Best Pool Pumps

By Shiloh McGinley

January 30, 2024

The pool pump happens to be at the heart of the pool’s circulation system. The job of the pump is to pull water directly from the pool via the main drain and then the skimmer. The water is then circulated through the main returns, after which it is pushed through the filter and back into the pool.

The anatomy of your typical pool pump consists of three major components: the lint, hair trap, and impeller, in addition to the motor. Generally, most pool motors run on 220 or 100 volts and generally 3450 RPM is sufficient. Also, most motors are air cooled the drawback to which is that you need to pay attention to any excess water that enters the motor.

Excess water can enter via the cooling vents often at the bottom of the pool motor’s housing. At the end of the motor shaft is the impeller. When the impeller turns, it will circulate water through the hair trap and lint located on the other end of the pump. Then the water is forced out of the top via a pipe leading to the filter.

best pool pumps

Types of Pool Pumps

When in the market for a pool pump, you are bound to come across many different types.

 Each one has its own pros and cons, which makes it best suited for a particular type of pool. Below is a brief rundown of each type:

Single-Speed Pool Pump

It is arguably the most commonly used and available pump mainly because it is affordable compared to other types.

It is capable of removing debris and dirt quite efficiently.

Most single speed pool pumps are capped at a max 3450 RPMs because any more and it can burn out the single motor. However, while single speed pumps are efficient, they require a lot of energy. 

So, even though you may pay less for it, you end up paying more via your energy bills. That’s why pool owners using this pump tend to shut it off when the pool isn’t being used.

Two-Speed Pool Pump

A two-speed pump as the term suggests is capable of varying its speed from 1725 RPMs (low speeds) to the standard 3450RPMs if required. 

Generally, this type of pump is used in spas where low speed is desired owing to filtration requirements, and the higher speed may perhaps be used to turn on the pool’s jet action.

A variable speed pump offers he owner savings as it allows you to choose the speed needed. 

This type of pump can reduce your energy consumption and consequently lower your energy bills compared to a single speed pump.

That’s why it is a pump that many experts recommend as it offers savings and efficiency. The only drawback is the slightly higher price.

Variable-Speed Pump

A variable speed pump offers he owner savings as it allows you to choose the speed needed. 

This type of pump can reduce your energy consumption and consequently lower your energy bills compared to a single speed pump.

That’s why it is a pump that many experts recommend as it offers savings and efficiency. The only drawback is the slightly higher price.

The Best Pool Pumps of 2020

Now that we’ve run through the basics of what a pool pump is and the different types available, its time for us to list and briefly discuss the best pumps out there.

1.) Pentair 011018 IntelliFlo Variable Speed High-Performance Pool Pump

Best of the Best, Top Recommendation!

Anyone who is looking to replace or upgrade their swimming pool pump should consider purchasing the Pentair 01018 for a number of reasons. The most important being that it is the gold standard of variable speed high-performance swimming pool pumps. It is the pump that many manufacturers aspire to make.

In addition to being well built and packed with numerous features, there are many other reasons why this is our top pick. Below are a couple of features we think makes it the best all-around pool pump.

Pentair 011018 IntelliFlo Variable Speed High Performance Pool Pump, 3 Horsepower, 230 Volt, 1 Phase - Energy Star Certified

Programmable 8-Speed Pump: The Pentair 01018 comes equipped with a digital time clock that’s programmable. Programming is made easier with the LCD screen that also displays speed, consumption, and other settings. So, you can program the pump to turn on and off at any time you want, plus at what speed it runs and for how long. It is that type of flexibility and ease of use that will make many forget the slightly higher price tag associated with it.

Energy Efficient: The Pentair 01018 is the perfect variable speed pump for buyers who want great performance and save energy. It is Energy Star compliant for starters, and it can cut your utility bills by up to 90%, which translates to hundreds of dollars a year. Not to mention that they are the first pool pump manufacturer to receive the certification. Plus the patented IntelliFlo technology ensures reliability, excellent performance, and obviously, energy efficiency putting it amongst the best selling variable speed pool pumps on the planet.

Works Everywhere: The pool pump will work on any spa or pool regardless of filter type, size or plumbing size. So, you can think of it as the one pump that can fit everywhere, which is another reason why we recommend it.

Excellent Compatibility: The pump is compatible with other technologies like SunTouch Pool Control systems, Easy Touch, IntelliTouch amongst other brands of spa controls and digital pool technologies.


  • Can save up to 90% off your power bills.
  • Is compatible with many pool control technologies.
  • Fully programmable with an LCD screen for ease of use.
  • 8-speed settings mean it is highly versatile.


  • More expensive compared to other variable pool pumps.

Our Rating: 4.5 / 5.0

2.) Hayward SP2610X15 Super Pump 1.5 HP Pool Pump

Best Value Pool Pump!

The Hayward SP2610X15 is considered one of the best above-ground swimming pool pumps on the market today. It is a pool filtering pump that’s best known for its unusually large filter. However, during our testing, we found that this pool pump has more up its fancy motor than meets the eye!

Varying Horsepower: Even though this review is focused on the 1.5HP model, the Hayward SP2610X15 is available in 0.5HP, 1HP, 2HP, 2.5HP, and ¾ HP. While all parts, features, and design choices are the same, the only major difference is in power consumption. The 1.5HP model we’ve reviewed here is somewhere in the middle in terms of power consumption, with the 0.5HP model consuming the least power.

Swinging Motion Knobs: The Hayward SP2610X15 Super Pump comes with two hand knobs which are easily and smoothly pulled. The filter can easily be opened using the latch knobs. During our time using the pool motor, we found that these knobs saved a great deal of time while making the pump user-friendly. Plus, it makes maintaining the pump hassle free. However, other than these knobs, everything else is sealed shut. The company adds that the pump is designed to be easy to use for people who have never used a pool pump before.

Transparent Strain Cover: One of the most important parts of an above the ground pool pump is the strainer. Unfortunately, not many companies pay attention to this one important component of the pump. That’s why people are often faced with the hassle of taking off the filter to check it. Hayward addresses this issue with their SP2610X16 bearing a transparent strain cover. That means you can easily see the amount of dirt trapped and accumulated over time without taking off the strainer lid. In our experience, it makes the process of maintaining the pump very easy.

Extraordinarily Large Debris Basket: The extraordinarily large debris basket is another feature we’re fans of because it can last for an extended time. So, you can wait longer between cleaning intervals. Plus, it has a lot more space for debris, dust, dirt, and leaves, making it ideal for commercial swimming pools.

Easy to Install: The Hayward SP2610X16 is comparatively simple to install as there are no loose parts. Not to mention that the pump also comes semi-pre-assembled, which makes the installation even easier. All there are is four main bolts which when opened exposes the internal parts eliminating the hassle associated with assembling it.

Eliminates Overheating: One of the most common problems with above ground pool pumps is that they overheat. However, the Hayward SP2610X15 seems to have found a solution to this issue with their enhanced ventilation system. The ventilation allows for a lot more airflow around the engine, which prevents it from overheating. That’s why even after running it for an hour, there were no signs of it becoming too hot. Since it does not overheat our assumption is that the motor will run a lot longer, which reduces the need to replace it every few years.

Corrosion Proof: The SP2610X16 is designed to be used in all types of weather conditions. The use of an anti-corrosive body covering keeps the motor safe, and so it has the potential to last for decades.


  • Compact design.
  • Easy to maintain.
  • It is designed to be energy efficient.
  • Assembling the pump is pretty straightforward.
  • The use of a transparent lid for the filter makes it easy to keep an eye on it.
  • Enhanced ventilation which keeps the motor cool and consequently extends its life
  • The anti-corrosive coating ensures that it can be used in all types of weather.


  • A noisier pump than the competition.
  • Spare parts are more expensive than others.
  • The pump vibrates a lot so it will need to be securely installed.

Our Rating: 4.0 / 5.0

3.) TruSonik High-Performance Swimming Pool Pump

Lowest Price Pool Pump

The TruSonik High-Performance Swimming Pool Pump is the cheapest pump to make it to our top six listings. However, being low priced does not mean that the company has skimped on quality. As a matter of fact, during our testing, we found that this 2HP pool pump was as good as many others that we tested if not better. The flow rate of 111 gallons per minute does a tremendous job of out-cleaning and outflow competitors.

TruSonik High-Performance Swimming Pool Pump – 2HP 110V Pool Pump – 111GPM Pool Filter – Stainless Steel Motor Drive Shaft – Works with Inground and Above Ground Pools

Clean and Clear Debris Faster than Others: The 2HP pool pump does a great job of cleaning and clearing debris. Having an oversized filter basket ensures that it does not need to be emptied as often compared to other pumps which have smaller filters.

Superior Quality Construction: The TruSonik High-Performance Swimming Pool Pump is made from corrosion proof polymer housing around the filter portion. The electric motor is surrounded by a 304 stainless steel drive shaft. So, not only will it last long but it can take a bit of a beating too.

Overload Protection: The pool pump also has thermal cut out protection and overload protection. What this translates to is that if the pump overheats, it is automatically turned off. Plus, it comes with a 60-day return policy, which means that if anything does happen, you can return it.

Can Be Used in Both Above Ground And In-Ground Pools: Unlike other swimming pool pumps that work either above ground or with in-ground pools, this one is versatile and works perfectly for both types.


  • The cheapest pool pump available.
  • A flow rate of 111 gallons per minute.
  • Thermal and overload protection.
  • Can be used with both above ground and in-ground swimming pools.


  • Does not have a timer feature built-in.
  • Removing the filter can take some getting used to.

4.) Hayward SP3206VSPVR 2.7 HP Variable-Speed Pool Pump, TriStar VS

At first consideration, the Hayward SP3206VSPVR 2.7 HP Variable-Speed Pool Pump  may come across as a steep investment. However, if you have the budget, then don’t let the steep price turn you off as there are many benefits to having this particular variable speed pool pump compared to others.

When we are reviewing an expensive pool pump, the first thing we look at is why is it priced so steeply. In the case of this pool pump, it is all about performance, which is hard to match by the competition. Plus, it is Energy Star approved, which means that regardless of how long it runs it will still save energy. So, its an investment which pays for itself quite quickly. However, there are a couple of other reasons why you should consider the SP3206VSPVR 2.7 HP Variable-Speed Pool Pump as we examine below.

 Hayward SP3206VSPVR 2.7 HP Variable-Speed Pool Pump, TriStar VS

The Endura Dive: The SP3206VSPVR 2.7 HP Variable-Speed Pool Pump uses what the company calls Endura Drive technology, which ensures peak performance regardless of external conditions.

Integrated Safety Vacuum Release System: The use of this suction system prevents suction entrapment, so there is no need to spend more money on additional equipment. This in itself saves the buyer a bit of cash.

Easy to Maintain and Install: Unlike other pool pumps, the SP3206VSPVR 2.7 HP Variable-Speed Pool Pump is easy to install and then maintain. It does not require much effort as everything snaps into place, including the pump which will easily replace your existing pump. The use of a no-rib strainer collection basket makes emptying debris quick and easy.


  • Easy to install and maintain.
  • Energy Star approved which means you save big time on your energy bills.
  • Uses the company’s Endura Drive technology to ensure peak performance regardless of the operating environment.
  • Built-in safety vacuum release.


  • Expensive to buy and some replacement parts cost more too.

Our Rating: 4.3 / 5.0

5.) Hayward SP26115VSP Super Pump VS 0.85 HP Variable-Speed Pool Pump, Energy Star Certified

The Hayward SP26115VSP is an in-ground permanent magnet pool pump delivering an immense energy savings of up to 80% compared to single speed pumps. Plus rated at 115 volts means that this variable speed pump is an easy drop-in replacement for most other types of pumps without a major electrical upgrade making it the most effective way to upgrade your single speed pump.

During our time with the review unit, we managed to discover a number of benefits and features associated with this pool pump; we discuss some of these features at length below.

Hayward SP26115VSP Super Pump VS 0.85 HP Variable-Speed Pool Pump, Energy Star Certified

Easy Drop-in Replacement: It is a commonsense drop-in replacement for most similar capacity single speed pool pumps up to 1.5HP with no electrical upgrade required.

Easy to Install: Installing the pool pump is very easy, which consequently means that it is cheaper than installing most other types of variable speed pumps.

Very Easy to Operate: Operating it is simple and intuitive since it always faces in the right direction.

Uses a Permanent Magnet Motor: Having a permanent magnet motor ensures that the pump uses a lot less electricity. Also, in our experience, these types of motors last longer sometimes for several years.


  • An excellent 1-to-1 replacement for a single speed pool pump without electrical upgrades.
  • Permanent magnet motor helps to save energy.
  • Simple and intuitive to use.


  • Expensive compared to other variable speed pool pumps we’ve reviewed.
  • Carries just the bare minimum of features.

6.) Pentair 340038 SuperFlo High-Performance Single Speed Pool Pump

The Pentair 340038 SuperFlo High-Performance Single Speed Pool Pump and is the only single speed in-ground pool pump to make it to our list of the top six. Even though we are generally not big fans of single speed pumps, but this particular one stood out for several reasons including its powerful 1hp motor, which is quieter than usual thanks to a special internal flow design system.

During our review, there were a couple of other features apart from the one above which nudged us to sit up and take this single speed pool pump seriously.  

Pentair 340038 SuperFlo High Performance Single Speed Pool Pump, 1 Horsepower, 115/230 Volt, 1 Phase

Self-Priming Feature: Now this feature as we tested helps make startup and consequently maintenance easier than most other single speed pool pumps. We found that the load distribution throughout the time that the pump was on, for the most part, was liner. That means no sharp spikes in load, and to us, it translates to smooth operation and even energy efficiency.

Easy Maintenance: The large strainer basket is a feature that we love because you can wait longer in between cleaning intervals. Plus, it collects all the debris and leaves efficiently.

A Heavy Duty Motor: The motor is capable of moving a lot of water, which means that it completes an operation quicker than competing single speed pumps. However, due to the nature of single speed pool pumps, they aren’t as energy efficient as variable speed models. That said compared to many other single speed pool pumps, we’ve tested this heavy duty motor which offers more performance per watt compared to others.


  • The 1HP motor moves a large volume of water quicker.
  • Quieter compared to competing single speed pool pumps.
  • The oversized basket does away with the need to frequently empty and clean it.


  • Not as energy efficient as a dual speed or multi-speed pool pump.

Final Thoughts

The world of pool pumps is both intimidating and highly technical for a regular pool owner who just wants to buy a pump that lasts long and performs great. Hopefully, our review of the top six pumps has helped you find the right one.

That said if you’re looking for hands down the best pool pump for the money, we’d recommend the Pentair 011018 IntelliFlo Variable Speed High-Performance Pool Pump.

However, budget buyers will find that the TruSonik High-Performance Swimming Pool Pump offers excellent performance despite lacking in several features. That said it still offers excellent bang for your buck!

If there is a pool pump you think we missed feel free to mention it in the comments below and we might just as well review it for you.

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Shiloh McGinley

About the author

Shiloh McGinley has been in and around swimming pools her whole life. She's seen a lot of products come and go, and she wants to share with you the best products that really work!

Shiloh is passionate about helping people stay safe in the water, and she loves educating others on how to choose the right pool products.

When she's not working, Shiloh enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and swimming - of course!

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