A filter is to your pool as a liver is to the human body. It’s the handy little contraption that removes all the bad stuff from your pool (just like your liver does for your body) to keep your pool healthy and clean.
Swimming in your backyard pool is the dream. Therefore, dirty, stagnant, or algae-ridden water is not an option. If you’re struggling to decide on a pool filter or need a replacement for a busted one, a sand filter might be your best bet.
Top Picks for Sand Filters
|Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump for Above...||Buy on Amazon|
|Hayward S244T ProSeries Sand Filter, 24-Inch,...||$872.86||Buy on Amazon|
|Rx Clear Radiant Sand Filter | for Above Ground...||Buy on Amazon|
|Hayward VL40T32 VL Series 30 GPM Sand Filter...||Buy on Amazon|
|Pentair PNSD0060DO1160 Sand Dollar Aboveground...||Buy on Amazon|
|Swimline HydroTools 12 Inch Above Ground Swimming...||Buy on Amazon|
What is a Sand Pool Filter?
A sand pool filter is a simple and easy-to-maintain filtration system for your pool. It works by filtering your pool water through layers of sand before circulating it back into your pool, all sparkly and clean.
The sand in a sand pool filter is no ordinary sand, however. The most common sand used in sand filters is silica sand, a specially-graded form that actually absorbs impurities and traps contaminants that wash through it during filtration.
These types of filters have remained extremely popular among pool owners due to their low-maintenance design. The only real upkeep a sand pool filter needs is the occasional backwash and sand replacement, meaning you probably only need to open the tank once every few years.
One of the benefits of a sand pool filter is that as it continues to do its job, it actually gets more efficient. The more dirt and contaminants that the sand filter collects from the pool water, the more dirt it will trap as time goes on. It’s pretty amazing.
What Types of Sand Pool Filter Can You Buy?
The two main types of sand filter pumps are designed for either in-ground or above-ground pools, although some can work with either type of pool.
It’s important to read the specifications very carefully for whatever filter you’re looking at to make sure it’s compatible with your pool.
What to Consider When Buying a Sand Pool Filter
If you’re looking into getting a sand filter for your pool, whether as a first time purchase or as a replacement for an existing filter, there are some important factors you’ll want to consider.
It can be a bit tricky trying to navigate all of the options out there but not to worry, we’ve got you covered. Let’s take a look at the big ones you should think about when making your decision.
The Size of Your Pool
How many gallons of water does your pool hold? This is the first question to ask when looking to get a new pool filter.
A general rule of thumb is that you need one (1) square inch of filter area for every 1,000 gallons of water in your pool. So, if your pool has 20,000 gallons of water, you’ll need a 20-inch tank. Take a peek at the manufacturer’s guidelines for your pool in case you’re unsure.
Pro Tip: If you’re looking to improve your filter pump efficiency, it might be a good idea to get the next size up from what your manufacturer recommends.
Gallons Per Hour (GPH)
You’ve probably heard that it’s a good idea to run your pool pump anywhere from 10-12 hours per day for maximum pool cleaning productivity. Before settling on a new sand filter, you should decide how many hours you plan to run your pump in a day.
Now let’s do some quick and easy math. Take the total volume of water in your pool and divide it by the number of hours you plan to run the pump. The number you end up with is the filter you need (i.e. one that is able to move that many gallons per hour).
Total Water (Gallons) / # of Hours Pool Pump Runs (Per Day) = GPH
Note: Some sand filter pumps give their specifications in gallons per hour and some in gallons per minute. Read carefully!
What’s Your Climate Like?
If you own a pool and live in a place that freezes in the winter, you already know the wear and tear that Jack Frost can cause. It may be worth noting that there are some sand filter pumps out there that are easy to uninstall and drain for winter storage in your garage or shed.
If you live in a cold climate where the temperatures routinely drop below freezing, it may be a good idea to pick up one of these models to significantly increase the lifespan of your system.
Sand filters are the best bang for your buck when it comes to pool filter pumps. The initial cost, combined with low maintenance costs over years of use, makes them a great value to keep your pool clean for years to come.
The only maintenance cost generally associated with sand filters is the replacement of sand every 5-7 years or so.
A sand filter pump is going to be the least expensive option out there when it comes to filtering your pool. The other filter pump options are more costly, so you’ve already found the best budget-friendly option.
We’ve compiled our favorite sand pool filter pumps for in-ground pools, above-ground pools, and some that work with both. Now, it’s up to you to decide what will work best for your pool, your lifestyle, and your budget.
Best Sand Pool Filter Reviews
#1. Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump for Above Ground Pools
The Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump generates a pump flow rate of 3,000 gallons per hour, ideal for above-ground pools of 16 ft and above. This pump comes with a 6 function system and built-in 24-hour timer and requires virtually no maintenance except replacement of sand every 5 years.
- Quick and easy installation
- High power & efficiency
- 6 Function System (filter, backwash, rinse, recirculate, drain & close system)
- Comes with a built-in 24-hour pool timer
- Specifically designed for above ground pools
- Reports of missing parts. Make sure to buy from reputable sellers.
- The manual timer needs to be set after every use.
#2. Hayward S244T Pro Series Top-Mount Sand Filter (In-Ground)
Hayward ProSeries filters are molded of durable, corrosion-proof material for long-lasting performance. Advanced, self-cleaning laterals provide smooth and efficient flow with totally balanced backwashing. Perfect for in-ground swimming pools, this filter provides hassle-free, effective filtration that will last you for years to come.
- Energy efficient
- Easy access drainage
- Multi-function system
- Manufacturing issue on later models have thinner walls
- Selector switch can get stuck if not maintained properly.
#3. RX Clear Radiant Sand Filter for Above-Ground Pools
The RX Clear Radiant Sand Filter is an efficient, easy to use, simple to install and operate system that will keep pool water clean and sparkling. This one-piece blow-molded tank sits atop a universal base and accepts most pumps. It has set the industry standard for effectiveness, efficiency, and low maintenance operation.
- Great value
- Comes with a 3-year warranty
- Excellent filtration: removes down to 3 microns
- Can be a bit difficult to remove sand for maintenance.
#4. Hayward VL Series 30 GPM Sand Filter System
Molded of durable, corrosion-proof reinforced thermoplastic, the Hayward VL Series Sand Filter System features attractive, unitized tank construction that will last you for years of trouble-free operation with only minimal care. Perfect for small in-ground or above-ground pools.
- Great for small pools (both in-ground and above-ground)
- Low maintenance
- Quick assembly
- Not quite strong enough to vacuum.
- Does not perform well on larger pools.
#5. Pentair Sand Dollar Above-Ground Filter System
The Pentair Sand Dollar filter comes with a unique blow-molded tank and this process creates a one-piece, non-corrosive tank of unequaled strength and durability. A combination water and sand drain make servicing and winterizing this filter fast and easy.
- Easy setup
- Quiet operation
- Highly efficient
- The instruction manual is a bit poorly written.
- Some reports of missing parts in its box. Make sure to buy from reputable sellers.
#6. Sandmaster Soft Side Above-Ground Sand Filter System
The Sand Master is an economical pump and sand filter system upgrade for soft-sided above ground pools. Suitable for pools up to 9,600 gallons, featuring a powerful 20 GPM pump, 4 position multiport valve, and system base, the 12 in. corrosion-proof filter tank holds 42 lbs. of sand and comes complete with two hoses, a pump to filter hose, and all the fittings. This easy to install system operates on 115V and is backed by a 1 Year Warranty.
- Easy to use design
- Low-cost budget option
- Can run 24-hours per day
- Not the sturdiest construction
- Needs to be backwashed often
Sand filters are an inexpensive, low-maintenance, efficient option to keep your pool sparkling and clean. They work well, won’t break the bank, and seldom clog. More than that, they are easy to use and only require occasional backwashing and a sand swap every few years.