pillow under winter cover needed?


Active member
May 15, 2013
Chicago, Illinois
[attachment=0:r5u65ajt]pool 4.JPG[/attachment:r5u65ajt][attachment=1:r5u65ajt]pool 2.JPG[/attachment:r5u65ajt][attachment=2:r5u65ajt]pool 1.JPG[/attachment:r5u65ajt]When I purchased a winter cover for my new (and 1st) above ground pool 3 years ago, the instructions mentioned using the inflatable pillow/air bag. I didn't have one and didn't even know what that was referring to and proceeded without it. Last fall I decided to buy one and used it under the cover. In the spring when opening the pool for the season I noticed some holes/worn areas in the cover so I purchased a new cover when I closed it last weekend. This cover's instructions state that the cover is meant to rest right on the water. I'm assuming that means no air pillow so I did not put that into the pool first. Unfortunately the cover does not go low enough to reach the water surface. It is the correct size as far as I know. I drained my pool to about 10" below the return, which is less than the 12" below stated in the pool manual. My question is, what is the purpose of the pillow and do I need one or not? The new cover is "floating" over the surface of the water and I don't know if this will place any undue strain on the cover or pool itself. I included a couple pics of the cover installation and the air pillow I am referring to. Thanks.


LifeTime Supporter
TFP Expert
Jun 5, 2012
DFW, Texas
You will find differing opinions on this subject, but here's my $0.02...

Being that you have a solid cover, I think it makes sense to have something to direct water & leaves off the cover or at least closer to the sides. I have read that many pool pillows are cheaply made nowadays, so let's look at some "outside the box' alternatives that will give the same effect: River rafts and/or a plastic 55 gal drum. Check out this post for more info: Snow load on pool and Pool pillow.

If you had a mesh cover, I wouldn't bother with a pillow or similar product.