Has your old 1980s pool pump finally called it quits? Are you the proud owner of a new above ground pool and need the best pool pump to keep it clear and sparkling all season long? Regardless of your reason for landing on this page, you can rest assured we have you covered when it comes to anything pool-related, especially pumps.
A pool pump is the heart and soul of your pool’s operating system and is absolutely vital in keeping the water in your pool filtered and clean.
Delve into this comprehensive buyer’s guide and learn all you need to know about pool pumps in 2016. From the basics to the top models, we’ve got you covered.
- 1 What is a Pool Pump?
- 2 How Does a Solar Pool Pump Work?
- 3 Top 10 Best Pool Pump Reviews
- 3.1 #1 Intex Sand Filter Pump with GFCI
- 3.2 #2 Hayward SP1580X15 Power-Flo LX Series 1-1/2 Horsepower Above Ground Pool Pump
- 3.3 #3 Intex 2500-Gallon 120V Filter Pump
- 3.4 #4 Wayne WAPC250 1/4 HP Automatic Pool Cover Pump
- 3.5 #5 Intex 120V Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump & Saltwater System with E.C.O.
- 3.6 #6 Pentair 011018 IntelliFlo Variable Speed High Performance Pool Pump
- 3.7 #7 Hayward SP3015X20AZ Super II 2-Horsepower Pool Pump
- 3.8 #8 Hayward SP3400VSP EcoStar VS Variable Speed Pool Pump
- 3.9 #9 Best Choice Products Pro 2400GPH 13-Inch Sand Filter Above Ground Swimming Pool Pump
- 3.10 #10 Little Giant PCP550 Pool Cover Pump
- 4 Making the Decision
What is a Pool Pump?
A pool pump’s primary job is to circulate the water in your pool to minimize algae growth and pump water through its filtration system to eliminate debris. When operated correctly, the right pool pump will result in a crystal clear sparkling pool with next to no particles and contaminates.
When selecting a pump, it’s important to get the correct size for your pool. If your pool pump is too small, it will run less efficiently and have a hard time circulating water. Fortunately, below we highlight 10 of the best pool pumps on the market today, so you can stop reading endless pool pump reviews and begin splashing and relaxing in a sparkling pool in no time!
How Does a Solar Pool Pump Work?
You don’t have to be a renewable energy fanatic to recognize and want to enjoy the benefits of a solar pool pump. A number of pool owners already have solar pool heaters and solar covers, but more and more are opting for solar pool pumps as well.
While not as practical or reliable as electric and gas models, solar pool pumps are eco-friendly and provide significant long-term savings by converting solar energy into electricity in order to power the pump and create water circulation. The solar cells are often made of silicon in order to produce direct current electricity.
Simple wiring transfers the electricity from the solar cells to the pool pump. Some solar pool pumps also feature batteries, which allow them to be run at night or on cloudy days.
Top 10 Best Pool Pump Reviews
#1 Intex Sand Filter Pump with GFCI
Many above ground pool owners consider the Intex Sand Filter Pump with GFCI to be the best all-around pool pump around. In addition to being extremely efficient, this best in class pump also boasts a longer than average sand filtration lifespan, which means you can say goodbye to yearly cartridge replacements.
There are also few other pool pumps for above ground and soft-sided pools that can match the flow and vacuum power of the Intex Sand Filter Pump.
Best of all, this premium system comes ready to use with multi-port valve filter tank, powerful integrated pump, digital timer, leaf basket, clear lid, and GFCI protected cord. With hundreds of rave pool pump reviews, it’s hard to go wrong with this Intex.
Type: Above Ground Pool Sand Filter Pump System
- Excellent low-maintenance sand filtration system
- Six function control valve for total control and ease of use
- Digital 24-hour timer for hands-free operation
- 3,000 gallon per hour pump flow rate ideal for larger above ground pools
- Strainer basket included for easier cleaning
- Slightly less efficient than less powerful models
Intex 3,000-Gallon Sand Filter Pump Specs
- 120-pound sand capacity
- 120VGFCI plug
- 16-inch tank
- Six-way multi-port filter valve
- Touch sensitive control panel
- Digital 24-hour timer
- 1.200 – 2,650 GPH flow rate
- Two-year warranty
The Intex 3,000-Gallon Sand Filter Pump with GFCI is arguably the best pool pump made for large above ground pools. With an all-natural sand water filtration system and a six-function control valve allowing you to rinse, filter, re-circulate, backwash, and more, it’s capable of keeping nearly any above ground pool refreshingly clear all season long.
Meanwhile, the built-in timer makes being a pool owner a nearly hassle-free experience. When you also factor in its 2,650 GPH flow rate and affordable price tag, finding a reason not to like the Intex Sand Filter Pump with GFCI is easier said than done. It checks all the boxes and then some.
Intex is known for making great, affordable pool products, but this pool pump may be one of its best yet. Easy to install, easier to use, and made to perform, the Intex Sand Filter Pump with GFCI is a no-brainer in our book.
#2 Hayward SP1580X15 Power-Flo LX Series 1-1/2 Horsepower Above Ground Pool Pump
With nearly three decades of proven performance and specifically designed for above ground pools, the popular pump provides dependable performance, a corrosion-resistant construction, and quiet operation, making it one of the absolute best pool pumps available.
Type: Above Ground Pool Pump (No Filter)
- Made by today’s #1 selling brand
- High-performance motor built to perform for years
- Corrosion-resistant housing
- Incredibly quiet operation
- Filtering system not included
Hayward SP1580X15 Power-Flo LX Specs
- Corrosion-resistant PermaGlass XL pump housing for quiet operation and all-weather performance
- High-performance motor with auto thermal overload protection and stainless steel shaft
- High-performance Powerflo impeller
- Double-sized, 100 percent drip-proof seal for extended motor life
- Drain plug
- Large strainer basket
- Clear cover
- Six-foot power cord included
- One-year warranty
The Intex above works great, but if you’re here in search of the best pool pump for your above ground pool, it’s important to know that Hayward’s Power-Flo LX Series has been setting the bar in above ground pool pump performance for almost 30 years.
The most popular of all Power-Flo LX Series pool pumps is this 1-1/2 horsepower model. Featuring a high-performance design with advanced functions and a durable corrosion-resistant construction, it’s tough not to like this Hayward pool pump. With an extra-large pump basket, heavy-duty motor, nearly impenetrable pump housing, and other thoughtful features, the Hayward SP1580X15 Power-Flo LX Series 1-1/2 Horsepower Above Ground Pool Pump is easily one of the best pumps you’re going to find mentioned in nearly all pool pump reviews.
Hayward is known for making quality pool pumps, but the Power-Flo LX Series 1-1/2 Horsepower Above Ground Pool Pump may just be one of its best. From its high-strength PermaGlass XL construction to its oversized basket and everything in between, this pool pump works like a dream and nearly makes pool maintenance a thing of the past. What’s not to like about that?
#3 Intex 2500-Gallon 120V Filter Pump
It may not be the most powerful model on our best pool pump list, but the Intex 2500-Gallon 120V Filter Pump is definitely one of the most popular and affordable. With thousands of glowing pool pump reviews, pool owners obviously love it and you will too.
The 120-volt pool pump cartridge filtration system is easy to use, affordable, and delivers results for most above ground pools, making it a great option for anyone in search of a well-priced pump that performs. It’s a wonderful upgrade over the 1500-gallon pumps typically included with many above ground pools.
Type: Cartridge Filter Above Ground Pool Pump System
- Powerful pump for the money
- Very quiet operation
- Capable of circulating up to 2,500 gallons of water per minute
- Easy installation
- Some questions regarding its durability when used with saltwater systems
Intex 2500-Gallon 120V Specs
- Pool size – up to 24 feet
- Double-insulated pump
- Sediment flush and air release valves
- 2,500 GPH flow rate
- Waterproof on/off switch
The Intex 2500-Gallon 120V Filter Pump is a super-efficient swimming pool filtration system. In addition to being easy to install and needing next to nothing done except for plugging it in, the powerful 120V pump provides more than adequate filtration to ensure your pool remains debris-free all summer long.
Capable of circulating up to 2,500 gallons per minute, which is surprising given its size, this Intex pool pump does a great job and produces visible results.
If money is tight and you need a solid pump that just plain works, the Intex 2,500-Gallon 120V Filter Pump may just be the pump you’ve been looking for. With a smart design and plenty of filtering power, it has more than it takes to keep the water in an average-size above ground pool clean and debris free.
It may lack some of the power and features offered by other models, but it’s affordably priced and gets the job done. No wonder it’s so popular!
#4 Wayne WAPC250 1/4 HP Automatic Pool Cover Pump
However, you probably also know how much of a hassle it is to get water off of it. From squeegees to modified sump pumps, people have tried just about everything over the years, but a quality pool cover pump solves this common dilemma.
Like pool pumps, there are a lot of pool cover pumps out there to choose from, but some perform better and are more reliable than others. The Wayne WAPC250 1/4 HP Automatic Pool Cover Pump is guilty of falling into this category.
Type: Automatic Pool Cover Pump
- Easy to use
- Very versatile
- Extremely efficient
- 3,000 gallons per hour flow rate despite small HP output
- iSwitch technology with automatic on/off sensors
- Automatic freeze protection, and more
- Made in USA
- Three-year warranty
- Pricey compared to some other pool cover pumps
- Still relatively new so durability is unknown
Wayne WAPC250 1/4 HP Automatic Specs
- 2.5 amp, 1/4 horsepower motor
- Up to 3,000 GPH flow rate
- iSwitch sensor technology for automatic operation
- Oil-free, energy efficient pump
- Automatic freeze protection
- Strainer base to filter debris
- Made of sealed thermoplastic for underwater use
- 25-foot power cord and rope included
The Wayne WAPC250 1/4 HP Automatic Pool Cover Pump uses a 1 ¼-inch drain hose and achieves an impressive max flow rate of 3,000 gallons per hour, allowing it to perform with the best pool pumps in the business.
Although it’s highly unlikely you’ll ever have to remove 3,000 gallons of water from your pool cover top, such a high flow rate allows the pump to work faster, which is obviously a plus. The WAPC250 isn’t just for removing water from the top of a pool cover either.
Unlike the pumps pitched in most pool pump reviews, it can also be used for flooded basements and a variety of other scenarios.
While the Wayne WAPC250 1/4 HP Automatic Pool Cover Pump is designed for removing water from the tops of pool covers and not to actually circulate and filter pool water, it’s a great pool cover pump and makes an awesome pool accessory.
#5 Intex 120V Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump & Saltwater System with E.C.O.
The ultimate in chemical-free water care, this quality sand filter pump and saltwater system is able to keep your pool crystal clear and free of chemicals and debris.
By combining proven sand and saltwater systems into one affordable, low-maintenance system, the Intex 120V Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump & Saltwater System has taken pool pumps to the next level.
Type: Sand Filter Pump and Saltwater System
- Easy to use and operate
- Powerful one HP motor pumps 2,650 GPH for sparkling clean water
- Well-built for long-lasting durability
- Digital controls with built-in automatic 24-hour timer
- Two-stage saltwater sanitation process for extra clean pool water
- Challenging to set up for the non-mechanically inclined
- A little more expensive than some other pool pump and filter systems
Intex 120V Krystal Clear Specs
- Up to 2,650 gallons per hour maximum flow rate
- Heavy-duty 16-inch sand filter tank
- 6-way filter valve
- Both systems automatically controlled via built-in 24-hour timer
- 120V with GFCI electrical protection
- Electro catalytic oxidization saltwater sanitation
- Strainer basket included
- Pool Size – up to 15,000 gallons
- Two-year warranty
Sand filters are renowned for their ability to keep pool water naturally crystal clear. Only needing replacement every five years, the Intex 120V Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump not only does an excellent job of filtering pool water, but it’s one of the easiest filtration systems to maintain.
Combined with the pump’s saltwater system with E.C.O., which completely eliminates the need for chlorine and other harsh chemicals, this Intex sand filter and saltwater system combo is arguably the best pool pump on the market.
You can read through dozens of pool pump reviews, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better option than the Intex 120V Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump & Saltwater System.
Providing pool owners with a single low-maintenance and cost-saving system that eliminates the need for harsh pool chemicals, it’s an ideal solution for keeping your above ground pool safe, clean, and clear as can be.
It’s definitely one of our favorites!
#6 Pentair 011018 IntelliFlo Variable Speed High Performance Pool Pump
Taking things up a notch, the amazing Pentair IntelliFlo Variable Speed High Performance Pool Pump is designed for in-ground pools and features an array of advanced features, making it one of the most raved pool heaters on the market.
With a powerful three horsepower 230V motor, eight programmable speeds, an LCD control screen, and a whole lot more, it’s easy to see why the Pentair IntelliFlo is widely considered the best pool pump on the planet.
Recommended in nearly all pool pump reviews, if you’re the proud owner of an in-ground pool, it’s hard to go wrong with this top of the line pump.
Type: Variable Speed In-Ground Pool Pump
- Extremely energy efficient for savings up to 90 percent
- Quiet operation
- Long lifespan
- Eight custom speed functions
- Built-in digital timer
- Compatible with automation systems
- Built-in diagnostics for easier maintenance
- More expensive than single or dual-speed pumps
- Installation could be easier
Pentair 011018 IntelliFlo Specs
- 230V three-horsepower motor
- Energy Star certified
- Eight programmable speed settings
- Built-in timer for easy operation and maximum efficiency
- Built-in diagnostics
- Permanent magnet motor is ultra-quiet and efficient
- Totally enclosed fan-cooled design
- Compatible with a variety of automated pool control systems
- Three-year warranty
Traditional pool pumps operate at fixed speeds, which reduce efficiency and waste energy. The Pentair IntelliFlo Variable Speed High Performance Pool Pump, on the other hand, has eight-speed variable operation with custom programming of tasks, such as cleaning, filtering, operating spa jets, and so on.
This ensures the IntelliFlo operates at the optimum speed for virtually every application. With a 230V three-horsepower motor, built-in diagnostics, and a host of advanced features, the Pentair IntelliFlo Variable Speed High Performance Pool Pump is a great option for any pool owner.
We’ve tried and tested many pool pumps over the years, but the Pentair IntelliFlo is by far one of the best. With a powerful yet energy-efficient motor and an array of features designed with maximum savings and ease of use in mind, it’s hard to go wrong with this Pentair.
#7 Hayward SP3015X20AZ Super II 2-Horsepower Pool Pump
Unlike weaker, less efficient models, the Super II is robust and able to perform in the most demanding of conditions, like the Arizona heat! With full flow hydraulics and other thoughtful features, this little beast of a pool pump is as durable and efficient as they come.
Affordable, super powerful, and easy to use, if you’re looking for the best pool pump for your in-ground pool, the Hayward SP3015X20AZ Super II is a sensible option.
Type: Fixed Speed In-Ground Pool Pump
- Two-horsepower hydraulic motor for powerful and efficient performance
- Corrosion-resistant construction for added durability
- Large capacity strainer basket
- Easy to use and maintain
- Performs and holds up in the harshest of environments
- Reasonable price
- May require professional installation
- Opening strainer lid takes some getting used to
Hayward SP3015X20AZ Super II Specs
- Designed for the AZ market
- Two-horsepower motor with full flow hydraulics
- Free flowing operation
- Oversized 155-cubic inch collection basket with see-through cover
- Easy thread design
- Corrosion-resistant molded thermoplastic construction
Like the best pool heat pump on the market, the Hayward SP3015X20AZ Super II 2-Horsepower Pool Pump is built to outperform the competition in the most demanding of locations and installations, making it one of the most recommended in-ground pumps in a variety of pool pump reviews, and for good reason. With efficient, full flow hydraulics for an increased flow to horsepower ratio and lower operating costs as well as an unparalleled durable design, this pool pump is tough as nails and works like a champ. In terms of durability and efficiency, the Hayward Super II may be the best pool pump being made today.
Designed to take a licking and keep on ticking, this hydraulic pump flat out performs. If you live in the demanding dry heat of AZ, the Hayward SP3015X20AZ Super II 2-Horsepower Pool Pump is by far your best pool pump option.
#8 Hayward SP3400VSP EcoStar VS Variable Speed Pool Pump
Most variable speed pool pumps are more energy-efficient than their single speed counterparts, but the Hayward SP3400VSP EcoStar VS Variable Speed Pool Pump is the most energy-efficient variable speed pool pump in the industry.
Thanks to its ultra-efficient permanent magnet motor and totally enclosed fan-cooled hydraulic design, the impressive pump can cut your pool’s operating costs by up to 90 percent while leaving it refreshingly clean and clear all year long. Needless to say, if you’re on the hunt for the best pool pump your hard-earned money can buy, the Hayward SP3400VSP EcoStar is a worthy contender definitely worth considering.
Type: Variable Speed In-Ground Pool Pump
- Highest energy efficiency in the industry
- Slim and sleek design
- Variable speeds for super-efficient operation
- Powerful hydraulic pump for superior performance
- Revolutionary digital control panel makes operation a breeze
- Fully programmable 24-hour timer
- Very quiet
- May require professional installation
- One-year warranty has several limitations
Hayward SP3400VSP EcoStar VS Specs
- Energy Star certified
- Very efficient permanent magnet motor
- Variable speed hydraulic pump
- High-tech digital control panel
- Fully-programmable 24-hour timer with eight custom speed settings
- Totally enclosed fan cooling design
- ASME A112.19.17 compliant
A plethora of advanced design features make the Hayward SP3400VSP EcoStar VS Variable Speed Pool Pump the most energy-efficient pool pump on the market.
Although there are a number of high-performance variable speed pool pumps on the market and almost as many pool pump reviews touting them as the next best thing since sliced bread, the EcoStar takes the cake in every way.
From its hydraulic pump and totally enclosed fan-cooled magnet motor to its cutting-edge digital control panel and variable speed operation, the Hayward SP3400VSP EcoStar VS Variable Speed Pool Pump is simply the best in-ground pool pump on the market.
Nearly all variable speed pool pumps perform better than less expensive single speed models, but if you want the crème de la crème of pool pumps than look no further than this Hayward. It’s that good.
#9 Best Choice Products Pro 2400GPH 13-Inch Sand Filter Above Ground Swimming Pool Pump
Designed to be a low-cost, low-maintenance solution for keeping your pool pristine and crystal clear, this affordably priced pump features a great overall design that just plain works.
With a high-capacity one-piece tank, universal base, multi-port valve, and more, the Pro 2400GPH 13-Inch Sand Filter Above Ground Swimming Pool Pump may be the perfect pump for your above ground pool.
Type: Sand Filter and Pump for Above Ground Pools
- Affordably priced
- Relatively easy to install
- Large high-capacity tank
- Multi-port valve for maximum efficiency and versatility
- Self-priming pump for easier operation
- Impressive flow rate of 2,400 gallons per hour
- Not suitable for above ground pools larger than 10,000 gallons
Best Choice Products Pro 2400GPH Specs
- 115V .35 horsepower thermal protected motor
- 2,400 GPH flow rate
- 19-pound sand capacity
- 6-position valve
- Pressure gauge and connection hose
- System tray and strainer basket included
- Three-prong plug with non-GFCI protected cord
- Pool size – up to 10,000 gallons
- Maximum suction of 32 feet
- ETL listed and CSA certified
Designed to take care of the basic filtration needs of many of today’s above ground pools, the Best Choice Products Pro 2400GPH 13-Inch Sand Filter Above Ground Swimming Pool Pump is an affordable option for capable of keeping your pool clean and crystal clear. The core of the pump is its oversized one-piece tank, which filters pool water through 19 pounds of sand before returning it debris-free.
While its .35 HP pump and sand filtration system are impressive enough in this price point, the Pro 2400GPH also comes with a handy multi-port valve, strainer basket, system tray, and everything else you need to keep your pool sparkling like a Caribbean cove throughout the swimming season.
With the growing popularity of above ground pools, there’s a multitude of above ground pool pumps to choose from these days. However, if you want one of the best all-around pumps available for pools under 10,000 gallons in size, this affordable and well-made above ground swimming pool pump and sand filter system should be at the top of your list!
#10 Little Giant PCP550 Pool Cover Pump
Although it’s not as powerful as the Wayne pool cover pump above and lacks its impressive 3,000 gallon per hour flow rate, this mighty little pump is much smaller, less expensive, and more than capable of draining an entire swimming pool in a less than two days. Sounds like a winner to us!
Type: Manual Pool Cover Pump
- Very affordable
- Easy to install and use
- Extremely versatile with a number of possible uses
- A great value
- Made in the USA by a well-known brand
- Two-year warranty
- Lack of automation
- No water level sensors
- Needs at least an inch of water before being able to suction
Little Giant PCP550 Specs
- 115-volt motor
- 550 GPH flow rate
- Simple garden hose connection
- Removable intake screen
- 25-foot non-GFCI power cord
- Two-year warranty
The Little Giant PCP550 Pool Cover Pump is great for much more than removing pool water from the tops of pool covers. In fact, thanks to its 115-volt motor and 550 GPH flow rate, the popular little pump can be used for a variety of water removal applications.
With a removable intake screen for near effortless cleaning and maintenance, simple garden hose connection, portable and lightweight design, and 25-foot power cord, the Little Giant PCP550 Pool Cover Pump works is extremely versatile and easy to use.
The Little Giant PCP550 Pool Cover Pump certainly isn’t the best pool cover pump you’re going to run across, but it’s refreshingly inexpensive and works like a charm, making it a great option to round out our list.
Making the Decision
From large in-ground pools that resemble miniature water parks to small above ground pools and everything in between, swimming pool pumps play a critical role in the cleanliness, safety, and clarity of every pool. Unfortunately, there are just as many pumps on the market as there pools, so how do you know which one is the best pool pump for you?
There are a lot of factors to consider when shopping for a pump and reading pool pump reviews, some of which are more important than others. That being said, one of the first things to consider is whether or not you want a single speed, dual speed, or variable speed pump. Single speed pumps are pretty old school these days but still get the job done. At the other end of the spectrum, variable speed pumps provide a variety of speeds and are much more efficient.
Similar to shopping for the best pool heat pump, energy-efficiency is another key consideration. Typically, the more speeds a pump has, the more efficient it is. While important, the installation process, operational noise, flow rate, and the inclusion of necessary accessories should also be taken into account before pulling the trigger on a new pump for your pool.
As you can see, there are some really great pool pumps out there for virtually every budget, lifestyle, and type of pool, so check out our detailed, unbiased reviews and discover the best pool pump for you today!