Asides from the use of chemicals, pool filters are important when it comes to pool management. Without them, dirt, hair, and other debris will remain and accumulate in your pool. This alone will drastically reduce the appeal of your pool. Not only does the pool filter helps to remove dirt, but it also helps to keep the pool free from germs and infections before it is passed to your pool heater.
There are many pool filters with different specifications from different brands and finding one may be tedious. Even if they have great specifications, it takes only the best pool filter for your above-ground pool to achieve your needs. This article contains 15 best above-ground pool filters to consider and a simple buying guide to help improve your accuracy.
Table of Contents
- Difference Between Inground and Above Ground Pool Filters
- What Is the Best Above Ground Pool Filter to Buy?
- Comparison of Top 15 Best Above Ground Pool Filters 2020
- Reviews of the Best Above Ground Pool Filters
- Hayward S210T93S ProSeries Pool Sand Filter
- Intex Krystal Clear Sand Pool Filter
- XtremepowerUS 4500GPH Sand Pool Filter
- Sand Master Soft Sided Pool Sand Filter
- SUNCOO Pro 2450GPH Sand Filter
- Blue Wave Sand Pool Filter
- Rx Clear Radiant Sand Pool Filter
- Best Choice Products Pro 2400GPH Sand Filter
- Hayward C5030 Cartridge Pool Filter
- Pentair 160301 Cartridge Pool Filter
- Intex 28633EG Krystal Clear Cartridge Pool Filter
- Hayward EasyClear Cartridge Pool Filter
- Pentair 180009 Fiberglass DE Pool Filter
- Hayward ProGrid DE Pool Filter
- Hayward Perflex DE Pool Filter
- How to Choose the Best Above Ground Pool Filter?
- How Does Above Ground Pool Filter Work?
- How To Choose the Right Size Pump and Filter for an Above Ground Pool?
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Swim Network Overview
Difference Between Inground and Above Ground Pool Filters
In-ground and above ground pool filters have almost the same characteristics. Above-ground pool filters are designed to be closer to the pool than the in-ground ones. These filters are mostly installed such that it functions below the water level. They also require less plumbing and piping than the in-ground ones.
When it comes to suction and pumping power, the in-ground pool filters are powerful. However, energy consumption is higher. When a system is having a lot of piping, an above-ground pool filter may become inefficient.
What Is the Best Above Ground Pool Filter to Buy?
With a good pool filter, you can conveniently make your pool clean and safe to use. It is very effective in keeping dirt, germs, and debris from staying in the pool. Only the best pool filters for your pool can efficiently help you achieve your desires. Below are some of the best pool filters available.
- Best Overall: Hayward S210T93S ProSeries Pool Sand Filter
"Seven functions, durable casing, 1.5 HP motor, easy to set up and maintain."
- Best Budget: Intex 28633EG Krystal Clear Cartridge Pool Filter
"Easy to clean, Hydro-Aeration technology, air relief valve, double isolated pump, comes with a flush valve."
- Best Sand Filters for Above Ground Pool: Intex Krystal Clear Sand Pool Filter
"Features a pressure gauge, digital timer, comes with a built-in ground-fault circuit interrupter."
- Best DE Filters for Above Ground Pool: Pentair 180009 Fiberglass DE Pool Filter
"Fiberglass-reinforced polypropylene construction, 1-year warranty, comes with user manual."
- Best Cartridge Filters for Above Ground Pool: Hayward C5030 Cartridge Pool Filter
"Less water wastage, quick release valve, durable casing, easy to clean and maintain."
Comparison of Top 15 Best Above Ground Pool Filters 2020
Having researched the market, I decided to pick the best products with a huge difference in their specifications and features so cover the needs of most buyers. The major features and specifications are listed in the table below for quick comparison.
Reviews of the Best Above Ground Pool Filters
Of course, these products are the best above-ground pool filters available currently. So you want to know what makes them the best? Below are the full reviews of each product containing their features, specification, and their pros and cons.
Hayward S210T93S ProSeries Pool Sand Filter
(Best Overall - Editor's Choice)
The Hayward S210T93S is another decent option that offers quite a high-performance thanks to its powerful 1.5 HP motor.
The pool filter comes with a rugged casing made from a color-fast polymeric build material. It allows it to withstand internal pressure as well as weather elements. The entire system is designed to be easy to assemble and use.
The pool filter features the advanced full-flow technology making the device more energy-efficient and ultimately reducing the cost of operation.
There are seven options available to you which include waste, filter, winter, backwash, rinse, recirculation and close. The pool filter has a turnover of 2,640 gallons per hour.
- It has a powerful pump.
- It comes with a 7-position valve port.
- It is easy to assemble and maintain.
- Less energy demands.
- It comes with a durable casing.
- It doesn’t come with sand.
Intex Krystal Clear Sand Pool Filter
(Best Sand Filters for Above Ground Pool)
The Intex Krystal Clear pool filter, among other ones on this list, is a powerful filter for small-sized pools. The portable pool filter is a fast, easy-to-install option for small backyard pools or spa.
It comes with a 0.75HP pump motor which helps you deliver about 1,200 gallons of water in an hour. It is a sand pool filter that depends solely on the sand for its filtration process.
The pool filter comes with six functions such that you can switch between backwashing, filtering, recirculating, rinsing, draining and closing the entry system. In addition, it is equipped with a digital timer which has a maximum limit of 12 hours.
The product also comes with essential accessories such as 1.5-inch connector hoses and a strain basket. For safety, it also comes with a built-in ground-fault circuit interrupter.
- It comes with a digital timer.
- It requires little maintenance.
- It comes with a built-in ground-fault circuit interrupter.
- Easy to setup.
- It comes with a pressure gauge.
- Housing quality can be better.
XtremepowerUS 4500GPH Sand Pool Filter
(Best for Medium-Sized Pools)
Here is our third option, the XtremepowerUS pool filter. If you own a medium-sized pool or desire a powerful filtering power for your pool, try this out.
The design is impressive and its fiberglass construction is quite reliable, proving very resistant to the weather. With its huge 1.5 HP power pump, it can achieve suction of about 34 feet.
It can turn over about 4,500 gallons of water in an hour, hence, it will cover a 30,000-gallon pool in less than 10 hours. The product is UL-listed and its entire system is designed to run with a 120-volt power source.
Interestingly, it is easy to install, however, it requires about 175 pounds of sand to run efficiently. For convenience and safety, the device is self-priming and comes with thermal overload protection.
- It works with a 120-Volt power source.
- It has a high turnover.
- It is UL-listed.
- It has a powerful motor and durable construction.
- It is self-priming and features thermal overload protection.
- It requires much sand.
- It is not for sale or use in California.
See Also: 15 Best Pool Shocks
Sand Master Soft Sided Pool Sand Filter
(Best for Small Spas)
The Sand Master Soft Sided pool filter is another good option for small pool owners. The sand pool filter has a flow rate of about 20 gallons per minute, hence, it should supply about 1,200 gallons in an hour.
The tank is made corrosion-resistant and also able to withstand internal pressure. The base also helps to offer some stability.
It operates quietly with a 120-Volt power source, easy to install and disassemble and assemble for maintenance. For versatility, the device comes with a four-position multiport valve that offers you functions such as recirculation, drainage, backwashing, and closing the pump.
The filter requires about 42 pounds of sand for optimum performance. The product comes with a one-year warranty.
- 1-year warranty.
- It is easy to use, and disassemble and assemble for maintenance.
- Quiet operation.
- It can work with a 120-Volt power source.
- Optimum choice for small pools.
- It has a pressure gauge.
- Instructions are not very clear.
See Also: 15 Best Variable Speed Pool Pumps
SUNCOO Pro 2450GPH Sand Filter
With a turnover of 2,450 gallons of water per hour, the SUNCOO pro filter is ideal for small to medium-sized pools. It is a sand pool filter, requiring about 45 pounds of sand to work perfectly.
Most parts of the device are made durable to ensure longevity. The housing made from polypropylene with glass fiber, hence, it is resistant to corrosion and faults.
The 120V, 0.35HP motor has copper coils, making the system as quiet as possible. There are five functions available via the multiport valve which include filter, rinse, backwash, waste, and close.
The base is wide and sturdy to provide adequate stability. The filter is equipped with a pressure gauge, and thermal and overload protection to provide more safety.
- Durable UL-approved copper motor.
- Its operation is relatively quiet.
- It comes with a pressure gauge.
- It has a reliable housing.
- It comes with thermal and overload protection.
- Low power pump.
Blue Wave Sand Pool Filter
(Best for Small Pools)
If you need a replacement for your filter, this is a good product to consider. With a 1.5HP, the 22-inch pool filter can squeeze out 3,000 gallons of water in an hour, making it ideal for medium-sized pools.
Even under high internal pressure and weather elements, the polyethylene housing stays sturdy and corrosion-free. The base is sturdy and keeps the system stable.
The multiport valve is top-mounted and offers six functions which also includes backwashing. It also comes with a pressure gauge, connectors, hoses, and fittings. Its operation is quiet and energy-efficient.
The device is safe to use and it is even UL-listed. However, it gulps a massive amount of sand (220 pounds) for effective filtering.
- It is easy to setup.
- It comes with a powerful pump.
- Corrosion-resistant housing.
- It comes with a 6-position multiport valve, pressure gauge, hoses, clamps, and fittings.
- Sturdy base.
- Not for sale in California.
- Needs 220 pounds of sand.
Rx Clear Radiant Sand Pool Filter
The Rx pool filter is indeed your prescription for crystal clear water. The powerful pool filter is powered by a 1.5HP motor pump and will deliver up to 3,000 gallons of clean water in an hour.
The one-piece blow-molded housing is tough and corrosion resistant and sits on a reliable universal base. It makes use of a 300-pound sand filter media to achieve its filtration process.
The system offers six functions via its 6-way top-mounted valve which includes backwashing to aid maintenance sessions. The device is easy to install, even easier with its comprehensive buying guide.
Asides its quiet operation, it comes with a pressure gauge, sight glass, and a drain port. The product comes with a three-year warranty to cover for any defects.
- It comes with a 3-year warranty.
- Quiet and efficient operation.
- Six-function multiport valve.
- It comes with a user manual.
- It comes with a pressure gauge, sight glass, and a drain port.
- It requires 300 pounds of sand.
- Filter media and hoses are sold separately.
- Not for sale in Florida and California.
Best Choice Products Pro 2400GPH Sand Filter
(Best with Self-Priming)
This Best Choice pool filter is designed for pools with a maximum capacity of 10,000 gallons. It has a turnover of 2,400 gallons of water in an hour with its quiet, self-priming, 0.35HP pump.
The product is energy efficient and safe to you, coming with CSA certification, ETL listing, and UL listing. Its tank is made from thermoplastic, has a capacity of 42 pounds of sand and sits in a reliable universal base.
With a simple user guide, installation and usage are pretty easy. A pressure gauge is fitted on the device to help you monitor internal pressure and determine when it’s time for maintenance.
It also has a drain plug that you can utilize during maintenance sessions. This pool filter is equipped with a 4-way multiport valve, hose, and a 3-pin plug.
- It comes with a simple user guide that makes installation easy.
- ETL-listed, UL-listed, and CSA-certified.
- Pressure gauge and reliable base.
- It comes with a stain basket and a drain port.
- It doesn’t work with Intex pools.
- It doesn’t have a timer.
Hayward C5030 Cartridge Pool Filter
(Best Cartridge Filters for Above Ground Pool)
Hayward is a popular brand when it comes to pool filters and they have impressive cartridge-type filters just like the Hayward C5030.
See Also: 15 Best Best Pool Filter Cartridges
The pool filter has a multi-cartridge technology, contains four cartridges that provide a total filtration surface area of 420 square feet. Hence, the overall filtration turnover is about 2,500 gallons of water per hour.
Cleaning and repairs are pretty easy as the pool filter comes in two parts joined together by an easy-to-use, tamper-proof clamp, and a 2.5-inch in-built drain.
The filter’s casing is able to tolerate heat, pressure and harsh weather. Since there is no backwashing, energy and water wastages are nonexistent. The filter is compatible with 2-inch and 2.5-inch piping.
- It features a quick drain port on the bottom.
- It is easy to maintain and clean.
- It is filter is compatible with 2-inch and 2.5-inch piping.
- Minimal water wastage.
- Quick-release valve and durable casing.
- It requires more servicing times.
Pentair 160301 Cartridge Pool Filter
(Best for Large Pools)
The NSF-listed Pentair 160301 is a cartridge-type pool filter designed for large pools and spas. It has a large effective filtering area and will turn over about 9,000 gallons of water in an hour.
The casing is injection-molded and it is durable enough to withstand weather and internal pressure. The casing bears a drain cleanout port on the bottom that will help eliminate 100 percent of every sediment in the pool.
The pool filter is easy to maintain with a simple design and understandable guide. It also comes with a high-flow air relief to release air from the system. A pressure gauge is mounted on the pool filter to help monitor the internal pressure.
- It comes with air relief systems.
- Massive filtration surface area and turnover per hour.
- It is manufactured from durable build materials.
- It works well with large pools.
- High maintenance.
Intex 28633EG Krystal Clear Cartridge Pool Filter
Apart from sand pool filters, there are some other types that work well with above ground pools. The Intex 28633EG is a cartridge pool filter with enough capacity to meet up with the demands of small pools.
It has a turnover of 2,500 gallons per hour thanks to a 0.75HP, double insulated pump. It has an auto timer with presets between 2 and 12 hours.
The device comes with an air release valve to help remove air from the filter chamber. It also features hydro-aeration technology that keeps the water fresh and a long power cable with built-in GFCI.
A flush valve is also position at the bottom of the chamber to help remove sediments. Also, it meets UL/CSA standards.
- Preset timer and Hydro-Aeration Technology.
- It features a double-insulated pump and air release valve.
- It has a 25-foot power cable with built-in GFCI.
- It meets UL/CSA standards.
- It features a flush valve to remove sediments at bottom of the chamber.
- High maintenance.
Hayward EasyClear Cartridge Pool Filter
(Best With Low Maintenance)
Here is another Hayward pool filter, the Easyclear, which has also received many position reviews. The poof filter features a system of four cartridges that provide a filtering area of 40 square feet.
These cartridges are made from a molded core and reinforced polyester for durability and longevity. The Easy-Lok feature helps to facilitate quick servicing and cleaning up.
The device has a built-in check valve that prevents water wastage during cleaning. It also comes with a safety catch to prevent overtightening and unwanted entry. A rugged base implies stability during operation. The pool filter, when functioning optimally, will turn over 3,000 gallons of water per hour.
- It features an easy-lok system.
- It comes with a check valve.
- It features a safety catch.
- 1-year warranty.
- High-density thermoplastic build material.
- It doesn’t come with a power switch.
Pentair 180009 Fiberglass DE Pool Filter
(Best DE Filters for Above Ground Pool)
The Pentair 180009 FNS DE pool filter is another powerful one that is great for medium to large pools. It can effectively filter about 7,200 gallons of water in an hour, thanks to a large filtering area of 60 square feet.
For those worried about durability, the pool filter is made from a tough build material, fiberglass-reinforced polypropylene. Asides being able to withstand pressure, it is also corrosion-resistant.
It is easy to clean thanks to its efficient backwashing and simple, tough clamp. One can also drain the drank via a 1.5-inch port at its bottom. It comes with a user manual and a one-year warranty. However, you will need to purchase a pump separately.
- Fiberglass-reinforced polypropylene construction.
- It comes with a 1.5-inch drain.
- It has an understandable user manual.
- It comes from a reputable brand.
- Large filtration area and turnover.
- 1-year warranty.
- Wastes water with backwashing.
Hayward ProGrid DE Pool Filter
(Best with Rugged Base)
The Hayward ProGrid is a DE pool filter with a sturdy tank made from glass-reinforced copolymer and comes with a reliable clamp.
The filter has a turnover of 7200GPH and will work fine for most sizes of pools and spas. It is easy to install, coming complete, and easy to maintain, even without disturbing connections and pipes.
It features air relief valves to keep air out of the system. It comes with an inlet elbow that evenly distributes unfiltered water to the filter elements.
It has an integrated 100-percent drain port and uses 2-inch piping to ensure less resistance. On the flip side, you need to purchase a separate, suitable pump.
- Quick drain plug for 100-percent clean-out.
- Simple flange clamp to easily lock and unlock the tank.
- It comes with an inlet water diffuser elbow.
- Glass-reinforced copolymer construction.
- Integrated 100-percent drain port.
- Valve sold separately.
- It needs a separate pump.
Hayward Perflex DE Pool Filter
(Best With Reliable Tank)
You might want to try out the diatomaceous earth pool filters and here is one from the popular Hayward. The Perflex DE Pool Filter has the ability to deliver 2,400 gallons per hour.
It requires just five pounds of diatomaceous earth for optimum functioning. The tank is injection-molded, hence, it corrosion-resistant and reliable.
It has a check valve that prevents backflow whenever the pump is switched off. The included bump handle helps the patented Flex-Tubes to stay free of filter powder and dirt.
The Flex-Tubes also facilitates longer cycles before cleaning hence you can use the same D.E. filter powder again. It also features a pressure gauge and a one-year limited but requires a separate pump.
- It comes with a check valve.
- 1-year warranty.
- It features check valves.
- It needs no backwashing but uses a bump valve.
- Easy to install.
- It needs a separate pump.
How to Choose the Best Above Ground Pool Filter?
Finding the best pool filter to work with your pool isn’t quite easy., Just like there are variations in pools, there exist the same in pool filters. Except by luck, buying any product you stumble on will not suit your pool’s needs.
In fact, you may not be comfortable with you based on maintenance. Asides your budget, there are some important things to look out for before buying a pool filter.
Type of Pool Filter
As you may have noticed, there are three common types of above-ground pool filters – cartridge, diatomaceous (DE) and sand pool filters. The difference is basically in their filtration medium. In the case of sand pool filters, the filter medium can be silica sand or fiberglass and will filter out particles as tiny as 20 microns.
Cartridge pool filters are quite energy-efficient with large filtration surface area making use of cartridges as their filter medium. The filter media can screen out that are as small as 10 microns.
On the other hand, the DE pool filters use diatomaceous earth as screen media and it has the highest filtering power of about 5 microns.
If you want a pool filter with high filtering power, you might want to stick with the DE ones. The sand pool filters are the cheapest and the cartridge ones fall in the intermediate. Based on maintenance, the cartridge pool filters require less maintenance but the DE ones require more.
Turnover and Filtration Capacity
Pool filters are also graded based on their turnover and filtration capacity. Most times they are determined by the power of the motor and the surface area of the filter media. Either way, the filtration capacity is calculated in gallons per hour (GPH) and, in some cases, gallons per minute (GPM) but the motors are rated in horsepower (HP).
Every pool filter available in the market comes with these criteria in their spec sheet. Of course, if you settle for pool filters with higher GPH, filtration will be quite faster. However, it will not be ideal to have a massive pool filter for a small pool. Obviously, a small pool filter will be insufficient for a large pool.
Installation, Maintenance, and Safety
Except if you really want to involve a technician, buying an easy to install pool filter will help you cut down on expenses. You can check if your desired product comes with a user manual.
After installation, the maintenance is next. This depends on you, your time and your budget. You should look for a pool filter that is easy to assemble and clean. Your time is needed since you need to clean the filter. Your budget matters because you might have to replace some parts especially the filter media.
You also want to get a safe product. Some products come with ground-fault circuit interrupter, thermal overload, etc. One way to confirm if a product is safe is by looking for CSA, UL, NSA or ETL certifications.
Basically, the first three are the most important things to consider, however, you may want some other features on your pool filter. Some products come with a warranty and this is specifically good if you are worried about the durability of the product.
Other features such as size, size of connectors, drain ports and the presence of pressure gauge might also be taken into consideration.
How Does Above Ground Pool Filter Work?
Pool filters have almost the same working principle. The only difference is in their screen media which may be sand, glass, fabric or diatomaceous earth. The type of screen media determines the filtration power of the pool filter.
In sand pool filters, the unfiltered water is passed through the sand filter. The dirt is removed and it accumulates in the sand till it gets dirty. However, you can still use the sand for many more years provided you perform regular backwashing. Sand pool filters may also use glass filter as they are more effective and require relatively lower maintenance
Cartridge pool filters make use of cartridges which are mostly made from fabric. They are easy to clean, use and maintain. They pass water through the cartridges which have a large surface area, resulting in high turnover. Dirt is removed and stuck on the cartridges and may be cleaned up with a backwash hose or replaced entirely.
The Diatomaceous Earth (DE) pool filters are similar to the sand pool filters in operation but more efficient in removing dirt. However, it requires high maintenance since you need to add more Diatomaceous Earth (DE) each time.
How To Choose the Right Size Pump and Filter for an Above Ground Pool?
Pools are available in various sizes, shapes and cubic capacity. Hence, if you want to buy a pool filter, the characteristics of your pool should be taken into consideration.
With my simple pool filter sizing guide, you can decide which one will work for you. The type of pool filter doesn’t matter in this case but the turnover of the desired pool filter.
Determine the Surface Area of Your Pool
Generally, above-ground pools can be either round or rectangular. The surface area of a round pool can be calculated by multiplying 3.14 (pi) by the square of its radius i.e. 3.14 x r2.
For a rectangular pool, it is quite simple. You just need to multiply the length and width of the pool i.e. Length x Width. Try to take your measurements in feet.
Determine the Volume of Your Pool
To determine the volume of your pool, you simply multiply the area by the depth of the pool. This will give you an idea of the amount of water your pool can accommodate.
However, it is best to have the volume in gallons. To convert the volume to gallons, you can multiply the volume (in cubic feet) by 7.481.
Set Your Desired Number of Turnover Cycle
A turnover cycle is the number of times your pool filter completely filters your pool water. Ideally, municipal health codes recommend two but you can have up to four. The higher the number of cycles, the cleaner the water in your pool.
Determine the Best Pool Filter
After determining the turnover cycle, you can then find which filter works best. Multiply the volume of your pool (in gallons) by your desired number of turnover cycle and divide by 24 hours.
Whatever you get is the ideal gallons required per hour. Dividing further by 60 gives you the gallons required per minute. However, when picking a pool filter, you should settle for something a little higher.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
In case you skipped some cogent points in the article. I’ve compiled some frequently asked questions to help clear your mind.
Swim Network Overview
With technology made available via pool filters, pool management is made easy. If you are really serious about cleaning your above-ground pool, starting with a pool filter is the best thing to do.
However, having the right pool filter will go a long way in eliminating unnecessary expenses whilst still performing a nice cleaning job. By now, you should be able, via my buying guide, to set your priorities right.
You should be able to determine the right size of pool filter to go for. By now, you should also be able to identify which one is best for you among all the listed best above-ground pool filters I have made available. The best overall is the Hayward S210T93S ProSeries Pool Sand Filter and you can go for the Intex 28633EG Krystal Clear Cartridge Pool Filter if you have a low budget.
Have you owned any of these above-ground pool filters? Please share your experience with other readers in the comments section. Help your friends know about pool filters by sharing this article with your friends on Twitter and Facebook.