Buying the best above ground pool filter is one of the most important things an above ground pool owner can do to ensure that their pool runs well. Without this vital filter trapping bacteria, dirt and contaminants of all sorts, the pool will get quite dirty and quickly become unusable. Even though most people don’t give them much thought, they’re actually the heart of the whole operation.

Before you can buy the best pool filter for your above ground pool, however, you first have to sort through some of the available choices, and there’s plenty of filters to sort through when you’re looking to buy one. That is why we’ve decided to provide you with our picks for the ten best models available. A list that we’ve provided below. Hopefully, it will help you choose the perfect filter for your pool setup.

Best Above Ground Pool Filters

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10Hayward 1.5-HP Filter Pump System


Although this model isn’t as inexpensive as other pump filters on this list, it’s designed to provide many years of service. This model features a reinforced non-corrosive filter tank that allows it to withstand all different types of climates and weather conditions. It also features a safety catch system that prevents over-tightening of its lid. This model has been engineered from the bottom up to provide the pool owner with the high-quality filtering that they need out of a filter pump. And since it can be used with either rigid or flexible plumping, it’s suitable for a wide variety of above ground pools.

9Hayward Easy Clear 1-HP Filter Pump System


This above ground pool filter is designed to provide the filtering power that any pool owner is going to need. This model features a cartridge element that’s easy to clean and always maintains high flow rates. This 1-HP pump also features a built-in check valve to prevent pool water from being lost when the user removes the cartridge for its regular cleaning. And since it has an Easy-Lock Lid, it’s always easy to gain access to the filter cartridge for routine maintenance. Other features found on this high-quality filter include a safety-catch that prevents over-tightening of the cover and a union connection that allows the pump to be quickly removed for service.

8Intex Krystal Clear 2500-GPH Filter Pump


This Intex filter pump is specifically designed for above ground pools, so it delivers the performance one would expect out of a quality filter. It’s a double-insulated pump that’s equipped with an auto timer that has 2 to 12-hour presets. It also features an air release valve to release air that may be trapped in the filter chamber and a sediment flush valve to flush away any excess sediment. This product features a one-way filter that’s easy to clean and only needs to be replaced every 2-weeks or so. And since it only requires partial assembly and the attachment of hoses to complete its insulation, this model is also easy to set up as well.

7Intex Krystal Clear 1000-GPH Filter Pump


When setting up with any 15-foot Easy-Set or metal frame pool, this filter pump is designed to move and filter 1,000 gallons of water per hour. This model is easy to set up and once set up, it’s designed to only need its cartridge filter to replace approximately every week to two weeks. This model can also be used with 18×10 foot oval frame pools, but if the pool owners attach it to this sized pool, then they’re going to need an adapter to allow it to fit. Additional features found on this high-quality filter include a sediment flush valve, double insulation, and easy-to-change filter design.

6Intex Krystal Clear 530 GPH Cartridge Filter Pump


Not only is this Intex Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter Pump easy to install, but it’s also very easy to maintain. All the pool operator has to do to ensure that it remains in tip-top condition is to replace its filter every one to two weeks. If that’s done, then this above ground pool filter will provide many seasons of service to the pool owner. This model is designed to work with Easy-Set pools 8 to 12-feet in size, or Frame Pools 10 to 12-feet in size. It features a sediment valve flush, an air-release valve and is double insulated for durability. All of which makes this a great filter pump for pools up to 15-feet in diameter.

5Intex Krystal Clear Cartridge 330 GPH Filter Pump


This 330 GPH filter system is designed to circulate and filter the water in your above ground pool so that it remains clean all summer long. It uses H-filters, which are easy to replace and only needs to be replaced every couple of weeks. This filter is large enough for pools up to 10-feet in diameter and can easily be used with 6-foot or 8-foot Intex pools, too. That means that it can filter pools up to 1,018 gallons in size. All things considered, this product is one that can be used by just about any above ground pool owner who wants to ensure plenty of swim time for themselves and their family.

4Game Sand Pro 75D Series Filter Unit


Designed to be used with pools that are up to 15,000 gallons in size, this sand filter unit easy to operate and provides a great filtering solution for above ground pool owners. This 3/4-HP unit requires 75-pounds of medium-grade pool filter sand, which is sold separately, but once that’s secured by the pool owner, then this system is ready to be set up and used immediately. This system is designed to work with both Bestway and Intex pools and is equipped with a pressure gauge that’s extremely accurate and extremely easy-to-read. And this pool not only has a 4-way rotary valve for filtering, backwashing, rinsing or winterizing the filter, but it is also very quiet, too.

3Intex Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter Pump


Not only is this Intex Krystal Clear System a very nice cartridge filter pump, but the company has also managed to also equip it with a saltwater system as well. This means that the pool owner gets two exciting products in one compact system. It’s an inexpensive and low-maintenance system designed for above ground pools and provides water that is incredibly clean. This system not only is capable of keeping the water clean, but it can do it in a way that eliminates the harshness of traditional chlorine treatments. This system pumps 1,050 gallons-per-hour and is designed for use with 7,000-gallon pools.

2FlowXtreme 25-Pound Sand Filter Pump


Using this high-quality system, pool owners are never going to have to worry about the environmental impact of DE or cartridge based pool filters. That’s because this model uses 25-pounds of sand to filter your pool’s water and it does it in a way that’ more natural than other conventional filters. This model has a 1/3-HP pump that allows it to pump and filter up to 1,850 gallons of water per hour. It features a 7-position multiport valve that allows the pool operator to choose several different modes of operation including winter storage, rinse, circulation, purge, and backwash. All of which makes it a good solution for a variety of above ground pools.

1Blue Wave 12-Inch Sand Filter System


Designed as a direct replacement for the original pump and filters that go with Intex pools, this above ground pool filter, and the pump is ready to do some serious pool cleaning. It’s a 1/2 horsepower model that can pump 900 gallons per hour through its sand filter. It’s constructed using a high-quality polyethylene that holds up quite well to weather, even harsh winter weather during storage. This model features a multiport that’s top mounted, which makes backwashing the system just about fool-proof. It features a 6-foot power cord, is UL-listed for safety and it’s very quiet when it’s in operation.

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Buying Pool Filters For Above Ground Pools

Above-ground pool filters are designed to make sure that the contaminants in pool water don’t build up. These are simple devices that work in conjunction with a proper pool pump to ensure the pool’s water is sparkling clean and is free of any harmful bacteria and debris. And to get benefit out of these filters, all the pool owner has to do is find the best model for their needs.

Unfortunately, people don’t pay a whole lot of attention to these filters. They just grab the first one they come across and hook it up to their pool. And most likely, the filter that they hook up to their pool is just an inexpensive sand filter. Which is a shame, not because there is anything wrong with those type of filters, but because the pool owner didn’t even consider if there was a better option for them or not.

We wanted to change that narrative, so we decided to write this guide on how to buy the best above ground pool filter. And when we say the best pool filter, we don’t mean generally, we mean the one that’s best for our readers. That’s possible because this guide isn’t going to tell consumers what they should buy, but merely give them the tools they need to make the most informed decision possible.

The Three Main Filter Types

Above-ground pool filters are available in one of three distinct styles: Sand Filters, Cartridge Filters, and D.E Filters. Each of these filters has its good points, as well as its bad points, so consumers need to take the time to weigh their individual characteristics to see if one of them matches their expectations. Below we go into detail about the benefits each of these filters present to the pool owner, as well as the drawbacks they offer as well.

Sand Filters

We will go out on a limb and suggest that out of all of the above ground pool filters in the world, sand filters are probably the most common ones. And we can see why that would be the case. After all, these filters are cheap, they do a decent job of cleaning pool water, and they don’t require a lot of upkeep. These filters work because sand has jagged edges, which grabs debris as water is pumped through it. This process allows the filter to remove particles that are 20-microns or larger. Unfortunately, that means that a lot of particles under 20-microns are slipping past, so the pool owner needs to make sure they have their pool chemistry balanced well enough to kill any bacteria or other microorganisms that might have slipped past. Another problem with using sand is that it needs to be back washed frequently. And since sand becomes over-saturated over time, above ground pool owners can expect to replace the sand every 7-years or so.

Cartridge Filters

Cartridge filters are also pretty common for above ground pools, just not as common as sand filters. The main reason for their popularity is that they work quite well for pools that aren’t too large. And since most above ground pools aren’t extremely large, these filters work quite well. For anyone interested in the inner workings of these filters, they’re quite simple. They’re just a plastic tube that’s filled with pleated polyester material. Water flows through this material and is trapped in its fibers. That allows it to remove particles as small as 10-microns. This instantly makes them a better option than sand filters, but it also makes them more expensive as well. And because they need regular maintenance to operate efficiently, the pool owner should be ready to give them the attention they require, which usually involves annual deep-cleanings, proper week-to-week cleaning, and replacing the filter’s media every 2 to 3-years. What’s great about these filters are that they don’t require back-washing, work well with single-speed and variable speed pumps, and they filter out debris quite well.

D.E Filters

D.E Filters aren’t for everyone and it’s quite clear why that’s the case. Not only are these filters expensive, but they also require a lot of upkeep, need to be replaced every 3-4 years, and are banned in some localities. And because they use Diatomaceous Earth, they can be harmful to the environment if this material is dumped casually. However, if the local government allows their use, and the consumer is careful about how they operate them, then these filters can be quite effective. These filters can remove debris and microorganisms as small as 5-microns from the pool’s water. And this makes them one of the most efficient filters. Unfortunately, these filters list of negatives prevents them from being the best above ground pool filters available.

Buying The Right Size Filters

Now that we all understand the different types of above ground pool filters, it’s time to find out how to size the filter properly. If the filter isn’t sized properly, then the consumer can end up either spending a lot of extra time performing maintenance on the filter, or replacing the pump that has prematurely burned out due to the extra work it had to do. Below are some suggestions for choosing the right filter size for any particular above ground pool.

Choosing the right size pool filter for an above-ground pool isn’t difficult at all. As a general rule, the filter should provide at least 1 square foot per 10,000 gallons of pool capacity for it to work effectively. It also should be rated with the same (or higher) gallons-per-minute rating as a pump. Some pool experts even suggest that the consumer purchase a filter that has a GPM rating that’s slightly higher than the pump to ensure that it can handle its flow rate.

Some Pool Filter Maintenance Tips

Once an above-ground pool owner has purchased the right filter for their pool, they’re going to want to make sure that they take care of it to ensure that it lasts as long as it was designed to last. Below are some tips that will ensure that the pool filter lives a nice long last and maintains its effectiveness until its final days.

  • Clean the filter regularly
  • Make sure to backwash sand & D.E filters
  • Add  Diatomaceous Earth to D.E filters after they’ve been back-washed
  • Chemically clean sand filters once a year for best results