Finding the right filters for your swimming pool requires knowing your options. This guide explains everything to know about buying pool filters.
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The Complete Guide to Buying Pool Filters: Everything to Know

According to the Census Bureau, 16% of American residences have a pool. That large number of pools in turn requires a large number of pool parts and accessories, including swimming pool filters. The right filter keeps your pool clean and avoids letting bacteria build up in the water.

Different pools, however, need different types of filters. Pool filter technology has changed over time.

If you’re looking into buying pool filters, take a look at our guide to the different types first. You should go into the process with a clear sense of what suits your pool.

Keep reading to learn more. 

Three Types to Look For When Buying Pool Filters

Most home pool filters fall into one of three categories. They use different filter materials. This affects how effectively they filter particles and how much time and effort they take to use and maintain.

All swimming pool filters work the same way. The water in your pool goes through a filtering medium, which catches particles smaller than the water. The water then goes back into the pool without any particles inside.

Pool Filter Performance

When assessing pool filter options, you’ll want to look at a filter’s rating in microns. A micron rating indicates the smallest particle the filter will catch, so a lower number performs better.

Human vision won’t see things smaller than 35 microns. A good pool filter will strain particles down to 30 microns at a minimum, and ideally smaller. Some will go all the way down to one micron.

A filter’s performance will ultimately come with tradeoffs on cost, regardless of what filter you get.

Sand Filters

Sand filters make a great budget choice for a pool filter. Sand filters use pool filter sand to strain particles.

Sand filters make a good choice for low-maintenance pool filtration. They only require a backwash and rinse cycle to clean, and the sand inside only needs to be replaced about every five years.

Cartridge Filters

Marrying ease of maintenance and solid performance, cartridge filters have earned their spot as the most common type of filter. While they don’t always lead when comparing filter costs, they offer versatility.

Cartridge filters will also indicate when they need to be cleaned. Filters do need periodic replacement, but not more often than once every few years.

A cartridge filter’s performance depends on the type of cartridge. A cartridge manufacturer will tell you the cartridge’s rating. Click for more examples of cartridges with listed micron ratings.

Diatomaceous Earth Filters

Diatomaceous earth filters use a special compound to scrub your pool’s water. These filters catch the finest particles, but require frequent backwashing and cleaning. They also get clogged often, come with a higher expense, and need to be cleaned with care, as the particles can be carcinogenic.

That said, the water in a pool with a diatomaceous earth filter will be quite clean. Check your local regulations, as there may be restrictions on backwashing this type of filter.

Balance Budget and Effectiveness with Filters

No single correct answer exists when it comes to buying pool filters. Each system comes with tradeoffs between performance, maintenance, and expense. Weigh all three factors when picking out a pool filter.

Hoping your pool gets you swimming more and improves your overall fitness? Check out our health section for ways to supplement your swimming routine.


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