8 Best Above Ground Pool Filters for 2021

best above ground pool filters

Pool filters are an essential part of keeping your pool clean from dirt and debris. Without pool filters, your pool water will turn cloudy and become unswimmable.

Selecting the best pool filter for your above ground pool may seem like a simple task. But there are quite a few things you must consider if you want to make the right decision.

Not only are you going to discover the best above ground pool filters in this article, but you’ll also learn how you can choose the filter that will fit your needs.

Let’s get right into it.

What is the best above ground pool filters?

Here is the list of 9 best above ground pool filters.

Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump for Above Ground Pools

Intex Krystal Klear sand filter pump is one of the top-selling sand filter pumps in the market. As a matter of fact, nearly 80% of reviews rate this pump as 5-stars on Amazon.

The corded electric powers the filter pump, and the filter weighs around 41 lbs. The 6-function control valve lets you filter, backwash, recirculate, rinse, drain, and close your pool system. And the 24-hour timer that comes with the filter further simplifies the pool maintenance process. Using the timer, you can preset cycles in 2 to 12-hour intervals.

Moreover, this machine doesn’t require much maintenance apart from replacing sand about every half a decade. In other words, you’ll save money since there’s no need to buy replacement cartridge filters constantly.

The filter pump contains the strainer basket, which is easy to clean and increases the sand’s longevity. The flow rate of 3,000 gallons per hour makes the pump suitable for the pools that are 16-feet and up.

The minimum pool size requirement for the filter is 5,500 gallons of water, and the maximum capacity of water is 19,600 gallons.

The filter pump also can automatically shut off when it senses there’s something wrong.

I don’t have too many bad things to say about this filter pump. If I had to be nit-picky, I’d maybe take off half a point for the fact that the sand filter isn’t as effective as a cartridge filter for taking out tiny particles.

Also, they could’ve done a better job with the instruction manual. Having said that, it’s highly effective for cleaning the pool and doesn’t produce a lot of noise either. So, I rate this on top of my list.

Hayward EC40AC Perflex Extended-Cycle D.E. Pool Filter

Hayward EC 40AC is another consumer favorite. The Hayward’s advanced filtration system works with minimal resistance, using a significantly lower horsepower to filter water.

The filter takes 1.5-inch hoses. I suggest you use unions when connecting the hoses. This will make it easier to disassemble for winter storage.

This filter will rapidly clean your pool, filtering particles that are as small as 2 microns in size. Thanks to its patented Flex-Tube design, the same D.E. filter powder is used repeatedly. And this translates to longer cycles between cleaning.

It’s quite easy to clean the filter. You simply need to drain the filter by first turning the filter off and then opening a drain plug on the filter’s bottom. You don’t need any extra tools to get this done.

Some of my negative feedbacks are that the instructions are sub-par, and the pressure gauge is a little difficult to reach.

Some customers complain that the top of the filter is bolted too tight, crushing onto the bolt threads.

But overall, negative reviews are a few and far between, as evidenced by its high rating on Amazon.

Intex Krystal Clear 2150 GPH Sand Filter Pump and Saltwater System

Intex 2150 GPH sand filter pump is another Intex product that many pool owners love. This product combines the advantages of saltwater and sand filters to maximize the pump’s quality. 

Saltwater is great for pools for reasons such as the absence of chemical smell, hair discoloration, and burning eyes. And sand serves as a cost-effective filter that rarely needs to be replaced.

The filter pump uses hydro aeration technology to enhance circulation and filtration. This technology also helps to clear up your pool water and increase negative ions.

The filter operates on 110 to 120V and weighs around 55 lbs, and it’s ideal for above ground pools with a water capacity of 4,800 to 15,000 gallons.

The pump flow rate of 2,650 gallons per hour (GPH) coupled with the system flow rate of 2,150 GPH will ensure that your pool water is sufficiently filtered at all times. The filter contains the ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). This serves as a safety net to automatically shut off the filter when electrical circuits contact water.

Just like the first Intex product I’ve reviewed in this article, this filter also comes with a 6-way filter valve and a 24-hour timer. Its 16-inch sand filter ensures chlorine’s safe production via the addition of salt through the titanium-coated electrolytic cell.

Some other product’s features include a 16-inch sand filter tank, water flow sensor, pre-filter strainer basket. It also comes with a pressure gauge and a control panel.

It’s difficult to find anything negative to say about this product. Even most reviews on Amazon are quite positive, with many people praising its performance and longevity.

I’d say give it a try if you are on the fence. You don’t have much to lose with its 2-year warranty.

Hayward S210T ProSeries Sand Filter

Hayward S210T sand filter is a top-mount sand filter for above ground pools. But it can also be used for small in-ground pools and aquariums.

The filter works by proportionately dispersing unfiltered water over the sand media bed in unique patterns. This greatly increases the efficiency of filtration.

Using the filter, you’ll also get a more rapid, even flow of clear water back to your pool with rigorous backwashing. This is due to the self-cleaning underdrain assembly coupled with its 360-degree slotted laterals.

The ProSeries full-flow technology makes sure your filter operates for the shortest possible duration to get the job done, helping you save energy costs.

Moreover, the filter comes with a 7-position vari-flo valve that exerts maximum flow with a minimal drop in pressure. Also, you can easily dial any function using the lever handle.

And there’s no need to worry about the durability of the filter. The corrosion-proof housing ensures your filter is well-guarded from weather damage.

If you have a large pool and you’re worried about which filter size will work well for your pool, you can go with the 18-inch filter or up. These filters will work for above ground pools of all sizes.

From looking at the reviews, it seems the filter tends to split at the seam. One customer talks about this happening after 2 years of use. When she contacted Hayward about the issue, they sent a replacement filter for free.

So it appears Hayward does a pretty good job of keeping their customers happy.

XtremepowerUS Sand Filter with 3100 GPH Pool Pump

As the name suggests, the XtremepowerUS pool pump filter has a flow rate of 3,100 GPH and a 0.75-horsepower. The filter is easy to carry and operate and takes a mere 5 minutes to install.

The 16-inch tank of the filter has room to store 42 pounds of sand and can filter above ground pools that are up to 15,000 gallons in size.

Additionally, the filter pump does a good job of keeping up with the sand level to ensure that sand’s maximal surface area contacts the water. This allows for more efficient filtration and backwashing.

It comes with a 4-way valve and a 3-prong plug with an electric cable. The pump filter also utilizes the 4-way multi-port, which increases the backwashing rate.

If you are worried about loud noise, you’ll be glad to know that the sand filter is specifically made to run with a low noise level. So you can enjoy your pool without a disturbing sound from your filter.

The consensus of this product is that it’s a fairly efficient filter, especially for its price. There were a few customer complaints here and there, but I found it difficult to find any commonalities between them.

Most of the problems seemed to have been well-handled by the company based on the reviews I’ve read.

GAME SandPro 75D Series Above Ground Sand Filter System

Although not as well known as some of the other more popular brands, GAME is a company that offers competitive products.

The GAME SandPro 75D series sand filter is a good fit for most above ground pools. But it’s most compatible with Intex and Bestway pools. The adapters for Intex pools come in sizes of 32 mm, 40 mm, 1 ¼ -inch, and 1 ½ -inch.

The filter’s pressure gauge is easy to read, and the strainer basket effectively traps debris and hair. You can also easily check inside the basket since it uses a see-through lid.

The flow rate of 52 GPM and ¾ horsepower equates to a strong vacuum that’s also energy-efficient. The filter utilizes the 4-position rotary valve for filter, backwash, rinse, and winterize.

There’s no need to worry if you’re looking for a filter that will serve more than a kiddie-sized pool. This filter is more than capable of serving above ground pools up to 15,000 gallons in size.

Many pool owners struggle to find a replacement when some parts of their filter malfunction. You don’t need to worry about that with this company since they have replacement parts readily available.

Lastly, I want you to note that this product requires 75-pounds of medium-grade pool filtering sand. This is not included in the package, so you’ll need to purchase it separately.

If you have a pool size larger than 18-ft round, I recommend you go with this 75D model (0.75-horsepower). Otherwise, the flow rate will be too low to clean your pool effectively.

Another thing that slightly annoys me is the lack of a power switch. This means a little more manual work on your part. All in all, it’s a quality filter pump, however.

Intex Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter Pump for Above Ground Pools

You’re probably not surprised to see another Intex filter pump on the list. Intex products make up a large portion of this list and for good reasons.

This cartridge filter pump has a flow rate of 1,000 GPH with 110 to 120V. 

The filter is straightforward to use and maintain. You simply have to change the old cartridge every two weeks. In case the air gets trapped inside the chamber, the valve releases air.

This filter pump is ideal for small Intex pools up to 6,000 gallons in size. And it comes with a 1.25-inch diameter hose fitting. You’ll need to get an adapter if you require a 1.5-inch hose fitting.

Unlike the two previously mentioned Intex filter pumps, this one doesn’t come with a 24-hour timer. This means you can’t set schedules for your filter pumps to run. Otherwise, this is a good product for small above ground pools.

Just make sure your water capacity doesn’t surpass this filter’s maximum requirement before making a purchase. If you have a bigger pool, you’ll want to get a different model that can handle your pool’s capacity.

Summer Waves 1500 Filter Pump System for Above Ground Pools

Summer Waves 1500 filter pump is the last one on our list. It meshes the function of a filter pump and a skimmer to boost your filter pump’s efficiency. Moreover, the filter cartridge and ultra-fine filter paper work together to purify the water.

You can stick this filter to the sidewall of your pool, making it painless to maintain. The filter pump also comes with a GFCI safety feature.

Some other specifications include a 1,500 GPH flow rate, 180-watts, and 3.1 amps.

There aren’t too many things to say about the product. It’s just a decent pump that delivers what it promises. That said, you can see a few reviews that complain about the pump lasting for only a year or two.

That makes me think this pump is probably not ideal for those who prioritize durability. If you’re looking for an inexpensive, temporary solution, this isn’t a bad option to consider.

Best Above Ground Pool Filters Buyer’s Guide

Let’s talk about five main things you should take into account when buying above ground pool filters.


Your filter’s durability matters since you probably don’t want to spend extra money buying a new filter every year.

And depending on the type of filter you use, the durability of your filter will vary greatly.

Cartridge filters generally don’t last very long. You need to replace them about every three to five years.

Diatomaceous Earth filters tend to last a little longer, at around five years.

Sand filters usually last the longest at around six to seven years.


The amount of money you’ll have to spend on filters will also depend on a lot of the filter type.

Sand filters don’t cost nearly as much as other types since sands are quite cheap.

Cartridge filters need to be changed more frequently and tend to cost a little more.

But D.E. filters are by far the most expensive filter in terms of both upfront and maintenance costs.


Many pool owners prefer cartridge filters because they are relatively easy to maintain.

D.E. and sand filters require backwashing, which can be inconvenient at times.

All things considered, I’d say sand filters require the least amount of effort if we’re strictly talking about routine maintenance.

With cartridge filters, you have to clean them yourself. But with sand filters, you simply use pool water to wash out dirt and debris from the filter sand.

Compatibility with your pool

You need to ensure that your pool filter pump is suitable for your pool. 

Some filter pool pumps only work for tiny pools, while others are adequate for pools of all sizes.

You’ll normally see the pool’s size stated in either feet or water capacity in the product’s description. For example, the page may say that the filter pump works well for pools with the capacity of 15,000 gallons or a 16-feet round pool.

Make sure you know the accurate measurement of your pool, so it’s easy to determine the right filter pump for your pool.

Replacement parts

Not many people consider this when buying an above ground pool filter, but it’s very important.

It’s not hard to come across reviews of unhappy customers who are upset that they can’t find the replacement part for their filter pump anywhere.

So be sure to double-check if the company will be able to promptly send you a replacement part if your filter pump malfunctions.

Above Ground Pool Filters FAQs

These are the most commonly asked questions about above ground pool filters.

What types of pool filters are there?

Here are three pool filter types.

Cartridge filters

A cartridge filter usually makes use of clothing type of material to filter your pool water. The water enters the filter and goes through the filtering material, where it’s cleansed. The water then returns to your pool. The filter is capable of filtering debris that is only 10 to 15 microns in size.

Cartridge filters are suitable for small to medium-sized pools.

Sand filters

With sand filters, your pool water goes through the sand where large debris is trapped. But your pool water easily moves through the sand and returns to your pool, resulting in clean, filtered pool water. Sand filters can collect debris that is about 20 to 40 microns in size.

Because it’s the least effective filter regarding the size of particles it can trap, the pool with sand filters usually takes the longest to clear up.

So, I’d recommend sand filters if you own a small pool that doesn’t accumulate too much debris.

Diatomaceous Earth filters

A D.E. filter provides the most thorough filtering out of all pool filters. In fact, it’s capable of filtering particles that are only 2 to 5 microns in size. Its filtering material consists of fossilized remains of diatoms, which effectively traps small particles.

D.E. filters work well for pretty much any type of pool.

How to identify problems with pool filters

These are some of the most common problems with pool filters and how you can identify them.


Leaking is one of the most common problems that pool owners face. Look around your filter to see if you notice any leaking.

If you see the water dripping, you need to identify the source. Carefully observe your filter and the filter tank to see if you can spot the problem area.

You must cover the area before the problem worsens. If the leak is severe, you may have to change the tank.

Filter materials

It’s not a big deal if you see some filter materials in your pool. That said, it can be problematic if you begin to see filter materials in large quantities, especially if you haven’t even backwashed your filter.

You first want to check if your bolt is tight since loose bolts can cause your filter materials to leak out.

If you’re using a sand filter, check and see if the laterals and standpipes are in good condition. They are what keep particles from entering your pool, so you need to fix them promptly if they’re broken.

If you have a D.E. filter, make sure the filter grid is intact.

Pressure gauge

Your pressure gauge can give clues to problems that exist in your pool system. A lower than usual pressure may indicate that your pool water struggles to reach the filter due to blockages. If the pressure is abnormally high, it may signal congestion after the water passes through the filter.

Examine your filter system and valves to check for any clogs. If you can’t identify any problem, then be sure to consult professionals before the problem gets worse.

How to know when to replace your pool filter?

These are the signs that indicate it’s time for you to replace filters.

Cartridge filters

One indication that it’s time for you to change your cartridge filter is when it starts to require frequent cleaning. Another sign is the abnormal reading on your pressure gauge.

Sand filters

If you notice your sand has become quite a bit smoother than its original state, it may be time to replace your sand. You’ll also notice that the jagged edges of the sand start to smoothen as time passes.

D.E. filters

When your pressure reading is constantly above 8 to 10 PSI over your initial reading, it may be time to replace your D.E. filters. Check the pressure reading after bumping. If the number doesn’t drop or the pressure rises rapidly, you may consider replacing your filter.

When should you backwash pool filters?

As a general guideline, you want to backwash your D.E. pool filter around once a month. There are times when you’d want to perform extra backwashing, such as when your pool filter’s been running for a prolonged period. It’s also a good idea to backwash when there is a lot of debris in your pool water.

You can backwash a sand filter when the pressure gauge reads 8 to 10 psi over the initial level. It also helps to backwash when trying to clear a green pool or after heavy rains.


At this point, you should have enough knowledge about above ground filters to decide which one’s right for you.

To repeat, don’t forget to thoroughly read the product page to confirm that the filter can handle your pool’s capacity.

Also, make sure the product comes with a good warranty. Pool filters from even the most reputable brands can sometimes have a product defect. So it’s in your best interest to ensure you’re protected in case anything goes wrong.

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