Top 10 Best Pool Filter Reviews, Sand, DE, Cartridge Pool Filter 2018

This guide will help you save time, and put your money into the right product. As I explained, there are too many verticals that come into play, which makes it hard to make a decision. I do the research, so you don't have to !

A good pool filter helps you in two ways. Not only does it keeps insects, and dirt out of your pool, but also helps you to distribute chemicals in order to combat bacteria. These tasks make filter one of the vital parts of a pool setup.

I've complied list of 9 pool filters which will help you keep your pool clean and working.

Why Should You Trust ME ?

I've been a pool equipment repairmen for years. Over the years I have worked with tons of corporations, swimming pool clubs, and individuals to help them set up, and maintain/repair their pools.

Things I considered While Making this List

For this review, I picked over 50 pool filters. Out of which, I selected top 10 based upon a handful of factors such as

  • what type of filter it is ( Sand, DE, Cartridge ) as different filters serve for different needs
  • how much water it can filter (in either gallons or pool area)
  • how long does the model last for an average customer (I talked with a handful of experts regarding lifeline of the particular filter model)
  • warranty since it's crucial to know how long the manufacturer is standing by his product.

Staff Pick : Best Pool Filter for In-ground Pools

Hayward S270T Pro Series 27-Inch Pool Sand Filter for In-ground Pool

Why I choose this ?

The tank is corrosion proof, weatherproof and made for heavy duty out of polymeric material.

You can clean the pool easily without any hassles, thanks to the valve which makes cleaning easy and quick. All you have to do is do a backwash. In my opninion, this product is my all time favorite.

Sand Required : 200 lbs  Type : Sand Filter

Types of Pool Filters

Dividing on how they’re constructed, there are 3 main kinds of pool filters :

  • Sand Pool Filters
  • Diatomaceous Earth Pool Filters
  • Cartridge Pool Filters
Diatomceous Earth Filters

Best for : People that have the budget to afford the top price segment.

In short, referred to as DE filters, and are by far considered to be the most reliable filters. Made out of Fabric covered filter grids or elements, then coated with Diatomaceous Earth. The best part about this powder is that it filters out even microscopic particles, ensuring clean, and pure water in your pool.

Why I Love DE filters?

  • Can filter particles even as small as 5 microns
  • Long life and high-performance filters
  • Very easy to refresh as you just have to add DE powder via the skimmer
Sand Filters
Cartridge filters

Which Pool Filter do You Need ?

Best Sand Pool Filters

1. Hayward S310T2 Pro-Series 30-Inch Top-Mount Pool Sand Filter for In-ground Pools

Available in 5 different sizes : 36, 30, 27, 24 and 22 inches. It mounts on top and is easy to set up. The best part is that it starts running immediately. The design is optimized to get the best flow speed at all pressure levels which makes it very efficient in cleaning your pool.

The manufacturer claims that it made this a simple and hassle-free model to maintain. The sand inside the filter is used evenly because of efficient water spread. Capable of excellent water filtration for average pool owners.
The model is energy efficient and will save a lot of dollars by running efficiently and using all of the sand inside.

Backwashing is also simple and can be done within few minutes.

Inground Type

harward pool filter

Quick assembly & Precise alignment of Components

Why I love this ?

  • Easy to assemble
  • Energy Efficient model
  • Long lasting design and material
  • Vari-Flo valve that allows max flow


Some people report that filter leaks after two year usage while other filters lasted them as much as 8-10 years. The customer service seems to be taking time to replace leaky models.

2. Pentair 145322 Sand Dollar Top-Mount Pool Filter

A very high-performance product made for in-ground pools. The Pentair filter can handle up to 28k gallons of water without any effort. Highly efficient design along with hydraulically matching components to ensure crystal and clean water.

One of my clients switched to this filter and his pool went from cloudy haz to crystal clear in less than 7 hours. Not only him, a lot of people who purchase this filter suggest that they should have switched to this sooner.

I also adore how pentair has made this model easy to install and use.

Above Ground Type


Fast Servicing & Winterizing

Why is it in the list ?

  • Consistent Performance
  • Resistive to corrosion
  • Top-mounted multiport valve
  • Multi-port valve, sight glass, pressure gauge and the filter comes with the filter tank itself.

Drawbacks :

None that I could think of !

3. Pentair Triton II Side Mount Filter TR100 Fiberglass Sand Filter

This model is made from a single piece of reinforced fiberglass. With a flow rate of 98 GPM, it can turn 47,040, 58,000 and 70,560 gallons of water in 8, 10 and 12 hours respectively. The internal design ensures that sand is at bed level and water flows even and gets maximum filtration.

Pentair Triton is considered to be suitable for Home pools, especially because it is easy to maintain. It is very efficient in holding back sand and other debris from entering the water.

The model uses individual grade sand which is contained in giant fiberglass. The gravity pulls the water out of the tank and back via holes and pipe which is at the bottom of the tank.

Above Ground Type


Instant access to Sand and all Internal Parts

Why is it in the list ?

  • Internal air bleed
  • Internal parts are threaded
  • Can operate at pressure up to 50 psi
  • Easy access to sand and other parts.


A forum user reported that his Pentair Triton broke on the base, but after a usage of 6 years.

Best Cartridge Pool Filters

4. Hayward C5030 525 Square Foot SwimClear Cartridge Filter

Released in 5 different sizes : 725, 525, 425, 325, 225 square feet. Heavy duty filter that can resist cold, heat in order to work well whenever you need it. The outer shell of the filter is made from Noryl, which is a sturdy co-polymer reinforced with glass.

The debris area is quite large which means you won’t have to service your filter system very frequent. It is capable of holding a large volume of debris and dirt before you’d have to empty it. Washing off the filter is quite easy as well.

Regular maintenance can be done without disconnecting or messing pipes at all. The setup and maintenance are made easy due to self-aligning bottom and top.

In-ground Type


Fast and Simple Removal of Cartridge Elements

Salient Features :

  • Fast cleanings
  • Designed for easy servicing
  • Bulkhead made of Noryl
  • Easy to work with tank base

Drawbacks :

  • Costs more than average product in this range
  • Some people reported issues with manifold which were handled by the Hayward customer service team
  • Thought not way too often, but the cartridges need to be replaced or serviced.

5. 9Pentair 160301 Clean & Clear Pool Filter

The Pentair 160301 comes with a 420 square foot filter capacity. It’s a great choice if you need to collect a large amount of dirt and small particles between cleanings and don’t want to impact the overall performance of the filter.

A large pool cartridge capacity means you don’t need to clean cartridge very often. If you have a tree above your pool or anything else that produces a lot of debris, you might need to empty it a bit more often.

An average pool owner will have to clean it once a month at most. It’s a great choice for low-maintenance pool owners.

Above ground Type


100% Drain Clean-out Port

Why I love this ?

  • Uses the Clear plus and clean cartridge filters
  • 420 square foot filter area
  • Easy maintenance
  • Long-lasting strength
  • Safe and very efficient


Drawbacks :

  • Needs to be cleaned every year, or twice a year depending on your usage.
  • Pool system costs more than other products, although is bang for buck.
  • Single year warranty.

6. Hayward Cartridge Pool Filter C900 Star-Clear Plus

The c900 from Hayward has a very heavy duty and extra long filtration cycle for a pool size of up to 43,200 gallons of water. It is easy to set up and clean. All you need to do is remove and rinse.

The tank is extremely durable as it is constructed out of Perma Glass which is reinforced for ultimate longevity.

The filter is easier to maintain compared to a sand filter. The only downside is the absence of waste or backwash feature. But, the drainage cap is easily attachable to a hose fitting, which in turn makes the cleaning process a bit easier.

In - ground Type


No need of Clamps and Bolts

Why is it in list ?

  • Corrosion free performance
  • No need for clamps or bolts for security
  • Made from durable glass reinforced materials
  • Rotatable filter head
  • Ensures maximum flow thanks for extra large cartridge

Drawbacks :

Multiple people have reported broken/missing pressure gauge.

Best DE Pool Filters

7. Hayward DE4820 Pro-Grid 48 Sq. Ft. Vertical DE Pool Filter

If you’re searching for a high-quality filter for your pool, this model from Hayward can suit your need. The model comes in 5 sizes, 72, 60, 48, 36, and 24 square foot. Vertical grid filter can be used in any pool due to a wide range of sizes available. The filter is very durable and accepts all sorts of DE filter powders.

It’s fit for commercial as well as residential pools. Made from Perma Glass XL, this material is corrosion-free and resists heat as well as water for years. You can clean the filter or DE supplies without disturbing or removing any of the plumbing pipes.

It’s a good choice for the majority of home pool owners who don’t want a lot of mess to only clean cartridge.

In - ground Type


Heavy Duty and Tamper Proof

Why I love this ?

  • The model has high maximum flow compared to similar models
  • A handful of different plumbing options
  • Works efficiently due to even distribution of inflowing water

Drawbacks :

  • No user manual is supplied in the box. It's easy to install and get it ready, but a manual always makes feel secure.
  • The packing isn't secure enough for a decent dollar product.
  • Pictures show slide, but none is supplied.

8. Pentair 180009 FNS Plus

Made from fiberglass-reinforced polypropylene which is an advanced chemical resistant material for durability and strength. Servicing is very convenient due to service-ease grid pack. The unique internal design ensures backwash efficiency and optimal filtration. The curved verticals, on the other hand, provide maximum filter service that makes cleaning easy and quick.

A 1-1/2 drain is there for quick drainage, along with a tension control clamp which rests securely around the tank and holds it tightly. The plumbing connections are leak proof which offers an irritation-free experience. The model uses 2" plumbing for installation.

In - ground Type


Exceptional Strength and long life

Why I love this ?

  • Easy to remove filter grid pack
  • Long life because of quality materials
  • Easy optimal filtration and backwashing
  • Better cleaning due to curved vertical grills

Drawbacks :

Lot of people have problem with the "sealing belt" concept of the product.

9. Pentair Sta-Rite PLDE36 Pool Filter System:2 Modular D.E. PLDE Series 

Suitable for both hot tubs and inground pools. It supports a single replaceable grid which supplies great quality water. The model is designed to be fully back washable.

If you prefer deep cleaning, all you need to do is remove the filter lid and clean it with a hose. You don’t even need to disassemble anything.

In - ground Type


Made out of Rugged ABS thermoplastic

Salient features :

  • Fit for both inground pools and hot tubs
  • The tank housing is made of 2 pieces made up of rugged ABS thermoplastic
  • Easy access to internal parts of filter thanks to posting ring closure


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