Pool pumps are the heart of filter systems for a swimming pool. They pull the pool water into a filter tank before cleaning it and draining it back into the pool.
The larger your pool is, the more power it should be able to pull off. If you use a pump that is designed to deliver too little water than required, the water in your large swimming pool will remain dirty.
This is why you should get the right model for your facility. So, how do you choose the best pool pump?
To find out which pump is best, we will review the most beneficial features of each pump, as well as its main disadvantages. We will also give you the correct information you should know before you buy.
Pool Pump Types
There are three types of pumps for swimming pools; these are classified according to the programming of their speed levels.
Single speed pool vacuum
As the name suggests, the single-speed pool pump only works at 1 speed. It’s constantly running at maximum force, so this pump always uses the most power and makes the most potential noise.
Two speed pool pumps
A two-speed pool pump can use less energy than a single-speed pump because it has both a low and high setting. Plus, it works and looks pretty much like a single-speed pool pump. When reduced, it is less noisy and not so powerful. But the pool pumps cost almost as much as variable pumps without offering as much flexibility or electricity savings.
Variable speed pool pumps
If you want a quieter operation, you’ll probably want a variable speed pump. These pumps allow you to place the water flow velocity exactly how you want it.
By using a variable speed pump, you can allow your pump to run longer during the day, but with a significantly lower energy level. This means less noise is created and less electricity is used, even if the pump is running for long hours.
Top 3 Recommendation
Overall Best Pool Pump – Pentair 011018 IntelliFlo Variable Speed Pump
Runner-up – Hayward W3SP2303VSP MaxFlo VS
Our Budget Pick – XtremepowerUS 2HP Variable Speed Pool Pump
Best Variable Speed Pumps
If you want the quietest pump or a model that can be adjusted to your needs, you’ll probably want a variable speed pump. These models below are the best on the market.
1. Pentair 011018 IntelliFlo Variable Speed Pump – Overall Best Swimming Pool Pump
As it’s the very first to offer variable-speed pumps, Pentair has a little edge on the market. And the Pentair 011018 IntelliFlo is probably the best in its production line. What we like about variable pumps is that they have high maximum speed and low minimum speed.
This variable speed model is particularly appreciated by verified buyers because it has a three-horsepower engine that works with 230 volts. Energy Star certified the pool pump is quite energy-efficient.
It has variable speed controls to further reduce your electricity consumption. The Pentair 011018 IntelliFlo has 8 programmable speed settings and a 24-hour built-in timer.
The IntelliFlo will be suitable for a pool owner working with a sophisticated electronic pool management platform such as IntelliTouch, EasyTouch, SunTouch, or even many other available timer and heater management systems from many different manufacturers. Ideal for large pool systems, the maximum motor power is 3 horsepower, which would be ideal for 50000 gallons pool capacity.
- Certified by Energy Star; saves you $1,500 each year
- Speed is controllable in eight settings
- Low noise level; runs as low as 45 decibels
- Includes a built-in timer
- Poor warranty coverage
- Relatively expensive
2. Hayward W3SP2303VSP MaxFlo VS Pool Pump – Best Variable Speed Pump
The Hayward W3SP2303VSP Max-Flo VS is considered one of the most power-efficient pumps on the market. Like the Pentair model above, the Hayward pool pump product is certified by EPA’s Energy Star and wouldn’t increase your energy costs than expected.
Its variable motor allows it to be used in inground pools. Despite its overall performance, which makes it hugely popular among users, the pump remains affordable, selling for half the price of the Pentair.
Thanks to its totally enclosed fan-cooled TEFC motor, the pump emits almost no noise at its lowest speed of 600 RPM. The highest speed capacity of the high-performance motor is 3,450 RPM, which is impressive for a 1.65 horsepower pump.
It seems that the Hayward Super Pump owes its superb performance to the enormous size of the basket used to collect debris. This feature doesn’t need cleaning operations. With its built-in clock, the pump is easy to set and program. Max-Flo VS technology allows users to customize speed, priming, and run time.
- Exceptional filtration capacity
- Low pool maintenance pump
- Sold for an affordable price.
- Users have notified that it only lasts a few years.
Best Dual Speed Pumps
Usually in two-speed settings unlike the variable models which can be adjusted in 8 levels, the dual-speed pumps are also quite popular. And here are the best of this type of pumps.
3. XtremepowerUS 2HP Variable Speed Pool Pump – Our Budget Pick
XtremepowerUS offers a very efficient alternative to the normal Hayward and Pentair pool pumps that have flooded the market. The pump packs an impressive two-horsepower and has enough electricity to circulate water in pools of any size.
To maintain all this electricity, this pump requires a 220V electrical circuit. However, in case your current pump is 220V, it should be a simple replacement.
Asides from that, it’s one of the best pool pumps for inground pools on the market. Regardless of this, it is one of the most inexpensive on the market. It sells for 10% of the price you pay for many pump models.
The pump is capable of moving around 5280 gallons per hour. It has one of the most impressive flow rates we’ve found on a pump for swimming pools. With a maximum suction of 66 feet, it’s ideal for inground pools. To help this water flow openly, two-inch union connections have been used at the suction and discharge ports.
- Can withstand 104 degrees Fahrenheit maximum water temperature
- Best for pool masters on a budget
- Ultra-quiet pump
- 2-inch union fittings for suction and discharge vents
- High Flo ensures a good flow rate
- Not a very long-lasting pool pump
4. Hayward SP15932S 1.5 HP PowerFlo Matrix Above Ground Pool Pump – Best Dual Speed Pump
Ideal for both the in-ground and above ground pools, the Hayward Super Pump is a powerful model with virtually no adjustments to worry about. Offering the best value for the money, it has great longevity and will last for many years. Due to thoughtful features like the thermoplastic house, which is completely corrosion resistant, protecting internal components from damage, the pump lasts for more than 12 years, according to pool pump owners.
You can deploy the above ground pool pump for saltwater use, but the salt level must be in the range of 2700 to 3400 PPM. Its body construction delivers all-weather performance and also traps a lot of the sound inside, making it a much quieter pump compared to other single-speed pool pumps. It also features a double-sized heat-resistant gasket that protects the pump motor and ensures that it continues to function for many years.
The oversized industrial strainer basket is so appealing and functional. In addition, the strainer cover is very transparent which allows you to assess the amount of debris without opening it, which saves you even more time because you only have to empty it once it is full.
It comes with a six-foot electrical cord that you can plug into any conventional outlet, eliminating the need for skilled help.
- The thermoplastic housing is corrosion resistant
- Heat-resistant gasket protects motor to extend motor life
- Industrial strainer basket with a clear lid
- Very durable and longlasting
- The power cord could be longer
5. XtremepowerUS 1.5HP Inground Pool Pump – Best Versatile Pump
We first saw an XtremepowerUS with a 2 horsepower engine. However, this is a 1.5 HP one and is a good model for those on a tight budget. Meanwhile, it’s only recommended for in-ground pools. But it has a maximum flow rate of 5280 GPH and is ideal for 50000 litres to 120,000 liters pool capacity.
Although it is an inground pool pump and is very easy to install in an inground pool, it can also be used in above ground pools; we love that versatility.
It’s easy to maintain, and you might even forget it’s there due to its quiet operation, thanks to the airflow ventilation. The high-performance pump gives you an efficient filtration system that won’t put a strain on your bank balance each month.
The strainer basket is easily accessible and easy to empty. No matter what is in your pool, the trap is going to catch it. The good thing about this pump is that it also works in any season of the year.
- Can be used both in above ground and in-ground pools
- Made from a corrosion-proof polymeric material
- Good suction power with energy efficiency
- Low noise level
- Cannot be shipped to California
- Could be more durable
Best Single Speed Pumps
Here are the most popular types of pumps – the single-speed pumps.
6. Pentair 340039 SuperFlo Single Speed Pump – Overall Best Single Speed Pool Pump
The Pentair pump is a pump with a single-phase capability of 115/208-230V and 50/60Hz. Its minimum operating voltage range is 115/230 volt.
Perfect for ordinary pools requiring a pump of approximately 1.5 HP, the equipment has just a single speed operation that cannot be varied or adjusted. You can deploy this pool pump for 20000-gallon pool, as many pool masters have mentioned.
However, this pump has a quieter operation with an internal flow design which reduces hydraulic noise. There’s also an oversized strainer basket built into the pool pump and a clear see-through lid that makes inspection easy and fast.
Meanwhile, since it’s a single-speed pump that has 1.5 horsepower, it is not permitted in the state of California, where any single-speed pump using 1.0 horsepower or more is illegal.
- Super quiet and powerful
- Easy to install
- Large strainer basket
- The warranty should be extended
- Not permitted for use in California
7. Hayward SP2610X15 Super Pump 1.5 HP Pool Pump – The Easiest to Install
The workhorse of the industry, the Hayward single-speed pump is recognized for reliability and performance. The unique flip-down hand knobs make strainer cover removal easy with no tools required.
Featuring an oversized debris basket with extra capacity to hold dirt for less frequent maintenance, the clear strainer basket cover also lets you see when the basket needs to be cleaned and eliminates guesswork.
The highly recommended Hayward SP2610X15 device is a single-speed machine that will be ideal for 10000 gallon pool up to a large-sized 35,000-gallon pool. It quickly reaches a speed of 3450 revolutions per minute, producing a power of up to 1.5 horsepower, which circulates the pool efficiently.
It’s suitable for all pools, spas, wells as well as for stock tanks. The well-engineered construction makes it durable and helps deliver optimal performance.
Ease of cleaning and maintenance is of immense importance to pool owners. The basket is relatively large compared to other types; measuring 110 cubic inches.
- Large basket capacity
- Hassle-free, long-lasting performance
- Ultra-fast water flow
- Air-flow ventilation ensures quiet performance
- The motor needs to be improved on
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is pool pump so loud?
The noise is usually due to the motor running dry. If the sound sounds like crackling, it may be due to debris and leaves in the pre-filter or on the propeller.
Does pool pump need to run 24/7?
The pool pump doesn’t have to run 24/7 to keep the pool water clean. A 6 to 12 hours operation is enough to keep the pool in good condition in the summer. However, it should never go below 5 hours.
Do pool pumps use a lot of electricity?
Pool pumps use a lot of electricity when you keep them running longer than you need to. A pool pump can add up to $1,000 to your annual energy costs. But an energy-efficient pool pump can reduce the bills drastically.
A power hog pool pump can consume up to 5,000 kilowatts of power annually but an Energy Star model can consume less than 3,000kw.
When to replace pool pump?
You should replace a pool pump after 8 to 15 years of use or when it starts getting noisy. Rumbling, grinding, or screeching sounds are some of the first signs it needs replacement.
Can pool pump stay outside in the winter?
Pool pumps are usually weatherproof and would survive the winter outside. However, heavy snow is dangerous to a pool equipment. You can build a cover or little shed for it
Are pool pump motors interchangeable?
The pool pump motors often have a shorter lifespan than the entire pump. So, the question of replacement of this component may come in at some point in time before you start thinking of a new pool pump. However, most pool pump motors can be interchanged, regardless of the brand. There is no standard for pool pump motors.
What is the best pool pump brand?
The best overall depends on your needs. Pentair is the most experienced brand in the market with more than 40 years of existence. Also, it has the most long-lasting pumps while Hayward is a brand known for its energy-efficient pumps. However, Hayward and Pentair produce the best pool pumps around, followed by XtremePower US.
Buying Guide: Tips for Choosing the Best Pool Pump
What types of swimming pool pumps are there?
The analyzes of the comparisons of the best pool accessories have enabled us to identify two types of pumps.
Above ground pool pump
This pool pump is designed to provide a flow rate between 40 and 73 GPM (gallons per minute). It is intended for above ground pools because it is not able to lift the water vertically. Instead, the pump sits at ground level and relies on gravity to do the work for it.
The inground pool pump
Self-priming, the best inground pool pumps are designed to have flow rates of 30 to 50 GPM. They are mainly intended for pools that are at ground level and need water to lift, this is the definition of the term “self-priming”.
Of course, the most preferred pool pump is always the one that consumes the least energy. It is, therefore, necessary to opt for the model that customers consider to be the most economical on the market. The most energy-efficient pool pumps are usually Energy Star certified.
Remember that in summer, the pump will have to run for at least 12 hours a day, which will drastically increase the electricity bill.
The sound level of the pump
When choosing your pump, also consider the noise level that the device will produce. The decibel level of it will be displayed on the packaging in general. A quiet pool pump should not emit more than 50 decibels of noise.
The speed of the pump can also influence the noise level. Pumps with a single-speed setting with more than 1 horsepower and with no particular noise-reducing technology are usually not the quietest pool pump models. Products with more than 1 horsepower and no speed variability are not allowed in California. So remember to take this criterion into account when making your purchase.
The flow rate
Large swimming pools require high flow rates. The flow rate of a pump tells you how many gallons of water a pool pump can circulate per hour. When a pool pump can move up to 5,000 gallons of water per hour, that may sound like a small amount. However, keep in mind that this is a whopping 22,500 liters of water that are completely moved within 60 minutes.
A pool with 15 by 30 feet dimensions has an approximate capacity of 13,500 gallons of water. Under no circumstances should you choose a type of pool pump that cannot cope with this volume and also consider the increase in electricity consumption that is necessary to operate a powerful pool pump.
Max delivery head
The max delivery head is the pool pump’s ability to push water vertically. This is what is also called vertical lift. Consider the differences in height between the pump and the water surface.
If you don’t want to place your pool filter system conspicuously next to your pool, you can’t help but be aware of the distance between the pool pump and the pool. You should not only think about hose lengths for aesthetic reasons but also practical and physical reasons.
The further away the pool pump is from the swimming pool, the greater its delivery head must be. Pool pumps that are located directly in the pool only need a very modest delivery head.
The delivery head is not only a key indicator of how far the pump can easily transport the water with the same delivery pressure but also what height differences between the water surface of the pool and the location of the pump are practicable.
If the difference in height between the pump and the pool is particularly large, for example, because you hide the water filter system in a flap under the pool, the speed at which the pump can move the water decreases. In this case, pay particular attention to the delivery height specified by the manufacturer.
The water protection rating
Protection class IPX4 means that an electrical device is protected against splashed water. For models with an IPX5 rating, this means the equipment is even protected against water jets.
Since pool pumps are by definition built close to the water, it is not surprising that they have protection class IPX4 as the standard. They are also protected from rainwater.
However, keep in mind that it is still an electrical device that is connected to the electric socket. A roof for the pool pump is recommended.
Which Pump Should You Buy?
The right pool pump can mean the difference between a clean pool and a dirty pool. Pumps that have a high output are particularly suitable for larger pools. For smaller pools, the performance of the pool pump is not that important.
If the pool is in a residential area or will be using the pump on holiday periods, choose a quiet variable speed pool pump with no noise level above 45 decibels.
We have introduced you to the best pool pumps currently on the market. In addition, in our extensive guide, we have given you everything you need to know about pool pumps and clarified important questions.
We hope that we were able to make your decision to buy a pool pump easier for you and wish you continued enjoyment with your pool.