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Mesh vs. Solid Safety Covers: Which Type Is Right for My Pool?

By Team Royal - Updated On: 09/20/23

Choosing the inground swimming pool safety cover that's best for your pool doesn't have to be a complicated process. The safety cover you choose will greatly depend on when you want to do the maintenance work. Would you prefer to do a little maintenance throughout the Winter (solid) or a lot of maintenance early Spring (mesh)?

Swimming pool safety covers come in two main types: mesh and solid. Both types of inground safety cover material protect your pool, guests, and family members (furry or otherwise). 

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Mesh Safety Covers

Whats the difference in swimming pool safety covers-2

Mesh safety covers are essentially a very large strainer. The strainer allows rain and snow to fall into the pool but none of the leaves, insects, or debris. However, run-off water, fine particles, and UV light from the sun will also find their way into your swimming pool.

These ingredients combine to make an algae/bacteria cocktail you'll be presented with come spring. I know what you're thinking, that sounds terrible.

Here's the advantage: Yes, you may have a few labor intensive days come Spring opening. However, a mesh safety cover requires much less maintenance throughout the entire Winter season. Because water passes through the safety cover, the cover rarely needs to be drained or pumped.

Common debris is usually blown off of the safety cover by the breeze. This will make your off-season routine easier! You'll only need to remove larger debris as needed. The bulk of your cleaning time will be spent during Spring opening.


  • Lighter and Easier to Handle
  • Rain and Snow Pass Through the Mesh into The Pool for Less Winter Maintenance
  • Leaves and Large Debris are Collected on Top
  • Less Expensive Than a Solid Safety Cover
  • Longer Life Span than Solid Covers (assuming cared for properly)

Solid Safety Covers

Royal Swimming Pools Solid Safety Covers

Solid pool safety covers keep everything out of your pool (for the most part). The cover itself is a solid piece which doesn't allow extra water to get into your swimming pool. This means that your pool is highly unlikely to develop an algae issue come opening season.

A solid safety cover allows you to start swimming sooner once you open your swimming pool for the season.

And because UV light isn't getting into your pool, you'll end up using less chemicals over the Winter season. This will cut down on your overall maintenance costs. 

The trade-off is that a solid safety cover requires a little bit of maintenance throughout the Winter. Since rainwater, snow, and debris won't filter into the pool, those items will have to be removed. Debris can be swept away and standing water will need to be pumped off of the cover. 

Keep in mind that excessive weight will cause the cover to sag. A saggy safety cover is more likely to fail over time. 


  • Blocks 100% Of Sunlight Preventing Algae Growth Which Can Stain Your Pool
  • Easier Spring Clean Up
  • Prevents Fine Debris from Entering the Pool
  • Stronger More Durable Material

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Mesh vs Solid Cover Types


The difference between mesh cover types is primarily how much UV rays the cover blocks. The more UV blocked, the less bacteria and algae will grow. This means you'll be adding fewer chemicals to your pool. 

Standard Mesh Standard Mesh Safety Cover  

Standard Mesh Safety Covers can also be referred to as 12 Year MeshThis type of cover is the most affordable of safety covers. 

This safety cover is recommended for pools in Winters climates that do not have heavy snowfall. Also, for people wanting to do the bulk of their maintenance in the Spring.

  • Best value safety cover
  • 89-91% UV blockage
  • Lightweight for easier installation and removal


High Shade Mesh 

High Shade Mesh Safety Cover

High Shade Mesh Covers can also be referred to as Super Mesh or 20 Year Super Mesh. This type of mesh safety cover is higher quality and high UV blockage.  This cover type has a tighter weave that blocks 99% of sunlight making it less likely for algae to grow. This results in an easier Spring cleanup than with a standard mesh safety cover.

This safety cover is best for mild to moderate Winter climates that experience moderate snowfall. Also, for people wanting to do the bulk of their maintenance in the Spring.

  • Blocks 99% of the sunlight to inhibit algae growth.
  • Strong and lightweight for easier installation and removal
  • Most popular mesh safety cover nation-wide



A solid cover is only considered a safety cover if it has a drain or a pump. This is because without one of these items, standing water on top of your cover can still pose a drowning threat.

Solid Safety Cover with Drain 

A solid safety cover with a drain will reduce the amount of water weight that gets built up onto the cover. The downside is that water is drained into your pool through the drain.

This is a good safety cover option for someone who wants to spread out the maintenance over both Winter and Spring. i.e. a little bit in both but not a lot in either.  

  • 100% UV blockage
  • Less maintenance through both Spring and Winter

BONUS: Did you know that solid cover types have different kinds of drains available? Take the GLI Sure-Flo™ Full Length Drain compared to the GLI Klenn-Screen® for example. 

Sure-Flo™ solid safety cover with drain

The Sure-Flo™ drain uses a ProMsh fabric that runs the full length of the pool, right down the center of the cover. This increases the area of drainage all while still blocking sunlight, dirt, and debris from getting into your pool. The Sure-Flo™ option is ideal for customer shape pools or larger rectangles due to the amount of surface space the drain area covers. 


Klenn-Screen® solid safety cover with drainThe patented Klenn-Screen® drain filters dirt particles (even those as small as talcum powder) but still allows water to drain off of your cover, ensuring a safe pool in the off season and a clean pool on opening day. This is the standard drain features on our GLI branded safety covers. 


Solid Safety Cover with Pump

The big kahuna of safety covers is the solid safety cover with an automatic pump. A solid safety cover with a pump provides all of the benefits of a solid safety cover with a drain. However, no water gets drained into your pool. Instead, it is pumped off of the pool cover completely.

No run-off water entering pool means that you have a cleaner pool come Spring opening. AKA less time/money spent getting your pool ready to swim in once the time comes. 

Not recommended for climates with moderate or severe winters as the pump can freeze. 

  • Least amount of Spring maintenance 
  • 100% UV blockage
  • Nothing enters your pool in the off-season, not even sunlight
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See what happens when you hold the different safety cover materials up to a light. This is a fair example of how much UV light enters your pool from one cover type compared to the next. 

Add a subheading

BONUS: Lightweight VS Hyperlight VS Heavyweight

While shopping for an inground safety cover, you may be asked about your weight preference. The types of covers being referred to are LightWeight, HyperLight, or HeavyWeight covers. 

  • LightWeight
    • Lightest material makes for easiest installation and removal
  • HyperLight
    • Higher quality than Lightweight covers but lighter than Heavyweight covers
    • Most popular choice for consumers nation-wide
  • HeavyWeight
    • Highest quality heavy-duty material

Safety Cover Maintenance 


The amount of Winter maintenance needed for your mesh safety cover is going to be determined by how much snow you get.

  • Mild Winter Region: Remove dry debris off the top of your mesh safety cover with a leaf blower as needed. 
  • Moderate to Severe Winter Region: Remove snow by pushing it off of the safety cover before it builds up. Snow is heavy, and if left unchecked, can rip or tear your cover or put too much stress on your anchors. 


As with mesh safety covers, you’ll remove debris and clear ice/snow build up to avoid any damage. However, to ensure that the drain or pump continues to work properly, solid pool covers require more maintenance during the Winter.

  • Mild Winter: Periodically check in on your cover to make sure your filter (and hose if using a pump) isn't clogged. 
  • Moderate to Severe Winter: Bring your pump indoors when the temperature drops below freezing.

Safety Cover Maintenance in the Winter


  • Standard Mesh (12 Year Mesh)
    • good option for those only concerned about safety
  • High Shade Mesh (Super Mesh or 20 year) 
    • economical safety and a little less Spring clean up
    • good option for warmer Winter climates
  • Solid with Drain (drains/filters excess water into the pool) 
    • safety and much less Spring clean up
    • good solid safety cover option for colder Winter climates
  • Solid with Pump (pumps excess water away from the pool) 
    • safety and little to no Spring clean up
    • good solid safety cover option for warmer Winter climates

Solid versus Mesh Swimming Pool Safety Covers


In a Nutshell...

If your goal is to have your backyard safe, a Mesh cover is the way to go! If your goal is to keep your backyard safe, your pool algae-free, and your chemical levels consistent, then a solid safety cover is your ideal solution!

A Mesh Cover is the Best Option for You if: 

  • You're looking to do very little maintenance over the Winter, but willing to spend more time cleaning the pool come Spring
  • You will be installing or removing the cover on your own season after season
  • You want to make your pool area safe during the off-season but want to stay as budget-friendly as possible

A Solid Cover is the Best Option for You if: 

  • You're willing to do a little extra maintenance throughout the Winter to spend less time opening your pool in the Spring
  • You will have some extra hands available to help install and remove the cover season to season
  • You want to keep your pool safe and as clean as possible to extend the life of your pool. 

Pool Cover Comparison-2Shop Safety Covers Here


Looking for more information on other types of covers? Check out these additional resources: