How Much Is A Pool Heater? Types & Prices

backyard pool with patio and desert lighting on back wall

Swimming in early summer and fall is one of the joys of having a pool.  Sometimes however, even if it’s warm during the day, those cool nights keep the water temperature of the pool below optimal for swimming.  Yes, you can buy a bubble cover or an automatic pool cover to assist with the heat retention, but in the shoulder season, the only real option you have is a pool heater.  So how much is a pool heater?

In this article, we’ll explain the different types of pool heaters. Then, we’ll outline the total cost for each pool heater type. Lastly, we will breakdown the costs of each pool heater by the heater itself, installation, permitting and wiring.

How Much Is A Pool Heater By Type

The difference between pool heater types is based on your use case. The frequency of heating and your climate will play big roles in which pool heater is right for you. We will explain each pool heater type strengths and weaknesses. Pool heaters can cost anywhere from $6,000 – $12,000 to install for your pool.

Propane / Natural Gas Pool Heaters

First we need to determine the best type of pool heater to meet your needs.  If you live in an especially cold climate, or if you plan on heating your pool up for a party or special occasion only, you probably want to consider a propane or natural gas heater. If you expect cold nights in the 30’s or 40’s, you probably should avoid an electric heat pump though, and ought to stick with fossil fuels.

Manufacturers will say you can use other heaters, such as an electric heat pump down into the 30’s. However, the efficiency of the heating unit goes down so much in the colder temperatures. It’s just not worth the bother of an underperforming unit in some cases.  Not to mention you have to listen to the sound of an air conditioning compressor running whenever an electric heat pump is on. 

Electric Heat Pumps

If you plan on keeping the pool heated to a constant temperature all season long, you may be able to use an electric heat pump for your heating. Electric heat pumps are usually the least expensive way to keep a pool heated to a constant temperature, assuming you plan to keep it heated all the time.  Electric heat pumps are not on demand heating sources for pools, instead they should be thought of as a way to maintain temperature, never turning them off until you close the pool for the season.

Electrical Resistance Pool Heaters

The third heater type is a resistance electric heater. These are used in most portable spas. These are all electric, but create heat using electrical resistance, which uses a lot of electricity. To heat a pool with an electrical resistance heater will usually be the most expensive way you can heat a pool, and should be avoided unless there is not any other option in your project’s case. It’s the least expensive heater you can buy, but the operational costs can be astronomical.

Pool Heater Hidden Costs

With pool heaters, you should look at the price of the unit. You should also expect there to be additional costs for permitting and installation and electricians. If you elect for a propane or natural gas heater, you will need a gas plumber as well. Additionally, for a propane pool heater you will of course need propane tanks, too. These additional costs depend on your project and your specific property. 

How Much Is A Pool Heater Installation?

Pool heaters will all cost between $500 and $1,000 for any pool company to install and connect to your existing plumbing.  Additional costs may be incurred depending on the current state of your pool equipment.   As far as the cost of gas plumbers, if you are installing a natural gas heater, usually you need to run a new line from the gas meter to the pool heater.  With propane, depending on your tank selection and whether you rent the tank or buy the tank the costs will vary.  If you put an underground propane tank in you should expect to spend $5,000 or more on the tank alone, plus the costs associated with running the propane lines to the heater.

How Much Is A Pool Heater? Cost Breakdown

Now that you are familiar with the types, how much is a pool heater? Here’s a quick breakdown of the heater types and some placeholders for the costs associated with installing them. These costs, especially electrician rates, can vary greatly by region and property.

Natural Gas Heater Cost: $8,500

  • Heater: $3,500
  • Permit: $500
  • Installation: $1,000
  • Gas line: $3,000
  • Electrician: $500

Propane Heater Cost: $11,500

  • Heater: $3,500
  • Permit: $500
  • Installation: $1,000
  • Propane tanks and lines: $6,000
  • Electrician: $500

Electric Heat Pump Cost: $9,500

  • Heater: $5,500
  • Permit: $500
  • Installation $1,000
  • Electrical Wiring: $2,500

Electrical Resistance Heater Cost: $6,500

  • Heater: $2,500
  • Permit: $500
  • Installation: $1,000
  • Electrical Wiring: $2,500
how much is a pool heater shown with equipment stand in backyard

How Much Is A Pool Heater Summary

There are four types of pool heaters. You will need to determine which pool heater type is the best fit for your pool. These pool heaters include natural gas, propane, electric and electrical resistance. Pool heaters range from $6,500 – $11,500 depending on the type you choose. A propane pool heater is the most expensive whereas an electrical resistance heater is the least costly.