Exterior

How Much Does an Automatic Pool Cover Cost?

With an automatic pool cover, homeowners can keep the pool clean and reduce heat loss. The automatic pool cover cost ranges from $7,000 to $25,000, with a national average of $15,000.
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Automatic Pool Cover

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Highlights

  • An automatic pool cover has a typical cost range of $7,000 to $25,000, with homeowners paying a national average cost of $15,000.
  • Some of the main factors that affect the total cost for this project include the type of track used, the size and shape of the pool, the pool’s features, the type of fabric used for the cover, the cover brand, and the cost of labor.
  • An automatic pool cover has numerous benefits, including energy savings, increased safety, decreased pool cleaning requirements, and protection from the elements.
  • A homeowner can typically install a manual pool cover as a DIY job, but it’s best to leave automatic pool cover installation to a professional because of the complexity of all the moving parts.
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Having a pool in the yard is great for getting exercise, splashing with the kids, or just floating around under the hot sun with a drink in hand. However, when residents are done in the water, it’s recommended that they use a pool cover to reduce the amount of heat lost during the night. Pool coverings can also keep dirt out of the pool more successfully than other options, like a pool canopy or pool roof. Whether a homeowner is looking at small plunge pool costs or larger inground pool costs, a pool cover can help them take care of their investment.

From automatic above-ground pool covers to a retractable pool cover you can walk on, there are a variety of options available. According to Angi, pool cover cost ranges from $7,000 to $25,000 with an average cost of $15,000. It’s important for homeowners to research the various factors that impact the total cost of the project. Homeowners can use this guide to learn more about automatic pool cover cost considerations so they can put together a budget for this pool upgrade project.

Automatic Pool Cover
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Factors in Calculating Automatic Pool Cover Cost

Before homeowners hire a pool cover installer to put in a new automatic pool cover, it’s recommended that they have some idea of the factors that influence the automatic pool cover cost. Homeowners can expect to pay between $7,000 and $25,000 for an automatic pool cover, but whether their final budget for the project falls on the low side or the high side of this range depends on the track type, pool size, pool shape, features, and more, all detailed below.

Track Type

The most important consideration for a new pool cover is the type of track. There are three main track types used in the installation and operation of an automatic pool cover, including on-deck tracks, recessed tracks, and undertracks. On-deck tracks are both the most affordable and the most common option used. This type of pool cover costs about $7,000 to $8,000, depending on the size. It sits on top of the deck and retracts into the housing on one side of the pool.

Recessed track pool covers cost significantly more than on-deck track systems, ranging from $19,000 to $25,000. These tracks are installed partially underground, allowing them to sit flush with the deck. However, it’s necessary to install a recessed track system when pouring concrete for a new pool, though a homeowner may be able to add this system to an existing pool if the installer is able to cut into the deck.

Undertrack pool cover systems are the most expensive option, ranging in cost from $20,000 to more than $25,000. This type of track system is embedded in the pool wall and has underground housing for the retractable hard pool cover.

Pool Size

The track type isn’t the only consideration for homeowners to keep in mind when coming up with a budget for this project. They’ll also need to factor in the size of the pool. Even a small pool cover will typically cost between $7,000 and $20,000, so homeowners will want to take their time deciding on the right choice for their pool.

If a homeowner doesn’t already know the size of their pool, they can measure the length and the width of the pool and use this as a reference when they are looking for a new automatic pool cover. Smaller pools typically range in size from about 10 feet by 20 feet to 16 feet by 32 feet. As the size of the pool increases, so does the above-ground or inground pool cover’s cost. For larger pools that reach 24 feet by 50 feet in size, homeowners will need to be prepared to spend $8,100 to more than $25,000 for the pool cover installation.

Pool SizeAutomatic Pool Cover Cost
10 feet by 20 feet to 16 feet by 32 feet$7,000 to $20,000+
16 feet by 36 feet to 18 feet by 40 feet$7,500 to $22,000+
20 feet by 40 feet to 20 feet by 44 feet$7,800 to $23,000+
24-feet by 44-feet to 24-feet by 50-feet$8,100 to $25,000+

Pool Shape and Features

While most pools are rectangular, circular, or oval, this isn’t always the case. In many circumstances, the existing pool was put in following a custom design, so the shape may be difficult to measure. Additionally, an oddly shaped pool may require a custom-designed cover to adequately protect it. This can increase the cost of the cover but can also increase the cost of labor by up to 50 percent.

Other pool features, like boulder edges, built-in waterfalls, swim-up bars, and other nonstandard pool additions, can increase the difficulty of the installation. A homeowner may also need to consider purchasing additional pool cover parts, like a pool slide cover, to keep these special features protected when they are not in use. Before starting the project, homeowners will want to speak with the pool cover installation company to determine if their pool shape and any features will increase the cost of the project. It’s also worth asking if the custom shape of the pool will result in a longer installation timeline. For more unusual pool shapes, homeowners may want to consider investing in pool screen enclosure cost as a lower-cost option.

Fabric Type

Automatic pool covers will typically come with either a mesh or solid fabric type. Mesh covers are good for allowing sunlight and water to filter through, while solid covers block out sunlight and prevent water or debris from entering the pool. Pool cover companies may offer pool cover fabrics with special coatings, insulation capabilities, and a variety of color options to choose from.

Before selecting a pool cover, homeowners will want to consider which type of fabric is best for their pool setup. They’ll want to keep in mind that the fabric typically wears out before the rest of the pool cover assembly and will need to be replaced about once every 5 to 6 years. Replacing the fabric alone can cost between $2,000 and $5,000, but it is an inevitable expense due to the extended exposure to UV radiation and pool water chemicals.

Pool Cover Brand

As with most products, the price is affected by the brand. Homeowners can opt for cheaper, more affordable pool covers from lesser-known brands to help reduce the overall cost of the pool cover installation. However, it’s important to note that if they select an inexpensive pool cover to save money initially, they could end up with a cheaper product that won’t last as long as a premium pool cover.

Instead of choosing solely based on price, homeowners will want to take some time to thoroughly research pool cover brands to find a manufacturer that makes high-quality products for a reasonable amount. If a homeowner isn’t sure where to start the search, they can speak to their pool cover installer for recommendations or do a quick online search for top pool cover brands, such as the following.

BrandAverage Cost
Aquamatic$10,000 to $20,000
Coverstar$10,000 to $20,000
Latham Pool$10,000 to $20,000
Royal Swimming Pools$6,800 to $13,000

Labor

Local labor rates will also influence the final cost of the project. Labor rates vary between companies and geographic locations, so it’s best for a homeowner to get several quotes for the installation to ensure they are getting a fair price. On average, homeowners can expect to pay about $2,000 to $10,000 for pool cover installation labor. However, the labor cost can increase by up to 50 percent if the pool is a challenging shape or has several features that make the installation more difficult.

Pool cover installation usually takes 1 to 2 days, depending on the size of the pool and the type of track system. If the pool is still in the process of being built, then it may take a couple extra days to install and test the pool cover. Before hiring a pool cover installation company, homeowners will want to ask for their labor rates and an estimate for the project so there aren’t any surprises when it comes time to pay for the service.

Automatic Pool Cover
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Additional Costs and Considerations

After sorting out the primary cost factors, a homeowner will need to look into any additional costs that could impact the final price of this project. They’ll want to weigh the benefits of an automatic pool cover versus a manual pool cover and consider if a simple key switch is the right choice for their pool setup or if they are more interested in a touchpad or smart controls. Also, homeowners are advised to budget for ongoing pool cover maintenance and repairs when shopping for an automatic pool cover.

Automatic vs. Manual Pool Cover

There are two main systems used to retract the pool cover from the surface of the pool, including automatic pool cover systems and manual pool cover systems.

  • Automatic pool cover systems offer users a high degree of convenience, extending or retracting at the push of a button or the turn of a key. Homeowners can even pair an automatic pool cover system with a smart control, allowing the pool cover to be operated with a mobile app. The drawback is that automatic pool covers cost about $7,000 to $25,000.
  • Manual pool cover systems still use tracks to extend and retract the pool cover, but the user needs to provide the physical force to operate the pool cover system. This is typically in the form of a winch on the side of the pool cover housing. While it may take more effort to use, a manual pool cover system costs just $500 to $5,000, depending on the size of the pool and the pool cover assembly.

Touchpad Installation

A standard automatic pool cover will generally have a basic control that consists of a simple key switch that can be rotated to extend or retract the pool cover. However, if a homeowner is looking for something that doesn’t require them to keep track of yet another key, then a touchpad may be a good choice.

Basic touchpad models range in cost from about $500 to $600. These devices can be programmed with multiple codes, allowing multiple users to control the touchpad. To take the pool cover system a step further, another option is a smart control, which features a primary touch-screen device but can also be linked to and operated through a smartphone app. Smart controls cost more than standard touchpads, so homeowners will want to be prepared to spend about $900 for these advanced devices.

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Cover Cleaner

With frequent use and exposure to the weather, the automatic pool cover will gradually accumulate dust, dirt, and other debris, such as sticks and leaves. If this debris is left on the cover each time it retracts, it can gradually reduce the lifespan of the pool cover. To avoid this issue, homeowners will want to frequently clean the top of the automatic pool cover with a brush or broom to remove loose debris.

After sweeping or brushing away the debris that has gathered on the top of the pool cover, it’s recommended that homeowners apply a cover cleaning solution and gently scrub the pool cover with the cleaning solution to help increase the lifespan of the fabric. Generally, pool cover cleaners cost about $40 per quart.

Safety Cover Installation

If regularly sweeping or brushing the surface of the pool cover seems like a hassle, then a homeowner can invest in a safety cover. These covers are made to sit on top of the automatic pool cover to protect the fabric from dust, dirt, sticks, leaves, and other debris. During the winter, they can also be used to prevent snow and ice from damaging the fabric of the pool cover.

By applying the safety cover after each use, homeowners can reduce the wear and tear on the automatic pool cover, extending the life of the fabric. However, a safety cover isn’t a cheap addition to the pool cover system; it will typically cost about $1,500 to $2,500, depending on the size of the pool.

Maintenance

Ongoing pool maintenance costs, including automatic pool cover maintenance, are less of a factor during the initial installation phase of the project, but it’s important for a homeowner to plan regular maintenance service calls at least one to three times per year, depending on the frequency of use. This maintenance service will cost about $150 to $200 each time a technician comes out to inspect and perform maintenance on the pool cover.

During a maintenance appointment, the technician will typically clean the tracks, grease the rope reels and slide chains, and inspect the alignment of the sliders and tracks. However, the fabric of the pool cover can become thin, stretched, and worn over the years. If a homeowner doesn’t notice the wear and tear occurring, they may be in for a costly surprise during a regular maintenance appointment. In addition to working pool pump costs into the initial pool-building budget to protect the pool, homeowners can also invest in one of the best pool cover pumps to help keep the cover in good condition for longer.

Repairs

When ongoing maintenance is not enough to prevent problems with the pool cover system, the homeowner may end up paying for automatic pool cover repairs, like new ropes, pulleys, sliders, or a replacement motor. Typically, homeowners can expect to spend about $75 to $100 per hour in labor costs for automatic pool cover repairs. Additionally, they will need to pay for the cost of any replacement parts.

Replacing the pool cover fabric can cost between $2,000 and $5,000. This costly repair often needs to be completed every 5 to 6 years. About every 3 to 5 years, the pool cover will require new ropes, pulleys, and sliders, which can cost about $100 to $500. Also, around the ten-year mark, pool owners will want to be prepared to replace the motor for about $450.

Pool Cover PartExpected LifespanAverage Cost
Fabric5 to 6 years$2,000 to $5,000
Motor10 years$450
Ropes, pulleys, and sliders3 to 5 years$100 to $500

Automatic Pool Cover Cost by Type of Track

There are three main types of pool cover tracks for homeowners to consider when they are looking for an automatic pool cover system. The most common option is on-deck tracks, but they aren’t the most aesthetically pleasing. Recessed tracks and undertrack pool cover systems don’t detract from the look of the pool, but a homeowner will end up spending significantly more for these track systems. Homeowners will want to take their time to decide on the right pool cover track type for their swimming pool.

Pool Cover Track TypeAverage Cost
On-deck$7,000 to $8,000
Recessed$19,000 to $25,000
Undertrack$20,000 to $25,000+

On-Deck

Installing an on-deck automatic pool cover system is the most affordable choice for this project. This system, as indicated by the name, sits on top of the deck and has a pool cover housing located on one side of the pool. When the system is activated, the pool cover retracts into the house, exposing the pool water. Due to the location of this type of track, it is not considered an attractive option for those who want to preserve the aesthetic of the pool. However, on-deck automatic pool cover systems are appealing for anyone looking to save on the overall cost of the installation. These systems tend to range in price from just $7,000 to $8,000.

Recessed

Taking a big step up in initial cost, recessed automatic pool cover track systems are made for convenience and aesthetic appeal. The tracks are located partially underground so that they lie flush with the deck. However, the $19,000 to $25,000 price range can be a significant deterrent, especially for anyone with a preexisting pool. This is because recessed tracks are designed to be installed when the pool contractors are pouring the concrete for a new pool. While homeowners can retrofit an existing pool with a recessed track system, this requires cutting into the deck and can add to the total cost of the project. Homeowners will want to consider their options carefully before deciding a recessed track system is right for their pool.

Undertracks

Another premium track type is known as an undertrack system. These pool cover tracks are embedded in the pool wall, so they are almost completely out of sight. Even the housing for undertrack systems is located underground, emphasizing the sleek, modern appeal of the pool setup. However, undertrack systems cannot be installed on existing pools. Additionally, the cost of an undertrack automatic pool cover system can range from $20,000 to more than $25,000, depending on the size of the pool. If this cost doesn’t dissuade a homeowner from investing in an undertrack automatic pool cover system, they’ll want to make sure to purchase a safety cover to keep their investment in good condition for years to come.

Benefits of an Automatic Pool Cover

A pool offers exercise, relaxation, and family fun, but to keep the pool water clean and reduce energy use, a pool cover is an ideal addition to your pool setup. Automatic pool covers can also increase the safety of the pool, reduce the need for pool chemicals, and help extend the lifespan of the pool equipment. Homeowners will want to consider the following key benefits before deciding if an automatic pool cover is worth the investment.

Energy Savings

Investing in an automatic pool cover is a good way to increase energy savings and help eliminate needless waste. The pool cover acts as a barrier and an insulator to increase the efficiency of the pool setup. Using an automatic pool cover after users exit the pool can prevent the pool water from losing heat, by reducing the amount of heat lost to the open air.

Simply by acting as an insulator, an automatic pool cover can decrease the pool heating costs by about 50 percent to 70 percent. Additionally, a pool cover will help to prevent the pool water from evaporating, which means the homeowner can reduce the amount of water they need to refill by about 30 percent to 50 percent.

Increased Safety

One of the benefits of having an automatic pool cover is that it can help prevent kids, pets, and adults from falling into the pool. A standard automatic pool cover may be made with a lightweight mesh material that is best for allowing sunlight and water to filter through. This type of cover provides moderate safety in the form of a physical barrier or obstruction. However, if the individual is too heavy or the weight is not spread out, they may sink into a mesh pool cover.

A solid automatic pool cover doesn’t allow sunlight or water through, but it does provide better safety for kids, pets, and adults in the pool area. The solid material can support the weight of an adult without collapsing or tearing, so if a clumsy party guest stumbles into the pool, it will feel more like walking on a water bed than stepping into a full-size pool.

Decreased Pool Cleaning 

Leaving a pool completely uncovered is never recommended because dust, dirt, leaves, sticks, insects, pollen, and other debris can be swept or blown into the water. Investing in an automatic pool cover makes it easy to put the cover back on the pool after swimming, reducing the amount of dirt and debris that enter the water. The cover acts as a physical barrier to prevent leaves, sticks, and other objects from falling into the pool.

This decreases the amount of pool cleaning that is required to keep the pool functional and safe for swimming. It also reduces the strain on the filtration system, extending the life of the pool equipment by limiting the amount of waste that gets pulled into the filter.

Protection from the Elements

Rain, snow, sleet, ice, hail, and heavy winds are constant factors that can damage a pool deck. Excess rain and snow can also impact the water chemistry balance, increasing the amount of chemicals necessary to keep a pool water safe for swimming. By investing in an automatic pool cover, homeowners can reduce the number of chemicals required to maintain their pool.

While a pool cover is still susceptible to damage, a homeowner can pair it with a safety cover to prevent sleet, ice, hail, and snow from damaging the pool cover and the edges of the pool deck. A pool cover will also help protect the pool liner by stopping ice and snow from sliding into the pool during the winter months.

Pool Equipment Protection

Automatic pool covers can be used to directly shield the pool and the edges of the pool deck from ice, sleet, hail, and snow, extending the life of the deck and liner. Rainwater can still find its way into the pool, but having a cover reduces the amount of rain and melted snow that drains into the pool. A pool cover can also protect the pool equipment, such as the filtration system.

This is possible by reducing the general wear and tear on the pool equipment. Pool covers catch dust, dirt, leaves, sticks, and other debris, so the filtration system doesn’t need to work overtime to keep the pool clean. Even saltwater generation systems can benefit from having a pool cover. The cover keeps rainwater and meltwater out of the pool, reducing the amount of salt required to maintain the existing chlorine levels.

Automatic Pool Cover
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Automatic Pool Cover Installation: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional 

A simple solar blanket is easy to purchase, unfold, and slide on the pool, but when it comes to automatic pool cover installation, DIYers will want to steer clear. These systems are complex, requiring substantial training, knowledge, and experience to successfully install. While a homeowner may be able to tackle involved projects around the home, automatic pool cover installation is a specialized task that cannot be handled by the average DIYer.

In fact, if a homeowner purchases and installs one of these systems by themselves, it can lead to permanent damage and expensive repair or replacement costs. The main reason these systems are better left to the professionals is the tracks, motor, drive system, and a number of moving parts that all work together to automatically extend or retract the pool cover. Homeowners will save themselves time and hassle by hiring a professional pool cover installer.

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How to Save Money on Automatic Pool Cover Cost

Installing a new automatic pool cover is a heavy investment that, while effective for protecting the pool and keeping people, kids, and pets safe around the pool, may be more than your budget can handle at an average cost of $15,000. To help manage this cost, you may be able to work out a payment plan or financing agreement with the installation company, but there are other ways to help make this job more affordable. Check out the tips below to help save money on automatic pool cover costs.

  • Compare prices from multiple brands. There are a variety of automatic pool cover brands and manufacturers to choose from. Take your time researching products to find a high-quality pool cover for a reasonable price.
  • Get quotes from at least three installation companies. Labor rates and installation costs can vary between pool cover installation companies. Make sure to research and obtain quotes from three or more local pool cover installation companies to ensure you are getting a fair price.
  • Plan the installation for the off-season. Pool and pool cover installers tend to be busiest during the summer months when the weather is good. If you are looking to save, consider scheduling the pool cover installation for early spring or late fall, when demand is low.
  • Choose an affordable track system. If you don’t have the room in the budget for an undertrack pool cover, then it’s best to scale back to a more affordable option instead of pushing the limit on your finances.
  • Select a basic key control system. Similarly, you can choose an inexpensive key control system, if your budget cannot handle the additional cost of a touchpad or smart control for the pool cover.

Questions to Ask About Automatic Pool Cover Installation

Automatic pool cover installation isn’t a well-known industry, so before homeowners hire an installation company to put in the new automatic pool cover, it’s a good idea for them to create a list of key questions to ask before, during, and after the work is complete. Most questions can be answered by perusing the manufacturer’s website or speaking directly to the pool installation company. Homeowners can consider the following list of commonly asked questions about pool cover installation when planning this pool upgrade project.

  • How long will the pool cover fabric last?
  • When will the motor need to be replaced?
  • Have you been in business long?
  • Can you provide references?
  • Are you a member of the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP)?
  • Are you insured?
  • Do you provide workers’ compensation to your employees?
  • Can I see a line-item estimate?
  • Do you offer financing?
  • Do you require a deposit up front?
  • Will you send someone to my house to inspect the area before I hire you?
  • Do you subcontract any part of the project?
  • What track system is best for my pool?
  • How long will the ropes, pulleys, and sliders last?
  • Do I need to remove the cover during the winter?
  • How much is a pool cover touchpad?
  • What kind of warranties or guarantees are offered with this pool cover?

FAQs

There are many different variables for homeowners to consider when looking into pool cover products and planning a pool cover installation. By researching and compiling this product and installation information, a homeowner can put together a reasonable budget to complete this project. However, to ensure there aren’t any surprises, it’s recommended that a homeowner find out more about automatic pool covers and pool cover costs. The answers below to some of the most commonly asked questions about automatic pool cover installation can help homeowners prepare for this project.

Q. How long does it take to install an automatic pool cover?

Generally, it takes only about 2 days to complete the installation of an automatic pool cover. However, the timeline can be difficult to determine because the installation requires 2 nonconsecutive days of work to complete. If a homeowner has opted for an on-deck installation for an existing pool, then the pool cover installation may be able to be finished in a single day, depending on the installers. Homeowners will want to speak to the pool cover installation company to get a time estimate before starting the project.

Q. Do automatic pool covers break easily?

An automatic pool cover is designed for frequent extension and retraction. Some products are also made to support the weight of an adult to help prevent clumsy guests from stumbling into the pool. With this in mind, it should come as no surprise that automatic pool covers are durable and long-lasting. The most sensitive part of the cover is the fabric. If a sharp object pierces the fabric or too much weight is applied, stretching it beyond its limits, then the homeowner will need to pay to have the fabric repaired or replaced, depending on the extent of the damage.

Q. Is it expensive to maintain automatic pool covers?

Automatic pool covers are an expensive initial investment that can last over 10 years if they are properly maintained. During this 10-year period, the maintenance and repair costs can reach up to $5,000. If the pool cover fabric needs to be replaced around the 5- or 6-year mark, then this fix can cost between $2,000 and $5,000 on its own, so before investing in an automatic pool cover, homeowners will want to make sure their finances can handle the cost of maintenance.

Q. How long does an automatic pool cover last on average?

On average, homeowners can expect an automatic pool cover to last about 5 to 6 years before the fabric needs to be replaced. The motor and drive system can typically last over 10 years with regular care and maintenance. Additionally, these more intrinsic parts of the pool cover assembly are often backed by a manufacturer warranty.

Q. Do automatic pool covers work in winter?

The average automatic pool cover can be used in winter if it has the proper slack, allowing it to be flexible and movable when the weight of snow and ice is added to the surface. If a homeowner wants to ensure the cover does not get damaged during the winter months, they’ll want to consider retracting the automatic pool cover and using a winter cover for the duration of the cold season.

Q. Do automatic pool covers increase home value?

An automatic pool cover alone isn’t usually enough to increase the value of the home, but it can be flaunted to potential buyers as a highlight of the pool setup. Given that an automatic pool cover increases pool safety while decreasing energy costs, this addition may be just what is needed to encourage the sale of the home.

Sources: Angi, HomeAdvisor, RoyalPools and More, Royal Swimming Pools, Latham