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5 Best Above Ground Pool Filter Pumps For Effective and Quick Cleaning

You will find here how to make your pool paradisaic delight with above ground filter pump — choose the best one and make your pool party!

If you are on this page, you probably have decided on buying a filter pump for your above ground pool because you are tired of your pool periodically becoming muddy-green and full of leaves or insects. And instead of relaxing, you have to cleanse it and waste your time to bring the pool into a presentable and pleasant look.

But it is also likely that you are completely in the dark and you have a lot of questions: how exactly does it work? What type of above ground filter pump do I need? What characteristics should I pay special attention to? And finally, how to avoid a mistake and make the right choice that will match my needs?

After all, a high-quality filter will not only help cleanse your pool, get rid of all debris but will make the water crystal clear and transparent.

That is why we suggest you read our article and choose “the one and only” filter pump recommended by us.

Comparison table: 5 best above ground filter pump

Model
Characteristics
INTEX 28633EG
Best cartridge filter pump
Filter type: Cartridge filter
Horsepower: 1,5 HP
Weight: 19.5 pounds
Dimensions: 13.75 x 18.5 x 16
Benefits

- Has additional safety feature (GFCI);
- Unlike other models, it comes with one free Type B cartridge;
- Easy maintenance (simply replace the cartridge every two weeks).
See the detailed review
INTEX 26679EG
Best sand filter pump
Filter type: Sand filter
Horsepower: 0.75 HP
Weight: 50.57 pounds
Dimensions: 18.88 x 27.13 x 24.63
Benefits

- Cheap and easy maintenance;
- E.C.O. System;
- Quite working.
See the detailed review
HAYWARD W3EC40C92S Perflex
Best D.E. filter pump
Filter type: D.E. filter
Horsepower: 1 HP
Weight: 63 pounds
Dimensions: 23.9 x 14.4 x 26.9
Benefits

- Suitable for pool up to 24,000 gallons (medium-sized);
- The most durable among other D.E. filters.
See the detailed review
INTEX 26645EG
Best for small-sized pools
Filter type: Sand filter
Horsepower: 0.30 HP
Weight: 35 pounds
Dimensions: 15.4 x 23.2 x 22.2
Benefits

- Cheap maintenance;
- Economical price;
- Possibility of cleansing all the day;
See the detailed review
SUMMER WAVES SFX1500 SkimmerPlus
Best filter pump with a skimmer
Filter type: Cartridge filter
Horsepower: 0.75 HP
Weight: 9 pounds
Dimensions: 21.1 x 9.4 x 11
Benefits

- Portable size;
- Has a GFCI;
- Combines the functions of a skimmer and filter pump.
See the detailed review

How did we choose


Before recommending any product, we conduct a deep and qualitative analysis, which allows us to understand the best models on the market, which criteria are most important for the buyer, what should be paid attention to and what problems may arise.

In short, our model of research looks like this:

  • We analyze the products with the highest ratings on the market.
  • Next, we select the most relevant ones (on average, out of 30 high-rated products, only about 10 we select for detailed analysis, during which we eliminate models that, for example, have a small number of reviews).
  • Then we analyze over 100 reviews and thus we pick the most important criteria for our filters.

After all, we get 5 high-quality goods that we can recommend to you with confidence. Below you can see our analysis method:

ByRossi® analysis methodology

How to select the right pool filter pump 

The most important criteria

  • Filter type — it is very important to pay attention to which type of filter suits you best: D.E., sand, or cartridge. The type of filter to a greater extent affects what level of cleaning you will have: up to 5, 10, or 20 microns with D.E., sand, and cartridge accordingly.
  • Quality filtration — an obvious point at first glance, but no less important. Since you are buying a cleaning product, it must perform its main function with high quality. You don’t have to settle for mediocre purification when you can make your pool water look like the ocean in the Maldives.
  • Power of filtration — it all depends on the pump size, the size of your pool, and of course the level of pollution. But not everything is as difficult as it seems at first glance. It is enough to study this table here to understand what kind of power and its capabilities will be ideal for you.
OPTIMAL PUMP SIZE FOR POOL SIZE IN GALLONS
PUMP SIZEPOOL GALLONAGE
¾ HP~10,000
1 HP~15,000
1.5 HP~25,000
2 HP~35,000
2.5 HP~45,000
  • Product material — no comment is needed as the quality of the product is the key to its success in the market. If the product is made from low-quality material, then many problems can arise when using it. Everyone is pleased to buy and use a thing that 100% meets their expectations, so you should choose more durable materials of manufacture (polypropylene, polyethylene, polyester, and nylon).
  • Maintenance — this is quite important as most of them do not want to spend a lot of time and effort on maintenance. Sand filters take less time and effort (sand needs to be replaced every 5 years), material for D.E. needs to be changed once a month, cartridges can be replaced average once 6-12 months if you clean it once per month with a special cleaning solution.

Additional criteria

  • Installation — this point is important because the task of the pool filtration system is to simplify the process of using a pool. Therefore, it is important that this or that model does not require special installation devices and does not take a bunch of hours to install.
  • Additional functions — are not something that directly affects your vacation, but it’s nice to have, for example, a digital panel with a timer. It will simplify the cleaning process as you can adjust the frequency of cleaning to keep your pool looking great.
  • Quietness — nothing should interfere with your time in the pool.
  • Warranty — the manufacturer does not always provide a guarantee, or it has a short period of validity, but one way or another — the realization that your product is protected from a manufacturing defect or breakdown not due to your fault adds confidence in the quality of the product.
  • Portable size — these criteria can be important for those who often change the location of the pool because if the filter is huge and heavy, it will be difficult to move it from place to place every time.

A detailed review of our top picks

INTEX 28633EG — Best cartridge filter pump

Category winner:
Best cartridge filter pump

Filter type
Horsepower
Weight
Dimensions
Cartridge filter
1,5 HP
19.5 pounds
13.75 x 18.5 x 16
BenefitsHas additional safety feature;
Easy maintenance (simply replace the cartridge every two weeks);
Includes one Type B cartridge.

The Intex 28633EG is a cartridge filter. Cartridge filters remove 2 times more debris than sand filters. They also have a large filtration area. Cartridge filters can be replaced on average once per 4 months or even a year (if to clean once per month). This model has a distinctive feature that no other model has — a double insulated pump. It is used for adding durability and ensuring electrical safety.

The pump delivers up to 2,500 gallons per hour and the system flow rate is 1,900 GPH. So, for example, a medium-sized pool (up to ~20,000 gallons) will be clean within 30 minutes. This model is the most powerful in the article. On average, filter pumps have about 1 horsepower. To compare, INTEX 26679EG (review) has 0,75 HP.
INTEX 28633EG uses a Type B filter cartridge and it comes with it. The difference between A, B, and C Type only in diameters and lengths.

As the INTEX 26645EG, this model also features hydro aeration technology to help keep the water fresh longer. Besides, it has two certifications of quality standards — UL / CSA. These certifications give the confidence that products are of the highest quality and safely perform their duties. And help consumers know that a particular product has been tested and meets all standards and requirements.

Pros:

  • Hydro-aeration technology
  •  Double insulated pump
  • Compliance with UL / CSA standards
  • High power

⛔️ Cons:

  • More expensive to maintain
  • Disposable cartridges

INTEX 26679EG — Best sand filter pump

Category winner:
Best sand filter pump

Filter type
Horsepower
Weight
Dimensions
Sand filter
0.75 HP
50.57 pounds
18.88 x 27.13 x 24.63
BenefitsCheap and easy maintenance;
E.C.O. System;
Quit working.

The INTEX 26679EG is the best sand filter pump because it doesn’t clog as easily as other filters. Also because it is equipped with several advantages, such as hydro aeration technology, which improves water circulation, filtration, water clarity and has a unique advantage — the E.C.O. system.
In general, sand filters are the best because of their easy maintenance and affordable price.

The E.C.O. (electrolytic oxidation) helps keep the water cleaner for longer while reducing the amount of chlorine. It also provides softer water in pools, ideal for those with delicate skin or those who like to spend many hours in the water. It will be good for small-sized pools (up to 10,000 gallons). 
The Krystal Clear Saltwater System & Sand Filter Pump has a 12-hour timer with 6 function controls as INTEX 26645EG has — to filter, backwash, rinse, recirculate, drain & close system, which will help control the cleaning hours and reduce possible pump noise during the day.

Pros:

  • Electrolytic oxidation system that improves water circulation and keeps the water cleaner for longer
  • Has a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter
  • Requires virtually no maintenance (only replacement of sand every 5 years)

⛔️ Cons:

  • More expensive than comparable sand filters from Intex
  • Consumes more energy than other models

HAYWARD W3EC40C92S Perflex — Best D.E. filter pump 

Category winner:
Best D.E filter pump

Filter type
Horsepower
Weight
Dimensions
D.E filter
1 HP
63 pounds
23.9 x 14.4 x 26.9
BenefitsSuitable for pool up to 24,000 gallons;
Flex-Tube;
More durable among other D.E. filters.

Hayward W3EC40C92S Perflex D.E. Filter Pump System is a winner among D.E. filters. Because of its horsepower, it lessens working time but gives cleaner water as a result. D.E. filters have the most thorough cleansing and this model is no exception. It is the most effective model in dealing with the smallest particles. The filter has 5-micron filtration, which makes your pool a heavenly delight.

This model includes EC40AC D.E. that provides simple installation and winterization.
It has 1 HP and it’s more powerful than models from INTEX, which represent in our article. HAYWARD W3EC40C92S Perflex can deliver 2,400 gallons per hour so it’s ideal for medium-sized pools (up to 24,000 gallons).

The benefit of this model for many buyers is an automatic thermal overload protector, so it will last longer than any other model on the list. 

The tank’s material is resistant to corrosion, which means that it is more durable. Also, it has a patented Flex-Tube system that gives longer cycles between cleaning, in this way, it reuses D.E. powder and saves the use of D.E. powder

Pros:

  • Corrosion-proof
  • Quiet working
  • Automatic thermal overload protector
  • The most long-lasting pump

⛔️ Cons:

  • A little expensive maintenance
  • The initial cost is the highest

INTEX 26645EG — Best for small-sized pools

Category winner:
Best for small-sized pools

Filter type
Horsepower
Weight
Dimensions
Sand filter
0.30 HP
35 pounds
15.4 x 23.2 x 22.2
BenefitsLow-maintenance;
Economical price;
Possibility of cleansing all the day;

Sand filters are among the most popular because of their simplicity in use, maintenance (filter media need to be replaced once per 5 years unlike D.E. powder that needs to be changed once a month), and economical price. The big advantage of other types is durable. It lives about 5-7 years. An example of such a filter is the Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump.

It deals with debris better than cartridge filters. It features a pump that helps deliver more than 2,100 gallons of water per hour so it will be effective for small-sized pools (from 2,800 to 12,800 gallons). Maintenance of such a model is also not inconvenient — you only need to change the sand once every couple of years.

Unlike INTEX 26679EG (review) that has only a 12-hour function, a nice advantage of this model is the 24-hour timer that makes it possible to clean the pool for a whole day. It is useful if you need to go somewhere and you don’t want to see a dirty pool upon arrival.

The timer has 6 function controls — enabled the pool owner to filter, backwash, rinse, recirculate and which will allow you to set automatic switching on and off at a certain time. Also, it has a hydro aeration system that means better water circulation and filtration and improved water clarity.

Pros:

  • Has a 24-hour timer
  • No special maintenance required (just needed to change sand once per year)
  • Easy to install
  • Powerful filter with quick cleans

⛔️ Cons:

  • Filter media (sand) not included

SUMMER WAVES SFX1500 SkimmerPlus — Best filter pump with a skimmer

Category winner:
Best filter pump with a skimmer

Filter type
Horsepower
Weight
Dimensions
Cartridge filter
0.75 HP
9 pounds
21.1 x 9.4 x 11
BenefitsPortable size
Combines the functions of a skimmer and filters pump
Has a GFCI power cord for added safety

The SUMMER WATER SFX1500 SkimmerPlus is a universal pump that is compatible with most above ground pools. It combines the functions of a skimmer and filter pump in one unit.

Skimmers collect the water along with the dirt and then suck it through the pool’s filtration system. They can be easily attached to the sidewall of your pool and will not bother you. Actions differ from filters in that they remove particles from the water before they break down into harmful toxins. The skimmer collects debris in the tank, and the cartridge uses chlorination to purify the pool water. This model requires A/C Type cartridges.

This model has a portable size and weighs about 10 pounds as compared with HAYWARD W3EC40C92S Perflex (review), that is 63 pound and it will be difficult to translocate. Despite having a small size, it has 1,500 gallons per hour and can compete with INTEX 26645EG (review) in cleansing small-sized pools.

Pros:

  • Attachable to the sidewall
  • Easy to clean for multiple uses
  • Cartridges with chlorination

⛔️ Cons:

  • Has  warranty only 6 month

Types of filter: which one to choose


There are three types of pool filters: sand filter, cartridge filter, and D.E.

  1. Sand filters

The sand filter is the most popular and most reliable filter type according to buyers’ opinions.

They are capable of purifying water down to 20 microns. In general, this is a lot, but compared to D.E. filters, which clean up to 5 microns, and сartridge filters, which clean up to 10 microns, sand filters are outsiders.

The principle of operation is quite simple: dirty water from the pool passes through a sand filter and returns clean. After the filter has collected all the debris in and out of the tank, you need to run a “backwash” to flush it out of the filter. On average, this should be done once a week, but it all depends on how dirty your pool is.

Besides, sand filters will last you up to 5 years, so they take first place in the top among buyers.

  1. Cartridge filters

Cartridge filters are more efficient than sand filters due to cleaning up to 10-15 microns. This type of filter uses cartridges that need to be changed every few weeks. 

Cartridge filters are the cheapest among all the filter types, and rinsing the cartridge does not take much time. This is especially easy if you have several reusable filters, which makes it easy to periodically swap them among themselves.

The principle of operation is simple — water passes through a filtering dense mesh, which is capable of cleaning.

  1. D.E. Filters

Diatomaceous earth filters are the most effective as they remove particles down to 5 microns from water. But they are also more expensive compared to sand or cartridge filters.

How does it work? To carry out filtration, you need to pour the D.E. powder into the filter — and that’s it. When D.E. is introduced to the pool filter pump, it coats the filter cloth. So when this powder passes over the grid, it captures the smallest dirt particles.


But you should be careful, as it is a carcinogen. This powder is made from fossilized remains of aquatic organisms called “diatoms”.

Advantages and disadvantages of different type of filters 

  1. Maintenance

The sand filters and cartridge filters have the easiest maintenance unlike the D.E. filter; sand and cartridge filters need to be replaced every 5 years and every 4 months respectively. D.E needs to replace powder every month. Also, in D.E. filters the grid needs to be changed. 

  1. Longevity

The sand filters on average “live” 7 years and they are long-livers within others. The second place is taken by D.E. filters, which will last you on average 5 years. And “outsiders” are cartridge filters as they last up to 1 year if cleaned regularly.

  1. Price

The cartridge filters are the cheapest among other types. Sand filters also have an affordable price. D.E. filters, unlike other types, are the most expensive. 

  1. Filtration

Quality filtration in filters determined by the number of microns. So, the most thorough cleansing ensures D.E. filters, that have up to 5-micron filtration. Sand filters have 4 times smaller filtration — up to 20-microns, and also it’s more water consumption than others. The cartridge filters have 10-micron filtration and they are more energy-efficient. 

5 reasons to buy above ground pool filter pump

  1. Longevity

Whatever type of filter you choose, each filter is generally characterized by longevity. For comparison, Cartridge filters last 2 years, D.E. filters usually “live” for about 5 years (except some cases with longevity up to 15), and the long-livers on this list are sand filters that will last you 7 years. But these are all conventional numbers, if you take care of filters (regular cleaning), it will last much longer (up to 10 years).

  1. Maintenance

Whatever one may say, but nothing happens just like that. Therefore, anything requires a certain amount of care. But do not rush to get upset. Filters are far from finicky. Absolutely. A couple of minutes — and voila, the filter is like new. You will not need to spend a lot of time, money, and effort on filter maintenance. It will be enough to follow standard tips about maintenance like replacement cartridges, sand, or D.E. powder.

A filter that does not need anything is a cartridge filter. It will need to be rinsed occasionally and it should be also soaked in the deep cleaning solution once per 3-4 months. Sand and D.E. need to be rinsed more often.

  1. Ease of installation

On average, installing a filter of any type takes 15-60 minutes, which is not considered long, besides, it is very simple and does not require any extra effort. But if these numbers scare you and you think that you will fail, YouTube videos will become your best friends.

  1. Price

Here is the large range of prices, but everyone can find a good filter for any price and suitable for his budget. 

But need to know: the cartridge filters are the cheapest and D. E. are the most expensive.

  1. Carefree cleaning

You will no longer need to waste time cleaning the pool water. The filter pump does everything for you except cleaning the pool, of course. Just imagine, after returning from vacation, you do not need to wait several hours, or even days, to clear the swamp formed there. Instead, you’ll get the real Maldives in minutes. And if you opt for a digital panel filter, you don’t even have to wait, just adjust the cleaning time and enjoy.

Maintenance tips to prolong filter’s lifespan


When purchasing new devices, people often do not follow the rules of operation, and then get upset that the product they bought turns out to be unusable soon. To eliminate the likelihood of such an outcome, we have prepared for you a list of the most important tips that will be useful and will help you avoid possible problems in the future.

  • To avoid problems with water pressure: whether the pressure is too high or too low, it is worth checking the filter carefully. The solution to this problem often lies precisely in cleaning the filter system. There may be a blockage somewhere.

  • To avoid leaks, it is enough to check the O-ring and assess its condition. We also recommend using a special lubricant-sealant for the pool gaskets. This will help maintain the seal and extend the life of the filter.

  • Also happens that even after cleaning the pool, debris remains in it. But do not rush to get upset and write off your filter. This is due to the backwash process. If you have a cartridge or sand filter, the first thing to check is the mountings. If you have a D.E. filter, then check the mesh for breaks that allow debris to pass.

  • Install the pool pump only on a level and solid surface. There must be enough space for the filter for free air circulation (cooling). This is important because it is necessary so that the filter doesn’t overheat, otherwise, it may simply fail.

Complementary products to make your pool cleaner

These products will be needed for your filter pumps to make your pool clear.

For sand filters

FairmountSantrol AquaQuartz-50

– Filter media (sand);
– Ecologically safe (100% natural);
– Prevent clogging of channels;
– Filters out insects, leaves, dirt, dust, hair, and algae from pool water;
– Odorless.

For cartridge filters

Intex 29005E Type B


– Filter replacement (cartridge) for Intex 28633EG;
– Constructed with 63 pleats for more efficient filtration;
– Made of Dacron paper.

Summer Waves Type A/C

– Filter replacement (cartridge) for Summer Waves SFX1500 SkimmerPlus;
– Has a chlorinator for chlorinated tablets to improve efficiency.

For D.E. filters

Robelle 4024 D.E.

– Filter media (D.E. powder);
– All-natural;
– High-grade filter material;
– Captures even the smallest dirt particles (2-microns).

Lubricant-sealant for the filter pump gaskets

4oz Lube Tube

– Reducing leaks;
– Protect from scuffing damage;
– Odorless;
– Prolongs service life;
– Biodegradable.

Summary


As a rule, choosing a pump for a pool can be a difficult process, but if you understand what exactly you need, the types of filters, and what criteria are important, the buying process will only bring you positive emotions, save time and money. Whether your goal is to keep your pool clean or to shorten the time cleansing — buying a pump is the perfect solution.

In this article, we have picked the best products for you. Thus, when choosing, it is worth considering such factors as the quality of filtration, the power of the pump, the quality of production (the materials from which the goods are made), as well as such minor points as ease of installation, quietness, the warranty and a digital panel, which is significant will make it easier to use.

Below are the best above ground pool filter pumps. And remember, the best filter is the one that suits your needs and budget!

INTEX 28633EGBest cartridge filter pump
INTEX 26679EGBest sand filter pump
HAYWARD W3EC40C92S PerflexBest D.E. filter pump
INTEX 26645EGBest for small-sized pools
SUMMER WAVES SFX1500 SkimmerPlusBest filter pump with a skimmer

FAQs

🏅What is the best filter pump for an above ground pool in 2021?

The best filter pump in 2021 are:

Find more information about these models and others in our article.

💸How much does an above ground pool filter pump cost?

It depends on the type. Sometimes it may cost over $800 because it also depends on the features you need. But in our article, we represent models under $500.

🔋How long do above ground pool filters last?

Cartridge filters last 2 years, D.E. filters usually “live” for 5 years and sand filters will last you about 7 years. But these are all conventional numbers, in general, the filter can last for up to 15 years.

🤔Can I use just a pump or filter instead of a filter pump?

The main function of the filter is to purify water by passing it through various filtration modes and then returning it to the pool. By itself, the pump simply pumps water into the pool. So let’s say, it facilitates the process of filling it.

These products alone do not provide 100% health, so we recommend using a filter pump.

🔌Should the pool filter pump be turned off while swimming?

It does not matter. You can turn off the pump or leave it on — it’s safe.

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