Best Winter Pool Cover? Here’s How to Decide

Picture of an inground swimming pool and spa during winter, with snow all around

When you first get your own backyard pool, the last thing you want to think about it closing it up for the winter. But sadly, unless you happen to live someplace with warm year-round temps, there comes a time when you have to shut ‘er down. If you’re smart, you’ll have a plan for winterizing your pool before sweater weather arrives.

One essential component of that plan is a winter pool cover. Winter pool covers protect your swimming pool from harsh weather conditions, and seal it off from dirt, debris, and invading wildlife. Whether we’re talking about an inground or above ground pool, a sturdy pool cover is key for saving a lot of wear and tear over the long offseason.

So, what’s the best winter pool cover you can get? The answer depends on your personal preferences and how you use your pool. And then, of course, there’s the ever-present issue of cost.

Types of Winter Pool Covers

Many pool owners start off using cheap, no-frills tarps to cover their pools over the winter. When those wear out after a season or two, they upgrade to one of the more durable options. The decision ultimately boils down to mesh or solid vinyl, with each featuring distinct advantages and disadvantages.


The main benefit of mesh covers is that they’re porous, so you don’t have to worry about clearing off any water that accumulates on top. Another selling point is that they’re lightweight, making them easier for a single person to handle. Finally, they tend to be cheaper than solid vinyl pool covers, by as much as a few hundred dollars.

On the downside, the small openings in mesh pool covers allow fine debris and dirty water to pass through. They also let in sunlight, which can lead to algae growth. All in all, with a mesh cover you can expect to do more cleanup when you open your pool up again.

16 x 32 Rectangle Safety Pool Cover by GLI Pool Products
An example of a highly-rated mesh winter pool cover you can find online – more info

Solid Vinyl

Solid vinyl pool covers form an airtight barrier over your pool, allowing nothing to get through. That means, when it’s time to open the pool, you can count on it being in virtually the same condition you left it in.

This comes at a price, however. For one thing, these winter pool covers are generally more expensive than mesh. For another, you have to keep water, snow, and debris off of them in order to prevent sagging – and that generally involves the added expense of buying and running a pool cover pump.

Choosing the Best Winter Pool Cover For You

For most pool owners, the choice between winter covers comes down to a simple preference. Do you prefer to have a maintenance-free pool during the winter by using a mesh cover? Or would you rather have less work to do when you open your pool again by using solid vinyl?

If neither seems ideal, you might want to look into a hybrid option that features a small mesh opening on an otherwise solid surface. Another valid choice is to simply continue using a cheaper tarp cover. Even if it needs to be replaced every year or two, it might still make sense when considering your overall pool winterization budget.

Obviously, the more you decide to invest in a winter pool cover, the more important it is to do your research by checking out reviews, poring over product specifications, and visiting multiple pool supply merchants. Loop Loc is one of the most well-known brands, but there are others to choose from as well. This is your swimming pool we’re talking about here, so it makes sense to spend a little extra time to find the perfect cover to protect it during the long winter months.