Pool Heat Pump vs Gas Heater: The Ins and Outs

It’s almost the end of the summer season. The weather starts getting cold, and you notice you can’t swim longer in your pool as you did at the beginning of the summer. To get rid of the issue, you decided to buy a pool heater to heat your pool to enjoy the thrill of swimming. 

Keeping it in mind, you turn your computer on and start surfing around the web to look for a pool heater. After researching, you find two types of pool heaters- a gas pool heater and a pool heat pump. It makes you a little bit confused as you will not buy both pool heater types. So, you asked yourself- Pool heat pump vs. gas heater: Which one is the best?

Don’t be fret! We will break down the puzzle in this guide and let you know which one is right to heat your pool.

Pool Heat Pump vs Gas Heater

Pool Heat Pump

Heat Pumps are commonly used heating devices to heat a pool in an environment-friendly way. It takes heat from the air and heats your pool water using the hot air. You can get a pool heat pump to warm the water in an energy-efficient way as it requires a lower annual cost to operate.

We were told before that a heat pump takes heat from the air and utilizes it to heat your pool water. A heat pump has a fan to draw heat from the environment and guides the hot air over the Air Coil (evaporator). 

The liquid refrigerant within the air coil absorbs heat from the air and turns it to warm gas. Then, this warm gas travels through the compressor, which raises the heat and later passes the heat through the Water Heat Exchanger (condenser). 

The Water Heat Exchanger transfers the heat to your cooler pool water by circulating water with the help of the heat pump. Thus, the heater water comes back to your pool to heat the pool water.

Gas Heater

A pool gas heater uses gas or propane as its fuel source to heat your pool water. It will be your go-to pool water heater if you want to heat your pool quickly and effectively. The best part about a gas heater is- you don’t need to think about the outside temperature as it uses gas to heat the pool. It means you can operate a pool gas heater in any weather to warm your pool water.

Unlike a pool heat pump, a gas heater uses natural gas or propane as its fuel to heat your pool. It burns gas or propane into the combustion chamber. The copper coils which draw your pool water pass the water through the combustion chamber. As the gas burns into the combustion chamber, the water gets warmed when water goes through it. And this heated water returns to your pool again to make your pool water warm. 

Difference Between Pool Heat Pump and Gas Heater

Heater TypeProsCons
Pool Heat PumpLow operating cost.
Eco-friendly as it doesn’t produces carbon dioxide.
Slower heating option
Gas Pool HeaterHeat the pool quickly.
Enable to heat your pool at lower temperature
Not environment-friendly
Take a lot of money to operate

You learned everything about the heat pump and the gas heat. Also, you know how each of the pool heating systems works. Now, it’s time to let you know the differences between them. It will help you to pick the right one to heat your pool. 

Heat Differently

The first difference between a pool heat pump and a gas heater is- they heat your pool differently. A heat pump uses outside air to heat the pool water. On the other hand, a gas heater uses gas or propane as its fuel source to heat your pool water. You can use a gas heater and operate it at a lower temperature to heat your pool. 


Both pool heat pumps and gas heaters have different methods to measure energy efficiency. Generally, a heat pump uses COP to estimate efficiency. The higher the COP number will be, the more efficient the heat pump will be. The range of COPs is between 3-7, which transforms to an efficiency of 300-700 percent.  

On the other hand, BTUs are used to measure the energy efficiency of a gas heater. In the market, you can find gas heaters with 89-95 percent efficiency. 

Operating Cost

A pool heat pump is more energy-efficient, and it takes less amount of money to operate it. Below we attached a picture that shows you the annual cost of running a heat pump.

Image Source: Energy.Gov

On the other hand, a gas heater requires a lot of money to operate. You can understand it by showing the below picture. 

Image Source: Energy.Gov


The price of a pool heat pump is higher compared to the gas heater. You also need to spend a lot of money to install the heat pump. On the other hand, a gas heater’s price is half of the price of a heat pump. 


What’s the difference between a pool heater and a pool heat pump?

A pool heater or gas heater uses natural gas or propane as its fuel source to heat the water. On the other hand, a pool heat pump uses the air from the environment to heat your pool water.

How long does it take to heat a pool with a heat pump?

Generally, a heat pump takes 24 to 72 hours to heat a pool raising 20-degree F. However, it takes only 45-65 minutes to heat a small pool.

Is it cheaper to heat a pool with gas or electricity?

The gas heater is more affordable than an electric heater. However, a gas heater eats up a lot of money to operate because of the ongoing cost of gas.

Are heat pumps good for heating a pool?

Heat pumps are energy-efficient and take less amount of money to run the unit. Therefore, heat pumps don’t emit carbon dioxide into the air, which is a greener option to heat your pool.

Can you leave the pool heater on overnight?

We don’t recommend you run a pool heater overnight due to the time and energy it will eat. It will be better to heat your pool in the daytime.


So, Pool Heat Pump vs. Gas Heater: Which is the best?

If you are on a budget, we recommend you buy a gas heater to heat your pool. A gas heater is an affordable option. Therefore, you can heat your pool quickly using a gas heater. However, a gas heater requires a lot of money to operate though the initial cost is less. 

However, it will be your best decision if you buy a heat pump though it eats a lot of bucks at the initial stage. But in the long run, it saves your money as the operating cost is lower than running a gas heater.

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