The 6 Best Pool Pumps

If you want my quick answer, the Mighty Mammoth is the best pool pump for almost any situation. It gives you a great value, with high performance as well.

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 from the competition.


Pentair IntelliFlo Variable Speed Pump

⭐ Best Overall Pool Pump

Research Score: 4.7 out of 5

  • Performance: 5
  • Installation: 5
  • Compatibility: 5
  • Price: 4

What’s Great:

  • Operates quietly
  • Energy Star certified
  • Can handle inground pools of all sizes
  • 8 programmable speed settings and built-in timer

Limitations & What Needs Improvement:

  • Only a 60-day warranty if pump is DIY-installed
  • 3 HP
  • Filters up to 170 GPM (10,200 GPH)
  • Variable speed
  • Compatible with inground pool and spas

Research Notes

If you are looking for a pool pump that will automate the entire pool cleaning process, the Pentair IntelliFlo is a great option. This pump is compatible with other digital pool and spa products, which is a huge plus.

Its 3 HP motor and high flow rate are definitely worth shouting out as well. Despite how powerful this pool pump is, it still operates quietly and is one of the quietest pumps on the market. Just be aware that the 3-year warranty comes with a caveat that you have a professional install the pump.

Performance

Pentair’s IntelliFlo is one of the best pool pumps in the market for a reason. The level of performance it delivers is unbeatable. This pump features a flow rate of up to 170 GPM or 10,200 GPH, which is quite high. And since it is a variable speed pump, this makes this product suitable for pools of all sizes even if you don’t need a flow rate that high. At 3HP, you know you’re getting a powerful machine with this product.

The high horsepower rating may scare some, but the Pentair IntelliFlo is an energy-efficient 230-volt pump. It is Energy Star certified, meaning you are saving money in the long run when it comes to running costs. It should also be mentioned that the IntelliFlo has a built-in diagnostics system which can detect issues that may arise over the years, which is great for durability.

Installation

This pump is relatively easy to install - even for those that have little to no experience. The manual included with the product is easy to follow even though there is some wiring involved.

That said, you should keep in mind that if you do end up installing the IntelliFlo yourself, your warranty will be slashed to 60 days. The 3 year warranty that comes with the product is only valid if a certified professional installs the pump.

Compatibility

The Pentair IntelliFlo is compatible with all types of inground pools - no matter how small or big. This makes it a great choice for any kind of inground pool owner. As a top tip, this product is also compatible with Pentair and other brands of digital pool/spa controls, which can come in handy if you are wanting an automated pool.

Price

Pentair’s IntelliFlo is not the cheapest model on the market, but it is fairly priced - especially considering the quality of the product you get in return. This pool pump currently rates a 4.6 for value for money with other testers. A big reason for this is that pool owners save more money in the long run with much smaller energy bills due to the product’s energy efficiency.

However, despite the fact that the IntelliFlo is a good value for money, I have had to dock off a point as in order to qualify for the 3-year limited warranty with Pentair, you would need to fork up some more money to get the pump professionally installed.

Notes From Other Testers

Out of over 200 reviews on Amazon, the Pentair IntelliFlo rates a 4.6 out of 5 stars. It rates particularly high on suction power, energy efficiency, and ease of installation. Most other testers praise the product’s ability to save on power, thus saving them money on bills. However, on the flip side, the negative reviews for this product seem to largely focus on the warranty. Although Pentair advertizes a 3-year warranty, this is shortened to 60 days if the pump is DIY-installed.

Mighty Mammoth Above Ground Pool Pump

⭐ Best High Performance Pump

Research Score: 4.55 out of 5

  • Performance: 5
  • Installation: 4
  • Compatibility: 5
  • Price: 4

What’s Great:

  • Quiet operation
  • Heavy-duty construction
  • Compatible across all brands

Limitations & What Needs Improvement:

  • Can be challenging to install if you’re not familiar with electrical wiring systems
  • No on/off or power button
  • Not energy efficient
  • 2 HP
  • Filters up to 79 GPM (4,740 GPH)
  • Single speed
  • Compatible with above ground pools

Research Notes

This Mighty Mammoth product is a good alternative to the big brand pool pumps that is perfect for those looking for an affordable option. It is a powerful machine that comes in either 1.5 or 2 HP, so you can choose according to your pool’s needs. Although Mighty Mammoth may not be a household name, this product is compatible across all brands, so no need to worry about installing this in place of another product! This single speed pool pump is high performance, so expect a rise in your electricity bills as it is not energy-efficient.

Performance

This Mighty Mammoth pool pump comes in two sizes: 1.5 HP and 2 HP. So depending on your pool size and needs, you can pick the correct size perfect for you. The motor has a heavy-duty drive shaft, which works hard to clean the water. In fact, it is so powerful that many other testers have reported a clear change in their energy bills. But if energy efficiency is not a dealbreaker for you, this pool pump can be a great, powerful addition to your pool.

Installation

This product rates highly in terms of ease of installation. I have found that especially if you are installing this to replace another pump, you can expect it to be a smooth process. Most other testers have also reported installation to be a breeze, so you shouldn’t need to hire a professional to have it installed. However, as this product needs to be wired in, if you are not too familiar with electrical wiring processes, it can be quite challenging.

Compatibility

This pool pump is compatible with all above ground pools and can be compatible with small inground pools as well. And as a plus, the Mighty Mammoth is compatible across all pool brands. That is, if you are looking to replace your current pool pump with this one (even if you haven’t used Mighty Mammoth before), you won’t run into any issues.

Price

The Mighty Mammoth above ground pool pump is a lower-priced option that is very budget-friendly. Although you would be hard-pressed to find another high-performance pool pump at this cheap price, I did have to dock off one point simply because it will cause a jump in your electricity bill!

Notes From Other Testers

There are currently more than 360 reviews on Amazon from other testers of the product. Of these reviews, this Mighty Mammoth pool pump rates 4.3 out of 5 stars. In particular, testers seem to like the ease of installation and value for money. The many positive reviews laud the power of the product at such a low price. However, the low price is countered by the fact that energy bills are sure to rise and there is no on/off button. Another thing worth mentioning is that there seems to be a few testers that have experienced a defective product that breaks after just a few weeks of use. Thankfully, it seems the customer service team is generally fast to respond.

Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump

⭐ Best for Above Ground Pools

Research Score: 4.15 out of 5

  • Performance: 4
  • Installation: 5
  • Compatibility: 4
  • Price: 4

What’s Great:

  • Infrequent filter replacement
  • Digital timer so you can set it and forget about it
  • 6 functions: filter, backwash, rinse, re-circulate, drain, and close system

Limitations & What Needs Improvement:

  • Must purchase sand separately
  • Might need additional fittings, depending on the type of pool you have
  • 0.6 HP
  • Filters up to 47 GPH (2,800 GPH)
  • Single speed
  • Compatible with above ground pools

Research Notes

This Intex product is a great all-rounder for above ground pool owners looking to purchase a sand filter pump. It is quite a powerful pump that is able to effectively clean the pool with the sand. However, the sand does need to be purchased separately and so do some other additional fittings to make sure the pump does not leak. As long as that is not a big deal for you, the Intex Krystal Clear is a good, functional machine that also comes with a handy timer and 6 functions via the digital interface.

Performance

At 0.6 HP, this pool pump is not necessarily the most powerful one available at first glance, but it is definitely sufficient enough for above ground pools. Despite the lower horsepower rating compared to other pool pumps, this is a surprisingly powerful machine. It has a decent suction power with a flow rate of 2,800 GPH, and it is suitable for pools of up to 17,200 gallons.

In particular, if you are looking for a sand pool pump due to ease of maintenance, this is a great option for a pool pump. This Intex product also comes with a digital timer and six different functions: filter, backwash, rinse, re-circulate, drain, and close system.

Installation

Installation for this product is pretty easy. On average, It will take about 30 minutes to properly install if you already have the fittings. It is a simple machine that makes installation easy for even those that have no prior knowledge on pool pump installation. Especially if you have already used an Intex pool pump before, expect installation to be done in under an hour.

Compatibility

This Intex sand filter-pump is perfect for those that have an above ground pool up to 17,200 gallons. It works with pools with an easy set, metal frame, and ultra frame. However, when it comes to the attachments, you may need to purchase additional fittings if you have not used an Intex filter or pump before.

Price

At first glance, the price for this filter pump seems like a steal. After all, not only is it a pump for your pool but it also comes with the sand filter. Unfortunately, it must be mentioned that the sand for the filter needs to be purchased separately. But the good news is that sand filtration as a whole tends to be cheaper than other types.

Notes From Other Testers

The Intex Krystal Clear sand filter pump has a rating of 4.6 stars out of almost 13,000 ratings, which speaks highly of this product. 90% of the product reviews rate it at 4 or 5 stars, so you know you are getting a quality product. This filter pump rates particularly highly for value for money, suction power, the timer function, and the ease of installation.

This Intex filter pump really seems to make a difference for these testers when it comes to the quality and cleanliness of their pool water. However, negative reviews for the product speak about the hose connections leaking. To fix this problem, you may need to purchase additional fittings and adaptors.

Pentair WhisperFlo High Performance Pump

⭐ Best Heavy Duty Pump

Research Score: 4.15 out of 5

  • Performance: 4
  • Installation: 4
  • Compatibility: 5
  • Price: 4

What’s Great:

  • 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

Limitations & What Needs Improvement:

  • Seals may require more frequent replacing than other models
  • Must reach in to clean debris trap
  • Only a 60-day warranty if pump is DIY-installed
  • 3 HP
  • Filters up to 170 GPM (10,200 GPH)
  • Single speed
  • Compatible with inground pools

Research Notes

Pentair’s WhisperFlo pump is a perfect pump for those looking for heavy-duty construction and 3 HP motor for high performance. A big plus for this unit is that it is compatible with all cleaning systems and filters as well, which makes it so much easier when setting it up. For a single speed motor, you can’t really go any more powerful than this Pentair model. It really delivers in terms of efficiency, while also saving on electricity costs. There are just a couple of negative points to mention, including complaints from other testers about the weak seals and the poorly designed debris trap.

Performance

The Pentair WhisperFlo comes in a range of different HP sizes and power, but I will be talking exclusively of the 3 HP WhisperFlo here. At 3 HP, it is definitely a powerful machine - especially for a single speed pump. It is designed to run on 230 V and is DOE compliant to help save on electricity too. And while it does help to save on electricity, it doesn’t sacrifice the power of the motor. Best of all, as hinted in its name, the WhisperFlo is quiet.

Installation

Installation is not too complicated for this product, but keep in mind that your warranty will be slashed down to 60 days if installed yourself. To get the 1-year warranty, make sure to send in a copy of the invoice for proof. But if you don’t mind the shorter warranty and you still want to DIY the pump installation, the instructions for the WhisperFlo are clear and simple, so you shouldn’t run into too many issues doing it yourself. On Amazon, this product rates a 4 out of 5 stars for easy installation.

Compatibility

Pentair’s WhisperFlo pool pump is compatible with all inground pools of all shapes and sizes. In fact, if you feel you don’t need a powerful 3 HP motor, you can even opt for a smaller HP motor of the same model. The WhisperFlo is also compatible with all cleaning systems, filters, and jet action spas, so you won’t have to worry about anything when it comes to compatibility.

Price

You will be getting good value for your money with this product, in particular, if you are looking for a single speed motor that still packs a punch in terms of power and energy-efficiency. Despite being single speed, the WhisperFlo is DOE compliant, so you should still be saving on your energy bills in the long-run. This Pentair product is at a good price point for efficiency. The only thing stopping the WhisperFlo from getting a perfect rating in this section is that the warranty is not as good as with other products.

Notes From Other Testers

The Pentair WhisperFlo has an overall rating of 4.4 stars out of 5 out of more than 150 reviews on Amazon. Though not as popular as the other pool pumps on the market, the WhisperFlo has still left a mark. 85% of reviews are 4 or 5 stars, with these positive reviews praising the quietness and efficiency of the pump.

Conversely, some other testers are not as enthusiastic about this product. The seals in particular seem to be an issue and may need replacing. The other cause for complaint is the debris basket; it is constructed in a way that forces one to reach in to clean it out. And since the filter basket narrows, this may not be ideal for those with larger hands.

Hayward Super Pump

⭐ Best Value Pool Pump

Research Score: 4.05 out of 5

  • Performance: 3
  • Installation: 4
  • Compatibility: 5
  • Price: 5

What’s Great:

  • Operates quietly
  • Easy to service and operate
  • See-through strainer cover lets you see when it’s time to clean

Limitations & What Needs Improvement:

  • Some manufacturing issues
  • Only one speed/setting
  • 1.5 HP
  • Filters up to 83 GPM (4,980 GPH)
  • Single and dual speed
  • Compatible with inground pools and spas

Research Notes

Hayward has a reputation for manufacturing high-quality pool pumps, and their Super Pump is no exception. It filters up to almost 5,000 GPH and does so quietly. Many testers praise how easy it is to get this pump up and running in under an hour. The extra-large filter bag and the see-through strainer cover are some great pros for this pool pump too. Other than some manufacturing issues that seem to arise with some of the products, the Super Pump is a very solid option for a single speed pump.

Performance

Hayward’s Super Pump is one of the best-selling pool pumps out there for a reason. It can filter up to 83 GPM, meaning it is suitable for almost any sized pool. 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. I also love the see-through strainer cover, which lets you know when it’s time to clean. However, it does seem that the quality of the product has decreased a bit in the past couple of years, with a few disgruntled reviews from other testers.

Installation

The Super Pump is advertised to be easy to install and service with quick 4-bolt access to the internal components. Installation should be fairly breezy and you should be able to get it done within an hour, even if you are not a plumber or electrician. However, the fitting doesn’t come with this product, so they need to be purchased separately.

Compatibility

The Hayward Super Pump is compatible with all inground pools - including spas. It easily installs in any kind of inground pool, so no need to worry about compatibility when it comes to this product!

Price

This pool pump is probably the best value you can get for your money. It is definitely middling in terms of price compared to other pumps, but the high-quality construction and the high performance are something you will get in return. And despite being a single speed motor, the Super Pump meets DOE efficiency regulations, meaning you will save more money in the long run when it comes to bills.

Notes From Other Testers

Hayward’s Super Pump is one of the best-reviewed pool pumps out there. Out of more than 1,300 reviews, it rates a 4.4. In particular, other testers seem to like the easy installation, suction power, noise level, and energy efficiency, rating between a 4.1 to 4.5 for all four categories. Testers seem to love this quiet motor that effectively cleans their pools. And though many have had great luck with this product, it is worth mentioning that a few customers were disgruntled by the quality of the pool pump.

 

XtremepowerUS 1.5HP Inground Pool Pump

⭐ Best Low Cost Pump

Research Score: 4 out of 5

  • Performance: 4
  • Installation: 3
  • Compatibility: 5
  • Price: 4

What’s Great:

  • Operates quietly
  • Self-priming (after initial setup)
  • Compatible with solar heating and in-floor cleaning systems

Limitations & What Needs Improvement:

  • Nonstandard connections, so read carefully before purchasing pipes/tubing
  • Not for sale in California
  • 5 HP
  • Filters up to 88 GPM (5,280 GPH)
  • Dual speed
  • Compatible with both in and above ground pools

Research Notes

XtremepowerUS’ 1.5 HP pool pump is a simple solution to your pool filtration needs. Although you won’t find any digital interfaces here, this pump still does the job of cleaning the pool. The clear viewing window is also a great help when you want to check whether the large strainer basket is full. It is fully compatible with other pool equipment, so if you are making the switch to XtremepowerUS, you won’t need to worry.

This pump may not be the easiest pump to install, but you can always hire a professional to do the job - especially since you are paying so little for the pump itself in the first place.

Performance

This XtremepowerUS inground product is a simple pump but still has a high-performing motor with great air-flow ventilation and quiet operation. It has a max flow rate of up to 88 GPM or 5,280 GPH, with 220 V. This self-priming pool pump also features a clear viewing window so you can check whether the basket is full.

Installation

Installation can be easy or complicated depending on any prior experience. If you don’t have experience, you’ll need to do some research in order to install the wirings and fittings correctly. Unfortunately, the instructions for the wiring is not overly clear in the manual provided, so expect to look up an installation video if you are DIY-ing the process. As this product has unconventional connections, make sure to follow the instructions carefully. If at any point, you are having doubts about doing this yourself, hire a professional for assistance.

Compatibility

The Xtremepower US pool pump is specifically designed to be compatible with all inground and above ground pools, which is rare when you are looking for a pump. This product is also compatible to be used alongside any solar heating or cleaning systems. So once you install this pump, you can leave all of your other pool equipment as is - even if you are switching pool pump brands.

Price

It’s no secret that this XtremepowerUS pool pump is incredibly well-priced. However, the price of the product itself should not be the only thing you consider. You should also consider the quality of the product you are getting and the amount of money you will be spending on bills. This pump is not considered energy-efficient, so expect your bills to rise a little.

Notes From Other Testers

As far as budget pool pumps go, this XtremepowerUS pool pump seems to be a great option. Other testers rate this product a 4.1 out of more than 500 reviews. They seem to rate this product highly in terms of value for money in particular, which comes as no surprise. Testers love that this pump is quiet and powerful. But it does seem like this product has an issue with durability - there are a few customers that have complained about the product breaking down after just a few months.

Recap: Best Pool Pumps

How They Compare

Performance and Price Comparison

I created this scatterplot chart to compare performance and price when it comes to my best pool pumps so you can choose the right pool pump for you, and get a bang for your buck. As you can see, the Mighty Mammoth has the highest performance rating, while still being one of the cheapest pool pumps as well.

Installation Comparison

  1. Pentair INtelliFlo Variable Speed Pump - 5
  2. Intex Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter Pump - 5
  3. Mighty Mammoth In Ground Pool Pump - 4
  4. Pentair WhisperFlo High Performance - 4
  5. Hayward Super Pump - 4
  6. XtremepowerUS 1.5HP Inground Pool Pump - 3

When comparing ease of installation, the Pentair INtelliFlo and the Intex Krystal Clear pumps stood out above the competition.

Compatibility Comparison

  1. Pentair INtelliFlo Variable Speed Pump - 5
  2. Mighty Mammoth In Ground Pool Pump - 5
  3. Pentair WhisperFlo High Performance - 5
  4. Hayward Super Pump - 5
  5. XtremepowerUS 1.5HP Inground Pool Pump - 5
  6. Intex Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter Pump - 4

The Intex Krystal Clear pump was the only pump without a perfect score when it comes to compatibility with other products.

Other Pool Pumps Researched

  • Hayward MaxFlo XL Pool Pump - This is another decent option for your pool, but I found that the Hayward super pump performed much better during my performance tests.
  • Hayward TriStar Variable-Speed Pool Pump - This option makes its name for being one of the quietest on the market, but still, it did not perform as well as the Hayward super pump.
  • Pentair SuperFlo Variable Speed Pool Pump - I found that the superflo is a reliable option, but is not nearly as quiet as the whisperflo, and also doesn't perform as good as the INtelliFlo does.
  • Happybuy Swimming Pool Pump 2.5HP - I found that the Happybuy does have very high performance ratings, but I also think that this would not be as reliable as a pump such as the Mighty Mammoth.

My Research Criteria

Here’s what goes into my recommendations for the best pool pump equipment. From choosing a pump to preparing for installation, here’s what you need to know.

Performance

The most important thing to look for when purchasing a pool pump is its overall performance. That is why performance accounted for 40% of the total research score. For performance, I looked at horsepower, energy efficiency, and flow rate.

Depending on the size of your pool and your flow rate requirements, the horsepower and voltage rating you need can vary. In general 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.

Installation

Ease of installation is an important factor for many DIY pool owners, so it makes up 15% of the total score. Many pumps may require electrical wiring to be properly installed and others may be easier. I have also taken into account the manufacturer’s instructions that come with the pump. And since the way something is installed may impact the warranty, I have considered the warranty coverage as a part of this score as well.

Compatibility

Compatibility accounted for 15% of the overall scores of the products. 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.

In any event, you must read through the manufacturer’s specifications before installing your new pool pump. If you violate the manufacturer’s terms of use, it voids any warranty on the product. Skipping safety steps can mean your equipment fails before its time, too. You may also be creating an unsafe situation for yourself and anyone swimming in your pool by ignoring crucial safety precautions.

Price

The price of the product cannot be overlooked, so the price makes up 30% of the overall product score. It is important to find a pool pump that not only matches your budget but also provides value. The upfront cost of the pool pump is a major factor to consider here. But I’ve also taken into account the energy efficiency of the pump. After all, the cost to run the pump contributes to the overall value of the pump.

What Else to Consider

Here are some other things to keep in mind to help you choose the right pool pump for you.

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 my 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.

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.

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. One way to combat these ugly wires would be to invest in a pool pump cover.

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.

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