Ideal Swimming Pool Temperatures (A Complete List)

My father-in-law is a keen lap swimmer. He loves to keep swimming no matter the season. That had me thinking about what the perfect swimming pool temperature is and whether he’ll be too cold if he swims after summer ends. What temp should your pool be?

The ideal swimming pool temperature is between 75.2 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Celsius) and 82.4 degrees Fahrenheit (28 degrees Celsius). At this range, the water temps are good for swimming and relaxing and will still feel refreshing, even on a hot summer day.

In this guide, I’ll tell you which temperature you should set your pool for lap swimming, cooling off in the heat, or just standing around and enjoying the feel of the water. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll know how to measure and control your pool temperature.

Measuring pool temperature using a pool thermometer

A Handy Chart for Swimming Pool Temperatures

Swimming ConditionsPool Temp in CelsiusPool Temp in Fahrenheit
Swimming quick laps, although the temps are cold!21 degrees69.8 degrees
Using the pool without shivering24 degrees75.2 degrees
Extended lap swimming without overheating 26 degrees78.8 degrees
Swimming on hot days and feeling refreshed27 degrees80.6 degrees
Swimming laps, but can be warm28 degrees82.4 degrees
Sitting in the pool only29 degrees84.2 degrees
Best for a hot tub (too hot for the pool)30+ degrees86+ degrees
Ideal pool temperatures.

The Ideal Pool Temperature for the Summer

Temperatures of around 80.5 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius) for your swimming pool in the summer are ideal. The pool water won’t be so cold that you’re shocking your system, but it’s not lukewarm either.

In some parts of the US, the average daily temps in the summer are upwards of 82 degrees Fahrenheit (28 degrees Celcius) with humidity well over 65 percent.

Part of the reason you might have decided to invest in a swimming pool in the first place is to beat the heat. I know that’s why I considered a pool for my own family.

Between the heat and humidity, being outside in some parts of the country during the summer can be unbearable.

Of course, I know it’s not only the United States where the temps are that hot. In Australia, mercury rises very high during the summer.

You want your swimming pool to be a place of refuge from the high heat and humidity. If the water is too warm, then you’ll feel like you’re sitting in bathwater at best. At worst, you’ll begin overheating.

You’ll want to exit the pool in search of air conditioning or maybe an ice lolly to cool you down.

That’s why around 80.5 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius) in the summer is ideal.

The temps are warm but just cool enough so the water feels refreshing, especially if you’ll just be standing around.

Even temps of around 28 degrees Celsius or 82.4 degrees Fahrenheit feel refreshing. Once you begin swimming or playing though, you might warm up in this slightly warm water, especially on a very hot and humid day. 

The Ideal Pool Temperature for the Winter

As I mentioned in the intro, my father-in-law doesn’t quit swimming even in the winter. He loves doing laps for exercise.

In Winter, a pool temperature of around 28 degrees Celsius or 82.4 degrees Fahrenheit. You will begin feeling warm after swimming a few laps at this temperature, but when swimming in the winter, that’s not a bad thing.

At 21 degrees Celsius or 69.8 degrees Fahrenheit, the water is getting too cold for wintertime swimming. For most people that is. I wouldn’t recommend these temps in the summer unless you’re someone who prefers chilly waters or ice swimming.

After a few laps, you’d warm-up and not feel the cold so much, but if it’s cold outside, those temps are too low for most people.

The Ideal Pool Temperature for Lap Swimming

The ideal temperature for swimming laps is 26 degrees Celsius or 78.8 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature is warm enough to stop you from getting cold, but cool enough, so you don’t overheat when doing extended exercise.

Swimming in a pool can sort of be like going on a jog in a winter coat. You feel that blast of cold when you first step outside and assume you made the right choice wearing a coat. Then, as you continue running, you get sweaty and wish you hadn’t worn a coat.

If you go colder than 26 degrees Celcius (78.8 degrees Fahrenheit), like 21 degrees (69.8 degrees Fahrenheit), you’ll be too chilly. If the water temperature exceeds 26 degrees (78.8 degrees Fahrenheit) even a little (such as 28 degrees ((82.4 degrees Fahrenheit)), you’ll overheat after about 15 minutes of swimming laps.

The Ideal Pool Temperature for Cooling Off

Do you just want to take a quick dip in the pool to cool off after mowing the lawn or tending to the garden?

You can walk into the pool at 24 degrees Celsius or 75.2 degrees Fahrenheit and you’ll certainly feel cool. You won’t shiver as you enter the pool, but the longer you spend in the water, the colder you’ll get.

The Ideal Pool Temperature for Kids and Babies

Redirect Health recommends that the pool temperature for babies should be 85 to 87 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s 29.4 to 30.5 degrees Celsius.

Have you ever noticed how your kids will eschew a winter coat even when it’s freezing? They swear up and down that they don’t need it.

It turns out this isn’t entirely kids being kids. Children really don’t feel the cold the same way that adults do. Since they’re so active, they’re not going to start shivering.

Bearing that in mind, you still don’t want your children to freeze. Plus, what if you have very young children like babies or toddlers?

As I indicated in my chart from the beginning of this article, those water temps are usually too warm for most people to swim, as they’re about the same temperature as the water in a hot tub.

Babies can get cold very easily though, and their extremities can even turn blue. Thus, they need pool water that’s warmer than normal.

If you don’t want to warm your pool up to such a high degree because you’re concerned about bacteria, you can always put your baby in a kiddie pool.

The Ideal Pool Temperature for Seniors

It’s not only babies who need pool temperatures in that very warm range but seniors as well!

The layer of fat underneath your skin thins with age, so even in moderately cool temperatures, an elderly person could start shivering profusely. With that said, for seniors, I’d recommend a pool temperature of 85 to 87 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s 29.4 to 30.5 degrees Celsius

Rather than a swimming pool for your elderly parents, you might want to consider a hot tub!

The Ideal Pool Temperature for Standing Around

Sometimes, especially after a long day, you don’t really feel like swimming in your pool. You just want to stand and hang out, maybe have a conversation or a poolside drink.

For standing in the pool, 28 degrees Celsius or 82.4 degrees Fahrenheit, is comfortable. The water is nice and warm but not to the point where you’ll overheat. If you started swimming though, you might be a touch warm.

What Is the Safest Pool Temperature?

Now let’s talk about bacteria. In water temperatures between 77 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius and 28 degrees Celsius), bacteria can develop, says Moreland Pools. At 78.8 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Celsius), that risk is there, but just barely.

Anything under 26 degrees Celsius (78.8 degrees Fahrenheit) can be moderately cold while anything over poses a health risk. This is an interesting conundrum to find yourself in. 

You don’t want to freeze out your friends and family, but you don’t want to willingly invite bacteria into the pool either.

So what’s a pool owner to do?

That’s easy! Let your loved ones swim at a warmer temperature that feels comfortable to them.

Then, when the day is over and everyone has had their swimming fun, chlorinate your pool, and test the pH.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC, pool chlorine can kill E. coli in under a minute. It takes 16 minutes to kill off the hepatitis A virus and 45 minutes to remove traces of Giardia from the pool water.

How to Measure Your Pool Temperature

How do you even know what temperature your pool water is? With a pool thermometer, of course.

If you by chance don’t already own a handy thermometer, here are two of our favorites courtesy of Amazon for you to shop today.

eLander Large Floating Pool Thermometer

The eLander pool thermometer is an Amazon’s Choice product. Shatter-resistant, you can let this thermometer float freely in your pool or tie it to the side of your pool ladder.

eLander [Large Floating Pool Thermometer] Pro Water Thermometers, for Outdoor & Indoor Swimming Pools, Spas, Hot Tubs, Fish Ponds

The temperature display reading is large so that even if you’re a few feet away, you can still gauge the temp of your pool. The temperature limit is 50 degrees Celsius or 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Milliard Floating Turtle Pool Thermometer

Here’s a cute pool thermometer for the kids from Milliard. The ABS plastic turtle topper in natural but bright colors is sure to put a smile on any child’s face.

Of course, the plastic turtle is for more than looks. The turtle also allows the thermometer to float throughout your pool so you can always read what the water temps are.

Should you want to keep the pool thermometer in one place, a soft tether makes it easy to tie the thermometer.

The seven-inch thermometer produces readings in Celsius and Fahrenheit.

Controlling Pool Temperature

Is your pool temperature too high and you’re beginning to stress about E. Coli formation and even the development of algae on the surface?

Maybe the temps are very cold, and your elderly parents want to come over to use the pool.

In both these scenarios, you must modify the temperature of your pool fast. Here’s what I recommend!

How to Warm a Pool

No one will want to set foot in a freezing cold pool, and you can’t really blame them. A swimming pool is supposed to be refreshing, not like taking a polar bear plunge.

If you have a pool heater, now is the perfect time to turn it on.

That said, a little bit of advance notice that you’re having company is ideal.

AquaComfort Solutions, a heat pump manufacturer, notes that it can take between 24 and 72 hours for the pool water temperature to increase by 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-6.67 degrees Celcius).

If your pool is a lot smaller, then a heat pump will warm it up quickly, maybe in an hour or two.

Allow me to explain for a moment how a heat pump works. The pump heater is reliant on electricity. A fan within the pump generates energy and pulls warm air through.

The warm air reaches the evaporator coil. Refrigerant pumping through the tubes affects the warm air as well.

The refrigerant and warm air make a warm gas that’s then transferred to the compressor. The warm gas gets squashed down and as a result, is made even hotter.

Finally, the hot gas goes through a heat exchanger with a titanium tube. The hot gas warms up the pool water, which then comes out into your pool.

A solar cover is another solution for warming your pool. In about 12 hours, the water temperature can rise by five degrees Fahrenheit. But don’t expect miracles from just a pool cover.

Thus, this is another measure where the more time you have to warm your pool, the better.

How to Cool Down a Pool

What if your pool is so hot that stepping in feels like entering a sauna? You have some measures you can take over the short-term and long-term that ought to make a difference.

  • Plant trees: I just wrote a hugely in-depth guide about which tree species make the best ornamentals for increasing shade and privacy in your yard. Be sure to give that article a read if you missed it!
  • Turn off the pool heater: Listen, sometimes you can get busy when maintaining your pool and forget that you left the heater on. It happens! If the pool heater is running, then it’s no wonder your pool water feels warm. Turn the heater off ASAP.
  • Remove the pool cover: Some pool owners cover their pool whenever they’re not using it to preserve its condition. However, covering a pool filled with warm water only traps the heat, which can make the water hotter still. Take the cover off and let the air cool your pool!

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