Discover the Best Gas Heaters for Pools: Sizing Tips, Brands, and Benefits Explained!

If you’re looking for a way to keep your swimming pool warm and comfortable all year round, you’ve come to the right place!

Our comprehensive guide on gas heaters for pools will walk you through sizing tips, top brands, benefits, and more. Whether you’re a new pool owner or an experienced pro, we’ll help you explore the best gas heaters for pools available on the market today. So, let’s dive in and discover everything you need to know about heating the pools with gas!

Gas pool heaters can undoubtedly be your best choice. They are fast, efficient, affordable, and very easy to use. But they offer much more than that. Here are the important features to consider when purchasing a gas pool heater.

Even though gas pool heaters are the most commonly used pool water heating devices, it can still be difficult to select the right one.

Don’t worry, though. If you’re searching for a gas heater for your above ground or inground swimming pool and haven’t found the perfect one yet, take a look at our buying guide. Learn more about gas pool heaters so that you can end up with the best one!

Gas Heaters for Pools and What to Look For

Gas Heaters for Pools: Things to Consider

When looking for the perfect device for your home, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what you’re getting. Before making a choice, it’s essential to consider the following factors:

How Gas Heaters for Pools Work

Hayward gas pool heater (photo:

Gas heaters for pools work by using either natural gas or propane to heat the pool water. While natural gas is widely used and is delivered to your home via gas lines from the utility company,  propane gas is stored in a tank and then transferred to the device.

The gas is ignited to produce a flame that heats up the combustion chamber. Simultaneously, a pump forces pool water through a tube that is positioned close to the chamber, which heats the water in the tube. The heated water is then pumped back into the pool. Once the water has been heated to the desired temperature, it remains at that temperature until the heater is turned off.

Gas pool heaters are known for being fast and efficient in heating pool water, regardless of outside temperatures. They are also relatively easy to use and maintain. However, it’s important to note that they can be more expensive to operate than other types of pool heaters, especially if used frequently or for extended periods.

Initial Price

A standard gas heater for pools typically costs between $600 and $2,500. This is a significant difference from electric, heat pump, or solar heaters, which can cost up to $5,000. Gas heater installation costs are also relatively affordable, with prices usually reaching up to $500. In contrast, electric heaters can cost up to $1,000, while solar panels may cost over $2,000 for installation.

TIP: The cost of a gas pool heater, including the device and installation, can range from $1,000 to $3,000. If you can afford a high-quality and energy-efficient heater with professional installation, it’s worth the investment. Although it may be more expensive, it will be more reliable in the long run.

Energy Costs

While gas pool heaters are generally more affordable than other options, they can be expensive to operate in the long run, especially propane models.

Electric heaters can be just as costly or even more so than gas heaters in some cases.

However, heat pumps and solar panels are often much cheaper to run in comparison.

Solar panels require little to no cost to function as they rely on energy from the sun, while heat pumps reuse warm water to heat more water.

TIP: When choosing a pool heater, consider the availability of fuel in your location. If fuel is not readily available, it may be better to avoid gas heaters as it can be challenging and expensive to find fuel, particularly when using propane gas.


Although more effective, natural gas pool heaters are not as durable as other options, usually lasting about five years but possibly up to 20 years with proper maintenance. Electric heaters may last up to 15 years, and solar panels typically last from 10 to 25 years.

TIP: Consider investing in a high-quality, more expensive heater that offers both effectiveness and durability. Cheaper options may be less reliable and require more frequent replacement, ultimately costing you more in the long run.

Gas Emission

Using natural fossil fuels is environmentally damaging. Natural gas heaters do precisely that; they emit CO2 that harms the environment. However, a few options come with a low NOx emission standard, which makes the water heating device environment-friendly. This standard was initially created to meet specific laws set in California and Texas, where low CO2 emissions are obligatory for heaters.

TIP: Make sure the heater you pick comes with a low NOx emission standard. This way, you will use an efficient and environmentally-friendly heating machine.

Best Gas Heaters for Pools to Consider

Hayward H400FDN

The Hayward H400FDN comes with a Cupro-nickel heat exchanger, a polymer header, a bypass valve, and a low NOx build standard – making the device more reliable, efficient, and environmentally friendly. It provides a highly versatile performance, both for large pools and small spas. In addition, it is designed to deliver much more cost-efficient performance in the long run. It works with both natural gas and propane. You can choose from 100,000 up to 400,000 BTU.

Hayward H100ID1

Designed to deliver excellent performance in pools less than 450 sq. ft., the 100,000 BTU Hayward H100ID1 is the perfect choice for those who need a fast and capable device. It comes with electronic spark ignition, easy-to-use controls, and a straightforward design for easier installation. What’s more, it is highly efficient and durable, thanks to excellent construction and outstanding engineering. It works with natural gas and propane, which generate low NOx emissions.

Pentair MasterTemp 

Offering a different power range in BTU, from 175,000 up to 400,000, the Pentair MasterTemp gas heater is a fantastic choice for anyone who wants efficiency and above-average performance. It comes with a Cupro nickel exchanger and tubing, digital control, electronic ignition, and a Low NOx certification for better environmental impact. It can operate with both 120 or 240 volts without problems and comes with a wide array of additional features for even more convenience. It works with natural gas only.

Benefits of Buying a Gas Pool Heater

When looking for a water heater, you must consider a few features that will undoubtedly matter the most in the long run. Here are the benefits you will get from getting a gas heater:


Gas heaters for pools heat the water much faster and effectively than any other type. These heaters also run anywhere at any time and will heat the water nonetheless, without problems.

Small & Compact

Most gas-driven pool heaters are small and compact, so they take less space and will fit practically anywhere.

Versatile Fuel Options

Even though natural gas is easy to find in most places, it may be a tough job in other areas. That’s why these heaters are often ready to work with propane as well. This makes them much more versatile for different situations.

Easy to Install & Use

A gas heater won’t be a problem in any way. It is straightforward to install, doesn’t cost too much, and lasts longer without much maintenance. The same happens with use; a gas heater needs slight settings configured, and then it will work all year-round without problems.

Selecting Tips for Gas Pool Heaters

Picking The Right Size

The first and most important part you should consider when buying a gas heater is the size. The power in gas pool heaters is measured in BTUs (British Thermal Unit), and it means the total energy need to heat one pound of water in Fahrenheit. So, the more water your pool has, the larger it is, and the coldest it is, the more BTU it will need to heat it up.

Here is a chart of the amount of BTU needed to heat different pool surface areas.

Pool Surface Area (sq. ft.)Power (BTU)

This chart, however, is not entirely accurate as there are many other factors you may need to consider. To measure it up accurately, here are a few steps you should follow:

  1. Determine the temperature you want for your pool.
  2. Find out the yearly coldest temperature in your location.
  3. Subtract the desired pool temperature with the yearly coldest one (from step 2). You will end up with the temperature rise measure.
  4. Then calculate the total sq. ft. of your pool surface area (i.e., rectangle shape: length X width; round shape: radius X radius X 3.14).
  5. Make some additional calculations with the following equation:

Temperature Rise x Pool Area x 12

If the temperature rise is 50, for example, and your pool area is 500 sq. ft., then the formula should be:

50 x 500 x 12 = 300,000

If you have a 500 sq. ft. pool and the temperature rise is 50, you will need a 300,000 BTU gas heater.


If you’re looking for a product that delivers quality, make sure it is made of durable and long-lasting materials. To ensure this, check that the device has Cupro nickel tubing and a heat exchanger. Additionally, it should come with polymer or resin headers for improved performance and increased reliability in various conditions.


Millivolt is a typical pilot light that stays on all the time, making it reliable yet not as efficient as electronic ignition. On the other hand, electronic ignition ignites the burners only when needed, avoiding gas leaks and using less fuel in the long run.


The controls of a heater should be convenient and straightforward to use. Most heaters have a knob to turn them on and a thermostat to set the desired temperature. Other options may have additional features, such as an LCD screen for process monitoring, an efficiency display, or a timer or clock.


When selecting a gas heater for pools, it’s important to consider its efficiency in fuel use. Opting for a device that offers over 90% efficiency is the best choice, as it will result in only 10% energy waste. This means you get better value for your money and will eventually waste less fuel in the long run.

Natural Gas or Liquid Propane?

One of the most critical questions to consider when purchasing a gas heater for your pool is the type of gas you want to use. The most important factors to consider are availability and cost. If your home has a natural gas line, it’s better to use natural gas instead of propane, which is usually harder to find and more expensive, and requires frequent deliveries. However, other factors should be considered as well:

Environmental Damage

It is well-known that fossil fuels have a negative impact on the environment. Natural gas, in particular, emits greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, even when the device is designed with a low NOx standard. As a result, natural gas heaters are not environmentally friendly in the long run. On the other hand, propane is a better option if you can afford it, as it has a lower impact on the environment.


The fuel density determines its efficiency in the long run. Fuels with higher energy density last longer and are more powerful. Propane, being denser, is a better choice for pool heaters as it is more long-lasting and efficient. One pound of propane produces more than twice the energy of one pound of natural gas, but it is also more expensive.


Propane pool heaters are generally 60% more expensive compared to natural gas heaters. Moreover, in areas where propane is not readily available, its cost may increase even more. However, despite the higher cost, propane can be almost as efficient as natural gas due to its density and efficiency.

Gas Pool Heaters vs. Electric Type

Gas heatersElectric heaters
More energy efficient in the long run ($5000 a year)Less energy efficiency ($6000 a year)
Cheaper – Initial price $300 to $2500Expensive – Initial price $600 to $3000
Lifespan from 5 to 15 years (low maintenance)Lifespan from 5 to 15 years (high maintenance)
Works all year in every temperature – works without electricityWorks all year in every temperature – doesn’t work without electricity

What Are the Best Gas Heaters for Pools?

When looking for gas heaters for your pool, it’s important to make a wise choice to avoid unexpected high energy bills. To do this, you should consider your needs carefully and ensure that the device meets all of your expectations while fitting your budget. Our recommendations can help you make an informed decision.

To further reduce heating costs, choose an energy-efficient gas pool heater and consider covering the pool when it’s not in use.


Can Gas Pool Heaters Be Used With Saltwater Pools?

Yes, gas pool heaters can be used with saltwater pools. However, it is important to make sure that the heater is compatible with the saltwater and does not get damaged due to the high salt content. It is also important to regularly monitor and maintain the heater to prevent any damage.

Can a Gas Pool Heater Be Installed Indoors?

In general, gas pool heaters are designed to be installed outdoors due to the ventilation requirements for combustion gases. However, there are some models that can be installed indoors if the proper ventilation and exhaust systems are in place. It is recommended to consult with a licensed professional for guidance on indoor installation.

Do Gas Heaters for Pools Need Electricity?

Yes, gas heaters for pools require electricity to operate. While the gas fuel is used to heat the water, the system also requires electricity to power the ignition, control panels, and other components.

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