The world of pool ownership is divided into people with in-ground or below ground pools, and people with above ground pools. But what unites all pool people everywhere is the need for a darn good pump.
But how do you know which are the best pumps for your above ground pool?
Well, you could check out reports, talk to fellow above grounders for their recommendations, compare statistics and prices –
Or you could let us guide you, and get on with your pool life.
We’ve pulled together the five best offerings for the above ground pool enthusiast. If you need to get pumped up, walk this way.
In a hurry? Here’s our top pick.
OUR TOP PICK
OUR TOP PICK
We make no apologies for listing a few Intex models among the best on the market, but for us, the one that clinches the top spot is the 28633EG Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter Pump.
We love it because not only does it come with a nice high flow rate – 2650 Gallons Per Hour (GPH), that means very little is left to settle and give your pool floor that uncomfortable gritty feeling, but it also adds in features to make your life easier.
Features like the digital timer, so you can set it to pump and leave it alone as it happily filters all the unwanted grit and particulates out of your pool water.
Features like the ability to leave it running for 12 hours straight without panicking about it overworking.
Features like E.C.O technology, to make sure your pool is as squeaky clean and particle-free as you hope and expect it to be.
And features like the Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI), so that whether you use it with 110 or 220V power, you’re safe from electrical mishaps.
Add in a 2-year warranty which includes parts in the event that you need them to keep your pump running, and you have yourself a prestige pump for above ground pools at anything from 4,800-15,000 gallons of capacity.
- A high flow rate of 2650 Gallons Per Hour means effective water cleaning
- The E.C.O technology gives the pump’s cleaning action an extra edge
- A digital timer allows you fuss-free cleaning for up to 12 hours at a time
- The 2-year warranty offers piece of mind in the event of pump malfunction
- The maximum capacity of 15,000 gallons means larger pools are too much for this pump
Sand pumping is a different way to go in above ground pool pumping, and of those we’ve seen, we have to give kudos to Intex – again – for the Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump.
Using natural sand as a very fine filtration agent meant it can capture particles that some other filters will miss in its 16-inch filter pump.
With a 6-function control valve, you have control of the pump’s actions – you can drain, recirculate, filter, rinse, backwash, and shut the system with ridiculous ease.
If you’re talking about flow rates, the Sand Filter Pump has you covered at a sweet 3,000 Gallons Per Hour.
The strainer basket here is large, meaning you can leave it for a while rather than having to clean it out at the end of every day.
And likewise with other maintenance tasks – the tank is heavy-duty, so you’re unlikely to need to replace it for years, and the sand itself will last you half a decade before you have to think about changing it out.
In terms of the ease of a timer-controlled pump, you get 24-hours of time action here, too, more than enough for most of the4 summer.
And to save you money on your power bills, the Sand Filter Pump delivers up to 75% energy efficiency.
Suitable for pools between 5,500-19,600 gallons capacity, it’s going to do the job for most above ground pool owners.
Like the Cartridge Filter Pump, it also comes with a 2-year limited warranty, so you can use it relatively safe in the knowledge that you’re not going to be paying out for a replacement pump any time soon.
The only thing to really beware of with the Sand Filter Pump is that you’re going to need to pump yourself up before you try and move it anywhere – it weighs in at a not-inconsiderable 120 pounds.
That’s just a touch lighter than an average American 15-year-old boy, so maybe do some stretches before you try to move it.
- It has a high flow rate, at 3,000 Gallons Per Hour
- Its 6-function control valve gives you a range of easily accessible options
- For pools between 5,5000-19,600 gallons capacity, it’s very likely to meet your above ground pumping needs
- It comes with a 2-year limited warranty, so it brings peace of mind to your pool pumping
- The 120-pound weight of the pump means you might need a hand to move it, or get it into place
No, seriously, we’re not your local Intex dealership!
This is the last Intex on our list, we promise!
And we’re showing it to you in case you have a smaller above ground pool and don’t need the pumping power of some of the bigger, more energy-chugging options on our list – because sometimes, more isn’t better.
Sometimes, more is just more. More power than you need, meaning more money that you don’t need to spend on either buying or running your pool pump.
If you have an easy set, frame pool, or oval frame swimming pools, the 28635EG Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter Pump may well have your name on it.
With a flow rate of 1,500 Gallons Per Hour, it’s in no sense up there with the highest or most powerful on our list, but it’s quite possibly enough to give your particular pool the pump action it needs to stay clean and pristine.
Unlike some heavier, more complex pumps, it instals easily – just connect the hoses and you’re ready to go.
It comes with a double insulation layer, to stop the heat dissipating from the pump to other parts of the filter, and you don’t miss out on the benefits of an automatic timer just because you’re coming down the GPH scale.
Most importantly, the 28635EG Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter Pump won’t break the bank either when you buy it or in your ongoing pool pump energy costs, so it’s highly effective budget pumping at a price that’s right.
- The price is excellent on this model, and it will also save you money in ongoing energy costs
- It comes with an automatic timer, so it can be pumping while you pop to the mall
- The double insulated pump means you don’t get heat dissipation throughout the filter
- The 1,500 Gallons Per House flow rate means it’s for smaller above ground pools only
Hello, Hayward – and welcome to the Power-Flo LX pump series.
This is more or less the polar opposite of the 28635EG Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter Pump. Think of it as the Mercedes of above ground pool pumps and you won’t go far wrong.
Seriously high-powered, high-performance pool pumping is the name of the Power-Flo’s game.
One thing it does share with the more budget-friendly Intex though is a determination to prevent heat leakage. The Hayward achieves that with a double-sized deal.
If the whole power of the pump feels a little intimidating, don’t despair – the hayward allows you to use standard hoses for its 1½” discharge and intake, so you’re not driving down to the hardware store for a hose adapter or two before you start pumping.
Because it has a thermoplastic housing, rather than anything metallic, corrosion is never going to be an issue for the Hayward pump, and as an extra bonus, it has a clear cover over its basket, so you can see at a glance when it’s full of trash and needs emptying out.
Save the bending for yoga class.
And speaking of zen calm, one of the best features about the Hayward is its discretion.
It’s one of the quieter above ground pool pumps out there, so if you want to truly chill out in the pool, it’s an option well worth considering.
- It’s easy to instal, using standard hoses rather than any adapters
- It’s a remarkably quiet pump, especially given its size and power
- A thermoplastic housing means corrosion is never an issue
- The power consumption means you have a pool that justifies the regular expense
And finally, the Vortex, from Harris, is a relatively straightforward filter that delivers above your expectations and its price-point.
Ten minutes of assembly and installation, and it’s ready to go. With a 24-inch filter, it can cope with water between 32-113 degrees F.
And with a 7-position dial valve (Look on our extra position, O Intex, and despair!), you have more than a handful of options on demand, including backwashing and rinsing.
As another sand-filtered pump, it matches the Intex sand-filtered option, meaning you only need to change out the sand every five years.
It can withstand a pretty hard winter with no corrosion or rusting, and best of all, it’s a hardcore, durable pump that means you’ll get years of use out of it for the money you lay down for it.
- The 7-position dial allows you easy access to a range of functions
- Sand-filtering means you only need to replace the filter element every five years
- · Robust construction means you get your money’s worth from this pump
· You have to put the pump together yourself
Best Above Ground Pool Pump Buying Guide
When you’re looking for your above ground pool filter, it’s important to take some key things into consideration before you click the “Buy” button.
Size Is Important
There’s an equation to keep in mind when you’re looking at the size of your pump and the size of your pool. Ideally, go for a pump that delivers at least one square foot of coverage for every ten gallons of water.
So, for instance if you have a 15,000 gallon pool, look for a pump with, for instance, 1 16-inch filter system with a 1.55 square feet filtration area.
That will give you perfectly good pumping across the whole capacity of your pool.
While this is usually used as a ready reckoner to make sure your pump is powerful enough for your pool, it’s also wise to take the same equation into consideration so that you don’t pay out extra cash for a pump that’s overpowered for your pool.
That’s like strapping a BMW engine to a scooter. Fun… albeit briefly… but overall too expensive to let you get the most out of it.
Ease Of Install
Are you a professional pump installer?
Didn’t think so. If not, one of the things it’s probably worth paying more for when you buy your pool pump is the ease of its installation.
If you can just connect your standard size hoses and get pumping, it’s worth a percentage of the dollar price of the pump because it saves you having to put machinery together when you could be chilling in the pool, and also saves you having to make trips to the hardware store for the right connectors, or even call a professional to come out to you, when really, you just want to get in the pool.
Beware The False Economy
If you buy a cheap pump, you get a cheap pump. While there are some that go above and beyond their price-point in the service and durability they offer, if and when they break down, take that surprised look off your face.
A potential lack of durability is kind of written into the lower price.
Make sure you don’t get trapped in the false economy of a budget pump that won’t deliver long term.
And ideally, get one with a significant warranty, so you can use it without the ever-present fear of something going wrong and interrupting your pool season.
Keep An Eye On Long-Term Costs
Don’t buy a pump that’s going to give you all the pumping and filtration power in the world if your pool is too small to warrant the ongoing energy consumption costs of running a pump that big and powerful.
It’s not great for the environment to use energy you don’t need to use, but more immediately important, the energy you’re wasting is energy you’re paying for, so you might as well through a hundred dollar bill down the sewer as ignore the energy efficiency benefits of using a pump that’s ‘just right’ for your pool.
Be an energy Goldilocks and you’ll be a friend to both the planet and your bank account.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Sort Of Size Pump Do I Need For My Above Ground Pool?
This will obviously depend on the size of your pool. Use a filter ratio that provides 1 square foot of filtration for every 10,000 gallons of water capacity in your pool.
How Hard Is It To Install An Above Ground Pool Pump?
That will largely depend on the pump you choose. Essentially, you’re looking for the ideal pump location with adequate power supplies.
Then, if you choose the right pump, you shouldn’t have to get too complicated. Connect your pump hoses to the right pool pieces. Prime your pump, and activate it, and you should be good to go.
Should I Run My Above Ground Pool Pump All The Time?
Mmm, balance is your friend here. On the one hand, most recommendations are that all the water in any pool should go through filtration at least once in every 24-hour period, that doesn’t automatically translate to you just leaving the pump running 24/7.
Quite apart from anything else, your power consumption will be off the charts, even while you’re sleeping, if your pool pump keeps churning around the clock.
It’s also not great for the environment to technically waste that much energy, and it’s not great in terms of wear and tear on the pump, either. So, no – you don’t need to run your above ground pool pump all the time.
Reasonable recommendations suggest running it for stints of between 5-12 hours at a time (depending on the size and energy-efficiency of the pump).
Then let it rest between sessions. That way, you’re still doing a lot of filtration in every 24-hour period, but you’re not using enough energy to list up the Las Vegas strip just to keep your pool grit-free and sparkling clear.
How Long Does An Above Ground Pool Pump Last?
As with most things in life, it very much depends how well you treat it.
As they’re both a) essential to happy pool use and b) a pretty hefty purchase in some cases, you should choose the more durable of your options – go for rugged materials, ideally low- or no-corrosion options, resilient filtration elements (the sand in a sand-filter frequently only needs changing out after 5 years), and you should expect to get between 8-13 years out of a decent above ground pool pump, like all those on our list.