Your 5-Point Guide for Buying & Maintaining Affordable, Efficient Pool Filters

Most homeowners know the advantages of having a pool filter; they not only keep pools clean in appearance, but safe for swimming as well, eliminating both bacteria and debris from the water.

But when it comes to knowing which filter is right for their pool, many homeowners are often not quite so sure which product is the right choice for their needs and for their pool:

Is a sand filter the best fit…

… Or is a cartridge filter the better option?

We understand it’s a tricky decision. So to make it easier for you we’ve created this simple guide to help you weigh the pros and cons of each filter product.

Here is a five point guide for buying pool filters that will come in handy whether you’re a first time pool owner or a seasoned swimmer looking to trade out your current filter for something more efficient.

1. Your pool filter needs enough time to do its job

You’re not the only family trying to save money on electricity these days, and it can be tempting to turn off the filter a little earlier than you’re supposed to, or fall into the habit of skipping a day — the pool looks clean, right?

Don’t be fooled.

This is a big mistake — and one that can cause future issues with your pool. If you want to avoid an algae bloom, make sure your filter is running for the recommended amount of time each and every day.

This will help keep unwanted particles out, and water pressure low (which is better for energy consumption). Luckily, you can also buy pool filters that are specifically designed with energy efficiency in mind.

Cartridge filters are perfect for keeping the bills low but efficiency high.


2. Backwash often determines efficiency

You might be wondering why exactly a cartridge filter is a more efficient option — and the answer is backwash.

Typical filtration systems, such as sand filtration systems, need to be cleaned in a process known as backwashing. This requires the water in your pool to run in reverse until it runs clean.

While this is an effective method of filtration, it ultimately means more water is running through your filter every few days or weeks — hence, your filter is using up more energy.

Cartridge filters don’t need to be backwashed. Instead the cartridges are removed from the filter and hosed or brushed down. This easy cleaning process makes cartridge filters one of the most popular choices for newly-installed pools today. Read more about the process here.

3. Filter maintenance: it isn’t optional!

It would be great if a pool could be a fully-automated system. But most homeowners realize when they get a pool that there is a bit of work and sweat involved; luckily, the pool is a great place to cool off once the hard part is done!

Pools today — filters included — don’t need nearly so much attention as they did in the past, and a little attention goes a long way to ensuring that your pool filter is working as efficiently as possible.

Most pool cartridge filters can be cleaned by holding a garden hose at a 45-degree angle from the top of the cartridge, making sure to clean between the filter pleats.

For the smallest particles, you can use a brush on the filter media. Before cleaning a pool filter, though, always double check the manufacturer’s instructions to be sure you’re doing it right.

It’s hard to give an exact timeline for total filter replacements, but most experts recommend that year-round pools receive a replacement at least once a year.


At this point, the cartridge will have become loaded with particulates, and simply hosing it down won’t be enough to get it clean.

4. Why everyone is talking about crystal glass media

If you’ve been using a sand filter but find that it clogs a little too quickly, then crystal glass media might be the product you’ve been searching for.

Crystal glass media is a filter medium that can be used for small and large pools alike. It is highly efficient at trapping water contaminants, keeping your pool safe and sparkling even after daily use.

Another great advantage of crystal glass media: it can help improve filter efficiency. This product can be used for pools or spas, depending on your needs.


5. Why sand filters are still so popular

Affordability is all about determining how much you’re willing to pay at a given point in time.

While cartridge filters help save energy costs in the long run, there’s no denying that sand filters can help make the overall pool installation process more affordable.

They can also be a great choice for beginner pool owners, because they are easy to use and to operate. The “backwash” step of the sand filter has to be done manually every several weeks.

If something goes wrong with your sand filter, they’re inexpensive to replace — another advantage.


When it comes to choosing the right filter and filter accessories for your pool, there’s no right or wrong answer – browse our full pool filter collection to find just what you need.

But your best bet is to talk to one of our pool representatives to get an idea of what is right for your pool, your family, and your budget.

The AOL Pool Shop is also happy to help with your pool filter installation or any pool servicing and maintenance issues you might have.

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