Pool Heaters Vs Pool Pumps- Which Is The Better Option And Why?

Whether you are looking to extend the swim season by adding heating to your existing pool or designing a completely new one, pool heating is an important feature. There are two popular ways in which you can do that – pool heaters or pool pumps. How is one different from the other? What are the benefits or drawbacks of both these options? It is best to have a complete understanding of all your options before you invest your hard-earned money into them.

In this article, we have listed a comprehensive guide to pool heating options to help you make the right choice. So, without further ado, let’s dive in!

Pool Heaters

When it comes to heating a pool, pool heaters are the most conventional and popular option among pool owners. They use propane or natural gas to heat water returning into your pool. Whether it is a propane-fueled pool heater or natural gas-fueled, it generates heat by burning inside the combustion chamber. The water from the pool travels inside the pump, and the coil placed in the heater can heat it before returning it to the pool. The process repeats over and over and works efficiently to heat your pool water for a comfortable swim.

Benefits of Pool Heaters

Here are some perks of owning a pool heater for warming your swimming pools and spas:

Ideal for cooler climates

If you are located in a region where the temperatures dip quite low during the colder months, pool heaters are an ideal choice for you. Since they can create heat inside the combustion chamber on their own, they work well in cooler climates.

Lower Upfront Costs

Propane or gas-powered pool heaters cost less upfront compared to pool pumps. This makes them an attractive choice for pool buyers with a budget restraint. Depending on the fuel you use and your geographic location, the heating cost can range from $3.00 to $9.00 per hour. Of the two, compared to propane gas, natural gas can cost you up to 85% less.

Quick Heating

Natural gas is well-known for raising water temperature very rapidly. If you want to throw a pool party at the last minute, a natural gas-fueled heater could warm your pool water in no time.

Best for Spas

Fan of jacuzzi or spas to relieve those sore muscle pains, aches, and other stress in the body? A pool heater can give you the desired temperature to relax and unwind after a tiring day at work.

Disadvantages of Pool Heaters

Here are some drawbacks that you must consider before opting for a pool heater:

Not Ideal for Everyday Use

If you are planning to enjoy a swim in your pool almost daily, a heat pump may be better compared to a pool heater. However, if you plan to use your pool for a few weekends in a year, a pool heater works just fine. Remember to factor in the climate of your region and consult a pool designer to help you choose the right option.

High Operating Costs

Although pool heaters involve a lower upfront cost in comparison to pool pumps, they attract a higher operating cost of natural or propane gas. Depending on your location, the ongoing cost can even exceed the expense of running a heat pump in the long run.

High Energy Consumption

Pool heaters can warm your pool water quickly, but that comes at a cost – high energy consumption. Since it uses a lot of electricity to heat the pool, your utility bill could pinch your pockets depending on the frequency of your pool usage.

Requires Frequent Maintenance

Another drawback of using pool heaters is their requirement of frequent upkeep to keep them functioning optimally. The minerals in the water can damage the heat exchanger and lead to the failure of the pool heater.

Pool Pumps

A pool pump works differently than a pool heater. Instead of using natural or propane gas, it uses the surrounding air in the atmosphere to heat your pool. At the same time, your pool’s pump is hard at work in circulating pool water into the pump. This water gets returned to the pool after getting heated by the hot gas from the evaporator coil.

Benefits of Pool Pumps

Let’s look at the advantages of investing in a pool pump:


Although pool pumps may involve higher upfront costs as compared to pool heaters, they are more energy-efficient in the long run. They require far less energy in warm climates, so you can easily compensate for the exorbitant initial capital outlay.

Lower Operating Costs

Compared to a conventional pool heater, a pool pump involves lower operating costs. Since it does not depend on natural or propane gas but uses the air from the surrounding, it costs less to operate.

Ideal for Warm Climates

Since pool pumps use the surrounding air to heat a pool, they work well in areas with warm climates. Temperatures between 40- and 50-degree range all year round are well-suited for operating pool pumps.

Perfect for Frequent Use

If you plan to use your pool daily, a pool pump is your best bet. It maintains the desired temperature in your pool for you to enjoy a swim with your friends or family.

Disadvantages of Pool Pumps

Here are some drawbacks of using pool pumps for heating your pool water:

Not Ideal for Colder Regions

A heat pump may not be the right choice for you if you live in an area where the temperatures dip below forty to fifty degrees.

Works Slower Compared to a Pool Heater

A pool pump works slower than a propane or gas-fueled heater as it does not burn fuel to generate its own heat. So, if you wish to heat a hot tub or jacuzzi, a pool pump may not be ideal.

Which One Should I Choose?

Here are some questions that you can ask yourself to help you decide which pool heating option to choose:

How much are you willing to spend on upfront costs and maintenance costs to heat your pool water?

How often do you want to use the pool?

What is the size of your pool and how many gallons does it contain?

Can you wait for the pool to heat, or do you want quick results?

What are the weather conditions in your geographical location?

What’s cheaper in your area – electricity or the cost of gas?

Do you already have a gas line installed?

What’s more important for you? Saving on initial costs or over the long term?

That’s A Wrap!

We hope this comparison between pool heaters and heat pumps could bring clarity and help you make the right decision for your pool. If you have more pool-related queries, feel free to get in touch with us. Our pool builders perth would love to discuss your pool requirements with you.

We have helped hundreds of happy customers choose the best pool for their backyards. You could be next. Be it above-ground pools or in-ground ones, we have the right expertise to turn your yard into a unique private oasis for you.

For an obligation free quote, give us a call TODAY!

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