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Having a swimming pool means endless fun and entertainment but there’s a lot of work that goes into maintaining one. If you want to keep your pool crystal clean and clear, you’ll need to get yourself a pool pump, one of the most important components needed for any pool.
Finding a high-quality pool pump can seem difficult with the many types available on the market. There are several factors to consider to ensure the pump you purchase is suitable for your specific requirements.
In this article, we’ve outlined 6 excellent pool pumps based on features, price, customer experience and performance. In the second section of this article, we’ve included how to buy a pool pump to help you find the best product for your pool.
Best Pool Pump Reviews
Hayward SP15932S PowerFlo Matrix Swimming Pool Pump
- High performance impeller
- Excellent water circulation
- Suits both above and in-ground swimming pools
- Industrial-size strainer basket
- Protected rear-mounted switch
- Quiet operation
If you’re looking for an exceptional and high-quality pool pump for your above- or in-ground swimming pool, the Hayward PowerFlo Matrix design fits the bill perfectly. What makes this pump stand out from others of its kind is its large profile and integrated style.
The PowerFlo Matrix features an industrial-size strainer basket which collects debris, preventing it from getting into the pump and damaging the impeller. It’s heavy-duty, high performance motor comes with integrated automatic thermal overload protection which prevents the pump from overheating and burning out.
The best thing about this pump is that it requires minimal maintenance, while being highly energy-efficient. The discharge orientation can be changed from horizontal to vertical and back again with just a single push of a button, making this model extremely versatile and easy to use.
Harris ProForce Above Ground Pool Pump
- Affordable pricing
- Excellent durability – stainless steel and reinforced thermoplastic construction
- High efficiency and minimal noise
- Includes standard 3-prong plug on a 3 ft cord
The Harris ProForce pool pump is an excellent choice for any above-ground swimming, offering outstanding results and performance, while also being reasonably priced. The pump has been tested to meet relevant CSA and ETL requirements for pool pumps.
The product has been designed to be durable and reliable, with a heavy-duty, corrosion-proof design. The body of the pump is made of reinforced thermoplastic and stainless steel – two materials that protect the mechanics of the pump and withstand a variety of weather conditions.
The ProForce pump comes with a large filter basket and a transparent, twist-and-lock lid which gives you a clear view of the strainer. This allows for easy monitoring of the pump and indicates when to empty it. Note that the Harris ProForce isn’t approved for above ground or storable pools.
Pentair 342001 SuperFlo VS Variable Speed Pool Pump
- Three programmable speeds
- Ideal for pools requiring a pump up to 1.5 HP
- See-through lid for easy inspection
- Digital control pad
- Easy to start up
- Up to 80% energy efficient
When it comes to energy efficiency, the Pentair SuperFlo stands out from the pack. This device has been designed to move water more efficiently at slower speeds, for greater energy efficiency. This reduces the operating costs without sacrificing on efficiency.
The Pentair 342001 boasts advanced features such variable speed technology, highly sophisticated engineered hydraulics and thick-walled body parts for durability. One of the most impressive features of this pump is how quiet it runs due to its ultra-quiet TEFC motor, making it easy on the ears and eliminating the high-pitched sound of most other pumps in its category.
This model features a 24-hour, real-time clock with an advanced onboard digital display, which makes it easier to monitor and program. It’s one of the few variable speed replacement pumps that doesn’t require costly rewiring since it runs on either 230 or 115-volt power and includes an easy-access wiring compartment to make fast and straightforward connections.
We liked the self-priming feature of this pump that allows for quick, easy start-up, its energy efficiency and easy maintenance. It also has a digital control keypad that allows you to customize performance, choosing between three programmable speeds.
Whether you’re replacing your old pump or purchasing your first one, the Pentair SuperFlo is an excellent choice for your swimming pool. The device is suitable for any pools requiring up to a 1.5 HP pump.
Intex 28633EG Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter Pump
- Includes replaceable, easy to clean filter cartridge
- Hydro Aeration Technology inlet fitting
- Double insulated for enhanced durability
- Sediment flush valve at bottom of filter chamber for easy cleaning
Here’s a high-end product from Krystal Clear which does exactly what its name says – gives you crystal clear water. With an impressive flow rate of 2,500 GPH and a system flow rate of 1,900 GPH, this filter pump circulates and filters your pool water to keep it clean, clear and refreshing.
It comes with several impressive features such as a built-in timer for setting operating times with preset 2- to 12-hour cycles and an air release valve to remove air trapped inside the filter chamber. These features makes running and maintaining the product easy.
The Krystal Clear pump requires hardly any maintenance and installing it is simple. All you need to do is attach the hoses and plug it in. In terms of maintenance, replace the cartridge every two weeks to ensure optimal performance.
The pump is specifically designed for Intex above ground pools up to 24 feet in diameter. If you have an above ground pool not from Intex, ensure that the product is compatible before you purchase.
Hayward SP2307X10 MaxFlo XL Pool Pump
- Advanced hydraulics for increased priming ability
- Highly efficient
- Features heavy duty motor
- Pressure up to 50 PSI testable
The Hayward MaxFlo XL Pool Pump comes with efficient single-speed operation, a heavy-duty motor and outstanding performance which is what makes it one of our top picks. This model has advanced hydraulics which contribute to its excellent performance. It also has a self-priming suction lift of up to 8-feet above water level.
The MaxFlo head pump is easy to install, service and use with only 4 bolts to remove. It includes 1-1/2 inch by 2-inch union connections and a clear strainer cover that seals with less than a 1.4 turn. The cover is see-through, allowing you to check when the basket needs to be cleaned.
Although this model is quite pricey, it’s an outstanding product that delivers excellent performance, keeping your pool clean and clear all year long.
Pentair 011018 IntelliFlo Variable Speed High Performance Pool Pump
- Energy savings up to 90%
- Extremely quiet operation
- LCD screen to display actual wattage consumption and speed
- 8 programmable speed settings
- Built-in timer assures optimum speed
The IntelliFlo pool pump saves you up to 90% of the operational cost compared to traditional pumps. This model comes with built-in diagnostics that protect it and extend its service life. One of its biggest advantages is the quiet operation (as low as 45 decibels) which is almost 4 times quieter than the usual pool pump. No more annoying background noise with the IntelliFlo – when it’s functional you won’t even know it’s on.
The IntelliFlo pump is a highly versatile pump with multiple uses. This makes it a favorite across residential and commercial settings. These include filtering, heating, cleaning spa jets and waterfalls, allowing for custom programming of pump speeds depending on the application.
The pump works best at low speed, which reduces the formation of algae. Slower speeds also help the filter to work with higher efficiency, as it extends the contact time between water and filter. Additionally, the pump includes exclusive software and digital controls that make the task of programming easy and convenient for the user.
Overall, this is one of the most advanced and sustainable pool pumps on the market. The manufacturer’s estimate savings of up to $1500 per year compared to regular pool pumps. This makes it a worthwhile investment that pays itself off.
What Does a Pool Pump Do?
A pool pump is often called the heart of the swimming pool’s circulation system since it plays a vital role in the maintenance of the pool. It ensures that your pool water is circulating, filtered and cleaned.
The pump draws water from the bottom drain of the pool or the deck skimmer and pushes it through a filter, heater and a chlorinator. Then, the water is returned to the pool through several return fittings which are usually found on the floor or walls of the pool.
Pool pumps help clear out debris from the pool water and keep the water flowing continuously. When circulated, the water doesn’t stagnate so chemicals can move better throughout the pool. As a result, your water is effectively sanitized as it goes through the necessary systems before it re-enters the pool.
Having a pool pump is essential to prevent the formation of algae and collection of debris which can make your swimming experience unpleasant and unhygienic.
How Does a Pool Pump Work?
Pool pumps are centrifugal pumps which means that they work by moving water away from their center force.
Pool pumps might seem complicated, but they work in a fairly basic way – they pull water into the system, run it through a filter and then send out the cleaned water back to the pool. In that sense, a pool pump works like the human heart. During this cycle, any dirt and debris in the water gets filtered out, ensuring that the water in your pool is clean and relatively uncontaminated.
A pool pump has the following components:
- Debris basket
- Water pipes
- Optional – chlorinator
When the pump is switched on, the motor powers the impeller, which causes the water to move at varying speeds.
The water inlet pipe draws the water into the system and through the filter. Debris, like leaves, twigs, dirt and other particles, get collected in the debris basket.
If the system has a chlorinator, the chemical enters the water and circulates, sanitizing the water during the process. The water flows through the outlet pipe and eventually cycles back.
How to Choose a Pool Pump
There are several factors to be considered when choosing a pump to suit the requirements of your pool.
This is one of the most important things you need to look at when buying a pump for your pool.
Most pool pumps come in 3 types of speed settings, including single, dual or variable speeds. Single speed pumps are the most common in use and run at a fixed high speed, using up a lot of power. Dual speed pumps have two options: either low or high. The high speed is similar to that of a single speed pump while the low-speed settings allows for more flexibility.
Variable speed pumps are considered to be the best since they include a permanent magnetic motor quite similar to the ones used in cars. These motors don’t need electricity to spin the rotor and can be regulated digitally to any speed. On the downside, these pumps are relatively expensive, but they are also more efficient and longer-lasting.
It’s important to regulate the pumping speed according to the status of the pool to save up on energy consumption. Though you may think that a faster pump uses more power than a slower one, it’s quite the opposite. The slower the pump runs, the more power it will use up. Consider these factors when choosing the speed of your pump.
- The Pool Size
To purchase the right pool pump, you need to know the size of your pool in terms of gallons. To determine this, use a pool gallons chart or a pool water volume calculator online.
The pump should take 8 hours to circulate your entire pool. By dividing the total number of gallons by 8, you’ll be able to get the flow rate per hour that your pump needs to have.
Pumps come labeled with the gallons per minute (GPM). To find out the number of gallons the pump will circulate per minute, divide the result you obtained above by 60 (minutes).
- The Type of Pool: Above-Ground or In-Ground
This is another of the most important things to consider as it determines the type of filter and where the filter for the pool will be located. Some pumps can cater to both types of pools, whereas others only work with a certain type.
If your pool is an above-ground one, which means that the intake to your pool filter is located at a higher level than the ground pump, you’ll need a top-mount pump. If the intake is on the ground at the same level with your pump, what you’ll need is a side-mount pump.
Top-mount pumps are always the pump of choice for sand filters whereas cartridge and DE filters always need side-mounted pumps.
The type of horsepower you choose should suit your pool as well as your filtering system so make sure you pay attention to this one when choosing.
The pump should be sized properly according to the flow rate of the filter. If the pump has a higher flow rate than that of the filter, it will put strain on both, decreasing the efficiency and lifespan of each.
For example, if you choose a pump that’s designed to be used with a 2-inch plumbing piece, you can’t use a filter that’s made for use with a 1 ½-inch plumbing piece so check carefully and make sure they’re compatible.
Pool Pump Settings
Pool pumps come with a variety of settings. While this can vary between pump models, most pumps have the following:
- Filter settings – this setting in your filtration system circulates water through sand or diatomaceous earth (DE) media and then sends it out of the filter via the return port and to the pool. This is the standard setting for typical pump and filter operation so it’s best to run your pump on this setting.
- Backwash setting – backwashing redirects the water flow backwards through the filter media as part of a routine maintenance or when the filter pressure indicates that there’s a blockage. The purpose of backwashing is to flush out any contaminants so run the pump on this setting every now and then to keep the filters clean.
- Waste valve – on this setting, you can vacuum your pool or reduce the water level whenever you need to.
- Recirculate – when on this setting, circulating water is sent back to the pool instead of down a drain. It’s useful whenever you need to perform chemical treatments that contain filter media.
- Priming – An important consideration is to prime the pump and filter. If your pump is already primed, it means that all of its parts have enough water in them. Sometimes, pumps can lose their prime and air can enter the system, stopping water circulation. When this happens, prime your pump by putting enough water in it which will make it work again. Otherwise, choose a self-priming pump for best results.
How Long to Run a Pool Pump
In order to keep your pool from becoming a stagnant swamp, all the water in it needs to run through the filtration system at least once a day for at least eight hours to complete one cycle.
Some people leave their pumps running 24/7, but this a completely unnecessary waste of electricity and you’re going to be stuck with huge energy bills. Just 8 hours a day is enough.
This, however, doesn’t mean that you have to run the pump for eight hours nonstop. You can always run it during non-peak, utility hours in separate blocks meaning a couple of hours or more at a time.
The important thing is that it’s operational for at least 8 hours in each 24-hour period.
When to Run A Pool Pump
In case you didn’t know, the payment rate for electricity changes throughout the day and is based on ‘peak hours’ which are the hours when more people are using more electricity, exerting straight on the grid.
Peak hours can change depending on the location as well. To find out about the peak hours where you live, just give your electricity provider a call. Once you have this information, try your best to schedule the run time of your pool pump around those hours, as this can help you decrease your cost.
You’ll also want to run your pump after adding chemicals to disperse them throughout the moving water.
However, there’s a chemical called pool shock that needs to be added to the water at night. If it’s added in the day time, it’ll burn off in the sun and the effectiveness will be reduced. So whenever you use this chemical in the night, run your pump as well to make sure it’s fully distributed.
The Bottom Line
It’s not an exaggeration to say that a swimming pool can’t function without a pump – after all, it’s the pump that keeps a pool free of algae, slime, dirt and debris. Which is why it’s worth putting in some time to research pool pumps to zero in on the perfect device. When purchasing a pool pump, consider the specific requirements of your pool and compare these against the features of the pump to find the right product. It’s a worthwhile investment that’ll keep your pool sparkling and hygienic.