Last Updated on January 30, 2023
Today, we are going to discuss the best pool pumps for above-ground pools that can give you a better and cleaner swimming pool experience.
Besides your filtration system, your pool pump is the next integral part of ensuring that you have a clean swimming pool for your family.
Our Top Picks At A Glance
- Our Top Picks At A Glance
- Are you looking for Intex Pool Pumps?
- How To Choose The Best Pool Pumps For Above Ground Pools
- Best Pool Pumps For Above Ground Pools
- Tips In Using And Installing Your Above Ground Pool Pump
- Cartridge Filter vs Sand Filter
- Best Pool Pumps – Final Thoughts
- Frequently Asked Questions About Pool Pumps
To start, we will be talking about our selection process for the best pool pumps for above ground pools.
Are you looking for Intex Pool Pumps?
We have an entire article dedicated to choosing the right type of pumps for intex pools.
How To Choose The Best Pool Pumps For Above Ground Pools
Your pool pump is an indispensable tool in keeping your pool water clean and clear. Without it, your pool water will be unswimmable within a day or two.
If you’re having a difficult time selecting the right pool pump upgrade or replacement for your above ground pool with all the features you need, then you might consider answering these questions first:
- What’s the size of your above ground pool?
- What type of pool pump are you looking for?
- How much are you willing to spend on your pool pump?
Once you’re able to come up with answers to those questions, it’ll be easier for you to make a decision on what pool pump you should purchase.
Types of Above Ground Pool Pumps
There are three types of pool pumps available, these are single-speed pumps, dual-speed pumps, and variable speed pumps.
Single-Speed Pump. It has an impeller that only runs in one speed based on the horsepower of the motor. This type of pump consumes the most energy among all pool pumps.
Dual-Speed Pump. This pool pump has low and high settings, so you can choose between them when you run this on your pool. The low setting consumes less energy but it’s not that efficient in cleaning your pool.
Variable-Speed Pump. It is considered the best pool pump for above ground pools. This type of pool pump consumes less energy yet is more-efficient than dual-speed or single-speed pumps. Each speed on a variable-speed pool pump is ideal for different situations from draining your pool water to clearing algae in your above ground pool.
Our Selection Criteria
For our selection of the best pool pumps for above ground pools, we placed great importance on the following features:
We looked for pool pumps that are powerful enough to circulate your overall pool volume within 4 hours or even less than four hours. We used 4 hours as a benchmark since that’s enough time for a good pump to turn over your pool volume at least once.
New pool owners are often advised to get the most powerful pump with the highest horsepower (HP) for better and cleaner pool water. However, getting a pump with high HP than what’s recommended for your pool size may cause higher energy costs. So we researched for the most energy-efficient pool pumps today.
We also considered the upfront costs of acquiring these pool pumps. Are they worth their price tag? Or will you be spending too much for a mediocre pool pump? Since you’ll be using your pool pump for several years, you should approach the buying process similar to how you approach the products you want to invest in.
Best Pool Pumps For Above Ground Pools
Best Overall Pool Pump: Hayward Perflex Filter Pump System
- INCLUDES: The Hayward Perflex Above-Ground Pool Filter System includes an EC40AC filter with clamp, a 1 HP PowerFlo Matrix Pump, a modular platform base, a union connection and a 1 1⁄2" hose package
- QUICKER CLEAN: Removes even the smallest particles the first time through for a quicker clean
- DURABLE CONSTRUCTION: Heavy-duty injection-molded filter tank delivers dependable, corrosion-free performance
- SPARKLING WATER: Flex-Tube design that works in combination with diatomaceous earth filter media to produce the cleanest possible water
We’ve picked the Hayward Perflex Above-Ground Pool Filter System as the best pool pump for above ground pools since it provides everything you’ll need for an above ground pool pump.
It already has a filter system with it, so you don’t have to buy them separately. The diatomaceous earth (DE) filter system cleans fast, so you can run your pump system once a day and still have clear and clean pool water. The pump is known to produce more filtered water using less pump horsepower making it extremely efficient.
With its Flex-Tube design, you’re not required to backwash your filter anymore which means less time to manually clean your pump system.
The pool pump system comes with a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty and you can easily order online using Amazon.
What Customers Love
- It keeps our pool water clean and clear every single day.
- Great value for money.
- The pump system is very easy to set up.
Main Customer Complaint
- Some customers reported getting an already defective item or have a missing part.
Most Powerful Pool Pump: Hayward TriStar Pool Pump
- The Hayward TriStar VS Variable-Speed 1.85 HP Pool Pump provides the ultimate in energy efficiency, saving up to 90%, or $1500 per year, on energy costs—and may be eligible for local utility...
- Designed to replace most full-rate high-performance pumps up to 1.5 full-rate or 2.0 max-rate HP
- Permanent magnet, totally enclosed fan-cooled motor offers more efficient operation and long-lasting reliability
- No-rib, extra-large basket design ensures easy leaf and debris removal and extends time between cleanings
The Hayward TriStar Variable Speed 1.85 HP Pool Pump has a permanent magnet, totally enclosed fan cooled (TEFC) motor that makes it an efficient and powerful pool pump.
This pool pump is highly recommended for those with large-sized above ground pools (more than 10,000 gallons) because of its large filter basket and various speed settings.
It’s equipped with 2″ x 2.5″ CPVC union connections, so it can reach up to 130 gallons per minute for its flow rate. It can turn over your overall pool volume within two to three hours.
It’s designed to replace most full-rate high performance pumps up to 1.5 full-rate or 2.0 max-rate HP. And it’s one of the most energy-efficient above ground pool pumps in the market today.
It also comes with a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty.
What Customers Love
- It’s an extremely powerful pump.
- Great energy savings feature.
- It was very easy to install.
Main Customer Complaint
- The pump can be loud when set to its highest speed.
Best Value Pool Pump: Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump
- Transforming Above Ground Pool industry through revolutionary water aeration benefits like improved circulation and filtration, improved water clarity, and increased negative ions at the water surface
- Just hook up hoses and plug in! This pump is a must have for any above ground pool up to 12,800 gal (Partial assembly required)
- Pool pump has a built-in 24-hour timer with 2 to 12 hour pre-set cycles for automatic operation; Timer adds to the hassle-free experience with maintaining a cleaner pool for you
- Water flow rate at pump (pump capacity): 2,100 gph (7,949 lph); in pool (system flow rate): 1,600 gph (6,056 lph); suitable for Intex pools up to 12,800 gallons
The Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump is a great pool pump for those on a limited budget.
It comes in four different tank sizes that cater to various pool sizes with pump flow rates ranging from 1,200 gallons per hour to 3,000 gallons per hour.
|Tank Size||Pump Flow Rate||System Flow Rate||Max. Pool Size|
|10 inches||1,200 GPH||1,050 GPH||8,400 gallons|
|12 inches||2,100 GPH||2,150 GPH||12,800 gallons|
|14 inches||2,800 GPH||2,150 GPH||17,200 gallons|
|16 inches||3,000 GPH||2,450 GPH||19,600 gallons|
The sand filter pump has Hydro Aeration Technology, that’s unique to Intex pool pumps. Its known benefits include better water circulation and filtration, improved water clarity, and increased negative ions at the surface of your pool water.
Since this is a variable-speed pump, you have the following options to choose from when you use this pump for your above ground pool.
All variants come with a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty and you can easily buy it from Amazon.
The Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pumps is great for most above ground pool sizes whether it’s an inflatable pool set or a framed pool set.
What Customers Love
- It was very easy to set up and use.
- Powerful enough to efficiently filter my pool.
- Great value for money.
Main Customer Complaint
- Some customers report leaks on their pool pumps.
Tips In Using And Installing Your Above Ground Pool Pump
All the pool pumps we recommend are very easy to set up and use. They’re also variable-speed pumps that will give you an option to set the right speed for different scenarios.
- Your pool pump must be placed on a solid and level surface. It must be a place where rain or snow can’t reach your pool pump.
- Your pool pump motor needs a free circulation of air for cooling.
- There should be adequate access, space, and lighting for easy routine maintenance.
- Avoid putting pool chemicals directly into the filter pump system. This may damage the pump and void your machine’s warranty.
- Never let a dirty filter stay in your pool pump system. Replace your filter whenever necessary.
- For pool pumps with sand filters, you should use the No.20 silica sand for a better and more efficient filtration system.
Cartridge Filter vs Sand Filter
There are two types of filter systems you can use along with your pool pump: sand and cartridge.
The cartridge filter system operates by pushing your pool water to the cartridge filter inside your pool pump system. Once water has been filtered it will go back to your pool and the debris will remain on your cartridge filter.
Sand filter system works by using silica sand to filter dirt and other particles once they go past your sand filtration system.
When it comes to their upfront costs, sand filter systems are often more affordable to buy than cartridge filters. Sand filters also require less changing of filter media, since the sand media only require replacement every five to eight years.
However, sand filter systems require backwashing when there is a noticeable decrease in water flow pressure. Backwashing is reversing the flow of water on your pool pump system to flush out contaminants.
Now, about the filtration system and ease of maintenance, the edge goes to the cartridge filter system. A cartridge filter can filter twice as much debris and dirt as a sand filter.
And maintenance is easier on a cartridge filter system since you don’t have to perform backwashing. You can just pull out the filter media and rinse it to remove the debris on it, and then reinsert it back to your pump system.
The filter media will last you about a year up to three years depending on your pool usage.
For above ground pool owners, we suggest going with a cartridge filter system since it can catch smaller dirt particles, clean your pool more efficiently, and require less maintenance.
- ROBUST DESIGN: The Hayward StarClear Plus 120 sq. ft. pool filter features an extra-large single-element cartridge for additional durability and maximum water flow
- EASIER TO CLEAN: Single-knob design securely fastens filter head to tank without clamps or bolts
- WON'T CORRODE: Single-piece injection molding for base and body provides added strength for reliable, corrosion-free performance
- EASY TO USE: Filter head rotates for easy access to the cartridge, gauge and manual air relief valve
However, this does not mean sand filter pumps are bad. Sand filters are still great for those looking for a more affordable option. And sand filters can still do a good job of filtering your pool water.
- ALL-WEATHER PERFORMANCE: The Hayward ProSeries 18 In. Above-Ground Pool Filter features durable, corrosion-proof materials for dependable performance in any weather
- LONG-LASTING PERFORMANCE: Unique self-cleaning system is precision engineered to deliver efficient flow and even water distribution, providing balanced backwashing and extending equipment life
- MAXIMUM FLOW: 7-position VariFlo valve provides maximum flow at lower pressure drop
- RAPID WINTERIZING: Large pressure sand/water drain is always ready for quick winterizing or servicing
Best Pool Pumps – Final Thoughts
There are dozens of pool pump options available today, but if you want the best pool pump for your above ground pool, then you should consider those three options first.
Hayward and Intex are two well-known brands in the above ground pool industry. And they have a good reputation for producing good and long-lasting swimming pool equipment and accessories.
Also, investing in a good pool pump can be great for your above ground pool’s lifespan.
Our suggestion is to get a powerful pump that can still be used even if you decide to upgrade your above ground pool.
Frequently Asked Questions About Pool Pumps
What size of pump do I need for my above ground pool?
Above ground pools unlike inground pools don’t have much variation on their shapes. The typical above ground pool can either be circular in shaper or rectangular. And their sizes or overall volume are often indicated on the box they came with or you can search for it online.
For those above ground pool owners who have less than 10,000 gallons of pool water, then going with a 1 HP pool pump should be enough,
For those with more than 10,000 gallons of pool water, a 1.5 HP should be sufficient for your above ground pool.
Which type of pool filter is best?
As mentioned earlier, we prefer cartridge filter systems since they provide better filtration, need less maintenance, and clean faster than sand filters.
Is it okay to run my pool pump for 24 hours a day?
It is not recommended to run your pool pump 24 hours a day and it’s not a requirement to do so.
Running your pool pump for the whole day will increase your electricity bill and is not necessary to keep your pool water clean and clear.
For this reason, having the right pump for your pool size is important to avoid the need to run your pool pump for 24 hours a day.
Is it better to run my pool pump at night or during the day?
The time of day you should run your pool pump is during daylight hours. It’s when the sun is hitting your pool which is one of the requirements for algae to survive in your pool.
Some may argue that electricity costs more during the day, and that’s a good reason why you should pick the right time during the day to run your pool filter.
If you use your pool in the early morning and late afternoon, you may opt to run your pool pump during those times.
Having the best pool pump for your above ground pool can also save you a lot of money on energy costs.
How long should a pool pump last?
With regular use, your pool pump can last for at least 10 years. With proper maintenance and care, it could last longer than that.
The amount of years it may take before you need to replace your pool pump depends on several factors like your pool size, pool usage, and the type of filtration system you’re using.
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