Best Pool Filters for Perfect Sand Free Water

If you have a swimming pool, cleaning it regularly doesn’t mean that it completely free of all contaminants. A pool usually comes with its share of maintenance and responsibilities that cannot be overlooked. Removing the debris is a great way to start; using chlorine to sanitize and kill harmful bacteria is also very important. But that’s not all you should do. You need to invest in a pool filter that’s able to capture all the bacteria and debris that build up in the water.

Pool filters are designed to capture even the minutest compounds. To give you a more realistic picture, it can filter a human hair, which is 30 – 120 microns. This means that your pool won’t be cloudy any more – all the debris, be it from swimmers or wind, will be filtered effectively.

These little devices are the answer to a clean pool, but finding the right one for your needs can be a real hassle. Some are designed for in-ground pools, whereas others are designed for above the ground pools. We understand this, and that’s why we have gone out of our way to find you some of the best pool filters in the market. It’s time you keep your pool super clean!

The Winner, Second Best, Editor's Choice
Flow Rate: 15 GDM
Filtration Stages: 4
For 3-6 bathrooms
10 year limited warranty
Model: EQ-1000-AST-UV-AMZN
Flow Rate: 7 GDM
Filtration Stages: 5
For 4-6 bathrooms
10 year warranty
Intex Krystal
Model: PC1000
Flow Rate: 15 GDM
Filtration Stages: 4
For 4-6 bathrooms
Limited Lifetime Warranty

Best Pool Filters - Full Comparison Table
15 GPM4
Hayward EC65A Perflex D.E. Pool Filter
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7 GPM5
Pentair 180008 FNS Plus
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15 GPM4
Intex Krystal 28651EG
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24 GPM3
Hayward W3S220T Pool Filter
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15 GPM5
Pooline Pro Above Ground Pool 120sf
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15 GPM3
Pentair 180006 FNS
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10 GPM4
Intex Krystal 26645EG
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12 GPM3
Dolphin Premier Robotic Pool Cleaner
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7 GPM3
Hayward W3DE4820
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12 GPM2
XtremepowerUS 75202
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Flow Rate
Filtered Water Quality
Ease of Maintenance

  • Effective purification
  • Long warranty period
  • Long filter lifespan


Best in class DE pool filter

The Hayward EC65A Perflex Pool Filter is a perfect product of choice if you anticipate for crystal-clear and sparkling water on a budget. The filter has proved its reliability, energy saving ability, and is slowly becoming a standard in swimming pool filtration. The exemplary results of this unit are provided by the patented flex-tube design that makes it easy for the DE filter powder to clean pool water.

The Hayward EC65A Perflex Pool Filter is an in-ground pool filter with gold standard water filtration. After installation, it can eliminate up to 2 microns particles. What makes the unit different from other DE pool filters such as Pentair 180008 FNS Pool Filter is the patented flex-tube that most units lack. However, all DE pool filters use the same filtration media. The bump handle of these filters activates the tubes to shed excess dirt and resultant exceptional water purity.

DE powder is an industry leader and efficient dirt remover for pool filtration. Using this filter is a recipe for superiorly clean water with extended filter cleaning cycles. Since no backwash is required, there is minimal water wastage when cleaning the unit. The Hayward EC65A Perflex Pool Filter filters even the deepest, comprehensive, and microscopic pollen and dust.

Flow Rate
Filtered Water Quality
Ease of Maintenance

  • Superior strength
  • Easy to maintain
  • Long-term reliability


Best large capacity pool filter

The Pentair 180008 FNS Pool Filter is an exceptional pool filter with great features for its class. It has a fiberglass-reinforced polypropylene tank that is chemical resistant. DE filters use chemicals to filter pool water. These chemicals can easily break down the interior part and casing of the filter, especially with continuous use. However, this product stands out due to its sturdy construction that resists chemical damage. Therefore, it ascertains a long-lasting use.

The top manifold of the filter has a simple grid pack for easy and convenient grid servicing. Unlike sand filters such as the Intex Krystal 26645EG Clear Sand Filter Pump that has top-mounted valves, you only need to open one bolt to access the filter grid. Once open, you can quickly inspect the pool filter for any damage. It is also easy to backwash and adds more DE powder after routine maintenance.

Filtering pool water using DE filters results in sparkling water. This is because the Pentair 180008 FNS Pool Filter removes even the tiniest debris as small as 5 microns. Adding to this is the curved filter grids that help disperse water over the filter. An equally spread functionality enables the filter to last long before necessitating repair.

Flow Rate
Filtered Water Quality
Ease of Maintenance

  • Very affordable and easy to maintain
  • Works well, thanks to its high flow rate
  • Available in various models


Best budget-friendly pool filter

If you are searching for a budget-friendly pool filter with minimal maintenance needs, the Intex Krystal 28651 Pool Filter should be your unit of choice. This sand pool filter is a versatile choice for those who prefer natural filtration media for their pools. Unlike DE filters such as the Hayward EC65A Perflex Pool Filter, the Intex Krystal 28651 Pool Filter takes advantage of the abrasive nature of sand to trap debris and other pool water contaminants that would float and thrive on your pool water.

The unit comes with a 6-function control valve that allows users to customize the pump for filtration, backwashing, recirculating, rinsing, or draining the system. You will also like the 24-hour timer that guides the pump and filter while requiring minimal intervention. The filter requires occasional backwashing, often indicated by the attached pressure gauge. Besides, you should replace the sand after five years.

The Hayward EC65A Perflex Pool Filter is available in four models, with different power ratings. The most powerful unit with 3000GPH works well for aboveground pools larger than 16”. An outstanding feature of Hayward EC65A Perflex Pool Filter is that it requires zero maintenance, except for changing the sand, which is done after 5 years.

Flow Rate
Filtered Water Quality
Ease of Maintenance

  • Long-lasting unit
  • 7-position valve filter functions
  • All-weather performance


The Hayward W3S220T Pool Filter is another powerful pool filter from the Hayward line of filters. The unit is extra sturdy and best for pools with more than 17000-gallon capacity. Despite handling such amount of water, the unit maintains optimum performance without necessitating backwash for almost two months. Backwashing also won’t take more than 5 minutes, making the product easy to maintain.

Unlike DE filters such as the Pentair 180008 FNS Pool Filter, installing this unit is quick and easy. It is made with a flange clamp design that allows 360-degrees valve rotation. The sand filter also has full-size internal piping, which enables users to experience free-flowing performance. As for its performance, you can use the 7-position control valves and try out the various filter functions. This assures improved filtration performance.

The Hayward W3S220T Pool Filter’s design features durable and corrosion-resistant materials that are long-lasting and assure efficient filtration. The lateral parts are self-cleaning and use advanced technology to ensure a seamless flow of water and easy backwashing when necessary.

Flow Rate
Filtered Water Quality
Ease of Maintenance

  • Sturdy and durable design
  • Users can adjust power when necessary
  • Comes with several accessories


Best-inground cartridge pool filter

The Pooline Pro Above Ground Pool Filter presents a great way to clean your pool without spending a lot of money on the initial cost of setup. Compared to other units in our review such as the Hayward W3S220T Pool Filter and Pentair 180008 FNS Pool Filter, this filter is small but can handle up to 90-square feet pool without issues. Its tank is strong enough to withstand various elements filtered and pool water. Cleaning the unit is also easy, making maintenance a breeze. Like other models, it comes with a pump that makes it easy to get clear water in no time.

Despite its miniature size, the unit is an established industry standard for exceptional filtering quality, superior rates, and unmatched water purity. The unit comes with an in-built pressure gauge and air relief valve. Besides, the Pentair 180008 FNS Pool Filter’s rugged filter tank enables it to withstand severe weather, thanks to the corrosion-proof polymer plastic.

The Pentair 180008 FNS Pool Filter has feature sets of expensive filters yet it’s available at an affordable price tag. For instance, the copper windings boost performance and longevity, which are an alternative to aluminum windings used in other pumps. You will also like the large start capacitor that increases start torque and helps the engine achieve its speed quickly.

Flow Rate
Filtered Water Quality
Ease of Maintenance

  • Easy filter access
  • Large capacity filter
  • Sturdy design and construction


Best pool filter for the price

Like the Pentair 180008 FNS Pool Filter, the Pentair 180006 FNS Pool Filter is another pool filter model that takes note of the internal and external structure of the unit. The filter features a fiberglass reinforced polypropylene tank that can withstand pool chemicals. Pool filters often filter pool water with chemicals. Units with poor design and material choice can wear out following continuous exposure to chemicals-laden water. However, that isn’t the case for this unit. It resists chemical corrosion giving the filter a longer-lasting use.

A common issue that most pool owners find challenging is maintaining the filter, especially DE pool filters. However, the Pentair 180006 FNS Pool Filter maintenance process is a breeze. The filter grid, which is the central part checked during cleaning and maintenance, is easily accessible and removable. It has one-nut access, after which, the filter is exposed for inspection.

Like the ExtremepowerUSPool Filter and the Pentair 180008 FNS Pool Filter, the unit has curved filter grids that disperse water evenly over the filter during the filtration process. This distributes the water all around, ensuring that the grids last longer without replacement. Overall, the Pentair 180006 FNS Pool Filter is an excellent choice for those who want a sparkling pool without spending much on maintenance.

Flow Rate
Filtered Water Quality
Ease of Maintenance

  • Timer feature
  • Ergonomic handling
  • Heavy duty


The Intex Krystal 26645EG Clear Sand Filter Pump is one of the most recommended and positively reputed aboveground pool filters on the market. All thesepraises do not come in vain. There’s a reason; the filters’ efficient operation and cost-effective price tag. This sand filter uses the 20-silica sand, which is responsible for its high-end purification. The unit is a significant improvement from its small capacity cartridge filter, the Intex Krystal 28651 Pool Filter.

The powerful unit uses a 0.50HP motor to achieve more than 2100GPH flow rate. This makes it best for aboveground pools measuring 15 x 24ft or smaller. The unit can be operated in 6 modes, which include the standard filtration, recirculate, rinse, backwash, drain and close. Like other sand filters, the Intex Krystal 26645EG Clear Sand Filer requires minimal maintenance, necessitating sand replacement after 5 years.

Probably the best feature of this filter is the timer, which allows pool owners to set the unit’s desired operating hours. The hours can be 2, 6, 8, or 12. The timer will stop once the working hours set are complete. The timer operates for the selected number of hours automatically at the same time every day. What’s more, is that you can readjust the operating hours if necessary. Alternatively, you can set the pump to operate continuously.

Flow Rate
Filtered Water Quality
Ease of Maintenance

  • Four filtration options
  • Easy to maintain
  • SmartNav navigation system


Best robotic pool cleaner

Robotic cleaners cannot be compared to other pool filters when it comes to deep and efficient pool cleaning. The Dolphin Premier Robotic Pool Cleaner is considerably expensive but comes with utmost effectiveness, ease of use, and functionality. The cleaner’s feature highlight is the four media multimedia cleaning that enables it to eliminate different types of debris from the pool. With the unit, fine particles of dirt, leaves, and other contaminants are completely removed.

Another attractive feature of the Dolphin Premier Robotic Pool Cleaner is the patented 360-degree anti-tangle swivel. Old cleaners may not have such features, necessitating the users to pull out the cleaner frequently to untangle the cord. To ease the cleaning task, take advantage of the unit’s SmartNav technology that guides users on the optimal cleaning paths around the pool.

The swappable filter media present in this unit is highly innovative. It doesn’t compare to filtration media of non-robotic cleaners such as the Pooline Pro Above Ground Pool Filter. With this system, you can tailor the unit for various cleaning needs by easily swapping out the filter media. The choices available include the micro-cartridge filter, standard cartridge, and debris bags.

Flow Rate
Filtered Water Quality
Ease of Maintenance

  • Offers fast cleanout
  • Quirky design eases maintenance
  • Minimal maintenance


Hayward is known for its reputable sand filters, including the Hayward W3S220T Pool Filter. However, their modern designs, such as the Hayward W3DE4820 Pool Filter, are innovative and effective. The unit comes with cartridge technology with four reusable elements, enabling it to filter up to 425 square feet of pool water and long filter cycles.

Apart from offering anexcellent filtration area, the quad-cluster cartridge holds several dirt and impurities, making it a great choice for private pools. You will undoubtedly like the massive and tamper-proof clamp that holds the two units together. The clamp also offers easy access to the inner part of the filter, making maintenance and repair easy.

Additionally, the CPVC connection brings in more diversity to the unit. With the connection, the Hayward W3S220T Pool Filter is compatible with both 2-inch and 2.5-inch piping. Therefore, this offers extreme performance with full-flow internal piping.

Flow Rate
Filtered Water Quality
Ease of Maintenance

  • Affordable
  • Easy to setup
  • Easy to maintain


Best versatile pool filter

The ExtremepowerUSPool Filter is another exceptional pool filter that takes away the most dreaded task, pool cleaning. It is a versatile unit and can clean swimming pools regardless of the size, shape, and construction. The pool filter runs on a 0.75HP pump, attaches to any existing filtration system, and doesn’t require electricity to purify pool water.

From its simple construction, the ExtremepowerUSPool Filter is simple to setup and use. Once you connect the unit to the filtration system, filtration begins. The machine picks up dirt and grime as water passes through the system. Just like other budget filters, such as the Pentair 180006 FNS Pool Filter, you might have to wash and clean the filter at first frequently. However, this should slow down with continuous use.

How To Choose The Best Pool Filters – Buying Guide

Different pool filters suit different functionalities. Whereas some work best for above ground pools, others work only with inground pools. Understanding the various types is the key to finding the best product. These guidelines will equip you with the right information you need to know before purchasing one.

What is a Pool Filter?

Pool filters are an essential addition to swimming pools. As a requirement, pool water should be cleaned using chlorine and other disinfectants to make it safe for swimming. After chlorine action, there is a need to remove the dead bacteria and contaminants. Otherwise, you will have a pool free from dangerous bacteria but laden with pollutants, hence cloudy. This is where pool filters come in handy. They help in filtering pool contaminants, keeping pool water clear and pure.

Why you need a pool filter

Owning a pool is the first indication that you need a pool filter. Well, not all pool owners mind the safety of their pool water. However, if you own a pool and are concerned about the safety of your pool water to those who use it, consider installing a pool filter. Apart from the invisible bacteria killed by chlorine, other contaminants, such as leaves, small rocks, and tiny branches, can be blown into the pool. This is why you should install a filter.

How a pool filter works

Pool filters and pool pumps work hand in hand to clean water. Both work in a closed-loop system with the process beginning when water passes through the first filter, commonly referred to as a skimmer. Water streams from the skimmer to the pump where the pump’s basket removes debris before directing it to the filter. The filter eliminates any remaining debris and contaminants from the pool water.

Pool filters are responsible for heavy cleaning of the pool. The pump moves water through the filter from the pool. The pump consists of three parts; the basket – that collects large contaminants such as leaves, an impeller or fan, and a water discharge point. The water discharge point is where the water from the pump is pushed into the filter for further purification. The pump has a motor that keeps everything in motion. Without the pump motor, water will not be fetched from the pool, enter the filter, or get released back into the pool.

Types of pool filters

Pool filters are categorized based on their construction. There are three types of pool filters. The burning question for most enthusiasts is; which one of the three is the best? There is no “one-size fits it all” when it comes to filters. The best type depends on individual needs, replacement frequency, budget, and other factors.

1.Cartridge pool filters

Though relatively pricey than sand filters, cartridge filters are easy to maintain and more effective, especially if you have an average-sized pool. The unit has pleated polyester filter media, unlike sand found in sand filters. Water flows through the tank with polyester materials and pleats. The filter can capture debris as small as 10 microns, making it more effective than sand filters.

With continuous use, the cartridge collects contaminants necessitating cleaning. However, rather than backwashing, cleaning process involves removing the filter cartridge and spraying with a hose to remove accumulated dirt and debris. Once in a while, use a filter cleaner and regularly soak it in diluted muriatic acid or any other chemical filter cleaning solution. Whereas this is more physical, it is better than backwashing and wastes less water.

Cartridge filter pros

  • Filters small microns
  • No backwashing thus wastes less water
  • Effective even in low speeds

Cartridge filter cons

  • Physical cleaning than sand filters
  • Lasts a few years
  • Requires regular deep cleaning

2.Sand pool filters

If you are on the market for a budget-friendly filter with minimal maintenance needs, go for the sand filter. It is also the right choice for large pools as it doesn’t clog easily compared to other filters. The pump sucks water from the skimmers and pushes it through a filter with a tank full of sand. The 20-silica sand is a standard media used in the tanks. The value means it filters particles measuring 20 microns and more.

How does sand pool filter work? You may ask. Well, every sand particle is “prickly.” If observed under a light microscope, you will see some rough edges around the sand particles, which enables it to grab debris and contaminants as water passes through the filter. With continuous use, the sharp edges are eroded and slowly wear out, becoming smooth surfaces that won’t capture debris any longer.

Similarly, the contaminants trapped by the sand accumulates on the filter with continuous use. Therefore, this helps trap small particles, even as the sand particles smoothens out. Eventually, it prevents smooth water flow through the filter, reduces efficiency, thus necessitating a backwash. Fortunately, the sand filter has a pressure gauge that alerts you of increasing internal pressure. The backwash is an easy cleaning method that involves reversed water flow to flush away the debris.

The 20-silica sand is the standard media used in sand filters. However, try other alternatives to increase filtration efficiency. For instance, D.E powder can be included to enhance efficiency after backwash or after sand replacement. You can also completely replace sand with other compounds such as Zeosand or filter glass. Zeosand is made from zeolite minerals and traps even smaller particles than sand.  On the other hand, filter glassis negatively charged finely crushed glass that attracts positively charged particles.

Sand filter pros

  • Affordable
  • Easy to maintain
  • Longer lasting
  • Filtration efficiency can be enhanced

Sand filter cons

  • Least effective compared to other types
  • Backwashing wastes water
  • Accumulating debris builds pressure that reduces filter efficiency

3.Diatomaceous earth pool filters

Diatomaceous filters are the most expensive and maintenance-intensive water filters, but they filter the smallest particles. The Diatomaceous filter tanks have grids covered with crumbly, white powder. The powder is made from crushed fossilized remains of aquatic organisms called diatoms. Diatomaceous filters also have silica that adds to their water cleaning efficiency.

If the pressure builds in DE filters, you will have to remove old materials from the filter and replace it with new ones. A backwash or bumping handle system can do this. Both methods remove old materials, but we highly recommend opening the system and cleaning the grid by hand. You can then add the new Diatomaceous earth after reassembling the unit.

To add the DE into the filter after cleaning, use the pool’s pump skimmer. Start by mixing the DE with enough water to form a slurry. The slurry should appear like a thin, creamy solution. Once done, switch the pump on and slowly pour the solution into the skimmer. As the pump sucks water into the skimmer, it will evenly distribute the DE over the grids.

Diatomaceous pros

  • Filters as small as 5 microns
  • DE powder is easily added through the skimmer
  • Doesn’t use caustic chemicals to clean

Diatomaceous cons

  • High cost to install and maintain
  • Difficult to find one for above ground pools
  • The grid requires regular replacement

Factors to consider when purchasing pool filters

Before settling for any pool filter, you should put several factors into consideration. Pool filters differ and suit different people in different situations. Let’s have a look at some of the factors you should have in mind when searching for the best pool filter.

Size and volume of the pool

The first important factor is knowing the size of your swimming pool. Pool filters are designed for specific sizes and shapes of pools. Some filters work best in the round and oval pools, while others can clean best when used in a pool of particular water capacity. Always have a thorough understanding of the shape, size, and volume of your pool to avoid wrong purchases.

Type of Filter

You should also take note of the kind of filter that will best suit your needs. Figure out which among the three filters discussed would best suit your budget and maintenance requirements.

Materials Used

Pool filters are supposed to last. That said, the best products should be made from reliable and durable materials that can withstand various elements and remain sturdy for years. To ascertain this, ensure that your product of choice is constructedof a durable outer cover withrobust inner components. You should as well ensure that spare parts of the filter are easily accessible if need be.

Pump Capacity

As mentioned, a pool pump and filter work hand in hand. Therefore, the volume of water in the pool determines the pump capacity required for optimal cleaning performance. Most pools in residential homesneed pumps ranging from 1 to 2HPs.


For any electrical installation, always look out for safety features to prevent usage accidents. In this case, search for filters with automatic timers and self-shut off options. The above features not only help in saving energy but also prevent the motor from overheating due to too much pressure.

How to troubleshoot a pool filter

Since the pool filter plays a crucial role in ensuring that your pool is clean, it is wise to keep your filter in good condition always. Filters experience a few common problems. That aside, you should learn how to clean a pool filter. Knowing how to recognize and solve the problems will ease the troubleshooting and repair process. Apart from cleaning, here are some common issues with pool filters;

·         Filter leaks

Do you see some water dripping from your pool filter? Is there a small puddle below the filter? If so, your pool filter could be leaking. Leaks in the pool filter may not cause a significant drop in pool water, but it is vital to repair. Begin by identifying the position of the leak. Inspect the filter’s tank for holes and patch them up. However, get ready to replace the tank since the patches may not last long.

For those using split-tank filters, check the filter belly for leaks. If the filter leaks from this point, inspect how tight the O-ring is and the presence of debris, wear, and tear. You might consider replacing it if the ring is worn out. Don’t forget to use a pool gasket lubricant to improve sealing efficiency and keep the ring hydrated.

·         Filter cycle problems

If your filter runs in short cycles even when the pool is not in use, the filter could be experiencing flow rate problems. A likely problem in such a situation is a high flow rate, meaning the pump could be strong for the filter. It can also mean that the filter is not big enough for the pool. With such a problem, begin by ensuring that the filter is of the right size.

If it is of the required size, you should consider backwashing the filter for long periods. During backwashing, continue the process until water present in the sight glass becomes transparent. The process can take several minutes. The filter could also be running in short cycles due to the presence of algae and other debris clogging it. In such situations, clean the filter thoroughly or replace it if it is worn out.

·         Filter materials in the pool

It is rare to see filter materials in the pool after backwash, regardless of your type of filter. However, if you notice some filter components, suspect some problems. The first place to begin your troubleshooting is by checking the bolts that hold the filter in place. Loose bolts can allow particles to escape into the pool. For sand filters, check the strand or lateral pipe if it is broken and requires replacement. Suspect a tear in the grid fabric for DE filters. This will require replacement.

·         Water pressure issues

You should check the pressure gauge as part of regular pool maintenance. Water pressure problems can significantly affect the performance of the filter. If the pressure is low, it could be a blockage within the system, anywhere before the filter. On the other hand, if you experience high pressures, check for blockage anywhere after the filter.

You asked we answered…F.A.Q’s

Which is the best pool filter type?

Deciding on the best pool filter type comes down to whether you have an in-ground or aboveground pool, your budget, and usage experience. Cartridge filters, for instance, are suitable for beginners due to their ease in maintenance. They pick up most particles and are affordable.

Sand filters are best for those on a budget. They won’t pick up as much debris as other filters but will clean to some level. Sand doesn’t need regular replacement, but backwashing requires a lot of experience and uses a lot of water. The DE pool filter is the best choice if you want to achieve the cleanest pool water or when running a commercial pool. They eliminate even the smallest particles but cost more than other filters.

Is it possible to remove algae permanently?

Algae growth is a common phenomenon in pool water. Most pool owners deal with it more often than you probably think. However, with cartridge pool filters, you should be able to get rid of algae for good. These filters prevent algae growth when installed into a pool. Cartridge filters remove other pool water components, including phosphates, which promote algae growth. Without phosphates in the water, algae won’t find nutrients to survive on, and they will eventually die out.

Can filters remove the cloudiness of water?

There are many reasons why your swimming pool may appear cloudy. A common reason is due to the accumulation of small particles in the pool. It may also happen when incompatible chemicals leach into your pool water. High PH, calcium and high alkalinity can also cause this. All these can be solved by installing a filter. The filter traps even the smallest particles leaving the water crystal clear.

Top-mounted or side-mounted valve?

Sand filters available on the market have either top mounted or side mounted valves. Both function similarly but differ in installation cost and ease of installation. You will have to decide, based on preference, which valve-type suits your pool. Top-mounted filters are cheap and easy to install, as they require fewer parts and less labor. However, you can’t reach the sand without removing the top pipes. This makes it daunting to maintain. On the other hand, side-mounted filters cost more but are easy to maintain.


The best pool filter should not only ensure your pool water is clean, but also save you time and effort spent on maintaining the pool. All the products outlined above do an excellent job of keeping your pool clean and healthy. We like the Hayward EC65A Perflex Pool Filter for its superior filtration ability and extended filtration cycles. Similarly, the Dolphin Premier Robotic Pool Cleaner is a perfect choice because of its robust performance, advanced technology, and top-notch cleaning.