Install an Above-Ground Pool Cover Reel in 4 Steps

Lead Image for Install an Above-Ground Pool Cover Reel in 4 Steps
  • 8-12 hours
  • Beginner
  • 400-500
What You'll Need
Safety Glasses
Tape Measure
Assorted Wrenches

There are many types of pool cover reels. Some are designed to mount to posts installed at one end of the pool, and some attach directly to the top edge of the pool. Additionally, some reels clip onto the pool rail, and others have to be connected using screws or bolts. The basic instructions for installing a pool reel are listed below, with notes on variation for different models of reels.

Step 1: Cover Layout

Measure the width of your pool cover reel. Mark the pool rail on each side, where the reel brackets will be mounted. Make sure the reel will not interfere with other components of the pool, such as the ladder or the pump system. If possible, roll out the cover to make sure it fits and to help you establish the best locations for the reel and the locking latches on the other end.

Step 2a: Snap-On Reels

Many styles of pool cover roller mount directly on the top rail of the pool with special snap-on clips. Typically, this type of clip hooks over the bottom of the outside pool rail. It snaps down and locks into place by snapping over the bottom of the inner rail. Some reels of this type combine a snap-connector with additional screws to provide a better grip.

Step 2b: Screw On Reels

When you position your solar pool cover reel, be sure that the mounting feet are lined up straight. If the reel is mounted out of the square, the reel may not operate properly, or it may even jam or break. Most mounts use 3 to 6 screws and mount directly into the top of the pool rail.

Depending on the style and model you install, the process may be slightly different, such as connecting with bolts instead of screws, or additional braces attaching to the reel mounts.

Step 3: Pool Cover Latches

Once the reel has been installed, install cover latches at the far end of the pool. When the cover is extended over the pool, these latches will let you fasten the loose end of the cover to the top of the pool to keep it in place. Not all pool reels come with locking latches, but it is a good idea to install them, adding a new level of care and safety to your pool.

Step 4: Test the Reel

Install the pool cover on the reel, if it isn't already. Roll the cover-up with the reel, being careful to keep it feeding straight and wrinkle-free onto the roll. Once this is done, unroll the cover and make sure that it connects easily to the locking latches. In some cases, you may have to make minor adjustments to the reel, but this is rare, and may not be a problem for your particular installation.