Free shipping in the United States

Above Ground Pool Filters

Pools Above Ground Filters
By Pools Above Ground
More from this author

Above Ground Pool Filters

When it comes to selecting your new above ground pool or just replacing your pool filter system, its a good idea to know the pros and cons of what's out there before laying out your hard earned cash for a new one. Although they ultimately all do the same thing which is filtering the pool water and removing particles from it, they definitely go about it in different ways. The two main types of pool filters typically seen on above ground pools are the sand filter and the cartridge filter. PoolsAboveGround offers both types of filter systems for our swimming pool kits and I'm going to discuss each one to help make you next purchase a little easier.

Cartridge Filter Systems

The cartridge filter system consists of a pool pump and a large tank that contains a fine pleated cloth cartridge inside. The pleated fabric filter cartridge is very similar to your home ac filter or a automotive air filter. It works by the dirty pool water coming into the filter tank, passing through the filter inside and exiting the tank and heading back into the pool. In short, the small debris in the pool water is captured on the outside of the filter cartridge sending only the clean water back into the pool. This is a great system and it really does a good job of cleaning the water but over time the filter will become clogged with the debris which has been removed from the pool. For most pool owners this means cleaning the filter about every week or two. To clean the filter you must simply removed from the tank, washed with pressured water from a garden hose and re-install it back in the tank again. This type of filter has no moving parts, rarely breaks and is easy to inspect for any other maintenance needs. The only real downside is that it takes a little longer to clean and you might get wet or dirty cleaning it.

Sand Filter Systems

A sand filter system looks similar to the cartridge filter system as they both have a pump on one side and a large tank on the other. But that is where the similarities end. The inside of this large tank is filled with sand. The larger the tank to more sand you will have too filter the water through. The pool pump pushes the water through tank and through the sand. As it passes through, the sand will capture particles like hair, bugs and other things trapping them in the sand. Periodically the sand needs to be rinsed out and debris removed to be effective again. The process of cleaning a sand filter is called back-washing. To back-wash or rinse the sand is accomplished by re-positioning the multiport valve on top of the tank. By selecting different placements on the valve water is sent back through the sand the other direction stirring it up and removing the trapped debris and expelling the dirty water out into the yard or waste port on the filter valve. Once the water runs clear out of the waste port the filter is clean and ready to filter pool water again.  The length of time to clean the filter is usually one to two minutes. Sand filters are quick and easier to maintenance then the cartridge filter but you do lose much more water from the backwash process. Another issue is that the sand is far less effective at removing smaller debris like algae.


In terms of cleaning ability the cartridge filter is the clear winner and my choice for keeping my pool clean. It is more hands on and does take additional time to clean compared to the sand filter. I would recommend this filter to anyone with a new above ground or inground pool. The cartridge filter really shines in the long hot summer weather of Florida. It's very easy for your pool to turn green with such warm water temperatures as we see here and the cartridge filter can get you back to clear fairly easy. But sadly the sand filter will not made the returning your pool back to clean as easy as the cartridge filter will because of it's lower micron rating. If you have a physical limitation that would make the process of cleaning a cartridge filter difficult than the sand filter is for you. Be sure to stay on top of your water chemistry to prevent your pool water from getting out of control. If you have any questions about this article or others we written please contact us by email or call 866 534-9725

February 5, 2021