Which Automatic Pool Cover System is Better: Hydraulic or Electric?

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Which Automatic Pool Cover System is Better: Hydraulic or Electric?

In the world of automatic pool covers for your backyard swimming pool the consumer has a lot of choices. Things such as different colors being available for the pool cover fabric itself and whether to locate the motor and gear system on the deck or recessed and hidden are common questions the pool owner will be asked when purchasing an automatic pool cover system. You will have a choice between an electric or hydraulic motor and gear system too. So which one is best for you? The answer to this question is a lot like asking which is better, white bread or whole wheat, there are only subtle differences between the two and a lot of the decision comes down to personal preference. Let’s take a look at some situations that may favor one type of system over the other.

Both style pool cover reel systems are usually made of high quality and durable materials. They are both energy efficient and reliable. Other than the hydraulic motors having the capacity to produce hydraulic pressure and the addition of hydraulic tubing, there is not a lot of difference between the two systems in the rest of the reel system and cover tube parts.


Both systems use electrical motors and drive gears to make the system work. Hydraulic Systems tend to be more expensive than their electric counterparts because there are more components and parts in them. Things such as hydraulic hoses have to be durable and able to withstand high pressures so they are not cheap for the manufacturer to purchase. If just purchasing the system is straining your budget then you may want to stick with a basic electric drive system.


Many manufacturers who make both style automatic cover systems tell us that the hydraulic system works the best on larger size pools and for applications where the covers are extremely heavy. Hydraulic pressure to drive the gears tends to apply more constant and smoother operation when it comes to moving the larger size and heavier covers on and off the swimming pool.


One of the selection criteria for choosing between a hydraulic and electric drive system is if it is going on new construction or a retrofit on to an existing pool. For new pool construction there usually are no restrictions as to which system to use because you have so many options as to where and how you will locate the drive system; recessing it or making it so that it rests on the pool deck is a matter of choice as opposed to having to work with constraints.

When retrofitting an automatic cover system on to an existing pool then constraints such as how much free area there is near the pool, to do some additional construction or not, and other factors, start to become significant in the decision making process. An example of this is a pool owner who does not wish to do any construction to the existing pool deck or have the motor and drive system located on the deck at one end of the pool; in this case a hydraulic system located and constructed somewhere else is the only choice that is left.


Once again, if there is no electrical access near the swimming pool to use an electric cover system or the pool owner does not want any more electric wiring near the immediate swimming pool area, then the only choice is a hydraulic drive system in that situation.

When making these decisions about the features you want for your automatic pool cover don’t sweat it too much. Most manufacturers and dealers have knowledgeable sales personnel that can help you through every step of the process.

If you have any more questions about electric or hydraulic drive systems or are interested in talking to someone about purchasing an automatic pool cover from Pool Cover Specialists, then feel free to call us at 1-800-369-5152 or click the button below and one of our dedicated team of experts will contact you at your indicated time of convenience.




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