Swimming Pool Filter Systems

Pool Filter Comparisons

Customers often ask, “What pool filter is best for my swimming pool?”. To answer this, we need to consider local weather, pool type and personal preferences. Let’s take a look at the comparisons between them to help you make the best decision for your pool and maintenance responsibilities.

Sand Filter

Pool Sand Filters is a large tank filled with sand. The water gets pushed through the sand, which filters out debris and contaminants before circulating back in your pool. Sand Filters remove very small particles which become caught within the grains of sand. Maintenance is very easy compared to other pool filters, though water costs may increase by backwashing and refilling your pool.


  • Easy maintenance
  • Cheap to replace
  • Extremely durable
  • Pool Filter Sand is inexpensive
  • Pool filter sand lasts about 7 years in a residential pool



  • Requires backwashing (almost weekly)
  • Backwashing lowers water level
  • Filters down to 20-40 microns
  • Creates the most pressure, making it less energy efficient
swimming pool filter system

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Cartridge Filter

Cartridge Filters filter water through a paper-like material. They consist of multiple filter cartridges which sit in a tank and filters water through the large surface area of the filter. As a result, the cartridge’s filtration capability lands in the middle when compared to Sand and DE Filters. Cartridge Filters can potentially filter smaller particles than a sand filter. Because the filter has a large surface area, it creates the least resistance and works best under lower speeds. However, the filter cartridge can be taken out and sprayed down with a hose for cleaning and doesn’t require backwashing.


  • No backwashing
  • Strong filtration at lower pump speeds
  • Greater surface area
  • Removes particles as small as 10-15 microns
  • Good for water restrictive areas
  • Pool Filter Cartridges are readily available and affordable



  • More maintenance than sand filters
  • Pool Filter Cartridges need to be replaced every three years or so
  • Higher upfront price
  • Not practical for very large pools
  • Have to clean the filter cartridges at least once or twice a season depending on usage
swimming pool filter systems

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DE Pool Filter

D.E. or Diatomaceous Earth Pool Filters use mined fossilized exoskeletons of tiny diatoms to filter out particles. The DE Filter consists of a tank with grids coated with D.E. Powder. The D.E. Powder acts like sand to catch particles, but on a much smaller scale. As a result, it catches particles as small as 2 microns, giving the clearest water out of the three filters. DE Pool Filters require you to replace D.E. Powder every time you backwash the filter. However, you can do this easily by adding D.E. Powder to your skimmer, but we recommend giving the filter a thorough cleaning once a year.


  • Filters particles as small as 2-5 microns
  • DE can be added through your skimmer
  • “Polishes” water per the low micron count
  • Easy to maintain



  • Higher maintenance costs
  • Higher initial investment
  • DE Powder is carcinogenic in it’s powder form
  • Pool Filter Grids need to be cleaned once a year
  • Higher resistance than cartridge filters
swimming pool filter systems

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So, what is the best swimming pool filter systems for my pool?

Therefore, in terms of overall performance, our overall pick goes to the Sand Filter. The Sand Filter allows for an energy efficient (using energy efficient motors and pumps), cost effective system, that provides you with clear water and has the least amount of maintenance.

In conclusion, although we have chosen a sand filter for the overall choice, it is still a personal decision. Of course there are still going to be people who prefer the clearest water available in a DE system. Or possibly, the system that saves the most water in a Cartridge Filter System. It all depends on what your needs are based on, the environment the pool is located in, and your preferred level of maintenance. Either way, you want to make sure that your pool and equipment fit the size and characteristics of the filter you choose or it can turn out to be more work than you might have bargained for.

If you have any questions about pool filters or your pool system in general, leave a comment below or give one of our knowledgeable staff members a shout. We’d love to help you out!


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