Pool season is upon us! It’s time to break out the swimsuits and floaties and get your pool ready for swimming.
Don’t panic. It just means that your old pool pump has gone on to a happier place and the time has come to upgrade.
Finding a new pool pump doesn’t have to be a challenge. There are so many new, efficient, and advanced options out there now that will keep your pool looking its best while saving you a ton of money.
Top Picks for Best Pool Pump
|Hayward SP2610X15 Super Pump 1.5 HP Pool Pump||Buy on Amazon|
|Pentair 340039 SuperFlo High Performance Single...||Buy on Amazon|
|Hayward SP2610X152S Super Pump 1.5 HP Pool Pump,...||$1,239.99||Buy on Amazon|
|Pentair SuperFlo VS Variable Speed Pool Pump,...||$700.77||Buy on Amazon|
|Hayward SP3400VSP Ecostar Variable-Speed Pool Pump||Buy on Amazon|
|Pentair 011018 IntelliFlo Variable Speed High...||$1,498.89||Buy on Amazon|
What is a Pool Pump?
Think of your pool pump as the beating heart of your pool’s filtration system. The plumbing and water flow is the essential circulatory system that every pool needs to stay clean, safe, and sparkling. This constant movement of water through your pool filter continually removes debris and stops bacterial growth that comes from stagnant water.
It’s no exaggeration to say that a pool pump is the most important piece of equipment you’ll ever get for your pool. Without it, you’d have a stinky mosquito swamp in your backyard instead of your refreshing oasis.
With such an integral component, it’s a good idea to know how this sucker works.
A typical pool pump is basically made up of 5 major parts:
- Water inlet
- Water outlet
How Does It All Work?
The water inlet is where pool water goes into the pump. If you take a look at the diameter or the inlet pipe, you’ll be able to determine the maximum flow rate of the pump. If “maximum flow rate” means nothing to you, don’t worry, it’s kind of a big deal so we’re going to cover that shortly.
Conversely, the water outlet is just what it sounds like: the place where the water comes out of the pump, once it’s been filtered.
The pool filter is the liver of the system (if we’re sticking with an anatomical metaphor) since it cleans out all of the impurities from the pool water that flows through it.
The spinning impeller, powered by the motor, moves the water through and out of the pool pump. The synergy of these two components both suck water in and push water out, creating the constant circulation and turnover that a clean and well-maintained pool needs.
Why It Pays to Have the Right Pool Pump
All pool pumps are not created equal. There are several different types with all sorts of features that work especially well with certain kinds of pools. Having the right pool pump can save you a ton of money on electricity and pool chemicals over time.
So, if your pool pump is on its last legs or you’re looking to upgrade to a more energy-efficient model, you’re in the right place.
We’re going to make this an easy and painless experience and by the end, you’ll know exactly what to look for in a new pool pump and find your pool’s perfect match.
What Types of Pool Pump Can You Buy?
Single Speed Pool Pumps
Single-speed pool pumps are the original pool pump and used to be the only game in town. Their name simply means that the impeller spins at one speed and one speed only. You turn it on and it spins at that speed continuously until you turn it off. Done and done.
The speed of a single-speed pool pump is determined by the horsepower of the motor. For example, if you have a 1.5HP motor, that’s going to be the speed that your pump works forever. Or, I guess, until you turn it off.
The most commonly used type of pump, the single-speed is one of the cheapest options out there but certainly not the most efficient. With a continuously running motor, operating at high speed, your energy bill will take a lashing. It’s important to balance the initial cost of a new pool pump with the lifetime cost or cost over time.
Word to the wise, however, some states such as California and Arizona prohibit the installation of new single-speed pool pumps in an effort to start phasing out less energy-efficient home appliances. So, it’s definitely a good idea to check with your state before purchasing one of these guys.
Dual Speed Pool Pumps
Bet you can’t guess what a Dual Speed Pool Pump is all about.
These are the next step up from single-speed pumps and feature two speeds: low and high. You know, to add some variety to your life.
When running your dual speed pump on high, it’s going to function exactly as if you had a single-speed pump. Depending on the size of your pool, the low-speed setting is a good option for when you’re out of town and not really using the pool but… honestly not much else.
Although you’re saving energy by running the pump on the “low” setting, the water turnover rate is extremely slow and may not be as efficient as you need to get your pool water clean. If you have a smaller pool, however, the bit of flexibility that the low-speed setting offers can help you gauge and control your energy usage, especially during peak usage times.
Pro-Tip: If you live in a chilly place and use a pool heater to take the edge off your pool water, keep in mind that many pool heaters cannot run when a dual-speed motor is on its low setting. It’s for this reason that many pool owners with pool heaters and dual-speed pumps, end up using the pump exactly as a single-speed pump.
Variable Speed Pool Pumps
[Enter Stage Right]: the Variable Speed Pool Pump.
This type of pump is the newest addition to the pool pump family and the one with the most options, settings, and bells and whistles. They are surely going to be the most expensive option of the three but will earn their keep over time with significant energy-saving capabilities.
Did I say significant? Double that. We’re talking about up to 90% less energy consumption than single-speed pool pumps. That will definitely make a big difference over time.
How do they do it?
Well, variable speed pool pumps use what’s called a permanent magnet motor rather than the induction motor used in other types of pool pumps. The magnet motor conserves more energy by producing less friction as it operates, optimizing efficiency and making less waste. It also has the added bonus of running much more quietly than their induction motor counterparts.
Many of the new models of variable speed pumps are actually Energy Star Certified, which means that they either operate efficiently or consume less power than similar appliances. With faster water turnover, less power consumption, and a possible utility rebate from Energy Star, hopefully, you’re beginning to see dollar signs dancing in your eyes with the savings starting to add up.
Which Type is Best?
The best type of pool pump is going to ultimately be determined by your pool, your budget, and your lifestyle. If, for example, you’re planning on moving or selling your house in the near future, a considerable financial investment in a variable speed pump might not be the right option.
If you have a smaller capacity pool and are just looking to replace an old or malfunctioning pump, a lower horsepower, less powerful model might be just what you need.
There are several other considerations too that you’ll want to mull over before taking the plunge, so let’s jump in before we get carried away.
Finding the Perfect Match
When looking to purchase a new pool pump or a replacement for one that just gave up the ghost, you’ll need to consider what type of pool you have, its size and capacity, and the best match for your pool in terms of flow rates, which we’ll walk you through step by step.
Rather than pairing a new pump to your pool, let’s try working backward to determine the needs of your specific pool. Before you begin your quest for the holy grail of pool pumps, there are three main things you need to know about your pool’s existing plumbing.
- The Minimum Flow Rate of Your Pool
- The Maximum Flow Rate of Your Pool
- The Maximum Flow Rating of Your Filter
Minimum Flow Rate
The minimum flow rate is easy to figure out. We’re not delving into complex calculations here. All you really need to know is your pool’s capacity and your desired turnover. The simple equation is:
Pool Capacity / Desired Turnover = Minimum Flow Rate
A good rule of thumb is to have every drop of your pool water turned over at least once in a 24 hour period. But we don’t want to be running our pool pumps 24 hours straight, right? We recommend shooting for a desired turnover duration of 8 hours.
So once you’ve calculated your pool’s capacity, you can easily divide by 8 and determine your minimum flow rate. This will give you a good idea of what kind of pump you’ll need and what specs to look for.
Maximum Flow Rate
The maximum flow rate is a bit more subjective and is affected by how many twists and turns the water needs to take through your pool’s plumbing.
Your current pool plumbing and diameter of your pipes are going to determine your maximum flow rate or how many gallons per minute (GPM) your pump can move.
Make sure that your pool pump does not exceed the specifications of your pipes. A pump that moves more water than your pipes can handle is overkill that will only be wasteful and possibly damaging to your equipment.
Filter Maximum Flow Rating
This last one is easy. All you need to do to figure out your filter’s max flow rating is to look at your actual filter (or the instruction manual) to see what the manufacturer recommends.
What to Consider When Buying a Pool Pump
You may have already decided which type of pool pump you’d like to get for your pool but keep in mind, there are some other features to consider outside of the main categories of pump speed.
Do You Have an Inground or an Above Ground Pool?
The only real difference between an inground and an above-ground pool pump is whether or not it’s self-priming.
What does that mean?
A pool pump needs to have water in it before it’s turned on in order to work. Running a pump dry (without any priming water) risks burning up the motor and destroying the pump.
Above-ground pool pumps typically have the water gravity-fed into the pump (aka not self-priming) so they don’t require a self-priming mechanism. Inground pools usually have a pump that is above the waterline, therefore, they need to have something prime the pump before they’re able to suck water from the pool.
Most pool pumps that we recommend are self-priming and can be used on either type of pool. Keep in mind, however, that above-ground pools generally don’t require as powerful of pumps as inground pools do.
What Size Pool Do You Have?
Remember the minimum flow rate we talked about earlier? To keep your pool completely clean and looking its best, all of the water needs to be thoroughly filtered at least once every day. This means that you need to get a pool pump that is both large and powerful enough to run through your pool’s total capacity of water every 24 hours.
How Many Horses Do You Need?
All of the horses. Just kidding—horses are great but we’re talking: horsepower. When shopping for a new pool pump, you will have a few choices regarding the horsepower of the motor. The most common options are 0.5HP all the way up to 3HP at 0.5HP intervals.
The horsepower of your pump’s motor tells you how powerful it is. The more horsepower the motor, the faster it can turn over the water in your pool.
You can probably sense a “but” coming on, so here it is. But… more horsepower is not always the better option. If your filter isn’t big enough to process the huge amount of water being pumped through it, it will overwhelm your filter and may cause damage to your system.
A small pool with small pipes does not need a pump with a ton of horsepower. Using a pump that’s too powerful for your needs is actually just a waste of energy and your hard-earned money. It’s best to find your pool’s perfect match, rather than just going for the Ferrari here.
As we mentioned earlier, the size (diameter) of your pipes and your filter’s maximum flow rate are going to help you make the determination of how much horsepower your system can handle (and how much you need).
Check the Voltage
Keep it simple. Just make sure you have the proper electrical connection for the pump before you buy it. It would be a real bummer to get your new pump delivered, only to find out you don’t have a way to plug it in.
The two things you need to check are:
- Your pool pump’s electrical connection
- What voltage it uses
Some pool pumps require an outlet and some can be hardwired into your system. The outlet is easy; just make sure there’s an available one to plug into. If your new pump can be hardwired, it’s a good idea to hire a professional to do the install.
Then you need to check to see if your new pump runs on 110 or 220 electrical voltage. Smaller pools, as well as above-ground pools, usually run on 110 volts. Whatever voltage you’re working with, just make sure your new pump and voltage connection match up.
6 Best Pool Pump Reviews
#1. Hayward SP2610X15 Super Pump Single Speed Pool Pump
The Hayward Super Pump is a large-capacity, durable, 1.5 HP, and cost-efficient pool pump. Designed for in-ground pools and spas of all types and sizes, the Super Pump produces higher and more stable flow rates with less horsepower than other pumps, so you can run your pump less and save on electricity. Installs on existing in-ground pool systems, the Super Pump combines performance with quiet and efficient operation.
- Swing-away hand knob allows you to remove the strainer easily
- Extra large-capacity basket (110 cubic inches)
- Quick installation with easy access to internal components for servicing
- More expensive than other single-speed pool pumps
- May require a bit of maintenance
- Electrical components may need to be replaced after some use
#2. Pentair 340039 SuperFlo High-Performance Single Speed Pool Pump
The Pentair SuperFlo pool pump features a 1HP motor and a self-priming pump for quick start-up. Its quiet operation due to a unique internal flow design reduces hydraulic noise.
With a powerful motor and durable housing, the SuperFlo pump is designed specifically for inground pools. Fitted with an oversized strainer basket for less frequent cleanings and a transparent lid that makes inspections simple.
- Comes with a 1-year warranty (if professionally installed)
- Extremely powerful, yet quiet
- Quick and easy installation
- Not very energy efficient
- Seals may leak a certain points
#3. Hayward SP2610X152S Super Pump Dual Speed Pool Pump
The Super Pump by Hayward is a dual-speed pump designed for in-ground pools and spas of all types and sizes. It features a large see-through strainer cover, a super-size debris basket, and an exclusive service-ease design for extra convenience.
With a 1.5HP motor, the Super Pump combines proven performance with quiet, efficient, and dependable operation.
- Quick and easy to install
- Quiet and cool motor operation
- Self-priming suction lift up to 8 feet above water level
- Low-speed is not very functional
- Motor bearings may fail early
#4. Pentair 342001 SuperFlo VS Variable Speed Pool Pump
The Pentair SuperFlo Variable Speed Pumps features a 1.5HP motor and 3 operating speeds to save on energy costs. It automatically recognizes and adapts to your 115- or 230- volt power to avoid an expensive rewiring installation. With excellent suction and an easy install, the SuperFlo is an affordable pump that will reduce your energy costs by up to 80%.
- Easy install with no need for rewiring
- Heavy-duty suction for efficient water movement
- Extended warranty (with professional installation)
- Very energy efficient
- No warranty for self-installation
- More expensive than similar pumps
- A bit louder operation than expected
#5. Hayward SP3400VSP Ecostar Variable-Speed Pool Pump
The Hayward Ecostar Variable-Speed Pump features a super-efficient permanent magnet, totally enclosed fan-cooled (TEFC) motor, and industry-leading hydraulic design. Tests prove that it can save pool owners up to 90% on energy costs compared with ordinary single-speed pumps.
It comes with auto-priming capability and suction lift up to 10 feet above water level and electrical protection from priming failures, temperature extremes, voltage spikes, and brownouts.
- Very easy to use, with an intuitive touchpad interface
- Energy Star certified to guarantee energy efficiency and possible local rebates
- Extra-large debris basket for fewer cleanings
- No warranty for self-installation
- Not as durable longterm as other pumps
#6. Pentair 011018 IntelliFlo Variable Speed High-Performance Pool Pump
The Pentair IntelliFlo Variable Speed Pool Pump features a permanent magnetic motor that runs cooler and more efficiently, producing less vibration than induction motors. Its totally enclosed fan-cooled (TEFC) design protects against the elements.
With built-in diagnostics to protect the pump for longer service life and 8 programmable speeds for utmost efficiency, pool owners can look forward to saving up to 90% on energy costs over single-speed alternatives.
- Super energy efficient and very quiet operation
- 8 programmable speed settings for efficient performance
- Built-in diagnostics increase its lifespan
- Easy install and compatible with most pool systems
- More expensive than other variable speed pumps
We’re Here to Pump You Up
Taking good care of your pool starts with its beating heart. Outfitting your beloved pool with a powerful, energy-efficient, and well-matched pool pump is one of the best investments you can make in your pool’s longterm health and value.