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AquaCal vs Hayward Heat Pump: Which Brand Makes a Better Pool Heater?

  • 11 min read

Considering installing a pool heater? Beyond simply warming your pool, a heater can significantly extend your swimming season, allowing you to enjoy your backyard oasis in the cooler months of spring and fall.

If you’re in the market for a pool heater, chances are you'll find yourself comparing AquaCal and Hayward heat pumps—two of the top names in the industry. Both brands are well-regarded for their reliable performance and quality manufacturing.

When it comes to an AquaCal vs Hayward heat pump, how do the two products measure up? We take a deep dive (pun intended) into the features and benefits of the brand’s signature pool heaters so you can decide which is the best fit for your pool needs.

In this article:

What you need to know about buying a pool heater

When choosing a pool heater, it’s important to consider several key features to ensure you select the suitable model for your needs.

Energy efficiency will be top of mind for those choosing pool heaters due to utility bills and cost savings. But let’s look at some of the other things you’ll want to pay attention to:

  • Type of Heater: The type of heater you choose—whether it's an electric heat pump, natural gas, propane, or solar heater—will depend on your specific needs and local conditions. Each type offers different benefits in terms of cost, efficiency, and environmental impact.
  • Size: Choose a heater with the appropriate size and power for your pool's volume. An undersized heater will be less efficient and take longer to heat the pool, while an oversized one can lead to unnecessary energy consumption.
  • Energy Efficiency: Opt for heaters with a high Coefficient of Performance (COP) for heat pumps or those with high energy factor (EF) ratings for gas heaters. These metrics indicate the efficiency with which a heater converts energy into heat, impacting operational costs.
  • Cost: Initial purchase price and ongoing operation cost considerations are crucial. Solar heaters often have higher upfront costs but lower ongoing costs compared to gas and electric heaters. Though potentially more expensive upfront, energy-efficient models can offer considerable energy and cost savings over time.
  • Durability: Look for a heater made from corrosion-resistant materials suitable for your local climate, especially if you have a saltwater pool or live near the ocean.
  • Warranty: Check the manufacturer's warranty, as a longer warranty can provide peace of mind and protection against defects.
  • Compatibility: Ensure the heater is compatible with your existing pool infrastructure, such as the filtration and pump systems, to avoid additional costs or modifications.
  • Maintenance: Assess the installation costs and the maintenance demands of different heaters. Solar heaters might require less frequent maintenance than gas heaters, which need regular checks and servicing to maintain efficiency and safety. Also, consider the maintenance needed to keep it running efficiently, including regular cleaning and occasional repairs.

Considering these factors can help you choose the best pool heater for your needs. Next, let’s take a closer look at the AquaCal and Hayward brands.

Overview of AquaCal Heat Pumps

Since 1981, AquaCal has established itself as a leader in pool heat pumps, serving over 375,000 customers globally and becoming the preferred choice for quality and reliability.

AquaCal heat pumps are known for their cost efficiency, offering significant long-term savings due to their operational efficiency. They are designed to consume less energy, which reduces costs and also extends the pump's lifespan.

Made in Florida, USA, each AquaCal unit represents American quality, ensuring robust performance and accessible support.

AquaCal offers a versatile range of heat pumps, catering to both small residential pools and larger commercial setups. The brand has two main lines:

Overview of Hayward Heat Pumps

Hayward has been a prominent player in the swimming pool industry for over 80 years, known for its commitment to quality, innovation, and customer support. Here are a few of the things that make Hayward heat pumps stand out:

  • Made in the USA: Hayward heat pumps combine technological advancement with domestic craftsmanship, ensuring high-quality production.
  • Versatile Product Range: Its heat pumps are designed to cater to various pool sizes and types, providing a suitable option for every pool owner.
  • Energy Efficiency: Hayward focuses on energy efficiency, engineering products that offer optimal heating performance while reducing energy consumption and lowering operating costs.
  • Customer Support: Hayward is known for its approachable and knowledgeable service, which enhances customer satisfaction.

AquaCal vs Hayward Heat Pump Expertise Compared

An important thing to note is that Hayward is a pool equipment manufacturer that has recently developed a heat pump division. On the other hand, AquaCal manufactures nothing but heat pumps and is a specialist in that specific equipment.

AquaCal’s niche focus is part of what leads AquaCal pumps to perform better across the board than their Hayward counterparts.

We’ll discuss this more below as we compare and contrast AquaCal pool heaters vs Hayward in depth.

AquaCal vs Hayward Heat Pump: Which Brand Makes a Better Pool Heater?

AquaCal focuses exclusively on electric heat pumps, whereas Hayward’s range includes electric, natural gas, and propane options.

For a more equitable comparison, we will focus on the electric models from each brand: the AquaCal HeatWave SuperQuiet SQ145 Pool Heat Pump versus the Hayward HeatPro Pool Heat & Cool Pump W3HP31005T.

Though not an exact match, these models were selected for their pricing, size, and performance similarities, providing a fair basis for comparison.

When comparing the AquaCal and Hayward heat pumps, we’ve narrowed it down to focus on the following key factors:

  • Energy Efficiency: How well the units convert energy into heat—impacting cost and environmental impact
  • Cost: Initial investment and ongoing operational expenses—affordability plays a key role, as buyers need to choose a pool heater that fits within their budget.
  • Durability and Warranty: Longevity of the units and the protection offered by the manufacturer—impacting confidence in the product.
  • Customer Support and Reviews: Feedback from users and the quality of customer service—real-world performance and service quality, helping buyers make informed decisions.

First, let’s look at the models' key features, and then how they measure up in terms of the key factors above.

AquaCal HeatWave SuperQuiet Key features

AquaCal HeatWave SuperQuiet

  • Patented ThermoLink Titanium Heat Exchanger
  • Corrosion-Proof Cabinet and AquaTop
  • Microprocessor Controls
  • PoolSync Ready
  • Efficient Hydraulic Design

The AquaCal HeatWave SuperQuiet is one of the most sophisticated pool heater pumps on the market. It’s known for its durability and efficiency, largely due to its patented ThermoLink Titanium Heat Exchanger. This feature significantly enhances corrosion resistance, which is vital for longevity in harsh chemical environments. It ensures the heat pump operates optimally for years, reducing the need for frequent replacements or repairs.

In terms of control and convenience, the heater offers microprocessor controls and PoolSync readiness. These allow for precise temperature adjustments and remote control via a smartphone (with the additional purchase of a WiFi controller) for ease of use. The heat pump’s efficient hydraulic design optimizes compatibility with variable-speed pumps for maximum energy efficiency, reducing operating costs.

Hayward HeatPro Pool Heat & Cool Pump Key Features

Hayward HeatPro Pool Heat & Cool Pump

  • Compact, Round Design
  • Ultra-Gold Evaporator Fin and Titanium Heat Exchanger
  • Self-Diagnostic Codes
  • Dual Electronic Thermostat
  • Multi-Speed Fan

The Hayward HeatPro Pool Heat & Cool Pump features a compact, round design that fits neatly into various spaces, making installation versatile. Its Ultra-Gold Evaporator Fin and Titanium Heat Exchanger are built to withstand corrosion, although they're standard in the industry. This ensures a reliable but expected level of durability and performance.

Additional features like self-diagnostic codes and a dual electronic thermostat facilitate easier troubleshooting and consistent temperature control. The multi-speed fan adjusts to changing conditions, providing basic efficiency in operation.

While more efficient than a gas heater and operating automatically with the pool pump, the Hayward HeatPro Pool Heat & Cool Pump doesn’t perform great in colder climates and temperatures. While its features are useful, they do not necessarily set the Hayward apart in the market.

Energy Efficiency: AquaCal vs Hayward Heat Pump



Coefficient of Performance (COP)

Energy Star Rating

Electricity Usage (KW)

Heat Output (BTUs)

AquaCal HeatWave SuperQuiet






Hayward HeatPro Pool Heat & Cool Pump






  • Understanding COP: Measuring Energy Efficiency
    Energy efficiency in heat pumps is measured by the Coefficient of Performance (COP), which indicates how effectively the pump converts electrical energy into heat. A higher COP indicates a more efficient heat pump, as it means the pump is providing more heating while using less energy.
  • Comparing Efficiency: AquaCal vs Hayward Heat Pump
    The AquaCal HeatWave SuperQuiet has a COP of 7.0, which is higher than the Hayward HeatPro's COP of 6.4. This indicates that the AquaCal pump is more efficient, as it produces more heat per unit of electricity consumed.
  • Cost-Effectiveness and Operational Efficiency
    In practical terms, the AquaCal model not only produces more heat but does so more efficiently, making it a more cost-effective choice over the long term. While both units are comparable in their electricity usage, the AquaCal's ability to generate more heat per kilowatt translates into greater heating efficiency. This efficiency is crucial for reducing operational costs and enhancing the heating capability of your pool.

    Although seemingly small on paper, this difference represents a significant disparity in operational efficiency. Over time, this gap in energy consumption can lead to substantial savings on electricity bills for AquaCal users, making it a more cost-effective and environmentally friendly choice.

Takeaway: Both products offer high COP values, indicative of excellent energy efficiency, but AquaCal's SuperQuiet model slightly edges out with a higher COP. Opting for AquaCal not only enhances pool heating efficiency but also offers substantial long-term savings and environmental benefits.

Longevity and Warranty


Labor Coverage

Parts Coverage

Compressor Coverage

Titanium Heat Exchanger Warranty

AquaCal HeatWave SuperQuiet

2 years

7 years

7 years


Hayward HeatPro Pool Heat & Cool Pump

2 years

2 years

5 years

10 years

When comparing the warranty and longevity of the AquaCal HeatWave SuperQuiet and the Hayward HeatPro Pool Heat & Cool Pump, AquaCal offers superior coverage.

AquaCal provides a comprehensive warranty with an impressive 7 years on parts. Most notably, it offers a lifetime warranty on its Titanium Heat Exchanger, reflecting the durability and quality of its core heating component.

Hayward's warranty terms are less generous. It matches AquaCal in labor coverage at 2 years but falls short in other areas, providing only 2 years of parts coverage and 5 years for the compressor. The warranty on its Titanium Heat Exchanger extends to 10 years, significantly less than AquaCal's lifetime promise.

This difference in warranty length highlights AquaCal's confidence in their products' longevity and performance, making it a more attractive choice for those seeking assurance and value over the lifespan of their pool heater.

Takeaway: AquaCal surpasses Hayward in warranty coverage, offering a lifetime warranty on its Titanium Heat Exchanger and a seven-year parts warranty. This comprehensive protection makes AquaCal a more appealing choice for consumers looking for long-term reliability and value in their pool heating investment.

Cost Considerations





AquaCal HeatWave SuperQuiet

HeatWave SuperQuiet



Hayward HeatPro Pool Heat & Cool Pump

HeatPro Pool Heat & Cool Pump



While the AquaCal HeatWave SuperQuiet is priced higher compared to the Hayward HeatPro Pool Heat & Cool Pump, the extra investment is justified by significant long-term benefits.

AquaCal’s model boasts superior energy efficiency, as evidenced by its higher Coefficient of Performance (COP), meaning it converts energy into heat more effectively. This translates into lower operational costs over time. Additionally, the robust warranty coverage, including a lifetime warranty on the titanium heat exchanger, underscores its durability and reduces potential costs related to maintenance and part replacements.

Furthermore, the AquaCal HeatWave SuperQuiet is equipped with advanced features such as microprocessor controls and PoolSync readiness, enhancing user convenience and operational efficiency. These features not only contribute to a more tailored and efficient heating experience but also support environmental sustainability by minimizing energy wastage.

Considering these enhancements, the $735 price difference becomes a worthwhile investment. Ultimately, opting for the AquaCal model ensures a more reliable, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly pool heating solution, making it a smarter choice for discerning pool owners looking for value and performance.

Takeaway: Although the AquaCal HeatWave SuperQuiet has a marginally higher initial cost, the price difference is offset by substantial benefits like superior energy efficiency, enhanced features, and a robust warranty promise.

Customer Support

AquaCal has consistently demonstrated a commitment to superior customer service, a key aspect often highlighted in user testimonials.

Reviews frequently mention that AquaCal's customer support team is accessible during peak seasons, indicating efficient staffing and effective customer service strategies. This responsiveness not only alleviates customer concerns quicker but also underscores AquaCal's dedication to user satisfaction.

AquaCal also offers extensive online resources such as troubleshooting guides, maintenance tips, and FAQs, which help users understand and manage their pool heating systems effectively.

At Outdoor Direct, we complement this by providing personalized assistance, ensuring that any additional support you need with your AquaCal unit is just a call or click away. Combined with AquaCal’s robust support infrastructure, this ensures that you have a seamless and satisfying customer service experience, making it a preferable choice for those seeking dependable and accessible support.

The Final Verdict: Which Brand Makes the Better Pump?

At this point, it should be clear which pump is better between AquaCal vs Hayward. We believe that AquaCal outshines its Hayward counterpart for three key reasons:

  • Energy Efficiency
    AquaCal stands out with its higher coefficient of performance (COP) and lower kW usage for a higher BTU output than Hayward. This results in significantly lower energy usage for greater heat output, leading to energy savings and long-term cost efficiency.
  • Innovation and Tech
    AquaCal showcases its commitment to technological advancement with features like the patented ThermoLink Titanium Heat Exchanger and PoolSync compatibility. These innovations enhance the pump's durability and user convenience, contributing to its operational longevity and ease of maintenance.
  • Robust Warranty
    AquaCal's extensive warranty, including a lifetime guarantee on the titanium heat exchanger, underscores the brand’s confidence in its products. This comprehensive coverage offers peace of mind for customers and underscores the pump's reliability and long-term performance.

While Hayward pumps are reliable and globally recognized, investing in the best means choosing AquaCal for its unmatched efficiency, advanced features, and strong warranty protection. For a significant investment like a pool heat pump, AquaCal is the clear leader.


Are Heat Pumps Easy to Install?

While it's possible to install a pool heater like AquaCal’s by yourself, it's generally recommended to hire an expert. Professional installation ensures that the heater is set up correctly, adhering to safety standards and local regulations. This not only optimizes the efficiency and performance of your pool heater but also helps prevent potential issues that could arise from incorrect installation. Using a qualified technician can save time and reduce the risk of costly errors, making it a worthwhile investment for the long-term operation of your pool heater.

What is the most efficient type of pool heater?

Pool heaters come in three primary types: gas, solar, and electric. Gas heaters heat pools quickly but are less energy-efficient. Solar heaters excel in cost-efficiency and environmental friendliness but rely heavily on sufficient sunlight, limiting their reliability in less sunny climates. Electric heat pumps generally stand out as the most efficient type. They operate across diverse climates, maintain consistent performance, and are quieter than gas heaters, making them a preferred choice.

Discover the Difference in Reliable, Efficient Pool Heating Today at Outdoor Direct

At Outdoor Direct, you’ll gain access to the best selection of pumps online from AquaCal - at the lowest prices possible. We are passionate about empowering you to make the most of your time outside, and we offer the solutions necessary to accomplish this.

That includes the full range of AquaCal pumps in our catalog, ranging from the HeatWave SuperQuiet to the TropiCal series. You can even check out our AquaCal chillers if you have problems keeping your pool comfortable during the summer.

Beyond our diverse product range, our commitment to customer satisfaction sets us apart. Our support team is always ready to assist you, offering expert advice to guide you through the selection process.

We understand that investing in a pool heat pump is a significant decision and strive to make it a seamless and informed experience for you. So, get in touch today and experience the warmth of a well-heated pool and the assurance of a smart investment with Outdoor Direct.

That’s our verdict on an AquaCal vs Hayward Heat Pump. If you’re looking to upgrade your pool heating experience with a pump that combines efficiency, reliability, and advanced technology, there’s just one thing left to do…Explore Outdoor Direct's selection of AquaCal heat pumps today and discover the ideal solution for your pool!

Still not sure which heat pump is right for you?