Types of Pool Filters

A pool filtration system is an essential components of in-ground swimming pools, with several different kinds available.  They each have their own unique features, making them ideal in different applications.

Pool filters help keep swimming pools clean and healthy. If there was no filter on an inground pool, the water quality would deteriorate rapidly. Without a filter, an inground pool would quickly get cloudy, murky and gross.

Types of Pool Filters

What are the different types of filters for a pool? There are three main types of pool filters: sand, cartridge and diatomaceous earth (DE). Each has its benefits and drawbacks, but when it comes to efficiency, DE filters reign supreme.

Cartridge Filters

Cartridge filters have become the most popular type of pool filter for residential pools in recent years. In addition to providing great water clarity, they are also easy to maintain.

These filters use replaceable cartridges made of layers of paper or fabric like material to trap particles. As water passes through the filter, particles are trapped in between the layers of paper. The cartridges have a large surface  volume to catch debris that flow through them.

Cartridge filters are very efficient and can catch even the tiniest particles of debris. This is especially important if you live in an area with a lot of trees or plants near your pool. Leaves are a common culprit for dirty pools, and cartridge filters are best at catching them.

Larger pool filters have multiple cartridges but most usually have just one cartridge. A cleaning every six months, and replacement every few years, is generally recommended for these cartridges.

Sand Filters

Sand is the most popular filter. It’s cheap and easy to buy, install and use. The sand inside the filter takes out the dirt. In a few years, you will have to replace this sand – otherwise you will find your pool water turning cloudy or green.

A sand filter is a large container, usually made of plastic, that holds sand. Water passes through the sand and any small particles in it are trapped. They remove particles as small as 25 microns.

Sand filters will save you the most money, but they need more maintenance than any other filter–every week you will need backwash this filter every week, which can mean a lot of wasted water.

Diatomaceous Earth (D.E.) Filters

DE filters are the most expensive of the three options, but they are also the most effective at removing particles from water. These filters are made up of several grids coated in diatomaceous earth. Water is pushed through these grids and then filtered.

These highly efficient pool filters are capable of filtering pool water down to a 5-8 micron level, which means they can remove most contaminants found in pool water.  The biggest drawback to a DE filter is that it requires more maintenance than other types. To keep the filter running smoothly, backwash it once a month and recharge it with clean water once a month.

Micro Rating Comparison by Pool Filter Type

Swimming pool owners have three pool filter options, including sand filtration, cartridge filtration, and D.E. filtration.

Micron Comparison Chart of Pool Filters

This chart provided by a local pool store Pinch a Penny compares the filter micron rating of each of the various pool filter types.

How To Tell What Type Of Pool Filter You Have

You’ll likely have a cartridge filter system as they are the most popular option for pool owners. The most popular cartridge filter models are made by Hayward.

Filter’s Information Tag

On the outside of the pool filter tank, you will find the product label. The label will usually include information such as the name of the manufacturer and model of the pool filter, along with the specific size of your unit.

Which Pool Filter System Is Best?

Each pool filter type has its pros and cons, but when used properly, all three are effective at keeping your pool clean and clear.

When choosing a pool filter, keep in mind that your water quality and your price range are important.

If you use your pool often and the water is not crystal clear, you may want to invest in a larger filter. Large filters take less maintenance and their filter media lasts longer than smaller ones. When poor water conditions need to be improved, larger filters work better and faster when compared to small ones.

Final Thoughts

Pools have different requirements for maintaining healthy water. Depending on your budget and time availability, you may pick a filter that best suits your pool needs.

Pool filters help keep swimming pools clean and clear of contaminants.. The best type of filter for you is one that keeps your water clean and suits your needs.

All filtration systems have their own considerations—cost, maintenance, and even suitability will all have a part to play in making your choice.