Solid Safety Cover or Anchor Defender Mesh?

citivasAugust 8, 2011

Shopping for a pool cover. One of the companies is offering me a choice between two products at the same cost, either a full solid safety cover with pump or an Anchor Inc. Defender Mesh. With "Defender Mesh" is supposed to be more like a solid cover, and is 98% solid. In has a 12-year warranty versus the 10-year for the solid cover and it doesn�t require a pump. It was described to me as substantially different than a standard mesh cover and I was told they typically sell it for more than the solid cover with pump but they were having a deal right now at the same cost.

It�s hard to tell from the website at and its relatively new so I can�t find a lot of reviews of it. Anyone with experience or an opinion? It would be nice to not have to deal with the pump but overall I had gone in with the bias of "avoid mesh."

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All Anchor covers rest on the water.

All Anchor covers require nearly twice as many holes drilled in your deck. The pattern is very difficult to duplicate. Even replacements from them are aggravating to get done.

Anchor wants two feet of overlap all the way around. Everyone else wants 15 to 18 inches. Some can get by with a 9" overlap. BTW, you are paying for the overlap.

Anchor covers weigh more and roll up far bulkier than everyone else's. Storage becomes an issue.

If you have a raised spa, expect pillows on either side of it to block the space. Expect to pay a lot for the scrap material they are stuffed with. They aren't the only ones that do this though.

Anchor covers have been around a long time. They have deals with a couple of national builders.

I have found them to be a PITA to deal with, as a dealer, that is. They nickel and dime you for everything, even the tampers for setting the anchors. As a homeowner, it's even worse.

As a dealer, the margins are decent but I don't like the aggravation. I prefer Loop Loc, Merlin and Meyco. Unless there is are special circumstances, all their covers are certified as safety covers. This isn't so with many of Anchor's covers.

They are a PITA to install for a single drill install. You have to do opposite sides, back and forth repeatedly. I can do 3 of the others in the time one Anchor takes.

In case you didn't notice, I am not a big fan.


    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 10:15PM
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That was the brand the PB is quoting but I am trying to get several quotes.

What is your opinion about a near-solid mesh versus a latex solid cover? The PB was suggesting the mesh would be easier, but it seems like I will be trading pumping the cover for pumping water directly out of the pool occasionally and the solid cover will result in a cleaner pool in the spring. So what's the upside of the mesh other than being lighter? Cost is the same, at least with their quote.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 10:47PM
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Latex? I suspect you meant f/g reinforced vinyl which is what most solid covers are made of. I've never heard of it being used in a cover's fabric.

I am a Loop Loc dealer. Please don't take this as a Spam.

Their solid cover, now called Ultra-Loc II used to use vinyl but now uses all polypropylene, the same stuff the mesh covers are made of. The result is no more pocketing, smaller storage space needed and about a 30% reduction in weight. I have found they weigh about 1/2 what an Anchor cover weighs and takes about 1/3 less space when rolled up for storage on the same or similarly sized pool.

I install a step pump on every pool with waterline tile, regardless of whether the cover is a mesh, solid, or solid with drain panels. This is to remove water that is displaced when a snow load happens to push a cover into the water. When the water reaches the tile line, the step pump turns on. Just make sure the garden hose that carries the water away doesn't go down the driveway/walkway or an icing condition can occur.

For a cover pump, I use the Rule 1800. For a step pump, I use Little Giant APCP-500. Both are automatic, one timed and the other uses a float switch. Both work well.


    Bookmark   August 10, 2011 at 7:33AM
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Merlin is the brand I sell and there customer service is top notch....I really like the Smart Mesh covers....Stay away from the Anchor covers if possible I hate those things!!!!!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Merlin

    Bookmark   August 10, 2011 at 5:11PM
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Overall I have found the process of getting quotes for covers very time consuming and frustrating. In most cases I had to call multiple times just to get someone to respond, then I am having to follow-up to get the actual quotes. And everyone is second guessing the pool design after the fact, as if that does any good -- oh, I wouldn't have gotten a spill-over spa if I were you, etc. Then if I ask why the reasons aren't even cover related -- you know they lose heat much faster than above-ground spas, right? Etc.

Now as the quotes are trickling in, they are all higher so far than the PB's was, by a lot. Which is the opposite of what I was told to expect. I hear people on not liking anchor but I'm not sure I am willing to pay $1,000-2,000 more for another brand which is what it's looking like so far. $6-7K for a cover on a 25K gallon pool is crazy.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 4:15PM
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If you have raised surfaces other than the spa, paver decking, travertine decking, rock walls, etc..., I could see that going that high. I can also see someone pulling their pants down and not likely to install it right.

My experience with Anchor has been that when their options are not added, the cover comes in that much less but the other covers have what Anchor calls options as standard. This results in a cover that has a short life.

Some PBs subsidize or sell at cost to new pool buyers. While the cover may have the needed Anchor options needed for a reasonable life, it still leaves the homeowner with a lot of holes in the deck, anchors that use a slightly smaller hex key for raising and lowering the anchors, storage issues, and cover everyone hates to deal with.

When the cover is holed, it's sometimes in the middle. A cover pump can then wind up pulling pool water. Left unchecked, the water level drops and the cover has a catastrophic failure or worse, the pool pops up due to a high water table.

As I said, I am not a big fan.


    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 10:02PM
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We have an Anchor Defender Mesh, on our freeform approx 20X40 pool with raised hot tub. Yes, pillow wedges by the raised spa (not big deal in my mind, they support and work fine. 5 snow and ice filled winters so far, and not one issue with the cover. Looks like it did the day we first had it installed. I was about $4K or so. There are about maybe 35 anchors in the pool decking, not sure what the big deal is with that either. Overlap is closer to 15-18", not 24".

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 11:11AM
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In my mind the mesh covers are a better value than the solid covers. In theory the solid covers with drain pockets are great but in practice the drain filters get clogged with leaves and the cover begins to stretch down too much.

The full mesh covers do allow the water quality to deteriorate due to the leeching from leaves and debris on the cover however this is a vacuum and some chlorine in the spring and not a huge deal in my opinion.

This is based on the concept however that the mesh cover is cheaper than the solid. It should be. The link has a few pictures of the cover that i am talking about just so that we are all clear. There are a few different styles of these.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pool Safety Covers

    Bookmark   November 24, 2011 at 1:12AM
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