Sizing Your Above Ground Pool Pump

Sizing your above ground pool pump is crucial to the overall performance of your swimming pool. An undersized pump lacks the power needed to circulate your water properly to prevent algal blooms. Adversely, a pump that is too large will completely bypass your filter altogether. This, too, creates a dirty pool. In a way, it’s similar to the likes of Goldilocks and The Three Bears. You don’t want a pump that is too big or too small, you want one that is JUST right.

How can you determine which size pump is right? Let’s explore.

What Size Pump Do I Need?

The General Sizing Rule

For the most part, above ground pools are similar in size and shape. Therefore, unlike most inground pools, there aren’t too many extra variables you need to consider when sizing your pool pump. The one thing you need to pay attention to, though, is the maximum gallons per minute (GPM) your pool filter can handle. Your pump’s GPM should never exceed your filter’s GPM. We will show you how to check that later in the blog.

To be honest, sizing the pump is actually pretty straightforward. There is a general rule we use that makes it very easy to pick.


For round above ground pools up to 24 ft. ( pools with less than 15,300 gallons) use a 1 HP pump.

For round above ground pools over 24 ft.  (pools with more than 15.300 gallons) use a 1.5 HP pump.


Don’t Know How Many Gallons Are In Your Pool? 

If you are unsure how many gallons your above ground pool has, review the charts below.








Is My Filter Too Small For My New Pump?

After selecting your pool pump, verify the GPMs of your pool filter. The GPM information is typically listed on the outside label on the filter housing. If unavailable or weathered, you can also locate this information in the user manual. If for whatever reason you cannot find your manual, we recommend doing a quick search in our manual database or a Google search. Once you find the manual, print and keep it. I guarantee that you will use it in the future. If it’s an antique of a filter, you may want to call the manufacturer.

Inside the manual, the filter specs typically include the flow rating, filtration area, port size, and turnover rates. The flow rating is essential because it dictates the maximum gallons per minute your filter can handle. In other words, do not go over this number. If your GPMs on the pump exceed the GPMs on your filter, sit back and analyze which one needs to be bigger, the pump, the filter, or both.

Look at the turnover rate listed on the filter. Your pool size should fit within those parameters. If they do not, you should consider purchasing a bigger filter. A properly sized filter is always larger than the gallon size of the pool. You want wriggle room in your filtration area because that way you aren’t backwashing or cleaning your cartridges every week. So, unlike your pool pump, we always recommend oversizing your filter.


Above Ground Pump Resources

Above Ground Pool Pump Buying Guide

Can I Install an Above Ground Pool Pump On an Inground Pool?

Are you still unsure which horsepower you should go with? Or, do you want to discuss replacing just your motor? Feel free to ask a question and join our discussion on our INYO POOLS FORUM.


80 thoughts on “Sizing Your Above Ground Pool Pump

    1. You’re pool holds less than 15,300 gallons. So by their calculations above, a 1hp should work. But it’s the GPM that really matter, and that’s a little more complicated. I have a 1hp motor that came on my 24’/52” round pool and it can’t keep up with the algae here in wet lower Alabama.

  1. I just bought a pump that is for a pool up to 7000 gallons but my pool is 7646 gallons with it work or should I just send the pump back please help I need to know asap

    1. I don’t think the extra 600 or so gallons will affect the filtration and chlorination rate that much. But to play on the safe side, I would try to get a big system.

  2. I have a D fliter for my pool it’s 14” 33
    But domestic seem to be moving h the water. So what size is the next size up.

  3. I have a 15’x48″ round above ground pool and I found a good deal on a Intex 2100 GPH Above Ground Pool Sand Filter Pump with Automatic Timer | 26645EG. Would that be a good filter or should I step up to the 3000 GPH?

  4. I just bought the Coleman above ground pool that is 22×52 and the pump that came with it seems ok, but not great enough for the size pool. I just don’t feel that it circulates the water well enough. What size pump should I upgrade to? Any recommendations on brand ? Please help! I live in Alabama and the past few weeks we have had a lot of rain and I’m having to shock the pool more often and I think that because the pump isn’t big enough is part of the problem.

      1. Matthew,
        I have a Coleman 26 x 52 which holds 15000 gallons of water. The pump that came with it can not keep up. Cleaning the pool is a chore! What size pump should we get? We are thinking the sand pump.
        Thank you. Vanessa

  5. 18×9 54 inches deep want to add a salt to chlorine converter to my sand filter pump. What size should I get? I don’t see it on the chart

  6. Matthew,
    I have a Coleman 26 x 52 which holds 15000 gallons of water. The pump that came with it can not keep up. Cleaning the pool is a chore! What size pump should we get? We are thinking the sand pump.
    Thank you. Vanessa

  7. I can’t keep the algea (green) hues out of my pool unless the Chlorine is to high to swim. I change my filter weekly because they will not last more than that. I think we have a pump too small but my husband thinks it wouldn’t help. 18×48 above ground pool

    1. If your pump can’t turnover the water enough to properly distribute the chlorine then that is a reasonable explanation for your algae issues. For a pool that size, a 1 HP pump would be necessary. What do you currently have?

    2. The pump that come with the above ground coleman pool are not big enough to keep it clean. The first summer my water never cleared up. The next summer we bought a sand pump 1 hp and it worked perfectly and my pool was easy to keep clean. I used I bag of shock per week and was good to go.

  8. We have an 18×33 48” high oval pool. Current filter is Hayward ProSeries S180T. 150 lbs sand. The pump just went out (was original from when house was purchased). It was a Sta-rite ABG4E-2A4. 1 HP.

    I run the pump a lot. 10-12 hours per day. Am thinking I’d like to stay with Hayward so pump and filter are on same manufacturer and easier to keep up with any parts.

    Is there any problems with bumping up to a 1.5 Hp and is there any other brands I should consider and what would the reasons be? Am currently considering Hayward power-flo LX….

    Any advice would be great! Thank you 😊

  9. i have a 35000 gal pool with approx 150 feet of head with 3 ,1.5 suction lines which is about 10 feet vertical head ..what size pump would I need?

    1. There is very little possibility that you have 150 feet of head with only 3, 1.5-inch suction lines. I would re-do those calculations. Plus that is an inground pool, not an above ground pool.

      It also sounds like you have an existing setup. I would use the existing pump as a marker of what style and horsepower of unit to use. Doing it this way will alleviate the need for feet of head calculations.

  10. Hi, I have a semi in ground concrete pool (2ft in ground and 2ft above ground). The measures are 13 ft long, 8 ft width and 4ft depth. I calculate 3120 gallons. The same thing applies? What type of pump capacity should I use?

  11. Hi,
    I have a 33 ft, 52″ pool with 27,800 gal of water that has set for over a year. Filter is 60 gpm Sand Dollar, pump is stolen. The 1.5 hp pumps I’m seeing are higher gpm than my filter if reading correctly.

  12. I have a pool that’s 18 ft. x 48 in. and it holds 6,092 gallons of water it’s a Coleman pool and it came with a pump the info for it is 110-120 v flow rate is 1500 gallons and the system flow rate is 1050 gallons is this a good pump for the pool? I bought it used and they said it needed a bigger pump but I don’t want to spend the extra money unless it’s what it needs

    1. I have the same pool. Had to get a 1 hp to keep it clean. the pump that came with it did not keep my pool clean. Worked me to death the first summer. I paid around 250 for my pump. Worth every penny.

      1. I’d love to know what pump you ended up buying for your Coleman 18ftx48 in pool as well. I’m thinking this pump it came with does not keep it clean ar all. Thanks in advanced!

  13. We have a 54 inch tall x 27 foot round above ground pool. We need a pump and filter unit. We use bromine and we don’t want a sand filter. I have been told we need a dual speed pump. What do we need to buy?

  14. Have an 18 round doughboy,I see a sand filter and pump that says good for up to 10,000 gallons, 2450GPH, but is only .35hp according to chart that’s no where near big enough, but the listing about the filter and pumps says it is. Clarification please.

  15. Help! We have a 16×32, 54″ pool and we are replacing the pump that died on us. I am so confused about the size. Can you tell me what you think would work best for my size pool? This stuff is so complicated.

  16. We have 28 ft round , 54 deep above ground. Have been using pentair cartridge filter, has worked great. Pump has been getting super loud and the filter has seen better days. Looking to go to sand filter and new pump. Thoughts

  17. I have a BestWay 20’ x 40” pool, and I’ve heard the pump that comes with the pool isn’t the best to use unless we want to pay a ton on chemicals. What would be the best pump to use?

  18. Hi Matthew,
    I am having problems keeping my pool water clean and our pool is a low traffic (only a few adults using it) pool. I am concerned that my pump is not moving enough water through my filter system and may want to upsize.
    I have a 24′ x 12′ x 52″ Intex Ultra Rectangular above ground pool with a 12″ Sand Filter and Saltwater System. Having read some of your recommendations for larger pools like mine, I see that you suggest pumps that are 1 to 1.5 hp but the specs on the pump that I have say it is only a .30 hp. The largest 16″ pump and filter system that I found (also from Intex) is only .75 hp.
    Is there a pump and sand system that I can get that has the higher horsepower, is comparable with my Intex Krystal Clear Saltwater System?

  19. I have a Coleman 18 round pool 48 inches deep and I wanted to buy the
    Intex Krystal Clear Sand filter Pump for Above Ground Pools, 14″, 110-120V with Gfci. …..will it be okay with that

  20. Hi!!! I read everything and I’m still so undecided. I have no idea what I’m doing. Everytime I check with the Clorox pool stick nothing is right. It’s a Coleman that looks like brown wicker 18’48” and has the 4 see through windows around the pool. The filter hose that sucks water in, I can’t feel it pull the water in but I can see the hose jumping and pushing water to filter. However, the 2 hoses pushing it back into the pool I see water moving the hoses but when I put my hand in water next to them there is no pressure what so ever going Into pool. It’s like nothing is coming out. The water is almost clear, but not crystal clear. I feel like I need to switch to a salt water pump or a bigger pump. It’s holds around 7,600 gallons as chart says above. If I go by the Clorox pool guide it tells me to buy 6 different things. It’s crazy. I shock it once a week and I have a floater that has 1 3” chlorine tablet and 1 3” arm and hammer clear balance tablet. I am a mom of three and I need help!!!!!! I live in Alabama so lots of rain, but I haven’t had any green in pool. On the pump it says….. filter pump model #90401E 110-120~60Hz, 1.8A 0.14 HP. Brand name is AOWCLEAR…. please help me!!!!!

  21. I have a new 15ft round intex above ground Pool. Got a Hayward matrix 1hp pump and t180 sand filter. The pool is 1 1/4 “ out and in the sand filter is 1 1/2” and the pump looks like 2 1/4” wher should I step up the connect to the pump and back to the pool

  22. We have a 54 inch tall x 27 foot round above ground pool. We have a pump and sand filter unit.
    I would like to change the top mount multivalve.
    I may have to buy a new pump also. Any recommendations and info on what to purchase ?

  23. Is there any difference in recommendations when I have an above ground pool (24’ round, 48” deep) but it’s nearly completely buried and all the plumbing from the filter to the pool is buried? We just bought this house and it came with a 3/4 HP and a 19” (?) sand filter.

    1. HI tracy,
      I have the coleman pool 22x12x52′. I need to replace my pump and filter… would a 1.5HP pump work? what did you end up getting?

  24. Hi,

    So i have a 15 round pool and i bought a hayward 1.5 pump hp is that okay i felt like i was struggling with my 1hp pump last year?

  25. I have a 14ft x 42 inch pool. Is a 1.5hp and 50 GPM filter. I think thats overkill but will it hurt the pool?

    1. The pump/filter combo will not hurt the pool. It will allow you to turn over the water quicker, which means you don’t have to run the pump as long. It may save you some money in the longterm if you schedule the runtimes right.

  26. I have a 24, 500 gallon 16 x 34 rectangle below ground/ vinyl liner 8 foot depth pool and a Pentair 1.5 HP single speed pump. Is the pump sufficient or undersized?

  27. I have a 24ft x 48″ round above ground pool, I have a 3hp pool pump, no filter. Would like to use a sand filter. I believe the pool holds around 15k gallons of water. Is a 3hp pump too much and what kind of filter do I need to go with it?

  28. I have a 16’x32’x52″ intex pool, it has a 16″ sand filter holds 120# of sand. I need to replace the pump, What size pump will go with that sand filter ?

  29. I have a 22 foot pool, about 11,500 gallons. But I bought a 1.5Hp pump/filter that I cant return.
    There is a .4hp pump that comes with the pool. Can I use my bigger pump on this pool, or am I looking at damaging the pump?

    1. You should be able to use the larger pump and filter system if you use the correct PVC. You will want to get heavy-duty flex PVC or hard pipe, as the hoses that came with that smaller pump will probably collapse under the higher pressure.

  30. My pool is 15 FOOT X 42 INCHES does anyone know what type or what size or kind is pump I will need I need help ASAP having big issues with this pool

  31. The gallon chart doesn’t seem to account for wall space used up by air in top or the floor underneath. For instance, I have a 52″ pool but it’s really only 44″ deep, so just around 15600 gallons, right?

  32. Question: I have a Hi-Flo 1.5 HP pump for my 33’ round, 52” wall above-ground pool. I am looking to replace it in the spring. Should I upgrade to a 2.0 HP? Thanks for your input. (Clevetroit-at-g-mail-dot-com)

  33. I have 14ft round pool my pump/filter is not keeping up. Would a 1 hp pump/filter work ok or would it be to strong?

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