Recommended cover reels

CeeElGee78

Active member
Sep 19, 2018
28
Battle Creek, MI
I've reviewed threads in this section and done a search through the archives, but I can't seem to find any recommendations for solar-cover reels. We have fought with ours for almost two years, replaced broken wheels on it, and cursed it every time it takes two and three of us to uncover and recover our pool. We bought a premium "12 carat (mil?) diamond cover ( Clear Diamond Solar Cover 18' x 36' Rectangular 12 Carat - PoolSupplies.com ) shortly after we acquired the 18x36 pool in July of 2018, along with a reel. You can see from the photos that the reel is struggling under the weight of the cover, and it's just so much effort to use it -- not to mention several attempts to keep it together with bolts and screws.

I'm hoping to investigate a new reel, and there are some designs that look like an improvement, but they all claim to be the best. Gear reductions, 12-sided tubing for anti-sagging (wouldn't that be nice?), cranks on both ends, battery powered, caster wheels, big wheels -- I just want to have an idea what works and what people like.
 

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Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
3,829
NY
I bought a Rockys Heavy Duty reel after much of the same research. It was awesome for 1.5 seasons and then needed a full re assemble / rebolting each season. The sag for my 20 ft cover was similar by the end of the season. When the cover popped around year 5 I was just as happy to throw them both out.
 
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CeeElGee78

Active member
Sep 19, 2018
28
Battle Creek, MI
I bought a Rockys Heavy Duty reel after much of the same research. It was awesome for 1.5 seasons and then needed a full re assemble / rebolting each season. The sag for my 20 ft cover was similar by the end of the season. When the cover popped around year 5 I was just as happy to throw them both out.
So, did you replace them? Do you still cover your pool?
 

rnjw

Bronze Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2014
34
Pittsburg, CA
I've reviewed threads in this section and done a search through the archives, but I can't seem to find any recommendations for solar-cover reels. We have fought with ours for almost two years, replaced broken wheels on it, and cursed it every time it takes two and three of us to uncover and recover our pool. We bought a premium "12 carat (mil?) diamond cover ( Clear Diamond Solar Cover 18' x 36' Rectangular 12 Carat - PoolSupplies.com ) shortly after we acquired the 18x36 pool in July of 2018, along with a reel. You can see from the photos that the reel is struggling under the weight of the cover, and it's just so much effort to use it -- not to mention several attempts to keep it together with bolts and screws.

I'm hoping to investigate a new reel, and there are some designs that look like an improvement, but they all claim to be the best. Gear reductions, 12-sided tubing for anti-sagging (wouldn't that be nice?), cranks on both ends, battery powered, caster wheels, big wheels -- I just want to have an idea what works and what people like.
I could not tell whether your cover is 18ft or 36 and you roll it around to the long side. Our old plastic 20ft reel is on its last crumbling bearings but the center aluminum multi piece reel is holding up with minimal sag..
 

CeeElGee78

Active member
Sep 19, 2018
28
Battle Creek, MI
I could not tell whether your cover is 18ft or 36 and you roll it around to the long side. Our old plastic 20ft reel is on its last crumbling bearings but the center aluminum multi piece reel is holding up with minimal sag..
It's an 18-foot-wide pool with a cover that's 18'8" (my wife refuses to let me cut it to fit the exact width; go figure). I ended up ordering this reel (link below) in 24-feet wide with the 5" aluminum core. It is beefy! I did this for maximum strength, so as I could telescope in the sections with more overlap. I still had to use several composite shims at the two middle joints to make it straight and rigid. Oh, and by the way, if you do enough research on this particular one, you'll come across complaints about no bolts being provided to put it together. Yeah, that's a thing! I'm going to write a complete review of it at some point. Probably should do that sooner than later, but dealing with a hole-y roof right now due to storm damage in June.

 

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Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
3,829
NY
That’s the one I had above. The bearings wore down in 3 years and the last two it was rather hard to turn. The reel couldn’t handle my 16 mil 20x40 cover. Lots of sag and had to be rebolted a few time, each time going with larger diameter bolts. The self tapping cover strap screws came out many times also and by the end of the 5 years the reel looked like Swiss cheese I had drilled so many holes.

a lighter cover could have made all the difference and even with all the problems I was able to MacGuyver it several times and get another half season each time. Compared to reviews of other reels I still feel it was a good purchase but it certainly wasn’t Trouble Free.
 

rnjw

Bronze Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2014
34
Pittsburg, CA
After way too much time searching for another cover and reel, I found one store that sells the same old plastic reel we have. None of the ones I reviewed were without lots of complaints about quality and I couldn't afford the Rocky's 3A.
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This is an older all plastic including bearings type which we inherited from the previous house owner. We had it 5 years and the plastic roller bearings began disintegrating last year. The heavy duty aluminum is in 4 sections with now rusted bolts and nuts going all the way through.

I have gone through 3 covers, clear and blue, 8-12mil. Leaving it on the pool over our mild winters probably shortened the lives. Ordered a blue 8mil and will be choosing a winter cover which would probably keep out the leaves during September/October -May/June when it is too cold to swim.

Like so many appliances, it is sad that manufacturers have not bothered to redesign and overcome the kinks that users have reported for many years. All of the reels are simple devices that could be rugged, easy to use and last many years longer without higher prices.