You’ve come to the mountain top, seeking wisdom and truth, or the answer to a question that has plagued humanity for all time… “What is the best pool pump?”
But the question cannot be answered without some other key insights, namely your Pool Type, Filter Design Flow Rate and estimated Resistance, in Feet of Head.
What’s Your Pool Type?
Above ground or in ground? Aboveground pool pumps are meant to operate below the water level, on the ground next to the pool. Inground pumps are “self-priming” and can lift water several feet.
Simple or Complex Pool? A small pool with 1 or 2 skimmers and a main drain can use a smaller pump, but pools with attached spas, waterfalls, solar heaters or built in cleaners may need a larger pump.
Small or Large Pool? A pump should be able to turnover the entire water volume during an 8-hour period. For example, if your pool is 20,000 gallons, you want a pump that can pump 41.6 gallons per minute, on average. (20000 gals \ 480 mins = 41.66 gpm)
Pool Filter Design Flow Rate?
Every pool filter is designed to work best with a certain flow rate of water. If the filter design flow rate is exceeded, it results in poor filtration and filter damage. Lower flow rates do not generally pose a problem, however.
Larger pool filters with more surface area will have higher design flow rates, but every pool filter is different, from 30 gpm to 150 gpm, depending on size and type of pool filter.
Find your Design Flow Rate on the pool filter label, owner’s manual, spec sheet or brochure. You can also find this Performance Data listed on our pool filters pages.
Now that you know your Pool Type and your particular pool filter’s Design Flow Rate, you are halfway to finding the perfect pump for your pool!
OK, here’s where it gets a bit tricky, stay with me… Every pool system has a total resistance that the pump must overcome. The water has to be pulled and pushed through pipes that bend and twist and it’s forced through impellers and filters, squeezed through heaters and valves – and all of the pipes, fittings and equipment adds to the total resistance, measured in Feet of Head.
A simple pool with one skimmer and no heater has a fairly low resistance level, in the 15-20 ft/hd (Feet of Head) range. Add another skimmer, a heater and maybe a spa and more complex pools can be much higher, in the 45-60 ft/hd range. Most inground pools probably fall in the 25-45 ft/hd range.
It’s an important part of the pool pump selection process, because you want to match the pump to both Design Flow Rate and the amount of Resistance it has to overcome.
We use pump flow curves, or pump performance charts to find the sweet spot, where the Resistance and design Flow Rate intersect. For example, the SPX2610X15 will pump 90 gpm at 30 ft of head, with a clean filter and baskets.
Bringing it All Together
The best pool pump for you then, is that particular pump that can deliver the flow rate to match your pool filter’s design flow rate while overcoming the resistance in your system.
That may be the exact same pump that you are replacing. Unless you had real performance problems with your pool pump, the best pump for you may be the same make, model and horsepower pump.
The same pool pump will also match up to the plumbing pipes, but a different pump will have a slightly different height and depth where the pipes connect.
Another option with less math involved, is to buy a variable speed pool pump. You can set multiple speeds to match your existing equipment, and at the same time cut your electrical usage in half. Prices on VS Pool Pumps have come down to the $750 range.
One More Tip: Remember that not all horsepower pumps are equal. Every pump, regardless of horsepower, has it’s own flow rate. A WhisperFlo 1 hp for example, can produce nearly double the flow rate of the Super Pump 1 hp; and that’s not always a good thing! Don’t oversize the pool pump – you’ll save energy, wear and tear and filter the water more effectively.
Call our Techs for help in selecting your next pool pump, or send an email in with all the pertinent information about your pool and pool equipment and our guys will give you some options for the best pool pump for you; and your pool.
InTheSwim Blog Editor