Swimming Pool Pump Buying Guide – What is the Best Pool Pump?

Your swimming pool pump is very important for your pool. The pump works closely with the pool filter in order to clean and filter the water in your pool. They form a “closed loop” that skims the water, grabs and removes debris, and cleans the water before it is injected back into the pool. This is why it’s so important to make sure you buy the right pool pump for your specific pool. Today on Pool Calculator, we dive deep into different pool pumps. We will take a look at each type of pump, and the benefits and downsides each of them has.

Learn how to prime a pool pump here!

Pool pumps are key to making sure your pool is working well! It is especially important because of its key relationship with your filter.

There are three types of swimming pool pumps. These include the following:

  • Single Speed Pump
  • Two Speed Pump
  • Variable Speed Pump

Single Speed Pool Pumps

This is the most common type of swimming pool pump. This is because it is often the cheapest, and most basic of the three. Single speed pumps, not surprisingly, only operate at one speed. This is the reliable pump that has become a staple for swimming pools over the years.

One of the key downsides of single speed pumps is they lack the energy and money saving capacity of other pumps. This is because there is only one speed, with no lower speed available when your pump isn’t that large of a necessity. This means that your pump is a large energy user, and often is one of the top energy-using components of your house, just behind air conditioning and heating.

Two Speed Pool Pumps

Two speed pumps are a lot like single pool pumps. However, they are able to operate at both full and half speed. This is a distinct advantage because sometimes you need your pump, but sometimes it can operate at a lower level. Also, a lower power setting means your water is in the filter longer and gets filtered better overall. This pump provides more versatility and can save you real money over time.

With this advantage does come a disadvantage; upfront costs. These two speed pumps are significantly more costly than single speed pumps. This is due to multiple settings for different situations, and those overall cost savings you will see over time.

Variable Pool Pumps

Variable pumps are considered to be the “beasts” of the swimming pool pump world. These are a newer idea that allows for the pool user to pick the speed at which it runs. This means that you can “lock in” to a specific speed or energy level. This level will fit your current needs and can change to fit your needs as they change over time. In turn, this will save tons of energy costs over time. This is because your pump will only need to work as hard as you need it to, adding up to thousands of dollars in savings.

However, like all high-tech pool tools, variable pumps are expensive. This is a couple tiers up on the cost scale from single and double pumps. This higher cost can be largely offset by the energy savings you will see over time. Many have reported making up the higher upfront costs for variable pumps in only a few years. This means your investment is likely worth it, and you could be saving a lot of money in the long-run.

To make sure your pool is chemically sound and balanced, check out the Pool Calculator app!


Overall, pool pumps are available in a wide range of designs. Each of these designs is specific to a certain pool user. This means there is no one “right” answer, and largely will depend on your budget and personal needs.

Single Pumps:

Pros: Cheap, reliable, widely available. “Does the job expected”

Cons: High energy costs, low versatility overall.

Two Speed Pumps:

Pros: “Middle ground” More versatile, saves more energy than single pumps.

Cons: More costly than single pumps. Not super cheap nor super versatile (compared to single and variable pumps)

Variable Pumps:

Pros: Most versatile and efficient pump you can get. Many speeds and settings for “perfect” pump for you.

Cons: Highest initial costs. These pumps are significantly more expensive than single or two speed pumps.

For another buying guide, this time on pool vacuum cleaners, click here!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on print
Share on email

More to explore...

How to Clear Cloudy Swimming Pool Water

There are few things that can stop a pool party altogether—one of these things is cloudy swimming pool water. Cloudy water can be potentially dangerous, so never swim if your water looks less than clear. Testing your pool chemistry can determine whether this issue is caused by a chemical imbalance…

Read More »

Swimming Pool Water Testing Basics

Everyone enjoys having a clean and clear pool, but maintaining perfectly balanced pool chemistry can be a challenge. It is necessary to learn what each pool test means and why it is important in keeping your pool in perfect shape. We will cover four components of pool chemistry: free chlorine, pH, total alkalinity and cyanuric acid.

Read More »

Swimming Pool Algae: What it is and How to Remove It

Pool algae is an unfortunate yet common consequence that many pool owners face. Once this microscopic plant finds its way from the environment to your pool – maybe on an inconspicuous piece of clothing or a once lakeside inflatable – this plant will multiply rapidly and manifest itself in several different ways in your pool.

Read More »