The Best Above Ground Pool Pump and Filter Systems


One thing that is crucial when buying an above ground pool is making sure you have the best above ground pool pump and filter.  That will make the difference between clear water that is healthy to swim in and murky, disgusting water that puts your family at risk.

The pool pump and filter work together to create clean water.  The pump pushes your water through the filter, which then works to remove grime, dirt and other debris at a microscopic level.

Why do you need the best above ground pool pump and filter?

Why is it so important to have the best above ground pool pump and filter?  Simply put, this is the one piece of equipment that you do not want to skimp on.

When we are in a pool, our skin is absorbing large amounts of water through our skin.  Water that is unclean or that has too many chemicals are dangerous for our bodies.

A pump and filter system that works well will make sure that the water stays clean.  It will make sure that the chemicals that are in the pool are able to do their job, so you do not end up adding more than you need!

Equipment that works well will affect your entire pool. Making sure that your pump and filter work well will make your whole pool last longer.

For example, proper filtering means that the pressure on the pool floor is kept at the right levels.  Additionally, a filter that works well will not put strain on the pump.

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Factors to Consider

As you will see below, there are choices as to the type of filter that you want for your above ground pool.  Each has its pros and cons.

You need to consider a few things before making a choice:

  • Budget: You need to know how much you have to spend on your equipment, as well the size of your budget to maintain that equipment.
  • Time: Some systems are easier to maintain than others.  How much time do you want to commit to pool maintenance?
  • Size: Make sure you have a pump that is big enough for your above ground pool
  • Flow Rate: This is most important for cartridge filters.  You need to know how quickly the pump and filter will be able to clean your pool.

Types of Filters for Above Ground Pools

There are three types of filter systems for above ground pools.  They are:

  • Sand Filters
  • Cartridge Filters
  • Diatomaceous Earth (DE) Filters

Each filter has pros and cons.  You will want to speak to a pool professional before you buy your above ground pool so that you know the best pump and filter for you.

Sand Filters

Sand filters work by using a technique called backwashing or reverse flow. It is the oldest, most economical system to keeping pool water clean.


  • Inexpensive to purchase and maintain
  • Can remove dirt as small as 20 microns
  • Filters last for 5 to 10 years before needing to be replaced
  • Easy to maintain


  • The least effective option available

Cartridge Filter

Cartridge filters are a newer way to filter pool water and come with most pools when purchased.


  • Can pick up smaller pieces of dirt – as small as 15 microns


  • Can allow larger particles into the pool
  • Filters do not last as long as sand filters – only last between 1 and 3 years
  • Needs to be remove and clean the filter often

Diatomaceous Earth (DE) Filters

These are the most efficient filter system, and therefore, the most expensive.  Installing a DE filter means that you are enjoying the cleanest pool water possible.


  • The most efficient filtering system available
  • Can clean dirt as small as 2 microns
  • Highly durable
  • Do not require frequent backwashing


  • Much more expensive than the other options

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Choosing your Above Ground Pool Pump and Filter

Within those categories, you will want to look at individual brands and what they offer. This includes warranties, as the warranties offered may vary.

It is always best to speak to a pool professional before selecting your pump and filter system.  They will be able to make sure you have exactly what is best for your pool.

However, here are some of the best pool filter and pumps on the market.

Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump For Above Ground Pools, 16-Inch, 110-120V With GFCI

This is one of the best sand filters on the market, with a very fair price point.  It comes with everything you need for easy installation and is lightweight, weighing less than 5 pounds.

It is remarkably easy to use, with six settings and a timer that has pre-set 12 or 24-hour cycles so you can set it and forget it!  This brand is well-known within the pool industry and comes with a great reputation.

This pool pump and filter conforms to the UL/CSA industry standards. It has a great flow rate of 1,050 GPH and is easy to clean.

The pool pump motor has had mixed reviews.  Users love how quiet it is, but some have noted that it only lasts for a couple of seasons.

One small note is that it does not come with the filter media (sand).  You will have to buy that separately.

Hayward EC50AC Perflex D.E. Pool Filter

If you want crystal clean water and have the budget for a DE filter, then this is the model for you.  It is consistently reviewed as one of the best pool pump and filter systems on the market.

You cannot get cleaner pool water than this.  This filter will clean out dirt down to a microscopic 2 microns.

This filter is designed to clean your above ground pool water without needing any backwashing.  It is the perfect choice for anyone that cares about water conservation and does not want to waste any.

The Perflex has its own patented tube design which results in long cycles and longer periods between cleaning. It is a big of a production when you do clean it and could make a bit of a mess.

The installation is a bit trickier than other filters listed here.  However, once installed, it works like a dream and is able to clean your above ground pool quickly and efficiently.

However, all that does come at a price.  It is one of the more expensive models on our list.

If you have the budget for it, this model is your best choice for crystal clean water that your whole family can enjoy.

Intex 28633 Krystal Clear

This is another great model from Intex for those looking for an inexpensive model.

Like most Intex models, it comes with an automatic timer so that you can set it and then leave it alone.  That makes for easy pool maintenance since you do not have to put a lot of thought into it.

It has a double insulated pump, so it is very simple to replace the cartridge.  The cartridges are also inexpensive and easy to come by which is another perk.

Some reviewers have found that it is best to use this model only 8 hours per day. This is because air gets trapped inside the chamber, which you can also correct with the air release valve.

It is worth noting that some users find that the pump can be noisier than other models, something to think about if you live in a condensed area or if you are sensitive to noise.

Installation may be a bit tricky and it may require some adaptation to get it just the way you want it.  However, it is the best value for a low price.

Hayward S210T ProSeries Sand Filter, 20-Inch, Top-Mount

This is another sand filter and another model by acclaimed brand, Hayward.  The filter and pump are mounted onto a base, which ensures that it remains corrosion- and rust-free, completely unaffected by nature around it.
What sets it apart is how easy it is to install.  It has a flange clamp design, which allows the filter to rotate a full 360 degrees.
This model features the VariFlo system, which gives it an efficient, multi-port, 7-position system.  It also distributes the water evenly over the sand bed to get the best filtration possible.
For those that are energy-conscious, this is the model for you.  This model has an efficient flow rate, which means low energy consumption, even if you were to run it for 12 hours.

Game Sand Pro 75D Series Filter Unit

This is a replacement filtration system for any above ground pool (it works best with Bestway and Intex pools).  It is an easy to operate sand filter designed for pools up to 15,000 gallons in size.

It is equipped with an easy to use, easy to read pressure gauge.  As well, it has a 4-position rotary valve that will filter, backwash, rinse and winterize.

This filter has a high flow rate and a 3/4 horsepower pump.  One nice perk is that is operates very quietly.

One note: the sand is not included and needs to be purchased separately.  You will need 75 pounds of medium-grade pool filter sand.

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These are just some of the options available.  A pool professional will be able to walk you through your choices and find the one that is right for you.

Having an above ground pool is a lot of fun, but only if your water is crystal clean!  Get the right above ground pool pump and filter and enjoy your pool all summer long!

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