How do I Choose the Best Swimming Pool Pump?

Ken Black

Choosing the best swimming pool pump depends largely on the type of pool in place and the features possessed within that pool. Though the technology is relatively the same no matter what type of swimming pool pump one is referring to, there are cases where those subtle differences affect operations in a big way. Therefore, researching the choices ahead of time, or consulting with a professional, is a good way to proceed.

An in-ground pool uses a different pump than an above-ground pool.
An in-ground pool uses a different pump than an above-ground pool.

The most important first step is making sure the pump you buy is designed for the type of pool you have -- namely, whether it is an in-ground pool or above-ground pool. A swimming pool pump made for an an in-ground pool will not work very well for an above-ground pool simply because the above-ground swimming pool pumps use gravity to direct water to the pump. Pumps for in-ground pools must largely create their own suction in order to get the water moving.

Most swimming pool kits include a filter and pump station that clean the water.
Most swimming pool kits include a filter and pump station that clean the water.

One other important feature to consider is whether the pool owner has added features with the pool, such as hot tubs, waterfalls or fountains. In some cases, a standard swimming pool pump may be able to accommodate these features. However, this will require a more powerful pump than is typically needed for a more traditional pool. In other cases, pool owners may choose an entirely different pressure pump for these features. This can help extend the life of the primary pump. Further, it gives swimming pool owners more flexibility in regards to when to run those features.

Another point to consider, which is becoming more popular with pool owners, is whether to get a variable speed swimming pool pump. This type of pump can be adjusted to run at different speeds and capacities depending on what is needed. For example, running a manual pool vacuum or a pool robot vacuum in order to get sediments to the pool filter may require more power than simply circulating the water, which is often all that is needed when heating the pool. Therefore, looking into the option of a variable-speed pump may help save energy and cut costs associated with pool maintenance.

Most pool owners should be able to tell what they need simply by looking at their existing pump. In general terms, a pool pump of .75 horsepower or slightly more will meet most residential needs. If they like the way the previous pump performed, a new swimming pool pump of similar specifications should be satisfactory. However, in cases where the pump did not perform as well as expected, of if the pool owner is adding a new pool or new features, it may be best to check with a swimming pool equipment store.

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