The Best Swimming Pool Pump to Buy

The pool pump is one of the most important parts of a swimming pool circulation system. It’s sometimes referred to as the heart of the system as it creates the flow of water from the pool through the filter and chemical treatment system, so that the filtration system can effectively filter the water – like the heart in our bodies that pumps blood with oxygen and nutrients to help sustain us, and brings waste toward the kidneys for filtration.

The pool pump also allows you to remove debris from your swimming pool while increasing the effectiveness of chemicals that fight the growth of algae and bacteria in your water so you and your kids can enjoy your pool more, have more funs and stay healthy.

With a variety of available pool pump options, it’s easy to find one that is right for your swimming pool and within your price range. But if you’re not sure where to start or have no idea of what you’re looking for, then this article is for you.

This step-by-step buyer’s guide covers almost everything you should know before you buy a new pool pump. It begins with our selection of the best pool pumps on the market for inground pools and above ground pools. It continues with a discussion on the overall function and purpose of pool pumps, then a basic cost comparison between single speed pool pumps, dual speed pool pumps versus variable speed pool pumps. And finally are some helpful tips for selecting and sizing a new pool pump.

The Best Pool Pumps to Buy (Above-Ground & In-Ground)

Images Pool Pumps In-, Above-Ground Type of Pump Horsepower Check Price
Pentair IntelliFlo Variable Speed Pool Pump In-Ground Variable-Speed 3 HP Check Price
Hayward TriStar VS Variable-Speed Pool Pump In-Ground Variable-Speed 2.7 HP Check Price
INTEX Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump Above-Ground Single-Speed 0.25-0.75 HP Check Price
Pentair WhisperFlo In-Ground Pool Pump In-Ground Single-Speed 0.5-3 HP Check Price
Hayward PowerFlo Lx Pool Pump Above-Ground Single-Speed 1-1.5 HP Check Price
Hayward Super Pump In-Ground Single-Speed 0.5-2.5 HP Check Price
Polaris PB4-60 Booster Pump In-Ground Booster Pump 0.75 HP Check Price

Our Recommendations For You

#1. Pentair IntelliFlo Pool Pump – Best Variable Speed Pool Pump for Inground Pools

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It may be surprising to learn that a single speed pool pump can be the second largest consumption of energy in your house after the water heating and air conditioning.

With the installation of a variable speed pool pump, it is possible to cut the associated energy costs by 50-90%, which can translate to hundreds of dollars every year. As with most advanced, more efficient products, variable speed pool pumps cost more than single-speed pool pumps. However, this incremental investment is often recovered in energy savings in less than two years.

The Pentair IntelliFlo Variable Speed Pool Pump is one of the best inground pool pumps on the market. This variable speed pool pump is designed to deliver the ultimate in energy efficiency, saving you an incredible amount of money year after year. By using an advanced permanent magnet motor – the same technology found in today’s hybrid cars, this pump can reduce pool pump energy use 90%, even compared to “high-efficiency” single-speed and two-speed pumps.

Pentair IntelliFlo allows custom programming of optimum pump speeds for specific tasks such as filtering, heating, cleaning, spa jets, and waterfalls. It has 8 programmable speed settings and the built-in timer which assure optimum speed and run times for maximum efficiency and savings. With this pump, you can add equipment and features, or change them, without reducing pump performance and efficiency. Add a solar system or water feature, or change your filter. Just push a button to set the new optimum speed for the lowest energy use.

Not only is the Pentair IntelliFlo one of the best variable speed pool pumps for your inground pool, it’s one of the most popular pool pumps on the market. What makes it so popular?

Because this pump is designed to be a one-pump-fits-all. It is big enough for even the largest swimming pools or high flow water features, while smaller swimming pools can still use it simply by turning down the motor RPM. It’s also optimized for automatic pool cleaners and can handle virtually all available automatic pressure side and suction side pool cleaners on the market.

Compare to other top-of-the-line variable speed pool pumps, like the Hayward TriStar VS variable speed pump the IntelliFlo has more horsepower at a cheaper price.

#2. INTEX Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump – Best Above Ground Pool Pump

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If you’re an above ground pool owner, you’re very likely having an Intex above ground pool, if so, the INTEX Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump is the best pool pump for your Intex above ground pool.

One of the main advantages of this above ground pool pump is that the pump and water filter are integrated into one system. This pump/filter system is usually attached to a single base and is much more economical than an individual pump and filter. If you purchase a pump and filter system separately, you’ll have to determine the correct pump horsepower based on the filter. With this kind of system, everything is ready right out of the box.

The Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump delivers excellent, efficient pool water filtering in an easy-to-install unit that is simple to use with a built-in 24-hour auto timer. It’s also extremely efficient and requires virtually no maintenance except replacement of sand every 5 years. Intex sand filters are one of the easiest and lowest cost pool filtration options on the market. Not only is the sand inexpensive, it does an excellent job of filtering particles and keeping your swimming pool clean and clear.

What Does a Pool Pump Do?

Pool pumps provide an important function for in-ground pools and above ground pools by circulating water through the pool filtration system. The filtration system keeps the water clean, clear, and sanitary for bathers by screening debris that falls into the pool and also removing algae and microorganisms that can pose potential health threats to swimmers.

In addition, pool pumps may also circulate water through suction-side or pressure-side pool cleaners.

The suction side pool cleaner is designed to operate using the suction generated by the pool pump, which transforms the pool cleaner into an underwater vacuum. Debris is vacuumed from your pool bottom where it enters your pool circulation system.

The pressure-side pool cleaner features a hose that you attach to the dedicated return line of your pool (where the water enters back into the pool after passing through the filter). The force of water generated by the pool pump creates the pressure that allows to move the cleaner around the pool’s surfaces and to create a vacuum that sucks up dirt and debris into a bag. This type of pool cleaner sometimes requires an additional booster pump along with your original pool pump.

Generally, both of these pool cleaners work when your pool pump is running. So the best pool pump for your pool should not only provide enough power for your pool filtration system but also for your pool cleaner when needed.

Types of Pool Pumps – Which is Best for Your Pool?

Pool pumps come in a wide variety of sizes to best match the needs of home swimming pools. One way to classify pumps is based on the number of speeds at which it can operate. This is important because the speed of the pump has an incredible impact on the amount of energy it consumes – and, in turn, how much you pay on your electric bill. This is because of the Pump Affinity Law.

This law quantifies that power consumption drops at a nonlinear rate as you reduce pump speed and water flow. When you cut the motor speed in half, the flow rate is also reduced to half, but the power consumption of the pool pump is reduced to 1/8th of the original draw.

For example, if you reduce a pump’s speed from 3450 RPM to 2400 RPM — a 30% reduction in speed — the power consumption drops from 2000 watts to only 593 watts — a 70% reduction in power. The following chart demonstrates how the pump speed and flow rates directly impact power usage.

The Pump Affinity Law leads to three different types of pool pumps: single speed pool pumps, dual speed pool pumps, and variable speed pool pumps. Variable speed pool pumps are the most efficient pool pumps while single speed pool pumps are the least efficient pool pumps.

However, each type of pool pump has its own pros and cons. A variable speed pool pump can be very efficient and inexpensive to operate, doesn’t mean it’s the best pool pump for most people. Because after all, price is still one of the main factors that drives purchasing decision.

1) Single Speed Pool Pumps

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Single speed pool pumps, such as Hayward Single Speed Super Pump, are the most common type of pool pump and have delivered proven performance for years and years. They do pretty much one thing, they pump your pool’s water through your system at only 1 speed.

Single speed pool pumps are available in a range of designs and sizes (often in terms of horsepower) that match the wide variety of pool and plumbing configurations. They can be flooded suction pumps, meaning they are placed below the water line using gravity to keep the pump primed (above ground pool pumps), or they can be self-priming, which is the typical in-ground installation (inground pool pumps).

Single speed pool pumps are typically inexpensive to purchase and install, but expensive to operate. These pumps work best on basic pool applications without water features and do an excellent job turning the water over, providing flow for equipment to function properly. So if the primary function of your pool pump is to simply circulate water through the filtration system, and you have a small swimming pool that only requires running the pump a few hours a day, then these are the best pool pumps to purchase.

Pros:

  • Least expensive upfront costs (cost $250-$500)
  • The standard type of pool pumps for decades, delivering proven performance and reliability.
  • Operate at a single horsepower ranging from 0.5 HP to 3 HP, fit any swimming pool size.
  • Account for 75% of the pool pumps in the USA

Cons:

  • Least energy-efficient, highest operational costs
  • Be prohibited in some states, for example, California, mainly to help save on electricity usage.
  • Always run at high speed – 3,450 RPM

2) Dual Speed Pool Pumps

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Dual speed pool pumps, or two-speed pool pumps, such as Pentair SuperFlo Two Speed Pool Pump, have been available for years and are marketed as an alternative to more expensive variable speed pool pumps. These pumps are more energy-efficient than a single-speed pump and work best on in-ground pools with water features.

They use an induction motor and is basically two motors in one with a standard 3,450 rpm (full-speed) motor and a 1,725 rpm (half-speed) option. Your energy usage will drop when you slow the pool pump down to the lower speed.

Ideally, two-speed pool pumps can save homeowners as much as 80% on energy bill compared to using a single speed unit, however, if the half-speed motor is unable to complete the required water circulation task, the larger motor will operate exclusively. Because there is are only two-speed choices it is much more difficult to fine-tune the flow rates required for maximum energy savings.

Pros:

  • Lower operational cost that contributes to significant operational cost savings
  • Operate at two speeds – 3450 RPM and 1725 RPM
  • Quiet at low speed

Cons:

  • More expensive than single-speed pool pumps (cost $500-$700)
  • Difficult to fine tune flow rates
  • Additional controller or timer may be needed

3) Variable Speed Pool Pumps

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Variable speed pool pumps, or multi-speed pool pumps, such as our top pick the Pentair IntelliFlo variable speed in-ground pool pump, are the most energy-efficient pool pumps. The best variable speed pool pumps on the market can offer you dramatic energy savings – up to 90%, which can translate to hundreds or even thousands of dollars every season.

As with most advanced, more efficient products, variable speed pool pumps cost much more than single-speed pool pumps. This incremental investment is often recovered in energy savings within a few years. In addition, many municipalities and states offer utility rebates, further offsetting the initial cost.

A variable speed pool pump works by utilizing Permanent Magnet Motors, which use permanent magnets to create a magnetic field between the rotor and the windings. This configuration is similar to the motors used in hybrid cars. Efficiencies are gained by the magnets working to spin the rotor, as opposed to a standard induction motor that requires additional electricity to induce the magnetic field into the rotor. The permanent magnet motor design is much more energy efficient when compared to the standard induction motor in a single speed pool pump.

That allows the variable speed pool pump to run at the ideal filtration flow rate with the least amount of energy consumption. It also means the variable speed pool pump can handle more complex pool applications as it can reduce the water flow rate to match the task it’s performing.

This is probably why the best inground pool pumps on the market today feature variable speed, because there are many tasks that come along with owning an in-ground swimming pool, such as cleaning it. And most of those tasks require a pump to work.

Pros:

  • Least expensive pump to operate
  • Allow for better and more effective pool filtration through slower water filtration rates
  • Operate at full range of speeds from 600 RPM – 3450 RPM
  • Operate at full range of horsepower, suitable for small to large swimming pools
  • Noticeably quieter than single-speed pool pumps, not to go unnoticed especially in a home with a smaller space
  • Easy to fine tune flow rates
  • Best pool pump for in-ground pools
  • Best pool pump for using with pool cleaners
  • You may be eligible for a rebate from your utility company.

Cons:

  • Most expensive upfront costs
  • Maybe not the best choice for small above ground pools

4) Booster Pumps

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Booster pumps, such as Polaris PB4-60 Booster Pump, are not needed for basic water circulation but rather deliver the added performance needed to operate automatic pressure pool cleaners. They operate in conjunction with an inground pool pump, boosting the pressure to assure consistent cleaner operation.

Booster pumps are required to run most pressure-side pool cleaners, they provide the pressure needed to drive the cleaner around your inground pool.

A booster pump looks different from a traditional pool pump because it doesn’t have a strainer basket. This is because it’s pumping strained and filtered water, and there should be no debris to worry about. All else is the same as a regular pool pump; however it should last longer if it’s being used only a few hours per day.

Single-Speed vs. Variable-Speed Pool Pumps

1) Cost

Although prices may vary, the average cost, with installation, to replace a single-speed pool pump will range from $300 to $600. A dual-speed pool pump installation will generally range between $600 and $800, while installation of a variable speed pool pump, complete with onboard controller and programmable task manager, can cost between $1,200 and $1,600.

In order to offset the additional costs, many utility companies are now providing incentives for installing variable speed pumps for in-ground pools. Some companies are offering rebates as high as $600 for switching over to a variable speed pump. In many cases, the rebate can make a variable speed pool pump cost less than a dual speed pool pump.

A consideration when looking at dual speed pool pumps is that in most cases you will need to purchase a separate dual speed pump timer. The price of this timer ranges between $50-$150 based on your current set up.

If your dual speed pool pump is turned on and off by a standard yellow dial timer, then you would need a second timer which controls the switching between full-speed and half-speed where your original timer would be for turning power on and off to the pump.

Single-speed pool pumps may also need a timer or automation system to schedule their daily operation. The best variable speed pool pumps available today have the time clock and scheduling feature inherent in their control system. For these pumps, you can wire them directly to the electrical system, an additional timer is not needed.

2) Performance

When comparing performance between single speed and variable speed pool pumps, there are no negative performance issues associated with the single speed pool pump. When properly calibrated, the single speed pool pump will work for many years without any issue.

However, variable speed pool pumps are way more energy-efficient, require less maintenance, and allow for better and more effective filtration of the pool water. The slower circulation rates also put less strain on the filters, plumbing, and other parts of the system, which reduces the chance of leaks, repairs, or premature plumbing component replacement.

In addition, the variable speed pool pump is noticeably quieter than the single-speed or two-speed pool pump. If your neighbors are complaining about your pump’s noise, then a variable speed unit is certainly the best pool pump for you.

3) How Much You Can Save With a Variable Speed Pool Pump?

Electricity costs vary widely from state to state and this plays a big factor in determining how much money you can save with a variable speed pool pump.

You pay for your electricity by the kilowatt-hour (kWh) and the pricing you pay per kWh varies greatly from state to state. Dual speed and variable speed pool pumps use far less kWh than single-speed pool pumps with variable speed pumps using the lowest amount of kWh.

The following example will help you to calculate how much money you can save by replacing a single-speed pool pump with a variable speed pool pump.

The average residential swimming pool contains 25,000 gallons of water and has a suggested turnover rate of 24 hours. A typical single speed pool pump drawing 2,000 watts, operating at 3,450 RPM and generating a flow rate of 66 gallons per minute can turn over the entire 25,000 gallons of water in roughly 6.3 hours.

(25,000 gallons / 66 GPM) /60 minutes = 6.3 hours

At this rate the single-speed pump would consume 12.6 kWh per day, to turn over the pool.

6.3 hours x 2,000W = 12.6 kWh

However, because of the Pump Affinity Law, slower flow rates create greater energy savings. In the field, a variable speed pump set at a flow rate of 22 GPM will draw 116 watts and turn the pool over in 19 hours but only consume 2.2 kWh of electricity.

(25,000 gallons / 22 GPM) /60 minutes = 19 hours
19 hours x 116W = 2.2 kWh

This is a savings of 10.4 kWh (= 12.6 kWh – 2.2 kWh) per day or approximately 3,796 kWh per year.

Review: The Best Pool Pumps on The Market

These are our picks of the best in-ground and above ground pool pumps on the market that we think are worth your money. There is no one-size-fits-all but we believe these pool pumps will likely fit your needs the most.

1. Pentair IntelliFlo Variable Speed Pool Pump – Best Inground Pool Pump Overall

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The Pentair IntelliFlo variable speed pool pump is our pick as the best in-ground pool pump for most people. This variable speed pool pump is designed to deliver the ultimate in energy efficiency, saving you an incredible amount of money year after year. It has nearly a decade of proven in reliability and durability and is by far one of the most popular in-ground pool pumps on the market.

The IntelliFlo pool pump is Energy Star rated and it meets strict energy efficiency criteria set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. The pump has an energy-efficiency rating of up to 90% with estimated cost savings of up to $1,500 each year. Savings based on variable speed pump compared to a single-speed pump running 12 hours per day at an average of $0.16 per kWh in a 20,000 gallons pool.

In addition, the advantage of the IntelliFlo pump goes beyond its energy saving. This variable speed pool pump is amazingly quiet – 45dB – only as quiet as a window air conditioner.

But, the quantity of sound is only one measure of quietness. Sound quality is important, too. The IntelliFlo pump’s permanent magnet motor is designed to virtually eliminate the unpleasant high-pitched noise found in other so-called “quiet” variable speed pool pumps – so you enjoy a more relaxing, satisfying pool and spa experience.

With a powerful 3HP motor, the IntelliFlo can handle virtually all complex inground pool applications, and because it’s intelligent, it adjusts its speed automatically for the task it is performing. You don’t have to do a thing. In summary, the Pentair IntelliFlo variable speed pool pump is our pick as the best pool pump for inground pools.

2. Hayward TriStar VS Variable-Speed Pool Pump – Top-Rated Inground Pool Pump

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TriStar VS variable speed pump is by far the best variable speed pool pump from Hayward. This pump delivers incredible energy savings via its advanced hydraulic design combined with a totally enclosed, permanent magnet motor.

According to EPA ENERGY STAR 3rd party test data, TriStar VS is one of the most energy efficient pool pumps on the market. Designed for medium to large pools, this pump can save up to 90% on energy costs or as much as $1500 per year, compared with single speed pool pumps.

In addition to its huge energy savings, this pool pump is also incredibly quiet and requires virtually no maintenance. It’s is not just reliable, but smart. The pump is equipped with onboard diagnostics and automatic protection for priming failures, temperature extremes, and voltage fluctuations further protecting your investment and extending the life of the pump.

The pump is also easily installed either as a programmable stand-alone pump or with a Hayward or third party controller and features an easy-to-use digital control interface that can be mounted in four different positions on the pump or removed and mounted on the wall for total user convenience.

Overall, if you have a medium or large pool or you need to flow a lot of water such as for an attached spa or a variety of water features, Hayward’s TriStar VS is the best pool pump to buy. This pump is also the perfect upgrade for most high performance pumps up to 1.5 HP full-rate or 2.0 HP up-rate. While many other variable-speed pool pumps operate at 3 HP or more, TriStar VS is the right fit for the right pool.

3. INTEX Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump – Best Above Ground Pool Pump/Filter System

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If you’re an above ground pool owner, you’re very likely having an Intex above ground pool, if so, the INTEX Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump is the best pool pump for your Intex above ground pool.

This sand filter pump system delivers excellent, efficient pool water filtering in an easy-to-install unit that is simple to use with a built-in 24-hour auto timer. It’s also extremely efficient and requires virtually no maintenance except replacement of sand every 5 years.

Intex sand filters are one of the easiest and lowest cost pool filtration options on the market. Not only is the sand inexpensive, it does an excellent job of filtering particles and keeping your swimming pool clean and clear.

The INTEX Krystal Clear is available in 4 different sizes that are designed to fit all Intex above ground pool sizes from small to large.

  • The 10-inch Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump (10” is the diameter of the sand filter tank) has a pump flow rate of 1,200 gallons per hour, creating a system flow rate of 1,050 gallons per hour and making it a perfect fit for above ground pools up to 16 feet in diameter (or 18×9 rectangular).
  • The 12-inch Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump has a pump flow rate of 2,100 gallons per hour, creating a system flow rate of 1,600 gallons per hour and making it a perfect fit for above ground pools up to 18 feet in diameter (or 24×12 rectangular).
  • The 14-inch Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump has a pump flow rate of 2,800 gallons per hour, creating a system flow rate of 2,100 gallons per hour and making it a perfect fit for above ground pools up to 24 feet in diameter (or 32×16 rectangular).
  • The 16-inch Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump has a pump flow rate of 3,000 gallons per hour, creating a system flow rate of 2,450 gallons per hour and making it a perfect fit for any size Intex above-ground swimming pool.

All in all, the INTEX Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump is our pick as the best above ground pool pump filter system. It’s efficient, easy to use, and more importantly, it’s affordable. We’d highly recommend this product.

4. Pentair WhisperFlo In-Ground Pool Pump – Best Single Speed Pool Pump

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We call it the Pentair WhisperFlo high-performance pump for good reason. This innovative hydraulic design moves water more efficiently and more quietly than competitive pumps.

Under typical operating conditions, WhisperFlo offers the highest water flow rate of any high-performance pump with the lowest electricity consumption – for instance, a 1hp Hayward Super pump is capable of 75 gpm, but a 1hp Pentair Whisperflo is capable of 115 gpm. And, WhisperFlo is designed to be a tireless workhorse. Its engineered thermoplastic housing withstands extreme heat and resists corrosion.

The commercial grade motor frame has a rustproof, stainless steel motor shaft and sealed bearings that never need lubrication. Engineered to provide optimum performance in any size in-ground pool, pool and spa combination, and all cleaning systems, WhisperFlo is built to last a lifetime, and as a result, has become the industry’s top seller for years.

The Pentair WhisperFlo is available in 1/2 HP, 3/4HP, 1HP, 1.5HP, 2HP, and 3HP. It’s our pick as the best pool pump for inground pools that only require a single speed unit.

5. Hayward PowerFlo Lx Pool Pump – Best Above-Ground Pool Pump

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The Hayward PowerFlo LX has set the standard of excellence for above ground pool pumps for nearly 3 decades. This pump gets a lot of positive reviews from both homeowners and professionals because it delivers an amazing performance at an unbelievable price.

The Hayward PowerFlo LX is specifically designed for above ground pools and on-ground swimming pools, featuring durable corrosion-proof engineering and a range of innovative features that make it one of best pool pumps on the market.

This above ground pool pump is durable enough to withstand the elements, operates quietly and features a completely drip proof, heat-resistant double-sized seal, extending the lifespan of your motor. It also includes a high-performance impeller, while the transparent cover lets you quickly view when the basket needs to be cleaned. The drain plug makes maintenance a breeze, and the Power-Flo LX ultimately provides a seamless, worry-free pump experience that lets you spend more time enjoying your above ground pool.

Hayward PowerFlo LX pump is available in 1HP and 1.5HP that is suitable for most above ground swimming pools with a pre-installed filter. Many above ground pool owners tend to think, “the more horsepower the better”. Actually what’s best is to get the proper horsepower for your above ground pool.

Most manufacturers do not go higher than 1.5 HP for above ground pool pumps because it’s unnecessary.

6. Hayward Single-Speed Super Pump – Best Selling Pool Pump

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The Hayward Super Pump is among the best selling inground pool pumps of all time. This pump is inexpensive to buy, durable and replacement parts are readily available. Hayward Super Pump also makes a direct replacement for the Pentair SuperFlo pump, in dimensions and flow characteristics.

This single speed pool pump comes with many great features that make it one of the best pool pump for in-ground pools on the market. It has a very large see-through strainer, super-size debris basket and unique service-ease design for extra convenience. It also has an advanced cooling fan that keeps your pump cooler and much quieter than the average single speed pool pump.

The Super Pump is designed to deliver superior performance for years and years. It features heavy-duty, high-performance motor with durable corrosion-proof construction. Heat-resistant, industrial-size ceramic seal is long-wearing and drips proof. Mounting base provides stable, stress-free support, plus versatility for any installation requirement.

And because the Super Pump is engineered for large capacity, you can count on it to be totally balanced and efficient. This promotes improved flow rates at less horsepower and helps save you money on those electric bills!

7. Polaris PB4-60 Booster Pump – Best Booster Pump for Pressure Side Pool Cleaners

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The Polaris PB4-60 Booster Pump gives your Polaris pressure side pool cleaner a dedicated pump that helps relieve your existing pool pump and extending the life of your filtration system.

Using a powerful 3/4 HP MagneTek motor, the Polaris booster pump delivers optimum performance. Constructed of durable parts, this booster pump can power all pressure side cleaners with ease and will provide your cleaner with the pressure it needs to perform consistently and efficiently.

This booster pump comes with everything you’ll need for installation, including the pump quick connect retainer, Softube quick connect and six feet of flexible, reinforced pump hose.

How to Select the Best Pool Pump

You want to buy the best inground or above ground pool pump, here are things you’ll want to educate yourself before making a purchase:

Don’t Install an Above-Ground Pump for an In-ground Pool

You can’t install an above ground pool pump for an inground pool and vice versa.

The main difference between in-ground and above-ground pool pumps is that in-ground pumps are “self-priming” but above-ground pumps are not. This refers to the ability of the pump to lift water vertically, since most inground pumps are located above water level, and most above-ground pumps are situated below the water level.

Above-ground pool pumps have what’s called “flooded suction” and gravity and atmospheric pressure are feeding the pump without requiring a lot of suction or vacuum pressure. In-ground pool pumps are usually 2-3 feet above the water level, and sometimes higher.

Our suggestion is to get the right pump for the pool and do not try to rig up something from mismatched parts. If you own an in-ground pool get an inground pump, and if there is an above ground pool use an above ground pump.

How to Pick the Right Size Swimming Pool Pump

Inground pool pumps and above ground pool pumps are available in a wide range of sizes and are measured in horsepower (listed as HP on the label of your pump motor). If you are replacing your pool pump, and you will continue to use your old pool filter, your new swimming pool pump needs to be the same size (horsepower) as your old pool pump.

If you replace your old pool pump with a different size pump, you should remember that if your pool filter is too small for the pump, there will be an additional strain on the pump motor as it tries to push water through and encounters resistance at the filter. This will eventually burn out the pump motor and your filtration will also be compromised.

So the best pool pump for you should be rated a flow rate that is less than the maximum flow rate your pool filter can handle. The pool filter manufacturer’s performance data will tell you the “design flow rate” of the pool filter, expressed in gallons per minute (GPM). The pool pump manufacturer’s performance data will provide you with the flow rate of each pump in GPM, and you can simply match the two up to find the correct size pump.

In addition, extra water features like fountains, spas, waterfalls, solar heating, and in-floor cleaning systems should also be considered in your selection of the best in-ground pool pump. These features generally require higher GPM rates which equate to a higher HP pump. Also if your pool requires greater than 60 GPM you may need at least 2″ diameter suction pipes. Suction pipes of 1 1/2″ have a physical limit of 60 GPM. 2″ pipes can handle up to 100 GPM.

For above ground pool pump and filter systems, the manufacturer will pair the proper horsepower pump with the proper size filter. So all you really need to do is measure your pool and follow the following rule:

  • For above ground pools up to 24 ft round, use a 1 HP pump
  • For above ground pools over 24 ft round, use a 1.5 HP pump

Best Time to Run a Pool Pump

What is the best time to run a pool pump in summer: day or night?

The best way to determine the running time is, whatever your average temperature is during the day it would be 1 hour for every 10 degrees.

For example, if you are in a climate where the average temperature is 80-90 degree, your pool pump running time would be 8-9 hrs. Then the best time to run the pool pump is during the day especially if you have some kind of inline chlorinator so the pool will be chlorinated in the heat of the day when chlorine reduction is at its peak.

Another consideration is that if you don’t have a cover on your swimming pool, heat and water loss is at its highest during daylight. Running the pump during the day is much better because it’ll save you money, reduce water loss, and improve heat retention.

But while it’s important to circulate your water at least a little bit during the daytime, running it at night is far more efficient, especially if you have an auto cover that is kept over the pool most of the time.

Most electrical companies charge less for energy use during non-peak hours, which is typically between 9 pm and before 8 am. So if you want to reduce energy consumption on your pool pump as much as possible, the best time to run your pool pump is at night.

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