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Which pool pump is best?

Properly maintaining a pool is a difficult task requiring many tools and pieces of equipment. Among the most important pieces is the pool pump. This device circulates your water and chemicals around your entire pool while also filtering out the particles you don’t want. They are available for both above- and in-ground pools.

The best pool pump is the Hayward Power Flo Pool Pump. It’s compatible with both above- and in-ground pools, has a clear lid to make checking its filter easy and comes in 1 or 1.5 horsepower.

What to know before you buy a pool pump

Parts of a pool pump

There are three parts to a pool pump: the motor, impeller and filter basket.

  • Motor: The motor is the heart of the pump. It has a nameplate that lists most of the information you need, including the horsepower and its service factor.
  • Impeller: The impeller is what the motor powers. It looks like a fan, and, as the blades twirl, it causes water to be pulled into it and pushed out the other side.
  • Filter basket: The filter basket holds all the detritus that isn’t caught by your skimmer baskets or that entered through the drain so your pump isn’t damaged by them.


Pool pumps are either top- or side-mounted. You need to match the mount to your filter’s intake.


Pool pumps need to be connected to an appropriate power line. Most are compatible with only one line — either 120 or 240 volts — but some are compatible with both.

Pool compatibility

Most pool pumps can only be used with either an in- or above-ground pool, but some are compatible with both.

What to look for in a quality pool pump

Service factor

Service factor is the number that your horsepower is multiplied by to find the horsepower that is actually usable. In other words, it’s the amount of horsepower your pump can use without overloading and causing damage.


Pool pumps have three possible speed options: single, double and variable.

  • Single-speed pumps are either off or on. The speed is a function of the motor’s horsepower.
  • Double-speed pumps have high- and low-speed settings. Low-speed is used to save energy while high-speed is used during cleaning.
  • Variable-speed pumps can select their speed, limited only by the horsepower of the motor. They are expensive, but save money in the long run by being perfectly tuned to your needs.

How much you can expect to spend on a pool pump

Pool pumps cost $150-$1,500 with horsepower being the driving factor. Typically, 1-1.5 HP pumps cost $150-$500, 2 HP pumps cost $200-$800 and 3 HP pumps cost $600-plus.

Pool pump FAQ

How do I know what power pool pump I need?

A. That’s a little complicated and requires a bit of math and measuring. First, you need a pump with a flow rate that can cycle through every drop of water in roughly eight hours. To find your required flow rate, divide the number of gallons in your pool by eight to get your gallons per hour or divide that result again by 60 to find your gallons per minute. Secondly — but only if your pool is an in-ground model — you need to find your resistance. You can find this by measuring the distance from each skimmer and drain to your pump and adding these numbers together before dividing the total by the number of skimmers and drains your pool has. Lastly, compare your necessary flow rate and resistance to your prospective pool pump’s flow chart to find the amount of horsepower you need.

What happens if my pool pump is too strong?

A. Three areas are damaged by using a pool pump with too much horsepower: the filter, the impeller and your bank account.

  • Filter: To avoid damage, your filter needs to be rated to a higher flow rate or horsepower than your pump provides.
  • Impeller: Too much power causes low-pressure zones in the eye of the impeller. This creates vapor cavities that implode, sending damaging shockwaves against the impeller.
  • Account: If you use more horsepower than you need, you end up paying for more energy than you should be spending.

What’s the best pool pump to buy?

Top pool pump 

Hayward Power Flo Pool Pump

Hayward Power Flo Pool Pump

What you need to know: It’s powerful, durable and works for in- and above-ground pools.

What you’ll love: It is made of corrosion-proof and heat-resistant plastic that’s easy to clean and maintain. It connects to a 120-volt power line, has a single-speed motor and operates quietly. The filter has an extra-large capacity debris basket and the lid is clear.

What you should consider: Some consumers had trouble getting the filter lid off once it’s secured in place. It has no power switch — you need to unplug it if you need to stop it.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Top pool pump for the money

Intex Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter Pump

Intex Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter Pump

What you need to know: It’s a great low-cost option for above-ground pools.

What you’ll love: It’s available in five flow rates — 330, 530, 1,000, 1,500, and 2,500 — and comes packaged with one filter, two 1.25-inch hoses and an inlet and outlet strainer. Most customers found it easy to install. It has a preset automatic timer.

What you should consider: The filters need to be changed every other week and the motor operates loudly. The hoses may need adapters to fit your pool.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Hayward Super Pump Pool Pump

Hayward Super Pump Pool Pump

What you need to know: Its upfront cost is high but it can save you money on your electricity bill.

What you’ll love: It’s available in five horsepowers — .75, 1, 1.5, 2 and 2.5 — all of which run quietly. It has an extra-large debris basket with a clear lid and it has four-bolt access to its internal components for easy maintenance.

What you should consider: Some had issues receiving pumps with broken seals.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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