8 Best Pool Cover Reels in 2023 – Reviews & Top Picks
Owning a pool has many advantages, but you need to maintain and take care of your pool. One way to do this is by covering your pool to protect it from debris, or you may want to place a solar cover to help keep it heated.
Either way, a good reel will be worth the money.
Our reviews list features eight of the best pool cover reels that are either for above-ground or in-ground pools.
The buyer’s guide offers considerations to keep in mind before you purchase a reel.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2023
|Best Overall||Best Choice Products In Ground Pool Cover Reel||
|Best Value||Intex 28051 Solar Pool Cover Reel||
|Premium Choice||Rocky’s 3A In Ground Pool Solar Reel||
|VINGLI Pool Cover Reel Set||
|In The Swim Aqua Splash Solar Cover Reel||
The 8 Best Pool Cover Reels
1. Best Choice Products In Ground Pool Cover Reel — Best Overall
Our pick for the best pool cover reel, the Best Choice Products reel cover is made of stainless steel, aluminum, and plastic, which keeps it lightweight and durable. The legs are steel with a plastic handle and treated plastic wheels. The hand crank is large, which makes it easy to roll up the pool cover, and the wheels are big enough that it isn’t a chore to move the whole system to another spot.
It has a weight capacity of 140 pounds, and the middle aluminum tube is 3 inches in diameter. This reel comes with 10 straps and fits in-ground pools measuring 17.5 feet in width and 21 feet in length. It is fairly simple to put together, though the instructions are somewhat lacking, since they are only diagrams.
2. Intex 28051 Solar Pool Cover Reel — Best Value
The Intex is the best solar cover reel for the money because it is an affordable option for your rectangular above-ground pool. It fits pools with a width from 9 to 16 feet, and the reel attaches to the metal frame of your pool. The hand crank is easy to turn and features a locking mechanism to prevent the cover from unrolling when you want to leave it in place.
The interlocking shaft is made from aluminum, and this system comes with the straps. Setup is simple and the instructions are understandable. On the downside, the handle is made from plastic that doesn’t feel that well-made. However, it is a great option for those who need a reel at an affordable price.
3. Rocky’s 3A In Ground Pool Solar Reel — Premium Choice
For a high-quality reel that is designed for in-ground pools up to 20 feet wide, Rocky’s is an ideal choice. The shaft is constructed from anodized steel tubing, which is strong enough to prevent sagging. The bases are made from die-cast aluminum with baked enamel finishes that provide extra protection from the elements.
The system is designed to be portable and has 2-inch casters that make it easier to move around as needed by releasing the anchor bolts. The ground clearance from the underside of the 3-inch tubing is at 9.5 inches. On the downside, this reel is difficult to install because you need to know how to drill into aluminum and steel, as well as be able to drill reel anchors into your decking. All the hardware and equipment needed for installing this reel is included.
4. VINGLI Pool Cover Reel Set
The VINGLI pool cover reel is designed for a 14- to 18-foot wide in-ground swimming pool and is offered at an affordable price. The three-section center pipe is made from aluminum and resists drooping — it is also grooved to prevent the cover from slipping. The legs are stainless steel and the reel is made from aluminum, so the whole system is resistant to rust and wear from the elements while remaining lightweight. We like that the tires are solid and can handle the weight of the cover while providing stability to the reel.
The VINGLI pool cover reel comes with an embedded strap link design that increases the pulling force and is elevated off of the ground by 18.5 inches. This is somewhat of a disadvantage, however, because it makes the system top-heavy, and you have to be careful that it doesn’t tip over when reeling in the cover. We like that it can be used with different shaped pools and that the straps are long, which allows you to attach the cover at different points. The hand crank on the VINGLI pool cover reel is large and easy to turn, and there is a mechanical lock to prevent it from rotating.
5. In The Swim Aqua Splash Solar Cover Reel
The affordable Swim Aqua reel is designed for use with in-ground pools up to 16 feet wide. The aluminum tubes are telescoping with a rib-locking design that adds extra strength to prevent sagging. The handles and reel ends are made of polyethylene, and the system is a taupe that blends well with the landscape. The wide-track bearings are also made of polyethylene, and rolling in the cover is a simple process.
The product comes with all the hardware and a blanket attachment kit, so you can put it together as soon as you receive it. We found that installation is straightforward, but the instructions aren’t the easiest to comprehend. This reel is secured to the decking so it won’t tip over easily, but the biggest disadvantage is that the reel straps are not UV resistant, so their durability is compromised. On the positive side, this reel comes with a five-year warranty.
6. GLI Pool Products Whirlwind Solar Reel
The GLI reel is constructed from high-grade aluminum, so you know it is durable enough to withstand the elements for many years. It fits an above-ground pool up to 24 feet wide, and the company also sells replacement bases if you need one in the future.
The hand crank is easy to turn because it has sealed, high-strength nylon bearings. The bracket mounts on the top rail of your pool, and there is a socket mount for easy crank and cover removal. All the straps and required hardware are included, and we found that installation is easiest with two people, though otherwise straightforward.
On the downside, the center rod is not as strong and may show sagging over time. However, the company offers a five-year limited warranty and a one-year full warranty.
7. Sun2Solar Steel Solar Cover Reel System
The Sun2Solar is an affordable 16-foot-wide pool cover reel that is made for above-ground pools. Its center tube is constructed of five aluminum rods that are 3¼ inches in diameter. The frame is stainless steel, with two large treaded tires that make it easier to move the system from place to place if needed.
We like that it will fit many different shapes, such as a kidney or a Grecian pool. The clearance height is 18 inches at the center of the tube, and it comes with all necessary hardware. We found the instructions to be lacking, but if you are familiar with a pool reel, then it won’t be difficult to set up. Also, it is easiest to reel the cover when you have another person to assist. Unfortunately, the overall unit isn’t as sturdy and balanced compared to some of the others.
8. Kokido Solaris Pool Cover Reel Set
Another affordable reel option for an above-ground pool is the Kokido Solaris. It uses hexagonal tubes made from an aluminum alloy as the center rod, and it will cover up to an 18.6-foot-wide pool. The crank is ergonomically designed to make it easier to roll and unroll the cover. The base of the reel is made of sturdy steel, and the included fixtures secure on the ledge of the pool.
Setup isn’t difficult, though we found that the directions can be difficult to understand. The straps that come with this reel are not of high quality, so their durability is questionable. However, it is easy to use, and it rolls up the cover nice and straight.
Buyer’s Guide – Choosing the Best Pool Cover Reel
When you are shopping for a reel, you need one that is effective and dependable. You also want one that will last for more than one summer. The best pool cover reels will keep the dirt and debris away, so you need the pool cover to work properly.
This buyer’s guide offers considerations to keep in mind when you are ready to purchase a reel. It can be hard to find the right one for you and your pool, but the right information will make the job easier.
Aluminum, strong plastic, and stainless steel are common materials that reels are made of. Both aluminum and stainless steel can stand up to the elements and are rust-resistant. Aluminum is lightweight but can bend easier. A reel that is made from stainless steel will be sturdier. Plastic components aren’t as strong as the metal, but they can be good options if you don’t have a large pool. Keep in mind that plastic can also wear down in the elements and become brittle.
The wheels should also be able to stand up to the elements and support the weight of the reel when loaded with the cover. You want wheels that grip the surface of the deck so the reel stays in place when you are rolling or unrolling. It also shouldn’t be a difficult task to roll the reel from one area to another.
Straps that are embedded into the grooves of the bar are sturdier than hook-and-loop straps.
No one enjoys spending hours installing a new piece of equipment, and the same goes for pool cover reels. They aren’t a complex item, so they shouldn’t be too difficult to set up. The reels that secure directly to your deck will be sturdier, but they will require more tools and time to install. If you aren’t a do-it-yourself person, you can always hire or find someone to assist you.
Ease of Use
This pertains to rolling and unrolling the pool cover once the reel is installed/assembled. Some reels have either cranks, handles, or wheels. One type isn’t better than the other, as it is related to personal preference and how much grip strength you possess. Many find the wheels easier to turn, while others stand by the traditional crank.
- You might also be interested in: 7 Best Pool Clarifiers: Reviews & Top Picks
Budget is an important consideration because you want a quality reel that will last for many years, but you also can’t spend more than you have. It can be worth the investment to get a high-quality reel in the beginning to save money over time.
If you are willing to spend a large amount of money for a pool cover reel, then you may feel more inclined to buy a higher-priced version if the company offers a warranty. Know what the warranty offers before you purchase to make sure it covers your expectations, so there are no surprises in the future.
You can’t cover your pool without the use of a reel — unless you don’t mind creating a big mess on your deck. Reels make the job of uncovering and covering your pool a simple task that can be accomplished in a matter of minutes. Our reviews list offers eight of the best pool cover reels.
The best pool cover reel overall is the Best Choice, which is made from aluminum and stainless steel to help ensure that it will last for many years to come. Our pick for the best solar cover reel for the money is the Intex reel that is ideal for rectangular above-ground pools and has many nice features at an affordable price. Rocky’s Reel Systems is our premium choice because it offers a reel that is sturdy and made from high-quality materials.
We hope that our reviews help you find the ideal reel that fits your budget and expectations. Once you find the right reel, you will wonder how you managed to go without one in the first place.
Featured Image Credit: sylv1rob1, Shutterstock