Having the best pool filter for your in-ground or above ground pool is critical to maintaining clean healthy water for the entire season. Picking the right filter is much easier with basic knowledge of the different filter terms and options.
I have created this pool filter page to help understand the varied choices available in the pool filter market. If you aren’t able to determine the right filter for your specific pool, why not leave a message at the foot of this page and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
Which is the right pool filter system?
The pool filter systems are split into three major types: sand filter – cartridge filter – DE filter, and each has its own positive and negative points:
The sand filter is a popular choice with owners of the in-ground pools because of the ease of maintenance and a relatively cheap price. This type of filter has a large bed of sand that filters out the pool particles that pass through. It can filter particles as low as 20 microns. The large debris is blocked, but the sand filters let the smaller particles pass through.
The cleaning process of the sand filter is the use of backwashing to help push the dirt and debris from the filter and pool area. Sand is replaced at seven year intervals – though this can vary with location.
- Low-cost and easy to maintain
- Trouble-free and dependable for several years
- Useful for removing medium-large debris
- Infrequent replacement of sand; once every seven years or so
- May need maintenance often
- Extra pressure needed when the sand starts to fill with debris
The cartridge filters are seen as a great choice by the pool experts and easily filter down to 5 to 10 microns, as well as offering a lower maintenance option. This type of filter relies on a thin cloth-like material to block and filter debris and particles from the water.
Cartridge filters are more efficient because the actual filter area is larger than the sand filter. This also means less water pressure is needed to run. Cleaning is quick and easy and basically involves removing the cartridge and washing down to clean of the filtered materials.
- Quick and easy maintenance
- No need to backwash the filter
- Spacious filter area
- Saves energy and water while in use
- Slightly more expensive to install compared to sand filters
- Useful time-frame of these filters is in the region of 3 years
DE Filter (Diatomaceous Earth)
The DE filter is one of the latest filtration methods and basically combines a natural filtering material with the cartridge style. DE is organic and natural material that is crushed to create a fine powder to help filter small particulars that are only about 3 microns in size.
This filter is maintained by regularly replacing the DE material and performing a backwash. The cleaning process should take place once or twice per year.
- Most DE filters give the cleanest pool water
- Easily refill the DE powder using a pool skimmer
- Gives long-term performance with the potential to last for several years
- More regular maintenance required
- DE filters are installed with the most expensive filters
- Do I get a side-mounted or top-mounted value?
The sand filter gives a choice of two systems: the side-mounted or top-mounted. Even though the basic function is the same, the ease of maintenance and installation cost is different.
The top-mounted system is the most cost-effective option to install for the sand filters. The piping is lighter and easier to work with. But, it is more difficult to access the sand inside without disconnecting a few of the top pipes. This leads to greater difficulty with the maintenance. The side-mounted system is the easiest to maintain, but will be more expensive.
What is the best type of pool filter?
The best pool filter is determined by several factors, such as the type of pool and how it is used. Most experts agree the cartridge filters are the most practical choice because they are useful for both small and large debris. Also, there is no need to perform a regular backwash like the sand filters require.
But, for the pool owners just interested in the cheapest option and not overly concerned about filtering the smallest debris, a sand filter is more than enough to maintain the pool water. If you are after the best possible solution, the DE system is the right type of pool filter.
Other factors include the type of pool. For instance, do you have an in-ground or above ground pool? The type of pool can make a big difference in the best pool filter for the particular needs.
Best Pool Filter Reviews
To help find the best pool filter, I have put together a list of the top-rated filters on the market at the present moment. They are chosen because I believe they have the potential to be a great choice and give value for money. The filters are split between in-ground and above ground pool models to make it easy to find a great choice to match your pool.
Here are 10 of my top picks for the best pool filter systems:
Best InGround Pool Filters – Top 5 of the Best
Hayward S310T2 Pro-Series Pool Sand Filter
This sand filter by Hayward is available in a choice of sizes, including 22, 24, 27, 30 and 36 inches. This top-mounted filter is ready to use immediately and easily set up. It is designed to achieve a great flow speed no matter the level of pressure – which is very efficient for cleaning the pool.
It is built to be simple and hassle-free to maintain. The full volume of sand is used because of its useful spread of water. This sand filter is perfect for the average pool that desires excellent filtration and clean water.
The Hayward filter is cost-effective to run and makes complete use of its water flow techniques and utilizing all of the sand. The backwashing process is easy and completed in a matter of minutes when necessary.
- Easy and quick assembly
- Solidly built to give long-term performance
- Vari-Flo valve for the most efficient flow at different pressure levels
- Energy-efficient operation
Hayward C5030 525 Square Foot SwimClear Cartridge Filter
This Cartridge Filter by Hayward is available in 5 sizes; including 225, 325, 425, 525 and 725 sq ft. This filter is built to stand up to the elements with its heavy-duty build to resist cold or heat. Its outer-shell is constructed in a sturdy co-polymer called Noryl.
This cartridge model has a filter area that holds a fairly high volume of debris and dirt so servicing is kept to a minimum. The process of washing off the filters is quick and easy.
Most basic maintenance is easy to complete with no need to remove or disconnect the pipes. The unit has a self-aligning top and bottom section to make setup and maintenance that much easier.
- Easy to service and maintain
- Built in a solid and sturdy Noryl material
- 1-1/2 inch drain for fast clean out
- Low-profile tank is simple to work with
Pentair 160301 Clean & Clear Plus Fiberglass Reinforced Polypropylene Tank Cartridge Pool Filter
The Pentair 160301 Pool Filter by Pentair is a residential unit with a 420 sq ft capacity. It is a practical choice for a large volume of small particles without causing too much of a negative impact on the filter performance.
It is built with a large pool cartridge capacity to minimize the need to clean the cartridge. But, for the pool owners that attract a lot of debris or have an overhanging tree, there is still a need to clean the unit more often.
For the average pool owner, the regular cleaning cycle is only likely to take place once or twice monthly. This is certain to appeal to those interested in low-maintenance pool management.
- Solid injection-molded build for long-term strength
- Useful 420 sq ft filter area
- Easy maintenance with 100% drain cleanout ports
- Manual air relief and continuous high flow air relief for efficiency and safety
- Accepts Clean & Clear Plus cartridge filters
Hayward DE4820 Pro-Grid 48 Sq. Ft. Vertical DE Pool Filter
The high-quality Hayward DE4820 Pro-Grid 48 Sq. Ft. Vertical DE Pool Filter is a perfect addition to the pool and available in 5 sizes, including 24, 36, 48, 60 and 72 sq ft. It is practical for all types of spas or in-ground pools. It is a well-made and durable system that runs on most DE pool filter powder options.
This DE pool filter is a practical choice for both commercial and residential pools. It is solid built using Perma Glass XL materials that make it corrosion-free and resists water and heat damage in the long-term.
The cleaning process and replenishing DE supplies are easily achieved without disturbing or removing the plumbing work. This makes it very quick and efficient to maintain.
- Easy installation with plenty of plumbing options
- Enjoy greater efficiency with even distribution of in-flowing water
- Great maximum flow compared to similar models
Hayward EC50AC Perflex Extended-Cycle Above-Ground / in-ground Pools D.E. Filter up to 30,000 gallons
The Hayward D.E. Filter is a versatile unit and designed to work with both in-ground and above ground pools at different sizes. This filter system comes in three models: EC50AC, EC75A and EC40AC. The models vary in size and practical to filter the small to large pools.
This is a practical filter to eliminate the minute particles in the pool water to leave it looking beautifully clean and clear. Beyond the ability to clear small debris and particles, this filter is also useful for catching algae. Most of the debris is caught in the first pass through the filter for the most efficient operation.
The low resistance of the Perflex filter system means it does not use a lot of electricity and water. It is a very reliable option to clean the pool and leaves it looking cleaner than most other filter options, including DE filters from other brands.
- Self-cleaning flex tubes
- Useful for the round pool (clamp included)
- Blockage valves to avoid unintentional backflow when system turned off
- 1-Year limited warranty
Best Above Ground Pool Filters – Top 5 of the Best
Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump for Above Ground Pools
The Intex sand filter pump in intended for the small above ground pool. It is available in a choice of sizes that include 1050, 1600, 2150 and 3000 gallons per hour (GPH). This pump is listed by its GPH to make it easier to identify the right pump for your pool.
It is built to be very easy to maintain and includes a backwash option in the control unit. Also, on average the sand only needs replacing every five years.
The filter system gives reliable performance with the various sizes of Intex pools. It is also compatible with other Intex branded pool attachments and pump systems.
- Easy to use 6-control system
- Built-in 24-hour timer
- Full package with motor, timer, straining basket, tank, pressure gauge and 6-way valve included
- Works with Intex aboveground pool pumps and a few other brands
- Sand only needs replacing once every five years
XtremepowerUS 4500GPH 19″ Sand Filter w/ 1HP Above Ground Swimming Pool Pump
The best pool sand filter is a practical choice for the small-medium sized aboveground pool. It is simple and effective to use on pools up to 18000 gallons of water. This filter is for above ground pools only and not intended for the in-ground pools.
It is built to operate at 6 different speeds for the most efficient and convenient use. The sand filter runs using a little pressure as necessary to be more energy-efficient and avoid wasting electricity. It is a top-mounted system which means it is necessary to remove some of the plumbing and pipes when comes to updating the filter system. The sand filter is made with weatherproof, heat resistant and strong materials to ensure it gives long-term service.
The high-capacity sand bed is at a size that is bigger than most of the alternative in-ground pool filters on the market. This means the sand has a longer lifecycle and cuts the need to complete the regular backwash. This high pick up rate for the debris makes this filter great for pools located in the very dirty environments.
- Maximum suction of 34.5 feet
- Self priming 1-HP pump included
- Total sand capacity of 175-pounds
Hayward CC15093S Xstream Full-Flo 150-Square-Foot 1.5 Horsepower Filtration Filter
This Hayward Xstream CC15093S is a cartridge type of filtration system and practical to install on the largest above ground pool. It is solidly built and easily able to stand up the changing climate conditions. The filter is glass-reinforced, so highly sturdy and non-corrosive to give long-term use and service.
The 1.5 horsepower motor is sufficient to maintain the full operational performance of the pump for its lifetime. It is easy to hookup to a wide range of pumps from a variety of brands to give greater flexibility in use.
Based on the manufacturer’s guidelines, this best above ground pool filter that does not exceed 57,000 gallons. This large capacity is useful to achieve the fast water turnover time or your home has one of the largest above ground pools.
- 1.5 horsepower motor
- Built with heat-resistant and weatherproof materials
- Useful safety features for better efficiency and closure
- Rigid or flexible plumbing options available
- Equal filtering to give prolonged filter cartridge life
Hayward EC50AC D.E. Filter
The Hayward EC50AC D.E. Filter is a versatile option with the choice to install on the above ground or in-ground pools. There are three models: EC75A, EC50AC and EC40AC which are intended to fit the different pool sizes. Also, the water flow speed and filtering capacity vary with the different filters
For the above ground pool owners, this filtration system is most effective with a reliable pump to keep it working efficiently. It is most practical in the oval or round pool – although it can still function in the square or rectangular pool with acceptable results.
This Hayward DE filter system is built to avoid energy-wasting things like inefficient water usage or accidental backwashing. Plus, it is made of a sturdy and thick material that makes sure it is able to last for the long-term.
- The tank is built to be sturdy and corrosion-free
- Top clamp built-in for the filtration system
- Use interval value to avoid backwashing when the system is inactive
- 1-year limited warranty
Best Choice Products Pro Above Ground Swimming Pool Pump System Sand Filter
The Best Choice Products Pool Pump System sand filter is a package deal including a small pump and sand filter for the above ground pool. It is practical for the pools with a water capacity of 18,000 gallons. The tank and body of this filter are solidly built to stand up to the elements.
The Best Choice Products filter is not a usable choice for therapy pools and spas because it has a limit on the maximum water temperature of 105° F. But, it is a first-class choice for the standard recreational swimming pool. Additionally, the 1 horsepower pump system is convenient for most pools.
- The filter has a built-in pump system
- Hose and clamp included
- The sand filter has a 110 pound capacity
- Internal filter helps to level off the flow of water in the sand filtering area
How to pick the correct pool filter size
The pool filter has to be the correct type and size to match the swimming pool in order for it to work effectively. The preferred filter should have the ability to turn the entire pool water at least twice in a 24-hour period. But, this should increase to 4 times per 24-hour period in the commercial pool.
It is useful to know the volume and size of your pool to calculate the rate of pool turnover. Once this information is determined, you are in the right position to select a filter that will work efficiently with your pool.
Hopefully, after reading our guide you will have a better understanding on how to pick the best pool filter to match the specific needs. Just make sure to choose the right type of filter that easily complements your pool preferences and setup.