Nobody wants to wake up on the first day of pool season feeling dread at the thought of opening their pool back up. Sadly, this is an unfortunate reality for many.
Faced with bright green algae, a decaying smell that won’t go away, and a filter that will not clear up the problem no matter how much you run it, preparing and maintaining a clean pool can seem like an impossible task.
Finding the right above-ground pool filter can take up the entire season if you don’t know what you’re looking for. If you’re not careful, the season will end, and your pool will be just as cloudy and neglected as it was at the start of the season; your days of swimming will be ancient history!
But it doesn’t have to be this way, and if you’re one of those people who wants a summer full of fun memories in a clean, clear swimming pool then you’re in luck!
We appreciate that finding the right filter can be a daunting, confusing task, and we too, love our days by the pool! So, we’ve narrowed down the top 10 best above-ground pool filters so you know exactly what to invest in for those hot, summer days!
OUR TOP PICK
When someone says sand and water, you think of the beach - but we think of the Bestway Flowclear sand filter system. If low maintenance is what you want from a filter, this is the one for you!
This filter is easy to install, so no tinkering around with eager-to-swim children pushing you to work faster! Perhaps the best feature, though, is the built-in ChemConnect dispenser. Say goodbye to chlorine tablets and hello to chlorine pre-dosed for you – cleaning pools has never been so effortless!
You will have to buy your own sand, but all it requires is simple washing down and drying at the end of the season, and it will be ready to use again for next season. And of course, feel free to purchase Bestway’s polysphere balls as an alternative!
- Built to last – A corrosion resistant filter-tank.
- Battle-ready – pump is protected by a pre-filter that stops dirt, leaves, and other large particles in its tracks!
- Variety – This filter comes in many different sizes to fit all kinds of pools and gallon levels.
- Environmentally friendly? – This filter cleans itself via backwashing, which is not the most eco conscious cleaning system.
Not only do you want to clean your pool, but you want to make sure your pool stays clean. If that sounds like you, then look no further than the Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump!
Continuous water will flow through the pool, to make it sparkle with a clarity that is certain to dazzle the neighbors - everyone will want a dip!
And when the pool party is over, let the pool clean itself via the built-in set time and the easy, one-handle backwash system.
It sounds too good to be true- but it isn’t, so let the Intex Krystal Clear sand filter wash all your pool-concerns away!
- Powerful! - A strong system flow rate of 1600 gallons per hour.
- Easy to control – The Krystal Clear sand filter has a 6-function control valve to maintain high-quality pool-care with ease.
- Ease of assembly - Comes with clear instructions to make assembling this filter nice and simple!
- Specificity – This filter requires a type B adaptor to fit the hose, so you will need to get this in addition to the filter if you don ‘t already have one.
Everyone loves an underdog! And with that in mind, we invite you to consider investing in the underdog of pool filters.
The GAME above-ground sand pool filter is a replacement system that works with any above ground pool! It filters up to 10,000 gallons of water per hour, but has a low maintenance requirement, only one backwash a week!
While this particular brand of filter is difficult to find, we think you’ll see your risk pay off after seeing the results of using it in your pool.
- A company that cares – GAME listens to its customers and provides products to fit their needs – such as including 32mm, 38mm and 40mm adapters.
- Giving back – This company provides help to charities that raise money for the disadvantaged in society.
- Quiet work – Despite your assumptions due to its bulkiness and bold colour, this above-ground pool filter operates as quiet as a mouse!
- GAME who? – Because this product is difficult to come by, it may be difficult to replace with another of the same filter, or other GAME products.
The CIPU Above-Ground Sand Pool Filter is everything you could want from a filter. It is easy to install, low maintenance, and usage results in beautiful, clear swimming pools that you can join hundreds of people in enjoying!
The great thing about this filter is that it is light and portable, so you can be the hero at pool parties gone wrong!
- Easy upkeep – It is easy to clean so you can get on with your day
- Versatility – One model works with a variety of pool sizes, and the CIPU filter comes in many sizes, meaning a lot of pools are covered.
- Hazardous – This filter comes with a lot of small parts, so please be careful when handling around children.
If clean, crisp water is the first thing on your mind when you wake up, and the last thing you think about when you go to sleep, then this is the filter for you! The ExtremePowerUS Filter is one to rely upon!
It works by keeping sand at the same level so water spreads evenly throughout, resulting in a cleaner flow of water, and a brighter, clearer swimming experience.
- Durable – It is a filter that will last!
- Reliable – It’s effective suction and customer satisfaction will leave you excited to clean.
- Confusing – The directions can be difficult to follow, but we figured once you get past that, it's smooth sailing!
Some eager swimmers will be in their above-ground pool, come rain or shine! This Hayward filter works in a similar way. It features a durable tank made from polemic materials, so it is made to withstand the bad weather!
There’s no reason why your pool shouldn’t always be shining, and this filter, with its even distribution of sand promoting water flow, combined with a simple operating system, provides shiny results indeed! Absolutely ideal for beginners.
- Additional items – Comes with a 1.5 inch valve ready to assemble with.
- Easy cleaning – backwashing is an effective way to ensure sanitary, fresh pool water.
- Heaviness – This filter is fairly heavy, so careful operation is needed when lifting and moving around the backyard.
If sand filters are not what you’re after, then not to worry! Why not consider using Intex’s Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter?
These require slightly more work than sand filters, but with this filter’s wonderfully simple attach-and-plug assembling system, you can spend more time focused on this cartridge maintenance.
Whilst these cartridges will need cleaning once a week, they are easy to clean, requiring only a quick wash with a hose. And they’re reusable, too – so extra points for being environmentally conscious!
But what about water clarity? Well, the Intex Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter comes with an added aerator, so you can keep on top of the flow rate to guarantee those pure, blue waters!
- Quiet work – This filter works silently, so the peace of your relaxing day in the pool is not disturbed by the maintenance afterwards.
- Sit back and relax – While the cartridges need regular, quick cleaning, they only need to be changed every three weeks! That’s 21 whole days of clean, clear pool fun!
- Specificity - The hose connector needs to be 1.25 inches, or you’ll need to get an adaptor.
We know what you’re thinking…all you want to do is invest in a filter, set it up and enjoy the rest of the pool season! The last thing you want is to buy a filter where more parts are needed, too. The solution for this is the Future Way Pool Filter Pump!
This above-ground pool filter comes with everything you’ll need to clean your pool water! This includes the right hoses, plug, and a cartridge filter!
Once the filter eventually needs replacing, both type A and C are compatible with this filter and can be found in many stores, including Amazon.com.
This filter boasts a powerful water-cleaning system that produces visible, fast results that will see you through the summer! It is recommended you use this filter for 8000-9000 gallon swimming pools.
- Eco-friendly – Thanks to the easy to clean, durable cartridge filter
- Ease of Assembly – You could assemble this filter in your sleep! (Though we do recommend you stay awake for all kinds of filter set-up)
- Noise – The quiet nature of operation allows you to read by the poolside while you wait for that sparkling, crisp water.
- Limitations – You cannot use an extension cord to power this filter, so make sure you have the right kind of pool before you invest.
Picture this: You have just finished a long, busy shift. The evening sun is glowing in your backyard, and it is still warm enough to have a dip in the pool. The water is slightly cloudy, but you’re not stressed, or disappointed.
This is because you have the Bestway Flowclear 1500Gal Filter. This speedy rate of cleaning is ideal for small pools, as it means you don’t have to spend the day worrying about missing out on time in the pool.
Get on with your busy schedule knowing clean, crisp water will be ready in wait when you’re done!
- More Versatility – Comes with a 1500 Gal pump that also works well with 300-8,000gal pools.
- Size – The filter itself is small, meaning you can tuck it out of harm’s way while not operating.
- High-Maintenance – Unfortunately, this above-ground pool filter does operate via a cartridge, which will have to be cleaned/replaced more often than other types of filters.
If a D.E. above-ground pool filter is more your speed, then look no further than this one!
You can consider this as a replacement for your old D.E. filter, or a good investment if you’re planning on changing it up from your usual sand or cartridge filter. The Hayward D.E. CX4034 above-ground pool filter is a jack-of-all-trades.
This D.E. filter features built-in flex tubes that clean themselves, meaning you can go a lot longer without cleaning the filter!
Not only does this mean pool maintenance is stress-free, it means the filter can push out rippling fresh water for a longer period of time. So, you can look forward to sparkling swims and being the envy of your neighbors, co-workers, and friends, all season long!
And speaking of the season, all good things must come to an end. Fortunately, when it comes to cleaning, this D.E. above-ground pool filter boasts of an easy cleaning process that doesn’t take up too much of your time or energy, and is not a weight hanging over your head throughout the summer. What’s not to love!
- Innovative Cleaning – Unlike other above-ground pool filters, you can vacuum into this filter to help with the easy cleaning process.
- Speed and Precision – This filter quickly cleans up contaminants as small as two microns (the measurement of bacteria) from your pool.
- Noise – While this filter is running, a series of clicking-like noises can be heard. Rest assured this just means the filter is working, as the noise is due to the ‘fingers’, a protective feature used to reduce the chance of the filter clogging.
Best Above-Ground Pool Filter Buying Guide
We know that is a lot to choose from! If you’re feeling overwhelmed right now, don't worry. In this buyer’s guide we’ll break down some of the key things to look out for when investing in an above-ground pool filter. This will narrow down your choices and ensure you’ll end up with a filter you can rely upon.
The guide will focus on above-ground pool filter types.
Cartridge filters require more regular cleaning, but that cleaning is simple, and easy to keep up with.
The cartridges themselves need to be hosed down regularly to get rid of excess dirt and debris, but this means they can be reused, and there is a longer changing time between each one. This makes them very energy efficient, something for our environmentally conscious readers out there to remember when shopping!
Cartridge filters can catch contaminants as small as 10 microns, so you don’t have to concern yourself with cloudy pool water, as long as you keep up with the cleaning!
Sand is by far the most popular choice for an above-ground pool filter. It requires the least amount of maintenance, making it perfect for large pools because it won’t get clogged as easily as the other filter types.
The most common type of sand, silica, catches contaminants of about 20 microns +. If you don’t want to use silica sand, there are two other options available.
The first, zeosand, lasts about the same length of time as silica sand, but can catch smaller particles because of its crystal shape. This sand requires less frequent backwashing.
The second, filterglass, is not sand at all but actually finely crushed, recycled glass that can last up to three times longer than sand! This is a great alternative because it can catch debris as small as 5 microns!
D.E Filters can fit the smallest microns (5) meaning your pool will be cleaned to the utmost, highest standard. Not only that, it means your pool needs less frequent sanitization as it can be kept cleaner, for longer.
However, D.E. Filters can be difficult to find for above-ground pools. Not only that, but the D.E. powder needs to be re-added after every clean, and the powder itself is very harmful if inhaled.
For this reason, it is better to wear protective gear, such as gloves, and goggles, when handling D.E. equipment.
Best Above-Ground Pool Filter - FAQ's
Do I Need An Above-Ground Pool Filter?
Yes. Everyone with an above-ground pool will need a pool filter. They ensure that pools are kept clean, safe, and sparkling so you, your family, friends, and whoever you invite into your home can enjoy a fun and peaceful swim.
Do I Still Need To Sanitize The Pool If I Have An Above-Ground Pool Filter?
Yes. Filtration is the second-half of the pool cleaning process. Use chlorine tablets to clean the pool from algae/bacteria/other contaminants, and then filter them out using an above-ground pool filter to enjoy clean, fresh water with maximum clarity!