Leaf and Debris Cover v Solar Bubble Pool Cover

“I am considering buying a pool cover but I don’t know which type to pick, should it be a leaf and debris cover or a solar bubble cover”?

That question I hear at least once per week, every week of the year. So, let’s see if we can answer it for everyone. Whenever I am asked that question, I often initially answer the question with a question eg; “Why do you feel you need a pool cover”? The answer the customer gives to this question usually guides which way I recommend.

There are many types of pool cover, but I will just examine the two most popular which is leaf and debris covers and solar bubble pool covers.

Leaf and Debris Covers

Let me just say early in this blog, I sell far more solar bubble pool covers than leaf and debris covers and I recommend solar bubble pool covers far more that leaf and debris covers as well. Don’t get me wrong, leaf and debris covers do an excellent job of keeping leaves, sticks and other rubbish out of a swimming pool. But they are definitely harder to put on and take off, and I often tell my customers, “they do an excellent job of keeping swimmers out of the pool as well”. Attaching a pool cover roller to a leaf and debris cover can make the “put on and take off process” much easier, and one of my goals is to help customers become aware that a pool cover roller can be an asset for a leaf and debris cover as well.

For all of that, I feel that a solar bubble pool cover is a much better “allrounder” than a leaf and debris cover in most situations and I will only recommend a leaf and debris cover when a pool is absolutely covered in leaves, so much so that a pool cleaner would have difficulty progressing around the pool. When you have this situation, there really is no alternative to a leaf and debris cover and they will do an excellent job.

Having said all that, Leaf and Debris covers are also known as “winter covers” as many customers by them to basically shut their swimming pool down over the winter months. Often this purchase has little to do with leaves etc, and more to do with the customer’s desire to close the pool for the winter and not touch it until the next swimming season arrives.

Leaf and Debris Pool Cover Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Absolute shut out of leaves, sticks rubbish and even dust.
  • Light weight mesh fabric
  • Some assistance with evaporation but not nearly as good as a solar bubble pool cover
  • Can be handled without a roller

Cons

  • Harder to put on and take off.
  • Fixed into the pool surrounds with cleats which can be a trip hazard
  • Offers little in the way of introducing heat into the pool.

Solar Bubble Pool Covers

These covers are much more widely known than a Leaf and Debris pool cover and they have a wider range of things they can do. Bubble pool covers are excellent at stopping evaporation and will do so by up to 97%.   They will also assist in keeping the pool warm and for this reason are often offered as a tandem product with pool heating equipment such as heat pumps and solar pool heating systems. Even without pool heating equipment, a bubble pool cover can heat a pool by as much as 8 degrees C in some situations just by transferring the sun’s rays through the cover into the pool water.

“But what about keeping leaves and rubbish out” I hear you ask. Bubble pool covers are better at keeping leaves etc, out of a pool than many people think. Cut properly and used in tandem with a pool cleaner they can be extremely effective at keeping a pool clean. 

The idea is to cut the bubble pool cover long so that it laps up the side of the pool wall. If you have an overhanging pool coping tile then, even better as the pool cover can then just tuck in under the coping tile. Doing this then seals off the sides of the pool cover so that leaves etc, cannot get into the pool. Then you can cut an opening flap into the skimmer box canal and any leaves can be just hosed, swept or blown in through the skimmer box canal and captured in the basket. 

This leads me to another question I am often asked; “will my pool cleaner work with the pool cover on”? The answer is definitely yes, as pretty well all pool cleaners will run around quite happy under a pool cover.

Bubble Pool Cover Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Better versatility. bubble pool covers are good at most roles associated with a pool. No, they are not as good at keeping rubbish out of a pool as a leaf and debris cover, but they are not bad either and used with a pool cleaner are very effective.
  • The “put on and take off” process is simple and quick, much easier than a leaf and debris cover provided you use a pool roller with them.
  • They will stop pool evaporation by up to 97%
  • Will introduce heat into the pool themselves.
  • If a roller is used and with these covers it should be, the roller is not fixed permanently to the pool surrounds. It is meant to be moveable.

Cons

  • When wet, they are heavy and slippery, so they really need a pool roller to be handled easily.

Final Word

Above are the differences and the pros and cons of each cover type. So, how to make a decision:

  1. Ask yourself the same opening question I would ask you. “Why are you considering buying a pool cover and what are you hoping to achieve”?
  2. If your answer is that you have a bad leaf and debris problem, or you just want to shut the pool down for the winter, then the choice should probably be a leaf and debris cover.
  3. If you answer is a little bit of everything, evaporation, leaves and heating, a bubble cover and roller will probably serve you best, provided your leaf problem is not extreme.
  4. If you have just bought some pool heating equipment then the answer is definitely buy the bubble cover and roller as this will assist your pool heater enormously.

I hope this helps you with the choice

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