When the cold winter season finally arrives but there is not enough playtime in the backyard swimming pool, most people would rely on the best pool heaters, especially gas pool heaters. A gas heater either operates with natural or propane gas to warm up residential pools.
Different from a solar pool heater that collects sunlight and an electric pool heater that consumes electric power, the measurement unit of a gas heater is BTU (British thermal units), which I will explain further in this article for you to grasp its operation.
If you desire to own functional pool equipment that helps increase its temperature during freezing weather, you have come to the right place for the most excellent suggestions.
In this article, I will provide you with detailed reviews of the top 8 best gas pool heater as well as a buying guide and other relevant information to your advantage.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
Table of Contents
- Why Do You Need a Gas Pool Heater?
- What Is the Best Gas Pool Heater?
- Comparison of Top 8 Best Gas Pool Heaters 2020
- Reviews of the Best Gas Pool Heaters
- Hayward W3H400FDP Propane Gas Pool Heater
- Sta-Rite SR400LP Propane Gas Pool Heater
- Pentair 461061 MasterTemp Propane Gas Pool Heater
- Raypak Digital Electronic Ignition Natural Gas Pool Heater
- Hayward H400FDN Natural Gas Pool Heater
- Hayward W3H400FDN Natural Gas Pool Heater
- Pentair 460805 MasterTemp Natural Gas Pool Heater
- Raypak Natural Gas Millivolt Pool Heater
- How to Choose the Best Gas Pool Heater?
- How Do Gas Pool Heaters Work?
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Swim Network Overview
Why Do You Need a Gas Pool Heater?
A gas pool heater is considered one of the most remarkable innovations in terms of heating swimming pools through winter times. It is often engineered with a digital control pad. This heater type is still eco-friendly due to the low NOx emission level.
You should operate this gas heater before using a solar pool cover and preserve the pool water heat overnight. It helps cut down the circulation time of a pool heat pump to save energy. Many pool owners are fond of it for these specific reasons.
See Also: 15 Best Winter Pool Covers
A well-built and high-quality gas pool heater can extend the swimming season in a quick and energy-efficient method at reasonable prices. Its durable construction and material can resist external elements and achieve a lengthy lifespan for years of usage.
What Is the Best Gas Pool Heater?
Different unit models from different brands all over the world at different price ranges make things much more overwhelming to handle at once. Fortunately, I have done a few research and conclude that the following machines are truly the best gas pool heaters.
- Best Overall: Hayward W3H400FDP Propane Gas Pool Heater
"Superior hydraulic performance, digital unit diagnostics, draft combustion system."
- Best Budget: Raypak Natural Gas Millivolt Pool Heater
"Rust-resistant cabinet, adjustable mechanical thermostat, blocks wind & snow."
- Best Rated: Sta-Rite SR400LP Propane Gas Pool Heater
"Temperature safety lockout, 84% energy efficiency, exclusive rustproof material."
- Best for Above Ground Pools: Pentair 461061 MasterTemp Propane Gas Pool Heater
"Pre-mixed gas combustion, up to 15,000-gal pools, indoor/outdoor installation."
- Best for Inground Pools: Raypak Digital Electronic Ignition Natural Gas Pool Heater
"Electronic pilot ignition, poly stuff powder coating, stainless steel tube sheet."
- Best for Salt Water: Hayward H400FDN Natural Gas Pool Heater
"Ultimate installation flexibility, reduces circulation pump, bypass valve design."
- Best Hayward Gas Heater: Hayward W3H400FDN Natural Gas Pool Heater
"Durable heat exchanger, digital control accuracy, works in high flow conditions."
- Most Energy-Efficient: Pentair 460805 MasterTemp Natural Gas Pool Heater
"Quick healing process, completely rustproof exterior, super-quiet operation."
Comparison of Top 8 Best Gas Pool Heaters 2020
By putting these heaters in comparison with similar criteria, I believe it is useful for you to gain better product understanding. Please take a look at this table and find out which gas source they use and how much is the BTU measurement of the best gas pool heaters.
|Gas Pool Heaters||Weight (lbs)||Dimension (inches)||BTU/HR||Gas Type|
|Hayward W3H400FDP Propane Gas Pool Heater - Best Overall|
|214||37.6 x 30.8 x 28.6||400000||Propane|
|Sta-Rite SR400LP Propane Gas Pool Heater - Best Rated||135||34 x 32.5 x 27||333000||Propane|
|Pentair 461061 MasterTemp Propane Gas Pool Heater - Best for Above Ground Pools||100||23 x 18 x 25||125000||Propane|
|Raypak Digital Electronic Ignition Natural Gas Pool Heater - Best for Inground Pools||230||-||336000||Natural|
|Hayward H400FDN Natural Gas Pool Heater - Best for Salt Water||197||-||400000||Natural|
|Hayward W3H400FDN Natural Gas Pool Heater - Best Hayward Gas Heater||214||37.6 x 30.8 x 28.6||400000||Natural|
|Pentair 460805 MasterTemp Natural Gas Pool Heater - Most Energy-Efficient||127||36 x 25 x 30||400000||Natural|
|Raypak Natural Gas Millivolt Pool Heater - Best Budget||185||43 x 30 x 25||206000||Natural|
Reviews of the Best Gas Pool Heaters
Through this article and especially this review part, you will learn that most of them can be used for spa water heating as well. Obtain a heating system for pools that last for long to work well season after season with the best gas pool heaters.
Hayward W3H400FDP Propane Gas Pool Heater
(Best Overall - Editor's Choice)
The best overall unit has got to be the W3H400FDP propane heater from Hayward. It is a fantastic hydraulic heating solution with low impacts on the environment, thanks to the low emissions of NOx.
The cupro-nickel material for its heat exchanger is exclusively from this brand to help this pool heater last longer, even in intense conditions. Its polymer header design is patented to secure the unit from harmful erosion effects and boost higher reliability.
Indeed, the Hayward gas machine's heating performance is not affected by weather elements due to its forced draft combustion system with a precise air flow rate. There is a digital control panel that shows accurate temperature readouts of the heater.
- The low NOx emission is eco-friendly.
- Its exchanger is made from a cupro-nickel.
- The header design prevents corrosion.
- It cannot be affected by natural factors.
- It views digital readouts of the degree.
- The seal for its panel might deteriorate.
Sta-Rite SR400LP Propane Gas Pool Heater
Regarding a little compact and energy-efficient gas heater for pools on the market, it is best to choose this Sta-Rite SR400LP model. This heater is incredibly lightweight and suits best with a retro-fit installation. It only costs 200 BTU to perform brilliantly.
The select Dura-Glass enclosure enables a rustproof construction for the propane gas heater to deal with heat and harsh winter conditions. It does not need an outdoor draft hood. There are dual thermostat controls on the 6-position LED control panel.
- It is lightweight and fits retro installation.
- It is made with a rustproof construction.
- It handles high heat and the weather.
- It has thermostat controls on the panel.
- It needs some gutters for outdoor use.
Pentair 461061 MasterTemp Propane Gas Pool Heater
(Best for Above Ground Pools)
With 125,000 BTU of operation, the 461061 propane gas pool heater from Pentair saves energy up to 82%, which is the highest in its class. It is engineered with a unique pre-mixed combustion technology that enables fast heating up process.
This heater is truly a lightweight model of around 100 lbs to be delivered and carried without hassle. Its enclosure is manufactured to resist both corrosion and UV rays to last for a long time. A digital display/controller is available and straightforward to use.
- It provides up to 82% energy efficiency.
- Its combustion tech allows fast heating.
- It is ultra-lightweight for easy carriage.
- It can resist corrosion and UV rays.
- It’s great for above ground pools.
- The heat exchanger may spring a leak.
Raypak Digital Electronic Ignition Natural Gas Pool Heater
(Best for Inground Pools)
Being compatible with most remote systems for pool control on the market makes it much convenient to use the Raypak electronic gas heater. Its pilot ignition mode is meant for quick calls for heat. You can obtain precise temperature readings all the time.
This natural gas pool heater includes polymer resin headers to eliminate rust stains that might harm the pool surface. Heat transfer is increased with its extruded copper tube for the heat exchanger. Its thermostat is controlled by pressing up and down.
- It can work with most remote controls.
- It has a flexible electronic pilot ignition.
- The headers prevent potential rust stains.
- Its copper tube boosts the heat transfer.
- The manifold begins to leak too soon.
Hayward H400FDN Natural Gas Pool Heater
(Best for Salt Water)
This unit is another powerful 400,000 BTU gas pool heater from Hayward, which can reduce the circulation pump's running time to save more energy. A combination of its polymer header and bypass valve improves the overall efficiency of hydraulic.
It is responsible for exceeding most air quality standards by producing low emissions of NOx out to the environment. The universal design of this gas pool heater adapts to a lot of pool and spa systems. It also contains a cupro-nickel heat exchanger for reliability.
- It saves energy for the circulation pump.
- It can improve the efficiency of hydraulic.
- It delivers a low emission rate of NOx.
- It works with universal pool/spa systems.
- The heater light has failed to illuminate.
Hayward W3H400FDN Natural Gas Pool Heater
(Best Hayward Gas Heater)
Among all of the presented Hayward gas pool heaters in this article, the best one is this natural gas W3H400FDN machine. The temperature setpoint can be locked via an intuitive LED control panel. The digital accuracy of this panel is undoubtedly reliable.
High hydraulic performance is easily enabled through the polymer header patented design of this pool heater to save more processed energy. Its cupro-nickel exchanger is famous for keeping the heater safe through failure caused by unbalanced water chemistry.
You can enjoy luxurious comfort with home pools or spas when using this Hayward gas heater during winter. It has a low NOx emission to reduce the impacts on the environment. The combustion system regularly drives air to the combustion chamber.
- The temperature setpoint is lockable.
- It saves energy with a polymer header.
- Its heat exchanger is extremely safe.
- It operates for both home pool & spa.
- It has shallow environmental impacts.
- The heat exchanger is not that robust.
Pentair 460805 MasterTemp Natural Gas Pool Heater
Last but not least, the matter of energy efficiency is also important, so Pentair has manufactured this 460805 pool heater that runs with natural gas. You do not have to wait long for it to heat the pool. The heater enables manual shut-off of gas when required.
Its exterior is made tough and entirely rustproof to deal with high temperatures and extreme weather elements. Even when this pool heater operates with 400,000 BTU, the running process is super quiet and fully certified of a low NOx emission.
- Its operation is highly efficient in energy.
- It gives a manual gas shut-off function.
- Its housing can handle heat & weather.
- It works in silence and low NOx emission.
- The main coil for heating can be broken.
Raypak Natural Gas Millivolt Pool Heater
You can be sure that the brand Raypak always ensures every heater component is tested for quality before getting boxed, and so is this millivolt pool heater. It has an excellent straight-forward design. The unit also resists strong wind and hard winter conditions.
Its mechanical thermostat is adjustable to a certain level based on your liking. It is a good thing that the heater cabinet can resist both rusting & corrosion. The copper finned tubes of this gas pool heater can allow a maximum rate of heat being transferred.
- The overall quality has been tested.
- It can resist all winter conditions.
- The thermostat is easily adjustable.
- It has copper tubes for excellent transfer.
- Its heating coil does not last for long.
How to Choose the Best Gas Pool Heater?
People can gain total control of the swimming season with a powerful and durable gas pool heater. And to acquire that, you should take a look at the top factors underneath to purchase a great pool heater from gas successfully.
As being mentioned above, BTU stands for British thermal units, and it is applied to measure the heat transferring ability of a gas pool heater. It is the heat amount needed to raise one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.
Gas heaters for above ground pools are usually measured in at the range between 100,000 to 200,000 BTU. While in-ground pools would require around 200,000 to 400,000 BTU to be heated entirely up, I would explain how each BTU amount work.
For example, a 400,000 BTU gas heater will increase the water temperature twice as quickly as a 200,000 unit. However, at the same time, it needs to burn double the gas amount compared to the latter heater with a lower BTU rate, which costs more.
There are essential differences between these two types of gas that a pool heater uses. I am responsible for clarifying them and obtaining a better overview of each gas variation, thus, deciding to purchase the more superior choice.
Propane often produces the same heat amount with natural gas, but it only uses half of the fuel, which means it is more economical, and natural gas costs a bit more than propane in most cases. Most people do not notice how propane is an energy-efficient source.
Despite both being clean in the burning process, natural gas is not as green as propane. Even when leaked into the atmosphere, propane is non-toxic before & after the combustion, whereas natural gas before combustion contributes to greenhouse gases.
Finally, propane has been liquified for more convenience in use. It is stored inside a portable canister or comes in a truck to be delivered to a permanent storage tank at your home. In contrast, natural gas remains in its initial state and is contained inside pipelines.
High flow of water, low pH level, and severe wind conditions might damage the erosion effects on the gas pool heater. A heater makes regular contact with saltwater and chemical substances, so it needs to resist such threats.
A vast majority of gas pool heaters are equipped with a cupro-nickel heat exchanger to protect them from being corrosive later on. Each of the heater components can only work for an extended period if they are constructed of rustproof material from the start.
For your information, unbalanced water chemistry is a crucial factor contributing to the premature failure of a gas pool heater. Consequently, you should also take care of this problem besides choosing a first pool heater made of anti-rusting materials.
You may also want to check this guide on how to size a gas heater for your swimming pool:
How Do Gas Pool Heaters Work?
As you can see, a gas pool heater consumes either natural or propane gas to raise the water temperature and warm it up. The pool pump works to circulate the water, and this amount of water drawn from the pool then passes through the pool filter.
See Also: 8 Best Pool Booster Pumps
When it reaches this pool heater, the gas burns inside its combustion chamber and generates heat to transfer to the water amount that is later returned to the pool. After this simple heating process, you can get quick access to the warm pool or spa in the winter.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are some frequently asked questions about gas pool heaters.
Swim Network Overview
All of the gas pool heaters reviewed here are capable of outperforming a lot of other competitor heaters on the market. In opposite to what people think, a gas pool heater is eco-friendly with low NOx emissions and heats up quickly with corrosion-resistant components.
The best-rated one is the Sta-Rite SR400LP Propane Gas Pool Heater. While the best heater from Hayward should be the Hayward W3H400FDN Natural Gas Pool Heater. The Pentair 461061 MasterTemp Propane Gas Pool Heater works best with above ground pools.
I expect you to use my buying guide for your upcoming shopping for the best gas pool heaters. So what is your viewpoint about this article? Drop some comments below for me to hear.
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