Do I Need A Winter Pool Pillow?

At LinerWorld, we strongly recommend above ground pool owners use a winter pool pillow under their pool cover. Today we’re sharing some benefits of winter pool pillows and how to properly install them!

What Is a Pool Pillow?

They’re pretty basic. They’re an inflatable pillow, usually made out of vinyl. You place the vinyl air pillow under your cover during winterization so it creates space between your cover and the water. They can be used with round pools, oval pools, and rectangular-shaped pools.

Do I Need A Pool Pillow?

While they’re not 100% necessary, winter pool pillows are incredibly helpful. They help protect your pool from expanding ice and promote even weight distribution, which is why we highly encourage them for pool owners. We’ll dive more into these benefits below.  

Why Use Pool Pillows for Above Ground Pools

1. Protect Your Above Ground Pool From Expanding Ice

This is the most important reason to use an air pillow in your above ground swimming pool, especially if you live in an area where temperatures get below freezing. When you opt not to use one, the pool cover sits right on top of the water. When that’s the case, ice will expand outward, which can put a lot of pressure on your vinyl pool liner and your pool wall. In extreme cases, it may damage your pool beyond repair.

When a winter air pillow is properly in place toward the center of the pool, it holds the cover slightly off the surface of the water. As the water freezes and expands, the pressure is then exerted inward on to the pillow, rather than on the liner or the wall. For this reason, you may hear winter pool pillows referred to as “ice compensators” or “ice equalizers,” since that’s really the goal.

2. Even Water Weight Distribution

Secondly, the debris and water from winter precipitation tend to collect right in the center of the pool when you don’t use an air pillow. All that water in one spot can weigh down and tear your winter cover. Generally not the end of the world, but certainly makes it messier and more complicated when it comes time to open your pool.  

A winter pool pillow will help distribute the water more evenly, putting less pressure on one specific area of your cover and making it easier to pump out when you open your pool in the summer.

3. Keep the pool cover from falling into the water

Air pillows for above ground pools also help keep your cover afloat and prevent it from falling in the water under the weight of leaves, snow, and other debris. Since your cover is your first line of defense against winter weather and debris, this is important to keep your pool clean, well-maintained, and hassle-free to open in the spring.

How to Use a Pool Pillow

Using a winter pool isn’t hard.

  1. Inflate the pool air pillow with an air pump.
  2. Tie a rope to the grommets on the edges of the pillow.
  3. Place the pillow as close to the center of the pool as you can.
  4. To hold the pillow in place, secure the rope to the edge of the pool. Be careful not to damage your liner in the process.
  5. Add your winter pool cover over top of the pillow. Try to avoid moving the air pillow during this process.

Can I use an inflatable toy or float instead of a winter air pillow?

While it may be tempting to use something you already have on hand, like an exercise ball, beach ball, or pool float to help distribute the water, that won’t work the same as a specially-designed air pillow. In fact, using an exercise ball or other type of inflatable instead of a pool pillow may end up causing damage to the inflatable item, your cover, or your liner, so it’s best to stick to an actual winter pillow.  

What Size Pool Pillow Do I Need?

You shouldn’t need many air pillows to be effective, but larger pools may require multiple pillows. Check out our chart to find how many winter air pillows you need and what size is best. Of course, if your pool size isn’t listed or you have questions, you can always contact us or leave a comment and we can help you out!

Pool Size Suggested Air Pillow Size
12′ Round 4′ x 4′
18′ Round 4′ x 8′
24′ Round 4′ x 8′
27′ Round 4′ x 15′
15′ x 30′ Oval 4′ x 8′
16′ x 24′ Oval 4′ x 8′
16′ x 32′ Oval 4′ x 8′
18′ x 33′ Oval 4′ x 15′

Happy Pool Closing!

So there you have it.  Winter pool pillows aren’t that expensive and may end up saving you time and major repair costs down the road.

Browse our full selection of winter pool covers and air pillows or click below to buy now. Have a great winter season!

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Recommended Reading:
Everything You Need to Know About Winterizing Your Above Ground Pool


Last Updated 12/28/2020

2 responses to “Do I Need A Winter Pool Pillow?”

  1. Jeffrey Siegenthaler says:

    Will be okay I put 12 pcs of air pillow under above ground pool cover? So like keep cover above wall pool it be no water or leaf on cover! It good or bad idea?

  2. This is an interesting product. I will get that for my pool. Thanks for posting this!

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