Pool Filter Systems Comparison Guide

pool filter comparison guide

Pool Filter Comparison Guide

Customers often ask, “What pool filter makes the most sense for my swimming pool?”. To answer this, we need to consider local weather, pool type and personal preferences. For example, do you live in a dusty area, creating a dirty pool day after day? Or an environment with little or no debris? How about an above ground pool vs in-ground pool? Let’s take a look at the pool filter comparison guide to help you make the best decision for your pool and maintenance responsibilities.

Below is a Pool Filter Comparison Guide to help you choose the best pool filter system for your pool.

pool sand filter

Sand Filter

cartridge filter

Cartridge Filter

DE Filter

DE Filter

Sand Filter

Sand Filters are exactly what they sound like. Pool Sand Filters consist of large tanks filled with sand. The water gets pushed through the sand, which filters out debris and contaminants before circulating back in your pool; thus clarifying your water. Sand Filters remove particles as low as 20 microns which become caught within the grains of sand. Eventually the particles will block more and more water, raising the pressure in the filter. This will cause your filtration system to perform at a lower rate, prompting you to backwash or flush out the system by reversing the water throughout the filter. Maintenance is very easy compared to other pool filters, though water costs may increase by backwashing and refilling your pool.

Pros:

Cons:

  • Requires backwashing (almost weekly)
  • Backwashing lowers water level
  • Filters down to 20-40 microns
  • Creates the most pressure, making it less energy efficient

Cartridge Filter

Cartridge Filters are energy efficient, cost effective, and readily available. They consist of a filter cartridge which sits in a tank smaller than that of a sand filter and filters water through the large surface area of the filter. The cartridge’s filtration capability lands in the middle when compared to Sand and DE Filters. Cartridge Filters can potentially filter down to 10 microns, which are picked up through the paper-like material within the cartridge. Because the filter has a large surface area, it creates the least resistance and works best under lower speeds. The filter cartridge can be taken out and sprayed down with a hose for cleaning and doesn’t require backwashing.

Pros:

  • No backwashing
  • Strong filtration at lower pump speeds
  • Greater surface area
  • Removes particles as small as 10-15 microns
  • Saves water
  • Most Economical
  • Pool Filter Cartridges are readily available and affordable

Cons:

  • More maintenance than sand filters
  • Pool Filter Cartridge need to be replaced more often (every three years or so)
  • Higher upfront price
  • Not practical for very large pools
  • Have to clean the filter cartridges once or twice a season.

DE Pool Filter

D.E. or Diatomaceous Earth Pool Filters use mined fossilized exoskeletons of tiny diatoms to filter out particles. The DE Filter consists of a tank with grids coated with D.E. Powder. The D.E. Powder acts like sand to catch particles, but on a much smaller scale. It catches particles as small as 2 microns, giving the clearest water out of the three filters, but not without a higher price. DE Pool Filters have a little pricier upkeep than Sand or Cartridge Filters, requiring you to replace D.E. Powder every time you have to backwash the filter. You can do this easily by adding D.E. Powder to your skimmer, but we recommend giving the filter a thorough cleaning once a year.

Pros:

  • Filters particles as small as 2-5 microns
  • D.E. can be added through your skimmer
  • “Polishes” water per the low micron count
  • Easy to maintain
  • Alternative D.E. Media available

Cons:

  • Higher maintenance costs
  • Higher initial investment
  • D.E. Powder is carcinogenic in it’s powder form
  • Pool Filter Grids need to be cleaned once a year
  • Higher resistance than cartridge filters

So, what’s the best pool filter for my pool?

In terms of overall performance, our pick goes to the Cartridge Filter. The Cartridge Filter allows for an energy efficient, cost effective system, that provides you with clear water. It does this by having a large surface area, which allows for great filtration while being able to allow for lower pump speeds. The lower the speed, the lower the pressure and friction in the lines; thus, decreasing the amount of energy consumed by your pool pump. Cartridge filters, in some cases, require an additional cleaning in the pool season but we think it’s worth the efficiency.

Although we have chosen a cartridge filter for the overall choice, there are still going to be people who prefer the clearest water available (DE Filter System) or the system with the least amount of maintenance (Sand Filter System). It all depends on what your needs are based on, the environment the pool is located in, and your preferred level of maintenance. Either way, you want to make sure that your pool and equipment fit the size and characteristics of the filter you chose or it can turn out to be more work than you might have bargained for.

If you have any questions about pool filters or your pool system in general, leave a comment below or give one of our knowledgeable staff members a shout. We’d love to help you out!

What is the best pool filter for above ground pools?

Same as in-ground pool filters, the best above ground pool filter system really depends on your personal preferences, preferred pool cleaner type and environment. Most above ground pool filters are actually pump and filter combinations, making shopping and maintenance a breeze!

To learn more, please check out our article with tips on how to choose the right above ground pool filter system.

How to Choose the Right Above Ground Pool Filter System

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Kevin
When Kevin’s not enjoying the water himself he’s engaging himself in the wide world of pool and spa knowledge which he passes on to our customers through producing content for our blogs and website. Outside of the pool world you can find him enjoying life with friends, family and his off the wall dog Brixton.