Winter Cover vs. Safety Cover

Safety Cover vs. Winter Cover

As the days cool down and summer comes to an end, that nagging feeling creeps up and a bunch of questions starts to form in the back of your mind.

Do I have to close my pool soon?

Should I purchase a safety cover or a winter cover?

What are the advantages of purchasing a safety cover over a winter cover? Do they make a cover for my pool shape?

How long do custom covers take to make?

Are they really worth it?

We always see an increase in calls and requests for winter and safety covers around this time of year. And with every call, we become more aware of the questions and concerns most pool owners have.

What Is a Safety  Cover?

Solid Safety Cover

Safety covers are woven mesh or solid vinyl which secures to your pool deck with straps to anchors. The straps are approximately five feet apart around the entire perimeter of your pool. Safety covers prevent accidental drownings and also provide extra protection for kids, pets, and neighbors.

Additionally, safety covers prevent debris, dirt, and leaves from entering the pool. It also helps prevent algae from growing in your pool once the temperature rises again in the spring. They also improve the appearance of your pool area during the offseason.

All covers come complete with brass anchors, stainless steel springs, an installation tool, and a storage bag. Both the mesh and solid covers are strong enough to support up to 4,000 lbs, while the commercial grade can withstand up to 5200 lbs. All of our safety covers meet or exceed all federal safety pool cover performance standards including ASTM F 1346-91.

click here to view our swimming pool solar, winter, and safety covers

Solid or Mesh?

Safety covers come in two styles, solid and mesh. Although their durability is the same, there are some minor differences between the two that you should know about before making a purchase.

Mesh Safety Cover

The mesh safety covers were made from premium U.V.- inhibited polypropylene. The weave on the cover screens out almost all of the algae-producing sunlight, making spring start-up that much easier.

They are generally lighter in weight than solid covers and easy to install and remove. Mesh covers are also typically less expensive than the solid covers and are rather easy to maintain as they allow snow and water to drain through.

Our solid safety covers were made with from a super strong material that is 35% stronger yet 33% lighter than your typical solid safety pool cover. There is an integral mesh square panel in the center of the cover that ensures the cover drains for easy removal while it screens out all but the finest dirt and debris.

The square panel removes the need to purchase an additional cover pump as well. The solid material blocks out all algae-producing sunlight, for a healthier and cleaner pool.

Custom Safety Covers

We offer custom safety covers for non-traditional size and shape pools and also for customers with already existing anchors from their original cover. Please complete the custom safety form and return it back to us. The typical turn around time on quotes vary between 24 – 48 hours.

If you are looking to replace your safety cover and already have drilled in your anchors, the only way for us to match your anchor points is to provide us a template replica of the original cover. Without this sketch, it would be impossible to match the anchors up.

Did You Know?

Did you know pool owners can be held liable for accidental drowning or injuries if their pools are not properly secured and protected? This is called the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine. This doctrine states that landowners may be held liable for injuries to children trespassing on land if the injury is caused by hazardous objects or conditions.

One of the key benefits to purchasing a safety cover is the extra security you are providing not just to your family, but to your pets, neighbors, or uninvited trespassers that may come around.

Winter Pool Covers

It is essential to limit the amount of dirt and debris that gets into your pool. A pool winter cover protects your water and ensures an easier time opening your pool in the spring. Unlike safety covers, winter covers provide no additional security or safeguards against accidental injuries or drownings.

In-ground and aboveground covers are similar in design and purpose, however, they differ in how they hold in place. Most manufacturers recommend water bags to secure the cover in place. In above ground pools, owners place their winter covers over the pool and tighten. Next, you weave a thin cable through the grommets along the perimeter of the cover. Finally, you tighten the cover with a winch.

Winter pool covers are still one of the most popular means of covering your pool during the winter months. They are good for budget-conscious pool owners who are looking to save some money towards the end of the year. They are also much easier to install than safety covers and usually last 1-3 years, depending on your environment.

click here to view our swimming pool solar, winter, and safety covers

Solid or Mesh?


Manufacturers make winter covers from solid or from rugged mesh and come in a variety of colors. Our rugged mesh cover has a tightly woven scrim that holds the cover together, ensuring no gaps or holes develop over time.

The rugged mesh allows only rain water and very fine silt to pass through, eliminating the need for a cover pump. The cover is super lightweight and easy to remove in the spring.

Arctic Armor makes their covers from a rugged mesh and with UV protection. They are strong enough to handle ice, snow, sleet and high winds. Additionally, all covers have a 4-foot overlap and include a cable and winch tightener.

Our solid covers have the strength and durability as covers costing twice as much. The covers eliminate sun rays from permeating the cover and also creating a long-lasting product. The cover’s black underside prevents algae growth and heat sealed seams mean a healthier pool. The extra four-foot overlap ensures a proper fit and helps the cover from stretching and ripping like other covers.

Mesh Covers


  • Costs less than a solid cover
  • Lightweight, easy removal
  • Lasts longer than solid covers


  • Longer spring clean up (due to dirt and debris passing through cover into pool)

Sold Covers


  • Minimal spring clean up
  • Little dirt or algae build-up
  • Center drain panel means you don’t need a cover pump


  • Heavier, two-person removal
  • Models without a center drain panel require a cover pump

Are Pool Covers Covered?

All covers purchased from come with a pro-rated manufacturer’s warranty. The warranty covers typical wear and tear, manufacturer’s defect, tearing or ripping on the seams, and holes caused by loose threading. Unfortunately, the warranty does not cover physical damage to the cover. To typically submit a warranty claim, manufacturers require pictures of the cover defect.

Hopefully, by now you have an understanding of the differences between winter pool covers and safety covers that will guide you in choosing the cover that will benefit your pool the most. Let us know if you need help deciding which cover to purchase. We are available at 877-372-6038 or you can reach us on our website

click here to view our swimming pool solar, winter, and safety covers

38 thoughts on “Safety Cover vs. Winter Cover

  1. We have a 16×36 Grecian with a corner step. The pool has mesh safety cover only. Has anyone tried laying a winter cover with water bags over a mesh safety and used a pool cover pump on top to drain?

  2. We have a new grand baby so our underground pool is now a safety concern. With the safety cover, is that something that can be put on or taken off after every swim? We have an automatic pool cover but it’s on it’s last leg so we’re considering our options.

    1. The installation over a safety cover is labor-intensive making them impractical for everyday use. A pool fence would be a better fit for your needs. These fences are relatively easy to initially install and can be quickly put up or broken down when needed.

      inground pool fence

  3. We are in the process of installing an in-ground pool. I’m interested in the mesh safety cover as we have 3 kids (3,6,and 9) and my neighbor has 5 kids (all under 7). I’m curious as to how much time it takes to remove and replace the cover.

    1. It is not a cover for everyday use. Safety covers are for long term installations like the end of the pool season. It took about a half-hour to an hour to get the cover in place after getting the anchors in place and attached a spring and buckle to each of the straps.

  4. DjH 12/17/2019
    We have a safety cover w a mesh center. The rain & snow seeps inside the pool through this mess after it’s been closed. What happens to excess water after the Fall & Spring rain & the Winter snow? It’s only mid- Dec & it seems like the pool is filled to capacity & the runoff will now sit on the cover & my pool area. Correct?

    Will I be dealing w algae when I open the pool in the Summer w all the “ foreign matter” ?

  5. I’m curious about the safety cover hook up that screws into the concrete. Once you take the cover off, is there anything left in the concrete? Is all the hardware removal?

  6. Could a safety cover be installed on a semi in ground pool where the top of the pool sticks out about 1ft above the ground? There are pavers around the pool.
    I’m buying a home where this is the setup and I have two small children. Looking for the safest way to go about this. If I could, I would get a safety cover for when it’s closed and a removable safety fence for when it’s open. What do you think?

  7. Thank for your advice to date. I too have a mesh safety cover. Firstly, I was wondering what the expected lifespan for such a cover is? And secondly, my mesh safety cover has been providing a good environment for algae growth before opening my pool. Is there any way to prevent or slow down this springtime problem. There seems to be no UV inhibition at all. Thanks for your help.

    1. Like most things, the lifespan of a product is dependant on how it is maintained. Pool safety covers should see about 10-15 years of use.

      Mesh covers have different levels of UV protection. Some covers boast of 98 or 99% UV ray protection. A lot of users believe they do the job the manufacturers are bragging about. But the most effective for blocking UV-rays is the solid type. But since you are in Ontario, that probably isn’t an option because of heavy snowfall.

  8. I need a safety cover for my pool. A new toddler. For easiest spring clean up is it a solid one I want or a mesh one with something under it

  9. Can I use a black solar cover under my mesh safety cover during the winter. The purpose of this would be to block sunlight more effectively and lead to less algae during opening up pool? Is there any risk to this ? (I.e. Tearing liner when freezes , rain water that goes through mesh cover on solar will submerge solar cover!) Thank you.

    1. I’ve never heard of someone doing this but I guess it could work. I do not see any risks in it, but since this is the first time coming across it, that does not account for much, haha.

      Unless a solar cover is severely damaged, e.g., missing a lot of the air bubbles it shouldn’t sink to the bottom.

    2. I came here looking for an answer to my question, and I see that Chris has already asked it! I’m wondering if he tried using the additional cover last winter and if so, how well it worked? We have used a safety cover for several years on our 20×40’ pool, and have been disappointed with how dark-green the water is on opening, compared with our previous solid cover, that always started the season for us with crystal clear water. I have been thinking about buying a large tarp to add either under or on top of the safety cover to keep the light out. This year was especially bad as I spent a full month and many $$$$ on chemicals, trying to fix the problem. This recent heat wave certainly isn’t helping!

      1. Hi Julie –

        Just wanted to bump Julie`s post to see if anyone has used a winter cover underneath a mesh safety cover to prevent algae growth and fine debris from getting to the clean water underneath. In Canadian climates where snow load is a issue, I`m concerned about the melt water contaminating the pool; with organic material in the meltwater flowing through the mesh cover, I imagine the algae would not need much sunlight to grow.

        1. I have been adding a dark solar cover under the mesh safety cover for years. Pool store calls it a mesh mate. No green except in the very corners where the cover moves. It is just a pain to clean it in the spring.

  10. hi Matthews ,I have a wooden deck fully surrounding a 18×33 oval above ground pool, what kind of wood deck anchor would I need. Thanks vito

  11. Are winter covers kinder to the coping? My safety cover straps are wearing thru the aluminum coping at an alarming rate.

    1. The only above ground pool safety cover installations I have seen have been on pools with full circumference decks. The decks are normally wood, and each strap requires a special wood deck anchor.

    1. You can use a solid safety cover on an empty pool but not a solid winter cover. Winter covers depend on water to be able to float the weight of the cover and accumulating debris. Winter covers can not be free-suspended over a pool because the fabric is too thin to take the stress.

      1. I spoke with a local pool company, and they said they could install a mesh safety cover on an empty pool, but not a solid one because the solid one requires water to be in the empty pool. They said even with the mesh cover, they would require a signed waiver because it also requires water to be in the pool. Are solid and mesh covers too heavy and guaranteed to fail without water in the pool? How long do they typically last before failure?

        1. that is not true, solid safety covers can be installed over empty, partially filled or full pools. Just like their mesh brothers, they are suspended over the water and provide their own support.

          You may be crossing up a solid winter cover for the solid safety cover. Winter covers require water in the pool to compensate for the weight of the cover and debris. The water bags on winter covers are not heavy enough to handle that kind of load.

    1. Yes, you can use a safety cover as a winter cover. Most homeowners use their safety covers as a defacto winter covers when they shut down the pool iat the end of summer. You will still need to do the standard pool closing chemicals treatment whether you use a winter or safety cover.

  12. I have a general purpose pool cover right now. However, I think I want to try a solid cover for the winter. I love the fact that there won’t be much clean up when I remove the cover in the spring.

  13. So the basic difference between safety covers and winter covers are that one can support a person’s weight. Since there aren’t any young children at home, I don’t suppose a safety cover is absolutely essential. Then again, it wouldn’t hurt to play it safe. We will have to compare prices and see.

    1. A safety cover can hold up to 4,000 pounds so it can hold quite a few people; but yes, essentially that is the main difference between winter and safety covers. Its ability to hold weight also prevents the possibility of animals falling into the pool. If a deer steps onto a winter cover, and the water bags giveway then the deer could drown, causing a whole different set of ugly circumstances. I have seen news stories where they prevent cars that wreck into a backyard from jackknifing into the water.

    2. A safety cover will lower your liability and exposure to “attractive nuisance” lawsuits if someone else’s child comes on your property.

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