7 Best Pool Filters of 2021 Compared & Reviewed

Best Pool Filter

In order to make sure that you are swimming in clean water, you surely need to have the best pool filter for efficient purification process.

Different kind of filters are available for in-ground and above ground pools. Plus, there is a versatility in type in these products that vary in working mechanism.  

The most common types are sand, DE (Diatomaceous Earth), and cartridge that completely differ in their working mechanism. However, the core purpose is to supply clean water for swimming.

The filters separate large and small contaminants and release fresh water that has balanced pH level and is suitable for all kinds of users.

This review will help you sort a suitable filter according to the size and need of your pool. 

What to Check Before Buying Best Pool Filters?

How to Buy Best Pool Filter

Here, we will share some of the essential tips that will help you in buying the best pool filter.

1. Size and Volume

If you want a pool filter to work effectively then determining the size of the pool is crucial. A pool filter should be used at least twice in 24-hours to eliminate all the impurities of the water.

In case of commercial pools, the same has to be done at least 4 times in a day. You can only calculate the pool turnover rate when you know the exact size and volume of the pool.

This information will help in selecting the right model that will work effortlessly for a specific pool type.

Here are some steps that you can follow to find the befitting product.

  • Step 1: In order to calculate total volume of the pool, their formulas are different as per the pool shape. Square or rectangular pool formula: length x width x depth. Circular pool formula: radius x 3.14 (pi) x depth.
  • Step 2: If you have to calculate the capacity in gallons then you can do it multiplying 7.48 with the total pool volume.
  • Step 3: Flow rate of water can be calculated by the formula: Pool Capacity/turnover rate. The TR refers to the total time needed to circulate body of water equals to the pool capacity.

It is essential to pick a filter whose flow rate is synonymous with the flow rate of the pool.

2. Type of Pool Filters

There are three prime types of pool filters that are popular among buyers. Let’s take a comprehensive look:

DE Filter:

Well, if you have high budget and want to buy the best pool filter system then Diatomaceous Earth (D.E.) filter should be your choice.

This will not allow even the slightest particle of 5-micron to pass through and is the most performance-savvy filter among all others.

The tank is equipped with grids or fingers coated with crumbly white powder. This powder is derived from the remains of aquatic organisms known as diatoms.

Plus, the powder used here is heat treated for the filtration process. The pressure gauge tells when the backwashing is required.

It is important to add more DE powder after each cleaning. You are recommended to clean the filter with hand, at least once in a year.

The benefit of this filter is that it is extremely efficient. The powder can easily be added through pool skimmer.

As far as the drawbacks are concerned, this one will cost extremely high and demand a lot of cleaning. Plus, the DE powder is toxic and should not be inhaled.

Sand Filter

These are most budget-friendly filters among all others. Also, this does not demand a lot of maintenance. This is a considerable choice for large pools because it does not clog as much as its counterparts.

As far as the working mechanism is concerned, the pool pump sucks the water in from the skimmers and then transfer it to the large filtration tank where there is sand. This helps in grabbing the particles that are 20-microns or higher.

The sand used in the tank is of high-quality and has rough edges that holds the contaminants passing through the filter.

After continual usage, the performance of the filter is hampered because the edges get softer and eventually become incapable of holding impurities.

The benefits are that the filter is economically priced and does not demand any maintenance for many years. However, the drawbacks are that the building pressure will affect the efficiency of the filter.

Read more: How to Backwash a Sand Filter

Cartridge Filter

These filters are relatively expensive than the sand filters. But, these are quite easy to maintain. They are more suitable for smaller pools.

The tank is comprised of plastic cylinder with pleated polyester filter media and is capped on all the sides. Water comes inside the tank through these pleats which is capable of grabbing debris as small as 10 microns.

These are not as expensive and completely energy efficient. After grabbing all the contaminants, you will then have to clean the cartridge. Well, that’s pretty easy as you can simply remove the cartridge from the filter and clean it with water.

You can sometimes use filter cleaner or soak it in diluted muriatic acid and thoroughly clean the cartridge.  

The benefit is that these can capture up to 10 microns of debris and are more efficient. Also, backwashing requires less water wastage. But, the life is smaller than the sand filters plus, it may ask for deep cleaning once or twice in a year.

Our recommendation of the best cartridge pool filter is the Intex 28633EG pool filter as it has high-brand value, great performance and is available on the most-affordable price. 

Buying Advice

Well, its evident from the description above, the sand filters are for budget buyers. Cartridge filters are for the people with smaller pools. And people who don’t mind spending hefty amount of money but want the most efficient filters should buy DE filters.

3. Top Mounted or Side Mounted Valve

Top mounted valve poses less installation charges on the users plus, these are easy to maintain while the side mounted will cost largely. The processing does not differ a lot in either cases so its up to you how you want to install the filtration system.

7 Best Pool Filters of 2021 Reviewed




Intex 28651EG

1. Intex 28651EG (Dedicated Above-Ground Filter)

  • For above-ground pools with 19,600-gal capacity
  • 24-hour built-in timer
  • Comes with multiple components
  • Suitably priced
Haywards S244T

2. Hayward S244T (Robust Pool Filter)

  • Weather-proof tank in color-fast polymeric material
  • 6 piston multiport valves
  • Energy efficient
  • Available in 3 sizes
Intex 28633EG

3. Intex 28633EG (Best Intex Pool Pump)

  • High brand value and most affordable product
  • Comes with an air release valve
  • Easy to use
  • Comes with a replaceable filter cartridge
Hayward DE4820

4. Hayward DE4820 (High-Impact Grid)

  • Comes with high-impact grip to catch maximum dirt
  • Available in multiple sizes
  • Durable tank
  • Cleaning cycle indicator gauge
Hayward EC50AC

5. Hayward EC50AC (1-year Warranty)

  • Comes with a year-long warranty
  • Heavy-duty material
  • Self-cleaning of flex tubes
  • Easy installation
Hayward C5030

6. Hayward C5030 (High Filtration Area)

  • Suitable for large filtration area of 525 sq ft
  • Tamper-proof clamp
  • Comes with CPVC union connection
Pentair 160301

7. Pentair 160301 (NSF-Listed)

  • NSF listed for superior strength and high performance
  • 150 GPM flow rate
  • Low maintenance
  • Suitable for in-ground pools

1. Intex 28651EG – Dedicated Above-Ground Pool Filter

Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter for Above-Ground Pool
Photo: Intex

  • Type: Sand
  • Size: 16 inches

Intex Krystal sand filter is basically for the above-ground pools given its capacity of 19,600-gallons of water refreshment. Plus, it is for the people who want to make a budget purchase. 

The filter is a first choice of many individuals. It is available of 16-inches which makes it suitable for pools and spas.

Other than the filtering, the sole valve has been used in this product for closing the system, drain, recirculate, and backwash. There is pressure gauge, heavy-duty tank, and strainer basket included in this product.

Another essential feature is the built-in 24-hour timer which works constantly and keep the pool swim-ready all the time. This requires the least maintenance and work quite diligently.

The filter is suitable for budget buyers. However, it does make a bit loud humming noise while working.


  • Ideal for above-ground pools
  • 24-hour built-in timer
  • Require least maintenance
  • Suitably priced


  • Produce noise while working

2. Haywards S244T – Robust Pool Filter

Haywards Top-Mount Pro Series Sand Filter
Photo: Hayward

  • Type: Sand
  • Size: 22 – 27 inches

The robustness of this product is ensured with weather-proof tank made with color-fast polymeric material. The material used in the making is completely corrosion resistant.

The construction of the tank is done thoughtfully and in such a way that it will serve you for a long time. 

Further to its designing, it has 6 patented piston multiport valves. The usage is made easy with a convenient and easy-to-use lever.

The model is not very demanding as far as maintenance is concerned. You can easily run backwash and free the sand from contaminants.

To suit the need of all kind of buyers, this model is available in 3 different sizes of 22-inches, 24-inches, and 27-inches.

The gigantic pressure drain helps in convenient cleaning and backwashing of the filter. This product is also energy efficient.

The only concern here is that the model is a bit heavy with 47-pounds weight. So, wherever you have to take it out for thorough cleaning, it could be a little tricky.


  • Extremely durable and robust product
  • Easy backwashing
  • Energy efficient
  • Comes with easy-to-use lever


  • A bit on heavy side

3. Intex 28633EG – Best Intex Pool Pump

Intex 28633EG Krystal Cartridge Pool Filter
Photo: Intex

  • Type: Cartridge

From Intex brand, this is the best product that you can find online with amazing features and most affordable price. First, it comes in a capacity of 2500-gallons per hour. The filter is specially designed for above-ground pools.

This model is suitable for the pools with a minimum size of 4,000-gallons and maximum size of 15,200-gallons.

There is an air release valve for air trapped inside the filter chamber. This makes usage, cleaning and maintenance of the filter pretty convenient.

It is a considerable machine for all kind of buyers. The filter comes with an easy to clean filter cartridge. 

This product requires partial assembling in which you have to attach the hoses at their position and plug in. The whole installation mechanism can be a little tricky, but it is mentioned in the manual. 


  • High brand value
  • Suitable for above-ground pools
  • Air release valve for trapped air
  • Most affordable product


  • Installation is difficult

4. Hayward DE4820 – Pool Filter with High-Impact Grid

Haywards ProGrid D.E Pool Filter
Photo: Hayward

  • Type: D.E
  • Size: 24 inches (width), 5 Options from 24 – 72 sq. ft

The Haywards DE pool filter is pretty efficient with the high-impact grid that is capable of grabbing the most minute particle from the water.

Also, it is quite versatile and available in various sizes that largely influence the effective filtration area. The height of the filters varies from 32-1/2 to 52-1/2-inches with a constant width of 24-inches for each model.

The DE based mechanism helps in deep cleaning of the pool by pushing the water in the filter elements and passing through the DE grid.

The model features trademark Hayward design which is a heavy-duty and impressive tank. The design is wear-resistant and non-corrosive.

Then there is a cleaning cycle indicator gauge and manual air relief feature that helps in enhancing the qualities of the product. 

The durability is ensured through Perma Glass XL which offer ultimate strength to the filter. This product is suitable for the buyers with large buying budget. Also, it does not come with a manual, so the installation can be a little challenging.


  • Comes with high-impact grid
  • Available in different sizes
  • Comes with manual air release feature
  • Made of heavy-duty material


  • Expensive
  • Installation is difficult

5. Hayward EC50AC – Pool Filter with 1-year Warranty

Haywards Perflex D.E Pool Filter
Photo: Hayward

  • Type: D.E
  • Size: 13-1/2 inches

If you have been looking for the top-rated pool filter then your search concludes here with this model. It is DE filter with a year-long warranty.

The filter remove impurities every 5-microns, and you will be left with fresh and contamination-free water in the pool.

As far as the installation and maintenance is concerned, both the aspects are pretty simple with this product.

It comes with a bump handle that offer self-cleaning of the flex tubes. The heavy-duty material is quite durable and is completely corrosion-free.

This model offers the most comprehensive cleaning of the pool. Other than that, when you have to clean the filter itself, it will not cause any complexity in that as well.

Surely, this model is not suitable for the budget buyers but if you can spend a considerable amount to afford this then it will not disappoint you.


  • Comes with 1-year warranty
  • Efficient cleaning
  • Extremely durable
  • Comes with bump handle


  • Expensive

6. Hayward C5030 – Pool Filter for High Filtration Area

Haywards SwimClear Cartridge Pool Filter
Photo: Hayward

  • Type: Cartridge
  • Size: 525 square feet

From the world-class brand – Hayward, this model is a cartridge pool filter that is made to last for many years. Its key feature is the high filtration area of 525-square feet which will be suitable for large in-ground pools. 

The innovative technology comprises 4 reusable cartridges that increase the life of the filter as well. The large size handle a good amount of water in each cycle and filters the entire pool within no time.

The dirt and debris are carefully grabbed as soon as they come in contact with the filter, giving comprehensive cleaning to the water. The designing is done interestingly with a large tamper-proof clamp that joins both the parts together, making them a single unit.

This way, the maintenance and repairs also become easy and offer convenient access to the innards as well. The CPVC union connection give more diversity to the unit and ensuring high performance as well, making it the best cartridge pool filter.

This model is suitable for all kind of users but the cartridge demand regular cleaning. This can be a hold-back to many buyers. 


  • Suitable for high filtration area
  • Durable designing
  • Suitable for comprehensive cleaning


  • Cartridge require frequent cleaning

7. Pentair 160301 – NSF-Listed Pool Filter

Pentair 160301 Cartridge Pool Filter
Photo: Pentair

  • Type: Cartridge
  • Size: 22-1/2 inches

This is one of those few filters that are trusted by organizations like NSF for great strength and performance.

The filter has a great tendency to grab impurities from the water. Also, the outsized filter area is sufficient enough to suit the need of different buyers.

The filtration area of this model is 420-square feet and the flow rate is 150-gallons per minute, making it suitable for in-ground pools. However, the flow of the system can be different as per the exact plumbing size and the components of the entire system.

This model can transform the muddiest water in crystal clear, such is the tendency and efficiency of this product.

The strength is commendable because this model can withstand abuse. Also, the maintenance need is low.

However, this product is not corrosion resistant. This means, that you may have to struggle some with the outer body of the product.


  • NSF listed
  • Can withstand abuse
  • Efficient
  • For large filtration area


  • Not corrosion resistant

How to Clean the Pool Filter

How to Clean the Pool Filter

Next in this pool filter review, we will mention about the cleaning of pool filters.

1. Cleaning Cartridge Filters

Here are the steps:

  • Turn off the pump
  • If the filter is installed below the level of water in the pool, make sure that all the valves are closed
  • Now, drain all the water by opening air bleed valve and drain port
  • Now, set the filter open and take out the carts
  • Use water and rinse the tank
  • Use a hosepipe to wash the carts deeply and thoroughly
  • Reassemble the filter
  • Open the valves and close the drain port
  • Switch on the pump and once the water start coming out of the air bleed, close it

2. Cleaning Sand Filters

Before you start to clean, just make sure that the pump is turned off. Now follow the steps:

  • First, the valves on discharge line should be open and the hose should be attached and positioned rightly
  • Now, set the pump lever to backwash position and switch on the pump
  • After the water running through there is clean, turn off the pump
  • Set the valves back at their position and top up the pool water

3. Cleaning DE Filters

Basically, there are two types of DE filters. The one with push/pull and multiport valves have identical cleaning mechanism as sand cleaner.

For the other kind, there is a handle at the filter top which is knocked and DE is removed along with the debris. Turn the pump off and then follow the below steps:

  • Use 5 seconds to open and shut the top air valve
  • Now, restart and see of the PSI has gone down more than 2 PSI
  • If such has happened, you can go to the next step or repeat 1 until its done
  • Now, remove the bottom plug of the filter and run pump for 30 seconds
  • At last, replace the plug and set the top air valve open. Now, you should run the pump until water runs out of air valve


At the end of this pool filter review, we would like to say that you may have versatile needs but our review will help you determine a perfect product for your pool. 

Our top recommendation is the Hayward DE4820 pool filter as it is available in multiple sizes to fulfill the needs of variably-sized pools. Plus, this one has high-impact grid to filter the minutest dirt and debris from water. 

If you are seeking for a purchase that is secured with company’s warranty then the Hayward EC50AC pool filter is the product you need. 

With this, we will conclude this review and rest our case. Hope you find it useful.