7 TOP sand filter pumps for above ground pools: INTEX, Hayward, GAME, XtremepowerUS, BLUBERY

Sand filter pump

Having an effective sand filter pump for an above-ground pool is crucial for keeping your pool water clean, and healthy.

With so many models to choose from these days, you’ll want to make sure you’re purchasing one that will not only perform well, but is the right size for your pool.

Today we’ll be checking out what we believe are the 7 BEST sand filter pumps available so you can make an informed decision when choosing the one to best suit your needs, and requirements.

Here is a list of sand filter pumps we’ll be checking out.

  1. INTEX Krystal Clear 14″ Sand Filter Pump
  2. Hayward ProSeries 18″ 1 HP Sand Filter pump  
  3. HYDROTOOLS 14″ Sand Filter pump
  4. XtremepowerUS 13″ Sand Filter with 3/4HP Pool Pump
  5. BLUBERY 13″ Sand Filter with 1/3HP Pump System
  6. GAME BB Series sand filter pump
  7. Harris Vortex 24″ sand filter pump

Now before we get into the reviews, first we’ll quickly go over how to choose the right sized sand filter pump for your pools water capacity.

How to choose the right sized sand filter pump for your above-ground pool

If you want to get the best results from your sand filter pump then you’ll need to ensure you’re getting one that’s the right size for your pools water volume. People have a tendency to buy a pool pump that is too large for their pool, this leads to a higher than necessary operation cost, and also overpowers the filter system.

As a rule, you’ll want to have a pump that can filter all the water in your pool in an 8 hour period.

To find out the total water capacity of your pool, first you’re going to want to multiply the length x width which will give to the total surface area. Next you’re going to multiply the total surface area by the average depth, this will give you the volume in cubic feet.

Since there are 7.5 gallons in each cubic foot, multiply the cubic feet of the pool by 7.5, this will give you the total volume of your pool.

Next you’ll need to calculate the gallons per hour needed to pump all the water in an 8 hour period. To work this out simply multiply your pools total amount of gallons by 8, eg 20,000 gal รท 8 = 2500GPH. Last you’ll want to convert your calculations from gallons per hour, too gallons per minute as this is generally what the pumps are measured in. To do this simply divide your GPH (gallons per hour) figure by 60, this will give you the GPM figure.

Now that we know how to choose the appropriate sized sand filter pump for above-ground pools, let’s dive into the reviews.

1. Intex krystal clear 14″ sand filter pump

Intex Krystal clear saltwater system and filter pump

The Intex Krystal Clear pool sand filter and pump is among the highest rated sand filter pumps, and is definitely worth checking out.

The Intex Krystal Clear filter pump is a sand filter pump designed for above ground pool use only, and is a great combination of performance, and affordability. It features a well constructed, easy to use design with 6 different function settings. These functions are filter, backwash, rinse, recirculate, drain, and system shut off.

The Intex sand filter pump is a cost effective pump thanks to the fact it has no filters that need replacing. All you need to do is replace the sand every 5 years, how good is that!

Cleaning the Intext sand pump is easy thanks to its simple to use backwash, and recirculate function. This removes the need for filters which can be expensive to replace, and a hassle to clean.

The Intex Krystal Clear sand pump comes in a variety of different sizes to suit above ground pools of any volume. It also comes with the option of a saltwater conversion kit if you’re looking at transitioning from a chlorine, to a salt water pool.

Intex Krystal Clear specs

  • Pump flow rate: 2800GPH
  • System flow rate: 2150GPH
  • Sand capacity: 75lbs
  • Horsepower: 0.60
  • Minimum pool size: 5500gal
  • Maximum pool size: 17,200gal


  • Highly rated and reviewed
  • Easy to clean
  • Low maintenance
  • Easy to operate
  • Doesn’t require filters
  • Easy to install


  • Poor customer service
  • There have been cases of the hoses leaking
  • People have experienced breakdowns after 1 year

2. Hayward ProSeries 18″ 1 HP Sand Filter for above ground pools

Hayward sand filter

The Hayward ProSeries pool pump and filter is a best seller, and definitely another one to take a look at.

The Hayward ProSeries 18″ sand filter pump is designed for a max water capacity of up to 16,800gal, and has a flow rate of 35GPM.

It features an easy to use, well constructed design that packs heaps of great features which allows it to produce excellent water quality. The Hayward Pro series sand filter uses an integral top diffuser, which ensures even distribution of water over the entire sand bed for optimal use of the filtration area.

For convenience it features a large sand, and water drain output, which allows for quick and easy winterising. Like many of the previous sand filters for above ground pools the Hayward ProSeries Pump uses a 7-way VariFlow valve that gives you easy access do the different functions like filter, circulate, rinse, and back-flush.

This pool sand filter pump also has easy to follow instructions making installation stress free.

Hayward Pro Series sand filter specs

  • Pump flow rate: 2100GPH
  • Sand capacity: 63lbs
  • Horsepower: 1.0
  • Minimum pool size: 6000gal
  • Maximum pool size: 16,800gal


  • Powerful 1hp pump
  • Highly recommended on Amazon
  • Great at removing algae
  • Easy setup & operation
  • Provides excellent water quality


  • Most expensive than the other sand pool pumps
  • Slightly louder when operating compared to other models

3. HYDROTOOLS 14″ Sand pump for above ground pools

pool sand filter and pump

The HYDOTOOLS sand filter pump is both powerful and silent thanks to its freshly designed 0.43 THP 2400 GPH pump, that is compliant with new DOE regulations. The pump has been optimised to run at a low noise level, making it non invasive while it filters your pool.

It is able to efficiently filter a pools water thanks to its sand filter design which allows it to hold sand at the most efficient position which results in optimised filtration, backwashing and consistent performance. This pool sand filter pump uses an oversized, double reinforced 14″ tank which can hold up to 60lbs of sand, making it ideal for pools up to 10,500gal.

The HYDROTOOLS sand filter pump uses an integrated multi-port valve that is quick to use, and easy to understand. This allows you to change filtration settings between backwash, rinse, filtration, and winter.

The HYDROTOOLS sand pump for above ground pools is simple to instal, and comes complete with the tank, pump, filter base, 4-Way Multi-Port Valve, and a 3-pronged power cord.

HYDROTOOLS sand filter pump specs

  • Pump flow rate: 2400GPH
  • Sand capacity: 60lbs
  • Horsepower: 0.50
  • Minimum pool size: 5500gal
  • Maximum pool size: 10,500gal


  • Amazon best seller that’s been well tested
  • Easy to install
  • Quiet
  • Filters water well
  • Well priced


  • Only a 1 year warranty
  • Some users have experienced low suction
  • Some people struggled with the instructions

4. XtremepowerUS 13″ pool sand filter and pump

Sand filter for above ground pool

The XtremepowerUS 13″ sand filter pump is a is a good choice for someone who has an above-ground pool that has a water capacity of up to 10,000gal. It features a low noise design that is non invasive while it’s operating. The filter is designed the keep the sand at the optimal height which allows the water to have maximum exposure over the sands surface area, resulting in optimal filtration.

The XtremepowerUS Sand Pump uses a 4-way multi port system which provides easy access to the use of settings like filtration, rinse, and backwash. It also has an oversized strainer basket that can accomodate a decent amount of debris which requires less emptying.

To help with convenience, this sand filter pump has also been fitted with a timer function that can be set between 2 – 24 hours, as well as a built-in automatic thermal overload protector to protect its users.

The XtremepowerUS sand pump is also quick and easy to instal, as well as operate, making it a good choice for novice pool owners.

XtremepowerUS Sand pump specs

  • Pump flow rate: 2640GPH
  • Sand capacity: 42lbs
  • Horsepower: 0.75
  • Minimum pool size: 5,500gal
  • Maximum pool size: 10,000gal


  • Great value for money
  • Easy to set up
  • Quiet operation
  • Does a great job keeping the water clean
  • Durable


  • People have experienced the timer function failing
  • Some people have had issues with leaking hoses

5. BLUBERY 13″ Sand pump

sand pump

The BLUEBERY 13″ sand filter pump is another good option if you’re looking for a pool pump and filter combo for a small to medium above-ground pool. It’s design ideally for for pools up to 8,500 gallons max, and to a minimum of 5,000 gallons. The BLUEBERY pump is also ETL (electrical testing laboratories) certified which insures safety assurance.

It features a good sized debris strainer basket, and an easy to read pressure gauge which allows you to ensure the pump is functioning at optimal capacity during all its cycles. It uses a 1/3hp pump which is ultra quiet while it operates, and a high-flow motor that creates maximum energy efficiency while also keeping max suction.

To change the sand pumps settings the BLUEBERY uses an easy to change 7-way valve system which allows you to cycle between multiple settings. This gives you access settings such as filter, rinse, circulate, re circulate, close, waste, and winterise.

One downside to this sand filter pump is the fact that it doesn’t have a self timer feature so this can lead to a higher running cost.

BLUEBERY sand filter pump specs

  • Pump flow rate: 1866GPH
  • Sand capacity: 45lbs
  • Horsepower: 0.33hp
  • Minimum pool size: 5,000gal
  • Maximum pool size: 8,500gal


  • Good value for money
  • Great water pressure
  • Easy to use
  • Quiet while operating
  • Does a good job filtering the water


  • Poor instruction manual
  • No self timer function
  • Some users have reported leaks

6. GAME BB Series sand filter pool pump

above ground pool filter

The GAME BB Is another highly rated and tested sand filter pool pump for above ground pools. This sand filter pump works best with INTEX and Bestway pools, but adaptors can be purchased separately to fit other makes and models.

It is designed to clean a pool with a max water capacity of 10,000 gallons, and has a flow rate of 40GPM. The Game BB sand filter pump is quiet while it operates, creating a more peaceful pool experience.

This pump uses a 0.5hp motor that not only provides powerful suction, but is also energy efficient, which is great for the power-bill. Like all the previous sand filter pumps the GAME BB uses a very similar 4-way valve system that allows you to switch between the cycles circulate, rinse, close, and backwash. This Sand filter pump doesn’t have the winterise option though.

It has an easy to read pressure gauge, and also a decent sized strainer basket that’s easy to clean.

GAME BB sand filter specs

  • Pump flow rate: 2400GPH
  • Sand capacity: 50lbs
  • Horsepower: 0.5hp
  • Minimum pool size: 5,500gal
  • Maximum pool size: 10,000gal


  • Easy to follow instructions
  • Great customer service
  • Highly rated & reviewed
  • Easy to operate
  • Effective at filtering water



7. Harris Vortex 24″ pool pump and filter combo

Sand filter and pump

Last but certainly not least we have the beast of a sand filter pump, the Harris Vortex 24″

It features a powerful 1.5hp pump that is capable of filtering pools up to an impressive 24,000 gallons! It also uses an oversized tank that is capable of holding 300lbs of #20 silica sand, or 150lb ZeoSand.

You can change the pumps settings via the easy to use 7-position dial valve. Choose from filtration, backwash, rinse, recirculate, waste, or winter/close mode.

The Harris Vortex sand pool pump is a great combination of reduced energy consumption, and performance resulting in outstanding water clarity. This is thanks to its hydraulically balanced laterals that maximise water flow, and filtration.

This pool pump is slightly louder when it operates due to its larger pump, however it’s not noisy enough to be an issue.

Harris Vortex sand filter pump specs

Pump flow rate: 3000GPH
Sand capacity: 150lbs
Horsepower: 1.50
Minimum pool size: 10,000gal
Maximum pool size: 24,000gal


  • Great for large pools
  • Powerful pump
  • Highly rated
  • Provides excellent water quality
  • Easy to operate
  • Great customer service


  • Requires lots of sand
  • Expensive
  • Louder than the other models

How does a sand filter pump work?

A sand filter works by sucking water in through a hose into the main tank by its pump, The water then passes through the collection basket, which catches any large debris like sticks and leaves. Next the water flows through another hose into the top off the tank to begin the filtration process.

The water then slowly drains from the top, to the bottom of the tank through the special type of filter sand which has rough edges that help grab contaminants of a size of 20 microns or larger. Inside the filter along with the sand there is also a hub and spoke configuration of pipes.

One main pipe runs directly down the centre from the top to the bottom, which also has smaller pipes branching of it. Once the water reaches the bottom it is then sucked up through the laterals and back up through the centre pipe, before being returned to the pool via the return hose.

Sand filters Vs Cartdrige Filters

What’s better, a sand filter, or a cartridge filter? well it really comes down to how big your pool is, how much money you want to spend, and how much cleaning and maintenance you’re willing to do.

Sand filters

Sand filters are a good option if you don’t want to spend heaps of money on a filter, and if you’ve got a large above-ground pool.

They’re low maintenance requiring the sand to only be change once every 5 years, making them easy maintain. If you’re using a sand filter you do have to be on top of it with you pool chemistry though, due to the fact they are only able to filter contaminates 20 microns or larger. This will mean the small germ particles will need to be taken care of by the sanitiser in your pools water.

cartridge filters

Cartridge filters are more expensive than sand filters, but they generally do a better job at filtering a pools water. This is due to the fact that they are able to filter particles down to as little as 10 microns. They are also able to operate on variable speed pumps which will prolong the life of the pump.

The main downside to a cartridge filter is that they require more maintenance due to the fact that they use a filter cartridge. In order to keep your pool water healthy you’ll need to wash the filter down with a hose once a week, and perform a deep clean twice a year.

If you need any information on how to drain an above ground pool then check out our full guide here.

Above-ground sand filter pump FAQ

How often should i back-flush my sand filter pump?

You should be backwashing your system at least once a week to keep it running at optimal levels

How often should i Change the sand in my sand filter

On average you should look to replace your sand every 3-5 years. Overtime as water runs through the sand it becomes smooth. This make it harder for bacteria to stick to it as it passes through.

How many hours a day should i run my sand filter?

Ideally you want to run your filter for 8 hours a day. Anything between 6-12 hours is adequate though.

Should i run my sand pump during the day, or night?

It’s best to run your pump during the warmest hours of the day.

The Morris's

The Morris's

Hey, we're Lana and Cam the creators of this site. We love to spend time together as a family, and time in our pool. We're here to bring you the best info on pool care, pool cleaners, and other great pool related products.

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