Currently there are two main types of low profile pool enclosure on the market; the original tracked enclosures, and now more recently, the trackless enclosures.
Deciding which one is best is not an obvious decision, so here are the fundamental differences to take into consideration. And to make this comparison a little easier to visualize we referenced two models from the pool enclosure specialist UK Pool Enclosures. The two models compared are the tracked K1000, and the trackless KT1000. They can both be found at UK Pool Enclosures.
The product comparison is based on the following important criteria: Easy of use, Product performance, Aesthetics, Design and construction, Flexibility, and Price.
Ease of use. Whilst both enclosure types are relatively effortless to operate, the Tracked enclosure has the edge in terms of how easy the enclosure is to open and close. The tracked enclosure requires only one person to open and close the enclosure, whereas the trackless enclosure ideally requires two people. This is to ensure the enclosure does not become misaligned by being pushed from one side only.
Product performance. In terms of performance both enclosures are equally matched. They both offer great insulation properties due to the nature they are both low profile. This design feature also helps in terms of ease of use, and product maintenance.
Aesthetics. There are two aspects to the overall aesthetics of the products. Firstly is the materials used, and the second is how high or obtrusive they are as structures. For buyers with aesthetics as a high priority, the Trackless enclosures tend to win here. These enclosures use the combination of the clear Plexiglas with double walled polycarbonate. The clear Plexiglas does give the enclosures are visually lighter feel and allows you to easily see into the pool from both the sides and ends when the enclosure is closed. The tracked enclosures use just the Polycarbonate throughout the roof and ends. Also the Trackless enclosures are lower profile than the Tracked models, with maximum heights of between 1.3m-1.5m. A final consideration for some people is actually the presence of tracks around the pool.
Design and construction. Both these enclosure types are of a robust construction, however the Tracked enclosures only need a lighter framework. This is because the tracks themselves are part of the overall construction, and the Modules are fixed to the tracks providing additional robustness and resilience to strong winds. Whereas the Trackless enclosures require a more substantial framework to provide rigidity and robustness against adverse weather conditions. In both cases however, the enclosures can be locked down when not in use, to provide additional security and protection.
Flexibility. In terms of flexibility there is no clear winner, as they both offer different aspects of flexibility. The Trackless enclosures have the benefit of doors at both ends for ease of access, and can be telescoped either way on your pool. Also they can be easily moved totally away from your pool in the Summer to provide all round access to your pool. However the Tracked enclosures offer something different. As each of the Modules runs on its own track, you have the flexibility of just partially opening the enclosure, for example just the centre sections. This means you can enjoy some protection from cool breezes by keeping the end Modules closed, yet still have open air swimming by opening the centre Modules. Also the tracked enclosures can be supplied with track extensions allowing you to move the whole enclosure away from the pool.
Price. Although price is always a factor in any buying decision, there are all the other considerations as outlined above. However, having said that, if price is the major consideration, then Tracked enclosures win. For a 10m x 5m pool the Tracked enclosures are currently around £7,800 (inclusive of VAT and Delivery), whereas the Trackless is approximately £9,800.