Best Swimming Pool Pumps

With all of the different technologies and options that are available to chose from, it can be overwhelming for new pool owners.

There are many different models and brands, and each has its own speed/RPM, flow rate, voltage (V) and horse power (HP). I will be discussing what it is you need, and help narrow things down to a couple of models and brands, while comparing apples to apples.

hayward - SP1580X15 pool pump

There are many different models and brands, and each has its own speed/RPM, flow rate, voltage (V) and horse power (HP). I will be discussing what it is you need, and help narrow things down to a couple of models and brands, while comparing apples to apples.

The following are a couple of things that you should know before we get into recommendations and reviews:

Pool Pump Suggestions And Power Requirements

Above ground pool pumps run mainly on 115V service.

  • You will need to have 15 amp service for .75 to 1.0 HP pumps.
  • You will need to have 20 amp service for 1.5 HP pumps.

A majority of above ground units, unlike in-ground pumps, have a plug attached. However, the are two types of plugs, a twist lock (TL) and standard (regular type for homes). If you ever have to order a replacement pump, make sure you choose the right type of plug.

Although a majority of single speed in-ground pumps run on either 100 or 220 volt service, a majority of variable speed and 2 speed pumps must have 220 volt (listed below are the exceptions).

Twist Lock TL

Twist Lock (TL)


If you need to replace your inground pump, be sure that the new pump’s “jumper” is set on the same voltage that the old pump had. A majority of companies ship out new pumps with them set to at the default 220V.

Break Requirements and Inground Amps: 30 amp service is required for 1.5 HP and 2.0 HP motors, 1 HP motors require 20 amp service and .75 HP motors require 15 amp service.

Replacing Motors And Resealing Old Pumps

Whenever your pool pump stops working, usually the motor has died or seized. It usually isn’t the pump that has to be replaced.

Whenever the pump is leaking, usually the motor is fine, but the pump needs to be resealed. When you replace the motor, I recommend that you re-seal the pump, and change a few components that have a tendency to wear out. We rarely recommend that you replace the entire unit (motor and pump). You can purchase a new motor for $144 to $316.

Above Ground Pool Pumps

Single Speed Pumps:

This type of pump works to pump the water in your pool at a single constant speed. That means that whatever function you happen to be using your pump for, it will have the same pumping power. A single speed pump runs at 3,450 RPM. The only option available is to turn it on or off.

Single speed Hayward Super Pumps are available in various Horse Power (HP). They can operation on either 230V or 115V.

If during the past five years you haven’t replaced the in-ground pump, most likely your pump is a single speed pump. In fact, you most likely own a Hayward Superpump. For more than 20 years now, they’ve been the industry standard, and with the exception of leaky pump seals, have been practically bullet-proof.


One big advantage that a single speed pump has it that it pumps water very effectively. Since it operates at just one speed, it stays on the “high” setting at all times, which greats a grew flow. For many years now, pool owners have been using single speed pumps, which makes them the least expensive type of pump up front, easy to find, and very popular.

Although there are some exceptions, you can buy a majority of inground single speed motor units and pumps for $329 to $445. Above round single speed units cost under $150.


Although the costs of buying a single speed pump might initially be a lower investment, a single speed pump’s major disadvantage is that it isn’t as energy efficient for it to run. Since when it is in use it is pumping at a “high” constant speed, the kind of pump consumes large amounts of electricity when it is being used. In addition, single speed pumps tend to generate high noise levels compare to other kinds of pumps. The noise is because of the large amount of water that flows through the pump anytime it is powered on as well as the pressure placed on the bearings and pump from the head pressure and high speed motor.

Best Pool Pump Brands

Reliant, Jandy, Pentair and Hayward all make excellent single speed pumps. You might be interested to know that no matter which brand you choose, a majority of them use the same motor. You can purchase the same square or round flange motor from A.O. Smith (which is now Century) for replacing the motor on your Pentair, Jandy or Hayward pump. A majority of manufacturers are supplied pump motors by Century.

The one exception is the pump seal on the Hayward pumps. They appear to leak more frequently than Pentair or Jandy pumps. However, it is fairly easy to replace pump seals, and you should replace them anytime you are replacing the motor on any brand. If someone forced me to choose one speed pump, then I would choose the most fitting HP Hayward Superpump (which is bullet-proof, basically).

Quiet Pool Pumps

The Top Two Speed Swimming Pool Pumps

Two speed swimming pool pumps operate like a single speed pump; however, the pump can be run at a high speed or a low speed. The speed of the pump is controlled either electronically or through a toggle switch. A two speed pump on high operates at 3,450 PRMs, and on low, it will run at 1,725 RPMs. The low setting is used for basic filtration and circulations, while the high setting is reserved for high power activities, including heating the swimming pool with a pool heater or vacuuming the swimming pool.

The Advantages of a Two Speed Swimming Pool Pump

A two speed pump offers the pool owner more versatility than a standard single speed pump. The low setting on the pump can be used 70 to 80 percent of the time, which saves on energy costs and delivers a quieter operation. When you require an increase in water movement or suction, the high setting can give you the power you need.

Disadvantages of a Two Speed Swimming Pool Pump

Although the two speed pump is gaining in popularity, the cost of a two speed pump is significantly higher than single speed swimming pool pumps; however, prices are beginning to decrease as two speed pumps gain in popularity. As of 2016, the cost difference between a single speed pump and a two speed pump is $550 for inground pool pumps and $350 for above ground pool pumps. Another disadvantage of a two speed pump is that it will not save you that much on your utility bills when you compare the savings to that of a variable speed pump.

Two Speed Pool Pump Brands

Two speed swimming pool pumps are offered by the same manufacturers who make single speed pumps. The most popular brands include Pentair, Reliant and Hayward.

As prices of variable speed swimming pool prices fall, two-speed pumps are not as attractive. In 2015, an 110 volt, 1.5 horsepower variable speed pump was introduced.

Energy Efficient Pool Pumps

Variable Speed Value Proposition

The average pool holds 25,000 gallons of water. So to filter all of the pool’s water, a single-speed pool pump that ran at 3400 rpm, and pumped 66 gallons per minute, would take a little over 6 hours. To filter the pool, the pump would consume 12,600 watts.

When using a variable speed motor, if the pump is run at 22 gallons per minute or 1200 RPM, filtering the same pool would take 19 hours. However, the pump would consume just over 2,000 watts, which would save you 10.4kWh every day.

Of course many pool owners like running their pool for over 6 hours, and many people run them for 8 to 12 hours, in order to keep the skimmer catching leaves and debris as they fall into your pool. When using a variable speed pump, your pool can be run for 19 hour, and you can save $200 to $400 per year.

Variable Speed Pumps

This is the newest type of pool pump, and features technology allowing for adjustments in speed to the precise flow rate that you desire. From high to off, with numerous speeds in between, the greatest flexibility is offered by variable speed pumps.


A Permanent Magnet Motor (PMM) is used by these new pumps, which makes them last longer and run cooler and quieter than the older motors. A PMM that runs at the same speed that a dual or single speed motor does uses less energy.

Most importantly, since the pump’s speed can be tuned so that it only pumps precisely what the pool needs, a variable speed pump offers lots of energy savings over the long run, particularly when it is compared with the single speed pump. That is why they are considered to be the most energy efficient kind of pump. Depending on what setting is being used at a certain point in time, they often are the quietest to operate also.

One advantage offered by the variable speed pump compared to a two speed pump is being able to set multiple speeds that are in between high and low. That means that if there isn’t good flow on a two speed pump’s low speed (which could be on account of there being head pressure), the power can be increased slightly, without needing to operate it on high. Usually a variable speed pump lasts longer compared to other types of pumps.

Some manufacturers claims that they have an expected life that is almost three times longer than single speed standard pool pumps. The variable pump’s slower speeds help with achieving better chlorination and filtering. Another benefit to having a slower pump speed is how it effects your pool equipment and filter. High speeds might imbed debris into your D.E. filter, which makes it less effective. When there is a high water rate, it beats on the filter.

You can also use a variable speed pump in combination with constant-flow software. These systems adjust the pump’s speed automatically whenever you change tasks.

For example, if you turn on a water feature that required another 40 gallons of water flow per minute, this change will be recognized by the constant-flow software, and whatever necessary adjustments for the pump will be made so that the correct water requirements for the specific water feature can be delivered, in addition to maintaining the flow required for the operating circulation system.

When you turn off the water feature, the software will adjust the speed of the pump again in order to conserve energy.

A few of the variable speed motors come with a Safety Vacuum Release System (SVRS), which is an anti-entrapment safety protocol. This type of system has only been available as an add on, and it costs from $700 to $1,0000 per pump, installed. If the smart pump senses there is a blockage, it will shut down, which makes the pumps VGB compliant.

Many utilities companies as well as other organizations offer individuals rebates who upgrade to appliances that are energy efficient. Although the rebate amount and availability varies from one state to the next, it can be a way of helping to recover some of the investment. Usually Massachusetts offers rebates, tax incentives and sometimes rebates are offered by utility companies also.


Numerous consumers still avoid using variable speed pumps, due to its high cost, with the average model costing up to $640 to $1,300. That is quite a bit more expensive than what the average price point is for the single speed pump, and slightly higher than the cost for a two speed pump.


Variable speed pumps do not have as many models to choose from compared to single and two speed pumps. However, a variable speed pump is offered by most major pump manufacturers. The most popular brands include the same leading brands that the industry has learned to trust, and have been mentioned already: Pentair, Jandy and Hayward.

Cheap Pool Pumps

Consumers Pick Hayward

Consumers really like the pool pump offerings from Hayward, particularly the SP2302VSP Max-Flo VS Variable-Speed. It serves the customers who buy it very well and offers the additional benefit of being Energy Star Certified. It works best on simple and small pools that operate with a limit of 3 return jets and can efficiently operate a skimmer. It runs between $650 and $850.

Voltage And Horsepower

Being under-powered in a pool pump is not a good thing. In fact, it is better to have a little extra horse power when it comes to your pump. If you need a motor to do the job with 1.5 HP but only have one that operates with 1 HP, be prepared to over-strain your motor. You might be over-doing it if you over-engineer your pool, thinking that you are doing the right thing.

Pumps wired for 110 v use a similar amount of energy as pumps that are wired for 220 v. In fact, most pumps on the market come with motors set for 22 v on their jumpers.

Most experts recommend running a 220 v pump when new electrical service is installed. Keep in mind that some motors can be switched between the two voltages. In general, you motor won’t be taxed as much during start up if you go with 220 v and will help the motor run more cool.

Closing Thoughts

Variable speed motors tend to be more expensive but will save you money on energy over the long term, which is why they are often recommended. Not only is the choice financially responsible, it is also a greener solution.

These motors are designed to work in in-ground pools, but because the above ground pumps on the market are often shabbily constructed, above ground pool owners often buy them to use. They are longer lasting and will deliver a bonus in the form of energy savings.

If you do hear a knocking sound coming from the pump during the installation process, there is a quick fix. It may require more back pressure to operate efficiently. Try restricting the flow of water to get better results. In addition, if you may want to add another return or replace flex hosing with stronger pvc pipe.