Updated May 16, 2019 by Brett Dvoretz

The 10 Best Sand Filters

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Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive

This wiki has been updated 23 times since it was first published in April of 2015. Sand filters are considered to be a far more efficient and effective method of keeping fine particles out of your water than traditional cartridge models, whether your pool is above or below ground. They also generally require less maintenance, so if you prefer to spend your time enjoying rather than servicing your backyard oasis, one of these units may be right for you. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best sand filter on Amazon.

10. Sand Master Soft-Sided

9. Game SandPro 50D

8. Pentair 145333

7. Hayward VL40T32

6. Hayward VL210T1285S

5. Rx Clear Radiant

4. Hayward SandMaster

3. Pentair Sand Dollar

2. Intex Krystal Clear

1. Hayward S310T2 ProSeries

Editor's Notes

May 13, 2019:

Many homeowners may not be familiar with sand filters, but they actually offer a number of benefits over traditional cartridge models. Without listing them all here, suffice it to say that they generally result in cleaner water with less need for manual intervention. If you have an in-ground pool, the Hayward S310T2 ProSeries, Rx Clear Radiant, Hayward SandMaster, and Pentair 145333 are your best options. It is assumed that you will already have an installed pump system in your in-ground pool, so these don't come with them. On the other hand, all of the above-ground pool models on our list do come with the pump included, which is nice because this means the performance of the pump and the filter should be perfectly matched. Of the above-ground pool models we have ranked, the Pentair Sand Dollar and Hayward VL210T1285S are the most powerful options. Both features a 1.5-horsepower motor, making them the best options for larger above-ground pools. If your lagoon is small, say in the 5,000- to 15,000-gallon range, you can save a little money and go with a smaller unit, like the Intex Krystal Clear, Hayward VL40T32, Game SandPro 50D, or Sand Master Soft-Sided.

Swimming Pool Maintenance

Spending the time and money to establish a proper filtration system can greatly reduce the effort you'll need to expend in routine pool maintenance.

A swimming pool is an ideal way for you to maintain physical fitness, keep cool in the summer, and to provide hours of fun for your family and friends. However a private pool also requires a large investment of cash and plenty of time spent on maintenance; if a pool is not properly cleaned and maintained it becomes not only unpleasant and uninviting, but can in fact be unsanitary and unsafe.

Fortunately, with the right setup, a pool requires only minimal care. Spending the time and money to establish a proper filtration system can greatly reduce the effort you'll need to expend in routine pool maintenance. The right filter can even save you money in the long run, reducing the need for chemicals, cleaners, and the associated tools and labor.

The type and balance of chemicals you use to maintain water sanitation should be dictated by the number of gallons of water in the pool; follow the guidelines associated with your sanitation program carefully, as many of the chemicals used in pool cleaning and maintenance are highly caustic. Also ensure that your chosen water treatment regimen works in tandem with the pool's filter.

Before selecting the type of filter you will install for your pool, first consider the size and type of pool. Most above ground pools are smaller than in-ground pools in terms of both surface area and depth, which of course means their actual volume of water is less; in-ground pools often have a deceptively large amount of water in them because of their varied depths.

You must also consider the location of your pool relative to the local flora. If your property is surrounded by trees that drop copious amounts of leaves, flowers, pollen, or other types of debris, your pool's filter is going to have to work harder and may require more frequent maintenance and cleaning than a system set up in a more open lot. If your pool will be covered when not in use, a smaller capacity filter may be suitable. For the pool that is seldom or never covered, the filter and the skimming net will be the only lines of defense against dirty water. Consider all these factors before investing in a pool filter, and consider a sand filter when it comes time to decide. Sand filters can cost anywhere from one or two hundred dollars to many hundreds, but they are well worth their cost, being reliable and relatively easy to maintain.

Choosing The Right Sand Filter

Not surprisingly, the volume of water in your pool is the single largest factor informing your the choice of the right sand filter. Many smaller, lower cost sand filters are suitable for pools with 10,000 gallons of water or less, while larger units may be more than adequate for filtering pools with 30,000 gallons or more. (Note that the average sized in-ground residential pool is about twenty feet long by forty feet wide and will hold approximately 25,000 to 30,000 gallons of water.)

The frequency of use and the debris likely to fall into a pool also informs which filter is the best choice for you.

Once you know how much water your pool holds, you can narrow down your selection of sand filters. Next decide how large a filter suits your property; there are many high-capacity sand filters that are relatively compact units, making them a good choice when space is at a premium. There are also filters that offer powerful suction and can move water long distances, allowing the filter to be placed dozens of feet away from a pool, even tucked into a shed or garage for unobtrusive placement.

The frequency of use and the debris likely to fall into a pool also informs which filter is the best choice for you. For heavily used pools, a high gallon-per-hour (sometimes calculated by gallon-per-minute as well) flow rate is important. Also consider the actual volume of sand a filter can hold, as more sand means more filtration. Some sand filters hold only a few dozen pounds of sand, while others hold up to five hundred pounds.

Last, consider features that might not be critical for proper pool filtration, but that are nonetheless perks. Some sand filters have timers that can be used to establish a pool cleaning schedule that can reduce power consumption, while others have sand drains that makes replacing their sand much easier, for example.

Basic Sand Filter Maintenance

Many sand filters require almost no maintenance from year to year to year. Smaller units, such as those holding less than one hundred pounds of sand, should have their sand replaced at least annually, though.

After making sure the chemical treatment regimen for your pool is in balance, one of the simplest ways to keep your pool clean is to keep your filter clean and working well. This can be easily accomplished by frequently backwashing the filter. The process is simple: just shut off the unit's motor, change its setting from filter to backwash (it may also read clean or another similar word or phrasing), extend a backwash or drain hose if such is present, and then turn the unit back on. Make sure all valves are open during this process, which should require no more than two or three minutes for an effective clean out.

If you see sand in the pool (not brought in by feet or the breeze), you are either using a sand that's too fine for your system, or else your unit's filter sand bed needs to be replaced. And note that sand filter tanks rarely leak, though the hoses and attachment points might have leaking issues. Leaking water likely does not necessitate a replacement, but rather some simple maintenance.

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Brett Dvoretz
Last updated on May 16, 2019 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as in front of a laptop screen, Brett can either be found hacking away furiously at the keyboard or, perhaps, enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He has been a professional chef, a dog trainer, and a travel correspondent for a well-known Southeast Asian guidebook. He also holds a business degree and has spent more time than he cares to admit in boring office jobs. He has an odd obsession for playing with the latest gadgets and working on motorcycles and old Jeeps. His expertise, honed over years of experience, is in the areas of computers, electronics, travel gear, pet products, and kitchen, office and automotive equipment.

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