Best Above Ground Pool Filter for Clean & Clear Pool Water

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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A clean pool is a must-have if you want to enjoy spending time in your pool burning calories or cooling yourself during summer. The pool collects a lot of dirt like leaves, debris deposited by swimmers, algae, and many other forms of dirt that you may not know about. The best above-ground pool filter can help you maintain your pool's cleanliness and keep it safe for entertaining yourself, family, and friends.

There are different pool filters, but above-ground pool filters are specifically made for above-ground pools. Pool filters clean the water by sucking it and cleaning it through a filter and then pumps it back to the pool.

The bigger particles of dirt get collected in a strainer basket to pull out easily and empty. Pool filters make your work easier by saving your time because they work faster than pool vacuums.

You are probably looking for recommendations for the best above-ground pool filters, and that is why you are reading this. We shall discuss that in detail, but first, let us look at the types of above-ground pool filters.

Types of Above Ground Pool Filters

These pool filters come in three types;

a). Diatomaceous Earth

These pool filters are also known as D.E filters. They are great for filtering out very tiny particles of approximately 2-4 microns.

D.E filter powder is added through the skimmer to coat the filter grids. The filter cake is reset with a bump handle after three to six weeks, and at least once every season, the tank is drained, flushed, and refilled with fresh powder.

b). Sand Filters

Sand pool filters trap particles that are 20-30 microns. Sand filters use graded filter sand to trap the particles. To clean a sand pool filter, backwash it every two to four weeks.

c). Cartridge Filters

Cartridge pool filters have a simple design, and they use a pleated polyester cartridge that traps particles of about 10-20 microns. Remove the filter every 1-4 weeks and hose to clean cartridge filters.

Knowing the types of above-ground pool filters, let us now check the best in ensuring your pool water is clean and clear. Read on!

1. Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump for Above Group Pools, 16-Inch

Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump for Above Ground...
  • Keep your above ground pool water clean, soft, and refreshing...
  • The built in 24-hour timer adds to the hassle-free experience...
  • The Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump generates a pump flow rate of...
  • Pump Flow Rate: 3,000 gph (11.3 m3/hr). System Flow Rate: 2,450...
  • Includes: 6-way Valve. Pressure Gauge. Heavy Duty Tank. Strainer...

If you're looking forward to keeping your water clean and clear, then the Intex Krystal filter pump is the best above-ground pool filter for you. It uses sand as the filter media and ensures water filtration is achieved to the maximum as the 6-function control valve allows you to filter, backwash, and rinse, then recirculates the drain and close it.

Intex Krystal clear sand filter has a built-in 24-hour timer which makes it hassle-free pool maintenance, and a strainer basket that provides easy cleaning and prolongs the life of the sand. It is among the best sand filters and pumps at the rate of 3,000 gallons per hour, making it ideal for above-ground filters.

This clear sand filter pump is low maintenance as it requires only a change of sand once every five years. To use this best above-ground pool filter, you must have a minimum pool size of 5,500 gallons and a maximum of 19,600 gallons. It includes a 6-way valve, pressure gauge, heavy-duty tank, basket strainer, and a built-in timer, making it ideal for its purpose.


  • Low maintenance pool pump filter
  • Powerful sand-filter system
  • It has a 6-function control valve which makes it hassle-free
  • It is easy to install and use
  • It is a non-chemical form of pool water maintenance
  • It works quietly
  • It has a 24-hour timer that lets you set automatic filtration times


  • It does not come with the sandIt requires a lot of sand

2. Hayward EC40AC Perflex Extended-Cycle D.E Pool Filter

Hayward EC40AC Perflex Extended-Cycle D.E. Pool Filter
  • Clean pools fast, removing particles as small as two microns the...
  • Patented Flex-Tube design gives longer cycles between cleaning...
  • Unique bump mechanism allows DE flex tubes to instantly and...

Hayward D.E Pool filter is ideal for keeping your above-ground pool water sparkling clean as the DE provides fine filtration of particles that are as small as 2 microns. Haward DE filter uses a patented flex tube system that gives longer cycles between cleaning because the powder is used repeatedly.

Its unique filter mechanism ensures no accumulation of DE or residual dirt in the tube as the flex tubes clean themselves instantly and uniformly. Before getting this pump filter for your pool, you may need to enter your model number to ensure it fits.


  • Flex tubes self-clean
  • It is easy to install
  • Offers a strong jet
  • It is fast and efficient as it removes particles of up to 2 microns
  • Patent flex tube design


  • Cleaning it may be messy

3. Summer Waves 330 Gallon SFX SkimmerPlus Filter Pump

Summer Waves 330 Gallon SFX SkimmerPlus Debris Cleaning...
  • Filtration system designed for Summer Waves Active Frame Pools
  • Combines the functions of a skimmer and filter pump in one unit
  • Unique skimming technology continuously removes debris from the...
  • Advanced skimmer and filter cartridge all in 1; Clean up to 330...
  • Install this filter by hooking up the hoses and plugin and don't...

If you need a cartridge-powered pool pump filter for your above-ground pool, the Summer Waves filter pump is ideal as it is easy to use and maintain. It is a combination of both a skimmer and a pump.

This filter has a unique skimming technology that continuously removes debris from the water surface. It is easy to maintain as it attaches to the sidewalls of the pool and also prevents tripping. It is featured with a 1.25-inch circle connection and a hose.


  • Installation is easy
  • Fairly priced
  • It is efficient
  • It is easy to clean
  • It has a strong suction power


  • It can break easily

4. Intex Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter Pump for Above Ground Pools

INTEX 28637EG C1000 Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter Pump...
  • Easy to use - simply replace the old cartridge with a new one...
  • The number on the actual item seen in the image is 637R, is the...
  • Air release valve for air trapped inside filter chamber. we do...
  • Suitable for Intex pools up to 6, 000 gal with 1. 25in (32mm)...
  • Works with 15-feet Easy Set, 15-feet Metal Frame, or 18-feet by...

This cartridge above-ground filter is made of plastic and weighs only 6.8 pounds. It is one of the best cartridge pool filters and is easy to use as all it requires is a change of the cartridge every two weeks.

It also has a double insulated pump that makes it more efficient and fast. It has an air release valve for air that may be trapped inside the filter chamber. This cartridge filter pump is, however, not suitable for use for over 8 hours per day. If you have an Intex pool filter of 6,000 gallons or less, then this is the best above-ground pool filter for you.

This cartridge pool filter works with a 15-feet easy set, 15-feet metal frame, and 18-feet by 10 feet oval frame pools, and the hoses are 1-1/4; therefore, you will need an adapter if you want a 1-1/2. The Intex cartridge pump is a suitable filter if you need one that can handle plenty of gallons at once.


  • Very easy to maintain
  • It is easy to install
  • It is efficient


  • Does not last
  • 30-day warranty

5. Hayward S210T ProSeries Sand Filter, 20-Inch Top Mount

Hayward S210T ProSeries Sand Filter, 20-Inch, Top-Mount
  • High-performance top-mount sand filter for above-ground pools,...
  • Corrosion-proof filter tank molded of color-fast material for...
  • Durable; large pressure sand/water drain for rapid winterizing or...
  • Flange clamp design allows 360-degree rotation for easy...
  • Integral top diffuser ensures even distribution of water over the...

Hayward S210T ProSeries is a high-performance top mount filter that works well and leaves your pool sparkling. It is suitable for above-ground pools, aquariums, and small in-ground pools.

The filter tank is made of corrosion-proof color-fast material for durability; it is featured with a seven-position vari-flow valve which provides maximum flow at a lower pressure drop. This filter has a flange clamp design that allows a 360-degree rotation for easy installation and use, and also the large pressure sand/water drain ensures rapid servicing.

It also includes a round base for sturdy support. There is also an integral diffuser that ensures even distribution of water over the filter media to maximize the use of the filtration area, hence providing efficiency.


  • Efficient
  • Filter tank is made of corrosion-proof material for durability
  • Easy to install
  • Fairly priced


  • Leakage may occur during the use
  • Not durable
  • It splits

Factors to Consider When Buying Best Above Ground Pool Filter

Different pool filters have different features, which make them suitable for their specific functions. If your friends are pool owners and need your help to get a good swimming pool filter, or you need a pool filter for yourself, you may need to consider some factors.

Finding the perfect pool filter may not be as easy as it sounds, but it is of great importance. A good pool filter ensures maximum filtration and enables you to avoid potential problems like premature malfunctions and hazards.

a). Pool Size

When you are buying a pool filter, the size of your swimming pool is one of the major factors you may need to consider. Above ground, pools come in different sizes, and the filters also come in different capacities.

The size of your pool will highly determine the size of the filter you buy. Before you buy a pool filter, ensure you know the quantity of water your pool can hold. Do not buy a smaller filter than your pool, as this will inconvenience you.

b). Compatability

Your pool filter should be compatible with your swimming pool to ensure your pump works with efficiency. Pool filters come with specifications that determine whether or not they are compatible with your pool. Before purchasing any pool filter, ensure that you check with the manufacturer's specifications to confirm compatibility.

c). Cleaner Type

Above ground pool filters operate in three different ways, which include;

  • Suction type
  • Robotic
  • Pressure side

Ensure that you can manage the cleaning type of your pool filter before buying it. This makes maintenance easy for you. It is also important to know the strengths and weaknesses of each type of cleaner before you decide which one to buy.

d). Filter Type

Filters come in three main types, which include the following;

  • Diatomaceous Earth-also is known as the D.E filter
  • Sand filter
  • Cartridge filter

Each of these pool filter types has a special method of pool cleaning. As mentioned earlier, a sand filter uses graded pool filter sand to clean your pool water, and a cartridge pool filter uses filter cartridges to filtrate and sanitize the water. In contrast, the DE filter uses diatomaceous earth to clean your swimming water. Therefore, before you buy a pool filter, ensure that its filter type is easy to operate and is hassle-free. Ensure that the type you choose works perfectly for your swimming pool as well.

e). Price

Before choosing the best pool filter to buy, you need to be sure that it is within your budget. The prices of the best pool filters range, and you can get a hassle-free filter at a price that you are comfortable with as their prices range from cheap to expensive. Do your research well and compare the prices before purchasing to enable you to buy wisely and still manage to stay within your budget.

f). Ease of Use

The right pool filter should be easy to use. This will save your time and make the process hassle-free. Both installation and maintenance should be easy as this will enable you to work conveniently with your product, and manage the pool's cleanliness will be easy as well. To make it even easier, you should always read the user manual and follow the instructions carefully to avoid making any obvious mistakes and avoid accidents.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Best Above Ground Pool Filter

1. Are sand filters better than cartridge filters for an above-ground pool?

Sand filters do not filter all microbes and only filter down to 20 microns. On the other hand, cartridge filters are more efficient and filter particles of up to 10 microns. Sand filters involve backwashing, which lowers your pool's water levels, leading to the loss of the chemicals as well.

2. How often should you backwash a sand filter?

It is preferable to backwash your filter when the pressure displayed on your gauge is 8-10 psi over the starting level. If you backwash after heavy rains, clearing cloudy water or even treating algae will ensure your filter works efficiently.

3. How large should my filter be?

The size of your filter is dependent on the size of your pool. If your pool is small, you may need a smaller filter, ensure that it is not smaller than your pool as that will not perform efficiently, and also, if you get a filter that is much bigger than your pool, it will be underutilized.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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