Nothing beats the hot muggy summer air than going for a quick dip in your backyard pool, but if you’re an avid swimmer whose body and muscles yearn to touch water all year long, the only surefire you can do so is by getting a pool heater.
Here, we’re going to take a look at two highly popular pool and spa heater models, namely, the Hayward W3H150FDN and the Pentair 460792. Both are natural gas pool and spa heaters that offer different heating capacities. Read our comparison of the Hayward vs. Pentair to see which of the two you should get to keep your pool’s water at a comfortably warm temp.
Before settling on a particular pool and spa heater model, make sure you know how large or small of a unit you need in terms of BTUs. The Hayward is rated at 150,000 BTUs and should be more than capable of bringing the average 20 x 40-foot in-ground pool’s temperature up by 15° throughout the entire year.
The Pentair is slightly larger than the Hayward, BTU-wise. It’s a 175,000-BTU beast that can raise the temperature of you in-ground pool after only a couple of hours of waiting. The 25,000-BTU disparity between the two can mean a lot, especially if you have a pool with a larger surface area and live in colder climates.
Conclusion: Determining whether you can get by with the 150,000-BTU Hayward or absolutely need 175,000 BTUs from the Pentair depends on a number of factors, including where you live in the world, how cold/hot it gets, and how much quickly wind passes by your pool. Nevertheless, the Pentair’s higher BTU rating guarantees more efficient heating in pools and spas, though admittedly by a very narrow margin.
Next, you’ll want to see how much floor space you can dedicate to your pool and spa heater. Most gas pool heaters leave quite a large footprint, but finding a spot for it nearby your pool shouldn’t be too much trouble. The Hayward measures in at 31 x 29 x 31 cubic inches. That’s pretty compact considering its quick-heating performance.
Surprisingly, the Pentair is the more space efficient model, though, once again, by a negligible amount. The dimensions of the Pentair are 36 x 30 x 25 cubic inches and sits comfortably near in-ground pools to limit how much gas and water piping you need.
Conclusion: Finding a spot to place the Hayward or Pentair isn’t going to cause too much headache, especially since they’re both extremely compact by pool heater standards. If you want to get technical about it, the Pentair leaves a tinier footprint and is just as easy to install and therefore the “better” of the two.
Cupronickel Heat Exchanger
Cupronickel heat exchangers have a thermal efficiency of between 82 and 84%, meaning that a majority of work output is going into heating your pool or spa. Cupronickel is also very anti-corrosive and will help with heating saltwater pools.
Low NOx Emission
A Low NOx label ensures that the pool and spa heater meets or surpasses quality standards. Low NOx is also more efficient than traditional pool heaters and will bring your pool’s water up to the desired temp more quickly.
How you treat the Hayward and Pentair will play a significant role in the heaters’ longevity, but in a general sense, both of these units should work for more than five years with minor maintenance issues here and there. In addition, neither of these two uses sheet metal so there’s no risk of rusting.
The digital control panel on both the Hayward and Pentair allow you to set up the desired temperature of your pool or spa (spa going as high as 104°). Setting up the machine is pretty straightforward, even if you’ve never owned a gas pool heater before.
Still, you should read all of the paperwork before directing a gas line into either of these badboys.
The one thing most customers rave about is the accuracy of each of these machine’s thermostats. They both offer real-time readouts of current water temp with a tiny 1 to 2° deviation.
Considering how much water flows through these pool and spa heaters every minute, the tiny error is more than tolerable.
Hayward vs. Pentair Pool and Spa Heaters: Which Should I Get?
As you can see from our review, the Hayward W3H150FDN and the Pentair 460792 are very similar to one another. The only significant differences between the two are a) their maximum heat output (BTU) and b) their physical size. After you’ve determined whether your pool would benefit more from 150,000 or 175,000 BTUs, your decision is practically already made.