Swimming Pool Blog

Gas Pool Heater Cage Match: Raypak vs. Hayward

3 Ways to Heat a Pool
by Mark Garcia November 09, 2016

As a follow-up to my post last month on 3 Ways to Heat a Pool, today's blog is about 3 Gas Heater brands you'd take a look at when buying one for your pool. There's several brands of pool heater available, so let's throw the top 3 into the ring together. Raypak vs. Hayward - a Cage Match, fight to the finish!

These gas heaters below all essentially work the same way, they ignite a gas burner tray on the bottom of the heater, and the flames heat up the air inside of the combustion chamber, or fire box. At the top of the combustion chamber, 6-9 copper or titanium finned tubes circulate the pool water, absorbing the heat from the flames beneath.

It's their unique differences that I'm interested in exploring today, what differentiates each brand in their form and function, or features and benefits? Let the Battle Begin!



Raypak Digital Pool Heaters 206A-406A

Raypak Digital Pool Heaters

Raypak pool heaters is the oldest continuous manufacturer of pool and spa heaters in the United States. Beginning in 1947, Raypak has been making water heaters and boilers for nearly 70 years.

Now part of the Rheem family, Raypak has been a leader in pool and spa heating, and is one of the few field specialists that didn't sell out to Hayward, Pentair or Zodiac, instead remaining fiercely independent.

Raypak heaters are known for their quality construction and easy serviceability. When I was coming up in the pool business, the Raypak RP2100 heater was known as the "serviceman's friend". 

Raypak Digital pool heaters boast 83% thermal efficiency, among the best in class.


  • PolyTuf Textured Powder Coating - retains its beauty and locks out sun and moisture.
  • Rust Free Waterways - All Copper, Capron & Stainless Steel provide for a ferrous metal free heater.
  • Condensation Free - Water Temperature and Flow are precisely controlled to prevent condensation, soot and scale buildup.
  • Easy Burner Tray Removal - and Sensor, Hi-Limit, Pressure Switch too. All components thoughtfully located and accessible.
  • Self-Diagnostic Controls - Microprocessor monitors all components, flow, pressure, temperature, voltage, flame strength


Hayward Universal H-Series Pool Heaters 150-400

Hayward was started in 1925 by Irving Hayward as a steel manufacturing company. In 1964, the Davis brothers Robert & Oscar bought the company and began marketing an entirely new concept in pool equipment construction - plastics.

Before Hayward came along, nearly all pumps were bronze, filters were stainless steel and pipes were copper. In the new plastics age, polymer plastics were replacing metals.

Hayward became a major player in pool pumps, filters, cleaners, chlorinators, everything for the pool. Everything except for pool heaters, that is. In 1990, Hayward buys Comfortzone pool heaters, and a few years later launches the Totally Hayward campaign to remind pool builders that Hayward makes every piece of equipment they may need.

Hayward Universal H-Series pool heaters are the latest and greatest from Hayward. Standard with a cupro-nickel heat exchanger and an 83% efficiency rating. A new 500K BTU size is now available for larger pools.


  • Universal Wiring - 110V or 220V with junction boxes on both sides of the heater.
  • Cupro-Nickel Heat Exchanger - More resistant to salt and low pH levels than copper.
  • Low NOx Emissions - Complies with Texas and California emission standards.
  • Low Profile Design - stands just 24 in. tall and 21 to 26 in. wide.
  • Light Weight Design - Plastics reduce weight; 160 lbs for the H-400.




I know I promised you a cage match, a fight to the finish - but it turns out that all 3 of these heaters are good friends, and they refused to fight!

I'm a self-professed Raypak guy, and quickly recommend the Raypak Digital and Low Nox heaters for their performance and serviceability. If your pool has a salt chlorinator, you may want to look at the Hayward H-Series models with their cupro-nickel heat exchanger. And, if you live in Texas or California, you'll need a Low N0x pool heater to meet air standards.

Both brands are solid, well built pool heaters from manufacturers that you know and trust, and they all have a 1 year (limited) warranty, so you can buy with peace of mind.



Thanks for Reading!

Mark Garcia