Top 5 Best Pool Poles in 2019

Out of all the pool maintenance gadgets, the pole is the most basic piece of equipment, yet it’s the most essential and versatile. A pole comes in handy for retrieving loose items like a necklace or goggles. You can even connect it to an array of accessories to scrub the floor and walls, skim debris and suction sediment.

Sure, you can get by without a pool pole. However, keeping your swimming pool clean is a lot harder if you don’t have one. If a swimmer is in distress, a pole can transcend its purpose as a maintenance tool and become a lifesaving aid.

Best Pool Poles

Not all pool poles are made the same. Some are fixed while others are telescopic, letting you adjust the length. The joints lock in place with a variety of mechanisms, and the poles themselves are constructed from materials such as plastic and aluminum.

Quality and sturdiness are the two features you should consider first, and all the pool poles on our list meet these requirements. However, only some may be appropriate for your swimming pool due to their length of the extension. Our buyer’s guide will tell you more about how we rate pool poles and the accessories you can use with one.

Best Pool Poles

Pool Pole Buying Guide

To those who have never owned a swimming pool, the only discernible differences among pool poles are color and length. However, pool poles vary in terms of the number of telescoping pieces and the manner in which those pieces lock/unlock. Then, there are durability features, including the material and thickness.

Best Pool Poles

In this guide, you’ll find out how to choose a pole that’s long enough for your swimming pool yet sturdy enough to remain stable when fully extended. We also describe the pros and cons of aluminum, carbon fiber, fiberglass and plastic as well as introduce you to various pole accessories and storage solutions.

Types of Pool Poles

Pool poles come in three varieties. While not often used, there are pool poles that move without human assistance. Some are equipped with propellers, using power from the pool’s pump to move. Others float in the water – These are usually solar-charged.

The most common pool pole is a manual stick that the user must guide himself. The majority of manual pool poles are telescopic, meaning the length is adjustable. However, some manual pool poles come in a single solid piece.

Sizing by Length

Length is the only way to size a pool pole. First, you need to know the length and width of your swimming pool. For circular pools, the diameter is the measurement you need. No matter the shape, the depth at the deepest point of your swimming pool should also be taken into account.

Armed with your pool’s measurements, you can now determine the appropriate length. You want the pool pole to reach to the floor of your pool’s deep end. Typically, residential swimming pools are about 3 feet deep in the shallow end and 6 feet down in the deep end.

Most rectangular pools are twice as long as they are wide. A telescopic pole lets you adjust its length, so you can reach any point in the pool without walking around to the other side. Telescopic poles vary widely in length, measuring anywhere from 5 feet at their shortest length to 21 feet or more at their longest length.

Although telescopic poles are ideal for pool maintenance, a rescue pole should be fixed in length to ensure it’s sturdy enough to pull a swimmer. We recommend that residential owners follow the rules that govern public pools in many locales by keeping a 12 or 16-foot rescue pole on hand in addition to a telescopic maintenance pole.

Locking Mechanisms

Every telescopic pool pole comes sectioned into two, three, four or five pieces. Where each piece connects, there are locking mechanisms that allow you to slide the pieces to the desired length and tighten them into place.

Best Telescopic Pool Poles

Manufacturers use either an internal cam, an external cam, a lever or push-in pins for a pool pole’s locking mechanisms. Cams are the prevailing type of lock. External cams are easier to grip, but internal ones require less twisting; they’re also unlikely to jam since dirt and dust can’t penetrate the lock.

The most popular alternative to the screw-apart cam is the lever. To adjust the pole’s length, flip up the lever. To lock the pole in place, push down on the lever – It’s that easy. Some pool pole manufacturers employ locks that fit into pinholes. Levers and pinhole locks offer more stability for poles with four or five pieces.

Durability

The more sections a pole has, the less sturdy it tends to be when fully extended. Robust locking mechanisms bolster a pool pole’s stability, but you can’t rely on sections and locks alone when choosing a pole. You must also take into account the type of material, the material’s thickness and its construction.

best pool poles

Plastic is an inexpensive, lightweight choice. It doesn’t rust with frequent exposure to water, but it’s better suited for tasks like fetching objects from the pool. Aluminum is the material many pool owners like because it’s stronger than plastic. However, aluminum corrodes over time unless it has an anodized finish.

Fiberglass and carbon fiber are also used to make pool poles. Both materials are tougher than plastic or aluminum. Although carbon fiber has a little more flexibility to it, the downside to fiberglass and carbon fiber is their heaviness.

Don’t forget to check the thickness of the material. Particularly for aluminum, a pool pole with at least a 1-millimeter thickness can stand up to heavy-duty use season after season. Ribbing also lends to a pole’s durability, making the pole stronger, more impact resistant and better able to shed water.

Pool Pole Accessories

There are many accessories available that fit on the end of a pool pole. Skimmer nets/rakes are the most widely used tool. Nets allow you to remove floating debris from the water. The smaller the mesh, the finer the debris you can collect. There are also magnet attachments that make easy work out of retrieving metal items like jewelry.

Best Telescopic Pool Poles Reviews

Brushes and pumice stones also help you clean your swimming pool by loosening stuck-on debris. The bristles of a brush may be made of nylon or stainless-steel – Nylon is safer for vinyl and fiberglass surfaces. Pumice excels at removing calcium deposits, and you can buy a special pumice attachment that connects to a pool pole.

After you’ve scrubbed loose the grime on your pool’s floor and walls, you can replace the brush or pumice stone with a vacuum head. Many pole-compatible vacuums have wheels, and they either connect to a hose via a water spigot or a filter intake pipe.

Finally, there’s the shepherd’s crook attachment. A shepherd’s crook is a must-have lifesaving tool. Some clip onto the pole while others have a bolt and nut. When a swimmer is struggling to stay afloat, you can reach out to them with the shepherd’s crook and pull them to the edge of the pool.

FAQs

What’s the Best Way to Organize My Pole and Accessories?

Storing your pool equipment off the ground prevents tripping hazards and ensures you can find a tool when you need it. Wall-mounted organizers come in a variety of colors, and they let you store your pole and/or accessories vertically or horizontally. Look for an organizer that resists rust and oxidization. There are also hooks that hang on the fence.

What If the Accessories I Have Won’t Fit My Pool Pole?

It’s easy to achieve compatibility if the pole and tools you have are made by the same manufacturer. Thankfully, you don’t have to replace all your accessories just because you bought a new pool pole. Some accessory manufacturers also supply adapter cuffs that allow their tools to fit any telescopic pole.

best pool poles for sun shade

V-clips, or butterfly clips as they are sometimes called, are another option. Although not as durable as adapter cuffs, V-clips can be used with almost any pool pole and accessory. You simply push the ends together, fit the tabs through the holes and connect the tool to your pole.

How Do I Take Care of a Pool Pole?

Pool poles are simple by design. Therefore, maintaining one doesn’t require much effort. Always rinse off the pole before you store it. Push all the pieces together when you aren’t using your telescopic pole to reduce wear and tear on the joints, and never leave your pole exposed to ultraviolet rays for extended periods.

Pool Poles: Recap

Flimsy, low-quality pool poles only last one or two pool seasons, and they can’t accommodate the weight of vacuum attachments and nets full of debris. Durability matters even more when you need to bring a swimmer to safety.

best rated pool poles

Telescopic poles should extend long enough to reach the bottom and opposite end of your swimming pool. Anodized aluminum and carbon fiber offer the stability you need for a long pole with multiple pieces; however, plastic poles work well for light duty.

Make sure the locking mechanisms can support the telescopic pole when stretched to its longest length. Features like ribbing not only add to the pole’s strength but also prevent pool chemical buildup from breaking down the pole’s integrity.

Don’t forget to keep your pole stored off the ground and out of the sunlight. Fence hangers and wall-mounted hooks can help you organize your pool pole and its accessories. If you take care of it and choose one with durable construction, a pool pole can easily withstand five years of use.

Top 5 Best Pool Maintenance Kits in 2019

It’s summertime. The radio’s going. The grill’s fired up. You’re ready for some pool-time fun, but is your swimming pool ready for you? If you have and regularly use a comprehensive maintenance kit, you won’t have to worry about the hygiene of the water or whether the pump can handle the heavy load of a pool full of people.

Skimmers, returns, the pump, the filter, the water itself, the walls and the floor – There are many components that require routine maintenance. Most tasks need to be done on a weekly basis while other tasks can be handled monthly in some circumstances.

With all the parts you must maintain, you’re going to need a lot of tools such as a telescopic pole. You’ll also need a net, a brush and a vacuum. Testing strips, chlorine dispensers and various chemicals are required to keep the water hygienic. If you have an above-ground pool, vinyl patches should also be in your arsenal.

You can purchase these and other tools in bundles or separately. Our list provides details on the best pool maintenance kits out there. We also wrote a buyer’s guide that offers invaluable information to pool-owning newbies and long-time pool owners who want to save money by firing their pool guy and taking over pool maintenance themselves.

Best Pool Maintenance Kits

Pool Maintenance Kit Buying Guide

Before you do any type of maintenance to your swimming pool, you need to know all the parts involved in a pool’s circulation system and how each one works. The majority of your maintenance must be done on a weekly basis; however, there are some monthly tasks to do.

Weekly maintenance concentrates on algae, debris and sediment removal, which involves skimming, brushing, sanitizing, and other tasks. Monthly maintenance goes more in-depth, but less work is involved. Every month, you’ll need to perform equipment checks and possibly shock the water.

Pool Water Circulation

To circulate the water, the typical in-ground swimming pool requires a pump, a filter, skimmers, and returns. Some also have a heater and a chemical feeder. All of these components are connected by PVC pipes, and each part must work properly to keep the water clean and circulate pool chemicals.

At the heart of the circulation system, there is a pump, which pulls water through the skimmers and main drains via an impeller. The skimmers collect water a little bit at a time and capture large waterline debris in their strainer baskets. An equalizer line prevents air from entering the pump, which has its own strainer.

Then, the water flows through a cartridge or a sand/diatomaceous earth filter. The filter traps particles in pleats (cartridges) or between granules (sand/DE). If the pool has a heater, the water then goes through it, and the heater adjusts the temperature by trapping and redistributing the heat.

Some pools also have a feeder that slowly releases chemicals into the water. The feeder is the next flow-through point for the water. Finally, the water is put back into the swimming pool through return outlets. Most pools are equipped with vacuum ports for pool maintenance. They run off the main pump but may use a dedicated pump.

Components of a Pool Maintenance Kit

When piecing together a pool maintenance kit, first get a pole. It should be sturdy and telescopic, so you can adjust its length without it buckling under the weight of the tool attached. While not an exhaustive list, the tools you should have and use in conjunction with a pole include a vacuum, a net and a brush.

Big debris can destroy a pool pump. Therefore, you need to have equipment that captures large particles. A skimmer vacuum plate lets you suction debris into the skimmer basket instead of the pump basket. A leaf bagger lifts debris from the pool floor, and a leaf trap prevents clogs by collecting debris before it enters the skimmer basket.

You’ll need testing strips to determine the water’s hygiene level. You should have chemicals to lower and raise the pH. A clarifier can correct cloudy water, and muriatic acid gets rid of stains. Algaecide is another pool chemical you’ll need to keep on hand. Depending on the sanitizer you use, you’ll also need chlorine, bromine or salt.

Whether you have an in-ground or above-ground swimming pool, you need a way to fix leaks should they occur. For an above-ground pool, you’ll need patches that can stick to dry or wet vinyl. Pool putty works for underwater cracks in concrete in-ground pools, and sealant is ideal for pool plumbing repair.

Recommended Maintenance Schedule: Weekly

Testing the pH level is one weekly maintenance task you should perform without fail. Acidic water leads to skin irritation, surface etching and metal corrosion. High alkalinity causes surface scaling and cloudy water. Plus, unbalanced water renders your sanitizer ineffective.

If the strips show a level above 7.8, you’ll need to add sodium bisulfate or muriatic acid to lower the pH level. If the level is lower than 7.2, the water is too alkaline. To fix it, add sodium bicarbonate or sodium carbonate to the water. Also, add algaecide every week to prevent cloudy water.

You must also clean the surfaces of your pool each week. Start by skimming the water with a net connected to a telescopic pole. Then, use that same pole with a brush to scour the walls. While the filter is running and set to waste (if a sand/DE style), hook up your vacuum and clean the pool’s surfaces.

Don’t forget to check the waterline height. Evaporation, weekly cleanings and splashing can result in a gradual loss of water while heavy rains can overfill a pool. If there isn’t enough water in your swimming pool, you risk letting air into the skimmer line and pump. If it’s too high, the skimmer won’t be able to collect debris.

Recommended Maintenance Schedule: Monthly

The tools you use won’t do you any good if they aren’t in working order. Every month, inspect and clean all the tools in your maintenance kit and replace any broken components. For example, a ripped net or a cracked leaf trap should be replaced. Also, check all the components of your swimming pool for leaks or worn parts.

Don’t forget the filter. It should be cleaned as a part of your monthly maintenance routine. If you have a cartridge filter, you’ll need to remove the filter media and rinse off the pleats. If you have a sand or DE filter, a backwash will be necessary.

Finally, shock the pool water. Even if you balance the chemicals religiously, bacteria and algae will still accumulate, albeit slowly. For in-ground pools, you must add the shock straight into the pool water. For above-ground vinyl pools, you’ll need pre-dissolved shock. Make sure the filter and pump are running and keep swimmers out of the pool for 8 hours.

FAQs

How Often Should I Run the Pump?

Although 24 hours is optimal, we understand that most pool owners would balk at the electricity usage. To get a specific time, you’ll need to know the pump’s motor speed and circulation rate as well as the pool’s volume.

However, 8 to 12 hours is a good general guideline as that should allow the water to circulate twice. Two circulation rounds give the filter and pump a chance to distribute pool chemicals and trap small and large debris.

How Do I Backwash My Filter?

If you have a sand or a DE filter, backwashing removes contaminant buildup, relieving internal pressure that could damage the filter. First, turn off the filter and set the multiport valve to backwash. If there isn’t a drain plumbed in, you’ll need to attach a hose to the waste port.

Turn on the filter and run it until the water is clear. Then, turn off the filter again and put the multiport valve on rinse. After you turn on the filter and it runs for 30 seconds, shut off the filter and open the pressure relief valve.

Switch the multiport valve to the filter setting. Keep the pressure relief valve open until you see water flowing from the valve. At this point, you can close the valve and allow the filter to run as it normally does. Make sure you check the pressure gauge. Sometimes you need to backwash twice if the pressure is too high.

Are There Other Times When I Need to Shock the Pool?

You may need to shock your pool to raise the chlorine level outside your maintenance schedule. Heavy use, such as after a pool party, rainstorms and the presence of fecal matter or a dead animal all cause the chlorine level to drop. You should also shock the pool when you detect chloramine and algae blooms.

Pool Maintenance Kits: Recap

A backyard swimming pool offers an awesome party venue, a fun way to enjoy your time outdoors and a convenient place to get some exercise. With all that fun and convenience, there also comes maintenance. Proper and timely maintenance keeps the pool’s circulation system running smoothly and prevents expensive breakdowns.

Many people opt to hire a professional pool service to perform necessary maintenance. However, cost-conscious and DIY-minded people prefer to handle pool maintenance tasks on their own. You can definitely save a ton of money in the long run by maintaining your own pool.

However, you’ll need a kit full of cleaning tools to perform pool maintenance. A complete kit consists of a telescopic pole, a net, a vacuum and an assortment of brushes and pumice stones. You’ll also need a bagger and a trap to take care of big debris as well as test strips and pool chemicals.

It’s not enough just to have and use these tools. You need to know how often to run your pump in order to circulate chemicals and trap debris efficiently. Make sure you also know how to take care of your pool’s filter. Whether it’s a cartridge, sand or diatomaceous earth filter, you’ll need to clean it out every month.

Top 5 Best Pool Leaf Eaters in 2019

Leaves, twigs and large debris will inevitably find their way into your swimming pool. Organic debris will easily clog the pool’s plumbing system. They are also perfect fodder for algae. As leaves and twigs decompose, the chemical composition of the water gets out of whack, and you’ll have nasty surface stains on your hands.

leaf eater pool

In large quantities, leaves can overburden the skimmers. While a pool net is easy to use, removing leaves with this tool is time-consuming, especially if the swimming pool is large. As you move the net through the water, many of the leaves float out of the net’s path. In short, a skimmer net is inefficient.

When wet, leaves stick to everything, making them difficult to collect. However, a leaf eater sits on the pool floor, creating a vacuum that pulls leaves into its bag as you move the leaf eater with a simple pole. Some have wheels to help you move them. They’re lightweight and a breeze to assemble and maintain.

All pool leaf eaters are simple in design, and the ones we’ve reviewed were chosen primarily for their durable construction. Some are powered by a scientific principle called the Venturi effect while others run on batteries. In our buyer’s guide, you’ll find information about the different types of pool eaters and their features.

Best Pool Leaf Eaters

Pool Leaf Eater Buying Guide

The most common type of swimming pool leaf eater is made to hook up to a standard hose and pole. These leaf eaters use a sock bag to collect leaves and other debris, and some even have wheels to make navigation easier. If the pool floor needs a scrub, there are also leaf baggers with brushes on the head.

best leaf eater pool

You have a few choices in terms of leaf-eater style. Some are equipped with a battery; others connect to a garden hose. There are even hard-canister leaf eaters that attach to a suction-side pool cleaner. Each one has its own set of pros and cons, but some are better for leaf collection than others

Common Pool Leaf Eaters

Leaf eaters are also known as leaf baggers. To create the pressure and vacuum action necessary for drawing in leaves, the leaf eater must be connected to a garden hose. While the Venturi suction collects debris, you can move the leaf eater around with a telescopic pole that you attach to the eater.

Often, traditional leaf eaters have multiple jets to boost their suction power. Many of these leaf eaters can pull double duty as a waterline skimmer. To use a pool-floor leaf eater as a surface skimmer, simply flip over the eater, push the bag into the water, lock the pole connector and guide the eater/skimmer along the surface.

Battery-operated leaf eaters are another popular choice. Like their Venturi counterparts, a pole is needed to move battery-powered models around the pool floor. Instead of a garden hose, there is a propeller. When you flip the power switch, a set of disposable batteries turn the propeller, which gives the leaf eater the thrust it needs to navigate your pool.

Uncommon Leaf Eaters

For those who are interested in a more automated way to collect leaves, there are suction-side leaf eaters. These leaf eaters gather debris in a plastic canister instead of a reusable bag; sometimes a bag sits inside the canister. The canister is in-line installed and uses the pool’s jets to create a Venturi vacuum pull.

pool leaf eater

Handheld leaf eaters are also available. In appearance, they mimic the look of a hand vac, but some have an integrated pole. These models run on the power of a rechargeable battery. Finally, there are elongated mechanical nets that attach to and jut out from recessed skimmers.

While the aforementioned leaf eaters have their benefits, they don’t have the debris capacity of traditional-style leaf baggers. Therefore, they can’t keep up with the demands of a large pool or heavy leaf loads. Although they can handle leaves and tiny twigs, handheld models are better suited for fine debris.

Container Capacity and Strength

Size and strength are the most important aspects of a leaf-eater bag. These bags range in diameter from 13 to 16 inches, and they stand anywhere from 24 to 34 inches tall. The wider and longer the bag, the more leaves it can hold, and the less time you’ll spend cleaning your swimming pool.

Bags are either made of polyester or nylon. Both materials are strong, but nylon is slightly more robust. However, polyester has the advantage of a faster drying time, which is helpful when you’re ready to put the leaf eater away.

The mesh of some bags is larger than that of others. For the purpose of leaf collecting, medium-sized holes are best because they allow the water to flow through the bag unimpeded even when it’s full. A drawstring keeps the bag attached to the leaf eater; however, the addition of a vacuum ring enhances the bag’s security.

Suction-side pool leaf eaters have different considerations. Their containers are constructed from various types of plastic – polycarbonate is a durable choice. A few models also have a mesh bag. For those leaf eaters, medium-sized mesh is still the best choice. Suction-side leaf eaters with a built-in filter are less likely to clog.

Pole Adapters and Handles

Venturi and battery-powered leaf have an adapter that connects to your pool pole. The leaf eater’s adapter is designed to fit the standard diameter for a pool pole, which is 1.25 inches. Suction-side models that have a mug-style handle are the easiest to pull from the water.

pool leaf eater

Pole adapters are either made of aluminum, chrome or plastic. Aluminum and plastic are lightweight. While plastic won’t corrode over time like aluminum will, plastic isn’t as strong. Chrome is the heaviest material, but it’s tough and rust-resistant.

Floor Head Features

Guiding a leaf eater is easy enough, but wheels make navigating the leaf eater practically effortless. Depending on the model, there may be two, three or four wheels – Those that swivel provide the freest range of motion. To prevent scuffs from forming on the floor and walls, look for a pool leaf eater with a protective bumper.

Some heads are lined with bristles, allowing you to loosen stuck-on leaves. You’ll also find that leaf eater heads come in different shapes. Round is the most common, but there are also angled and curved shapes, both of which are great for use in spas and free-form pools.

Garden Hose Features

As with the pole connector, the leaf eater’s hose adapter needs to be durable. Plastic won’t rust, but it doesn’t touch metal in terms of strength. The most durable hose adapters are made of brass. You also want to make sure the adapter fits your hose. One-half inch is the standard hose diameter – A universal adapter can accommodate other widths.

pool style leaf eater

Even though pool leaf eaters don’t come with a garden hose, the hose you connect to the leaf bagger impacts its performance. Rubber hoses hold up better than vinyl ones, but they are heavier. The more plies (layers) a hose has, the stronger it will be.

The hose should be long enough to reach across your swimming pool; however, a hose longer than 50 feet should have a diameter wider than 0.5 inches to maintain the leaf eater’s suction. Always check the hose for kinks, leaks and tangles before each use.

FAQs

How Do I Maintain a Pool Leaf Eater?

Leaf eaters are easy to maintain. To remove leaves from the bag, all you have to do is turn it inside out. Occasionally, you will need to replace the wheels and brushes if your leaf bagger comes with these parts. These tasks only take a few minutes.

Propeller-driven leaf eaters require a little bit more maintenance. You have to clear leaves from the blades from time to time. Those with disposable batteries need new ones after every few hours of use. If it has a rechargeable battery, you’ll need to plug it into a wall outlet.

Should I Use the Pole That Comes With My Leaf Eater?

It depends. The pool pole you use must be strong enough to support the leaf bagger. For those who have arthritis or weak upper body strength, weight is a concern. Aluminum is a great happy medium. It’s more durable than plastic, but it’s lighter than other metals.

pool leaf eater vacuum

The included pole often breaks down into multiple pieces. If there are only two or three reinforced joints on the pole, it should be okay to use. However, if the leaf eater’s pole has four or five joints and it’s made of plastic, stick with a separate telescopic pole constructed from metal.

Are Leaf Eaters Safe to Use in Above-Ground Pools?

Venturi leaf eaters are perfectly safe to use in above-ground swimming pools. If your leaf eater is equipped with wheels, detach the wheels before using it as they could tear the vinyl liner. Leaf eaters with brushes are also safe to use in an above-ground pool if the bristles are made of nylon.

Pool Leaf Eaters: Recap

While there are multiple kinds of leaf eaters, the most popular ones are those that operate on batteries and a propeller or a garden hose and Venturi suction. These leaf baggers are budget-friendly. They don’t need to be hooked up your pool to work, and some even have brushes for leaf loosening.

leaf eater pool vacuum

No matter the style of pool leaf eater you choose, durability is crucial. Plastic components won’t corrode or rust, but metal is often preferred for its strength. You also want to use a pool pole with as few joints as possible, and the leaf eater’s connector should fit the diameter of your garden hose.

Before you hook up the hose, examine it. If it has a kink, the leaf eater won’t be able to generate the vacuum pressure necessary for debris collection. The hose shouldn’t be overly long or too short, and a rubber hose is less likely to wear out from dragging along the floor of your swimming pool.

Don’t forget the bag – bigger is better in terms of capacity and mesh size. If your home sits on a heavily wooded lot, you can’t rely on your swimming pool’s skimmers to do all the work. When you don’t have the time or desire to manually skim your pool, a user-friendly leaf eater is the way to go.

Top 5 Best Pool Leaf Traps in 2019

Alarming noises, suction pressure reduction, stagnant water, debris accumulation – These are all signs that something is amiss with your pool’s skimmer line. Fixing this problem requires pinpointing the exact location of the clog, using various methods to remove the obstruction and shocking the water after you clear the line.

Best Pool Leaf Traps

If you’re lucky, time, extra chemicals and a service call are all you’ll spend. In severe cases, a clogged skimmer line can cause the pump to run dry. Without water to cool off the pump’s operating temperature, the pump will overheat. If it continues to run while hot, the pump will eventually seize, and you’ll have to replace it.

Though the pump’s strainer basket helps reduce the likelihood of clogs, large debris can overburden the basket. However, a leaf trap offers a simple fix to a potentially costly problem. By installing a leaf trap to the skimmer line when you’re vacuuming, the leaf trap’s canister will contain the large debris, keeping it away from the pump and filter.

Pool leaf traps are inexpensive and effective. They’re also easy to use and maintain. To help you choose a leaf trap, we’ve reviewed some of the most reliable models currently available. Additionally, we’ve provided you with a buyer’s guide that offers information on leaf trap installation, troubleshooting and more.

Best Pool Leaf Traps

Leaf traps are one of those must-have pieces of equipment as they take strain off the swimming pool’s filtration system. Some leaf traps are better built than others. Durability and easy accessibility are key factors in a leaf trap’s dependability, and we took both aspects into account when choosing the leaf traps on our list.

Pool Leaf Trap Buying Guide

Leaf traps are straightforward in terms of use and installation. Large debris like leaves and pine needles can wreak havoc on your pool’s pump and suction line, leading to costly professional service calls. While pool pumps do have their own strainer basket, the basket alone is not enough to keep the water flowing unobstructed.

Pool Leaf Traps

Our buyer’s guide gives you easy-to-follow instructions on how to install a leaf trap. You’ll also learn the proper way to clean and maintain the trap as well as the features to look for in a leaf trap – durability is the most important followed by ease of use.

Even the most durable leaf trap can fail. Sometimes, issues such as leaking and sinking can occur. Luckily, these problems are easy to resolve. Our guide tells you how to solve these issues, so you won’t need to call in a pool pro to fix them.

Installing a Leaf Trap

The process of installing a leaf trap is simple – The only task involved is connecting two hoses. First, you must set up the hose that goes to the skimmer line. To do so, take off the skimmer’s lid and remove the basket and float valve. Next, feed the hose through the skimmer inlet and to the suction-line port.

Once connected to the port, attach the hose to your leaf trap. For a trap that lies horizontal, the skimmer connection is on the bottom. A trap that stands vertically will have the skimmer and vacuum connections on the top.

Before you connect the canister to your vacuum, submerge it in water to get rid of any trapped air. If the cartridge and bag/basket don’t come pre-installed, just drop them into the canister before you hold it under the water. Then, you can use your manual vacuum or run your automatic suction-side cleaner.

Characteristics of a Dependable Leaf Trap

Generally, you can’t go wrong by getting a leaf trap with a larger-than-average capacity. However, if your swimming pool is small or the debris load isn’t excessive, a standard-size canister will be sufficient. Don’t forget to consider the filtration rate. Leaf traps with a tight-weave mesh bag work better at capturing fine particles than a basket.

pool main drain leaf traps

As we covered in the installation section of our guide, pool leaf traps come in two orientations – horizontal and vertical. Horizontal styles are easier to manage as vertical ones tend to tilt from time to time. In addition, leaf traps that create cyclonic action keep the debris moving inside the canister, which prevents clogs.

The overall body of the trap is also important. It should be made of impact-resistant plastic such as Lexan, and the plastic should be translucent to indicate the trap’s fill level at a glance. Canisters with a handle are easier to lift out of the water and clean, and twist-off tops last longer than latch-secured versions.

Although hoses and adapters only cost a couple of bucks, it’s convenient when the leaf trap manufacturer supplies all the connections. To use a pool leaf trap, you’ll need a female-to-female hose and a strainer connection hose. Ideally, the adapters should be universal, so you can use the trap with the vacuum or suction-side cleaner of your choice.

Cleaning Your Leaf Trap

Depending on the amount of large debris in your pool, the leaf trap will need to be cleaned out anywhere from every other day to once per week. To remove the debris inside the container, you must first take it out of the water. Then, detach the hose that connects to the vacuum or suction-side cleaner.

After you disconnect the hose, you need to dump out the water in the leaf trap. You can do this by either taking off the canister’s top or pulling the canister’s drain plug (if it has one). Then, remove the strainer cup or the filter bag from the leaf trap. Dump its contents and rinse off the collection cup/bag.

Reassembling the Leaf Trap

Once the bag or cup is clean, take a minute to look over the leaf trap’s parts to make sure there are no rips or cracks. If all components appear sound, simply slip the bag or cup back into the canister, taking care to ensure the plastic ring sits snug at the bottom of the canister top’s thread.

swimming pool leaf traps

Next, you need to reattach the top. If it’s a twist-off top, screw it back onto the canister clockwise. If it’s a latch-style top, close the lid and secure the latch. Finally, submerge the canister to eliminate trapped air and connect the vacuum hose to the canister just as you did when you first installed the leaf trap.

Fixing Common Leaf Trap Problems: Air Leaks

You’ll likely encounter an air leak issue with your leaf trap at some juncture. Luckily, air leaks are easy to locate and fix. The first clue that air is leaking into the leaf trap is the presence of air bubbles in your swimming pool. Sometimes, a noisy pump is a sign of air in the line.

If the canister is a vertical-style leaf trap, check to see if it’s horizontal and correct its position if it’s not. Then, move onto the O-ring. Open the lid and look at the O-ring, which creates a seal to keep air out of the canister. If it’s worn or warped, replace it.

However, if the O-ring just looks dry, you should be able to lubricate it. Sometimes, you just need to remove trapped debris stuck in between the O-ring and the canister. As you’ve learned from the installation and maintenance sections of our guide, submersion before connecting the vacuum hose is key to preventing air leaks.

Fixing Common Leaf Trap Problems: Sinking Canister

You can install the leaf trap correctly, but you may encounter a situation where the canister won’t stay afloat. You can try to move its position between the pieces of hose. Sometimes, that fixes the issue.

If you experiment with the leaf trap’s location and it still sinks, there is a simple fix. Cut a pool noodle and slide it over the canister’s handle. If your leaf trap doesn’t have a handle, cut two small pieces and slip them over both connections on the canister.

FAQs

Why Can’t I Just Use the Pump’s Strainer Basket?

The basket in the pool pump is designed to trap large debris, including leaves, twigs, pine needles and insects. However, the basket’s capacity is small, and it’s meant to be used as a stopgap, not a major filtration unit. With a leaf trap, you won’t overburden the pool pump, and you can clean your swimming pool more efficiently.

Best Pool Leaf Traps

How Do I Clear a Skimmer Line Clog?

You may not always be able to clear a clog in the skimmer line by yourself. However, there is no harm in trying before you shell out money on a professional pool service company. You’ll need a drain bladder (they are cheap) and a garden hose to get the job done.

First, turn off the pool pump. Leave the skimmer valve open but close the skimmer and main drain intakes and take out the pump’s strainer basket. Connect the drain bladder to your hose and maneuver the bladder through the basket and into the pump intake.

Next, turn on the spigot and watch to see if any debris come out of the skimmer. Alternate holding a tennis ball against the skimmer port for 10 seconds once every few minutes to build pressure and remove the blockage. Once the blockage is gone, reassemble all the pump components and bleed air from the pool pump.

Do I Have to Use a Trap When I’m Vacuuming?

It depends on the type of debris you’re suctioning. If you’re mainly dealing with sand or dirt, it’s not necessary to hook up your leaf trap. However, we still recommend vacuuming with a leaf trap in place if it has a mesh bag that captures fine sediment. If you’re vacuuming large debris, a pool leaf trap is a must.

Pool Leaf Traps: Recap

Skimmer-line clogs are a real pain to remove. If not addressed immediately, your pool pump could overheat and seize. Sometimes, you can remove an obstruction on your own. Other times, you have to call in a professional to snake the line.

Leaf traps offer a simple solution to a huge problem. They take the stress off your swimming pool’s filter and pump, extending the lifespan of both components. You don’t have to be an expert to install, use or maintain a leaf trap. Plus, leaf traps are an inexpensive piece of equipment.

You can get a leaf trap with a large-debris-only plastic cup or one with a fine-and-large-debris mesh bag. Some leaf traps have a handle. There are leaf traps that stand up vertically and others that sit horizontally. Most leaf traps are compatible with a vacuum or an automatic suction-side cleaner.

However, not all leaf traps are made equally in terms of durability. The best leaf traps boast a strong, clear housing. Those with a handle are easier to maneuver, and canisters with a twist-off top are less likely to fail years down the road than leaf traps with a latched lid.

Top 5 Best Pool Vacuums in 2019

Being able to take a swim in your backyard whenever the mood strikes is what pool ownership is all about. However, maintenance is the nonglamorous side that comes along with having unfettered access to a swimming pool. Luckily, there are plenty of tools available to make cleaning your pool easier.

pool cleaner vacuums

A vacuum is one such tool. With the right pool vacuum in hand, you can remove the acorns, dirt, insects, leaves and sand that would otherwise clog your swimming pool’s filter and damage its pump. Some are manual while others are automatic. There are ones that depend on your pool’s pump and those that work independently.

If you own an above-ground swimming pool, get a vacuum with gentle brushes, and it should be a low-pressure model that doesn’t climb walls. With an in-ground pool, the options are limitless, and you can base your decision on other factors such as the spare time you have and the debris you commonly see.

Take a look at our lists of the best vacuums for swimming pools if you’re not sure where to begin. Since all pool vacuums are different, be sure to read our buyer’s guide. In the guide, you’ll get a breakdown of how each type of pool vacuum works as well as its pros and cons.

Best Pool Vacuums

Pool Vacuum Buying Guide

From ones that you must maneuver yourself to those that run almost autonomously, you have a lot of choices when it comes to swimming pool vacuums. In our buyer’s guide, we describe how each type of pool vacuum works, including pressure-side, suction-side, robotic and manual vacuums.

above ground pool vacuums

We also discuss other considerations you should make when choosing a pool vacuum. For instance, you must take into account the type of swimming pool you have – in-ground or above-ground. You also have to think about how much time you’re willing to devote to pool maintenance as well as the surrounding environment and the debris it brings.

Suction-Side Pool Vacuums

Suction-side swimming pool vacuums connect to the pool’s skimmer, using the filter pump’s suction power to move. To set up the suction-side vacuum, you’ll need to attach a long hose to the skimmer inlet. Sometimes, you must also flip over the vacuum before you submerge it to remove any air that would prevent it from sinking.

The majority of suction-side vacuums are of the inertia-driven variety. These vacuums move around your pool at random. Other suction-side vacuums are geared, moving in a methodical pattern. While inertia-driven suction-side vacuums do well at full-coverage cleaning, it does take them longer to clean your pool than geared versions.

Fine-sediment pickup is where suction-side pool vacuums really shine. They are usually equipped with brushes that scrub the surfaces of a pool, and their minimal amount of moving parts means suction-side vacuums last a long time. People gravitate toward these pool vacuums because they’re relatively inexpensive, easy to assemble and don’t have a filter to maintain.

One downside to suction-side vacuums is their propensity to burden a pool’s filter. Since the vacuum doesn’t have a filter or bag, the dirt and debris it suctions are trapped by the pool filter, which you’ll have to clean more often. Furthermore, if your swimming pool has one skimmer box, it won’t work while the vacuum is in operation.

Pressure-Side Pool Vacuums

Pressure-side pool vacuums attach to the outlet where water enters the swimming pool. Like suction-side vacuums, pressure-side pool cleaners require a hose to make that connection. However, there is no need to remove air before you let it loose because the air will flow out of the vacuum instead of becoming trapped in the pipes.

Best Pool Vacuums

For a pressure-side pool vacuum to move, it must be connected to a pump. Typically, the vacuum will need its own pump (a booster pump) in order to be efficient, but it’s possible to run it off the pool’s pump depending on the specs of the pool, pump and vacuum.

Due to their large intake port and powerful performance, these pool vacuums are well-adept at removing large debris like acorns, insects and leaves. Since pressure-side vacuums come with a filter bag, they won’t overload your pool’s filtration system. In addition, pressure-side swimming pool vacuums clean faster than their suction-side counterparts.

While a filter bag is a positive, it also means another component to maintain. Pressure-side vacuums aren’t effective at getting rid of fine sediment, and their lack of brushes means they can’t scrub the floor of your pool. Since these pool vacuums use positive pressure to move, they are also unable to climb walls.

Robotic Pool Vacuums

Robots are a different breed of pool vacuums. They contain a low-voltage motor and come with a transformer, which supplies safe electricity to the vacuum. Robotic pool vacuums also have their own pump, which draws in water and generates the suction that moves them.

One of the major benefits of a robotic pool vacuum is its autonomous, time-saving nature. They are fast because they are programmed to choose the most efficient route. With the inclusion of a large inlet and various filters, robotic vacuums excel at removing large and fine debris. They’re also equipped with scrubbing brushes, and they can climb pool walls.

However, these pool vacuums aren’t designed to stay in the water 24/7. This means you have to remove them after every cleaning cycle. You also have filters to maintain regularly. Then, there is the cable. Some robotic vacuum cables are problematic. Those that don’t swivel will eventually tangle, rendering the robot useless until you straighten out the cable.

Manual Pool Vacuums

A manual pool vacuum has wheels, and you must push it yourself with a telescopic pole. Standard manual pool vacuums work by attaching a hose to the vacuum’s nozzle, submerging the hose to remove trapped air and then securing the hose to the pool’s intake.

pool vacuums

There are also manual vacuums that run on the power of a rechargeable battery. Like standard manual vacuums, battery-operated pool vacuums are designed to be pushed around the swimming pool by a pole. These vacuums come in different nozzle shapes, and their battery runtime varies. However, all have a filter bag.

Manual pool vacuums are ideal for the budget-constrained shopper. Their small size allows them to reach into tight spaces. Setup is easy, and there are no cables with which to contend. The learning curve is non-existent, and the absence of complex moving parts equates to a long lifespan.

As with other pool vacuums, manual ones aren’t without their not-so-great points. Using a standard vacuum to clean a swimming pool can take a long time, and you’ll have to exert some physical effort. Battery-operated manual vacuums must be recharged, which means they aren’t always ready when needed, and they don’t do well for whole-pool cleaning.

FAQs

How Often Should I Run My Pool Vacuum?

There is no single, across-the-board answer to this question as the frequency of vacuuming depends on how often your pool is used, the debris that tends to plague it and the type of pool vacuum you have. At the very least, you should vacuum your swimming pool once per week.

Best Automatic Pool Cleaner Vacuums

However, extra vacuuming is required when there are more debris in the pool than usual. You should also vacuum before you swim if the pool hasn’t been used in several weeks, and always vacuum it at the beginning and the end of swim season.

What Is the Difference Between a Low-Pressure and a High-Pressure Pool Vacuum?

The main difference between a low-pressure and a high-pressure pool vacuum is each one’s use of a pump. Low-pressure swimming pool vacuums do not need a booster pump to move because they rely on the flow of the returned water. On the other hand, high-pressure pool vacuums do need a booster pump of their own.

Low-pressure vacuums are easier to install. All you have to do is connect them to a return and make an adjustment or two to the vacuum’s flow rate. High-pressure vacuums are faster and more efficient, and those with a time clock will conveniently start and stop a cleaning cycle by themselves.

Do I Need a Special Vacuum for an Above-Ground Pool?

Usually, above-ground swimming pools are smaller than in-ground pools. Therefore, you don’t need one with a lot of reach. Above-ground pool vacuums do not require a heavy-duty pump either since they tend to be shallower than in-ground swimming pools – A low-pressure vacuum is the most appropriate choice for an above-ground pool.

If you’re in the market for an above-ground pool vacuum, there are two important points to factor into your decision. First, make sure the vacuum’s scrub brushes, if it has some, are safe to use on your pool’s liner. Finally, steer clear of vacuums that climb walls. Otherwise, you risk tearing the pool’s liner.

Pool Vacuums: Recap

If your swimming pool is situated near sand or dirt, you need a pool vacuum that removes fine debris. Suction-side and robotic pool vacuums do exceptionally well at fine-sediment suctioning. If your pool sits near a bunch of trees, a pressure-side or a robotic vacuum can handle leaves and other large debris.

Pool Vacuum Cleaner

Manual vacuums are the easiest to use, but they require the most physical effort. Some can be used to clean an entire pool if the swimming pool is small enough, but most are better suited for spot cleaning. Conversely, robotic pool vacuums save you a ton of time, but there is a learning curve involved.

There’s also the filter to consider. Really, there is no escaping filter maintenance. Pressure-side, robotic and battery-operated vacuums come with a filter cartridge and/or bag. Manual vacuums without a bag and suction-side vacuums may not have a filter, but they’ll put more strain on your pool’s filter, which means additional maintenance on your part.

Not every pool vacuum may be right for your swimming pool. Particularly when it comes to above-ground pools, you should stick with a vacuum such as a manual or a low-pressure suction-side one. No matter the type of pool vacuum, you’ll need to use it regularly to get the maximum benefit of its cleaning power.

Top 5 Best Pool Multiport Valves in 2019

Sand and diatomaceous earth pool filters offer many benefits, including durable and inexpensive filtration media, user-friendly operation and an easy backwashing process. These pool filters are equipped with a multiport valve that diverts the water in different directions with the press and turn of a handle.

multiport pool valves

While other types of valves exist, they do not offer the level of pool-maintenance flexibility as opposed to multiport valves. Unfortunately, multiport valves don’t always last throughout the filter’s life. Leaks can occur at many connection points within the valve or between the valve and the filter tank.

Using a filter when its valve isn’t functioning properly will make the pool water unhygienic, and it can spell expensive disaster down the road. Sometimes, malfunctions can be easily repaired. Other times, a replacement makes more sense. That is why we added a troubleshooting section in our buyer’s guide.

We also included information for first-time DE/sand filter users in our multiport valve buyer’s guide. If you’ve never owned a sand or a diatomaceous earth filter, you need to know what each setting means and when that setting should be engaged. There are usually six positions, but some valves have an extra winterizing setting.

Best Pool Multiport Valves

Compared to push-pull and diverter-style valves, multiport valves offer the greatest number of settings. When choosing a multiport valve for your diatomaceous earth or sand filter, you have to make sure it’s sized to fit the tank. Also important are the valve’s mount location and the warranty. Take a look at these multiport valves on our review list.

Pool Multiport Valve Buying Guide

If you have a filter that uses DE or sand, it will have a multiport valve on its side or top. Like all other mechanical parts, the multiport valve will eventually fail. Sometimes, breakdowns can be fixed. Other times, it makes more sense to replace the valve instead of repair it.

Best Pool Multiport Valves

Our buyer’s guide focuses on making sense of each setting – Yours may come with up to seven positions, some of which you’ll use more often than others. We also discuss common multiport valve issues and how to troubleshoot them. Should you decide that a replacement is in order, read our step-by-step instructions on how to install a new one.

Commonly Used Multiport Valve Settings

As the normal setting, filter is the one you’ll need to use the most. When in this position, the water runs through the pump port and travel down the sand and diatomaceous earth to capture pool debris. Then, the now-clean water exits through the return port. We also recommend using the filter setting while vacuuming.

The backwash position should be used when the filter is overloaded with debris. A 7 to 10 psi rise will indicate the need for backwashing. On this setting, the water moves backward, exiting from the waste port and taking debris buildup along with it. Backwashing takes 5 minutes tops.

Anytime you backwash a filter, you must rinse it, which you can do via the filter’s dedicated rinse setting. When set to rinse, the water flows from top to bottom just as it does in filter mode. However, the water is directed to the waste port instead of the return port that leads to the swimming pool.

Infrequently Used Multiport Valve Settings

There are several reasons to position the multiport valve to the waste setting – when lowering the water level, dealing with an overfilled pool, treating the water for algae and vacuuming extra-fine sediment. After you set the valve to waste, the water from the pool enters the pump port, and it’s released through the waste port, bypassing the filter.

swimming pool multiport valves

Recirculate is another valve position that bypasses the sand or DE filter. On recirculate, sometimes simply called bypass, water is sent through the pump port and leaves through the return port without undergoing the filtration process. Reasons to use the recirculate setting include adding certain pool chemicals and circulating the water in the event the filter becomes damaged.

Closed is a rarely used setting. The only times you’ll need to set the filter to closed are when you’re servicing the swimming pool’s pump or winterizing the suction lines. The closed position halts the water flow at the filter’s pump port. Before you turn the valve handle to closed, make sure the pool pump is not running.

Some multiport valves do not have a winter setting because it accomplishes a similar goal as the closed position does. However, the winter position also takes tension off the valve’s internal spring and holds the valve above the ports, preventing breakdowns from prolonged non-use and cracks from frozen water.

Troubleshooting: Stuck Handle

Moving mechanical parts wear out from time to time. It’s not uncommon for a multiport valve’s handle to become difficult or impossible to turn. When this happens, you’ll need to take apart the valve, clean the parts and lubricate them.

Troubleshooting: Handle and Cover Leaks

If you see water pushing up to the top of the valve and flowing over the lid, the likely culprit is a handle leak. The cause of a handle leak is often due to an out-of-whack or failing O-ring gasket, which happens with repeated exposure to cold weather and water. Sometimes, stuck particles are the cause.

hayward multiport valves

Elevated pressure can cause leaks elsewhere, particularly at the valve cover. First, examine the cover’s screws and tighten any loose ones. If that doesn’t stop the leak and the pressure is still high, make sure the filter isn’t dirty. If all else fails, you’ll need to unscrew the valve cover and replace its gasket.

Troubleshooting: Gauge and Port Leaks

Gauge leaks are usually a problem that occurs in top-mounted multiport valves and characterized by trickling water coming from below the gauge. A cracked valve body, stripped plastic threads or multiple layers of Teflon tape are the cause. Once you’ve determined the source, you need to glue the crack, thread in an insert or remove and replace the tape.

All multiport valves have a waste, return and pump port. Often, leaks happen due to a too-tight adapter. On some occasions, a shrunken PVC connector or sagging pipes can lead to a leakage. You can fix this type of leak by replacing the PVC pipe and fittings. If the valve body becomes cracked, a valve replacement is in order.

Troubleshooting: Tank Connection and Waste Line Leaks

Depending on the multiport valve’s mount location, the leak may be originating from the flange area or the bulkhead area. Bulkhead leaks happen on side-mounted valves while flange-centric leaks occur on top-mounted multiport valves. Most leaks can be repaired, but those that come from between the tank and flange necessitate a full valve replacement.

The waste port can be particularly problematic. If you see water coming from this port when the filter isn’t set to backwash, there’s a leak. Any number of reasons could cause a waste-port leak, such as the spider gasket or the key assembly spring. To pinpoint either cause, you must disassemble the multiport valve. However, replacing it is easier.

FAQs

Can I Change the Handle Position While the Filter is Running?

You should always turn off the filter before you adjust the multiport valve’s position. When the filter is on, water is moving through it, and the pressure generated by that water is quite high. If you turn the handle while the filter is running, that pressure could cause the gasket to break and water to leak or even gush.

hayward pool multiport valves

How Do I Remove an Old Multiport Valve?

Multiport valves don’t last forever – Most provide 5 to 7 years of working life. When an aging or irreparable valve needs to be replaced, you must first turn off the pump and set the valve to closed. Then, you need to drain the water by pulling the filter’s drain plug.

After the water is drained, grab a pair of PVC cutters and cut the inlet and outlet, leaving about a 6-inch gap between the pipes and the valve ports. Then, you can unscrew the bulkhead unions (side-mounted valve) or remove the clamp (top-mounted valve). Finally, you can take off the old valve and install the new one.

Do Cartridge Filters Come With a Multiport Valve?

Pool filters come in sand, diatomaceous earth and cartridge varieties. A multiport valve’s main function is to clean the sand or DE inside the filter. Cartridges in a cartridge filter are removable, and you clean those by simply rinsing them with a water hose. Therefore, cartridge filters do not need nor require a multiport valve.

Pool Multiport Valve

Pool Multiport Valves: Recap

The multiport valve plays a crucial role in the operation of a sand or a diatomaceous earth filter by keeping the water flowing in the proper circulation sequence or stopping the flow altogether. It manages to do so by changing the flow direction when you turn the handle to one of its six or seven settings.

Although the valve’s handle can get stuck in place from time to time, the most common malfunction is a leak. On a multiport valve, the leak can occur in a multitude of areas. For instance, the valve can spring a leak at one of its three ports or gauge. Leaks may also originate from the filter cover connection.

Without a working multiport valve, the filter can’t clean your pool’s water and the filter itself may become damaged beyond repair. There are some breakdowns you can repair yourself, but not all leak sources are fixable. For those that aren’t repairable, a full replacement is in order. Luckily, valve removal and installation are DIY kinds of project.

Before buying a multiport valve, make sure it’s designed for use on your filter. It must also be made to mount to the appropriate location whether that be the top or the side. Like most items you buy for long-term use, make sure to the valve comes with a comprehensive warranty.

Top 5 Best Pool Sand Filters in 2019

Diatomaceous earth filters are expensive. Many municipalities strictly enforce DE disposal, and they aren’t the best fit for above-ground swimming pools. Cartridge filters only last a couple of years, and they can be tedious to clean. Is there an alternative to DE and cartridge filters?

pool sand filters

If minimal maintenance and low cost are your top priorities, a sand filter fits both of your requirements. Sand filters work well with in-ground and above-ground swimming pools, particularly large ones. Although the sand remains effective longer than diatomaceous earth, you have the option of replacing the sand with materials that have a smaller volume and filtration rate.

These filters consist of a tank with high-quality sand at two-thirds capacity. On the top or the side of the tank, there is a multiport valve next to the pressure gauge, which gives you access to the filter’s multiple settings. As water flows into the tank, the rough edges of the sand catch the debris in the water.

No matter the ground level or size of your pool, you’ll find a great sand filter in our review list. We’ve compiled a list of the most solidly constructed sand filters available. In addition, we added a buyer’s guide, which explains how to size the filter, what each multiport setting means and how to backwash your sand filter.

Best Pool Sand Filters

Pool Sand Filter Buying Guide

If you want to know more about how sand filters compare to diatomaceous earth and cartridge filters, check out our buyer’s guide, which also gives you the lowdown on the capabilities of silica sand and its alternatives. You’ll also find out how to size a sand filter according to your pool’s pump and volume.

Best Pool Sand Filters

Once you’ve found the right sand filter, our guide will tell you how to take care of it. In this guide, you’ll find instructions on how to replace the sand and backwash the filter. If you’re curious about your filter’s other settings, we’ve provided simple explanations that remove the mystery behind the multiport valve.

Filter Types: DE vs. Cartridge vs. Sand

Diatomaceous earth filters boast a 5-micron filtration rate, and you don’t need to break out chemicals to clean them. However, DE is pricey, and the filter’s grids only last 3 years. Most DE filters are incompatible with above-ground pools, and your city or county may have strict disposal rules for diatomaceous earth.

Cartridge filters can filter particles as small as 10 microns. You’ll use less water to clean them, and they work well with variable-speed pumps. Compared to sand filters, cartridge filters require more maintenance, and their lifespan is just as short as that of DE filters.

In terms of price and maintenance, sand filters are the winner. They also last much longer than DE and cartridge filters – often up to 7 years. However, there is one big downside to sand filters. They can only filter particles 20 microns and larger.

Characteristics of Sand and Its Alternatives

The type of sand used in sand filters is grade-20 silica sand. Many people prefer silica sand because it’s the cheapest medium, and it’s the easiest to maintain. Those who want a performance boost from their sand filter often opt for ZeoSand. Only half the amount of ZeoSand is needed, and it’s efficient at preventing chloramine buildup.

swimming pool filters sand

Made of recycled glass, crushed filter glass can trap particles as tiny as 2 microns. Filter glass also lasts much longer than silica sand, and you only need 20 percent the amount compared to silica. Pollyballs (polyester balls) have a 5-micron filtration rate. They’re resistant to chemical corrosion, and they can increase the pool’s flow rate by almost half.

Sizing a Sand Filter

There are two factors to take into account when choosing an appropriately sized sand filter – the pool’s pump and the pool’s capacity. When the size of the filter doesn’t match that of the pump, the system’s water flow will be hindered, and you could damage the filter.

For a 0.75 HP pump, you’ll need 2.7 square feet of sand. For a 2 HP pump, 5.8 square feet is appropriate. If the pool pump’s horsepower is rated at 1 or 1.5, you’ll need a filter that can hold 3.4 to 4.3 square feet’ worth of silica sand.

Sand filters are also sized by their flow rate of gallons-per-minute. The gallons per minute should meet or exceed that of the pool’s pump. At the very least, you’ll need 1 square foot of silica sand per 10,000 gallons of water. It’s perfectly fine to size the filter slightly bigger than the pump.

Cleaning a Sand Filter: Backwashing

The particles caught in between the sand granules gradually decrease the flow rate. Every 1 to 3 months, you’ll need to backwash your sand filter. You’ll know it’s time to take care of this routine maintenance task when the pressure gauge on the tank reads about 10 psi higher than normal.

swim pool sand filters

First, turn off the pump and the heater. Then, open the drain outlet, set the sand filter’s valve to backwash and turn on the pump. Let the filter run for a few minutes. Once the water appears clear, turn off the pump and set the valve back to filter. Now, you can turn on the pump and heater.

Multiport Valve Settings

Slide valves only have two settings – filter and backwash. The filter setting is the one that keeps the water clean and circulating, so you’ll use this setting the most. Backwash reverses the water flow, allowing you to clean the filter itself. Multiport valves have more settings, including rinse, waste, closed, recirculate and winterize.

Rinse flushes the tank after you replace the sand. Waste bypasses the filter when you vacuum. Closed halts the water flow, making it easier to repair a malfunctioning pump. Recirculate also bypasses the pump, and you’d use this if your filter is leaking or cracked. Winterize is suitable for closing down the pool at the end of swim season.

Replacing the Sand in Your Filter

To get as many working years as possible from the sand in your filter, we recommend decalcifying the sand by using a cleaner once a year. Once you notice that pressure increases are happening faster than usual, a cleaner won’t cut it – You’ll need to replace the sand.

swimming pool sand filters

Pull the tank’s drain plug and remove the filter’s dome. Then, disconnect the pipe and detach the filter valve. Taking care not to break the filter’s laterals and standpipe, scoop or vacuum out the sand. Once you remove the sand, flip over the tank and rinse the laterals with a hose.

Now, you can add new sand. Make sure to pour in enough water to prevent the laterals from cracking, and never add more sand than the filter’s manufacturer recommends. Before reassembling the tank and valve, brush and lubricate the O-ring. If the O-ring is dry or warped, this is the perfect time to replace it.

Don’t forget to prep the filter for use. You’ll need to set the valve to rinse, then backwash, then back to rinse. If the tank has a slide valve, simply run a backwash cycle. Always turn off the pump when you change valve settings. When you’re done prepping the filter, you can set the valve to filter.

FAQs

What Are Microns?

Microns, also called micrometers, are a form of measurement. One micron equals one-millionth of 1 meter. Pool filter manufacturers use the micron measurement to describe the width of particles that their filters can trap. To help you visualize the size of 1 micron, a single hair strand measures approximately 50 microns in width.

sand filters pool

How Do I Know When It’s Time to Replace My Sand Filter Tank?

While you do have to replace the sand once the edges become smooth and the granules can no longer trap particles, you’ll eventually need to get a new tan. There are several signs that indicate a tank has surpassed its useful life. The first sign you’ll probably notice is an odd pump noise coupled with a leaking port.

Sometimes, you’ll need to replace the tank for other reasons besides wear and tear. For instance, if the sand inside is relatively new but you still find yourself backwashing the filter more than once a month, the filter may be undersized for your swimming pool.

what kind of sand for pool filters

Why Do I Have to Sanitize My Pool If I Have a Sand Filter?

As you’ve read, silica sand has a filtration rate of 20 microns. However, many particles are much smaller. Bacteria ranges from 0.3 to 2 microns wide, and algae can be as small as 8 microns. Therefore, the filter is limited as to the contaminants it can catch. This means you must sanitize the water to ensure it stays hygienic.

Pool Sand Filters: Recap

Every swimming pool needs a filter. As far as filter media choices, you have three – diatomaceous earth, cartridges and sand. While each type of filter has its own set of pros and cons, sand is the media of choice for those who want to save money and spend less time on filter maintenance.

If you decide to go the sand filter route, you don’t necessarily have to use grade-20 silica sand. There are fill materials with smaller filtration rates and larger surface areas, such as ZeoSand, filter glass and Pollyballs. While sand alternatives offer many benefits, none of them are as inexpensive as traditional silica sand.

where to buy sand for pool filters

When browsing for a sand filter, your choice should be steered by the volume of water in your swimming pool and the horsepower of your pool’s pump. The gallons per minute of the filter can be a little bit more than the pump’s; however, you should never undersize the filter.

Once your sand filter is in place, familiarize yourself with the valve’s settings – multiport valves have more settings than slide valves. Make sure you replace the sand once per 5 to 7 years or longer for some sand alternatives, and backwash the filter every 1 to 3 months.

Top 5 Best In Ground Pool Filters of 2019

In the circulation system of a swimming pool, the filter is positioned after the pump. If there is one, the heater is then the next component the water travels through before the water reenters the pool. Every in-ground swimming pool needs a filter to remove unhealthy impurities like algae and bacteria and keep the water safe and hygienic.

in ground pool pumps and filters

Filters use one of three media – a cartridge, diatomaceous earth (DE) or sand. Of course, the type of filter installed in your pool is entirely up to you. Each filter media has unique benefits. Some are more efficient; others require less maintenance.

Regardless of the filter you choose, the most important part of your decision should be getting the right sized filter, which is determined by the volume of your pool and the flow rate of the pump. Undersize the filter, and your risk restricting the water flow and damaging the pump.

To give you a list of dependable filters for your in-ground swimming pool, we considered factors such as durability, efficiency and usability. If you can’t decide on the type of media or want to know how to size a filter, our buyer’s guide provides all the information you need.

Best In-Ground Pool Filters

Best In-Ground Pool Filter Buying Guide

Every pool needs a filter to remove the germs that lead to recreational water illnesses like diarrhea, E. coli infections, Legionnaires’ disease and swimmer’s ear. Cartridge, diatomaceous earth and sand filters are all capable of capturing dangerous germs and particles, but some media are more efficient than others.

in ground pool sand filters

When choosing an in-ground pool filter, you can’t just make a decision based on efficiency. You must also consider the amount of time you can spare to maintain the filter. A dirty, unmaintained filter isn’t doing your pool, or your health, any favors.

This guide will tell you how pool filters compare in terms of efficiency and maintenance. You’ll also find out how to do a few simple math equations, so you can get a filter that’s appropriately sized for your swimming pool.

Types of Filter Media

Outwardly, all types of in-ground pool filters look similar. Inside the filters’ housing, the media differs. The filter will either contain a cartridge, diatomaceous earth or sand/sand alternative. A cartridge filter contains one or four pleated, cylindrical media. As water flows through the cartridges, the pleats trap the particles.

Diatomaceous earth (DE) media is made from the fossilized exoskeletons of algae called diatoms. The DE used for pool filtration is heat-treated and formed into a powder-like substance. The DE powder is spread over fabric-covered grids that are secured by two manifolds. When water travels through the filter, the DE captures any impurities in the water.

Sand filters contain 20-grain silica sand, which are quartz granules approximately 840 microns in size. Water goes into the tank via a diffuser, traveling to the sand bed at the bottom. Particles in the water become trapped in between the granules while the now-clean water is returned to the swimming pool through laterals connected to a central standpipe.

Filtration Efficiency

People often gravitate toward sand because it’s the cheapest filtration media to buy upfront. However, it’s the least efficient of all three media, capturing particles from 20 to 40 microns. Sand lasts for about 3 to 5 years, which is longer than a paper cartridge’s lifespan of 1 to 3 years.

in ground pool filters

Synthetic and fiberglass cartridges have a slightly longer working life than paper ones, and many can trap particles as small as 10 microns. Cartridge filters come in single and quad configurations. A single-media cartridge filter is ideal for small or medium-sized swimming pools. Quad-filter setups are better suited for large pools that get a lot of use.

The initial price of a DE filter costs the most. Still, its lengthy lifespan of 10 years makes it a money-saver in the long run. DE filters are also able to trap the smallest particles, often down to the size of 1 micron.

Alternatives to Sand

Other granules are available for use in place of sand. In comparison to sand, filter glass, pollyballs and zeolite are able to capture smaller particles. All but zeolite have a longer lifespan. Filter glass, pollyballs and zeolite aren’t as dense as sand; therefore, less of these media are needed to achieve the same performance as sand.

Filter glass is made of recycled glass that’s crushed into fine pieces. This media holds a negative charge that attracts minerals and water. It can trap particles down to about 5 microns and boasts a lifespan of approximately 10 years or longer.

Pollyballs are simply small balls of polyester that you can use in the place of sand. It only takes 1 pound of pollyballs to equal the efficiency of 100 pounds of sand. While they achieve a filtration rate of 10 microns, pollyballs aren’t compatible with some clarifiers.

Zeolite can be natural or synthetic, but natural zeolite is derived from volcanic rock, and the natural type is often used for pool filtration. Depending on the specific zeolite media, the filter can capture particles anywhere from 2 to 6 microns. It’s also lighter in weight compared to sand.

Maintenance Considerations

Maintenance comes with the territory of pool ownership. DE filters are the most tedious to maintain. You have to backwash it yearly, but some are also equipped with a bump handle that shakes off the powder from the filter’s grids. You must mix the DE powder with water and add the solution to the filter after each cleaning.

best in ground pool filters

Sand filters require less maintenance than DE versions. Cleaning a sand filter involves replacing the sand once it begins to lose its efficiency. To replace the sand, you must first drain the water, take off the valve and suction or scoop the old sand. Since there aren’t many internal components in a sand filter, breakdowns don’t happen often.

Cartridge filters are the easiest type to clean; however, they must be cleaned often. These filters aren’t backwashed, but routine cleanings do consist of rinsing the pleats and blowing off dust after the cartridge dries. About once per year, a filter cartridge must be deep cleaned by soaking in a solution of muriatic acid.

Sizing an In-Ground Pool Filter

The right sized filter maximizes the pool’s ability to trap debris. While you never want to undersize the filter, we do recommend getting one a little larger than your calculations indicate. You’ll need to know the pool’s total volume in cubic feet – Multiply its length, width and depth (3.14 times depth for circle-shaped pools).

Then, multiply the cubic feet times 7.48. Take the volume and divide it by 8 (the average number of hours for a pool to effectively recirculate all the water it holds) to calculate the gallons per hour. Finally, divide the final figure by 60 to calculate the flow rate in gallons per minute.

You also have to consider the filter’s surface area. As far the surface area goes, there is no firm rule. However, a good guide is 3 square feet for a sand filter, 100 square feet for a cartridge filter and 36 square feet for a DE filter – These numbers are based on 10,000 gallons of pool water.

FAQs

How Do I Know When It’s Time to Clean or Replace My Filter?

Over time, the particulate matter in between sand granules causes pressure to build inside the filter. Similarly, particles accumulate on the grids of a DE filter, eventually increasing the pressure. Sand and DE filters are equipped with a pressure gauge. When the gauge reads at 10 psi above its starting pressure, it’s time for a cleaning or a replacement.

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Cartridge filters also have a pressure gauge, but particles are captured within pleats, so pressure building is an unlikely occurrence. If the cartridge is stained or worn even after cleaning, you need to replace the media. When cleanings become more frequent or you start having problems with algae blooms, the cartridge should be cleaned.

What Type of Valve Is Better?

The valve lets you control the filter’s flow of water. Valves come in two types – side and multiport. Side valves are specifically designed for side-mounted filters where space is limited. These valves only have a filter and a backwash setting. The filter setting is the standard cleaning cycle, and the backwash setting reverses the water flow.

Multiport valves can have up to eight settings, including filter and backwash. Rinse is the setting you should choose after backwashing to loosen any debris remaining in the pool’s pipes. Recirculate allows you to safely operate the pump while bypassing the filter, and the closed setting stops water from entering the filter when you service it.

Does the Pump’s Size Matter?

Absolutely. Without the pump, the filter can’t function. If the filter is too small, the pump will eventually overheat, and you’ll be looking at a costly replacement. Therefore, it’s crucial to match the filter’s gallon-per-minute flow rate with the pump’s flow rate.

The tricky part of sizing a filter to a pump is factoring in the pump’s horsepower. Usually, the manufacturer lists the pump’s flow rate in the specs and the operating label, so you don’t have to figure it out on your own. However, if you need a rough guide, a 1 HP pump has a flow rate of about 50 GPM.

In-Ground Pool Filters: Recap

Diatomaceous earth is the most efficient. It lasts the longest compared to the other two filters, but DE is the hardest to clean. Cartridges have the shortest lifespan, yet they’re the easiest to clean. Sand requires infrequent cleaning; however, the downside is a less efficient filtration rate unless you opt for a sand alternative.

what is the difference between in ground pool filters and above ground

Valves are found on all three types of pool filters. Some are mounted to the side, but most are positioned on the top of the filter. Side valves are usually found on cartridge-style filters. They are necessary for side mounting a filter, and they take up less space on small equipment platforms.

Multiports are the most common type of pool filter valve. Unlike the two flow settings found on side valves, multiport valves give you a lot of control over the flow of water. They offer as many as eight settings, so you can clean, rinse and service your filter with less hassle.

Finding the correct size filter for your in-ground pool only requires a few math calculations, none of which are complicated. It’s perfectly okay to oversize the filter, but don’t get one that’s too small. Make sure the filter meets the pump’s flow rate, and you should be good to go.

Top 5 Best UV Pool Sanitizers in 2019

All swimming pools require a sanitizer, even saltwater pools. Chlorine is the most popular choice. However, chlorine produces strong smells and chemical off-gassing that irritates the eyes, lungs, skin, and throat. The effects of chlorine have many pool owners searching for a water-sanitation alternative.

Best UV Pool Sanitizers

Ultraviolet light is a highly efficient, eco-friendly supplement for the filtration system of any swimming pool, and it greatly reduces the amount of chlorine needed to sanitize the water. UV sanitizers are even able to destroy some organisms that chlorine can’t, such as the cryptosporidium parasite that causes crippling diarrhea and nausea.

To neutralize algae spores, bacteria, viruses and other pathogens, the UV-light assembly is installed directly after the pool’s filter. When water flows over the quartz tube, the UV lamp inside the glass directs light onto the microorganisms, stopping 99.9 percent of these pathogens from multiplying.

On our list of UV sanitizers, you’ll notice that they come in different sizes to meet various pumps’ flow rates. Therefore, you’re sure to find at least one that will work for your swimming pool. If you’re just learning about UV pool sanitation, check out our buyer’s guide to learn how to install, maintain, and size one.

Best Pool Sanitizers: UV

Best Pool Sanitizer: UV Buying Guide

When an ultraviolet pool sanitizer is activated, it only takes a day or two for swimmers to notice a positive difference in the pool water’s hygiene and clarity. However, the sanitizer only works to its full capacity if the flow rate can keep pace with the pump’s water flow.

uv pool sanitizers

As you’ll learn in this guide, installation and maintenance are straightforward processes, and the use of a UV light can even lower your energy and chemical costs. If these benefits pique your interest, this guide will tell you how to size a UV lamp for your swimming pool and whether you need a low or a medium-pressure light.

Installing a UV Pool Sanitizer

UV sanitizers are safe to use in above-ground and in-ground pools. They won’t damage concrete, fiberglass or vinyl surfaces, and they’re compatible with saltwater setups. During and after installation, there are no strict safety measures you have to take against exposure because the UV light can’t penetrate through the sterilization chamber.

A UV sanitizer is installed in-line between the filter and the heater. Smaller ultraviolet lamps typically come with an outlet plug, but some larger ones are hardwired. If you decide to upgrade a UV sanitizer by adding more bulbs, doing so only takes a few minutes, and all the components necessary for installation should come with the UV assembly.

Maintaining a UV Light

Every ultraviolet bulb that’s designed for a swimming pool is different in terms of wattage, pressure and flow rate. Some last for a year while others have a lifespan of 6 years, but most fall somewhere in between this range. Since UV lamps can still glow after they’ve expired, we advise changing them on a set schedule.

Like all other components in your swimming pool, the UV sanitizer will require routine inspections and maintenance. About every four months, set aside 10 minutes to look over the UV sanitizer. You’ll need a screwdriver and a wrench to access the quartz tube unless you have a quick-release model.

uv light pool sanitizers

While you have the sanitizer open for inspection, utilize that opportunity to clean the quartz tube. A mixture of lemon juice and water or a mild descaler is all that’s needed to get the job done. White vinegar can be used in the place of lemon juice if you prefer.

Once you’re ready to close the pool for winter, there are only a few steps to take to prepare the UV sanitizer. If it’s a plug-in sanitizer, you can unplug, drain and remove the entire assembly, storing it inside until next pool season. If it’s a hardwired sanitizer, you’ll need to take out the bulb instead.

Energy Usage

Low energy usage and the resulting low electricity costs are two of the many benefits of ultraviolet technology. The number of bulbs in the UV sanitizer, the wattage of each bulb and the number of hours per day you run it determines how much money a sanitizer will add to your electricity bill.

To calculate the added cost to your electricity bills, you’ll need to do a simple four-step math equation. If the UV sanitizer has one 50-watt bulb, you’ll multiply 50 by 12 (the minimum number of recommended hours to run a UV sanitizer each day), which gives you 600 watt-hours per day.

Then, divide 600 by 1,000 (the number of watts in 1 kilowatt) – This equals 0.6 kilowatt-hours per day. Next, multiply 0.6 by 30 (the rounded average number of days in a month), which comes out to 18 kilowatt-hours per month.

Finally, multiply 18 by the cost of electricity per kilowatt-hour. The cost of electricity differs by month and location. We chose the current national average of 13.52 cents (don’t forget to move the decimal back two places). Therefore, running a 50-watt UV sanitizer for 12 hours per day only adds $2.43 to your electricity bill.

Low Pressure vs. Medium Pressure

When you’re checking out reviews and specs, you’ll inevitably come across the terms “low pressure” and “medium pressure.” During the manufacturing process, the UV lamp is evacuated to create a vacuum inside of it. Then, it’s filled with a gas such as Argon or a mixture of Argon and Neon.

ratings of pool uv sanitizers

A low-pressure UV sanitizer is filled with gas up to 10 millibars of pressure. You’ll recognize a low-pressure lamp instantly by its elongated appearance. A medium-pressure UV sanitizer is filled with gas up to 5 bars of pressure; this type of lamp is contained in a squat housing.

Low-pressure UV lamps generate a single wavelength of 254 nanometers, which works great for most residential swimming pools. Medium-pressure UV sanitizers create a band of light that runs across 200 to 600 nanometers. Due to its broader germicidal spectrum, medium-pressure UV sanitizers are ideal for indoor, commercial, and heavily used pools.

Sizing a UV Sanitizer

If the sanitizer is undersized, the water won’t move through the sanitizer fast enough, resulting in the buildup of inactive pathogens and the need for more chlorine. If the sanitizer is oversized, the water will move through the unit before the UV lamp has a chance to neutralize the germs. This means there is little wiggle room for sizing.

Every pool pump has a flow rate. The same goes for UV sanitizers. Look at the pump’s label (or use a flow meter) and choose a sanitizer that meets the pump’s gallon-per-minute flow rate, which should be listed in the specs. If the pump is a dual-speed or variable-speed model, match the sanitizer to the pump’s lowest speed.

FAQs

Can a UV Pool Sanitizer Get Rid of That Chlorine Smell?

A hint of chlorine in the water signifies to most people that a swimming pool is clean, but that smell can be too strong sometimes. Plus, it can wreak havoc on the body. However, it’s not the chlorine itself that’s responsible for that distinct odor.

are uv pool sanitizers effective?

When people swim in a pool, sunscreen, sweat, natural body oils and urine build up over time. These substances react with the chlorine in the water, creating an off-gas known as chloramine. It’s the chloramine, not the chlorine, that makes the knock-you-over chemical smell.

Indoor swimming pools tend to have a bigger problem with chloramines due to the lack of circulation in the surrounding atmosphere. Shocking the pool by adding more chlorine is the traditional way to get rid of chloramines. However, a UV sanitizer can greatly reduce the chloramine level in a swimming pool and eliminate that accompanying smell.

Do I Still Need to Use Pool Chemicals?

When safely harnessed as it is in a quartz tube, ultraviolet light is an amazing sanitation tool, reducing the need for chemicals by 50 to 90 percent. Unlike chlorine, ultraviolet light can destroy cryptosporidium in minutes. With chlorine, it can take all day to kill this parasite, and you’ll need at least 10 parts per million to do it.
A UV sanitizer can neutralize approximately 60 varieties of algae, bacteria, parasites and viruses. However, the sanitizer can’t capture the ineffective germs, and its reach doesn’t extend to the water inside the pool. This means you must still monitor and chemically control the pool’s alkaline and pH levels as well as employ skimmers and a filter.

How Often Should I Run the Pump?

The pump must run for the UV sanitizer to work. To be effective, the sanitizer should run 12 to 24 hours per day. This is where a dual-speed or a variable-speed pool pump can save you money by running the pump at its lowest speed. Certain states require pool owners to use a variable-speed pump.

Best UV Pool Sanitizers

You don’t have to keep an eagle eye on the pump and the sanitizer to ensure both are running. Some UV pool sanitizers are equipped with a pressure-sensing switch. The switch can detect when the pump is running, turning on the sanitizer automatically. The switch also shuts off the sanitizer when the pump stops.

UV Pool Sanitizer: Recap

From installation to maintenance, UV pool sanitizers are rather hassle-free. Installation is straightforward enough for a DIYer of any level to handle. Maintenance takes less than 10 minutes, and you only need to clean the quartz tube three times a year. Plus, the bulbs have a long lifespan.

UV sanitizers are compatible with any type of pool setup, and you can add more bulbs if you decide your pool needs a boost in sanitation power. No matter the number of lamps and the total wattage, running one won’t break the bank.

While sizing a UV pool sanitizer is fairly easy since it’s primarily based on matching its flow rate to that of the pool’s pump. However, you must be somewhat precise with your sizing, and you should opt for a medium-pressure UV lamp if your pool is located indoors or hosts a heavy swimmer load.

As long as you size it right and run it long enough each day, you’ll cut down on chemical use and chlorine off-gassing while making your water cleaner and life easier.

Top 5 Best Pool Flow Meters in 2019

Out of all the components that make up a pool’s circulation system, the pump consumes the most energy. You can calculate a filter cycle to reduce the time it runs and conserve energy. However, you risk under-calculating the cycle and not giving the system a chance to filter all the debris and disperse all the cleaning chemicals.

Best Pool Flow Meters

To get an accurate flow rate, you need a flow meter. Simple yet effective, a flow meter tells you the rate of the water’s movement through the pool’s circulation system. You can use this measurement to set a timer and detect leaks/failures in the system. Flow meters also help you maintain a sand filter.

Flow meters are sized to the diameter of the system’s pipes. They come in a variety of styles from traditional analog types with a pilot tube to advanced models that utilize ultrasonic technology. There are even flow meters that act as a check valve, preventing the backflow of water that otherwise occurs when you turn off the pump.

Since there are so many options from which to choose, we reviewed the most reliable flow meters we could find. We also added a buyer’s guide, so you can make sure the flow meter you get is compatible with your swimming pool. This guide also has other helpful information, including how to install, maintain and repair a flow meter.

Best Pool Flow Meters

Pool Flow Meter Buying Guide

Before you buy, there are several questions you must ask yourself. Do I want a basic flow meter with a floating bobbin or one with a digital readout? What kind of pipes are used for my pool’s plumbing system? What is the diameter of those pipes?

pool flow meters

We will tell you how to determine whether the flow meter you’re interested in buying is built to last. After you pick a flow meter, you have to learn how to install it and maintain it – installation and care instructions are also included in our buyer’s guide.

Types of Pool Flow Meters

The most common type of pool flow meter is one that has a floating bobbin contained inside a pilot tube. These analog flow meters can be positioned horizontally or vertically, and they’re installed by drilling a small hole into the swimming pool’s existing plumbing. Usually, two clamps are applied to provide more stability.

Like analog flow meters, digital ones can be installed on a saddle mount without cutting the pool’s pipes; however, digital meters display the flow rate on an LCD screen. While digital flow meters are highly accurate, they do require electricity or a battery for their power source. Battery-powered digital meters are often portable.

Magnetic and ultrasonic flow meters are two other options. Typically used for commercial pools, both varieties are also great for residential swimming pools as they are compatible with most pipe materials. Magnetic flow meters use a magnetic field to send a voltage signal proportional to the water’s flow rate while ultrasonic models rely on sound waves.

Finally, there are models that are part flow meter, part check valve. You can install these combo flow meters horizontally, vertically, upside-down and next to pipe elbows. With a dual-purpose flow meter, you can not only check the water’s flow rate but also prevent water backflows, which would otherwise occur when you shut off the pump.

High-Quality Flow Meter Characteristics

You don’t want to be stuck with a flow meter that you’ll have to replace a few years down the road or one that gives inaccurate readings. Those with a CNC-machined body are among the most durable and accurate. Whether a dual-purpose or traditional analog flow meter, Lexan is always preferable compared to acrylic.

swimming pool water flow meters

Combo flow meters should have an anti-corrosive flapper seal, pivot pin and spring. For analog flow meters, a stainless-steel bobbin that doesn’t stick or bounce provides accuracy year after year. The meter’s markings should be dark and easily readable and stainless-steel clamps are recommended over aluminum.
Sizing a Flow Meter

There are three must-consider aspects for sizing and selecting a flow meter. All aspects are determined by the pool’s plumbing system, specifically the pipe’s diameter, material and thickness. The pipe’s diameter needs to match the meter’s rating. For example, only a 2-inch flow meter fits a 2-inch-wide pipe.

You’ll also need to base your decision on the pipe’s material. Some flow meters work with PVC while others are only made to use with copper. Then, there is the pipe’s thickness. PVC pipes are either scheduled as 40 or 80. Eighty is thicker and can handle high-pressure applications.

Installing a Flow Meter

All flow meters come with different installation instructions, which will vary depending on the pool’s pipes. In general, the meter should be placed on the return line after all system components except a chemical feeder, and you need to leave five times the pipe’s diameter before the meter and two times the diameter after it.

To install an analog flow meter, you must first turn off the pump’s power and open the filter’s relief valve. After you mark the meter’s location on the pipe, drill a hole in the center of your two markings. We recommend making a pilot hole first, so the drill bit won’t slip when you drill the actual hole.

Once the hole is drilled into the pipe, remove the burrs (rough spots) around the hole with a deburring tool. Then, you can cover it with the gasket and insert the meter’s pilot into the hole. Make sure you position the meter to face the water’s flow direction. Most flow meters have a guide arrow to help you.

Finally, you can place the clamps. Put one clamp on each side of the flow meter. Tighten the clamps slowly while keeping the meter from shifting out of place. Next, restore power to the pump and close the relief valve as soon as you see water coming out of it.

Maintaining Your Flow Meter

Periodically, you’ll need to flush out sediment to keep the bobbin floating freely. Out of all meter types, traditional analogs require maintenance most frequently. Start by unscrewing the nuts at the top and bottom of the pilot tube, so you can remove the tube. Then, flip the meter upside-down and shake it until the float moves to the top.

swimming pool flow meters

Inside the pilot tube, there’s a guide support and a wire. You’ll need to pull out both along with the bobbin to rinse the interior with soapy water or diluted muriatic acid. Once you clean the inside of the tube, you can then reassemble the flow meter, ensuring the float’s pointed end faces downward and the O-ring is debris-free.

Repairing Your Flow Meter

Despite proper installation and maintenance, you may eventually be faced with a small leak. Thankfully, leaks are easy to fix with silicone lubricant, which creates a water-tight seal while providing pliability for future maintenance.

First, turn off the pump and open the filter’s pressure-relief valve. Then, loosen the clamps, so you can gently pull off the gasket and flow meter. If the gasket is worn, replace it. If not, add silicone lubricant to the gasket and around the hole in the pipe. After applying the lube, place the gasket back over the hole.

To cover every possible origination point of the leak, apply some lubricant on the pilot’s insert. At this point, you can put the flow meter back into the hole and secure the clamps. Close the air relief valve and turn on the pool’s pump. Make sure there is no water dripping from the flow meter before you call it a day.

FAQs

How Can a Flow Meter Help Me Maintain My Sand Filter?

Sand filters are affordable and easy to use. Every 1 to 3 months, you will need to clean your sand filter. The exact frequency depends on the filter’s size and debris load. If you have a flow meter installed on your pool’s plumbing system, you can use both to make sure you stay on track with filter maintenance.

Look at the pressure gauge and note its readout. Then, do the same with the flow meter. If you notice a flow increase of 10 psi or greater between the gauge and meter, it’s time to clean out your sand filter.

How Do I Use My Flow Meter to Set a Pump Timer?

By using your flow meter to set a timer for your pump, you can shave off hundreds of dollars from your electricity bill. Although some people rely on the gallons per minute supplied in the pump’s specs, this measurement doesn’t account for the total dynamic head (TDH), which consists of the multitude of variables that skew that number.

review pool flow meters

To set the timer for a length of time that maximizes your energy savings while efficiently filtering your pool, you’ll need to calculate the volume of the pool. For square and rectangular pools, multiply the length, width, average depth and 7.5. For circular pools, multiply 3.14 by the squared radius, average depth and 7.5.

If you’re unsure of your swimming pool’s average depth, here’s an easy way to find it. Take a telescopic pole and dip it into the shallow end until the pole reaches the bottom. Mark the pole at the waterline and do the same in the deep end. Add the two lengths together and divide the number by two.

Once you have measured the pool’s volume, you need to divide the volume by the turnover rate you want. We recommend 6 or 8 hours. Finally, divide that number by 60 to find the gallons per minute. One cycle is okay for days when nobody uses the pool, but two times may be necessary for heavy-use days.

How Do I Read an Analog Flow Meter?

Depending on your viewpoint, the bobbin can appear to lie on a different marking than it actually does. To get an accurate reading, crouch until you’re eye-level with the bobbin. Look at the top edge of the bobbin – The marking that corresponds to the bobbin’s edge is the true flow rate.

Pool Flow Meters: Recap

There are a lot of tasks involved in keeping a swimming pool up and running. Pools heavily rely on their pump and filter to stay clean. If you don’t run the pump often enough, the water will become unhygienic. Conversely, if you run it too often, you’re wasting electricity. Plus, sand filters can fail if not cleaned promptly.

Flow meters solve several problems. They measure an accurate flow rate, so you can set the pump to run for a filtration-efficient, energy-smart amount of time. They also help you keep track of when to clean your sand filter (should you have one).

You have plenty of flow meters from which to choose. There are simple analog meters and ones with a digital display. You can go the public-pool route and get a magnetic or ultrasonic flow meter. If you want to replace your check valve with one that also provides the water’s flow rate, there are meters that do both.

When buying a pool flow meter, durable construction and accurate readouts should be your main concerns. However, you also need to make sure the flow meter will work with your pool’s plumbing. Check the pipe’s diameter, material and thickness to ensure the flow meter’s compatibility.