What is the best type of pool filter?

backwashing-and-filteringYou should make sure you are using a suitably-sized pool filter for your swimming pool. This is necessary to ensure your swimming pool has clean and clear water. Pool filters are used in removing dirt and debris. This will allow bromine, chlorine and other sanitizers to remove any bacteria in the pool.

You can look into recommendations on the size of the filter you are using. It is always better to get the bigger size if you have the budget for it. Small filters will not be as effective as big filters. Getting a larger filter than what is needed is better.

There are three types of swimming pool filters in the market. The Sand, Cartridge, and DE or diatomaceous earth filters. These three types of filters can maintain the cleanliness of the water properly. These three filters have essentially the same performance. Choosing the type is based on your personal preference. The following article can help you have an informed decision when you are choosing a filter for your pool.


San filters are the most common and oldest kind of pool filter. The tank of the filter is filled with #20 silica sand. This type of sand grade is readily available in many hardware stores or in sand and gravel yards.

When water enters the tank of the filter, it goes through the sand. The sand traps the dirt and debris in the water. The water goes down to the bottom part of the tank and enters the laterals. After this, the water goes back to the swimming pool.

A cutaway image shows the laterals positioned along the bottom part of the tank. Ware goes through the slotted pipes before going up into the center pipe on its way back into the pool.

Sand pool filters can filter particles as small as around 20 to 40 microns. This makes it not as effective as the two other filters on the list when it comes to the size of the particles removed. But, sand filters are easiest when it comes to maintenance. You only have to backwash or clean them to remove any dirt from the filter. This should be done when the pressure gauge shows an eight to ten psi reading above the standard level.

Backwashing becomes ineffective in removing the buildup of dirt and debris. This also happens when the sand becomes smooth and will not trap debris anymore. In this situation, the sand should be replaced. This normally happens every five to seven years. But, smaller sand filters may have to be replaced earlier. It is necessary to replace the sand when frequent backwashing is needed. At this point, it will not be easy to keep filter pressure at a normal level. It will also be difficult to clean pool water. You can check How to the “Change Pool Filter Sand” post for more information.

Sand filters are suitable for any size of pool. They are the most commonly used pool filter type in the market.


Cartridge filters feature a pleated spun polyester filter cartridge that looks like the air filter of a car. Water goes into the cartridge pleats where debris will be trapped. This filter can trap debris as small as five to twenty-five microns, which is better than sand filters.

Cartridge filters do not require a lot of maintenance. Large-size cartridge filters only require cleaning once every six months or when the filter pressure reading is around eight to ten psi above the standard level.

Every time you clean the pool cartridge, it becomes less effective in its job. There may be a point when the debris and oil build up is too much that it cannot be removed. In this instance, you need to replace the cartridges. It normally happens every three to five years.

Pool filter cartridge replacements are priced between $30 and $100. Some filters may have more than one cartridge. You can check the “Pool Filter Cartridges: When to Clean and When to Replace” blog post for additional information.

DE Pool Filters

DE or diatomaceous earth pool filters are capable of removing particles with the size of one to three microns. These are particles smaller than what the naked eye can see. Due to this, DE filters are the most effective types of filters. This filter features fingers or grids covered with diatomaceous earth that comes in fine powder form. The powder does most of the filtering work. It is normally sold separate from the filter. You can simply add it by pouring the powder into the skimmer.

Similar to sand filters, DE filters require backwashing once the pressure gauge shows eight to ten psi over the standard level. Backwashing removes most of the powder. You should check the disposal requirements of DE in your city. Do not backwash into sanitary systems or streams.

New DE powder can be added once backwashing is done. It is necessary to clean the fingers or grids of the filter each year. It should be soaked in cleaning solution similar to the granular pool filter cleaner.

DE filters ensures pool water is at its highest quality. But, these types of filters are very expensive and require a lot of maintenance.

The Best Type of Pool Filter

  • A sand filter is least effective but very affordable. It is also easy to use.
  • A cartridge filters is effective, but not as affordable as sand filters. They are also easy to use.
  • A DE filter is very effective but very expensive. It is not easy to use.

Selecting the best pool filter depends on your personal preference when it comes to the quality of the water, price, and maintenance needs. But, you should buy the biggest pool filter your budget will allow.

Using a large-sized sand filter for the pool is better compared to getting a small-sized DE filter. A large filter does not need much maintenance and the filter media can last longer. Large-sized pool filters can clean your pool faster compared to smaller filters.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *