Best Sand Filter For Above Ground Pool: 2023 Reviews And Guide

Last Updated on June 17, 2023 by Georgie Smith

Pool maintenance involves a lot. From ensuring the water flow rate is optimal to removing dirt and debris using the best sand filters for the above-ground pool. One must cultivate wide-ranging skills to do things right. However, where do you go looking for all the accessories necessary for these activities?

While you can find information regarding professional pool services and self-teaching tips on the web, it is imperative to note that expert and experience-based review never disappoints. You do not want to watch moss and algae grow in the pool without being able to do anything.

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However, before spending money on a filtering system, you must compare product alternatives. This post will not cover Diatomaceous earth (D.E) or Cartridge pools but will emphasize sand filters.

Quick Facts about Sand Filters for above ground pool

  • They present the oldest, yet still viable technique in cleaning swimming pools
  • They are economically viable, thus, present long-lasting solutions
  • Sand filters can trap as small as 20 microns of impurities, therefore very effective
  • Low maintenance
  • Self-cleaning through backwashing technique (reverse water flow).

What is the Right Size Sand Filter for Above Ground Pools?

Sizing a sand filter for your pool can be a challenging task, especially for new pool owners. The following factors should help you choose the right installation:

Water Volume in the Pool

The volume of water that will pass through the filtration system is paramount when it comes to determining the ideal sand filter size. Some formulas will help in this. For a rectangular or square pool, calculate the volume by multiplying the length (L) by Width (W) by Depth (D).

In the case of a circular one, the radius should be increased by 3.14 and by depth (D) and Length. The bottom line is that the more volume, the bigger the size of a filter one requires.

Number of gallons

It is the same as the capacity of water that your pool can hold to the required height. Calculate it by multiplying the volume by 7.48. The latter value is the number of gallons per cubic meter.

Flow Rate

Different filters present different flow rates per minute (GPM) or per hour (mph), which means measuring the number of gallons that get in and out of the pool is helpful in choosing the ideal size. Calculate the flow rate by diving pool capacity by the amount of time it takes to recycle the same amount of water as the pool’s size.

The Bottom Line

Sand filters are generally massive in size. However, not everyone needs a large installation for that matter. Big is, therefore, better because it equally makes backwashing an easy task (removal of clogged dirt and debris in the system).

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Top 5 Best Sand Filters for Above-Ground Pool

Below are top-of-the-range sand filters for the money, and which will suit your above-ground pool.

PictureProduct NameFeatures

Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump
– Features a 6-point multivalve
– It has a timer for a 24-hour monitoring
– Pumps up to 3,000 gallons per hour

Sand Mater
– Best for 9, 600 gallons capacity pools
– Features multi valves (4-position)
– Holds up to 42 pounds of sand
– Measures 12-inches in size

Intext Krystal Clear 2150 GPH
– Suitable for pools with holding volumes of between 4,800 to 15,000 gallons
– Utilizes power input in the range of 110 and 120V
– It features a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI)
Pentair PSND0060DO1160– Features multiport valves each measuring one and a half inches
– Dimensions of this gadget are: 32.5 X 35 X 32.5 inches
Harris H15228– It has a dial multivalve (7-position) rotating at360 degrees
– Works best in temperatures between 32-113 degrees Fahrenheit
– Hydraulic balancing for efficient flow

Intex 16-inch Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump for Above Ground Pools with GFCI

Because Intext products never miss from a list of top pool accessories, its 16-inch Krystal clear filter with a pump makes it to the top of the range items in this article. Apart from experience-based reviews by those who have purchased it from Amazon, below are more reasons that make it a worthy product:

  • Features natural sand filling for perfect filtration so that your pool water remains fresh, clean, and soft
  • It features a 6-point multivalve for rinsing and backwashing. Recirculation, draining, closing, and filtering
  • There is a timer that lets you monitor the condition of the pool for 24 hours so that you are always in control of keeping the water clean at all times
  • Pumps up to 3,000 gallons per hour which makes it suitable for pools that are 16-inch above the ground
  • It would interest you to note that with this product, maintenance is unheard of once in use. You will only need to replace it every five years.

Buy Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump from Amazon today and enjoy full-time efficiency. It also comes with a strainer basket, a 6-point valve; a gauge for measuring pressure, a pumping motor, and other fittings of necessity.

Buy from Amazon

Hydrotools Sand Master Soft Sided Above Ground Pool Sand Filter System

If you have been searching for the best above-ground sand filter but never succeeded, then your search ends here. Hydrotools Sand Master is not just a soft-sided system but also represents a range of ideal features such as the following:

  • Works best in pools with a water capacity of 10500 gallons
  • Comes with a powerful 115 V, 20 GPM pump
  • Features multi valves (4-position) and a base for the system
  • Holds up to 60 pounds of sand
  • Measures 24-inches in size
  • Comes with a 1-year product warranty

Buy from Amazon

Intex 2150 GPH Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump

Given its reputation in the market, Intext has continued to make inroads into the consumer market with a range of pool products. So, why is Intext Krystal Clear GPH 2150 worth the money? Well, here are some of its top features:

  • Suitable for pools with holding volumes of between 4,800 to 15,000 gallons
  • Utilizes power input in the range of 110 and 120V
  • It features a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI)
  • Comes with a 2-year warranty

Buy Intext Krystal Clear 2150 PH from Amazon:

Buy from Amazon

Pentair PSND0060DO1160 Sand Dollar above Ground Filter System with Blow-Molded Tank, 1-1/2 HP

Pentair has never disappointed in providing clients with the best swimming pool accessories. This review takes a look at PSND0060D01160 Sand Dollar. Well, apart from the fact that it features a blow-molded tank, you should buy this product because of the following reasons:

  • Easy to service and winterize, thanks to its ability to combine sand drain and water
  • You will use this product alongside a pump
  • Features a multiport valve each measuring one and a half inches
  • Dimensions of this gadget are: 32.5 X 35 X 32.5 inches

Buy from Amazon

Harris H15228 Vortex 16-inches Above Ground Sand Filter System with ¾ HP Pump

Harris pool equipment has carved out a great reputation on the market. If you are looking for the best above-ground filter, then the company’s H15228 Vortex 16-inch variant is worth the money. You will choose this product because of its many other features such as the following:

  • It has a dial multivalve (7-position) that rotates at an angle of 360 degrees and is fitted with a clamp attachment
  • Works best in temperatures between 32-113 degrees
  • It maximizes water flow and efficient infiltration, thanks to hydraulic balancing
  • The best filter material for this item is ZeoSand and Silica

Buy from Amazon

Factors to Look for in the Best Above-Ground Pool Filter

No one wants to spend money for the sake of it. Thus, when it comes to buying an ideal sand filter for above ground pool, it is important to weigh in a few things that make amends with the best choice. Here are some things to keep in mind when shopping on Amazon:


Buyers should always be skeptical about the quality they get for their money. When choosing the best quality, narrow it down to durability and trapping medium. With standardization coming hot on the heels of manufacturers, it would be a waste of money to buy a product that has not passed through respective quality assurance and regulation authorities.

An example of the best medium is Fairmount Minerals Pool Filter Sand (Grade #20 Silica, 50lbs) which is relatively affordable on Amazon.


Silica sand has always been the best given its filtering efficiency, but what about ordinary granules? Well, it is vital to ensure that the particles that trap dirt and debris from the pool have rough edges. Smooth-edged sand would quickly become muddy hence less effective before you know it.

Efficiency also depends on the quality of the medium with silica sand being the most preferred, that is if you do not opt for zeolite or recycled glass.


Most people say cheap is expensive, but the question is; how accurate is that when shopping for the best pool filters? The bottom line is that prices vary from one model to another.

You can compare the price of the Hayward S244T ProSeries (24-Inch) against another such as Hayward 2180T Pro Series (18-inch). You will also discover that pricing is directly proportional to size in most cases.


It is not easy to separate models from the manufacturer. However, experience-based usage will help you shift loyalty to Intext, Hayward, Pentair, Blue Wave, Flowclear, Best Choice, or Xtreme power filters and among other models. Share your views about it in the comment section at the end of this review.

One Size Does Not Fit All

Pool owners often ask, what is the right filter size for my facility? Well, there is no standard size. While someone will prefer a 12-inch Blue Wave System to a 14-inch Hayward S144T540S ProSeries, another person would go for a relatively big-sized filter such as a 27-Inch top mount Hayward ProSeries.

How Do They Work?

Installation of a pool filter is one thing, but knowing how it works is something else altogether. You will come across lots of information on the web explaining the workings of this gadget, but at Morninghomestead, everything is simplistic for everyone to understand. In so doing, here is how it works:

  • Unclean water from the pool moves into the filter through an inlet pipe and then to the bottom of a filtration
  • As water moves past the gadget with the help of gravity, sand particles trap debris and dirt.
  • Once inside the tank, the now clean water exits via an outlet pipe at the bottom and back into the pool.
  • There is a pressure gauge to help you determine whether there is a blockade inside the inlet due to large amounts of dirt trapped in the filter. When the pressure is high, it is time to backwash the system.

How to Install?

Installing above ground pool sand filter is not rocket science. There is no significant difference between installing a Hayward filter and a Pentair product for that matter. The following steps make it easy to do it yourself without involving a pool maintenance professional:

  • Start by connecting the base of the filter, pump, motor, and then the bottom of the filtration tank
  • Install lateral and standpipe inside the tank.
  • Now fill the tank with water, at least halfway
  • Cover the top of the standpipe (a plastic rubber band or bag can do. while also making sure it is at the center of the tank
  • Next, pour an ideal amount of sand in and around the laterals and standpipe.
  • It is time to install the dial valve cover and use a clamp to fasten it on the tank.

Now install the hose (high pressure) by connecting it to the output pump and input dial valve

  • Follow the above step by joining another tube to the bottom of the skimmer and input pump located on the strainer’s front housing. Use silicon/water-based lubricant, oil the o-ring cover of the strainer
  • Pour water into the strainer housing followed by the seating of its cap
  • Now change the setting of the dial valve from winter to rinse mode. It is now time to start the system
  • At this stage, it is advisable to fill the pool with water three-quarters way above the skimmer’s opening then follow it by connecting the waste output hose to the backwash hose.
  • Let the system run for about a minute to clean sand granules in the installation then turn it off
  • Now change the dial valve from rinse to filter mode then switch on the system, after which take note of the readings on the pressure meter. If there are any leaks, make necessary adjustments.

Take note: pressure above optimal (psi) means that a filtering system has dirt and debris. Thus there is a need for rinsing or replacement.

How to Clean?

So, how do you make sure the filter is working optimally? Well, there is no other way except through cleaning. Cleaning a sand filter is pretty simple, usually known as backwashing. It is a technique where you reverse the flow of water by adjusting the pressure valves.

  • Start by closing the outlet pipe that returns clean water to the pool.
  • Follow the first step by opening a pipe leading to the sewer (drainage pipe)
  • Connect the inlet pipe to the drainage pipe, then the outlet to the pump. This way, water will be flowing pushing through sand, hence dislodging dirt/debris. Dirty water then flows out through the inlet pipe and into the sewer system.

Care and Maintenance

Proper care and maintenance always go a long way in ensuring that the filtering system for your pool operates optimally throughout its productive life. Thus, the following are failsafe tips on how to go about it:

  • Change to winter setting during the cold season
  • Always replace used sand with new, and do not forget to remove deposits in the filtration tank
  • Make sure to check the piping system, valves, and hoses for any blockade (necessary during backwashing)
  • Regularly clean the strainer basket


Q: How Efficient are Sand filters?

A: For many years now, sand filters have hardly been a letdown, and that is why they remain useful even today. As water passes through the filtering medium, dirt gets trapped between sand granules, including other substances like oil. It is a process referred to as coagulation.

With finely manufactured systems in the modern age, you can only expect the best when it comes to buying sand-based filters. They are fitted with valves, baffles/diffusers and used alongside filtration tanks, thus making it possible for pool owners to clean thousands of liters.

Q: How much will I spend on a standard sand filter?

A: Cost remains a big concern to pool owners who want to spend on a good filter. Well, prices vary depending on the manufacturer’s specifications, brand, and market forces such as demand. For example, the amount of money you will spend on a Hayward filter may not be the same for Intext or Harris products.

However, again, even if you buy something pricey, isn’t it a quality product that everyone needs?

Q: What are some of the filtration media from which to choose?

A: The truth is; pop-up pool filters feature different medium and sometimes if you are not well informed on this issue, you ends up making the wrong choice. The most common filtering media include:

  • Zeolite: A product of volcanic activity formed when ash reacts with alkaline water in the ground. It can trap as small as 5 microns of dirt but present the disadvantage of clouding the pool with dust after the first installation. You will need to undertake to backwash for a few minutes. You only need a small amount of zeolite, something which makes it more economical than sand.
  • Sand: Silica sand is a common name when it comes to this, and being that it has been used as a filtration medium for decades now, millions of pool owners trust it more than anything else. It is affordable, lasts up to 5 years, and also traps dirt in the size range of 20 and 40 microns.
  • Recycled glass: Anything that is environmentally friendly will always pass the test of time, and with recycled glass medium in a filter, you can be sure of not only the longevity of up ten years but also an economical use of water. You do not need backwashing with this medium, and what is even more interesting is that it is a cheap option. Traps 9 microns of dust particles.

Q: How long will it take for my product to arrive?

A: If you are buying from Amazon, the first step is ensuring particular item ships to your locale before adding it to your cart or checking out. Shipping duration could take from a few hours if you reside in the U.S. to a few days for international shoppers.

Q: How often should I replace sand in the filter?

A: While your product could last a few years of its productive life, cleaning a filtering system should be routine. It could depend on the frequency of pool activities such as parties or setup environment. However, replacing sand means you have to open up the system and check if the edges of granules have become rounded or if the sand has become mud-walled. Smooth edges are less effective in trapping dirt than sharp ones.

Q: Can I use beach sand?

A: While it can be tempting to do so, it is worth noting that natural sand particles are smaller than standardized silica, which means they will quickly wash into your pool. It also says they are not very effective in trapping dirt.

Final Thoughts

Purchase decisions that are not definitive of the best above-ground sand filter are likely to end in big disappointments. If a filtering system does not malfunction in a matter of days or weeks because you settle for a substandard product, then it will be an ineffective and unbranded combo of low-quality pump and filter.

It is to say; you must already know that different manufacturers present varying alternatives to buyers, something which should either see you settle for Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump, Best Choice Pro Sand Filter, or any other befitting brand in the market.

Thus far, Morninghomestead remains a top reviewer of the best Gardening products, Beekeeping accessories, Farming Tools and Equipment, and Lawn care products for the money. You can check back for more interesting posts like this. Share this post with friends and pool owners who might be having difficulties comparing filtering systems and more so, the product on which to spend their money. Remember to share your opinion in the comment section below.

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