In this guide you're going to lear how to finally keep your pool cover DRY all year long ...
This way, it won't be a giant PAIN when it comes time to finally remove the cover from your pool.
Yes, I'm talking about a pool cover pump.
This bad boy is one of the best pieces of swimming pool equipment you can invest in as a pool owner.
We're going to go over why you need one, the different types you can choose from, how to use one, and my picks for the best pool cover pumps you can buy.
Let's dive in!
3 reasons you need a pool cover pump
Aside from just making it easier to remove your pool cover plus effective water removal, there are a couple other reasons that a pool cover pump is a good idea.
You may not have even realized that a soggy swimming pool cover can be a safety risk, but here’s why it is: the pool cover serves as sort of a safety net should a child or pet fall in.
But what if the cover is full of water itself and sagging into the swimming pool?
That means there’s a drowning risk right there in the cover!
Getting a cover pump will ensure your cover isn't soaked in water.
Without a swimming pool cover pump, your choices are to: round up all your strongest friends to lift the cover off the pool, hire professionals, or work your way around the cover, dumping all the dirty water right into the pool.
Dumping the water back into the pool will fill it with a ton of debris and filth that you spend all swim season trying to get rid of!
With a pool cover pump, you won't ever have to worry about this.
>>Read: How to choose the best variable speed pool pump
3. To save your pool cover
Pool covers aren't cheap, so why would you want to risk ruining it by tearing it or stretching it out from large amounts of collected rainwater?
Keeping the water pumped off is a good way to save wear and tear and help your cover last as long as possible.
Types to choose from
There are basically two types of pool cover pumps—manual and automatic.
But don’t let the “manual” label fool you. Both are actually electric usually.
The difference is that automatic pumps contain sensors that automatically kick on when there is water on the cover.
Automatic pumps are always electric and have sensors that detect when the water reaches a certain level.
They then automatically come on and pump the water off until the cover is dry.
These types of pumps vary greatly in their effectiveness based on how quickly they pump water off the cover and how much water they actually remove.
For example, an automatic pool cover pump can pump anywhere from 250 – 2,500 gallons per hour (GPH).
The main advantage of automatic pumps over manual is that they will pump off the water before it becomes a problem.
So if you aren’t around to check your cover for a few days, you won’t need to worry about water accumulating that will damage your cover or become a drowning hazard.
A manual pump has to be physically turned on when you want the water removed from the cover. Other than that, it still pumps water off the same way.
But there are some exceptions.
Some manual pumps use water pressure to blow away the standing water instead of electricity to pump it off.
Another type of manual pump is a manual cover drain or cover siphon.
It requires you to physically siphon the water off by sucking on the open end of the hose, just like you would to siphon gas out of a vehicle.
It will save you money, but who wants to risk getting a mouthful of leaves and dirt?
Other than having to physically turn on a manual pump on your own, the disadvantage to these types of pumps is that they pump water off less quickly than an automatic pump – usually about 200 GPH.
Features to consider
When you're shopping for a pool cover pump, keep the following things in mind:
Price varies considerably among which type you want to buy.
Manual pumps are usually much cheaper, but you have to consider the disadvantages of manual pumps over automatic ones before considering these.
Among those we recommend, you should be able to find one that fits your budget.
Gallons per hour (GPH)
All pumps vary in how much water they pump off per hour.
If you live in an area where there is heavy rainfall or lots of moisture, you'll definitely want to consider a pump that pumps off water most efficiently.
You'll also want to consider cord length if your pool is far away from a power source.
If it’s an automatic pump, using an extension cord may not be safe.
Automatic vs manual
Since you now know there are two types of pool cover pumps, you need to decide whether manual or automatic meets your needs.
Though most cover pumps come equipped with filters, they're not all created equally.
Be sure to read customer reviews before you make your choice to make sure your pump will effectively filter out leaves and debris.
Otherwise, it may not last through the first season!
Check out the materials the pump, motor and filter are made of. If it’s too lightweight and flimsy, toss it back.
Not only will it probably wear out fast, you will also have a hard time keeping it from tipping over and shutting off.
How to use a pool cover pump
Most models you can buy are compact and easy to use, but how you use them will depend on the type of pump you buy.
They're all made to attach to a standard garden hose with a garden hose adapter. The other end of the hose will be directed to a spot where you want the water to drain to.
The pump that is left on top of the cover will usually have a filter attached to it to keep it from getting clogged with leaves and large debris.
After it’s pumped off the water, you can go out and sweep any leftover debris off the cover.
A manual pump can only be used when you go out to the pool and physically turn it on.
You can usually go ahead and plug these in and just leave them on top of the cover for whenever you need to use it.
An automatic pump will be set up the same way, but it will be left on any time the cover is on so that it can do the work for you.
5 best pool cover pumps
Hopefully by now you’ve realized how important using a pool cover pump is for the well-being of both your pool and your cover.
But we’d never leave you hanging!
We’ve also got a list here of the five best pumps on the market.
These are the ones we recommend and we tried to include one for any budget.
Little Giant leads the pack on pool cover pumps with their APCP-1700 automatic submersible pump (click here to check the price on Amazon).
This one pumps up to 1745 gallons per hour, making it perfect for rainy climates and large pools with its excellent flow rate. It has a 25-foot cord which makes it easy to hook up even with a far-away outlet.
It’s very sturdy and equipped due to its float switch and wide base so it's difficult to tip over, and features a removable intake screen for easy cleaning and maintenance.
Since it’s an automatic pump, you won’t have to worry about making sure it’s turned on: it turns itself on when there’s about 2 ½ inches of water and turns itself off when the cover is nearly dry.
The Wayne WAPC250 automatic pool cover pump (click here to check the price on Amazon) wins our approval because of its lightweight power.
Weighing in at only 3 pounds, it’s the perfect cover for smaller pools or lightweight pool covers, and we love its automatic freeze protection technology which protects the motor if you leave it out in freezing weather by mistake.
But it also has impressive maximum flow rate, pumping off up to 3,000 gallons of water per hour with just a 1.25-inch drain hose, making it one of the fastest on the market. This means it’s another good choice for rainy climates with frequently large downpours.
Its filter and strainer base also do a great job at sifting out leaves and debris, keeping it from getting clogged, while it automatically switches on when the water level hits 2 1/2".
Another Little Giant product, this pool cover pump (click here to check the price on Amazon) is on the lower end of the price line.
It’s a manual pump so you will need to physically turn it on any time you want to use it. But it couldn't be easier: just attach a 3/4-inch standard garden hose, plug it in, and begin pumping.
It’s not quite as fast as some of the pricier automatic models, but it is still a great pump if you don’t need the cover pumped off faster than 550 gallons per hour.
This one wins our vote because it is extremely energy efficient, yet still effective.
If you need a pump for a smaller pool or a climate that doesn’t get torrential downpours, this is one to look at.
It’s easy to setup and use straight out of the box. It is also a manual pump so it will just need to be turned on when needed.
Some consumers say that it doesn’t work as quickly as they’d like, but if you don’t live in a heavy rain-climate, there’s likely no rush to dredge off hundreds of gallons of water.
It will still get the job done well, so for it’s price and effectiveness, it’s one of our top picks.
The Pumps Away submersible pump (click here to check the price on Amazon) removes water down to 1” deep and also uses about half the energy of most pumps, which will save you money on your electric bill.
It pumps off 350 gallons per hour, so it’s definitely not the fastest on the market, but it will get the job done well regardless.
It comes with a 25-foot power cord so you can connect it across the yard if needed.
It also has a stabilizing base that will keep it from tipping over and it’s lightweight and compact so it won’t weigh down a light cover.
This pump is perfect for small pools or hot tubs in climates that don’t receive frequent heavy rains.
Although there are only two basic types of pool cover pumps, you can see there are still quite a few to choose from.
If you live in a climate with frequent heavy rain, it’s best to choose an automatic pump that’s both sturdy and fast to keep your cover from becoming damaged or your pool from becoming contaminated.
We recommend choosing from one of our top five picks both for affordability and effectiveness, but if you have questions about these or any other products you might find, please feel free to give us a shout.
We’ll be glad to give you the benefit of our expertise!