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AquaCal vs Pentair Heat Pump: Which Manufacturer Makes the Better Pool Heater?

  • 9 min read

Pool heaters are essential for extending the swimming season, ensuring comfort, and increasing the value of your pool. As you search for the ideal pool heat pump, though, you’ll be met with a variety of options.

AquaCal and Pentair emerge as leading contenders, each with a strong history in crafting dependable and energy-efficient heating solutions. The question is, which manufacturer truly delivers the best pool heater - AquaCal vs Pentair heat pumps? 

We’ll compare and contrast these brands side by side, weighing factors such as cost, energy efficiency, customer support, warranties, and more. 

By the end of this guide, you’ll see why AquaCal pool heat pumps are the #1 choice on the market, far exceeding the value and capabilities of their Pentair counterparts. You’ll also see why homeowners and businesses alike trust Outdoor Direct for their pool heating needs!

Overview of AquaCal

Before we compare and contrast AquaCal vs Pentair directly, let’s offer a bit of background info on each of these storied manufacturers. 

AquaCal has been a trusted name in the game since 1981 and is viewed as the go-to brand for pool owners seeking reliable and energy-efficient heating solutions. 

With a commitment to excellence that has spanned over four decades, AquaCal has serviced over 375,000 satisfied customers worldwide, a testament to its user-focused approach and design quality.

The brand's reputation for producing the most cost-efficient swimming pool heat pumps is anchored in its patented ThermoLink® Heat Exchanger technology, which exemplifies 

AquaCal's dedication to high performance and durability. This commitment to innovation is further showcased in their two main series of heat pumps: the AquaCal HeatWave SuperQuiet and the AquaCal TropiCal.

The AquaCal HeatWave SuperQuiet series is the sophisticated choice for those seeking the pinnacle of pool heating technology. It is renowned for its whisper-quiet operation and advanced features, making it a premium product in the market. 

On the other hand, the AquaCal TropiCal heat pump is designed for simplicity and affordability, providing a reliable heating solution without the additional frills.

AquaCal's heat pumps are not only high-performing but also energy-efficient, harnessing free heat from the air to warm your pool, which underscores the brand's commitment to sustainability. Every unit is 100% tested before leaving the factory in the USA, ensuring unmatched reliability and superior durability.

The company's extensive range caters to various needs, from small residential pools to large commercial facilities, and even includes options for creating cold plunge pools for therapy. 

AquaCal's industry leadership is further reinforced by its unbeatable warranty, offering customers peace of mind and a clear indication of the brand's confidence in its products. 

While we hate to bury the lead this early, the trust is, these are the best pool heat pump models on the market. Still, let’s introduce the other half of the AquaCal vs Pentair heat pump debate. 

Overview of Pentair

Pentair is another trusted name in the pool industry, delivering a suite of innovative, energy-efficient solutions designed to enhance the pool experience. 

With a focus on smart technology and sustainability, Pentair aims to provide pool owners with peace of mind, allowing them to enjoy their pools with minimal concern for maintenance and operation.

From energy-efficient pool pumps to advanced automation and lighting systems, Pentair places control and enjoyment directly into the hands of the pool owner. 

Its product lineup is engineered not only for performance but also with an eye on environmental responsibility, ensuring that every swim or spa session is both delightful and eco-friendly. But, let’s narrow our focus to just highlight their pool heat pumps - as that’s what you’re here for.

Among Pentair's innovative offerings are two standout models: the UltraTemp ETi® Hybrid Heater and the UltraTemp® High-Performance Pool Heat Pump.

Pentair leads the way in pool heating innovation with its UltraTemp ETi® Hybrid Heater, the industry's first dual-fuel heater that combines the rapid heating of gas with the efficiency of a heat pump. 

This versatile heater offers both propane and natural gas options, quick heat-ups, and a corrosion-resistant titanium heat exchanger. Its smart controls allow for easy integration with Pentair systems, and it provides four heating modes to suit different needs and preferences.

The UltraTemp® High-Performance Pool Heat Pump is another energy-smart choice from Pentair, notable for its use of eco-friendly refrigerant and a titanium heat exchanger that ensures longevity. 

Its user-friendly LCD control board, temperature maintenance AutoSet feature, and compatibility with automated control systems make it a convenient option. The heat pump operates effectively in various conditions, backed by AHRI-certified performance.

That being said, is one of these models right for you - or should you stick with AquaCal? Let’s compare and contrast AquaCal vs Pentair heat pumps below to leave you with complete clarity as to which is best for your unique needs.

AquaCal vs Pentair Heat Pump: Which Manufacturer Makes the Better Pool Heater?

We want to preface this comparison by saying both AquaCal and Pentair make great heat pumps for pools. These are reputable manufacturers with a history of producing efficient, reliable pumps. However, AquaCal has the edge. You’ll see why by the time you finish reading below! 

While some of this comparison will be a general overview of the two brands, we’re also going to compare specific models against each other for a more apples-to-apples comparison. We’ll use the AquaCal SQ225 vs the Pentair UltraTemp 140.

Efficiency and Performance

Both AquaCal and Pentair offer high-efficiency heat pumps, but the AquaCal SQ225 stands out with its patented ThermoLink Titanium Heat Exchanger, which is engineered for durability and peak performance. 

The SQ225 boasts a high Coefficient of Performance (COP) of 6.5, indicative of its energy efficiency, and delivers 143,000 BTUs of heat. In contrast, Pentair's UltraTemp 140 has a strong performance record with a titanium heat exchanger and is certified by AHRI for its BTU and efficiency performance. 

That being said, its COP rating of 5.8 is well below that of AquaCal’s - meaning you’ll pay more to operate this pump over the long run. But, which has a lower upfront pool heat pump cost?

Cost Considerations

Regardless of which brand or model you go with, it’s important to realize that a pool heat pump is a long-term investment. Further to that point, heat pumps are far more cost-effective than other heating solutions. 

Still, you want to get the best bang for your buck - so which is more affordable between the AquaCal vs Pentair heat pump? It’s hard to say, as Pentair does not display pricing on its website or allow its distributors to display pricing. 

While we know that the AquaCal SQ225 is $6,262, we don’t have an exact figure for the Pentair 140. We do know, however, that customers have reported getting quoted higher prices for the Pentair unit compared to the AquaCal. So, not only is the SQ225 more efficient - it’s more affordable.

Customer Support

Both Pentair and AquaCal have great customer support services, with support available on their respective websites. Should you run into any technical issues you’ll get help fast.

But beyond the brand you buy, it’s important to consider who you’re purchasing the unit from. This will likely end up being your main point of contact for support, so shop with a reputable brand that always puts the customer first like Outdoor Direct.

Unique Features

AquaCal's HeatWave SuperQuiet SQ225 is distinguished by its patented hydraulic design, which exerts only 2 PSI at 45 gpm, significantly increasing compatibility with two-speed and variable-speed pumps.

This innovative design allows for considerable energy savings, especially when paired with a variable speed pump, as it reduces the RPM necessary to achieve the desired flow rate. 

The SQ225 also features the exclusive AquaTop design, the world's only integrated top that not only optimizes airflow for maximum efficiency but also prevents debris from entering the unit, which can cause damage and inefficiency over time.

AquaCal's PoolSync feature, when paired with the additional PoolSync WiFi Controller, allows for convenient smartphone control, enhancing customer interaction with their product.

The Pentair UltraTemp 140 Heat Pump also offers several unique features that set it apart. One of its standout features is the use of an ozone-friendly refrigerant, which aligns with environmental conservation efforts. The UltraTemp 140 also includes an LCD control board that displays an intuitive, full-word message system for easy operation and monitoring.

Furthermore, the UltraTemp 140 is designed with a patented AutoSet feature which monitors water temperature and turns the pump on and off as needed, overriding the time clock to maintain the desired temperature. It's this kind of smart technology that can lead to energy savings and improved user convenience.

Pentair's UltraTemp heat pump has a self-diagnostic capability to simplify troubleshooting, should any issues arise, and it is compatible with Pentair's automation systems, allowing for easy integration into existing pool systems for centralized control.

It just becomes a matter of aligning your decision with the features that matter most to you as a consumer. This is something we can help you navigate if you want personalized guidance - so don’t hesitate to reach out for more insights.

Noise Level

What’s the point in having a warm pool if the incessant noise from your pump deters you from actually enjoying it? While all pumps make some level of noise, AquaCal has taken steps to develop the quietest pool heat pump technology on the market.

In comparing AquaCal vs Pentair heat pump noise side by side, you’ll hear a dramatic difference in how much louder the latter is. This is because the AquaCal SQ225 is equipped with a Scroll Compressor designed for quiet operation, which is a significant consideration for residential pool environments where noise can be a concern.

Reliability and Longevity

The AquaCal SQ225's reliability is enhanced by its robust, corrosion-proof cabinet, designed to withstand harsh environmental conditions without rusting or fading. 

This durability is complemented by the patented ThermoLink Heat Exchanger, made of titanium, which is known for its exceptional resistance to chemical corrosion, particularly from pool chemicals. The Microprocessor Controls add an additional layer of reliability, allowing the unit to operate under optimal conditions with less manual intervention.

Pentair's UltraTemp 140 also demonstrates reliability with its 100% titanium heat exchanger and the renowned Emerson® Copeland Scroll® Compressor, which is recognized for its efficiency and quiet operation. 

The UltraTemp heat pump is designed to operate effectively even at lower temperatures, thanks to its automatic defrost feature that prevents the unit from freezing.

Both units are built to last, and you are getting a dependable pool heating solution regardless of which you go with. Still, we lean towards AquaCal for the simple fact that this brand has more than 40 years of experience in designing, installing, and maintaining pool heat pumps specifically.


The warranty terms are a testament to the manufacturer's confidence in their products. It’s what gives you peace of mind knowing your investment is protected.

AquaCal's confidence in the durability of their heat exchanger is reflected in the standard 7-year warranty along with the offer of an extended 10-year warranty on the evaporator coil, which is a standout feature in the industry. 

This warranty is supported by the unique AquaTop design, which provides additional protection to the internal components, ensuring a longer lifespan for the heat pump.

Pentair matches this with a strong warranty offer as well, providing 10-year compressor parts and labor warranty and a lifetime warranty on the titanium heat exchanger. 

This comprehensive coverage ensures that customers can trust in the long-term performance and value of their UltraTemp 140 heat pump. So ultimately, this is a wash.

So, Which is the Better Brand: AquaCal vs Pentair?

We hope this comparison of AquaCal vs Pentair heat pumps has left you with clarity as to which aligns with your needs. 

AquaCal is our recommendation for those prioritizing quiet operation and energy efficiency, as models like the AquaCal HeatWave SuperQuiet heat pump boast a patented hydraulic design that reduces energy consumption when paired with variable-speed pumps. 

Additionally, the exclusive AquaTop design enhances airflow and protects against debris, which can improve the unit's longevity and efficiency. 

While we talked primarily about the SuperQuiet series, the AquaCal TropiCal heat pump stands as an impressive, budget-friendly solution for those who are willing to sacrifice a bit of performance and sophistication to save money upfront.

Even in comparing AquaCal vs Hayward heat pumps, you’ll discover that AquaCal is the #1 brand in the industry. 

So, whether you’re looking for a small pool heat pump, commercial pool heat pump, above-ground pool heat pump, or anything in between, you can trust Outdoor Direct for the best pricing and world-class customer service every step of the way. We can also assist you with pool heat pump sizing.

Explore our catalog and see which solution best fits your needs by taking our quiz or getting in touch for a personalized recommendation. It’s time to experience your pool in a whole new way!

Bringing Our Comparison of AquaCal vs Pentair Heat Pump to a Close

In closing, when comparing AquaCal and Pentair heat pumps, consider AquaCal for its energy efficiency and quiet operation, alongside innovative features like the AquaTop design. 

That being said, we do want to give credit where is due. Pentair stands out for its environmentally friendly refrigerant, smart controls, and strong warranty. Both brands offer robust, reliable solutions for pool heating needs.

However, your pool demands the most efficient, reliable, and cost-effective solution - and that’s AquaCal without a doubt. So, what are you waiting for? Elevate your pool experience with a top-tier heat pump from Outdoor Direct today.