On good-weather days, an above-ground pool can be one of the best spots in the yard and a magnet for splish splash-happy kids, so during extended periods of inactivity, it deserves some extra protection. A good cover will do the trick, maintaining warm water, preventing evaporation and offering a safety barrier for children and pets as well as blocking leaves, insects, pests and contaminants from invading your water sanctuary. And when rain, snow or sleet starts to fall, both you and the pool will be completely covered.

This topper provides four feet of overlap for pools with circumferences of between 12 and 33 feet. Robelle

Before getting a cover, know the size of your pool. If it has a circumference of 15 feet, you shouldn’t get a cover with a circumference that is any less than 19 feet. An overlap of at least four feet will minimize stress on the cover and ensure against ripping, which will extend the life expectancy.

This option is designed to weather the weather , and it’s full-rated for two years. Blue Wave

Solid covers are most effective at keeping debris out of pools, but the downside is that it all collects on top, as will rainwater, which might present a bit of a challenge when removing them. Mesh covers are less expensive and lightweight, making them easier to take off, but you’ll have to decide if preventing the accumulation of precipitation and smaller particles is a benefit worth allowing both to seep through. Solar covers help retain warmth in heated pools, and because they don’t need to be secured, they’re more manageable.

Heat-sealed seams on this choice offer an added barrier against water seepage. Dirt Defender

A UV-protector keeps the sun from prematurely fading and aging your pool cover, and water-resistant scrim coating adds another layer of preservation. To prevent the water from turning a yucky shade of green, a cover with a dark underside will block sunlight and slow the growth of algae.