- Updated Feb 23, 2020
- Writen by Editorial Staff
9 Best Pool Pumps for Above-Ground and In-Ground Pool
- Updated Nov 08, 2018
- Writen by Editorial Staff
A swimming pool pump is an important part of your pool because it automatically helps to keep things clean. So, when your pool's pump goes bad, getting a new and fitting pump is always worth the effort.
Pool pumps come in different sizes and pumping capacities, so you need to choose what's right for your pool. Some also feature extra speed, time, and digital control systems.
Choosing the right pool pump, therefore, will keep your pool clean as it should be, and additionally save you some money along the way.
This pool pumps review provides you with all the information you need to make the right pool pump choice. It also offers a list of the top pumps in the market, to make the selection process easier for you.
- 9 Best Pool Pumps – Reviews
- 1. Intex 28633EG – Best Overall Pool Pump
- 2. Hayward SP1580X15 – Powerful Above-ground Pool Pump
- 3. Hayward SP2610X15 – Powerful In-ground Pool Pump
- 4. Pentair 011018 – Most Powerful Variable Speed Pool Pump
- 5. Harris H1572730 – Affordable High-efficiency Pool Pump
- 6. Hayward SP15932S – Most Energy Efficient Matrix Pool Pump
- 7. Pentair 340036 – Small Top-grade Pool Pump
- 8. Wayne WAPC250 – Automatic Pool Cover Pump
- 9. Best Choice SKY1638 – Sand Filter Pool Pump
- How to Buy the Best Pool Pumps
9 Best Pool Pumps – Reviews
1. Intex 28633EG (Best Overall Pool Pump)
2. Hayward SP1580X15 (Powerful Above-ground Pool Pump)
3. Hayward SP2610X15 (Powerful In-Ground Pool Pump)
4. Pentair 011018 (Most Powerful Variable Speed Pool Pump)
5. Harris H1572730 (Affordable High-efficiency Pool Pump)
6. Hayward SP15932S (Most Energy Efficient Matrix Pool Pump)
7. Pentair 340036 (Small Top-grade Pool Pump)
8. Wayne WAPC250 (Automatic Pool Cover Pump)
9. Best Choice SKY1638 (Sand Filter Pool Pump)
1. Intex 28633EG
(Best Overall Pool Pump)
2. Hayward SP1580X15
(Powerful Above-ground Pool Pump)
3. Hayward SP2610X15
(Powerful In-Ground Pool Pump)
4. Pentair 011018
(Most Powerful Variable Speed Pool Pump)
5. Harris H1572730
(Affordable High-efficiency Pool Pump)
6. Hayward SP15932S
(Most Energy Efficient Matrix Pool Pump)
7. Pentair 340036
(Small Top-grade Pool Pump)
8. Wayne WAPC250
(Automatic Pool Cover Pump)
9. Best Choice SKY1638
(Sand Filter Pool Pump)
1. Intex 28633EG – Best Overall Pool Pump
- Power: 0.5 horsepower
- Flow rate: 2,500 GPH
- Pool type: Above ground / 4,000-15,000 Gallons
Intex offers you the best above-ground pool pump with its Krystal Clear pool pump here. It's ideal for most small pools, ranging from 4,000 to 15,000 gallons and it works with a cartridge filter.
This makes it easy to keep up because you just need to rinse or swap the cartridge every two weeks and that's it. It includes a timer with 2 to 12-hour preset cycles, air release valve, a sediment flush valve, and a double insulated pump.
For downsides, this pump has just one motor speed and burns about 360 Watts of electric energy. This makes it a relatively small pump, compared to others.
On the sunny side, this helps to make it a simple pump, keep its price down and make it the most affordable and popular pool pump on this list.
2. Hayward SP1580X15 – Powerful Above-ground Pool Pump
- Power: 1.5 horsepower
- Flow rate: 5,460 GPH
- Pool type: Above ground / up to 40,000 gallons
If you need a faster pump for your above-ground pool, then you need something with a larger motor and that's exactly what Hayward offers you with this 1.5-horsepower pump.
Compared to the previous pump which used just 0.5 horsepower, this one uses 1.5 and this means it's a high-performance pool pump with a higher flow rate up to 5,460 gallons per hour at 10 feet of head.
You get a pool pump with an advanced design and which features a clear cover to let you know when its extra-large debris basket needs changing. This brings down your maintenance routine to very easy tasks.
What you don't get here is a control system for more than a single speed. It includes an automatic thermal overload protection however, to protect it and maximize its lifespan.
3. Hayward SP2610X15 – Powerful In-ground Pool Pump
- Power: 1.5 horsepower
- Flow rate: 4,980 GPH / 83 GPM
- Pool type: In-ground / up to 40,000 gallons
The Hayward SP2610X15 is a powerful pool pump designed to offer you everything you need from the best in-ground pool pump. It's also driven by a 1.5-horsepower motor and includes an internal diffuser for self-priming at startup.
Although quite powerful, its motor works quietly as well and it stays cool while working. This makes it a reliable and high-performance pump that you can always count on to keep your pool clean.
For debris collection, Hayward includes a 110 cubic-inch extra-large basket and then includes a see-through cover so you'll easily know when the basket is full.
There are two disadvantages here though. The first is the single pumping speed and the second is the pump's high price. You should remember, however, that quality comes at a price.
4. Pentair 011018 – Most Powerful Variable Speed Pool Pump
- Power: 3 horsepower
- Flow rate: 10,800 GPH
- Pool type: Large / commercial in-ground pools
You can't talk about the best variable speed pool pumps without mentioning a Pentair. This one here, the IntelliFlo, is Pentair's flagship product. So if you're looking for an impressive pool pump, then here's the place to look.
It's the most powerful pump on this list and it's, of course, digital. It features a keypad and LCD screen, plus you can integrate it into popular pool control systems, such as EasyTouch, IntelliTouch, and lots more.
A built-in timer and 8 programmable speed settings enable you to fully customize this pump as you see fit. This, in turn, can lead to impressive cost savings over traditional pumps.
It's properly sealed and so, operates whisper-quietly. Pentair then backs it with a 2-year warranty. You should note, however, that this pump is for really large pools and not intended for standard home use. In addition to being the most powerful pump on this list, it's the costliest as well.
If however, you're running a spa, a swimming pool service, or any other water-based service and you need a versatile pump that can produce spa jets, filter water at high speeds, and do just about anything you want, then this is it, just be ready to pay the price.
5. Harris H1572730 – Affordable High-efficiency Pool Pump
- Power: 1.5 horsepower
- Pool type: Above ground
Harris offers you the ProForce 1.5-horsepower pool pump here. Using advanced engineering, it's designed to produce a top-rated pool pump, which is still affordable.
It features a compact design and comes with a twist and lock lid. This lid is also see-through to make inspecting its debris basket easier. For the suction and discharge ports, you get double threading, with a 1.5-inch internal threading and a 2.5-inch external.
You should know that there aren't many fancy features on this pump and this is also the reason that it also has such a low price for a 1.5-horsepower pump.
Still, it features a heavy-duty and corrosion proof construction, meets all CSA and ETL requirements, and it's backed by a 1-year manufacturer warranty.
It also comes with a drain plug for your convenience and a 3-foot long power cable.
6. Hayward SP15932S – Most Energy Efficient Matrix Pool Pump
- Power: 1.5 horsepower
- Flow rate: 5,460 GPH at 20 feet of head
- Pool type: Above ground / up to 40,000 gallons
This one comes for above-ground and on-ground pools. It features an energy-efficient design with a rear-mounted switch and an industrial-sized debris basket to make its maintenance easy for you.
You can also change it from a vertical to a horizontal discharge pump with a simple button push. It features a durable and a high-performance impeller with large openings to help prevent leaves from clogging the system.
This pump comes with an integrated 6-ft long power cord to make installation easy. You can choose any of its two speeds as you like and you can also choose a different version with a less powerful motor like 0.75 and 1-horsepower models.
Although it's not the quietest pool pump out there, this Hayward pump does offer good performance, features a thermal overload protection, and a 1-year warranty.
7. Pentair 340036 – Small Top-grade Pool Pump
- Power: 0.5 Horsepower
- Flow rate: 130 GPM
- Pool type: In ground pools
Pentair is one of the best-known brands in pool pump design. So, it's understandable that even the lowest-powered Pentair model still has a lot to offer.
This package is for the 0.5-horsepower Pentair SuperFlo, a highly energy-efficient pool pump. You can also choose a more powerful SuperFlo version, such as the 0.75-horsepower Pentair SuperFlo, the 1.5-horsepower Pentair SuperFlo, the 2.0-horsepower Pentair SuperFlo, and the 2.5-horsepower Pentair SuperFlo.
In addition to providing the right amount of power, this pool pump also comes with a properly-locking cam and ramp lid, although some pool owners find the quarter-turn locking mechanism a bit challenging.
There's also one pumping speed and this is not a cheap pump. In fact, no Pentair pump is, but buying it gives you a super-silent pump for your pool that you need not worry about for a long time to come.
You also get a 1-year warranty from Pentair, covering this pump. What you should keep in mind though, is that you must have your pump professionally installed by a certified technician, else you'll void its warranty.
8. Wayne WAPC250 – Automatic Pool Cover Pump
- Power: 0.25 horsepower
- Flow rate: 3,000 GPH
Unlike the other best pool pumps in this review, the goal of this pump is to get rid of water that has accumulated on the top of your pool's cover and it does it quite well.
All you need to do is plug it into your power outlet using the supplied 25-ft long power cable, attach a garden hose to the discharge port for drainage, and then let it do its magic.
It will check its surroundings twice per day for water presence and if there's any, it'll start pumping out the water right away at a rate that can reach up to 3,000 gallons per hour.
Further features include its ability to remain submerged, its oil-free pump, and it strainer base for filtering debris to prevent leaves and twigs from clogging up its impeller.
9. Best Choice SKY1638 – Sand Filter Pool Pump
- Power: 0.35 horsepower
- Flow rate: 2,400 GPH
- Pool type: Above ground / up to 10,000 gallons
If you are the type that likes your pool water clean and pristine, then you should know that few things can filter water as perfectly as sand. Best Choice Products offers you a sand-filtering pool pump here at a great price, making it one of the best pool pumps you can get.
You get the entire package, which includes the 0.35-horsepower water pump with a strainer basket. Then there is the large filtration pot, where the sand has to go in, and other items like a pressure gauge, a connection hose, a 4-way valve, and the power cable.
This system is not the fastest though, it delivers 2,400 GPH of pumping action, which is okay for above-ground pools up to 10,000 gallons. This means that you'll need to get a larger system if you've got a larger pool.
Best Choice also offers such a model with a 4,500 GPH flow rate, ideal for pools up to 18,000 gallons. Some first assembly is needed however, and you'll need to add some sand by yourself.
Still, you can hardly find a better pool pump and filtration system at a better price.
How to Buy the Best Pool Pumps
Following are the major features and aspects of a pool pump that you need to pay attention to when making a choice.
1. Types of Pool Pumps
The first difference you need to pay attention to is the type of pump that you are looking at because pool pumps get classified under three major types, based on their speed control system. They are:
Single Speed. As the name suggests, a single speed pump runs at a particular speed or RPM (Rotations Per Minute). While there's nothing wrong with running at a fixed speed, it does limit what you can do with the pump.
Dual Speed. A dual-speed pump offers you more flexibility in maintaining your pool. You could use the higher speed during maintenance of the pool and switch to a lower speed during normal use, allowing you to keep your pool clean in the long run, using less electricity.
Variable Speed. These are the most popular types of pool pumps. They use a better technology, which makes them more efficient and quieter. Plus, you can always choose the right speed that you want. They cost more than the others though, but they also last longer and are therefore cheaper in the long run.
2. Above-Ground vs In-Ground Pumps
This is another important factor that you'll need to consider first before making any decision. Pool pumps get made specifically for either an above-ground pool or an in-ground pool.
What this means is that you should simply know which type of pool you've got and buy only a pump that's designed for it. Above-ground pumps are usually less powerful than their in-ground counterparts and they cost less. They are usually located below the waterline and so, have no gravity issues.
In-ground pumps, however, often have to deal with losing their 'draw' on water. This makes them feature a diffuser part that makes it able to work around the waterline.
3. Power & Flow Rate
These two features are related because the more powerful a pump is, the higher its flow rate usually is. Power gets measured in horsepower or HP and is usually a result of a motor's design.
Flow rate, however, is a measure of how much water the pump can handle in any given period. It's usually given in either GPH (Gallons Per Hour) or in GPM (Gallons Per Minute). You should note that 1 GPM = 60 GPH and vice versa.
4. Finding The Right Pump Size
Power and flow rate are the two factors that make each pool pump unique. In order to find the right-sized pump for your pool, therefore, you need your pools physical dimensions, so you can calculate your desired flow rate and resistance.
Desired Flow Rate. This is given in GPM or gallons per minute and refers to how much water the pumps need to circulate every minute, to have circulated the entire pool every 8 hours or so. This figure is necessary for both above-ground and in-ground pool pumps.
To get this figure, divide your pool's capacity by 8 and then divide the figure again by 60 to get the desired flow rate in GPM. So, a 20,000-gallon pool for instance will need a 41-GPM pump (20,000 / 8 / 60).
Resistance / Feet of Head. This metric is only necessary if you are buying in-ground pool pumps as they are usually located farther away from the pool's skimmer. The farther away the pump is from the skimmer, the more difficult it becomes for the pump to work.
To get this one, simply measure the distance, in feet, from your pool's skimmer to the pump's site. If your pool has many skimmers, then average their distances. That is, if there are 2 lines, for instance, add up their distances, then divide by 2.
With these figures, you can then cross-reference flow charts from manufacturers to find the pump that'll exactly match your needs.
5. Filter Maintenance
Asides from the electric motor and the pipes that connect a pump to the pool, other factors to consider are the type and size of filter that comes with the pump.
Cartridge and basket filters are easy to clean and keep up for instance, but sand and diatomaceous earth filters, on the other hand, cost more to install and keep up, although they're more effective filters.
Coming to the end of this pool pumps review, you have seen the different pumps out there, their special features, and their unique purposes.
In you're in a hurry and just want the best overall pool pump, our recommendation is the Intex 28633EG with its 0.5 HP, 2,500 GPH capacity, and 2-year warranty.
For the pool pump with the most power, the Pentair 011018 is the best recommendation. It features a 3-HP motor, a 10,800 GPH capacity, and a variable speed control.
Else, if you want a pool pump with the best filtration system, the Best Choice SKY1638 is the perfect choice. It offers sand-filtration, which give you best-quality water.