The 10 Best Above Ground Pool Pumps

best-above-ground-pool-pumps

If you want a swimming pool at home, you’ll need to factor in a certain amount of attention to maintenance and water quality.

Investing in the best above-ground pool pump will dramatically improve the overall quality of the water in your pool. By circulating and also filtering your water, a good pump gets the water moving around the pool evenly, and it also ensures your water stays free of debris and germs.

Overlook this area of pool maintenance and it’s only a matter of time until the water becomes unappetizing and stagnant. Why allow that to happen?

A pool pump is a simple but effective piece of equipment with 3 main parts to consider:

  • Motor
  • Impeller
  • Housing

The motor spins the impeller in the pump, and this directs water to the filter. The housing then sucks the water in and channels it toward the impeller for a constant flow.

When you’re comparing the best pool pumps, you’ll need to consider the turnover rate relative to the size of your pool – more on that below – so that all the water in the pool is adequately filtered once a day.

Today, then, we’re here to make your life as easy as possible on the buying trail. To kick off, we’ll highlight the top 10 pool pumps in this class. This will allow you to accurately assess the market and determine which pumps look like the smoothest fit for your above-ground pool.

We understand, though, that not everyone knows what they’re looking for when comparing pool pumps. To help you out if that applies, we round out today with a concise buying guide walking you through the key elements to bear in mind when you’re shopping pool pumps.

With that framework in place, let’s explore the best models at your disposal.

Wildrivercountry.com is reader-supported. When you buy via the links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you.

The 10 Best Above Ground Pool Pumps

1. Our #1 Pick: Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump

Intex-Krystal-Clear-Sand-Filter-Pump-for-Above-Ground-Pools

Features

  • Sand filter pump
  • 1600 GPH
  • 4 x 23.2 x 22.2 inches

Our overall favorite in our quest for the best above-ground pool pumps comes from the legendary Intex. If you’re new to home swimming pools, you’ll quickly become aware of the dominance of this brand, and this pump shows precisely why they excel.

The Krystal Clear line of pumps come in a range of configurations to suit all above-ground pools. This is part of a sand filter system, giving you a low-maintenance approach to purifying your pool water.

There are 6 functions baked in here:

  • Filter
  • Rinse
  • Recirculate
  • Backwash
  • Drain
  • Close system down

The automatic timer runs through a full 24 hours, so you’ll get around-the-clock coverage without needing to fuss around or lift a finger. Choose preset cycles from 1 to 12 hours for your push-button convenience.

Like all sand filter systems, you’ll get a user-friendly approach to filtration. Aside from regular backwashing to keep the sand working an as effective filter media, you won’t need to worry about anything else by the way of upkeep.

There’s a strainer basket that serves as an efficient pre-filter, prolonging the lifespan of your unit and helping to keep that water clarity as it should be.

With Hydro Aeration technology onboard, you’ll get more negative ions on the surface of the water, and resultantly the water will be crisper and clearer. Circulation will also be improved for across-the-board benefits.

The vast bulk of user reviews of this pump are positive, but we found several complaints about the quality of the threads on the hoses. This flashpoint set aside, most users sing the praises of the Intex pump.

Overall, this above-ground pool pump gives you everything you need and nothing that you don’t, and you won’t need to dig too deep for the privilege either.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • 6 function control
  • 24-hour timer
  • Strainer basket pre-filters debris
  • Issues with threads on hoses

2. Intex Krystal Clear Cartridge Pump

Intex-28633EG-Krystal-Clear-Cartridge-Filter-Pump-for-Above-Ground-Pools

Features

  • Cartridge filter pump
  • 2500 GPH
  • 75 x 18.5 x 16 inches

If you’re shopping for an above-ground pool pump based mainly on the convenience angle, there’s no substitute for a cartridge filter pump. Aside from exchanging the cartridge fortnightly, you won’t need to bother about any other maintenance with these pumps, and you won’t need to concern yourself with backwashing either.

The pump on this unit is double-insulated to improve efficiency while also increasing lifespan.

This pump is specifically designed for use with above-ground pools. The pump is meant for Intex pools. If you have a smaller pool, the pump might work, buy you may require adapters, and these don’t come bundled.

Setting up couldn’t be easier. All that’s required is to attach the hoses and then plug the unit in.

There’s a single cartridge included, and it’s recommended that you swap this out once every 2 weeks to keep your water quality at its finest.

The air release valve onboard helps if any air gets trapped inside the filter chamber. It’s these touches and attention to detail like this that elevates Intex from the opposition.

Of all the pumps on our shortlist today, the Intex is arguably the most user friendly even if you’re a total novice when it comes to home swimming pools.

If you scour through user reviews for this pool pump, they are universally positive. The complaints we found mention the absence of an auto shut-off valve, but this is hardly a deal-breaker. In most areas that count, this above-ground pool filter delivers in fine style as you would fully expect from Intex.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Very user-friendly
  • Sediment flush valve
  • Air release valve
  • No shut-off valve included

3. Hayward Power-Flo Above-Ground Pool Pump

Hayward-SP1580X15-Power-Flo-LX-Series-1-1/2-Horsepower-Above-Ground-Pool-Pump

Features

  • High-performance pump
  • 5 HP
  • 5 x 10 x 22.5 inches

Alongside Intex, Hayward is one of the other brands with a heavy presence in the pool space. This powerful little pump punches above its weight and shows why this manufacturer has such a solid reputation.

You get plenty of scope since this pump will work with both above-ground pools and on-ground pools unlike some of the Intex-specific pumps we review today.

Build quality is robust and the chassis is corrosion-proof. This thing will stand up to years of use without degrading at the hands of the elements or the chemicals in your pool water.

Under the hood is a 60-cycle motor. This is a single-phase unit developing 1.5 HP. Thanks to self-lubricating bearings, you won’t need to roll up your sleeves or break out the oil.

Thermal overload protection is a welcome touch and will help ensure you get the longest possible lifespan from this pool pump. This will shut down the motor until it cools sufficiently, at which point it will automatically restart.

There’s an oversized debris basket that helps to extend the time between emptying the unit. There’s a transparent cover on the pump that allows you to see at a glance when the basket requires cleaning.

For anyone looking for a powerful and no nonsense pool pump capable of efficiently circulating and cleaning your pool water, Hayward hits another homer here.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Single-phase motor
  • Thermal overload
  • No lubrication required
  • Lifespan could be improved

4. Hayward Super Pump

Hayward-SP2610X15-Super-Pump-1.5-HP-Pool-Pump

Features

  • Super pump
  • 5 HP
  • 75 x 11.3 x 10.75 inches

Next in line comes another Hayward pool pump exhibiting the trademark build quality and performance you would expect from this powerhouse.

Setting the pump up couldn’t be easier. Many people find themselves put off investing in a swimming pool for fear of complicated set-up and maintenance. If you choose the right equipment, though, it doesn’t need to be that way.

You can access all internal components quickly and easily thanks to the 4-bolt access.

Use the swing-away knobs to quickly and easily remove the strainer cover with no need for any tools, and without straining yourself.

The debris basket is large enough to stop you needing to continuously empty it. Again, convenience should always be uppermost in your mind when comparing the best above-ground pool pumps. Small touches like this make all the difference.

As you would expect, there’s a transparent cover allowing you to easily determine when the basket needs emptying.

A self-priming pump, this is one of the easiest-to-use models in a crowded segment of the market.

All Hayward products tend to be well-reviewed, and this pool pump is no exception. What negative blowback we could find mentioned the disappointing lifespan of the bearings on this pump. These are not expensive or difficult to repair, so we feel that’s a fairly small price to pay in return for the shower of benefits you get here.

Overall, you’re getting an efficient and affordable pool pump for your above-ground pool from a brand you can rely on. The best thing? This pump is also priced very competitively, so what are you waiting for?

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Oversized debris basket
  • Easy to remove strainer cover
  • Straightforward installation
  • Bearings wear away

5. Harris Above-Ground Pool Pump

Harris-H1572730-ProForce-1.5-HP-Above-Ground-Pool-Pump-115V

Features

  • Above-ground pump
  • 5 HP
  • 22 x 8 x 10.75 inches

Next up in our collection of the best above-ground pool pumps comes a powerful yet compact model from the highly reputable Harris.

This is a potent 1.5 HP pump ideal for most above-ground pools. The stainless steel shaft of the motor is built with long lifespan in mind. This is covered by a chassis made from thermoplastic. You’ll get no corrosion eating away at this pump even if you have a saltwater system or chemicals in your pool water.

Even though you’re getting a pump kicking out all the power you need, this thing runs pretty quietly, leaving you to enjoy some peace and quiet poolside.

This pump is also quite compact measuring just 22 x 8 x 10.75 inches. It only weighs 22 pounds, too, so you’re getting a great deal of performance in a very small package.

The strainer basket has an easy access twist-and-lock lid. You can also see through the transparent lid making it easy to see when you need to empty the basket.

A few disgruntled users have reported issues with suction when using this pump in tandem with a pool vacuum. They complain about a drop in pressure. Do your due diligence if you know in advance you’ll be running a pool vac on a regular basis. If you decide against the Harris, we have plenty of suitable alternatives, both above and below.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Corrosion-proof build
  • Easy to clean filter basket
  • Rock-solid construction
  • Suction drops hooked up to pool vac

6. Hayward Power-Flo Matrix Above-Ground Pool Pump

Hayward-SP1593-PowerFlo-Matrix-1.5-HP-Above-Ground-Swimming-Pool-Pump

Features

  • Above-ground pump
  • 5 HP
  • 5 x 23 x 11 inches

We return to the mighty Hayward stable next with the Power-Flo Matrix pump. How does this unit stand out, then?

Well, in many ways, it’s the fact it doesn’t stand out that makes this pool pump so popular. You’ll get the job you need carrying out performed in fine style with no fanfare and no tasky maintenance. Sounds good, right? Read on to see how this pump shapes up.

You can easily convert the pump between vertical and horizontal discharge with push-button ease.

If you’re unsure whether or not this pump makes a smooth fit with your above-ground pool, the manufacturer allows you to check that with ease right here.

You can choose from multiple configurations with this pump. The model we review is rated at 1.5 HP.

It’s not just the motor that delivers on this pump. The precision-engineered impeller has extra-wide openings to minimize the chance of any leaves and larger debris clogging up the works.

The drain plug baked in allows you to winterize this pump with ease, completing a winning package from an industry specialist at a lower price point than you might imagine. See what you think of this excellent pool pump.

Overall efficiency is first-class. You get a heat-resistant seal and a rear-mounted switch that helps you to keep the quality of your pool water immaculate without drawing down too much power.

Aside from the absence of an on/off switch, this pool pump performs well across the board and deserves a place on your shortlist when you’re comparing above-ground pool pumps.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Vertical or horizontal discharge
  • Push-button ease
  • Integrated strainer
  • No on/off switch

7. Hayward Perflex DE Pool Filter and Pump System

Hayward-W3EC40C92S-Perflex-1-HP-D.E.-Filter-Pump-System

Features

  • DE filter
  • 1 HP
  • 9 x 16.4 x 28.9 inches

DE pool filters and pumps are the gold standard of filtration. Making use of diatomaceous earth (DE) as a medium, you’ll remove even the tiniest particles and contaminants from your pool the easy way.

This model sits in the middle of the range and comes packing a 1.5 HP motor more than fit for purpose in most above-ground pools.

The extended cycle DE filter not only cleans with surgical precision, but it also get the job done quickly. The filter is capable of removing filters down to a size of 1 or 2 microns on the first pass through the water.

You’ll enjoy longer downtime between cleaning cycles thanks to the pioneering Flex Tube set-up in place here. Even better, a bump mechanism built in allows these tubes to automatically and continuously clean themselves.

With this pool pump, you’re buying into a brand that’s been providing top-tier equipment for pool owners just like you for almost a century. This pump is solidly built, corrosion-resistant, and built to withstand some heavy punishment and continuous use. DE pool pumps aren’t cheap, but you won’t begrudge spending that extra money when you see the quality and clarity of the water in your swimming pool at home.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Creates crystal clear water
  • Corrosion-free tank
  • Cleans pool quickly
  • Poor quality control

8. Harris Pro-Force Above-Ground Pool Pump

Harris-H1572729-ProForce-1-HP-Above-Ground-Pool-Pump-115V

Features

  • Above-ground pump
  • 1 HP
  • 25 x 11.25 x 8.5 inches

Another entry from the ever-reliable Harris up next as we push to the end of our pool pump reviews.

The shaft of this pump is made from stainless steel, giving you all the strength and durability you need to get things started strongly. Around this, you get a chassis constructed of thermoplastic, so you’ll get none of the corrosion that can eat away at less effective pool pumps.

Running on 115 volts, this pump is intended for use in North America. If you run on 220 volts, this is unsuitable for your needs.

With 1.5-inch internal threading and 2.5-inch and a standard 3-prong connection, setting this pump up requires no expertise and no tedious set-up either.

As well as running with extreme efficiency, this is another super-quiet pool pump. Kick back on your lounger with crystal clear water around you without any concerns about background noise bothering you.

There is a strainer onboard and this packs a filter basket that’s just as easy to access as it is to clean.

For a powerful, energy-efficient, and long-lasting pool pump from an industry heavyweight, look no further.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Strainer with filter basket
  • Highly efficient
  • Runs whisper-quiet
  • No auto shut-off

9. Doheny’s Above-Ground Pool Pump

Doheny's-Above-Ground-Pool-Pro-Swimming-Pool-Pumps-(1.5-HP)

Features

  • Above-ground pump
  • 5 HP
  • 6 x 20.4 x 20.2 inches

If you have an above-ground pool at home, you need the right pump to prevent the water stagnating, and to keep it germ-free. Doheny’s Pool Pro is a superb example well worth your further investigation.

To lead off with the weak point of this pump, several users report that the pressure is something of a disappointment.

The good news? This is about the only drawback we could find when scouring a sea of positive user reviews.

The stainless steel shaft of this pump is housed by thermoplastic. You’ll get no corrosion, even if the pump is in place for years. The same can’t be said for many of the ineffective pumps glutting this vertical.

Connections allow you to very easily install this pump in place of whatever you have in your pool at the moment. Never be afraid to upgrade the stock pump bundled with your above-ground pool. These seldom deliver.

You’ll find no resistance when you come to remove the strainer lid. The transparent lid allows you to clearly see when it needs twisting, unlocking, and emptying.

For a long-lasting pool pump capable of circulating your water and keeping stagnation at bay, this model from Doheny’s is a strong performer in all the areas that count.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Stainless steel shaft
  • Lengthy lifespan
  • Quiet and efficient
  • Pressure could be improved

10. Blue Wave Maxi Replacement Pump

Blue-Wave-NE6171B-Maxi-Replacement-Pump-for-Above-Ground-Pools

Features

  • Above-ground pump
  • 5 HP
  • 24 x 11 x 9 inches

Last but by no means least as we search for the best above-ground pool pump, Blue Wave’s Maxi pump is well worth a place on your shortlist.

This lightweight electric pump runs on 110 volts only, so make certain you live somewhere using this system rather than 220 volts. You’ll get a 6-foot power cord included. We would like this to be a little longer.

The pump itself is self-priming, so your input is slashed to the bare minimum. This is as it should be with pool equipment. You should be enjoying your time in the pool rather than fussing around over maintenance.

The vertical discharge suits most filters. You can convert this to vertical discharge thanks to the dual-port design. This flexibility alone has gained the Blue Wave plenty of faithful fans.

You can keep your eye on when the filter needs cleaning thanks to the see-through viewing window.

This is the 1.5 HP version of this pump. You can also find a 1 HP iteration if you don’t need quite as much firepower for your smaller home swimming pool. We wouldn’t recommend downsizing, though. A handful of users suggest even the larger model feels underpowered.

The polymer build should ward off the corrosion that tends to blight cheaper and less effective pool pumps. This unit is also priced very reasonably, so why take a chance on an unknown?

As an added kicker, this pump runs extremely quietly, too. Relax with your book and a cocktail without being disturbed by the menacing thrum of a pool pump.

If you’re looking for a versatile and efficient pool pump for your above-ground pool, this is one of the strongest options on our shortlist.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Self-priming pump
  • User-friendly
  • Easy to clean
  • Feels underpowered

Things You Should Consider

Above-Ground-Pool-Pumps

Now, with that cross-section of the best above-ground pool pumps reviewed, you should have a clear understanding of how these pumps stand and fall.

Focus on the following pointers when you’re comparing swimming pool pumps:

  • Speed
  • Size of your pool
  • Horsepower
  • Noise level

Speed

When you buy a new pool pump, it will usually have different options when it comes to pumping speed. The usual choices are low, medium, and high.

The quicker the pump runs, the less power it will use, so you’ll save money over time with a brisk pool pump.

Beyond this, you’ll find pool pumps in the following guises:

  • Single speed
  • Dual-speed
  • Variable speed

Single speed

The most common pool pumps come with a single speed, typically quite high. The motor will spin the impeller at a speed dependent on the horsepower rating of the motor – more on that below. This speed cannot be adjusted, so you’ll need to ensure it’s fit for purpose in your pool.

Single-speed pumps are prohibited in some states like California on the grounds of energy usage. Given the speed at which these pumps operate, they can cost quite a lot if left to run continuously.

Dual-speed

A dual-speed pump allows you to flick between low and high speeds. The high speed is the same as you would find on a single speed pump.

Step things down the lower speed for added versatility and the chance to save power if required. Set your pump to run at low speeds during off-peak times when nobody is in the pool. You won’t enjoy this same flexibility with a single-speed alternative.

Variable speed

Variable speed pool pumps are equipped with a PMM (permanent magnetic motor) much like the motor used in a car. They need no electricity and can be regulated to any speed digitally.

This type of pool pump is substantially more expensive, although it’s quieter, much more efficient, and more durable in return for that stiff price tag.

Size of your pool

The next thing you need to weigh up when you’re shopping for pool pumps is the size of your swimming pool. This is measured in gallons.

Once you have the capacity of your pool, you’ll need to divide the total number of gallons by 8. This is the length of time in hours it should take to circulate the whole swimming pool. The result of this calculation will help you to establish what flow rate you need in a pool pump for it to be an effective asset to your pool.

Pumps will come with the flow rate expressed in terms of GPM (gallons per minute), meaning you’ll need to divide the total result by 60 so you can determine how many gallons of water your pool pump will circulate each minute.

Horsepower

The motors of pool pumps are rated in terms of horsepower. We clearly draw your attention to this throughout our reviews so you can readily compare these pumps like-for-like.

Noise level

You want a pool pump that’s powerful enough to efficiently circulate the water throughout your entire pool, but it’s vital to get one that operates quietly unless you want your precious pool-time disturbed by a tedious background hum.

Get all these bases covered and you should have very little trouble finding the right pool pump even if you’re a complete beginner.

To finish our guide to choosing the best above-ground pool pumps, we have a collection of the most frequently asked questions so you have everything you need in one place.


FAQs

1) Does a pool filter pump keep the walls and bottom of my pool clean?

It doesn’t, no. As long as you have the right chemicals in place, a pump will help to keep your pool free of suspended water particles. For the bottom of the pool, you’ll need a pool vacuum. Even this won’t be enough for the very fine dust and sand that sinks to the bottom, though. So a pool filter and pump alone won’t be enough for proper pool health.

2) What’s the point of a pool pump?

A pool pump has one simple purpose: to efficiently circulate the water in the swimming pool. The reason this is necessary is to prevent the water becoming stagnant over time. As the pump circulates the water, this also serves to purify it and to remove suspended particles.

3) Is it worth investing in a variable speed pool pump?

It depends. The key draw of these units is the freedom you get to manipulate the speed to suit pool occupancy and your requirements. The object is to save money by running the pump at lower speeds when there’s nobody using it. Given the fact these pumps are much more expensive to buy, you are unlikely to make significant savings when you factor in the extra upfront cost.

4) What is a GFCI?

You’ll see this acronym as you browse the best pool pumps, and GFCI means ground fault circuit interrupter. What you’re getting is a simple but effective circuit breaker. This electronic device helps to prevent anyone from suffering an electric shock. If there is any discrepancy in electricity flow, the circuit breaker kicks in for safety’s sake.

5) When do single speed pool pumps make a good choice?

If you want a high-powered pool pump capable of running a skimmer, a filter, and other pool equipment, and you only use your pool for perhaps 3 or 4 months a year, investing in a single speed pump is a smart bet.

6) What’s the advantage of using a cartridge filter pump?

The primary benefit of this type of system is the way you can simply exchange the cartridge once every couple of weeks and that’s about all you’ll need to do. If you’re looking for a set-and-forget approach to pool circulation and filtration, you can’t go wrong with a cartridge set-up.

7) What is the role of the impeller on a swimming pool pump?

This crucial component is an inverted blade that spins quickly, sucks in the water, then pushes it into the filter on your system.

8) What is the advantage of choosing a dual-speed pool pump?

These pumps give you more flexibility than single speed pumps, but you won’t need to dig as deep as for a variable speed model. By dialing back the speed of the pump during off-peak hours, you can save money on your power bill without experiencing any loss in water quality when you’re swimming.

9) Why should I look for a motor with a high horsepower rating?

If you have plenty of power on tap, you’ll circulate the water in your entire pool more efficiently and more rapidly. Resultantly, you won’t need to run your pump as often, and you’ll save money over time. A more capable motor should also last longer into the bargain as an added kicker.

10) Why is the voltage of a pool pump important?

You’ll either plug your pump into a power outlet or have it hardwired into your electrical system. Either way, you’ll need to check for compatibility first.


Conclusion

Maybe you arrived here at Wild River Country today without any idea how to choose the best above-ground pool pump. That should now have changed.

Once you strip pool pumps down to the basics, it’s really not that hard to find the right fit. We hope our buying guide simplifies this for you further

If you opt for any of the pool pumps we review today, you can buy them knowing precisely where they stand and fall. If you run into a pump not on our shortlist, we hope you find our buying guidance informs your decision and lets you buy with confidence.

Before you go, we suggest you bookmark our blog. We bring you fresh content every day on all aspects of pool ownership, so be sure to pop back whenever you need a helping hand choosing the best pool equipment. See you soon!

Leave a Comment