A pool pump is the most vital part of a well-functioning, clean, and safe swimming pool, no matter its size and type.
Since it has such an important function, it is essential to pick the best pool pump for your pool.
But given the wide variety of pumps being offered on the market, this could be a difficult task, especially for those of you who are new to swimming pool maintenance systems.
Read on to find out everything you need to know before choosing the best pump for your pool, including the different types of pool pumps, how they function, and the features to look for when buying one. You can also read the reviews of our top picks for the best pool pumps for 2020.
What are the main components of pool pumps?
Pumps for pools vary in size, shape, form, and features, but all of them have several main components that are essential for their functioning and efficient operation. Here they are:
The housing of a pool pump consists of a bucket and basket with a lid. The water from the pool is sucked into the bucket through the basket where the leaves and other debris are collected.
The inlet for water
This is the part through which the water from the pool enters the pump. The most important feature of the water inlet is its diameter. The larger it is – the bigger the maximum flow rate is.
The outlet for water
This is the part through which the water exits the water back into the pool.
This is among the most vital parts of the pump, as it captures and traps the debris from the water before it is released back into the pool.
This part of the pump is an inverted, fast-spinning blade, which helps propel and evacuate the filtered water from the pump back into the pool.
This is the engine of the pump, and it provides all the power needed to spin the impeller, which sucks in and then propels the water in and out of the pump.
The different pool pump speed options
Pool pumps come in different speed options. The speed of the pump is essential for the efficient filtering of the water in the pool. You should choose the speed type according to your pool size. Pumps with variable speed can be adjusted, so they are the best option, especially for larger pools.
Single-speed pool pumps
These are the most common and least expensive type of pumps for pools. The speed is only one, and is typically set to “high.” With single speed pumps, the impeller spins at the same speed at all times, and there is no way to adjust it.
Keep in mind that some states forbid the installation of new single-speed pumps (i.e., Arizona), so always check your local regulations before buying a new pool pump.
Dual speed pool pumps
These pumps have two speeds you can choose from – low and high. When set to high speed, the dual-speed pump functions much like a single-speed pump. But still, pumps of this type allow you to adjust the speed setting so that you can save energy. You can switch to lower speed during the peak usage hours to save considerable amounts of money for electrical bills.
Variable speed pumps
These pumps are powered by permanent magnetic motors (PMM). These are the best option of all types of pumps because of their efficient power saving features. They are usually the most expensive type too.
With a variable speed pump, you can adjust the speed as needed, and also can expect it to operate quieter than other pumps, as well as have higher durability than the simpler ones.
How to choose the correct flow rate of your pool pump?
Selecting the correct flow rate for a pool pump is key if you want the best results. The choice depends on your pool type and size. The flow rate of a pool pump refers to the time it takes for it to circulate all of the water in it, as well as the time it needs to dispense the chlorine to disinfect it properly.
The complete filtration cycle of your pool pump should last up to 6 hours, but if you want even better results, you may splurge out for a pump capable of filtering all of the water in your pool for less than 4 hours.
The horsepower and motor voltage
The more horsepower the pool pump has – the more powerful it is, and the faster it will circulate the water in the pool. Also, the less often it will need to run.
But keep in mind that you should pick the horsepower in accordance with the size of your pool filter and filtration system pipes. A pump that has too much horsepower can overwhelm a small pool filter. Also, one with too much horsepower will simply waste energy and money if your pool is too small for it. So, make sure you choose a pump with horsepower which can turn over the water in your pool at an adequate rate.
The pump can either need to be plugged in, or may need to be hardwired to your electrical system. Plus, pool pumps can run on 110 or on 220 volts, so you will need to check out the motor voltage and wiring before buying the best pump for your pool.
Choosing the right sized pool pump
If you want to buy an efficient pool pump, you should make sure that you pick one which can filter all of the water in the pool entirely at least once a day. This is the so-called turnover rate. Of course, it is better to opt for a pump which can turn over the water for 6 or even for less than 4 hours, but this depends on your specific needs and your budget as well.
In order to calculate the turnover rate of the pool pump you need, you should calculate the volume of your pool – or how much water it contains.
After calculating the volume, a rule of thumb is to divide the entire volume by 8 in order to establish the gallons per hour (GPH), which need to be pumped through the pool’s filter.
If the measure for the pool pump of your choice is gallons per minute, then simply divide the GPH by 60 to get the complete number of gallons per minute needed for completing a full turnover of the water in the pool.
The other features to keep in mind when shopping for the best pool pump
Apart from the size of your pool, which defines the speed, and the flow rate of the pool pump you need, other factors are essential for its efficient operation.
For example, if your swimming pool has a lot of bends in its pool piping, you may want to opt for a pump with a higher water flow rate.
Also, if you plan on installing the pump in a room or area which is at a significant distance from the pool itself, you will need to opt for a more powerful pool pump.
Plus, if the pump will need to push and propel the water upwards (vertically), then you will need to pick a more powerful pump too. You should consider the height of the pump in accordance with the skimmers for the best results.
Last but not least, you need to consider just how much work the filter will need to do before purchasing a pool pump. If your swimming pool requires a lot of maintenance, a lower-powered pump may get clogged and stop functioning. For pools that need serious filtering and maintenance, you should opt for a more robust pool pump.
How are above ground and in-ground pools different?
When shopping for a pump, you need to consider whether you will be shopping for a pump for an in-ground or an above ground pool. If you are planning to change the swimming pool type, you will need to change the location of the pump too.
For an above ground pool, you need a pool pump which is top-mounted and has intakes located above the ground as well. In case the pump and filter are at the same level, then you may want to opt for a side mount pool pump.
Pumps with DE or cartridge filters are usually side-mounted, while the sand filter pumps can work well when top-mounted and with top-mounted valves.
Related – Best Above Ground Pools Reviews
The overall best
The Intex Krystal Clear sand filter pump is the best above ground pool pump you can buy in 2020.
It utilizes eco-friendly, natural sand to keep the water in your pool clean, fresh, and healthy at all times. The pump can successfully filter out any dirt particles and algae from the water in your pool.
The pump has a 6-function control valve, which will allow you to set it for filtering, rinsing, recirculating, backwashing, draining and closing the system of your pool.
It has a nifty built-in 24-hour timer, which you can set, and let the device do its job while you relax or go on with your work or errands. Thanks to its 2 to 12-hour preset cycle program options, you can leave the pump on and let it do its job with minimal need for attendance and additional adjustments on your side.
The pump has an easy to clean strainer basket and is one of the easiest and cheapest pool pumps to maintain, as it requires a replacement of the sand every 5 years only, unlike the pumps which require costly replacements of cartridges every few weeks.
The top-rated pool pump has a water flow rate of 3,000 gallons of water per hour and is suitable for all above ground pools of 16 ft. and more. The system flow rate of the Krystal Clear pump is 2,450 GPH.
The minimum capacity of the pool is 5,500 gallons of water, and the maximum water capacity for this pump is 19,600 gallons.
This versatile above ground pool pump by Intex has a 16-inch tank, a sand capacity of 120 lbs., and is 27.1 x 17.6 x 25.5 inches in size and weighs 40.9 lbs.
The pump comes with a heavy-duty tank, a 6-way valve, a pressure gauge, a strainer basket, two 1.5” connector hoses, a built-in in-ground fault circuit interrupter with safety shut off, and a timer. It is powered by a 0.75HP motor which can operate with a capacity of up to 0.59 HP.
Overall, this versatile, easy to use and maintain pool pump is the best option available for above ground pools sized 16 feet and more for 2020.
The SuperFlo VS features an ultra-quiet TEFC motor, which unlike other high-pitched noisy pumps, will not bother event the people with sensitive ears.
The pump helps reduce energy costs of up to 80% by moving the water at a lower speed, even when it runs for 12 or 24 hours per day.
The Pentair SuperFlo pump has a real-time clock and a 24-hour memory retention function for unattended operation and energy saving.
It is suitable for any standard pool or spa, which requires a 1.5 HP pump and is a perfect option as a first or as a replacement pool pump.
The device is designed to be easy to set and use, and has safe and easy to access connections for easy installation, without the need of rewiring, no matter whether you plan to use 110 or 230 volt power.
The high-quality pool pump has three programmable speeds and an override function, so you can set it up to suit your specific needs, and pool size and type.
The size of the pump by Pentair is 28 x 15.5 x 12.5 inches, and it weighs 52 lbs.
The pump can easily be installed with a professional, but keep in mind that Pentair will offer you only a 60-day warranty if you do not hire a qualified professional to install it. With professional installation, you will get a 1-year warranty by the manufacturer.
The SuperFlo pump is designed and made of materials that allow for easy installation, even in the most demanding conditions.
Best budget-friendly option
The Intex Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter pump is another superb option offered by one of the leaders in the swimming pool product industry – Intex.
It will help keep the water in your above ground pool “Krystal Clear” and fresh without the need for costly and time-consuming draining and refilling all summer long.
The affordable pool pump has a 2,500 GPH flow rate and is suitable for all 15 feet easy set or metal frame pools, and oval frame pools sized 18 x 10 feet. The minimum pool water capacity for this pump is 4,000 gallons, and the maximum capacity is up to 15,200 gallons for the best filtering results.
The pump is easy to use and maintain and requires a cartridge replacement every two weeks.
It has an integrated valve for the release of any air trapped in the chamber.
There is also a sediment flush valve on the bottom of the filter.
The unit is elementary to install via the included hoses and plugs.
It has a timer that can be set to every 2 to 12 hours for unattended filtering and use.
Also included is a Hydro Aeration Technology inlet fitting.
With a filter like the Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter Pump by Intex, the water in your pool will look and feel great thanks to the induced iron and manganese oxidation by the pump. Plus, any fine particles will be removed before being allowed to set to the bottom of the pool.
The pump is 13.75 x 18.5 x 16 inches in size and costs less than $100.
The rest of the best pool pumps for 2020
The Hayward SP261X15 Super Pump is one of the most popular and famous pool pumps in the country. This high-quality pool pump comes in versions of 0.5 HP up to 2.5 HP so that you can buy one suitable for a pool of any type or size.
It is designed to filter and keep the water clean in all types of in-ground pools and spas.
The 1.5 HP Super Pump by Hayward has a higher water flow rate while utilizing less horsepower than the other pool pumps on the market.
It has a see-through strainer basket cover, so you can monitor its condition and know exactly when you need to empty and clean it.
The removal of the cover is done via easy to swing-away knobs, so cleaning it will take you a matter of minutes, with no effort or instruments required.
The 110 cubic inch debris basket is oversized to capture and trap all leaves and debris throughout the summer season and for easier maintenance.
The pump is straightforward to install and provides quick access to all internal components via 4 bolts.
It works with 110—230 voltage power.
This self-priming centrifugal pump by Hayward is one of the most dependable and powerful pool pumps you can find on the market.
It is easy to maintain, easy to install, and easy to run and winterize, and you can be pretty confident that it will serve you dutifully for years to come.
The Pentair IntelliFlo Variable Speed pool pump is Energy Star certified and has been proven to lower the energy costs by 90% as compared to traditional pool pumps.
In fact, you can save up to $1,500 per year if you switch from a conventional pool pump to this one, according to Pentair.
This powerful pump has an ultra-quiet 2 horsepower motor and can be set to one of the 8 available programmable speed settings for maximum efficiency and energy saving.
The programmable speeds are suitable for adjustments to suit specific tasks like water heating, filtering, cleaning, waterfalls and spa jets.
The unit has a built-in self-diagnostics feature, which will help maintain the pump and ensure its longevity.
It is entirely compatible with all IntelliTouch, SunTouch and EasyTouch pool control systems, as well as with other pool and spa controls for pump, lighting, heat, water and spa jet management.
The enclosed TEFC motor of the pump operates at a low noise level of just 45 decibels, so you can say goodbye to the irritating high pitched noise and vibration which other pumps make during operation.
The pump has an integrated keypad, and nifty LCD displays to monitor the speed settings and wattage consumption in real-time.
It works with state-of-the-art software, which makes setting the digital controls easy and precise.
The size of the unit is 28 x 12 x 15 inches, and it weighs 47 lbs.
The Hayward PowerFlo Matrix 1.5 HP pump can be used for in-ground and above ground pools both. Ti has a premium quality impeller with wide openings, which helps prevent clogging from leaves and debris.
The pump features an industrial-size strainer basket that can fit large quantities of leaves and other debris, and thus requires minimal maintenance.
The PowerFlo Matrix pump easily converts from a vertical to a horizontal discharge, depending on your needs. It has two speeds to choose from.
It is an energy-efficient unit, with a safe and protected switch on the back.
The heavy-duty motor of this premium quality pool pump has an integrated automatic thermal overload protector, which will keep it safe and working for years of use.
It is designed for easy installation and quick discharge pipe connection and disconnection intake.
The pump works with 115-volt power and has a 6 foot long attached cord.
Its dimensions are 23.4 x 11.8 x 9.2 inches, and it weighs 25 lbs.
The Harris ProForce 1.5 HP above ground pool pump is an affordable and yet powerful pump which will help keep the water in your pool clean summer after summer.
It has a sturdy, corrosion-proof design, and overall heavy-duty construction. The reinforced thermoplastic housing protects the stainless steel motor.
The pump is tested and meets all safety standards in the USA and internationally.
It operates at 115 volts and has a 1.5-inch internal and 2.5-inch external threading, and a 3-foot long power cord.
The pump has a large filter basket that has a see-through and easy to remove lid, and is easy to empty and clean.
Thanks to its advanced design, it works seamlessly, while making less noise and vibrating less than other pumps in this range.
The size of the inexpensive above ground pool pump by Harris is 22 x 8 x 10.8 inches, and it weighs 22 lbs.
Hopefully, we have helped you choose the best pool pump for your needs with this detailed guide.
With a suitable and good quality pool pump, your swimming pool will be a much cleaner and safer place to enjoy a relaxing, exercising, playing, or spending time with family and friends.
After all, often the pool pump is referred to as the “heart of the swimming pool,” so it is one of the most vital elements of any swimming pool – large or small, above ground or in-ground.
So, good luck with your choice and enjoy your crystal clear pool with your new pool pump this summer!
Last update on 2020-09-24 at 18:05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API