Dual Speed VS. Variable Speed Pump

Let’s be honest, pool ownership has a cost associated with it, so it’s no surprise that we receive multiple questions regarding the differences between variable speed pumps vs. dual speed pumps. Specifically the amount of money to be saved by purchasing one or the other. This is a great question to ask considering that your pool pump can often be the largest consumer of energy when compared to your household appliances, so we’ve made it easy for you.

The Difference

Dual speed pumps can be run at a lower speed, however they still run at the same amount of amperage, where as a variable speed pump can run at a lower speed and use less energy. It does this by using a permanent magnetic motor similar to the ones found on today’s hybrid cars. The motor and the amount of variable settings enable the unit to run at least 30% more efficiently, while remaining quieter and lasting longer than a dual speed pump. Think of your pump as you do your car. If you have two speeds available on your car, full throttle or a slower speed, you will consume more gas than if you were to keep the constant, steady speed needed to get from point A to point B.


variable speed pumps

Because variable speed pumps offer a much wider array of settings, they allow you to run your pool at optimum speed or the lowest speed to get the job done. This, in turn, creates less friction on your piping, filter, and accessories allowing your pool to run at a much lower energy level, as well as, less wear and tear, saving you money and increasing the lifespan of your equipment. The other benefit lies within the customization of your system. For example, if you have water features, a spa, or a pool cleaner running off of your pump, you can increase the flow when needed and decrease the flow when not in use. This type of customization also allows you to program your pump to take advantage of lower rates through your electricity company when you are on off peak hours.

How much can I save?

Unfortunately, there is no standard answer to this question. The answer lies in the size, different set-ups, and your location. For example, someone who lives in an area which charges $0.15/kwh with a 25,000 gallon pool and water features will save more than the pool owner who is charged 0.07/kwh on electricity with a 15,000 gallon pool.To give you idea, Pentair reported that if you have a 20,000 gallon pool ran at 3.6 to 12 hours a day at the national average of $0.15/kwh, you can expect to save $324 to $1,356 a year, potentially exceeding $2,000 for higher energy cost areas. Given that there is a large gap between $324 and 1,356 you might want to obtain a better estimate for your size and pool and energy rate. If you want to know what your potential savings would be, take a look at our Variable Speed Pump Savings Calculator, it’s a great tool.

Still on the Fence?

If you’re still debating on the cost of a variable speed pump in comparison to a dual speed pump, consider this: The dual speed pump will cost you anywhere from $500-$600, depending on the pump that you chose. Now that’s not bad compared to the price of a unit like the Pentair IntelliFlo that will run you about $860, however with the dual speed system you will have to purchase the intermatic digital control for about $230. All in all you are looking at about $700-$800 in cost for the dual speed system and about $860 for the variable speed system that comes with a more advanced controller built in to the unit. Another thing to consider is that your local utility may offer a sizable rebate for purchasing your variable speed pump which can make the decision pretty easy.

If you have any more questions regarding variable speed pumps and dual speed pumps,leave a comment below or give one of knowledgeable staff members a shout. We’d love to help you make a decision!

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Dylan Lane
As a small boy my dream was to grow up and have a career where I would spend all day in the sun swimming until I shriveled up. Endless cannonballs, marco polo games and an abundance of cookie dough ice cream cones.....While sadly this didn't quite happen, I luckily get to do the next best thing! Sit by a computer and help others enjoy their swimming pools! Lucky me. Enjoy and hopefully I helped.