5 Must-Knows for Picking Your Ideal Pool Filter

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It's a sunny day, the water beckons and the last thing on your mind is the hum of your pool filter. Yet, this unsung hero is critical to your pool's clarity and your health. With three primary types of pool filters on the market, understanding what makes each of them tick – literally – can significantly improve your pool experience. After all, choosing the right filter is essential for efficient maintenance and cost savings. Here are five factors you should weigh in your quest for the best pool filter.

1. Types of Pool Filters

When it comes to purifying your pool water, not all filters are created equal. Understanding the distinctions between sand, cartridge, and DE (diatomaceous earth) filters is the first step in finding your match.

Sand Filters

Sand filters are the oldest and most common type, using fine sand as a medium to trap debris. They're known for being relatively easy to use and low maintenance. However, they can filter particles down to only 20-40 microns, so they might not catch fine particles.

Cartridge Filters

Cartridge filters have a larger filtration area and can capture particles as small as 10-15 microns. They are also known for being more eco-friendly, as they require less backwashing and water usage. However, they may need more frequent cleaning and maintenance than sand filters.

DE Filters

DE filters are at the top of the line in terms of filtration. They use diatomaceous earth, a natural, porous material, to filter out particles as small as 2-5 microns, which is close to the level of a good drinking water filter. DE filters offer the highest level of cleanliness but are more expensive and require more maintenance.

2. Filter Efficiency Ratings

Choosing a pool filter isn't just about the type – it's also about how well it cleans. Here’s what you need to know to ensure your filter is keeping your water sparkling.

Micron Rating

A filter's micron rating indicates the size of particles it can capture. The lower the rating, the smaller the particle it can filter. For example, a 10-micron filter will clean more thoroughly than a 20-micron one, but it might also clog faster.

Flow Rate Compatibility

Flow rate is the amount of water passed through the filter in a given amount of time. You want to ensure your filter's flow rate capacity matches or exceeds your pool pump's gallons per minute (GPM) output, or you risk inefficient filtering.

3. Maintenance Requirements

Keeping your pool filter clean is vital for longevity and water quality. Considering your maintenance commitment will prevent filter frustration down the line.

Cleaning Frequency

Sand filters might only need backwashing every two weeks, while cartridge filters should be cleaned every 1-2 months, depending on use. DE filters require backwashing, adding DE powder every few weeks, and thoroughly cleaning at least once a year.

Replacement Schedule

Even the hardiest filters won't last forever. Sand should be replaced every 5-7 years, cartridge elements every 3-5 years, and DE grids every 7-10 years. Regular replacements are a small investment in preventing larger and more costly issues with your pool's filtration.

4. Durability and Longevity

A high-quality filter will save you money and headaches in the long run. Here are some aspects to consider to ensure your filter will last.

Material Quality

The materials used in your filter can significantly affect its durability. Stainless steel and high-grade plastic parts are more resilient, especially against the corrosive effects of pool chemicals.

infographic explaining why advanced point bond is a superior pool and spa filter material vs trilobal

Warranty Coverage

A solid warranty is an indicator of the manufacturer's confidence in their product. A good warranty should last at least three years for parts and a year for labor, but it's even better if you can find a longer one.

5. Cost Considerations

The upfront cost of a filter is just the beginning. You should factor in long-term running costs and potential savings.

Initial Investment

DE filters are typically the most expensive upfront, followed by cartridge and sand filters. However, they can offer better energy efficiency, especially when paired with the right pump and chosen wisely for your pool size.

Operating Costs

Consider the ongoing costs of backwashing, replacing filter media, and energy use. While DE filters may use the most energy due to their thorough cleaning process, the overall savings from less frequent cleaning and optimal water filtration can balance things out.

High Quality Filters = A Worthwhile Investment

Your pool filter's quality directly affects the quality of your pool experience. Investing time in understanding pool filtration's intricacies to ensure impeccable water clarity, safety, and cost-effectiveness is worthwhile. By choosing a filter that suits your pool's needs in terms of type, efficiency, maintenance, durability, and cost,  you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your pool without worrying about its upkeep. So, next time you take a dip, remember to give a little thanks to your trusty pool filter! Happy swimming!

Additional Tips for Pool Maintenance

While choosing the right filter is crucial, it's just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to maintaining a clean and healthy pool. Here are a few additional tips to keep your pool in top shape:

  • Regularly test and balance the water chemistry to ensure it is safe for swimming and prevents algae growth.
  • Skim the surface of the pool daily to remove leaves, insects, and other debris that can clog or damage your filter.
  • Brush the walls and floor of your pool weekly to prevent algae buildup and keep the surface clean.
  • Use a pool cover to reduce evaporation, retain heat, and keep debris out of your pool when not in use.
  • Look for leaks or cracks in your pool's structure and address them promptly to prevent larger issues later.

A Simple Pool Maintenance Checklist


  • Skim the surface of the pool with a skimmer net to remove leaves and debris.
  • Empty any baskets or skimmer socks in the pool's filtration system.
  • Check and adjust water chemistry levels as needed using a test kit or strips.


  • Brush the walls and floor of the pool to remove algae buildup and prevent stains.
  • Vacuum the pool to remove any remaining debris.
  • Backwash or clean the filter according to the manufacturer's instructions.


  • Check for any leaks or cracks in the pool's structure and address them promptly.
  • Inspect and clean pool equipment, such as the pump, filter, and heater.
  • Check and replace any worn parts, if necessary.

Additional Tips for Energy Efficiency

In addition to choosing an energy-efficient pool filter, there are other ways to save on energy costs while maintaining a clean pool:

  • A variable-speed pump can use up to 90% less energy than single-speed pumps.
  • Optimize your filter and pump run times based on your pool's size and usage patterns.
  • Consider using a solar-powered or heat-pump pool heater instead of a gas heater.
  • Use a pool cover to prevent heat loss and reduce the frequency of filter cleanings.
  • Regularly clean your pool's skimmer and pump baskets to ensure optimal water flow and efficiency.