pool cover and shopping for a cover can be overwhelming to many people. Luckily, it’s a little bit easier than most think. By just following a couple of easy steps you’ll find the cover you want quickly and get back to enjoying the fall. For starters, figure out what kind of cover you want. The two options will be a winter pool cover or a safety pool cover. Both will keep out debris, leaves, and small animals as well as block the sun to prevent algae growth. But a safety pool cover will provide a level of protection you won’t get with a winter pool cover since it will prevent accidental drowning and keep your pets and kids safe. Not everyone will need a safety cover, so take a minute to figure out if it’s something you need or if you can settle on a winter pool cover. Either way, the next step is to get the right size cover. Pool covers for above ground and in ground pools are usually stock sized, and you can generally match up the cover you need with your pool size pretty quickly. In some cases you may need a custom cover made, especially if you own a pool that is an odd shape or size. In any case, be sure that you don’t make the mistake of buying too large or too small. Obviously a too-small cover won’t do much good, but a cover that is too large has drawbacks as well. The fit won’t be very good, for starters, but beyond that you’ll also void any warranty when you use a safety pool cover that isn’t the right size. You may also need to decide between a solid or mesh pool cover, especially when buying safety pool covers. A mesh cover will allow water to drain through it into the pool below while a solid cover won’t. Solid covers block out all debris and light, while a mesh cover will prevent serious water pooling from occurring. The choice is up to you, but consider the snow and rainfall in your area and choose the one that fits your specific situation the best. Once you’ve found the right pool cover you need to also consider the anchors. In some cases your anchors will be included, but generally speaking you’ll have to purchase them separately. In standard in ground pool covers or above ground covers with a deck you’ll likely use a series of weighted bags placed around the perimeter of the pool to keep the cover in place. Above ground covers with no deck are usually secured with a cable that cinches tight around the pool, often with additional clips to hold the cover in place. Some cheaper covers may just use a drawstring. And for safety pool covers, you’ll use a series of installed anchors around the pool that attach to straps. Also think about other accessories. For many, adding one or more inflatable pillows is a good idea. They’ll go underneath the cover and will help reduce accumulation of rainwater and also protect the sides of your pool by reducing pressure caused by freezing water. Leaf nets can be added over a cover to make removal of leaves much easier, and a solar cover purchased now makes it much easier to get your pool warmed up and ready next spring. All of these additional items are worth thinking about when you’re shopping for a cover. It’s a lot easier to shop for a pool cover than you may think, and these very basic steps will help you track down the right cover quickly and get your pool ready for the fall. It’s a small investment that will pay off big over the lifespan of your swimming pool.