoline mesh which is manufactured in the USA.
  • Does not puddle rainwater.
  • Fade Resistant straps & material.
  • No deck roller is required. Simply place the lightweight cover in the generous storage bag provided.
  • Self Cleansing –     Rainwater passes through the Leaf & Debris Cover, gently cleansing it.
  • Full 5 year warranty against faulty material, parts and     workmanship – not the inferior pro rata warranty which is offered by our competitors!
  • Fully welded seams that run width-wise across the cover for stronger construction & better support*.
  • Unlike our competitors sewn seams that are prone to failure, our welded seams are the strongest part of the cover!
  • Reinforced straps, buckles and pavement anchors are aligned with each seam to provide a strong matrix of extra support. This keeps the cover high and dry above the water line.
  • The Premium Leaf & Debris Cover is NOT a safety cover, but is secured to the pavement. It will effortlessly support small pets and animals.
  • Stylish (316) Marine Grade Stainless Steel anchor pins which secure the cover with only a discreet 5mm drill hole in the pavement.  The inconspicuous attachments are the same diameter as the hole in a cocktail drinking straw and are positioned almost a metre apart. The attachments do not damage the pool surround or affect the aesthetics of your pool. The cover is tensioned by pulling on the straps after fitting.  When the cover is removed, all that remains are a few tiny holes in the pavement!
  • Our Leaf & Debris Cover is fully hemmed and fitted with reinforced straps & buckles.
  • Strap ends are sewn over to prevent the anchor hooks from falling off and becoming lost.
  • A full selection of special anchors are available which are specifically designed for complex cover installations on pools with rocks, water features, fountains and retaining walls.
  • The Premium Leaf & Debris Cover can be fitted to an empty pool.
  • Our fully automated manufacturing process from CAD to completion ensures accurate & consistent, high quality production.
  • DIY self-measure / self-installation is available outside our service areas or to suit your budget.

* Seams may run lengthwise on narrow pools.

Summary of Winter Covers

As previously mentioned, the Winter Shutdown Cover (solid cover) is a fantastic product and will definitely save the greatest amount of time and money of any cover available.  However, most pool owners consider that the convenience and aesthetics of the Premium Leaf & Debris Cover outweigh the benefits of Pool Shutdown.  So much so, that our Premium Leaf & Debris Cover outsells the Shutdown Cover by a factor of 25:1!

Leaf & Debris Pool Cover owners benefit from a clean pool and reduced filtration times without the downsides of a solid cover.  They are prepared to continue running the filter and checking their chemical balance throughout the year in return for the sheer, clean appearance of the Premium Leaf & Debris Cover.

We would be pleased to discuss your requirements and answer any questions or concerns.

We would be delighted to provide our expert advice to create your perfect pool cover which is guaranteed to fit seamlessly to all the features of your pool.

Please complete our On-Line Quotation Request or call us on 1300 COVERS (1300 268377) to arrange your no-obligation free quote.

Deb MVic, Australia
From first contacting Just Covers to installation was fast, efficient and professional. The cover is exactly as described in the product description and serves it purpose perfectly. I would unreservedly recommend Just Covers and would definitely use them again in the future.