Choosing the Right Pool Filter for Your Above Ground Pool

Find the perfect filter to maintain your Above Ground pool water effectively.


When it comes to enjoying your above ground pool to the fullest, one essential aspect to consider is the pool filter. Pool accessories like the filter play a pivotal role in maintaining crystal-clear water and ensuring a safe swimming environment for you and your loved ones. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the various types of pool filters available for your above ground pool and help you make an informed decision that suits your needs and budget.

The Importance of a Reliable Pool Filter

Before delving into the specifics of pool filters, let's understand why they are vital for your above ground pool. Pool accessories, including the filter, help keep your water clean and free from contaminants such as dirt, debris, and harmful microorganisms. Without a proper filter system in place, your pool can quickly turn into a breeding ground for algae and bacteria, rendering it unusable and potentially harmful to swimmers.

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The Key Role of Pool Accessories in Water Clarity

To maintain pristine water quality in your above ground pool, you'll need to invest in the right pool accessories, and the filter is at the heart of this endeavor. By removing impurities from the water, your filter ensures that you can enjoy a refreshing swim without worrying about waterborne illnesses or murky conditions. Now, let's explore the three main types of pool filters available for your above ground pool.

Sand Filters: Affordable and Effective

When it comes to pool filters, sand filters are a popular choice for many above ground pool owners. These filters utilize a specific type of sand, called silica sand, to capture debris and contaminants from the water. Sand filters are known for their affordability and effectiveness in keeping your pool water clean.

How Sand Filters Work

Sand filters work by pushing pool water through a bed of fine silica sand. As the water passes through the sand, the particles and impurities are trapped, leaving behind clean and clear water that is returned to the pool. Maintenance is relatively straightforward, as all you need to do is backwash the filter periodically to flush out the collected debris.

Pros of Sand Filters


Sand filters are budget-friendly pool accessories, making them an excellent choice for those looking to save money.

Low Maintenance

Routine backwashing is all that's required to maintain their efficiency.

Effective Filtration

Sand filters can capture particles as small as 20-40 microns, ensuring clear water.

Cons of Sand Filters

Waste Water

Backwashing results in water wastage, which may not be suitable for water conservation efforts.

Regular Replacement

The silica sand needs replacement every few years, incurring additional costs.

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Cartridge Filters: Low Maintenance, High Performance

Cartridge filters are another option for above ground pool owners seeking efficient and low-maintenance pool accessories. These filters use a replaceable cartridge made of pleated polyester to filter out debris and contaminants from your pool water.

How Cartridge Filters Work

Cartridge filters operate by pushing water through the pleated cartridge, where impurities are trapped. When the cartridge becomes dirty or clogged, it can be easily removed and cleaned or replaced with a new one. This simplicity makes cartridge filters a favorite among pool owners.

Pros of Cartridge Filters

Low Maintenance

Cleaning or replacing the cartridge is hassle-free, and there's no backwashing involved.

Energy Efficient

Cartridge filters generally require lower pump speeds, saving on energy costs.

Excellent Filtration

Cartridge filters can capture particles as small as 10-15 microns, ensuring crystal-clear water.

Cons of Cartridge Filters

Initial Cost

Cartridge filters tend to have a higher upfront cost compared to sand filters.

Replacement Costs

Cartridges do need periodic replacement.

DE Filters: Top-Tier Filtration

If you're seeking the highest level of filtration for your above ground pool, diatomaceous earth (DE) filters should be on your radar. These pool accessories use a fine powder made from fossilized diatoms to achieve superior water clarity.

How DE Filters Work

DE filters operate by coating a series of grids or elements with the diatomaceous earth powder. As pool water passes through these grids, the tiny DE particles trap even the smallest impurities. DE filters are known for their exceptional filtration capabilities.

Pros of DE Filters

Unrivaled Filtration

DE filters can capture particles as small as 2-5 microns, ensuring the cleanest water possible.

Minimal Backwashing

Backwashing is infrequent compared to sand filters, reducing water wastage.

Long Lifespan

With proper maintenance, DE filters can last for many years.

Cons of DE Filters

Higher Initial Cost

DE filters are the most expensive option among the three.

Complex Maintenance

Cleaning and recharging the DE powder can be more involved than other filter types.

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Choosing the Right Size

Once you've determined the type of filter that suits your above ground pool best, it's crucial to select the right size. The size of your pool filter should match the volume of water in your pool to ensure optimal performance.

Calculating Filter Size

To calculate the appropriate filter size, you'll need to know your pool's volume in gallons. Most pool filters are labeled with a flow rate in gallons per minute (GPM). Ideally, your filter should be able to turn over the entire pool volume in 6 to 8 hours.


It's important not to undersize your filter. An undersized filter will struggle to keep your water clean. Choosing the right size is a critical step in optimizing the performance of your pool accessories.

Maintenance Tips for Longevity

To keep your pool filter operating efficiently, regular maintenance is essential. Neglecting maintenance can lead to reduced filtration performance and increased energy consumption. Here are some key maintenance tips for all types of pool filters:

Regular Cleaning

Cleaning is a vital part of filter maintenance. Cartridge filters should be removed and cleaned when the pressure gauge indicates increased pressure (usually a 10-15 PSI increase). For sand and DE filters, periodic backwashing or disassembly and cleaning are necessary.

Check Seals and O-Rings

Inspect the seals and O-rings for wear and tear. Replace them if necessary to prevent leaks and maintain a tight seal.

Monitor Pressure Gauges

Most filters come with pressure gauges. Keep an eye on the pressure readings, and if they remain consistently high after cleaning, it may be time for more extensive maintenance or replacement.

Schedule Professional Service

Consider scheduling annual professional service to ensure your filter is in top condition. A professional can identify and address any issues you might miss during routine maintenance.

Proper Chemical Balance

Maintaining the correct chemical balance in your pool water is crucial. Proper water chemistry reduces the workload on your filter and prolongs its lifespan.

Conclusion: Enjoy Your Clear and Clean Pool

In conclusion, choosing the right pool filter for your above ground pool is essential to enjoying a clear and safe swimming environment. Whether you opt for a sand filter, cartridge filter, or DE filter, it's crucial to consider your pool's size, your budget, and your maintenance preferences.

Remember that pool accessories, including the filter, play a vital role in maintaining water clarity and safety. By selecting the right filter and following proper maintenance practices, you can look forward to many enjoyable hours in your above ground pool, with crystal-clear water and peace of mind. Make the right choice, and your pool will be the perfect oasis for relaxation and fun all summer long.

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