6 Best Above Ground Pool Filters & Keep Your Pool Clean Like Ever Before

Why is pool filter mandatory for above ground pools?

Although having a pool filter is the most logical equipment to own when you already own an above ground pool, I’ve seen so many people who don’t use one. I was shocked to find out how some people are not really aware of the importance of having a good pool filter. I mean, if you can spend so much money on the above ground pool, what is the problem for you to spare some additional money for such a piece of valuable equipment such as pool filter.

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I can never understand people who prefer money over health. Here, let’s see why your pool and you essentially need one of these important pieces of equipment in your pool. To select the best above ground pool filter for your pool you must be familiar with the above ground filter setup and their functionalities as well.

It keeps your water clean and clear

Imagine going into a nearby swimming pool and seeing brown and dirty water? Well, I certainly can, because once I went to this nearby swimming pool and witnessed the exact same scene. There were so many people swimming and with a broken pool filter system which wasn’t operating properly.

I was disgusted by the fact that how come someone can swim in such dirty water. Also, what shocked the persons in charge allowed that pool to be opened and used by the public. Anyways, at that moment, I realized how lucky I was that I owned a very good above ground pool filter cleaning the water in my pool at home. Of course, I didn’t swim in that pool. Instead, I went home and took bath in my clean and clear above ground pool which was cleaned and filtered by a high-quality pool filter.

Lower costs of maintenance and less time needed

Another great thing about above ground pool filters is that it significantly cut your costs of maintenance your swimming pool . Usually, people with no filter give hundreds of dollars annually to keep their pool clean.

They spend so much money on chlorophyll and other chemicals that just partially replace the filter. So, basically, if you don’t have pool filter, you are forced to give so much money and still you won’t get equally good results as you would get if you have one of those. Also, having a pool filter notably shortens time needed for keeping the pool clean. I still remember when my filter got broken, and I was waiting for it to get repaired for like two weeks.

Unfortunately, it happened to me in the middle of summer, when everyone was enjoying the pleasures of swimming in the pool. Man, I lost so much time just trying to keep the water in satisfying conditions so that everyone can swim in it without any problem. I was even forced to refill the pool a couple of times because water got dirty and brown at a regular interval.

While everyone else was having fun, I had to spend approx 2-3 hours every day taking care of water in the pool. When I got my filter back I felt so much relief. From that moment, one of my biggest fears is getting my filter getting broken. That’s why I’m cautious about my above ground pool filter and I am taking better care of it now more than ever.

It makes water in pool healthier

It’s not a huge revelation when I say that pool filters help you keep the water in your pool cleaner and more hygienic. Of course, they can hardly remove all the bacterias and other unhygienic things from your pool, but they can reduce such substance and dirt from your pool very effectively. Most of the filters are capable of catching tiny fragments that are smaller than 20, 30 microns.

So, basically, filters actually help in removing bad things from your pool that you can’t even see with your naked eye. There is no need to tell you how unhealthy dirt, fragments of soil and other substances in water can be.

Therefore, it’s better to prevent all unnecessary and unwanted consequences, than curing them. Owning a high-quality above ground pool filter I never have to worry about the health of me and my family, and we can enjoy the pool to the most. That’s why I highly recommend you to buy one of these above ground pool filters if you already don’t own one.

What types of above ground pool filters exist?

Before we move to our best above pool ground filter, let’s check out what are the types of above ground pool filters are available in the market. It is very important that check out various types of pool filters to understand how these filters work and choose the best one.

Above ground pool sand filters

These filters are the oldest designed ones, and they have their benefits and drawbacks. Considering they are the oldest designed filters, they are also the most powerful. However, if you are not one of those hard working persons and want to own a  filter that is easy to maintain, you’ll like these type of filters.

They are very easy to maintain, and you can clean them without running into any serious problems. However, they require much more frequent cleaning, so you’ll have to spend more time cleaning these filters. I know it sounds bad, but actually, you will see that it’s not so hard thing to do, as sand filters are designed to be easily cleaned.

The good thing about sand filters is that they last for a very long time; some of them last for even 10 years. What size of sand filter you are using for your above ground pool also makes a big difference. I remember that I was a young man when my uncle bought his sand filter, and he still uses the exact same filter.

Also, the great thing is that these filters are actually pretty cheap. Can you imagine that? You get such a durable and quality filter for not so much money. Plus, given that they are most powerful filters, it rarely happens they function properly on the long run, and you definitely don’t want this to happen to you, it’s undoubtedly one of the worst things can occur when it comes to any kind of filters. So, you get many benefits from using sand filters, but let’s see what are the problems that come with using them.

First of all, they are the least efficient filters from all three types of filters. They can catch substances sized 20 microns or more, which is cool, but other filters can do better. Also, backwashing and rinsing cause water waste. Unlike other filters, sand filters don’t return all of the water back into the pool, but rather wastes a little amount of it. Also, great power implies big costs of electricity, so there is another drawback of using sand filters. But still, they are not such big problems really.

Above ground pool cartridge filters

Above ground pool, owners are debating eternally which one type of filter is better – sand filter or cartridge filter? Well, it’s a really big dilemma, but we cannot explicitly say whether this one is the better choice or the latter. But, let’s see what are the advantages and disadvantages of cartridge filters.

First of all, cartridge filters are more effective considering they clean much smaller fragments of debris and dirt from the pool, down to 15 microns. Also, cartridge filters are less powerful which may cause these filters to get stuck more often. However, that has a good side, as you will spend less money on electricity. So, if you are looking for above ground pool filter that will save you both resources and money for electricity, you should try cartridge filters.

But, this type of filters is less durable than sand filters. While sand filters can last for the whole decade, you need to change cartridge filter every 2 to 3 years. In addition, cartridge filters require much deeper and demanding cleaning. Therefore, if don’t like cleaning in general, this filter is maybe not for you.

DE filters

I don’t recommend you to buy DE filters because of many reasons, and that’s why there will be no featured DE filters in the top 5 list in this article. I really don’t want something bad happens to you, and that’s why I will avoid taking such kind of risk. Why is it risky to use DE filters you ask? Well, there are a couple of reasons. First of all, I need to say that DE filters are most effective, considering they can clean substances sized down to only 4 microns which is phenomenal.

Anyway, there are many other bad things that can cause so much damage to you. First of all, unless you are planning to spend a real fortune to buy this kind of filter, you should avoid buying it because it is very expensive. Secondly, DE filters use DE powder which can cause health hazards under few circumstances. That’s also the reason why locals will even forbid you from using this filter. So, if you don’t want to see cops in front of your house, either be sure you are using DE filter properly, either don’t use it at all.

How to choose the most adequate above ground pool filter?

I know that you came here to see the best above ground pool filters, and you are already bored, but it is very important for you to pick the most appropriate pool filter for your above ground pool. So, here are few tips for choosing the most adequate above ground pool filter.

Size of the pool is important

If you want to choose the pool filter that perfectly fits your above ground pool, you need to know the dimensions of your pool as best as you can. Moreover, I remember when I bought the first pool filter, man it was a disaster.

I was just like you, thinking that it doesn’t really matter but then realized how big impact pool size has on your filter efficiency. I needed one extra hour to clean my pool only because I was ignorant of size importance. So, before you buy pool filter, check all dimensions of your pool, depth, width, perimeter and so on. It really makes a difference.

Ask yourself how frequently you use your pool

You must love swimming all day in the pool, right; me, too. Sometimes, I jump into the water in the morning and enjoy swimming in the pool until the sun starts to set. That’s why the water in my pool is enormously dirty, and that’s why I appreciate having an appropriate filter that can fully clean the water.  So you must give some real thought on how frequently you use your pool for swimming purposes. Otherwise, instead of being a wise investment, it will be just another liability for you.

Pool capacity also matters

Well, pool capacity is actually closely connected to pool size, but still, you need to know how much water is there in your pool. Some filters can handle gallons of water, while others are done after cleaning some small pools. So, check this out as well.

Weather conditions

You keep your above ground pool outside right? Well, it would be a little bit weird seeing your above ground pool inside. Therefore, you need to check if filter you want to buy can work properly at your place under particular weather conditions. Some filters can work without problems even during the winter, and others got broken when the temperature drops down to 10 degrees. So, if you live in Alaska or Siberia you should probably avoid using a filter. I mean, it’s very unlikely that water can stay liquid in very cold conditions.

How much time you can dedicate to cleaning filters

Even though filters are there to clean your pool, they also need to be cleaned from time to time. As I already said, you’ll need to take care of your sand filter much more often than cartridge filter. So, if you are not so willing to clean filter frequently, you may consider buying some of the cartridge filters.

How frequently you can monitor you filter

Filters are like little kids. If you turn your head away, they can make a real mess. Kidding aside, you really need to monitor your filter as much as you can. They gather a lot of debris and dirt, and someone has to take care of them in order to be sure they work properly. Again, sand filters are more demanding when it comes to this as you need to check them once per day, while once per week will be fine for cartridge filters.

Do you use microfilter and salt filters?

Many people prefer to provide their filters with a little help, and I agree with them. Microfilters and salt filters can be very helpful, but you can’t use them both. Therefore, you need to know that microfilters are compatible with cartridge filters, and sand filters are more compatible with sand filters.

What is the quality of your water?

When I say the quality of water, I mean is there any algae in your water. If you don’t use above ground pool covers (which I recommend you to use), there is the possibility of algae appearing in your pool. So, if that happens, that may cause your filter working less efficient.

If you don’t use any covers, and there are algae in your pool, you may consider buying a sand filter. Otherwise, you should use cartridge filters. You can see how much is important to choose the right filter from my friend’s story. He told me that he once had algae in his pool, but he was ignorant about how much is important to pick the right filter, so he left his cartridge filter to do the job. Next day, he ended up fixing his filter. It was a real mess there.

Best Above Ground Pool Filters

Before we move to best above ground filter, I need to say that I didn’t arrange these filters according to their quality. Therefore, the ordinal is an indicator of the quality of the product, but these filters are indeed the best you can find on market.

5. Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump for Above Ground Pools, 16-inch, 110-120V with GFCI


Intex Krystal Clear Sand filter pump is designed to keep your pool water clear and sparkling with the help of all-natural sand.It is one of the best filters for above ground pool. It comes with a 6-function control valve that allows the user to choose one of the following options: filtering, backwashing, and rinsing, recirculating, draining and closing the system. It also features a 24-hour timer which makes pool maintaining easy.

As I already said, sand filters are considered to be more reliable and more powerful. This sand filter also comes with a 24-hour timer, which is a very useful and helpful feature. Most of the other filter systems have an only 12-hours timer, which is fine, but still, this is just better. Have you ever wanted to clean your pool by the filter, but were so tired and couldn’t wait until it finishes its job at night?

Well, I know how it feels. It happened so many times to me that I was swimming all day in the pool, and then had to turn the filter on, but was just so tired to wait until filter finish with cleaning my pool. Before I got a filter with a timer, I used to set my alarm to wake me up in the middle of the night. It was so frustrating, and I always woke up so tired after such nights.

When I heard there is a filter with a timer, I couldn’t wait to buy one, and it helped me so much. Now, I don’t have to care so much about the cleaning the pool and staying late at night, as I can set a timer instead of an alarm clock.

Have you ever forbidden your children to swim in the pool only because you couldn’t wait for the filter to clean the water? Well, if you have, then your children probably ware very unhappily.

That’s why you should consider buying this high-quality sand filter with a 24-hour timer. You can literally make a plan of work for your filter for all day. Also, some of the users claim that you can use vacuum attachment with this filter, but you have to be careful to choose the right attachment. That also can be very useful in various ways.


Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump for Above Ground Pools, 16-inch, 110-120V with GFCI


  • Inexpensive
  • Not so heavy
  • 6-function control valve


  • 2 years warranty is not so long period for sand filters

What are the customers saying?

A satisfied described this product as totally worth it. He also said that he could not have been more pleased with this filter pump. Not only did it work very well to filter swimming pool water, but it was also powerful enough to do so quickly. He recommended this product for anyone who needs to keep their above ground swimming pool clean, with a minimum amount of hassle. As others had written, he should have switched years ago…

4. Intex Krystal Clear 2150 GPH Sand Filter Pump & Saltwater System with E.C.O. (Electrocatalytic Oxidation) for Above Ground Pools, 110-120V with GFCI


This sand filter system is made for above ground pools from 4.800 to 15.000 capacities. It also comes with Saltwater System with E.C.O. that reduces harshness of traditional packaged chlorine. Intex Krystal Clear 2150 GPH Sand Filter Pump features 110-120V with GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter)

This a great set of best above ground pool filter and pump. There is a couple of very cool things about this pool. The first one is that it comes with ground fault circuit interrupter which provides you with additional safety, and that shows s that producer cared about customers. Another, maybe even more awesome thing is the saltwater system, which I find to be a very interesting feature.

If you are wondering what saltwater system is, here is a brief explanation. Basically, it converts salt into the chlorine, and if you ask where the salt in your pool is, and why that is good for you, here is further clarification.

First of all, most people think they need to add salt into the filter, but they are wrong. Actually, you need to add salt directly to water. Why someone would do that, I also asked. Well, I don’t know whether you heard how much the sea is healthy. One of the main reasons behind that is obviously salt in water.

This salt system offers you the possibility of using all benefits from salt. In simple words, it makes water in your pool healthier and cleaner. However, it also can have some side effects. It can cause different kinds of irritation, especially when it comes to eyes. So, be very careful when you decide to use this system, and gather all the information you need.

Intex Krystal Clear 2150 GPH Sand Filter Pump & Saltwater System with E.C.O. (Electrocatalytic Oxidation) for Above Ground Pools, 110-120V with GFCI


  • Saltwater system with E.C.O
  • Chlorine output is good
  • Sand capacity is satisfying


  • Expensive (but comes with saltwater system)
  • Pretty heavy

What are the customers saying?

A verified customer on Amazon absolutely recommended this product saying it is an awesome pump for those who own Intex pool.He purchased this pump for his Intex rectangular(9x18x52) ultra frame pool. He got the 2150 and it kept up nicely. He also put in the Hayward sidewall skimmer. That duo kept his pool crystal clear.

3. Intex 3,000-Gallon Sand Filter Pump


Intex 3.000-Gallon Sand filter pump is designed to keep medium-sized pools and spas clear and clean. It comes with skimmer basket and Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter in order to keep you safe. This sand filter is designed to save your money and make pool cleaning easier on daily basis considering it features 12-hour timer.

Here is another great above ground pool sand filter. It basically has all the mentioned features. Therefore, it comes with a timer, good pump flow rate, and it is easy to use. Plus, you can also use vacuum attachment, but you need to be careful to pick the right one. If you ask what accurate pool size for this kind of filter is, there are different answers.

You can see some people saying they use this filter and 24-ft pool, and others say they use smaller pools. So, basically, if you have a 24-ft or smaller pool, you can use this filter.

Intex 3,000-Gallon Sand Filter Pump


  • Good pump flow rate
  • Pump motor HP provides great power
  • Not so expensive
  • 12-hour timer


  • Weight

What the customers are saying?

One of the satisfied customer of this products installed this filter for his intex 18′ x 48″ ultra frame. He also said that the pump that came with the pool, took about 2 and a half week to clean the water properly transparent, because the water at his city in mexico was very dirty.

Hence he  had to clean the filters 3 times at a day and the results were poo. But when this baby arrived ,he was elated. as  he installed the filter at night, and the next morning the water in his poor was crystal clear, just like magic”

2. Intex Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter Pump for Above Ground Pools, 1000 GPH Pump Flow Rate, 110-120V with GFCI


Intex Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter Pump is designed for up to 8 hours of usage per day. It makes maintenance and usage much more practical as all you need to do is replacing a cartridge every two weeks. It comes with auto timer, double insulated pump, air release valve, and sediment flush valve

As I already said, cartridge filters are more effective, but also weaker. This and following filter proves that claim. While sand filters had pump flow rate above 2 000, this cartridge filter has just half of that.

But that can be a good thing as well because you spend less money on electricity. You can also notice that this filter is way cheaper than any of the mentioned sand filters. They are lighter, too. The good thing about this filter is that it has a very useful feature, and that is an air release valve. How many times happened to you that your filter doesn’t work well because air that got stuck inside of the filter. Well, that cannot happen anymore with this filter. No need for reparation; the filter will do the entire job.

Intex Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter Pump for Above Ground Pools, 1000 GPH Pump Flow Rate, 110-120V with GFCI


  • Lightweight
  • Air release valve
  • Sediment flush valve
  • Small and practical


  • Low pump flow rate

What are the customers saying?

A satisfied customer of the product said this filter was absolutely fantastic. He bought this for his 10′ x 30″ easy set pool as the pump that came with it was pathetic and he needed a more powerful pump for his Intex Saltwater System that he also purchased. This one worked awesomely!


He loved that it pumped 1000 gals/ hr which meant his tiny pool got to run through at least twice in an hour. He usually ran it a couple hours a day after the kids get out and it kept it clear. They went out of town for 3 days and when they got home their pool was green, He turned the pump on and within about 5 hours it was totally clear again. He absolutely loved that he would be able to use this with other pools he might purchase in the future!

1. Intex 28633EG Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter Pump for Above Ground Pools, 2500 GPH Pump Flow Rate, 110-120V with GFCI


This intex cartridge filter pump is made to be easy to use and install, as well as maintain. It comes with a doublee insulated pump, auto timer, air release valve for air trapped inside filter chamber, and sediment flush valve. It works with 18-feet Easy Set, 18-feet Metal Frame, or 18-feet by 10-feet Oval Frame pools.

Although this filter takes first place, it doesn’t mean it’s the best. However, it absolutely deserves to be on this list thanks to its good side and many happy customers. As you can see, this is not the cheapest cartridge filter, but it’s still cheaper than sand filters.

One of my friends uses exactly the same filter system, and he finds it to be very good. He told me he never had problems with it, even though he needs to buy a new one now, given that cartridge filters don’t last for a long time. He is a generally a lazy person, so he is very happy about way of cleaning this filter.

Basically, all you need to do is to monitor it every day and replace cartridge every two weeks. So, there is not so much job to do when it comes to this pump.

In addition, he is not alone, there are many other happy buyers. According to one of the satisfied clients saying this filter is Perfect is not an overkill at all. He absolutely loved the timer which used size B filters.

Then, he had got 2 of the unicel one to rinse one to use which helps the filters last more than a season. He was elated to find out that there will be no more cases of junk paper ones. He also got the shutoff valves. And according to him that is where was the difference. And the difference being perfect clear pool.

Intex 28633EG Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter Pump for Above Ground Pools, 2500 GPH Pump Flow Rate, 110-120V with GFCI


  • Lightweight
  • Air release valve
  • Sediment flush valve
  • 12-hour timer
  • High pump flow rate for cartridge filter


  • Expensive in comparison with other cartridge filters

What are the customers saying?

A happy consumer said that this pump had magnificent power. They have had a saltwater Intex above ground pool for 7 summers then.

They upgraded their pump from 1500 GPH to this 2500 GPH pump and it worked magnificently! Not only was it powerful but it was quiet as well. Almost a whisper compared to their smaller unit. VERY PLEASED!