Whatever type of pool you have at home, keeping it clean is a priority. The best way to maintain your pool’s cleanliness is to run a filtration pump to remove gunk and particles from the water. Here we’ll discuss the best pool pumps for every unique need.
Best Pool Pumps: The Details
Here are all the details on the 6 pool pumps that stand out among the competition.
Pentair IntelliFlo Variable Speed Pump
⭐ Best Overall Pool Pump
Pentair’s IntelliFlo variable speed pump is our choice for the best overall pool pump because it automates the entire pool cleaning process. With a 3 HP motor, the pump offers eight different speeds and a built-in timer.
Plus, Energy Star certification ensures that it uses less power than alternative models – Pentair promises up to a 90 percent reduction in energy costs. Of course, the highlight is the fact that the pump can interface with your other digital pool and spa products – meaning you don’t have to trek out to the backyard at all hours to make sure the pump is running.
- Energy savings up to 90-percent vs. traditional pumps
- Dramatically quieter operation; Carton Wt: 45 pounds
- 8 programmable speed settings and built-in timer assure optimum speed and run times for maximum efficiency and savings
- Built in diagnostics protect the pump for longer service life
- Fully compatible with IntelliTouch, EasyTouch, SunTouch Pool Control Systems and other brands of digital pool/spa controls for managing pump, heating,...
- 3 HP
- Energy Star certified
- Programmable speed settings and timer
- Compatible with digital pool/spa controls
- Filters up to 170 gallons per minute (10,200 per hour)
- Operates quietly
- Low energy draw
- Can handle pools of all sizes
- Can be challenging to determine the optimal flow rate and setting for your pool
- The pump offers error codes when there’s a problem, but you likely need pro help to figure out the fix
Mighty Mammoth In Ground Pool Pump
⭐ Best High Performance Pump
Mighty Mammoth’s inground pool pump is another hard-wired pump for permanently installed pools. Its 2 HP motor offers a high flow rate and, the manufacturer notes, can replace pumps from all major brands.
One thing we don’t like is the fact that Mighty Mammoth isn’t upfront about its gallon per minute (GPM) flow rate – we saw about 79 GPM in our research, but results may vary slightly.
Apart from that, there’s nothing to dislike here – the Mighty Mammoth pump has a heavy-duty driveshaft and a corrosion-proof housing on the filter area. It is an affordable solution for even the most elaborate pool setup.
- Superior Pool Pump for In Ground Pools
- Replaces All Major Brands
- High Flow Rate - Great Performance
- 2 HP, 1500W
- 110/120V, 60HZ
- 2 HP
- Up to 79 GPM (4,740 gallons per hour)
- Swap between 110V and 220V as necessary
- Wires directly into your electrical grid
- Quiet operation
- Heavy-duty construction
- Compatible across all brands
- Can be challenging to install if you’re not familiar with electrical wiring systems
- No clear GPM declared
Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump
⭐ Best for Above Ground Pools
While a few of our picks are for inground pools only, Intex’s Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump is suitable for pop-up pools, too. Sand filtration is inexpensive, and it can last a long time – Intex says every five years is an ideal replacement timeframe for sand.
Functionality is also a highlight with Intex: you can run a filter cycle, backwash the pump, rinse, recirculate, and even close the system via the digital interface. Of course, to get it going upon arrival, you’ll need the filtration media (some type of sand) and possibly additional accessories, depending on your pool and existing setup.
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- 2,800 GPH flow rate
- Six functions: filter, backwash, rinse, recirculate, drain, and close
- Automatic timer
- .6 HP motor
- Infrequent filter replacement
- Digital timer so you can set it and forget about it
- Includes connector hoses and power cord (built-in GFCI)
- Operates quietly
- Must purchase sand separately
- Might need additional fittings, depending on the type of pool you have
Pentair WhisperFlo High Performance Pump
⭐ Best Heavy Duty Pump
If your pool frequently collects debris, or you’re struggling with keeping the water moving because of algae and other buildup, Pentair’s WhisperFlo pump might be the perfect solution. Its heavy-duty construction and 3 HP motor offer high performance, and the unit is compatible with all cleaning systems and filters.
One drawback is that Pentair doesn’t disclose the WhisperFlo’s GPM rate, which can hinder your ability to size the right pump for your pool. That said, it caters to inground pools, and the robust construction means it can handle almost any installation scenario.
- Oversized strainer basket and volute - industry standard in pool Pump
- Standard and Energy-efficient Square Flange Motors available
- Lower HP's deliver higher performance than industry standard
- Compatible with all cleaning systems, various filters and jet action spas
- Heavy-duty/durable construction is designed for long life
- 3 HP
- Heavy-duty construction
- Hydraulic design to move water
- Oversized debris basket
- No connectors included
- Larger basket size means less frequent cleaning while still pulling gunk out of your pool
- Quieter than comparable power pumps
- Compatible with cleaning systems/branded products
- Seals may require more frequent replacing than other models
- Must reach in to clean debris trap
Hayward Super Pump
⭐ Best Value Pool Pump
Hayward has a reputation for manufacturing high-quality pool pumps, and their Super Pump is no exception. It’s easy to install – with just four bolts to access the internal components – and the swing-away hand knobs mean nothing can come loose or fall off.
The single-speed Super Pump is durable and balanced, so it uses less HP to provide higher flow rates. It has an extra-large debris basket that helps keep the water flowing, and corrosion-proof materials mean it can last a long time, too.
A maximum 83 GPM handles nearly any size pool, and the self-priming feature means operation is simple, no matter how many hours you need to run it.
- The industry’s workhorse - recognized for reliability and performance
- Exclusive swing-away hand knobs makes for easier strainer cover removal: no tools required, no loose parts and no clamps
- See through strainer cover lets you see when basket needs cleaning and eliminates guess work
- Features an oversized debris basket has extra leaf holding capacity for less frequent maintenance
- Easy installation and servicing with quick 4-bolt access to internal components
- 5 HP
- Swing-away hand knobs
- Oversized debris basket
- 83 GPM (4,980 GPH)
- Operates quietly
- Easy to service and operate
- See-through strainer cover lets you see when it’s time to clean
- No fittings included
- Only one speed/setting
XtremepowerUS 1.5HP Inground Pool Pump
⭐ Best Low Cost Pump
XtremepowerUS’ 1.5 HP pool pump is a simple solution to your pool filtration needs. You won’t find any fancy digital interfaces here. But the pump features a self-priming feature, a clear viewing window so you can check whether the basket is full, and a high-performance motor for quieter operation.
However, the manufacturer notes that the pump is only for permanently installed pools, so keep that in mind. You’ll be connecting this pump directly to your electrical wiring system.
Also, the user manual might not cover every installation scenario and need, so you may need to look up an install video if you require extra assistance.
- Heavy-duty, high-performance motor with air-flow ventilation for quieter, cooler operation
- Large strainer basket is the largest in its class with an easy open, quick lock, transparent pump lid which mean less work and more swimming
- Flow Max: 88 GPM/ 5, 280 GPH / Internal Inlet Fitting: 1. 5" NPT
- Swimming Pool Pump has a ETL and UL Certification to ensure recognized Standards for Safety
- 2pc-Union Fitting Sold Separately (ASIN: B01FNEQ96G and B01FNEQ96G)
- 5 HP
- Self-priming function
- Up to 5,280 gallons filtered per hour
- Requires wiring directly into your electrical system
- Operates quietly
- Self-priming (after initial setup)
- Compatible with solar heating and in-floor cleaning systems
- Accepts sand and other filter types
- Not programmable/only one speed setting
- Nonstandard connections, so read carefully before purchasing pipes/tubing
Recap: Best Pool Pumps
- Pentair INtelliFlo Varibale Speed Pump: Best overall pool pump
- Mighty Mammoth In Ground Pool Pump: Best high performance pump
- Intex Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter Pump: Best for above ground pools
- Pentair WhisperFlo High Performance: Best heavy duty pump
- Hayward Super Pump: Best value pool pump
- XtremepowerUS 1.5HP Inground Pool Pump: Best low cost pump
Our Research Criteria
Here’s what goes into our recommendations for the best pool pump equipment. From choosing a pump to preparing for installation, here’s what you need to know.
Determine What Size/Flow Rate Pump You Need
Selecting the right size pump – based on its GPM or GPH rating – is crucial for keeping a clean, usable pool. If the pool is too big for your pump to manage, you could see algae begin to grow or debris floating on the water. But with a pump that works too hard for the size of your swimming pool, you’ll only be wasting energy.
Therefore, determining what size or flow rate pump you need is the first step in finding the best pool pump for your needs. Use our pool pump size calculator to easily figure it out.
In short, you’ll need to determine your pool’s total volume in gallons. Your pool might state capacity on the label or user manual, and you can use that figure to calculate the flow rate. Or, you can multiply the depth of the pool by its diameter or length/width measurements to find the water volume on your own.
Then, divide the pool volume in gallons by the turnover rate you want (in minutes) to find the flow rate in GPM. For example, a pool that has a 25,000-gallon capacity at a turnover rate of eight hours equals 52 GPM (or 3,120 GPH).
Choose a GPM that closely matches your desired flow rate for the best filtration results.
Installation Requirements: Wired vs. Plug-In
Many pool pumps require direct wiring into your electrical system. At the same time, such pumps typically stipulate that they are compatible with inground, permanent installation models only.
Pumps for temporary setups often plug into an outlet rather than wiring into your property’s electrical grid. Depending on your pool type (inground or above-ground), setup plans (whether permanent or seasonal), and the available facilities, you might choose either a wired or plug-in pump model.
In most cases, wired pumps are suitable for larger pools with higher volumes of water – so a plug-in pump might be better for smaller or temporary pool setups.
Also, some jurisdictions may require that an electrician sign off (or complete) the installation of a wired pool pump. Check your local building code requirements to determine whether you need a professional to assist, or if you can DIY.
Pool Compatibility: Inground versus Above-Ground
As noted, many manufacturers suggest using their pump products with inground pools only. In some cases, it’s due to the way the water must flow through the pump to ensure it’s not running dry. For most types of pumps, the manufacturers recommend keeping the equipment in a temperature-controlled environment or at least a weather-protected area.
Speeds and Settings
Pool pumps come in either single or variable speed options. Some programmable pumps offer additional speeds or settings for cleaning, backflow, and other functions. Programmable options also tend to include automatic timers so that you can set your pump to come on at a specific time without having to watch over it.
Consider whether automation is a deciding factor when purchasing a pool pump, especially if yours is a permanent inground setup. In many cases, programmable pumps with variable speeds can be more expensive, but also more convenient than alternatives and save you money on monthly pool electrical costs.
Horsepower and Voltage Ratings
Depending on the size of your pool and your flow rate requirements, the horsepower and voltage rating of the best pump for your needs can vary. In general, the lower horsepower pumps deliver lower flow rates than higher-HP options.
That said, some lower-HP pool pumps provide impressive levels of performance without using much energy. You can also look for Energy Star Certified pumps to ensure you’re not wasting energy throughout the swimming season. Most variable speed pumps are certified and can typically lower energy costs by around 80% versus an older single speed pump.
You also don’t want to choose a pump simply because of its higher horsepower rating. As noted, a pump that overpowers your pool will only waste energy and cost you money – so picking a pump to fit your pool is your best bet.
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