A pool pump is considered the heart of a swimming pool system. It helps to maintain the optimal water circulation and filtration of your pool. So, that you enjoy your swimming session in a clean and safe water.
With the best variable speed pool pump, you'll be able to maintain a balanced pool water and save a lot of money. However, finding the right pool pump can be challenging.
If you choose the wrong one, you'll end up wasting your hard-earned money. Looking it up on the internet can also be nerve-wracking. There are so many variants, and it's just difficult to figure out which ones work and which ones don't.
We’ve come up with this review to help you find the best swimming pool pump for your pool. Additionally, we’ve included a buying guide so that you’ll know what feature to look for when you go shopping for your unit.
Review Of Best Variable Speed Pool Pump
1. Pentair 011018 IntelliFlo (Best Overall)
If you want to save money by investing in a powerful yet energy efficient unit, then this Pentair variable speed pool pump is a must-have. It comes with an impressive eight-speed options allowing you to program it for various operations throughout the day.
Also it comes with built-in timer for optimum speed and running time. In addition, you can run this unit at a low speed when you don't require high power operations. If you want a quiet pool pump, you'll also be happy to know that this unit puts out only 45 decibels. In comparison to similar models from other brands, this unit generates significantly lesser noise.
The Pentair 011018 IntelliFlo is also compatible with numerous control systems from different brands like SunTouch, EasyTouch, IntelliTouch, among others. Thanks to its three-horsepower (3hp), this is a very efficient unit which assures better water filtration and lower energy consumption.
It also comes with a self-diagnostic feature for longer lifespan of the motor. If anything goes wrong while you’re working, it can troubleshoot itself. We were truly impressed by its efficiency.
- Compatible with various control systems
- Very efficient for larger residential pool
- Eight-speed settings
- Operates quietly
- Fully integrated keypad
- Auto shutoff feature for safety
- Complicated programming
- Instructions are difficult to understand
Pentair Variable Speed Pump Operating and Programming, Video Credit: David The Pool Guy
2. Hayward MaxFlo SP2303VSP (Quietest Pool Pump)
If you know and care about pool pump and filter, you might be familiar with that name Hayward. They've been making cutting edge, technologically advanced pool equipment for a long time.
The Hayward SP2303VSP Maxflo constructed with a durable permanent magnet making it resistant to normal wear and tear. You’ll certainly be using it for a very long time. What makes this unit super energy efficient is its totally enclosed fan cooled (TEFC) motor. This feature also eliminates the requirement for air inlets.
If you want to maximize your savings on energy-cost, then this Hayward variable speed pool pump will certainly be a great choice. The manufacturer claim that, it can provide you with an outstanding 80% energy cost savings in comparison to single speed pool pumps. It’s an energy star certified unit!
With this unit, you can also manage energy consumption, thanks to the pump's digital interface. It also comes with an in-built clock so you can schedule your cleaning sessions according to your preferences. It's a highly recommended unit for the new pool owners who don't like complex installation. It's super easy to setup and run.
If you're looking for a quiet variable speed pump, you'll also love this unit. It's easily one of the quietest pool pump we've come across. You can relax by your pool without constantly being bothered by noise.
- Available in both 115V and 230V versions
- Operates quietly
- Easy to maintain
- Very durable
- Energy efficient
- Features an in-built clock
- The pumps circuit board tends to malfunction after some time
- Installation instructions are not easy to understand
3. Pentair Superflo 342001 (Best Affordable)
Pentair is a brand that’s known and trusted for manufacturing high-quality swimming pool pumps. And with the Pentair 342001, the brand has released an affordable variable speed pool pump that's also efficient and durable.
This SuperFlo VS variable speed pump is designed for most residential standard sized pool. It requires no expensive rewiring. Therefore, you can easily replace your old pump with this smart pool pump. At 1.5hp, this unit can efficiently circulate water even at lower speed. If you want a no-nonsense unit, you'll love this Pentair pool pump.
It features three-speed options making it easy for you to set it for various operations throughout the day. There is also a pre-program run cycle so you can use the factory set program.
What makes this unit stand out is its easy to operate user interface that allows you to set pump speed, running time etc. In addition, the digital display also shows you the operational information while running.
The Pentair SuperFlo also comes with an unmatched memory retention feature. Whenever you have a power failure, you don’t have to start all over. This feature allows you to start from where you left. This unit is also made with durable materials, so you'll be using it for years. It's certainly a solid value for money option.
- Can work in older pools
- The pump lid is easy to open
- Decent size debris basket
- Works in 115 or 230 volt power
- Very durable
- Super quiet
- Easy to set up
- Only three-speed settings
- To receive a warranty, you'll have to get it installed by a professional
4. Harris H1572748 ProForce
If you own an in-ground swimming pool, the Harris H1572748 is an excellent option to consider. This unit comes with a heavy duty construction at almost half the price of similar models.
This pool pump offers 1.5 horsepower to pull in a vast amount of water efficiently and quickly. Due to its high-power, you only need to run this unit for a few hours a day, allowing you to save plenty of energy costs and time. What makes this unit even more remarkable is that despite its high power, it runs quietly.
It’s also user-friendly and easy to operate. With a single switch, you can conveniently change the voltage of the unit from 230V to 115V. If you require different power settings, the Harris H1572748 ProForce can be useful.
This unit is super-easy to set up. You'll love the fact that you don't require a professional technician to install the unit. The manual is simple and easy to understand. Owing to its graphite mechanical seals and thermoplastic body, we're sure this unit is durable and long-lasting.
- Automatic shutoff for safety
- Great performance
- Operates silently
- Strainer basket is easy to clean
- Can overheat particularly in humid conditions
- Not EnergyStar certified
5. Hayward W3SP3206VSP TriStar
Another model from Hayward in our list. This Hayward variable speed pool pump is a powerful, sturdy, and energy-efficient unit. In comparison to single-speed pumps, this unit can help you save up to 80% in energy costs.
Thanks to the permanent magnet and completely enclosed fan cooled motor design; this unit offers incredible reliability and energy efficiency. Despite its high power, it's also incredibly quiet. Especially if you run it at a lower speed, it's almost silent.
This pool pump works really great to maintain a proper water circulation system in your pool. Especially when it comes to evenly distributing the chemicals. On top of that, the air cooling system of this unit is really amazing which helps to extend the lifespan of the motor.
It also comes with an auto turn on/off feature that allows you to save a lot on energy costs. The Hayward W3SP3206VSP TriStar compiles with all the industry regulations and is also EnergyStar certified. With a large basket and a horsepower of 1.85, this variable speed pool pump is very efficient and powerful.
- EnergyStar certified
- Efficient and powerful
- Operates quietly
- Easy to install
- Easy for programming
- Prime cycle is noisy
6. XtremepowerUS 1.5HP Above Ground Pool Pump
The XtremepowerUS 1.5HP is one of the best variable speed pool pumps for above ground pools. It comes with four programmable speed settings making it a great option for various cleaning sessions.
Thanks to the programmable timer, you can set it to operate at an ideal speed as per your requirements. If you have a pool that requires a 1.5HP pump, this unit will be very suitable. This variable speed pool pump also comes with an LCD display that shows the time, speed, and the precise settings it's running on.
We also love the fact that the XtremepowerUS 1.5HP Above Ground Pool is compatible with sand, DE, and cartridge filters. Due to its clear cover, this unit is very low-maintenance. You can easily see when the basket needs cleaning. The drain plug is also very helpful for maintenance.
This variable speed pool pump is also ETL certified, making it a very efficient and safe pool pump. Made with a polymeric material that's corrosion-resistant, this pool pump is certainly durable and long-lasting.
- Comes with an LCD display
- Excellent for above-ground pools
- Requires low-maintenance
- Features built-in timer
- Complicated programming
- Poorly written manual
7. Sta-Rite P6E6VS4H-209L (Energy Efficient Pool pump)
A powerful and energy efficient pool pump from Pentair. It's a great unit that can significantly improve the water filtration and chemical performance of your pool. Moreover, this pool pump can help you save up to an impressive 90% on energy costs. Thanks to its outstanding features, this unit has earned rave reviews from pool professionals and owners.
It features 8-programmable speed settings along with a built-in timer that provides optimum run time and speed for high-efficiency and low operating costs. Despite its high power, this unit operates silently as it produces only 45 decibels. In comparison to other 1.5 HP single-speed pool pumps, this is quieter.
It also features an extra-efficient permanent magnet motor, which is the same equipment used in hybrid automobiles. It's for sure that this pool pump is very powerful.
Thanks to the Totally Enclosed Fan Cooled motor, the Sta-Rite P6E6VS4H-209L runs efficiently and quieter and lasts longer. With the built-in diagnostics feature, you'll be using this pool pump for a long time. Another thing we love about this unit is that it's very easy to install. You don't need to hire a professional, and you can get it running in no time.
- Saves energy costs
- Comes with a digital timer
- Quiet operation
- Supports 8-speed settings
- Easy programming
- Not very durable
Advantages Of Having A Variable Speed Pool Pump
A variable speed pool pump doesn't just help you save on energy use, but there are more advantages to them. Here’s a list of the advantages of having a variable speed pool pump.
Minimizes Power Consumption
If you want to maintain your pool’s water quality, you don’t always have to keep the pool pump running at full power. You can set it to run at a lower speed whenever necessary. By lowering the pool pumps RPMs, the unit will consume less power. The decrease in energy consumption allows you to save a lot of money.
It's a complete misconception that you have to run your pool often. In fact, this will just lead to unnecessary expenditure. There are numerous factors that determine how many hours a day, you must run your unit like water balance, pool usage, pumps horsepower, and where you live.
A variable speed pool pump allows you the flexibility of running it at lower speeds during filtering hours, providing effective filtering, less energy consumption, and lower costs.
Works With Various Pool Cleaning System
Another cool things about variable speed pool pump is that, whatever cleaning system you have , these pump can be tailored to fit those needs.
Some variable speed pool pumps feature built-in programming options making them very energy efficient. This feature allows you to program the unit so that they use only enough power to operate a specific task. Thanks to this, you don’t have to switch speeds manually. The unit does it automatically.
Nobody likes a noisy device. In comparison to a single-speed pool pump, variable speed pool pumps are significantly less noisy. The lower the RPMs, the quieter it'll be. Variable speed pool pumps can even run on 600 RPM, whereas single-speed units run on 3450 RPMs.
Variable speed pool pumps come with motors that are fan-cooled and totally enclosed. The enclosed design prevents damage to the motor's internal components from environmental elements. Conversely, dual, and single-speed units are standard induction motors. The induction motors also come with vents which can let water and at time critters to enter, which can lead to damage
With a variable speed pool pump, most manufacturers offer 2-3-year warranties. Generally, single-speed pool pumps come with a 1-year warranty. If something goes wrong with your unit, the company will help fix it. A warranty helps you save money. However, make sure to read the guidelines and requirements for warranty as every company has different policies.
How To Choose The Right Size Pump For Your Pool?
Many times, pool owners purchase over-sized units leading to overpowering the filter system and higher operating costs. You must get a pool pump that filters all water in your pool within eight hours. Here's how you choose the right size pump for above ground pool.
Number Of Gallons Of Water In Your Pool:
Firstly, you’ll have to determine the number of gallons of water in your pool. The formula for doing this depends on the shape of your pool. After that, you’ll have to calculate how many gallons of water you’ll require per hour to pump all your pool water within eight hours.
The Water Flow Rate:
To know the flow rate, you have to divide the calculated gallons by eight hours. Next, you must convert gallons per hour (GPH) to gallons per minute. Most units’ specifications are displayed in gallons per minute (GPM). If you want to know your GPM, simply divide your previously calculated GPH by 60 minutes.
It’s important to note that the size of your pool filter is directly related to the pool pump you select. If the filter is too tiny for the pump, the pump motor will experience extra strain as it tries to push water through while meeting resistance at the filter. As a result, the motor will burn out, and filtration will also be compromised.
Your Filters Maximum Flow Rate Is Also Important:
Most pool filters have a tank label with maximum flow indicated. Ensure your unit's pump flow rating doesn't surpass the maximum flow rating of your unit’s filter. For instance, if your pump's output is 100GPM, you must not pair it with a filter of 50 GPM max flow rate. You must also check your plumbing size on the pump's suction side. The size can limit how large of a horsepower you can go for. Smaller plumbing comes with lower flow rates
For instance, if you have a 2HP pump outputting 100GPM and you own 1 ½ inch pipe, you’ll only be able to receive 60 GPM through 1 ½ inch pipe. There's also a chance of not supplying adequate water to the pump leading to overheating. In this case, you must size a pump not to exceed 60 GPM. You can also upgrade your plumbing to 2 or 2 ½.
Variable Speed Pool Pump Buying Guide
Now that you know how to select the right size pool pump and the best variable speed pool pumps in the market, you must also be well-versed with certain characteristics to consider in a variable speed pool pump. In our review, we concentrated on these factors as well:
Generally, your pool's size can determine the level of performance you need from a pump to filter water efficiently. If you own a medium-sized pool, you must opt for a motor with a 1.5-2.0 HP for optimal performance. If you have smaller pools, you’ll need a 1.5 horsepower pump to circulate water properly.
However, when it comes to horsepower, more isn't always better. For ex. If you have a powerful pump but a small filter, your water circulation will be disrupted. The motor can overwhelm your filter. So, consider your pool filter's capacity when selecting a pool pump.
In addition, also make sure that the pool pump has adequate speed settings so that you can customize it for different operations.
Pump Motor Voltage:
This is another key consideration that many pool owners often overlook when buying a pool pump. However, you should know about your pool pump voltage especially when it comes to upgrading or replacing your pump.
Your pool pump can run on either 110v or 220v. If you have an above ground pool, a 110v pump will give you the best result. If you've an in-ground pool, you need to discern which voltage you're running in your pool.
Variable speed pool pumps are known for being very durable. However, some units are sturdier than others. Ensure that the external and internal components are constructed with high-quality and durable materials for reliability and longevity. Many pool professionals prefer a pool pump that features a permanent magnet motor for longevity.
Investing in a durable unit ensures that you don't waste your money on new units every now and then.
The primary reason for getting a variable speed pool pump is that they allow you to save big on energy costs. In comparison to single speed pool pumps, variable speed pool pumps can help you save up to an impressive 90% on energy cost. Variable speed pool pumps might be more expensive up front, but the amount of money you'll be saving by using these units will equal the extra cost in just one season of usage.
It's important that you purchase a swimming pool pump that comes with safety features to protect the internal components and motor from chemical hazards, water, and voltage fluctuations. For ex. the Pentair IntelliFlo pump (Our #1 Pick) features auto shutoff and blockage sensor for utmost safety. This ensures that you'll be using the unit for a long time without any hazards.
Variable speed pool pumps are notorious for being difficult to install. Generally, they require professional installation if you want to get the best performance out of the unit.
However, modern units now feature compact frame’s and are designed in such a way that it’s easy to install even if you have no experience at all. However, it’s recommended that you consult a professional when you install it the first time as it ensures optimum performance and safeguards your warranty.
Obviously the longer the warranty, the better. A warranty shows how much the manufacturer trusts the unit. However, many brands have complex terms for their warranty, so you must look over the terms and requirements for the warranty.
Variable speed pool pumps come with various features. You must consider the benefits and drawbacks before narrowing down your choice.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: When Should I Run The Pool Pump?
Ans: Most people choose to run it at night. However, this can be ineffective and lead to more costs. Various factors determine when you should run your pool pumps, like the duration of operation for your pool pump, pump efficiency, and energy-saving needs. However, experts recommend using the pool pump for about 8 hours during the day for effective pool maintenance and cleaning.
Q2: How Long Should I Run The Pool Pump?
Ans: If your average pool pump possesses an 8-12 hours turnover rate, it's an excellent option to operate your pool pump for 12 hours per day. This means that your pool water's total volume will filter through the system 2-3 times for a period of 24 hours.
If you can, you must get a variable speed pool pump. Their efficiency, reliability, and energy cost savings make them a must-have for every pool owner. All the above-reviewed units are excellent options, and it all comes down to what you need from them.
It's hard to pick the best one; however, if we had to, the Pentair 011018 IntelliFlo takes the top spot on our list of best variable speed pool pump. With its eight-speed settings, quiet yet powerful operation, we were truly impressed by this unit.
If you want a more affordable operation without compromising on quality and efficiency, the Pentair 342001 is a great option. It's easy to set up, affordable, runs silently, and will undoubtedly last a long time.