Advice for Solar Blanket and Reel


Bronze Supporter
Jul 16, 2019
Laguna Hills, CA
We are considering getting a solar blanket and reel but wanted to get some suggestions on how to work around some concerns we have.

Our pool isn't a pure rectangle, part of the pool was 10 ft and part of it is 12 ft. We weren't sure if it was better cutting to shape and have the reel 12 ft wide OR just have the blanket 10 ft across and having the reel be 10 ft wide.

We have a raised step on the back of one end of the pool, which I think may be a problem for a reel. The other side of our pool is part dirt (aside from the coping), plus it's the shallow end of the pool that people will be getting in and out of. I'd hate to get the blanket covered in dirt while reeling it up. Any suggestions? Should we just skip the reel?

Any feedback would be appreciated.




Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 7, 2017
Damascus, MD
For the cover to be effective, it needs to cover the entire pool. So the reel should be able to contain the entire cover. That said, my solar cover lasted all of 2 times using it. It is such a pita for me to take on and off plus anything that falls on the cover gets dumped in the pool when you remove it that I stopped using it. Thankfully I never got the reel but I was about to. No idea where I would have put that thing if I had they are big and ugly. I would seriously use the cover a few times before committing to the reel. Instead, I just take the financial hit spending more to heat the pool.

For that tiny extra section you have you could either just fold that over on the larger section or have a 2nd piece that you fit into that area and go with a 10 foot reel.
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Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
The main problem would be if you minded losing most of that platform at the bottom of the stairs. The reel will be a few foot wider than the pool to accommodate some sort of ‘T’ shaped foot and the handle to roll it up.

I bought a bigger cover and cut it to fit the stairs. Your stairs are at the far end so it won’t affect the roll much, but my stairs were on the reel side so that extra flap flipped over messed up the whole roll every time. It never dawned on me to just have a separate mini piece for just the stairs. You can just lay that piece on top of the rolled up cover

The height of your far side will mess up the cover. To get a straight roll it needs to be level or the cover shifts downhill. A tiny bit off wouldn’t matter but yours is too much. Just use blocks that are the same height under the low side. I probably wouldn’t like it if it was noticeably mismatched and would end up making a concrete pad/ block for the reel to sit on.

Rancho Cost-a-Lotta

Silver Supporter
Apr 10, 2018
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
With the high wall on the back side of the pool, using a reel will be a (real) challenge. Optimally, you want the reel over the water or at the edge of the pool. Dragging the reel over the pool's edge and on concrete would be tough.

One option is to cut the cover lengthwise into two sections, preferably at a seam (my cover has seams at about 5'-6' apart). Where the two sections meet, leave about a 6" overlap to keep the sections in place. On the stair side, trim the cover to include the stair section. When you remove the cover, fold the stair section inline with the pool edge and roll it up. There's no reason to cut a small section just for the stairs.

Looking at you pool, it might be easier to pull the cover's sections up onto the deck on the house side of the pool. Once on the deck, it's real easy to fold/roll up. When installing the cover sections, roll them out on the concrete and get as much of the cover as you can in the water. Use your pole/brush to maneuver it into place.

Here are a couple a pics of my pool with the cover. My set up is a bit more complicated because of the free-form curves and width which range between 17'-23', but I'm able to handle removal and installation myself in 10-15 minutes. Your pool's straight lines should be easier to deal with.

Edit...If you plan to cover the spa, use a separate section.

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