Getting the best pool filter for your swimming pool is a must if you want to avoid gross water and swim in clean one all season long. When buying this filter, your most vital decision will be determining the right one for your swimming pool. Therefore, choosing this unit means you need to know what all of the pool terms mean for you and what your option are.
I have written this expert guide to help you know the different types of swimming pool filters and how to get what you need for your unique pool. You can trust to get all the information that you require to make the right decision.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Pool Filter on the Market
- 1.1 Pool Sand Filter for In-ground And Above Ground Pools
- 1.1.1 Hayward S270T ProSeries Sand Filter, 27-Inch, Top-Mount
- 1.1.2 Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump for Above Ground Pools, 12-inch, 110-120V with GFCI
- 1.1.3 Hayward S210T93S ProSeries 21-Inch 1.5 HP Sand Filter System
- 1.1.4 Pentair Triton II Side Mount Filter TR100 Fiberglass Sand Filter without Valve
- 1.2 Cartridge Pool Filter for In-Ground and Above Ground Pools
- 1.2.1 Intex Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter Pump for Above Ground Pools, 2500 GPH Pump Flow Rate, 110-120V with GFCI
- 1.2.2 Hayward C900 SwimClear Plus Cartridge Pool Filter, 90 Square Foot
- 1.2.3 Hayward C3030 SwimClear Cartridge Pool Filter, 325 Square Foot
- 1.2.4 Pentair 160301 Clean & Clear Plus Fiberglass Reinforced Polypropylene Tank Cartridge Pool Filter, 420 Square Feet, 150 GPM
- 1.3 DE Filter For In-Ground and Above Ground Pools
- 1.3.1 Hayward DE4820 ProGrid D.E. Pool Filter, 48 Square Foot, Vertical Grid
- 1.3.2 Pentair 180009 FNS Plus Fiberglass Reinforced Polypropylene Material, Vertical Grid, D.E. Pool Filter, 60 Square Feet, 120 GPM
- 1.3.3 Hayward EC50AC Perflex D.E. Pool Filter
- 1.3.4 Sta-Rite PLDE36 System:2 Modular D.E. PLDE Series Pool Filter, 36 Square Feet, 36-72 GPM
- 1.1 Pool Sand Filter for In-ground And Above Ground Pools
- 2 How to Choose the Right Type of Pool Filter
- 3 Choosing the Right Size Pool filter
- 4 Benefits of Using a Pool Filter
- 5 Conclusion
Best Pool Filter on the Market
Pool Sand Filter for In-ground And Above Ground Pools
Hayward S270T ProSeries Sand Filter, 27-Inch, Top-Mount
At 66 pounds, the Hayward S270T ProSeries 27 inches top-mount filter for in-ground pools might be a great choice for your swimming pool. This unit uses a diffuser to make sure that the water is spread consistently over the sand inside so that no part gets more work than others. This keeps the system working effectively for longer. Hayward S270T requires about 350 pounds of filter sand; this includes the base to keep the unit in place and to withstand any amount of hash condition thrown at it.
- The unit uses common 1.5 inches tubing which makes it have sufficient pressure to clean the water.
- It is simple to acquire and replace its parts if they get worn out.
- It’s able to clean over 35,000 gallons of water for the duration of 8 hours.
- Has a superb flow rate of 74 Gallon Per Minute.
- It is also suitable for an above ground pool with little modification.
- It requires 350 pounds of sand which is bought separately.
- It can crack or freeze the tank of cold seasons.
Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump for Above Ground Pools, 12-inch, 110-120V with GFCI
Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter is suitable for above ground pools and features a control valve with 6 functions to drain, re-circulate, backwash, rinse, filter, and close the system to ensure your pool is clean and safe. It comes with a 24 hours timer that enables you to set auto cleaning time and a safety override feature which makes swimming pool maintenance much easier. Its flow rate is 1,200 PGP and weights only 22.8 pounds.
- Intex Krystal comes with a GFCI electrical protection to prevent system overload and short circuits.
- It features a 24 hours timer to set auto filtration times in order to save on daily maintenance cost.
- It comes with a strainer basket that aids to prolong the life of the sand and it’s easy to wash.
- It is cost-effective and efficient: you only need to replace the sand every 5 years.
- It might get noisy.
- It doesn’t feature a plunger valve and the 1.5 inches outlet/inlet fittings.
Hayward S210T93S ProSeries 21-Inch 1.5 HP Sand Filter System
Hayward S210T93S is an energy efficient pump for above ground facilities that uses very less power. The power drive 1.5Hp motor is sufficient to clean a huge pool effectively in a few hours. It is able to remove the dirt and collect it at the pump. After cleaning, the system auto shuts off to save extra power for added efficiency.
- It is very easy to assemble the accessories and parts of this pump.
- You can use this unit for any type of an above ground pool.
- Its valves help to boast backwashing and even make it easier to maintain.
- O-ring in this pump requires frequent replacements – even three times a year.
- The pump turns off auto even with a slight increase in the temperature.
Pentair Triton II Side Mount Filter TR100 Fiberglass Sand Filter without Valve
Pentair Triton II weighs 65 pounds and is a simple to use pool device that uses sand as the filtration material. The system offers you just under 5 sq ft of filtration surface and can deal with a flow of 98 GPM. The fiberglass material that its tank is constructed in may last for decades and not get corroded. It also comes with a diffuser that spreads water consistently over the sand and it is easy to remove the diffuser for better cleaning.
- Pentair Triton II system provides 4.91 sq ft of filtration area which is sufficient for most pools.
- The gadget handles a high flow rate of 98 GPM.
- Pentair is built from long-lasting fiberglass for long life.
- It also offers a drain valve for eliminating both water and sand.
- It requires 450 pounds of sand to clean the water which is sold separately.
- Its maximum operating pressure is just 50 psi.
Cartridge Pool Filter for In-Ground and Above Ground Pools
Intex Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter Pump for Above Ground Pools, 2500 GPH Pump Flow Rate, 110-120V with GFCI
Intext Krystal Clear is a powerful 110-120v above ground pool filter which is made of a reliable cartridge filter that requires low maintenance. The cartridge might be replaced every two weeks with a new one – but if it’s functioning well, just clean it and reuse again. The type B filter cartridge is the major part of this 42 GPM flow rat device that you should maintain regularly. This top rated filter is easy to clean, easy to use, and reliable as it has a valve at the base of the filter chamber to eliminate out debris.
- It is a universal filter that can be used in all Intex above surface pool pump.
- The system has a ground circuit fault interrupter, a fast-acting feature that shut off the power whenever there is a problem.
- This is a great product for well water as it purifies and softens it using it sand that removes pathogens, taste, odor, and algae.
- It comes with a strainer basket and doesn’t require much maintenance.
- The flow of this gadget is a bit low. It is not suitable if you want quick circulation of water.
- It is only used in pools with metal frame.
Hayward C900 SwimClear Plus Cartridge Pool Filter, 90 Square Foot
The recyclable polyester swimming pool filter cartridge in this unit offers for extra-long and heavy-duty cycles for a max pool size of over 43,000 gallons of water. It is easy to clean – just uninstall it and rinse under a hosepipe. Its filter tank is quite durable and made of Parma-glass XL that is strengthened for maximum strength.
- The filter tanks are constructed from durable glass strengthened by a copolymer material.
- It has a corrosion-free performance to ensure many years of services.
- Its filter head can be turned to a position the manual air and pressure gauge relief for your convenience.
- It boasts of maximum flow due to the extra-large cartridge element.
- The unit might not last as long as other filters on the market today.
- It is a bit expensive to purchase this filter.
Hayward C3030 SwimClear Cartridge Pool Filter, 325 Square Foot
This 325 sq. ft. cartridge filter is one of the most durable and most powerful units on the shelves today. It is at the high end of cartridge filters and it is often used for commercial purposes – commercial pools. If you wish to keep your pool’s water clean when there are many people using it, you need to consider this filter. What is even amazing is that it comes in various sizes, so you will get a smaller or large unit depending on your pool.
- The unit comes with 4 cartridges to ensure that you start as soon as possible – immediately you unpack it.
- It is very easy to install even if you have never installed a pool filter before.
- It is quite easy to open the filter and uninstall the cartridges for regular maintenance and cleaning.
- In rare cases, the seam on the tank’s side has been known to weaken and even break.
Pentair 160301 Clean & Clear Plus Fiberglass Reinforced Polypropylene Tank Cartridge Pool Filter, 420 Square Feet, 150 GPM
With Pentair 160301, you don’t need to wonder what is the best pool filter to use for your swimming pool as it features an amazing filter area that enables it to catch more impurities and dirt. The most notable feature of this system is that is’s able to filter a surface of 420 sq. ft. In addition, it has a superb flow of 150 GPM – however, the flow will depend on your plumbing size and other elements of the system.
- This NSF listed unit comes with a huge filter surface for improved capacity with 1.5 inches, 100 percent drain clean.
- It works perfectly on gigantic pools and lasts for a very long time.
- Features a high flow internal air relief and manual air relief valve.
- The pool system is a bit expensive but worth the dollars.
- It comes with a just one-year warranty which is a bit disappointing.
DE Filter For In-Ground and Above Ground Pools
Hayward DE4820 ProGrid D.E. Pool Filter, 48 Square Foot, Vertical Grid
Hayward DE4820 ProGrid is a vertical filter, designed for inground pools and spas of all different sizes and types. Just as its name suggests, it is a DE based unit that pushes unfiltered water into filter system and evenly distributes DE to grids. The gadget has the trademark Hayward design, with a single clamp that fits the tank bottom and top together. This makes maintenance easy and enables for convenient and quick access to innards without the need of messing up the pipes.
- Its durable system ensures years of hassle-free and non-corrosive performance.
- Comes in different sizes from 24-27 sq. ft., so you may choose the one that fits your pool size.
- Easy to install and use. It only comes with a single lever that enables you to control all its settings.
- Great customer service. Hayward customer service is responsive to all customer complains.
- The system doesn’t come with a manual. although it’s easy to install.
- The packing isn’t the best on the market.
Pentair 180009 FNS Plus Fiberglass Reinforced Polypropylene Material, Vertical Grid, D.E. Pool Filter, 60 Square Feet, 120 GPM
The Pentair 180009 DE is a great, durable 60 sq. ft. filter that is ideal for huge pools. It is made to make cleanup pretty easy and it is very easy to install – it will take you just a few seconds. This is among the largest and most DE expensive units you will get today, but it is quite popular due to its brand name as well as durability making it a great product for the money.
- It is very easy to assemble this filter. You will only take 2 simple steps to complete the process.
- It comes with all the elements that you will require to start cleaning your swimming pool.
- It is designed to work even in harsh conditions.
- Some units have been known to arrive damaged and cracked in some rare cases.
Hayward EC50AC Perflex D.E. Pool Filter
The Hayward EC50AC DE Filter is one that is designed for above ground pools as well as in ground ones. It keeps the pool crystal clear using the DE and it only needs 5 pounds of this powder every time you clean the system and refill it. The system comes with a one-year limited warranty and it doesn’t come with a pump – you will need to buy this separately.
- This filter is made for round pools 28 ft. to 33 ft. or ovals 18 by 39 ft.
- It is very easy to operate this unit and it comes with a one-year warranty.
- It is suitable for low powered pump and can work for any kind of pool.
- The most notable con is that it doesn’t come with a pump. You buy it separately.
Sta-Rite PLDE36 System:2 Modular D.E. PLDE Series Pool Filter, 36 Square Feet, 36-72 GPM
This is a top rated and spa unit that delivers high-quality service without complex working systems of filters. It’s fully backwashable and can be installed with or without a valve. However, it comes with union valves for installations if you decide not to use a backwash valve. For better cleaning, just remove the filter cover and hose off the dirt.
- It is perfect for well water, inground pools as well as inground hot tubs.
- It allows for fast change of filter system without changing the tank.
- Durable tank covering constructed of rugged ABS thermoplastic to make sure it last longer.
- Measures 20.5 x 37.5 x 21 inches, making it suitable for cleaning big pools.
- Some people complain about missing parts when their product arrives.
How to Choose the Right Type of Pool Filter
There are 3 different types of pool filters on the market: Sand, Cartridge, and Diatomaceous earth (DE) filters.
Sand Pool Filters
This is simply a large tank full of sand. Water runs through it, filtering out particles and debris as small as 15 microns (1 micron = 0.000039 inches). After a while, dirt trapped by the sand start to build up inside the filter and the pressure gauge shows high pressure (8-10 pounds), which means it’s time to backwash your filter.
Backwashing process flushes out the unit by pushing water via the tank backward. The sand lasts for about 7 years and the only maintenance is backwashing and rinsing.
I would recommend you match the filter with your pool pump in terms of design.
- Above ground pool – Average price is $250 (Can DIY installation)
- Inground pool – Average price is $650 (Minus installation)
- Sand pool filters are quite affordable.
- It is very easy to maintain them.
- They are great for large pools.
- It’s possible to use better sand to enhance filtering performance.
- Requires backwashing as well as rinsing which wastes water.
- Filters down to 15 microns compared to other filters which filter up to 5 microns.
Cartridge Pool Filter
This is also a large tank but with cartridge filter inside that traps debris and particles as smalls as 10 microns. This unit doesn’t require backwashing and is easy to remove. To wash it, you need to remove the cartridge and wash it with a hose or even use chemical sprays and rinse it with clean water. Cartridge filter requires replacement after 2-5 years, depending on brand and use.
I would recommend this filter for people with limited water supply because the cleaning process doesn’t require much water.
- Above ground pool – Average price is $450 (easy to DIY installation)
- Inground pool – Average price is $850 (minus installation)
- Replacement – Average price is $65
- They don’t use much water when cleaning – no backwashing.
- They perform effectively even at low speeds – saves energy
- They filter dirt as small as 10 microns.
- You need to replace the cartridges after a few years.
- You need to deep-clean the cartridges at least once per year.
Diatomaceous Earth Pool Filters
Just like the other two, this is a large tank but with finger-like or grids projections inside that are covered with diatomaceous earth (DE) powder. DE is a naturally occurring, soft sedimentary rock that easily crashes into a smooth powder. This rock is basically the fossilized relics of hard-shelled algae – it acts like a tiny sponge.
DE pool filters perform just like the sand filters, only they can filter out smaller particles of up to 3 microns. The unit requires backwashing and rising because the tank fills up with dirt that raises the pressure.
I would recommend you backwash every month and add DE powder after every wash.
- Above ground pool – Hard to find
- Inground pool – Average price is $850 (minus installation)
- DE powder – Average $20 for 20 pound bag (one pound of DE powder is sufficient for a 10 sq. feet area).
- DE grid – Average price $15 per grid
- This is the most precise pool filter (3 microns).
- It is very easy to add fresh DE powder.
- It is the most expensive of all filters.
Choosing the Right Size Pool filter
After choosing the right type of filter, you need to choose the right size of your pool filter. Your filter needs to match your swimming pool pump. But before I give you the “how of choosing the perfect size”, you need to know the “why of choosing the ideal size”.
Why Choose the Right Size?
Does the size make any difference? Pool filters aren’t all of an equal size and these tips will make you choose the best pool filter:
- Smaller filters won’t clean your pool – They simply can’t deal with the number of unwanted particles present in a huge pool, so you will need to change the filter media regularly and you might be cleaning it more regularly than you would like. For cartridge filters, for instance, size D filters are usually a good starting point.
- Smaller filters might get fried trying to clean a large pool – They might even stop working and if the pump is small as well, you might get a piece of expensive damaged equipment on your hands.
- Too large filters are dangerous – On the contrary, too large pool filters might have a high electrical current or even move water too powerfully and quickly to be safe for a pool.
Here is a video that shows how to choose the right size and type of pool filter.
How Do You Choose the Right Size?
There are 7 steps that will help you size your swimming pool filter correctly:
- Size Pool
The rule of the thumb of your pool circulation is to be able to filter the water in the pool once per day. Many pool owners run the units 8 hours per day, and therefore, you require a filter that filters all the water within this time.
The first step then is to determine the total gallons in your swimming pool. For the purpose of this guide, we will assume a 20,000 gallons pool.
- Determine (Gallon Per Minute) GPM Required
The next step is to compute the GPM required to filter 20,000 gallons in 8 hours. To do this, first divided your computed gallons by 8 for GPH (Gallons Per Hours). Then divide the result by 60 to get GPM. For example, 20,000 gallons: 20,000/8 hours then 2,500 GPH/60mins/hours for 42 GPM.
- Determine Feet of Head
As the water flows via the system piping between the pump and the pool, it will meet resistance to flow due to factors such as a number of turns (elbows), the diameter of the piping, and the length of the piping. As the head broadens, your swimming pool GPM will reduce.
The majority of pools feature a head of about 40-50 inches. We assume we have a head of 45 inches for this scenario.
- Determine Pump Size
Now that you have computed your pool GPM and found its Feet of Head, you have all the info you require to choose your pool’s Pump Size. Simply go to the description of the pump you wish to buy and read the pump’s chart showing the HP needed for your specific GPM and Foot of Head.
In our case, we will look for a pump that can handle 42 GPM with a Feet of Head of 45 inches. You might find that the closest to 45 inches is 50 inches (never go for a lower value), we require a pump of between ¾ HP (31 GPM) and 1 HP (50 GPM). We will go for a 1 HP pump – a higher value.
- Determine Filter Size
The size of the pool filter is directly linked to the pool pump you have chosen. I would recommend you oversize the filter to be 100 percent sure that it will handle the flow from the pump. So, in our case, we can go for a filter rated 60 GPM as opposed to 42 GPM.
- Other Consideration
Our computation was based on assumption that the pool doesn’t feature extra water features: spas, fountains, solar heating, and others. These features will require higher GPM rates which means a higher HP filter/pump. Additionally, you might require a more than 2 inches diameter suction pipe if your pool requires more than 60 GPM.
- Determining Above Ground Filter Size
The above steps are ideal for inground pools. For an above ground pool, the size of the filter will be determined by the size of your pool. The gallons inside your swimming pool will offer you the horsepower required for your filter/pump. A simple rule is to ensure that the filter clears all the water in an 8 hours duration.
For additional guideline:
- Above ground pool: up to 24 ft. Round, go for 1 HP pump.
- Above ground pool: over 24 ft. Round, go for 1.5 HP pump.
Benefits of Using a Pool Filter
The benefits of pool filters can be grouped into various categories including:
- Water quality benefit – Removal of particles and dirt provides cleaner water which makes it a great experience to always visit the pool and pool.
- Health benefits – The horrible effects of dry or irritating skin, stinging eyes, acrid chemical smells are often removed by filters.
- Environmental benefits – The dirt-holding capacity of pool filters means that there is less discharge of dirty water in the environment.
- Water saving benefits – You save much water when you use a filter that doesn’t require to be backwashed after every one month.
- Economic benefits – Although some filters might initially cost more, their economic benefits might out way the initial cost if they give you years of service. This is enhanced by low-frequency backwashing and efficient use of water.
The question of what is the best pool filter to use is simply answered “Hayward C3030 SwimClear Cartridge Pool Filter”. It is a powerful filter that is mainly used for commercial pool cleaning. It cleans large pools with lots of activities and it quite durable. It is a great product.