Best Pool Filter Types – What Size Pool Filter and Sand Filter Do I need For An Inground Pool? (2021)

You are searching for the best pool filter that will solve all your needs? Then you have clicked on the right guide. The market is filled with cutting-edge filtering systems, where each filter is as attractive as the next.

And we understand if you’re having difficulty in choosing the filter that will fit your pool the best. So, with your needs in mind, we have done some extensive research and filter test trials to bring you some of the best filters the market has to offer.

The filters we have chosen for you today are not only some of the most beautiful pool cleaning equipment but our personal favorites, as well.

And to help with your decision, even more, we have also gone over the types of filters that are currently available, their distinctive features, advantages, and disadvantages.

So sit back and enjoy our guide on the Best Pool Filters.

To help you out with your choices, we have handpicked some of our personal filter favorites.


Which is the Best Sand Pool Filter? 

#1. Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump for Above Ground Pools

When it comes to an entry-level sand pool filter, the Intex series of Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump is perhaps the most popular choice. And the secret to the tremendous appeal of this filter lies mainly with the multi-functional control valve built into them.

When trying out the Krystal Clear filter series, the control valve provided us with much of the user satisfaction that other entry-level filters fail to deliver. The valve allowed us to complete control over its processes of filtration, backwash, rinse, recirculation, drainage, and system shutdown. And along with the 24-hour timer, the filter was able to give us a fantastic pool cleaning experience.

This filter series comes with tank sizes of 10-inch, 12-inch, 14-inch, and 16-inch, where the 10-inch model has a system flow rate of 1050 gallons per hour, and the 16-inch provides 2450 gallons per hour.

#2. Hayward ProSeries S220T Sand Filter

The Hayward ProSeries Sand Filter is the most durable and corrosion resistant among the sand filters on our list today. The filter comes with cutting-edge self-cleaning laterals that make for one of the smoothest water filtration processes. Even while backwashing, the filter can clean its sand sieve with ease, thereby substantially limiting the cost of maintenance and replacement.

But what attracted us most about the ProSeries filter is how it has two types of sand mounts built into it. The top-mount and side-mount sand filters work together to create an umbrella-fold that immensely facilitate the self-filtration process. Thereby improving the water flow, and redistributing it for more balanced backwashing.

The S220T filter comes in dimension heights of 22”, 24”, 27”. Apart from the difference in pump and system flow rate, the primary feature that sets them apart is the valve they use. As some sizes use the vari-flow plug, and others use a side valve.

#3. Intex 28675EG Krystal Clear 1500 GPH Sand Filter Pump & Saltwater System

Intex’s 2867EG filter model is the latest addition to their Krystal Clear filter series, but with its unique twist. What sets it apart from its predecessors is the specially built-in saltwater system of the filter that comes with E.C.O or electrocatalytic oxidation.

Saltwater filter systems that have E.C.O are famous for their ability to balance the amount of chlorine in the pool water. This not only keeps the pool water clean and safe but also reduces a lot of the harshness that excessive chlorine brings to your pool.

Unlike the other substandard sand filters in the market, the 2867EG filter manages to catch floating algae along with the larger debris particles.

As it comes in two variants of 1500 GPH and 2150 GPH, the filter has a maximum of 15,000-gallon water capacity and a 2150 gallons per minute flow rate, making it a perfect fit for small to mid-sized above ground pools and hot tubs.

#4. Hayward S210T ProSeries Sand Filter, 20-Inch, Top-Mount.

The Hayward S210T filter is a bit different from the rest of the models in the ProSeries filter range when it comes to the mounted filters. Instead of having a dual top and side-mount filter to create an umbrella-fold, the S210T has a single high-performance top-mount that makes it ideal for small in-ground pools and aquariums.

As durable as it gets, the S210T filter has a fantastic corrosion-proof filter tank that can weather the elements with ease. All its 14”, 16”, 18” and 20” filter area variants, have a 7-position vari-flow valve that will be able to give you the optimal water flow even at lower pressure.

The filter even has a significant pressure gauge and sand/water drain that rapidly winterizes the water flow every filtration cycle. Additionally, the integral top diffuser of the filter makes sure that the water flow is evenly distributed over the sand bed and maximizing the filtration process.

#5. Sand Master Soft Sided Above Ground Pool Sand Filter System

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If you’re a fan of the temporary summer pool, then you will love the Sand Master filter. Setting up or constructing a makeshift pool or a kiddy pool during the summer is relatively easy; the hard part lies in keeping it clean. And that is where the Sand Master filter comes in.

The Sand Master filter is the perfect solution for treating any above ground soft sided pool. As it features a fantastic 20 GPM pump with pressure gauge and a four-position multiport valve and system base, it effortlessly sieves through the most persistent debris particle.

And along with its portable design and a 1.25-inch x 7.5-inch hose, you can carry it around with you and place it anywhere in your backyard. Its 12-inch water filter tank is extremely corrosion resistant and holds 42 lbs of pool filter sand. The pool filters sand dramatically improves the filtration process.

Which is The Best Pool Cartridge Filter?

#1. Hayward Swim Clear Plus C1200 Cartridge Filters

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Since its conception 80 years ago, Hayward has symbolized sophistication and reliability in the pool treatment market. And as one of the pioneers of modern-day pool cleaning, they have been helping pool owners with all their maintenance needs.

The Swim Clear Plus series is the latest addition to their cartridge filters, which is perhaps the most advanced pool equipment in that genre.

Ranging from 90 square feet to 175 square feet, the Swim Clear Plus C1200 variants have 1.5” to 2” pipe sizes that come with a single locking knob, which securely fastens the head to the filter tank. This uni-polar body eliminates the use of bolts or clamps that would have otherwise been at considerable risk of a leak from corrosion.

Additionally, to maintain a maximized water flow when backwashing, the filters even have an extra-large cartridge element that has new precision features and an extruded core. This keeps the internal mechanisms durable while giving a well-balanced water filtration process.

#2. Hayward C2030 SwimClear Cartridge Filters, 225 Square Foot

One of the more user-friendly models of Hayward’s SwimClear series. The C030 pleasantly surprised us with its fantastic energy-efficient functions that are extremely easy to use and maintain.

The SwimClear filters offer a choice of 225, 325, 425, 525, and 700 sq. ft. of dirt holding capacity, and as the C030 is the smallest model, it is ideal for smaller pools and spas. It possesses one of the most durable filter tanks for a cartridge filter that can withstand the most demanding water filtration applications and environmental hazards.

Its large cartridge (700 square feet) is very easy to clean and replace. As it eliminates the risk of backwashing, the filter is efficiently able to save up to 2,500 gallons of water. And along with the manifold configurations, it provides one of the most effective hydraulic performances that reduce the overall cost of backwashing operations.

#3. Intex 28633EG Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter Pump

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With customer satisfaction in mind, Intex has gone a step further in making its Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter pump one of the most accessible water treatment tools in today’s market.

Their 28633EG pump has a unique Hydro Aeration Technology that enhances water circulation and filtration. What makes this so innovative is that during the aeration process, it makes the fine particles in the water clump together and settle to the bottom — and making it much easier to remove the sediments.

And by mixing air with water, it oxidizes the iron and manganese in the water. This not only gives the water a much-needed sparkle but increases the number of negative ions at the water surface as well. The negative ions improve the air quality around the water and keep it fresh for an extended period.

The 28633EG comes in 3 types, A, B, and C, where the C type of filter caters to the lowest gallon capacity and lacks a 24-hour timer.

Which is The Best Pool DE Filter?

#1. Hayward DE6020 ProGrid DE Pool Filter

As we have already mentioned, diatomaceous earth filter is the best when it comes to being the most efficient option of keeping your pool clean, but it’s quite expensive and out of reach for many pool owners. Hayward, on the other hand, tries to solve this issue by creating an entry-level and affordable range of diatomaceous earth filters, and the ProGrid is one such series.

The D.E ProSeries comes with an effective filtration area range of 24 square feet to 72 square feet and a series range of 48-144 GPM free flow rate. The DE6020 sits at around 120 GPM, making it ideal for a moderately sized pool. It comes with a high capacity manual air relief valve that releases air much quicker and facilitates a much even and continuous water flow rate.

Additionally, for improved efficiency, it has a high impact grid element that is specially designed for up-flow filtration and top-down backwashing to maximize filtration speed.

#2. Hayward EC50C93S Perflex 1.5 HP DE Filter Pump System

Hayward’s Perflex D.E. Filter Pump Systems stole the show when it came to providing us with one of the fastest pool filtration experiences. And what makes these diatomaceous earth filters amazingly quick is the versatile Plex-Tubes and filter area that allow the filters to instantly drain out the dirt and powder for seamless water flow when backwashing.

The EC50C93S pump has variants of 1 HP, and 1.5 HP of Power Flo Lx and Power Flo Matrix pump versions that come with their exclusive bump handles, making them easily accessible for manual control. And the more popular 1.5 HP has 2-3 system components and a Power-Flo Matrix, which has a modular platform base that accepts optional chlorine feeders.

This particular matrix mixes with the diatom powder to create an exceptionally close-knit mesh that sieves out the smallest particles right from the first backwashing cycle. This pump saves a tremendous amount of time and doesn’t make you wait for long before you can enjoy your pool.

#3. Hayward EC40AC Perflex Extended-Cycle DE Pool Filter

Unlike the Perflex EC50C93S, the ECAC series is more for the pools that are kept in a very cramped backyard and surrounded by a lot of trees. Their cleaning processes are unparalleled, and by the time you’re done with all the filtration cycles, your pool will be spotless, and it would have never looked cleaner.

This fantastic cleaning only comes because of the patented Flex-tube. This tube allows for extended filtration cycles because it uses the DE filter powder mixed in the water over and over. It even has a unique bump mechanism incorporated into it, which makes it instantly clean itself and in one single, uniform motion.

But even with the extended filtration cycles, all the ECAC models from 40AC to 75AC are much faster at getting your pool clean than the other overpriced filters in the market. And they are more user-friendly as well.

Types Of Pool Filters

As there are three primary classes of filters, and each with their own set of attractive features, it is challenging to choose the one that will fit your needs the best.

So, today, we have taken the liberty of listing all three types in great detail.

1. Sand Filter – How Does it Work?

Just as the name suggests, the conventional sand filter uses no. 20 silica sand for pool filters, which is specially graded to trap unwanted dust particles and debris. Sand as a filtration agent is capable of sieving out particles as small as 20 microns and debris almost as big as 100 microns.

Average Price

The sand swimming pool filter is one of the most economical and easy to maintain pool hardware items in today’s market. Given that you find it in about any price range, it is quite easily affordable for any homeowner.


  • The whole system can be easily installed and replaced
  • Sand is cost-effective and affordable
  • Easy to maintain
  • Durable (as long as seven years)
  • Sand filters and alternative filter media are cheap


  • 20-100 micron catch range
  • Sand is not as efficient as cartridge and DE filters

What did our pool filter reviews say about it?

We felt that the sand filtration system could be the right choice for those whose pools are a frequent victim to larger debris particles like fallen leaves and insects. And compared to other pool filters, a sand filter is easy to take care of. It has a convenient backwash feature that reverses the water through the sand screen and flushes out the system, leaving clean, clear water.

2. Cartridge Filters – How Does it Work?

Cartridge filters are one of the more traditional working methods than the other classes. Made of polyester fibers that surround a plastic core, the water is caused to flow through its creases, which incidentally traps all the debris as small as 10 microns, and the clean, clear water is then dispensed back into the pool.

Average Price

The cartridge pool filter is, by all means, an entry-level pool treatment hardware item. It is the cheapest pool filter on our list today.


  • Most economical pool filtration system.
  • Needs no backwashing.
  • Traps debris particles as small as 10 microns.
  • It doesn’t waste too much water.
  • Pool filter cartridges are inexpensive and affordable and can be readily replaced.


What did our pool filter reviews say about it?

If you have a rather small pool surface area, or a deckside spa and hot tub, then the cartridge pool filter will be your best choice to maintain clean water. Though it needs more maintenance than sand filters, the cartridges are incredibly easy to clean and even easier to replace.

3. Diatomaceous Earth Filters – How Does it Work?

The DE filters are the best in modern pool treatment. The filtering agent is essentially a powder, made of microscopic diatoms. This powder is added at the skimmer, which has grids inside covered with a nylon fabric. The dissolved powder sticks to the structure and traps debris as small as 3-5 microns.

Average Price

The most expensive category of pool filters. The DE filters are costly to purchase and difficult to maintain and have an average price range of $490-$1,500.


  • The most effective pool clean water option.
  • Catches particles as small as 3-5 microns.
  • Convenient to add, with the help of the skimmer.
  • Easy maintenance.
  • It has a ‘water polish’ feature that makes your pool look transparent.


  • The most expensive filter category.
  • Higher maintenance costs.
  • DE Powder is carcinogenic in its raw form.

What did our pool filter reviews say about it?

Irrespective of the size of your pool, the DE filter can effortlessly be the most effective way of keeping your pool clean. And, if you can look past the initial cost and the higher maintenance charges, then it indeed is the best pool cleaning filter option.

What Size Pool Filter Do I Need?

You’re probably asking yourself, “What size pool filter do I need?” Well, we believe that the size of the filter you buy should reflect the size of the pool you own.

To start, determine the volume of your pool, which should include length, width, and depth, or radius for a circular structure. Then divide the pool capacity in terms of gallons, and further divide the gallon flow you get per hour (it should be a minimum of 12) by 60 to determine the gallons you get per minute.

The final figure you get from this is the core requirement your filter should fulfill. The water filter system should match or exceed the calculated gallon flow per minute.

Best Filter System For Above Ground Pool

A lot of the modern-day above ground pools come as an entire unit, complete with their water filtration system. If you ever wish to purchase an above ground pool, make sure you inquire as to the type of water filter it comes equipped with.

A sufficient level of water flow rate and filter cleaning power is necessary for an above ground pool; hence, they mainly come with either a sand or cartridge filter and pressure gauge. The cartridge filter is by far the most popular choice as it comes with a ‘pump’ that generates a 1 HP filtration force. A force lower than this will not adequately clean the pool, and an effect stronger than 1 HP will damage the vinyl of your pool.

Which Are The Best Pool Filters For Inground Pools?

An in-ground pool is the most versatile when it comes to matching itself with a pool filter system. They are compatible with any filtration system you wish to install it with; hence, the D.E. filter is the most efficient choice for the in-ground pool.

The cartridge filter can be a convenient choice as well if you’re looking for a more affordable option. They are comfortable to maintain and clean and comes with readily replaceable parts. The sand filter is also a popular choice, but it is the least efficient.

So, when it comes to choosing an in-ground pool filter system, the D.E. filter is by far the best option, which in the long run can solve a lot of water-related issues.

Which is The Best Filter For Saltwater Pool?

The saltwater pools are as flexible as the in-ground ones. But the sand filters are much more popular with this type of pool due to their higher durability (of around seven years) and the cost of maintenance being as cheap as $100. The saltwater filtration system is all about being pocket-friendly and economical.

You can opt for the cartridge filter as well, but their maintenance cost is rather high as the filter cartridges need to be changed frequently. The D.E. filter screen can overall provide the most efficient cleaning, but for a saltwater pool, its initial expense is too high.

Additionally, the higher maintenance it demands is pretty inconvenient for the average homeowner.

Best Pool Filter Enhancing and Improving Options

High-end pool filtration systems using a D.E. filter are a more permanent solution for keeping your pool clean and may not always be the best pool treating option, especially for secondary debris particles. In such situations, to minimize a filter’s operational cost, you can always choose to go for a more temporary option.

Here are a few choices you can opt for.

1. Pre-filter

A pre-filter is more like a basket for your skimmer, which is constructed like a net. This net is used mainly to catch the bigger debris particles like fallen leaves and accumulated dirt. It is also useful for sieving out bugs that litter the surface area of the water and percolated dust that settles to the pool’s bottom.

The pre-filter improves the filtration system’s longevity as well, thereby reducing the filters’ maintenance costs and cleaning. As one of the most basic and entry-level pool filter system options, the pre-filter is quite inexpensive, depending on the size and type of skimmer you have.

2. Automated pool cleaners

Another fantastic solution for keeping your pool debris-free without having to overwork your pool pump filtration system. The most impressive factor of the automatic pool cleaner is how you can use it in conjunction with the filter.

Automated pool cleaners come in 3 major categories.

Before going for an extra filtration accessory, make sure the brand you pick suits your pool tiles as some brands are known to suite vinyl three and gunite four tiles more than others.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which type of pool filter is best?

Usually, pool owners buy a filter that is the best on the market.

However, this is not the right approach to buy a filter.

You must always keep your expectations in mind when you choose a pool filter.

If you are looking for a cheap pool filter, then you must go for the cartridge type of filter.

Whereas, if you are looking for an effective pool filter, then the diatomaceous earth filters will be best for you.

On the other hand, if you are looking for a filter that requires little maintenance, then you should buy a sand filter.

Is a sand filter better than a cartridge filter?

The answer to this question completely depends on your expectations.

If you compare them based on the maintenance cost, then sand filters would be the best for you.

However, on an overall comparison, the cartridge filters are better than sand filters.

They offer you higher effectiveness compared to a sand filter but are less durable.

We would recommend you to go for a sand filter for the long run, but you must choose a cartridge filter if you are looking for high efficiency.

How many years does a pool pump last?

The life expectancy of a pool pump completely depends on the type of pump you choose.

If you choose a cheap product by a local brand, then it will last barely a year, if you are maintaining it properly.

However, if you choose a high-quality product by a reputable brand, then it will surely last at least two years.

Yes, in this condition too, we are assuming that you will maintain the filter properly.

Moreover, the top products on the market may even last more than three years.

What size of pool filter do I need?

First of all, you will have to measure the volume of your swimming pool.

Based on the volume, you will have to choose the size of the pool filter.

Let us assume that you have a swimming pool of 20,000 gallons.

In that case, we would recommend you to choose a pool filter of at least 1.5 hp size.

You must make sure that you measure the volume of the pool accurately.

For that, you must measure it at least two times from scratch.

Moreover, the ideal ratio of the pool to the size of the filter is 1.5 hp per 20,000 gallons.

Thus, a 30,000-gallon pool will require at least a 2.2 hp pool filter to provide a good enough flow rate.

Best Pool Filter – Conclusion

Choosing the best filter may seem like an impossible task at first. But once you get familiar with the type of pool filter you need and pool size and type, the decision-making process gets more comfortable. And if you wish to pick a filter from our list you, then you cannot possibly go wrong.

I hope you enjoyed our guide to buying a filter.

Till next time!