We spent over 10 days testing 10 different kinds of above ground pool pumps and found that ease of set up, cost, and performance were the most important factors to consumers who were shopping for pool pumps for their above ground pools. The Blue Wave NE6171B Maxi Replacement Pump scored high above the rest in all categories and is our overall top pick. This self-priming, quiet pump offers high performance and efficiency and is easy to clean as well. There are two sizes available to choose from: 1 ½ HP and 1 HP.
Above Ground Pool Pump Buying Guide
The life of your above ground swimming pool has a lot to do with the quality of your pool pump. It is the primary part of the whole system that circulates the water in the pool so it can be cleaned, sanitized and heated if necessary and available. They are considered the heart of your above ground pool.
For this reason you will need to ensure that you choose the right pool pump for your pool that is neither too powerful nor too weak and that comes from a reliable company known for pool pumps. Above ground pools that do not have a pump have stagnant water that will be covered in algae, be a breeding ground for mosquitoes and be green to boot.
One of the biggest considerations you will have when it comes to purchasing an above ground pool, is the amount of energy it takes to run it properly. It used to be extremely expensive to run a pool pump at home but thanks to new technology, the prices have come down some. Even with these improvements in the technology, be aware that running a pool pump WILL raise your power bills.
Below we have listed some factors that go into determining how much energy a particular move will take.
- The size of your pool
- The strength of the pump your purchase
- Correctly matching the size of the pump with the size of the pool
- What brand is it? (Or are you considering?)
- What time of year is it?
- How long do you run the pump each day?
- When do you run it each day? (times)
- What is the cost per kilowatt hour in your area?
All of these factors will have an impact on the power bill. We’ve also included some tips below that will help you keep those power bills from going sky high.
1. Match the size of the pump with the pool – This is very important. Buying a larger pump than you need does nothing but raise your bills even higher, unnecessarily. Use the smallest sized pool pump you can to properly clean and filter your pool.
2. If possible, use a variable speed pump.
3. Don’t run the pump so often – Don’t go overboard the other way, as you do need to run the pump to keep the pool clean, but just consider following the manufacturer’s recommended minimum as a standard. Following these recommendations will provide you with a guarantee that your pool will be safe and clean. The number of recommended minimum hours of pool pump running will vary from pool to pool. You’ll have to do some detective work to figure out where the sweet spot is for your pump. Set the timer back a bit from the recommended minimum and then start testing your water clarity and chemical balance. Any kind of green tint is not good so you would need to up the hours) Most people don’t want to take the chance on not running the pump for at least the recommended minimum.
4. When is the off-peak time? – Check with your local power company to find out when the off-peak hours are and set the timer for your pool pump to run during those times. You can use an auto timer for more convenience and make sure that it is working by checking it each month.
5. Don’t run the pump two separate times per day – It takes more electricity to start up the motor of your pool pump than it does to run it for an extended period of time so don’t split up the times you run it. It is better from a power usage standpoint simply to schedule the pump run time for when the off-peak hours are.
Things to Consider when Purchasing a Pool Pump
There are several things you will need to take into consideration when you start shopping for a pool pump for your above ground pool. We have listed these considerations below.
Pump Size – Always look for the smallest pump you can get for the size of your pool. You do not need to overcompensate and get a large pump for a smaller pool. That will not only run up your power bills it will potentially burn up your filters, heaters, and cause other problems. If you are not sure what size pump to get for your pool contact the pool manufacturer and they will give you the right sized pump to get. You may even be able to find that information on the manufacturer’s website.
Variable Speed, Single Speed, or Dual Speed?
Many pool owners and professionals have opinions on which type of speed the motor should be for your pool pump. We have listed the pros and cons of each so you can make comparisons and decide for yourself.
Variable Speed – Variable speed pool pumps are known as the best type to get. This cost effective technology can save as much as 50 to 90% off your energy bills. A variable pool pump can vary the flow of water which makes the pump a lot more efficient than a single speed pump. It’s been said that using a variable speed pump can save pool owners hundreds if not thousands on their power bills; definitely a reason to consider this type of pump. The only real drawback to the variable speed pump is that they are a lot more expensive initially which could deter some pool owners.
Dual Speed – Dual speed pumps are less expensive than variable pumps and they will also reduce your power bills. Many pool owners prefer the dual speed pumps because they get the same benefits as the variable speed provides without the high initial cost. The difference in energy savings between the dual speed and the variable speed is not considerable so unless you just have a personal preference on the variable speed, the dual will do the job nicely.
Single Speed – Single speed pumps were the original styles and they are not very energy efficient at all. While advanced technology has helped this a little bit, you will certainly have higher bills with a single speed than you will with a dual or variable speed pump. Single speed pumps are the least expensive models as well which is why some pool owners opt for that choice and just implement the tips we have provided to compensate for the increased power usage.
Choosing the right pool pump is a big decision that you don’t want to make incorrectly. It is a big hassle to return things, especially after you have had to set it up and try it. For this reason, take the time to do your due diligence and learn what you need to look for and watch out for BEFORE you purchase. This guide and the reviews of the three top-rated pool pump choices are designed to help you avoid confusion and worry that you have chosen the wrong pump.
Be sure to implement the tips and strategies we have listed in the buying guide so you can sort through the different brands and choices and make a confident decision on the right pool pump for your needs. Taking the time to educate yourself before you purchase will eliminate the worry and stress that what you purchase won’t work. Remember that if you are just not sure what type of pump to get, calling the manufacturer of your above ground pool or going to their website will provide answers as well.