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Top 5 Best Pool Sand Filters For Pool Owners

April 16, 2021

Sand filters are the most popular and commonly used pool filters because of their convenience when cleaning and maintaining their pool. And we know how difficult it can be when choosing the best pool sand filters with all the available filters in the market.

And after testing several products in the market by their flow rate, maintenance, and durability, we found out that the Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump has the best value for money among all the pool sand filters tested, especially for above-ground pools.

But do not worry if you don't own an above-ground pool; we also included other options suitable for inground pools and both above-ground and inground pools.

1. Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump (Best Pool Sand Filter for Above-Ground Pools)

2. RX Clear Radiant Sand Filter (Best Cheaper Pool Sand Filter Alternative for Above-ground Pools)

3. Pentair Sand Dollar (Best Pool Sand Filter For Winterizing Above-ground Pools)

4. Hayward S244T Pro Series Sand Filter (Best Pool Sand Filter For Inground Pools)

5. Hayward VL40T32 VL Series Sand Filter (Best Pool Sand Filter Suitable for both Above-Ground and Inground Pools)

Top 5 Best Pool Sand Filters In The Market

1. Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump (Above-Ground Pools)

With it’s 3,000 gallons per hour flow rate, this sand filter pump is suitable for above-16 ft. above-ground pools. This pool sand filter almost doesn’t require any maintenance with its 24-hour timer (2-12 preset cycles) with safety shut-off and only requires sand replacement every five years. And in addition to that, it comes with a strainer basket for easy cleaning, and it prolongs the pool sand’s lifespan. 

This pool sand filter also features a heavy-duty tank with a 6-way valve that will enable you to choose from filter, backwash, rinse, recirculate, drain and close the system, which is pretty convenient for a pool sand filter. 

Compared to other pool sand filters, the Intex Krystal Clear sand filter pump is a great upgrade or choice for pool owners since it offers much better water cleaning with faster water turnover. We also observed that it has a quieter operation compared to other sand filters, and the backwash will only take about 10 minutes!

The Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump lives up to the mentioned specifications and features that were mentioned, so we highly recommend this pool sand filter, especially for above-ground pools!


  • Features a built-in ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI)
  • UL/CSA certified
  • Choline puck basket included
  • Easy to install


  • Vague instructions on filter valve functions 

2. RX Clear Radiant Sand Filter (Above-Ground Pools)

The 22-inch RX Clear Radiant pool sand filter has a 45 gallons per minute flow rate suitable for 26,000-gallon above-ground pools. It has a durable one-piece blow-molded tank with a standpipe and laterals for its interiors, and can hold up to 220 lbs of sand. It also comes with a 3-year limited warranty for manufacturer’s defects.

One of its main features is the 6-way top mount filter valve with labeled ports for the pump and return. This pool sand filter requires five boxes of Rx Clear Luster Filter or the traditional Grade 20 Silica Sand, but you should note that these media are sold separately. With that said, we recommend putting the right amount of sand inside this filter and make sure that you won’t use any alternative like Diatomaceous Earth for efficient pool filtering. The package also comes with 1.5-inch threaded connections, a filter base, and a user’s manual.


  • Cheaper than other pool sand filters
  • Durable tank
  • Easy backwashing


  • Valve clamp is not durable
  • You may have difficulty when ordering replacement parts

3. Pentair Sand Dollar (Above-Ground Pools)

This Pentair pool sand filter has a 60 gallons per minute flow rate suitable for your above-ground pools. It features a one-piece corrosion-resistant thermoplastic filter tank for guaranteed long-lasting durability. You should also take note that this pool sand filter has a water and sand drain that makes servicing and winterizing fast and easy. And for added convenience when it comes to maintenance, this pool sand filter has a strainer basket with a see-through lid which makes inspection and cleaning pretty easy.

Pentair Sand Dollar made its control easy with the 6-function multiport valve, allowing you to choose from filter, backwash, rinse, waste, closed, and recirculate. This pool sand filter also has a pressure gauge and a manual air relief, which is pretty convenient for monitoring and maintenance.

As far as we’ve experienced, this pool sand filter effectively removes organic matter such as tree pollens; all you need to do is just a simple backwash. And not to mention it has a pretty quiet operation the whole time.


  • Fiberglass-reinforced components for maximum durability
  • Self-priming pump design to protect internal components
  • Internal filter design offers consistent performance for more filter cycles


  • No installation instructions
  • Electric cord may be short for your needs (3 ft.)
  • Short waste/discharge hose

The Hayward S244T Pro Series pool sand filter has a 62 gallons per minute flow rate designed for inground pools. It has a weather-proof color-fast polymeric tank which ensures that this pool filter will last a long time. And with its integral top diffuser, even water distribution will be guaranteed, and on top of that, it has a self-cleaning underdrain and 360 degree slotted laterals for easy maintenance. 

This pool sand filter also has a patented 7-position multi-port valve with an easy-to-use lever action. You can choose from filter, waste, winter, closed, backwash, recirculation, rinse. This sand filter also reduces your energy cost with its advanced full-flow technology that allows efficient filtration, allowing lesser time running your filter and producing crystal-clear water. 

Based on our experience, backwashing with this pool sand filter is easy, and it only takes less than 5 minutes, and you only need to do it only every two months.


  • Corrosion-resistant tank
  • Easy to winterize


  • A variation on later models tend to have thinner walls

5. Hayward VL40T32 VL Series Sand Filter (Above-ground and Inground Pools)

This Hayward VL40T32 VL Series sand filter has a 30 gallon per minute flow rate compatible with both inground and above ground pools. With its corrosion-resistant molded thermoplastic tank, you are guaranteed that this pool sand filter has all-weather durability. And in addition to that, it's clear strainer cover, and high-efficiency underdrain with self-cleaning slotted laterals ensure that maintenance of this pool sand filter is easy and convenient.

The Hayward VL40T32 VL Series pool sand filter utilizes no. 20 silica sand filter that extends time in between backwashing, reducing maintenance time while producing clear water. It also has a pump strainer basket that prevents impeller clogs that makes it less prone to breakage. And on top of that, its multi-position valve allows you to have maximum flow into your pool at low-pressure drops, making this pool sand filter highly efficient.

And based on our experience with it so far, this pool filter meets the expected performance while having a quiet operation, plus it is also energy efficient.


  • Adapters make installation easy
  • Two-piece flange clamp fastener allows powerful flow


  • The pressure valve may have issues
  • Only suitable for small-sized pools

Things to Look for When Buying Pool Sand Filters

Flow Rate (GPM/GPH)

Since most of the pool sand filters are rated by GPM (gallons per minute) or GPH (gallons per hour), it is essential to look for these and match them with your pool pump. This flow rate should be rated at least the same as your pump or even higher to flow efficiently. Matching your pump and pool sand filter also ensures that your pool sand filter can handle your pool pump’s power reducing the risk of damage, saving you money for repairs or replacement.

Pool Size

As mentioned earlier, both pool sand filter and pool pump should go hand-in-hand to work properly, and this also goes for the pool size. Your pump and pool sand filter should match the pool's correct size to work properly. So before buying a pool sand filter, make sure that it is suitable for your pool size.


Q: How often should I backwash or clean my sand filter?

A: Backwashing should be done regularly. While every pool sand filter has different specifications we can advise that backwashing should be done once a week to twice a month. This depends on how often you use your pool; for example, if you don't use your pool very often, weekly backwashing is not recommended. But if you are constantly swimming in your pool or you have lots of debris in your pool, we suggest doing a weekly backwash to have crystal clear water. And you should take note that backwashing should not take more than 20 minutes.

A: Basically, pool sand filters work by allowing your pool water to flow through the sand filter canister that contains the sand. Typically, water will pass through the sand filter, but larger particles will be filtered, trapping them inside the canister. Once this process is complete, a pump will return the clean water to your pool.

Q: What type of sand should I get for my pool sand filter?

A: #20 silica sand with grains with the size of 45 to 55 millimeters is the best option for your pool sand filter. We recommend using this specific pool sand since other sizes, as we’ve experienced, tend to cause problems with pool sand filters.


We highly recommend pool owners get a pool sand filter since pool sand filters offer more convenience and durability among the filters. And with all the products listed that we have tried, we recommend buying the Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump, especially for above-ground pools. This pool sand filter has the best value for money and features you could ask for a pool sand filter!

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