How to Select The Best Pool Filter

How to Select The Best Pool Filter

How to Select The Best Pool Filter ~ Filter Systems Comparison Guide. Pool filters are an integral part of every pool owner’s arsenal. They work hand in hand with chlorine in order to maintain water cleanliness.

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You may be up to date with your pool water chemistry, but without a filter to keep your pool water in tip-top shape, you will still eventually find yourself swimming in a dirty pool—and you wouldn’t want that. 

Every responsible pool owner wants to keep their pool clean. And to do that, you’ll need to find the best filter for your pool.

But we should probably begin with a disclaimer and say that there is no best universal pool filter. Instead, it’s a matter of finding the right one for you. 

And with that out of the way, let’s start by quickly going over each type of filter. 

Types of Pool Filters 

How to Select The Best Pool Filter

There are three types of pool filters: 

  • Sand filter
  • Cartridge filter
  • Diatomaceous earth (DE) filter
How to Select The Best Pool Filter

Each has its own pros and cons. Sand filters are the oldest type of filter, but also the most affordable upfront. DE filters are known for their ability to clean the pool water extensively (we’ll explain why later). Cartridge filters, in almost all aspects, fall in between sand and DE filters. 

Sand Filters

How to Select The Best Pool Filter

Despite being the oldest type of filter, sand filters are still the most popular choice for household pools—and for good reason. 

This type of filter uses high-grade sand contained in a tank in order to sift out the dirt and grime sitting on your pool water. And the whole setup generally works like this: 

How to Select The Best Pool Filter

Sand filters can eliminate dirt and other particles as little as 20-40 microns.

Fun fact: Particles smaller than 40 microns are undetectable by the human eye. This means that sand filters can clean your pool down to the microscopic level. 

You can even turn those stats up a notch with alternative filter media. In other words, you can use a different material other than sand if you want to boost your filter’s efficiency. 

The standard media for sand filters is #20 silica because of its uniform size, shape, and its high resistance to acidic chemicals. But if you want deeper cleaning, you can go for filter glass media which can sift out particles as tiny as 5 microns. 

But eventually, these particles will buildup over time, making it harder for water to pass through the sand. When this happens, pressure increases. In order to relieve this pressure, you’ll have to backwash your sand filter. 

Sand filters need about weekly to bi-weekly backwashing. It’s a fairly simple process and doesn’t take much of your time, but it can lower pool water levels. So before buying a sand filter, don’t forget to keep that in mind. 

How to Select The Best Pool Filter

DE Filters 

If your utmost priority is pristine, crystal-clear waters, you might want to lean on towards DE filters. 

DE stands for diatomaceous earth. As its name suggests, DE is made from fossilized diatoms, a group of algae coated with a hard compound called silica. The DE comes in powder form and locks in on the filter grids. As the water flows into the filter, the grids can collect particles up to 2-5 microns in size. 

Fun fact: A needle’s eye is above 1,000 microns! If inserting a thread through a needle’s eye is no easy feat, then you probably have an idea of how immensely tiny 2 microns is. 

Cleaning up particles of that size may seem unnecessary for some, but think about it. Individually, the naked eye could barely even detect a speck of dust. But collectively, when millions are lumped together, it’s the first thing a neat freak will notice.

Now, if you apply that analogy to the swimming pool, you will not realize the collective effect of these tiny particles until you use a DE filter. Your pool water will surely spark and twinkle in the daylight. 

However, before you dash to your local store for a DE filter, we should remind you that DE powder is recognized as a carcinogen. Inhaling the powder will irritate your eyes, nose, skin, and throat. But you can be careful enough by wearing a face mask while applying some DE on your skimmer. 

Cartridge Filters

Cartridge filters come in a cylindrical shape with pleated polyester on the surface. They are known for having a wide surface area, which is why cartridge filters are more resistant to pressure, unlike sand filters. This means there is no need to backwash.

However, the pleated grids are responsible for catching dirt and grime as small as 10 microns and should be cleaned every month. You can simply hose them down with a filter cleaner and you’re good to go. 

That said, cartridge filters really known for anything remarkable. But in terms of every aspect such as price point, ability to clean, and maintenance, it falls right smack in the middle of DE filters and sand filters. 

You can account for the fact that cartridge filters sound like a safe bet for most households. It may be pricier than a sand filter, but the payoff happens when you realize that you won’t have to backwash and waste pool water. 

On top of all that, cartridge filters work best under low-pressure water, making them an energy-efficient alternative than sand filters

The Verdict

By now, you probably know that each filter type can bring their own food to the table. One filter cannot possibly be the best fit for every pool out there. It’s all about your preferences, budget, and priorities. 

Are you in for a high-maintenance but high-reward filter? Definitely go for the DE if you have the budget. Dislike backwashing? The cartridge filter is perfect for you. All about affordability and low-maintenance? The sand filter is your best option. 

The important thing is that you how much time and money you are willing to commit to your pool. Once you have that part down, take note of some other priorities you might want to bump up the list. As long as you know what you want, you’ll know which pool filter type is best for you.

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