It doesn’t matter what kind of advanced cleaning and water maintenance chemicals you’re using in your pool if you’re using a pool filter that can’t get the job done. That’s because the filter is the pool’s first line of defense against the dirt and other harmful organisms that can be found in the water of an average pool. And keeping them away is essential to your health.

A good filter will remove all kinds of harmful agents from your water and an underperforming one will allow algae, bacteria, and viruses to call your pool home. That’s why you should do everything in your power to buy the best pool filter possible. To help you find the best one, we’ve listed what we feel are the best models that are currently available. Anyone of them is a great defense against the harmful pollutants that may try to call your pool home.

Best Pool Filters

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10Hayward C1200 Swim Clear Plus Filter


Designed for pools up to 120-feet in size, this high-quality cartridge pool filter is designed to remove foreign particles from your pool quite efficiently. This model is easy to set up, and once it’s properly set up, it can filter up to 56,000 gallons of pool water. It features a large filtration element that allows it to remove smaller particles than what other comparable cartridge filters are capable of doing. It also has a specially constructed body that’s reinforced with glass, so it can not only hold up to a variety of weather conditions but is designed to last for many, many summers.

9Hayward Perflex Extended Cycle DE Filter


This high-quality pool filter is able to clean particles out of your pool water that’s as small as 2-microns in size. This allows this filter to remove bacteria, algae, leaves, and other debris to make your pool’s water nice and sparkling clean. And it does this quickly and efficiently because it uses a Diatomaceous Earth filter and a special design that really does a great job removing foreign objects from the water. And this model also features a flex tube design that allows fewer cleanings between cycles, to save time and money. All things considered, this is a quality filter that many pool owners are really going to appreciate.

8Intex 0.95-HP Sand Filter Pump


Intex doesn’t believe that you should spend a whole lot of time and trouble operating your pump filter, so they designed one that’s easy-to-install and easy-to-use. This sand filter is designed for medium-sized spas and pools, and it includes a skimmer basket with a 0.95-HP pump. This model also features a 12-hour timer for convenience, and it’s capable of filtering approximately 3,000 gallons of water per hour. Additional features found on this model include a built-in Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter, a UL-listing and a CSA-rating. All of which makes this not only a powerful filter but also a very safe one to operate.

7Pentair Clean & Clear Residential Cartridge Filter


Designed for use with residential pools and spas, this cartridge filter system is capable of filtering a pool with a surface area of 420-square feet at a rate of 150 gallons per minute. This model is equipped with an internal air relief that provides continuous flow, and it is NSF listed for safety. It features an injection molded tank that’s designed to hold up for many swimming seasons. Additional features found on this model include a tension control clamp, 1.5-inch drain clean out ports and a size of approximately 45-inches high by 22-inch long.

6Intex Krystal Clear 16-Inch Filter Pump


This filter pump has several features that make it handy for any above ground pool. This 16-inch model features a pump with a flow rate of 3,000 gallons-per-hour, and it has a system flow rate of approximately 2,450 gallons-per-hour. This pump is specifically designed for pools 16-feet in diameter and larger and is capable of servicing a pool with a water capacity of up to 19,600 gallons. It also features a built-in 24-hour timer that makes maintaining your pool a whole lot easier. And since this pump only requires its sand to be replaced every 5-years, this model is virtually maintenance-free.

5Hayward X-Stream 1.5-HP Above Ground Filter System


This filter system has all the features it needs to make it a great filtration system for any almost any above-ground swimming pool. It’s made with a corrosion-resistant outer layer that’s reinforced with glass and is designed to provide the pool owner with many years of faithful operation. It also features a safety catch that prevents the user from over tightening the lid but still allows it to remain securely in place. Since this filter has a larger filter body, it’s more efficient at filtering the pool water, which also happens to make it more energy efficient, too. And it comes with a 1.5-HP pump that pulls pool water through its filter and into the pool.

4Sand Master Soft-Sided Sand Filter System


This economical pump is specifically designed to be used with soft-sided above ground pools. This sand filter system can filter up to 9,600 gallons of water and is equipped with a pump that can pump water through it at a rate of 20 gallons per minute. This filter system has a 12-inch filter tank that can hold up to 42-pounds of filter sand and has a corrosion-resistant out layer. This model also features two 1.25-inch by 7.5-foot hoses, all the fittings necessary for installation and a pump to filter hose. It’s a pump that operates on 115-Volts and doesn’t consume a whole lot of electricity either.

3Hayward C7040 Swim Clear Cartridge Filter


This quality cartridge filter from Hayward is designed to have an effective filtration area of approximately 725 square feet, and it can filter the water at a rate of about 150 gallons per minute. This filter measures 24-inches wide by 52.5-inches in height and is made from a reinforced polyester that makes it quite durable and long lasting. This filter enables longer filter cycles, so pool water is as clear as it can be in most situations. And since it uses cartridge filters that are reusable and easy-to-clean, this filter system is highly efficient and requires little to no system backwashing.

2Hayward S244T 24-Inch Pro-Series Sand Filter


Hayward is a company that’s been manufacturing pool supplies for over 8 decades now, and their expertise really shows in the quality of their products. Take this sand filter, for example. It’s a 24-inch top-mount filter that’s made using high-quality materials that are corrosion resistant and will work reliably in all different types of weather conditions. This model features a large pressure water drain for rapid winterizing of the filter, and it has a 6-position Vari-Flo slide valve. But what makes this filter really exceptional is that its design allows it to thoroughly filter pool water to remarkable clarity levels.

1Intex Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter Pump


This cartridge filter pump is designed to be quite easy to set up and is supposed to be used with above ground pools. Specifically designed for use with Intex 18-foot easy-set pools, 16 to 18-foot frame pool or 20×12-foot oval frame pools, this filter pump does its job really well. It has a system flow rate of 1,180 GPH and has an insulated pump with presets from 2 to 12-hour cycles. It has an easy-to-clean filter cartridge that really pulls the sediment out of pool water and only needs to be replaced every 2-weeks or so. All of this makes this product one that some pool owners may want to consider.

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Pool Filter Buying Guide

Pool filters are almost as important as pool pumps, so it behooves the pool owner to buy the best one available. Finding the best one possible isn’t easy for many pool owners, however, because many people don’t realize what they should be looking for when they shop for a new pool filter. Many people just buy the one that fits their pump and don’t give it a second thought. Unfortunately, that’s inattention to detail can cost the consumer time and money down the road.

Believer it or not, there are several things that the pool owner needs to consider when they’re shopping for the best pool filter. They not only need to decide what type of pool filter they need, but they also need to determine filter media and the size of the filter. In this guide, we’re going to cover all of those subjects—and a whole lot more, so pool owners can not only buy the best pool filter possible but also so they can keep that filter in good working condition.

The Different Types Of Pool Filters

Before we get into the specifics of sizing a pool filter, it’s probably a good idea to talk about the different types of filters available and how they work. When it comes to pool filters, consumers have three choices available to them: Sand Filters, Cartridge Filters and Diatomaceous Earth Filters (also known as DE Filters). Since each of these three types of filters has their particular pros and cons, we are going to take a closer look at each one so pool owners can choose the one that’s best for their pool setup.

Sand Filters

Sand filters are probably the most common type of filters used nowadays and there’s a good reason why that’s a fact. As a general rule, these filters are easier on the pocketbook, don’t require extensive maintenance to operate properly and work the way they’re designed to work. They’re also less likely to clog than other types of filters, which is why so many pool owners use them for larger pools. Sand filters work because the sand particles are jagged and can capture particles that are 20 microns or larger. Unfortunately, as the filter is used, the jagged edges of the sand grains become rounded off by the flow of water. This results in it losing its efficiency over time until eventually, it’s incapable of capturing any debris at all. As this is happening, particles that have been collected begins to build up in the sand, which can result in it losing its ability to allow water to properly flow through it. Back-washing the filter when the internal pressure reaches a certain level will remove some of the debris trapped in the filter, allowing it to be used a little longer before the media needs to be replaced altogether. Below are some of the pros and cons associated with sand filters.


  • Costs less
  • Easier to maintain
  • Only needs to be replaced every 5-7 years
  • Alternative filter media can boost this filter’s performance


  • This is the least effective of all pool filters
  • Backwashing tends to waste water
  • Restriction of water over time can put pressure on the pool’s pump

Cartridge Filters

The second most common pool filters currently available are cartridge filters. That’s because these filters are easy to maintain and are extremely effective for small to medium size pools. These filters are basically a plastic cylinder that is capped on the end and is filled with polyester filter media that’s been pleated. As the pool’s pump pumps water through this filter, the pleats help to capture any contaminants that might be found in the water. Because of their design, these filters are capable of removing particles as small as 10-microns, which means they can capture particles that are twice as small as what sand filters can capture. Unfortunately, these pool filters are a little bit more expensive than sand filters, and they’re not particularly good at handling the filtering needs of large pools. We’ve listed all of this filter’s pros and cons in the table below for convenience.


  • Very effective at removing contaminants
  • Doesn’t require wasteful water back-washing
  • Works well for variable speed pumps


  • Require proper maintenance for steady operation
  • Media needs replaced every 2-3 years
  • The filter requires a semi-annual or annual deep cleaning

D.E. Filters

DE Filters are the filters that are the least popular, and that’s probably because they are the pool filters with the most negatives of any of the other filter media types. They cost more than either sand or cartridge filters, require a lot of maintenance to ensure proper operation and the D.E media may pose particular risks to both the user’s health and the environment. These filters feature a tank that contains grids that are covered in Diatomaceous Earth. This material is a white powder that’s made from the fossilized remains of aquatic sea creatures known as diatoms. Due to the fossilized diatoms having a high-silicone content, they’re capable of trapping contaminants as small as 5-microns. That makes these filters some of the most effective ones available. Below are all of the pros and cons so consumers can decide for themselves if these pool filters are right for their pool.


  • Very effective at filtering contaminants
  • It doesn’t require chemicals for cleaning


  • They’re very expensive
  • They require a lot of maintenance
  • They need to have their grids replaced every 3-years
  • Some localities restrict the use of these filters
  • D.E powder can be harmful if inhaled
  • D.E powder can be harmful to the environment

Proper Filter Size According To Pump Size

It’s also important for consumers to properly size their filter to the size of their pool. This section assumes that the pool owner has already purchased or owns the appropriate pool pump for their pool and only needs to size the filter itself. The following guidelines aren’t exhaustive and are only examples to help pool owners get an idea of what to look for when buying a new pool filter.

3/4-HP 40-GPM Pool Pumps

  • Sand Filters: 2.7 square-feet
  • D.E Filters: 24 square-feet
  • Cartridge Filters: 100 square-feet

2-HP 87-GPM Pool Pumps 

  • Sand Filters: 5.8 square-feet
  • D.E Filters:  60 square-feet
  • Cartridge Filters: 400-square feet

3-HP 120-GPM Pool Pumps

  • Sand Filters: 8 square-feet
  • D.E Filters:  84 square-feet
  • Cartridge Filters: 600-square feet

Finding A Filter Doesn’t Have To Be Difficult

We think it’s easy to see that buying one of these pool filters for a pool doesn’t have to be challenging. Not as long as the pool owner considers their needs, pays attention to a filter’s features and buys the best one available. In fact, it can be pretty easy when a filter is bought using those criteria.