When you close up your Twin Cities pool for the winter, you’ll need to apply a pool cover as the final step in the closing process. That cover not only helps keep debris out of the water but also helps prevent algae proliferation and other problems that can crop up when your pool sits dormant for months.

Below, we’re covering the benefits and drawbacks of three different types of pool covers to help you determine which one is best for your swimming pool.

Automatic Pool Covers

A retractable pool cover is designed for daily use, not only to help maintain appropriate pH and water cleanliness but also to prevent accidents. Using an automatic pool cover can help decrease the amount of pool chemicals you need to use, as well as reduce the amount of time you need to run your filter each day.

Here are a few benefits and drawbacks of using automatic pool covers:

Automatic Pool Cover Benefits

  • Keeps debris and sun from negatively impacting the water
  • Provides safety
  • Helps reduce energy and pool chemical usage
  • Helps decrease long-term pool maintenance costs
  • Helps with heat retention
  • Considerable lifespan with proper maintenance

Automatic Pool Cover Drawbacks

  • Higher initial investment and replacement costs
  • Requires professional installation
  • May require re-decking if installed on an existing pool
  • May keep the water too warm for some people’s taste

Mesh Pool Covers

A mesh pool cover is a type of safety cover, which typically lasts about 12-15 years before it needs to be replaced. While this type of cover is fairly pricey, its long lifespan and safety features that help protect children and pets make it well worth the initial investment.

A mesh pool cover will prevent debris from entering the water throughout winter, and even better, the cover’s woven mesh won’t allow snow or ice to accumulate on its surface.

The advantages and disadvantages of using mesh pool covers include:

Mesh Pool Cover Advantages

  • Lightweight and easy to handle
  • The mesh allows melting snow and ice to pass through the cover
  • Prevents leaves and other large pieces of debris from entering the water
  • After initial installation, mesh covers are easy to remove and reapply

Mesh Pool Cover Drawbacks

  • More expensive than a winter pool cover
  • Cover installation requires labor and specific tools
  • Custom covers can take several weeks to manufacture

If you have children or animals, it’s probably in your best interest to opt for a mesh pool cover since this type of cover will help prevent drowning. Its durable material can hold up to several thousand pounds, so if someone accidentally falls in the pool, they won’t get tangled up in the cover and risk getting stuck in the water. 

Winter Pool Covers

A winter pool cover is basically a massive tarp that sits atop the water. You’ll secure this type of cover with water-filled bags or clips. You may want to consider inserting a pool pillow beneath the cover to prevent it from sagging into the water when snow and ice build-up on the cover’s surface. Typically, winter covers last about five years before they require replacement.

Here are a few pros and cons about winter pool covers to consider:

Winter Pool Cover Pros

  • Maintains clean water
  • Affordable product
  • Widely available
  • Easy to install
  • Prevents sun from degrading chlorine

Winter Pool Cover Cons

  • Unaesthetic
  • Short lifespan for both the cover and water bags
  • Low durability
  • Lacks safety features

Since a winter cover isn’t firmly secured to the sides of the pool, it may present a safety risk to children or pets. If someone accidentally falls in the pool, they may be trapped inside the cover as it sinks into the water. If you have small children or animals, it may be in your best interest to opt for one of the other cover choices in this list. 

Final Take: Which Winter Pool Cover Is Best?

While all the pool cover options listed above have pros and cons and can keep your pool protected throughout the snowy season, one cover takes the cake.

Which one is it? The automatic pool cover. Why? Let’s dive deeper into a few significant benefits of retractable pool covers and why we highly recommend them to our clients.

Retractable Pool Covers Are Easy to Use

Don’t love the idea of manually situating a huge tarp-like cover over your pool? With an auto cover, you’ll never have to worry about doing that. Since your cover has a remote, all you’ll need to do is press a button, and the cover will automatically open and close. You can cover your pool in less than a minute!

Auto Pool Covers Help Keep Your Pool Clean

When you keep your pool covered (which you’re more likely to do with a cover that’s easy to use), you dramatically reduce the amount of debris and precipitation that enters the water. As a result, you reduce the amount of routine maintenance your pool needs to remain clean.

Retractable Covers Enhance Pool Safety

Did you know that drowning is the second-leading cause of unintentional death for children aged 1–14? Or that fencing a backyard pool can reduce a child’s risk of drowning by 83%?

An automatic pool cover is a must-have if you don’t have a fence around your pool and you have kids. And using it anytime your pool isn’t in use is crucial because that cover can significantly reduce or even eliminate your child’s risk of drowning.

Auto Covers Can Make Your Pool More Energy Efficient

Since auto covers help keep your pool cleaner, they also help reduce the amount of time your pool filter will need to run. And the less time your filter needs to run — generally, filters run about eight hours a day — the less energy you’ll use (and pay for) to maintain your pool.

What’s more, an auto cover can also help keep your pool’s water at a comfortable temperature. So if you use a pool heater, your cover can cut down on the amount of time you need to keep the heater running. Of course, you won’t be using your pool during winter, but you can use an auto cover to help maintain a comfortable water temperature during spring and summer, too. 

Check out our blog, The Benefits of Automatic Pool Covers, for a more in-depth breakdown of all the advantages you’ll enjoy when you opt for a retractable winter pool cover.

Royal Pool & Spa Can Install Your Pool Safety Cover

If you haven’t yet completed your swimming pool closing, now is the time to get it done. And whether you’re planning on taking the DIY route or you need professional assistance, our team at Royal Pool & Spa is at your service. We specialize in swimming pool closing, as well as pool cover installation services, and can help you make sure your pool is properly closed and ready to weather the winter season.

To learn more or schedule a service appointment, feel free to call our White Bear Lake office today at 651-779-7606 or contact us online, and we’ll be in touch.