7 Best Pool Filters Reviewed for 2021 – Reviews & Buying Guide


The rewards of having a pool are undeniable. Do you know those beautiful and relaxing summer days, playing with your family and friends? Well, those don’t come for free.

Pool maintenance can be a lot of work. To keep your pool clean and bright year-round, you need to take care of all the moving parts of the pool. However, the good news is that with the right Best Pool Cartridge Filters, you cut your work in half.

If you want to ease the burden of pool maintenance, cartridge pool filters may be just what your doctor ordered. Let’s take a look at the options that exist.

Our Top Pick

Last update on 2022-11-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Top 10 Best Pool Filters To Buy In 2021

Last update on 2022-11-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

10 Best Pool Filters Review

SaleBestseller No. 1
INTEX 28635EG C1500 Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter Pump for Above Ground Pools, 1500 GPH Pump Flow Rate
  • Specially designed for above ground pools. Compatible with 15 feet Easy Set Pool, 14 feet, 15 feet Frame Pool, 16 feet x 8 feet Prism Frame Rectangular Pool
  • Easy installation – just attach hoses and plug in (partial assembly required).
  • System flow Rate: 1, 180 GPH (2, 839 LPH). pump flow Rate: 1, 500 GPH (3, 785 LPH)
  • Double insulated pump. Auto timer with preset 2 to 12 hour cycles.
  • Air release valve for air trapper inside filter chamber. Sediment flush valve.
SaleBestseller No. 2
INTEX 26643EG SX1500 Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump for Above Ground Pools, 10in
  • Pump flow Rate: 1500 GPH. System flow Rate: 1, 050 GPH
  • 6 function control - enables pool owner to filter, backwash, rinse, recirculate, drain & close system
  • 12-Hour automatic timer
  • The strainer basket provides easy-cleaning, and prolongs the life of the sand.
  • Hydro aeration technology is incorporated into the filter pump for improved circulation and filtration.
SaleBestseller No. 3
HTH 67025 Filter Cleaner Care for Swimming Pools, 1 qt
  • BENEFITS: Clears out all the gunk that the swimming pool filter catches so that it can continue to run correctly and keep your water ready for fun all season long
  • USE: Apply in the evening and allow to work overnight
  • COMPATIBILITY: Great for all types of pool filters including cartridges, D.E. and sand filters; for all pool types including saltwater systems
  • FEATURES: Helps filtrations system to work more efficiently and last longer
  • INCLUDES: One 1-qt container of filter cleaner for your swimming pool water
SaleBestseller No. 4
Aquatix Pro Pool Filter Pressure Gauge - Premium Spa/Pool/Aquarium Water Pressure Gauge, 2" Dial, 0-60 Psi, Bottom Mount 1/4", Compatible with Most Brands Such as Hayward, Pentair & Jandy
  • CLEAR AND ACCURATE: Aquatix Pro Pool Pressure Gauge Provides Accurate Readings of Filter Pressure Pump from 0 to 60 PSI.
  • PREMIUM BUILD: Strong Brass Fitting Built for Endurance and Rugged Conditions. Buy Once and Never Look Back!
  • EASY TO USE: Easy to Install, 2" Dial, Bottom Mount 1/4", Works with Most Major Brands with Suitable Connection.
  • MANY USES: Ideal to Use for Swimming Pools, Spas, Hot Tubs, Aquariums and any Other Water Systems.
  • OUR PROMISE: We go the extra mile to ensure you are fully satisfied with your purchase. With the Aquatix Pro satisfaction promise you get one year warranty on all our products. If you are not satisfied we will refund you the full price, no questions asked!
Bestseller No. 5
XtremepowerUS 13" Sand Filter with 3/4HP Pool Pump 4 Way Valve 3450 RPM Above Ground Pool Set with Stand
  • Sizable Capacity - This sand filter pump is housed in a one-piece 13-inch tank with a capacity of 42 pounds of sand that can filter above ground pools up to 10,000 gallons
  • Dependable Performance - This filter keeps the sand height level to expose water to the maximum sand surface level possible for optimum filtration, consistent performance, and efficient backwashing
  • Low Noise Design - This sand filter pump is designed and optimized for running with low noise, to make your work more comfortable and energy efficient
  • Simple and Easy to Use - 4-way valve, 3-prong plug w/ electric cable, portable, quick start and simple operation, take less than 5 minutes to install
  • Multi-Port Filter - Multi port provides for easy use and quick back-washing. These pumps are capacitor start and not for use/sale in California.
SaleBestseller No. 6
VEVOR Pool Cartridge Filter, 194Sq. Ft Filter Area Inground Pool Filter,Above Ground Swimming Pool Cartridge Filter System w/Polyester Cartridge,Corrosion-proof,Auto Pressure Relieve,2 Unions Included
  • Polyester Filter Cartridge: The high-density polyester filter cartridge with 30 m³/h maximum water flow, not easily deformed and convenient to backwash for reuse, can absorb grease, filter dust, block leaves, and hairs, and eliminate odors effectively. Note: Regular cleaning can extend the cartridge’s service life.
  • Durable Filter Housing: The filter housing is made of glass fiber polypropylene material, injection-molded, durable, and corrosion-proof for long service life. At the same time, the ring lock design of the cover can spare the troubles of screws, and you can open the cap and replace the filter element easily. In addition, the imported O-ring can ensure good airtightness.
  • Auto Pressure Relief Device: The pool filter is equipped with a high-precision pressure gauge, allowing you to know the pressure in the filter at all times. The user-friendly automatic pressure relief valve empties the air trapped in the filter automatically to prevent excessive pressure.
  • Easy Installation: The swimming pool filter has two water inlets and a water outlet, including 2 unions for easy installation. One of the water inlets can be plugged with the plug, the other water inlet can be connected to the pump, and the water outlet to the swimming pool for water purification.
  • Wide Application: The pool cartridge filter has a wide range of uses. It is suitable for water purification of in-ground swimming pools and above-ground swimming pools, even inflatable swimming pools. There is no doubt that the pool filter will bring you and your family a clean, refreshing, and pleasant summer.
Bestseller No. 7
Tier1 Pool & Spa Filter Cartridge 4-pk | Replacement for 817-4035, Teleweir 35 SF, Pleatco PWW35L, Unicel 4CH-935 and More | 35 sq ft Pleated Fabric Filter Media
  • COMPATIBLE MODELS: Replacement for Pleatco PWW35L, Unicel 4CH-935, Waterway 817-4035, Teleweir 35 SF, PLF4CH-935, Baleen AK-90082, PWW35L-M, SD-01235 filtration cartridges
  • KEEP THE WATER CLEAN: The pleated fabric filter maximizes contact between contaminants and filter media, allowing for greater capacity and contaminant reduction.The durable & washable 35 sq ft fabric has tight porosity and a dense weave which sifts out unwanted hair, leaves, dust, sediment, sand, etc. with a high strength, high flow design.
  • FIT AND DIMENSIONS:The cartridge is designed for systems that use a 5 inch (Outside diameter) x 8 1/2 inch (Length) spa or pool filter.
  • EASY TO INSTALL & MAINTAIN: Fits and performs just as well as the original equipment manufacturer product. It is recommended that you change your pool or spa filter when the pressure gauge on the filter tank reaches 8 psi above the pressure recorded when first installed.
  • QUALITY STANDARDS: Tier1 filters pass rigid design, manufacturing, and filament testing delivering a product that is built for performance and priced for value
Bestseller No. 8
SUNSET FILTERS Type A/C Pool Filter Cartridge for Intex Filter Pump, Inground and Above Ground Pools, Summer Waves Pool Filter Type A or C, Made of Dacron Fibre, Re-Useable (2 Pack)
  • Sunset Filters Premium Quality Pool filter type a/c is made of Dacron fibre with a pleated structure that is durable and practical. Dacron material makes these filters reusable. Outside Diameter: 4.13"; Height: 8.00"
  • Sunset Filters provides powerful filtration performance for pools. These size A/C pool filter cartridges will make sure that your pool water is clean and fresh. This Pool filter efficiently removes hair, leaves, dust, sediment, sand, etc.
  • Easy to clean pool filter a/c is made to be heavy duty for maximum efficiency and cost saving. Do not buy cheaper and less efficient filters.
  • Superior service for your pool, the package includes 2 type a/c filter cartridges, could be used as type a or type c filter cartridge for pool
  • Type A or C Pool Filter Cartridge also known as Type a/c filter cartridge forms a part of your routine maintenance for your swimming pool cleaning and should be replaced regularly.
SaleBestseller No. 9
XtremepowerUS 19" Above Inground Swimming Pool Sand Filter System 7-Way Multi-Port Valve Pool Filter up to 24,000 Gallons with Stand
  • Sand Filter System - The Filter are perfectly engineered to provide optimum flow rates that promotes clean water quality
  • Dependable Performance - This filter keeps the sand height level to expose water to the maximum sand surface level possible for optimum filtration, consistent performance, and efficient back-washing
  • Multi-Port Filter - Multi port provides for easy use and quick back-washing (Filter, Backwash, Winter, Re-Circulate, Closed, Rinse and Waste)
  • Heavy Duty Design - Compact housing for all-weather functionality Impeller designed with brass inserts for long life and superior performance. Each tank is individually tested to ensure quality and reliability. Above ground pool owners can enjoy the same high performance, outstanding operating efficiency, and long-term reliability as inground pool owners
  • With a threaded connections, a filter base and user's manual. Includes 6-position valve, this tank holds 175lbs of media sand; Overall Dimension: 19"(W) x 19"(L) x 35-1/4"(H) *Pump not included. Pump is Required*
SaleBestseller No. 10
HYDROTOOLS BY SWIMLINE 14 Inch Sand Filter Combo Set With Stand & Multi Port Valve |0.43 THP DOE Complaint Pump 2400 GPH | Up to 10500 Gallons | 60 Pound Sand Capacity
  • {EFFICIENT WATER FILTRATION} Hydrotools sand filters are designed to hold sand at the most effecient position for optimized filtration, consistent performance, and efficient backwashing. Perfectly constructed to efficiently promote the cleanest water quality.
  • {OVERSIZED CAPACITY} This sand filter features a double reinforced 14 inch molded tank that can hold up to 60 pounds of sand, perfect for pools up to 10500 gallons. Sand can withstand approximately 5 years of use before replacement depending on water chemistry and proper backwashing frequency.
  • {SILENT BUT POWERFUL} This filtration unit houses a freshly designed 0.43 THP 2400 GPH pump that is compliant with new DOE regulations. The pump has been optimized to run on low noise levels, making the filtration process a seamless experience for pool owners.
  • {SIMPLE COMPLETE COMBO} Complete set including the Tank, Pump, Filter Base, 4-Way Multi-Port Valve, 3-Prong Plug & Power Chord, and more. Comes with everything you need out of the box for quick, simple setup and operation.
  • {MULTI-PORT FILTRATION} Integrated Multi-Port Valve provides quick, easy to understand settings for optimal filtration performance. Settings include: Backwash, Rinse, Filtration, and Winter.

Last update on 2022-11-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What Is A Cartridge Pool Filter?

A cartridge pool filter uses a filtration system made up of thin, clothlike material to filter out particles and contaminants from your pool water. The cartridge can be removed periodically for washing, to remove dirt and debris, and then can be replaced with a brand new one every year or so.

Unlike sand pool filters that require frequent backwashing, cartridge filters just have to be taken out and sprayed off with a garden hose. So although cartridge filters are more expensive than sand filters, you’re going to save a lot of money on water used for cleaning.

Types of swimming pool filters

We can divide all the types of filters out there in many different ways. For now, let’s stick with media type, and subdivide from there. There three primary types of swimming pool filters: sand, cartridge, and D.E..

Sand Filters

Pressure sand filters are sealed vessels, usually about 1/2 to 2/3 full of [what should be] NSF/ANSI-Certified filter sand and, at the bottom of the filter, gravel. Recently, a new type of filter media, crushed glass, has become popular to take the place of sand. Most sand filters are what we call pressure sand, where water is pumped into the top of the sealed filter, and the water pressure pushes water down through the depths of sand and gravel (or glass), and eventually out through the bottom, through openings called laterals.See the diagram below of a Pentair pressure sand filter. The laterals are indicated by #24, and water comes in through the top inlets, indicated by #32.

Pressure sand is probably the most common filter in the commercial swimming pool industry. 

Vacuum sand filters are exclusively a commercial pool product, and can also serve as a surge tank. They were originally invented by Paddock Pool Equipment Company, and in the commercial pool market, are quite common nationwide. They are almost always built into the ground so you can walk over them, which allows for more walkability in the pump room. Rather than pushing water through sand and down through laterals, vacuum sand filters pull water down through the sand. Just like pressure sand filters, vac-sand filters can also use crushed glass media. See the diagram below of a Paddock vac-sand filter. 

As you can see, the vacuum sand filter is more complicated, because it doubles as a surge tank. The laterals are at the very bottom, and sand would be in the bottom 1/3 of the pit. The laterals pull water down through the sand, which captures the non-living organics, oils, debris etc.

One thing we LOVE about the vac-sand filter from Paddock is that it integrates source-capture exhaust with a built-in Paddock Evacuator. This is a custom exhaust that captures chloramine vapor from the open water and virtually prevents the rest of the pump room from being exposed to it.

Another thing we love about the vac-sand filter is the amount of surface area the sand has. This allows for less pressure, but more area to capture oils and debris. Check out this video of an Orenda enzyme and phosphate remover purge of one of these Paddock vac-sand filters, and the amount of oils they chapter

Pros and Cons for Sand Filters

These are usually the most affordable type of filter to purchase and and maintain. They are also easy to clean out particulates to waste, such as the sediment after removing phosphates from water. The cleaning cycle is called backwashing, which is when the operator reverses the direction of waterflow. Water pumps up from the bottom of the sand bed, and out the top to a waste line. Because of the ease of backwashing, maintaining sand filters is pretty straight forward and easy.

Pros: Affordable, easy to clean (backwashing), simple to use, and they last a very long time.

Cons: As shown in the graphic below, courtesy of Orenda Academy, sand filters capture particles as small as 20-30 microns (µ), which means their filter screening ability is the weakest of all types of pool filters.

Smaller particles can pass through the filter, even though they are smaller than the human eye can see. But over time, water clarity can become an issue if the filter is not maintained and circulating properly (remember the water quality triad of circulation, filtration and chemistry). The other big con that the industry has believed for decades is that sand wears down over time…that in a matter of years (maybe up to 10 years or so), the sand will need to be replaced because it’s too worn down and eroded. They say “the edges round off” and the sand loses its ability to trap particles. Well, this story is a “con” in every sense of the word. It’s a myth. Sure, erosion is a real thing…but in just a few years, in a filter with virtually no turblance other than backwashing?

Look at the video above and judge for yourself. The problem isnt that sand wears down, it’s that it gets fouled by years and years of contamination. It just needs to be cleaned and freed from the oils and ‘body butter’ that have made it disgusting. In fact, here’s another video showing pressure sand filters being purged the same way as the vac-sand filter. The old sand feels just like new sand.

Cartridge Filters

Cartridge filters are very rarely used in commercial pools, and in our opinion, for good reason. They are common in residential pools with low bather loads, and their screening ability is better than that of a sand filter (down to 8-12µ particle size can be captured). But while clarity might be better for a while, cartidges tend to get dirty faster, and need to be cleaned. Unlike sand filters with a simple backwash function, cartridge filters must be opened, removed and manually cleaned. It takes time and effort, and it is not a fun job. On top of that, cartridges do not last very long compared to sand. Some need to be replaced more than once a year, depending on how the pool is used and maintained.

Pros: Simple installation, easy to use, good water clarity.

Cons: Laborous to clean (and the cartridges must be cleaned frequently), and their longevity before replacement cartridges is low.

Diatomaceous Earth (D.E.) Filters

D.E. Filters can capture particles as small as one micron (1µ). These filters have the best screening ability of any pool filter, hands down. Residential D.E. filters use a series of grids, similar to that of a cartridge filter. The difference is, the grids themselves need to be “charged” or coated with a powdered media called diatomaceous earth, or alternatively, perlite. The D.E. or perlite media is pulled into the filter through the skimmer, and coats the outside of the grids. The grids + media become the screening filter that captures just about anything and everything. Reference the size graphic above from Orenda Academy™ for a general size comparison of particles.

Commercial D.E. Filters are the most advanced, automated filters in the aquatic industry. These are the filters that the best aquatic venues and water parks are using. They automatically regenerate a fresh layer of perlite through a timed “bump” cycle, hence the name Regenerative D.E. Filter. Regenerative D.E. filters have their own variable frequency drives (VFDs) and can deliver some of the most stunning water quality imaginable: 

Both residential and commerical D.E. filters have to change out their media periodically, depending on the bather load and pressure that has built up.

Pros: The best screening ability (by far), [commercial] regenerative cycle is automated, optimal water clarity.

Cons: Most expensive filtration, periodic media dumps/replacements, and while they are automated, they are also more complicated to operate. 

Why Purchase a Pool Sand Filter

Most people don’t understand why they should go for a pool sand filter. If you are one of these people, then you have come to the right place. Below is a quick rundown of some of the reasons why you should consider buying a pool sand filter.

1. User-Friendly

You have to agree that maintaining your pool can be quite tedious. Sand filters greatly reduce your burden since they are easy to maintain once installed.

2. Cost-Effective

Sand filters are considered to be relatively cheaper than the other alternatives. Also, finding sand is easy and replacement needs to be done after several years.

3. Effective Filtering

Sand filters are quite effective because all containment’s get trapped within the sand grains. A sand filter will trap finer particles that could sneak past a best cartridge filter.

What To Consider When Buying A Cartridge Pool Filter

Cartridge pool filters are great all-around filters for residential and commercial pool owners. So although all cartridge pool filters are going to do the same thing, there are definitely ones that are better for certain jobs. 

Before you take the plunge, here are a few things to consider to make your decision-making process as simple as possible. 

What Size Filter Do You Need?

Determining your filter size ahead of time is a smart first step to avoid accidentally purchasing the incorrect model. Start by taking a look at your pool pump to find out the flow rate or GPH (Gallons Per Hour) that the pump can accommodate.

When looking for a cartridge filter for your pool, the standard gauge is 100 square feet of filter for every 10,000 gallons of water. So, if you have a 25,000-gallon pool, you need at least 250 square feet of filter.

When sized correctly, cartridge filters don’t clog up as quickly, allowing more water to flow through for optimum cleaning potential. If a cartridge filter is sized properly, you may be able to run it the entire season without needing to clean it.

Size Matters… When It Comes To Microns

Microns are a unit of measurement used to measure impurities. Just to give you an idea of size, a micron is a unit of length equal to one millionth of a meter (1/1,000,000 m), or 0.0000394 of an inch. The human eye can see something as small as 35 microns without magnification.

Swimming pool filters are rated according to the size of microns they capture. So the lower the number on a filter’s micron rating, the better it’s going to be for cleaning your pool water. If a filter could capture particles down to 1 micron, that would be an awesome filter. 

So when it comes to water purification, the smaller the particles you are able to remove, the cleaner the water is going to be. It’s as simple as that. 

Cartridge pool filters are generally rated to filter particles down to 10-20 microns. If pool water purity is your goal, make sure to look out for cartridge filters that are rated on the lower end of the scale.

How Often Do You Have To Replace The Filter?

Some above-ground cartridge filters need to be replaced weekly and some only once every other year. Make sure to read the manufacturer’s guidelines and consider the cost of replacement filters when making your purchase so as not to get a nasty shock in the future. 

At one time, it was not unusual for a cartridge pool filter to last 2+ years. However, the increased use of sunscreens, hair products, and deodorants by swimmers take a toll on the filter, decreasing its lifespan to roughly 1 year at the most.

Pro Tip: One of the best ways to extend the life of your cartridge pool filter is to have swimmers rinse or shower off before getting into the pool. This can really save your filter from all of the chemicals in personal products that wear it down over time.

What’s Your Budget?

Price is always a major consideration when it comes to buying a piece of equipment or household appliance. Remember that you plan to have this for years to come, so you want to make sure the quality is there. You’ll find that the price of cartridge filters varies significantly based on filter size (area), flow rate (GPH), and general durability.

Finding a cartridge filter that fits your pool, your maintenance schedule, and your budget is the goal.


In conclusion, it might be a difficult task to select the right pool pump and filter, but once you select the right one, it will save you tons of money and hard work for maintenance.

In this article, we have mentioned the work, advantages, and disadvantages of all the three types of pool pumps and filters used.

So, you will be able to know which one is the right one for you.

When you are going to buy a pool pump and filter, you have to consider whether you want a single speed, dual speed, or variable speed pool pump.

The single-speed types of pool pumps are a bit old-fashioned but still, they do a good job. The variable-speed ones are much more efficient because they offer a range of speeds.

Though the initial cost of the variable speed pool pump is a bit high you can choose it if you can afford the cost.

I hope this article is going to help you in determining the right pump for you so that you get less cleaning time and more working time.

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