How to Select the Best Pool Pump

The pool pump is the heart of every pool system. Its primary goal is to keep the water moving so it reaches the filtration system, refueling the pool with crystal-clear water.

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Without constant water flow provided by the pump, your pool will end up attracting insect infestations, algae, and all sorts of unwanted bacteria. 

Unfortunately, the importance of pool pumps is undervalued. Many simply take the cheapest ones in the market and just roll with that. But the good thing is you’re not one of them, and that’s why we’re here to help you out. 

But first… 

How do Pool Pumps Work? 

It’s good to have a closer look at the mechanics of a pool pump. Now that we know it’s responsible for the circulation of water around the pool system, we should ask, how does this process go about? 

The pool pump has three major components: 

  • Electric motor
  • Impeller
  • Hair and lint trap

Electric motors are located on the dry end of the pool pump. This means that water should not make contact with the electric motor. 

The sole purpose of the motor is to make the impeller spin. Once the impeller spins, the pool pump will be able to do its job of circulating the water. 

Next to the motor is the impeller. It’s located between the end of the motor’s shaft and hair and lint trap. As it spins, the impeller creates a suction that will pull the water in, leading it to the filtering system.

Once the water travels down the pipes, the hair and lint trap acts as an initial debris barrier, essentially ‘trapping’ all unwanted dirt and grime. 

Keep in mind that impellers, due to their design, are susceptible to clogging. If you experience the following, you most likely have a clogged impeller: 

  • Unusually low filter pressure
  • Strange, gurgling pump motor sounds
  • The automatic pool cleaner is sluggish

Types of Pool Pumps

You may already know that there are three types of pool pumps currently available in the market, namely: 

  • Single-speed 
  • Dual-speed
  • Variable-speed

Let’s take a look at each one.

Single-speed pumps

The oldest and most comfortable pick of the bunch is the single-speed pump. As its name suggests, the motor in single-speed pumps only run for one setting: high. 

With a pump like this, the impeller spins at a constant, unadjustable speed. This could mean two things:

First, the good part is that you won’t ever have to worry about speed settings. Single-speed pumps are essentially ready to go once you’ve finished installing them. 

But the bad part? It’s just not conducive to energy saving. Imagine running your pump at an all-time high 24/7. Not only will that put a dent in your electricity bill, but it can also compromise the filtering process. 

Note: Pumps running on low speed is good for everyday circulation. Slow-moving water means more time for the filter to sift out debris and dirt. Plus, you get to save up on energy costs as well. 


  • Easy to use
  • Cheapest price upfront


  • Inefficient
  • Higher electricity bills

Variable-speed pumps

If you can afford to invest in pool pumps, look no further than variable-speed pumps. Out of all the three types, they’re the most economical option in the long run—and they can help you save 90% of energy costs than single or dual-speeds. 

Variable-speed pumps allow you to dial the needed speed tailor-fit to the situation. Just filtering your water? Crank the settings down to low. Need to vacuum? Turn it up to high. You can even program it to a specific setting if you wish to operate a pool waterfall. 

But the very thing that puts variable-speeds on a different level is its permanent magnetic motor (PMM) component. 

The PMM is a state-of-the-art engineered creation that utilizes permanent magnets to produce continuous motion. In other words, variable-speed pumps create less friction and less energy unlike single-speed and double-speed pumps, both of which run by induction motors. 


  • Environment-friendly
  • Fully-customizable speed settings
  • Energy-efficient
  • Pushed by utility companies with rebates


  • Pricey
  • Needs tinkering to get a good grasp on how it works

Dual-speed pumps

Dual-speed pumps offer a bit of added flexibility compared to your standard single-speed pump. Instead of being forced to stick to one setting, you now have the choice to dial the speed up or down. 

Note that while you have the option to choose low or high, note that these speeds are preset and cannot be adjusted further. This feature can either work for or against you, depending on your pool pump and the size of the pool.

Having preset speed settings could mean that the flow rate of your pump may either be lacking or too much to maintain good chemistry and sanitation. 

In short, the dual-speed pump’s low or high option can either be too much or too little for your pool’s needs. Imagine finding a nice pair of shoes, only to find out that they don’t offer a half-size that could have fit you. That’s how it essentially goes for dual-speed pumps. 


  • Dual settings


  • Costly
  • May not exactly fit your needs

The Verdict

Getting the best pool pump means you get to optimize the flow rate for your pool while consuming the least energy as much as possible. And the only type of pump to do that is the variable-speed pump.

But of course, let’s also consider the budget here. It’s important to think both short and long-term. Upfront costs are way cheaper if you choose single-speed pumps over dual or variable ones. However, you will encounter a lot of drawbacks.

The question is, are you willing to work with the disadvantages that come with single or dual-speed pumps? Will these be worth the time and headaches?

Or would you rather invest in a variable-speed pump that can work seamlessly with your pool system?

When choosing the best pool pump, variable-speed pumps will always reign supreme. Otherwise, it all depends on your preference and budget.

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