Which Pool Filter Is Best?

27 thoughts on “Which Pool Filter Is Best?

  1. Do not sand filters now use a glass medium which makes them a better filter than you state in this blog? Glass has a tighter turbid catch, with an ability to filter down to 9 microns. Some brand claims go as low as 3 microns. This DE-quality filtration can be achieved without chloramine-producing flocculants and shock treatments, which is one reason glass is most commonly found at indoor pools where air quality is a top concern. I do believe your blog is way outdated when it comes to sand type filters. Then can be as good as DE type and certainly better than filter types!

    1. No way not even close to DE, I had one of these fancy sand filter cans. Used the premium sand, it still stinks compared to DE. Ran the same setup on DE, same square foot cleaning capacity and same variable speed motor. The sand setup couldn’t keep the water clear without double the run time and more bullshit chemicals that you don’t need to use with DE. Now the DE setup only thing the water needed to keep it balanced was Chlorine, even heavy rain didn’t throw it off. Both years the water was shocked one per week with liquid chlorine. Sand is still light years away and sub par to DE

  2. I look forward to INYO”S response to Dave’s commentl

    One additional comment would be helpful. The cleaning of a cartridge filter can be a bit prohibitive in respect to costl If you plan to use a pool cleaning company be sure and ask what they will charge for the cleaning of the cartridge(s). Also determine the cost of replacement of the cartridges.

  3. Hi,

    Thank you for the very informative article.

    I need to replace my filter (currently Pentair DE FNS 4820), and I am thinking of switching to cartridge filter as I have SWG and Solar Heater, so I want to reduce my Head Loss.

    However, due to mesh grid cover, and landscaping, my pool is always dirty in the spring, so I need to clean my current filter (Pentair FNS 4820) at least twice, and I hate dealing with DE.

    That’s why I am thinking of going with the big cartridge (over 500 sqft), but I was told by my Pool guy, that I would have to clean them even more frequently than the DE filter. Does this sound right?

    Which filter would need less cleaning Pentair Quad DE 100, or (Pentair Clean & Clear 530 Sq feet ?

    My pool is 42,000 gallons.


    1. The tech who told you that the four cartridge system would require more cleaning/maintenance then the DE was incorrect. Users of the large cartridge filters can expect to clean their filter may twice a year, if it sized correctly. Just compare the square footages of the filters, 100 square feet for the Quad100 and 530 sq ft for the Clean and Clear; which one is going to fill up faster if treating the same water. Look at it this way, if those square footages were sizes of closets, which one would get cluttered and clogged quicker if you were shoving the same amount of junk, at the same rate into them?

  4. Ok,

    I have had all three filter on three different pools. Here’s my take after 30 years.

    Like the article above sand filters have the pros and cons and agree with everything!

    One guy wrote in about the glass sand! Lol sand is glass. Well, I tried the Z- bright sand that is supposed to be better.. guess what it was for a month and kept building up pressure and water volume down to the point I was backing washing every week just to disrupt the sand for better flow. Nope!

    D.E. I totally agree with the article! Still pretty nice polished water.

    Now for my trick!, I run cartridge filters. When new or after you clean them I add about 5 cups of DE right after start up. This is on a four cartridge filter. This is just enough DE to polish the water and keep all the dirt from sticking to the filters. Now when I take them out for cleaning they hose right off nice in clean… this method has worked for me for many years! DE is cheep and it catches all the small stuff.. my filter only runs about 2 1/2 psi and when it hits 10-12 psi clean the filters. Also my pump is full solar, no grid! About 8 hrs. A day pump for free.. of coarse I live in Arizona with 350 days of sun..


    1. Hi Steve.
      My name is Ed
      I live in Peoria. I have had the problem of sand getting into pool while pump is on. I replaced everything inside the Pentair Triton 2 T100, orTR100. Still sleeping into pool. Pool was here when I purchased 4 years ago. I would like to know what equipment you have. Reviews on the filter I have are very good, yet I can’t figure out why this happens. I did have a pool guy “Happy Jack” out when I had all the sand out. Had no idea why as well. I don’t mind paying for quality. It originally had a valve type plunger for back washing. I put a lever valve on it. Same thing.

      1. We have never owned a pool and are looking into both sand and filter pumps. We dont want to spend tons on chemicals each summer or fidget with chemical balancing, which I’ve heard many people do with sand filters. I’m now leaning towards cartridge now. Live in Missouri…weather is unpredictable. Should I go with large size filter?

      2. Have you tried running the filter without the sand for a week or two and see if you get any sand in the pool. It may be coming from a different source.

    2. Good recommendation- where to you put the DE to go they your cartridge filters? Into the pool or near the filter ?

    3. Steve, Could you comment on what type of solar pump or system you have, any information would be helpful. Your ideas using the cartridge w/ DE is excellent and makes sense. Thanks, Craig

  5. All of my pool equipment needs to be replaced after lightning struck a tree next to the filter. I have a large Gunite pool. Looking for recommendations as to what brand of filter/ salt chlorinator to purchase since I need the entire package? Current equipment is Jandy and my current system has been discontinued.

    1. If you want a recommendation for replacement equipment, please list the model numbers of the equipment you currently have. This information will give us an idea of the equipment parameters needed for your pool.

      The term large gunite pool is 20k gallons in one person’s mind, while 40k gallons to the next person. We need more to go off of.

      1. Hello!
        We have a 20×40 in-ground pool. It’s a salt pool with a liner. 37k gallons. We live in Buffalo and open the pool May 1 and close in October…(when the snow starts) The pool was installed with a Single cartridge filter which I now know is ridiculous. It burned 2 pumps and ran 20+psi from day 1. I’m upgrading filters…what’s my best solution? Sand isn’t an option.

        1. What size is your pump (horsepower)? How big (sq. ft. size ) is the filter cartridge? What is the dynamic head size?
          I have the same size pool; also in Buffalo, NY

  6. Hello,

    I live in Ca and am looking to install a pool with no more than 15,000 gallon capacity. After reading feel like a cartridge filter would be best for my needs (though I could be mistaken). I would love any recommendations on filter size (and brand if possible) along with the pump size (and brand as well) you feel would be appropriate. Any information would be helpful! Thanks so much in advance!! Dave

  7. I have a large 4 paper cartridge filter tank, but I converted my pool from chlorine etc. to a natural pond with fish, plants, turtles etc. So at times i get an algal bloom which means the filters load up pretty fast. I got a 1300 PSI electric power washer to speed up the job. I alternate 3 sets of cartridges, and can clean a filthy heavily loaded cartridge in about 6 minutes with my Sun Joe 1300, narrow fan spray The pressure washer uses WAY less water than a hose and one set of pleatco filters is over 4 years old. No damage from the washer. If you want to save water and clean cartridges FAST, spend $90 on an electric power washer.

  8. I had a DE filter and when it ages out, I switched to a cartridge filter. Wanted to avoid maintenance. Huge mistake! Cartridge filters require cleaning at least monthly. Pool water is noticeably not as clear as with the DE filter. Vacuum does not work as well unless you put a freshly cleaned cartridge in. All in all, I have only had my cartridge filter 2 years, but am ditching it and going back to DE.

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