Best Variable Speed Pool Pump for Residential Pools

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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With three speed types in the market, the single-speed pump and the dual-speed pump, the best variable speed pool pump takes the crown. Some of the reasons include that it features a permanent magnet motor and, as a result, doesn't need electricity to rotate the rotor like the other types like the single-speed pumps and dual-speed pumps. Even though they are more expensive, they last longer than most pumps using induction motors, reduce energy costs by up to 90%, and are more efficient and quiet.

However, the market is full of models, and you might not be sure which one is the best for your above-ground swimming pool or the inground pools. We took the liberty of curating a list of the best variable speed pool pumps in the market, including a detailed buying guide to help you make an informative decision.

1. Pentair SuperFlo VS Variable Speed Pool Pump

Pentair SuperFlo VS Variable Speed Pool Pump, 342001
  • Your purchase includes One Pentair SuperFlo VS Variable Speed...
  • See exact dimensions in product pictures. Ideal for standard...
  • Variable speed pump with 115-230V and 50/60 Hz single phase...
  • For most installations, it is recommended installing a valve on...
  • Variable speed technology costs significantly less to operate....

Pentair SuperFlo VS pump is one of the most affordable pumps in the market, even with the variable speed technology being a bit expensive. This is the best speed pump to give you value for money while offering you some of the best features. It uses 115 and 230 power volts, so you don't need to go for any other expensive rewiring for your backyard pool.

The energy-efficient variable speed pump comes with three programmable speeds and also features an override capability. Additionally, this best variable speed pool comes with an enclosed fan cooled TEFC, and therefore you are guaranteed that it is an energy-efficient pool pump.


  • Quiet motor since the pool pump uses the TEFC motor.
  • Easy to operate and install.
  • Features three programmable settings and an override capability.
  • Saves energy costs up to 80%.
  • Efficiently moves water at lower speeds.
  • Super easy to use control panel.


  • The warranty is 60 days if you install the pump yourself pool.

2. Hayward SP2610X15 Super Pump

Hayward W3SP3206VSP TriStar VS Variable-Speed Pool...
  • The Hayward TriStar VS Variable-Speed 1.85 HP Pool Pump provides...
  • Designed to replace most full-rate high-performance pumps up to...
  • Permanent magnet, totally enclosed fan-cooled motor offers more...
  • No-rib, extra-large basket design ensures easy leaf and debris...
  • Integrated, programmable digital interface with 24-hour...

The Hayward Super Pump has been a favorite for most pool owners in the previous years for various reasons, the speed being one of the main ones. It is a good pool pump providing constant 3450 revolutions in every minute that easily and quickly circulates a swimming pool.

It is a centrifugal pumper type and therefore has self-prioritizing functionality that removes or blocks any air that tries to get in through the suction pipe. It is a very strong and reliable variable speed pump with the disadvantage of having a mono-speed type meaning you can't run it at slower speeds even when trying to cut down on energy costs.


  • The installation process is swift.
  • It comes with a straining cover that can be removed easily when getting rid of pool debris.
  • It delivers a steady performance thanks to a strong pumper.
  • It circulates the swimming pool water in a few minutes


  • It features a mono-speed mechanism that is not fully energy efficient.

3. Pentair IntelliFlo 011018 / 011028 Variable Speed Pump

Pentair 011018 IntelliFlo Variable Speed High...
  • Energy savings up to 90-percent vs. traditional pumps
  • Dramatically quieter operation; Carton Wt: 45 pounds
  • 8 programmable speed settings and built-in timer assure optimum...
  • Built in diagnostics protect the pump for longer service life
  • Fully compatible with IntelliTouch, EasyTouch, SunTouch Pool...

The Pentair IntelliFlo variable speed pump is considered the best pool pump for raw power and is suitable for large residential swimming pools. It is a worthwhile cause to ditch your existing pool pump because it guarantees a significant drop in your energy bills once you are switching it on. Not only does this same pump save energy and money, but it is high build-quality and features a fan-cooled motor that minimizes any chance of overheating.

It is one of the best pool pumps in the pool and spa industry with three horsepower and 230 volts that allows a maximum flow rating of 145GPM with 2 inch and 2.5-inch connection parts. Also, compared to traditional pumps, it provides a 400% quieter operation and is one of the most popular and respected VS pumps in the market today. If you are using dual-speed pumps or a single-speed pump, you are guaranteed to reduce your energy costs by 90%.


  • It comes with eight programmable speed settings.
  • Built-in timer.
  • Provides a quiet operation.
  • Suitable for large residential pools.
  • Totally enclosed fan cooled design.
  • The control panel can be rotated for a convenient orientation.
  • Works perfectly with the Pentair automation system, SunTouch Pool Control Systems, and EasyTouch.


  • Expensive.
  • Quite heavy than the ordinary pump.

4. Hayward SP2303VSP Max Flo VS Variable-Speed Pool Pump

Hayward SP2303VSP MaxFlo VS Variable-Speed Pool Pump,...
  • Maxflo vs brings variable
  • Speed technology to the favorite, traditional maxflo pump family
  • Hayward maxflo vs is available in both 115V and 230V
  • Permanent magnet, totally enclosed fan cooled (TEFC) motor offers...

The Hayward Max Flo model features a TEFC 1.6HP motor that helps you to save 80% of your energy bills. It is a four-speed model that should run on only 230V AC because, with more, the motor might get damaged. It features a digital control panel with a backlit LCD that shows you all the information of the variable speed pumps, including how much energy is consumed.

The control panel is adjustable to four different positions for better accessibility and convenience for your above-ground pool or small pools but not ideal for inground pool pumps. Also, due to the enclosed electric motor, there is no airflow ventilation, and it's available in both 230V and 115 V.


  • Rotates in different positions.
  • Digital control interface.
  • Can rotate in four different positions.
  • You can mount it to the wall for a more comfortable view and access.
  • Saves up to 80% energy savings.


  • Expensive model.

5. Hayward W3SP3206VSP TriStar Variable Speed Pool Pump

Hayward W3SP3206VSP TriStar VS Variable-Speed Pool...
  • The Hayward TriStar VS Variable-Speed 1.85 HP Pool Pump provides...
  • Designed to replace most full-rate high-performance pumps up to...
  • Permanent magnet, totally enclosed fan-cooled motor offers more...
  • No-rib, extra-large basket design ensures easy leaf and debris...
  • Integrated, programmable digital interface with 24-hour...

The Hayward Tristar pool pump is suitable for replacing 3HP single-speed and dual-speed pool pumps with energy savings of up to 80% for the large-size pump and medium-sized pools. It is an energy star-rated pump meaning a user is eligible for rebates, and it also includes a totally enclosed fan cooled (TEFC) with a magnet motor. The variable speed pumps boast eight custom timer functions, a 24-hour programmable clock, and maximum efficiency.

The energy star-certified variable speed pumps come with four-speed settings and include onboard diagnostics for detecting failures with automatic protection in case of extreme temperatures and voltage fluctuations. Hayward makes it a choice of the best variable speed pool pump because it also includes a digital touchpad control interface mounted to the wall or attached to a pump.


  • Four-speed settings
    Compatible with automation systems.
  • Eight custom timer functions.
  • 24-hour programmable clock.
  • Digital display control panel.


  • Low energy efficiency.

What to Consider Before Purchasing the Best Variable Speed Pool Pump

1. Flexibility

When making your purchase, you should check the maximum flow rate for when you might need it. This is especially important if your particular features like booster jets have been added to your pool. Your filter has been built to withstand a certain amount of water, and you should make sure you check the filter's maximum flow rate or pool volume to determine the maximum horsepower allowed for your choice of the best variable speed pool pump.

As a pool owner, make sure you know what your filter can handle and then match it with an appropriate variable speed pump.

2. Efficiency

With every best variable speed pool pump, efficiency is the main purpose because the preferring of this speed pump to the traditional saves money. How efficient a pump determines how cheaply it will satisfy your desired turnover rate and, over time, the higher your return on investment is. Check online reviews to find out the maximum efficiency the variable speed pump you are interested in holds up according to other customers before making your purchase.

Alternatively, suppose you have already made your purchase. In that case, you should monitor your energy consumption for the first 30-45 days to check if there are any savings and its energy-efficient and if it doesn't deliver, then make a return. Also, always remember to check for Energy Star Certified models because your purchase should mainly conserve energy.

3. Durability

Durability is always a factor to consider with every purchase, and you should check online the durability of the product before making your purchase. This is to know the expected lifetime of your choice of the best variable speed pool pump. Also, check for the manufacturers with the best reputation in the market and the warranty periods to guarantee you get a quality product that lasts for a long time.

4. Horsepower

It is always better to have more horsepower than less and make sure it's balance. Opt for a horsepower that is not too high that it becomes a waste of power and money and ensure the one you choose has enough power. If you are stuck between two variable-speed models, then choose the one that has more horsepower.

5. Side or Top Mount

The type of mount in the best variable speed pool pump should be determined by the kind of setup you have. This is because water is pumped into your filter, and where your filter is located will determine whether you need a top or aside mount. However, if you are moving things around or building from scratch, you should opt for variable speed pumps with side mounts because they are easy to access.

6. Pipe Size

If your pool is too small circumference-wise, then you may experience issues as the PVC that should plumb your pool will not comfortably handle the pump's horsepower. The older pools cannot handle water flow from a high-horsepower pump because they use a 1.5-inch diameter pipe. The variable speed pool pumps with either a 2.5 inch or a 3-inch may prefer a more than one horsepower pump.

The wider the pipe's diameter, the more water can flow through but at lower pressure, while the narrower the diameter pipe is, the higher the pressure, but the size pool pump will pump the lesser amount of water. The general rule is you should ensure the speeds of water in the pipes don't go past 7 seconds on average.

7. Voltage

Most pool pumps come either in 115-volt models or 230-volt, and to check the voltage your current pump is using, and you can use a multimeter. An easy place to use the multimeter is the output terminal on your pump timer. Still, if you are not comfortable working with electricity or using a multi-meter, you should ask a pool professional to assist you.

8. Total Dynamic Head

This is usually one of the most ignored factors that you should consider when purchasing a new variable speed pump for your swimming pool. The Total Dynamic Head shows the amount of backpressure in your swimming pool plumbing system, and it should determine your choice of a new pool pump to ensure adequate water circulation.

The total head dynamic is also responsible for ensuring that the pool system is running efficiently, and this is crucial since the pool pump is the center of the pool plumbing system. A residential inground pool usually has a TDH of 50-60, while the above-ground pools usually are between 20-30. However, the TDH may vary depending on whether there are other pool accessories or the pool size.

9. Control and Safety

Nowadays, the best variable speed pool pump features digital controls helping pool owners operate with maximum accuracy and precision compared to older systems. Opt for models that feature the most speed settings because they will give you more control over the speeds. Some of these variable speed pumps are compatible with the existing intelligent pool systems.

Safety features are also important because they protect the major components of the variable speed pump, like the motor, from damage caused by electricity shots. On the other hand, features like the onboard diagnostics will alert you if you are experiencing any problems, which are handy compared to older systems that will continue to run, making the damage worse.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Best Variable Speed Pool Pumps

1. Why is a variable-speed pool pump better than single-speed pool pumps?

The best variable speed pool pump will save you more energy because they turn water twice as often as the single-speed pumps and, as a result, promoting easier pool maintenance. Also, variable speed pumps will save you money at the end of the month over the single-speed pumps and a dual-speed pump because of their efficiency. However, the savings may vary from one model to another depending on the features of the variable speed model.

2. How long does the variable speed pool pumps last?

Good models of variable speed pumps should last you between 12 and 15 years, with some motors lasting longer than the old systems. However, how long most variable speed pumps will last will depend on how they are made, and also, the more you use them, the mere you will experience wear and tear. Also, proper maintenance can help your pool last longer.

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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