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Finding and matching the best above ground pool sand filter pump for your installation is sometimes a little tricky.

Buying a ready matched sand filter pump combo is usually the simplest and best option for most owners.

Many above ground pool manufacturers do bundle a filter pump system with their pools.

Often it’s just adequate, occasionally OK, and never brilliant.

A few owners of larger pool installations upgrade straight away to a sand filter but most will often struggle through a season to see the performance of the stock filter pump system.

Our experts have chosen and reviewed this seasons best above ground pool sand filter pumps and matched them to a number of common above ground pool sizes.

To make finding the right sand filter pump to match for your pool we’ve also included a handy above ground pool sizing chart to help you along. It’s specific to Intex pools but it will work just as well for any pool manufacturers products.

Let’ dive right in….



GAME SandPRO 75D Sand Filter Pump


GAME SandPRO 75D Series, Above Ground Pool Filter Pump

The Brilliant GAME SandPRO 75D Above Ground Pool Filter Pump

  • POOL CAPACITY: Specifically designed as an upgrade to Intex or Bestway above ground pool pumps. This GAME SandPro is on of the best above ground pool sand filter pumps rated up to 15,000 gallons but there are two smaller pumps in the range.
  • PUMP SIZE: The highlighted model is fitted with a 0.75 HP pump with an advertised flow rate of 52 GPM. It’s a real winning pump this one, ultra quiet and energy efficient.
  • SAND FILTER FEATURES:  An ample 1.16 square foot reservoir  holds 75 lbs of filtering sand. It’s a flange clamp design with a conventional 4 position top mounted multi valve. The settings are filter, backwash, rinse, and winterise.  An easy to view pressure gauge is located on the water management valve. There’s also a tank drain plug, handy for occasional  maintenance. 
  • PUMP FEATURES: Built with corrosion proof moulded thermoplastic bolted down onto a universal base plate.
  • EASY INSTALLATION:  The GAME sand filter system can connect to pools with standard 1¼ or 1½ inch diameter hose connectors.  There’s also  2¼ inch hose adapters for INTEX pools bundled in the purchase.
  • RANGE OPTIONS: Two smaller capacity pumps are also available matched to either 8,000 or 10,000 gallon pools.
  • WARRANTY:  1 Year from the date of purchase


What Owners Like

  • Performed far better than expected for the budget price. It’s a real work horse of a system.
  • Hardly any audible impact from the pump. It just purrs along.
  • The larger 0.75 HP easily runs a pool suction cleaner.
  • 100% compatible with Intex pools. It simply swops straight in place of original filter pump.

What Owners Don’t Like So Much

  • Power cable too short, it’s just around 6 feet.
  • Quite a lot of assembly to do, but it’s easy enough. Expect to take an hour to have it ready for sand.

Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump


Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump

 Intex Above Ground Pool Sand Filter Pump 

  • POOL CAPACITY: There’s three models available to suit up to a 19600 gallon above ground pool installations.
  • PUMP SIZE: The largest model we have featured has a 0.75 HP pump that turns over 2450 GPH.
  • SAND FILTER FEATURES:  The larger pump is coupled to a 16 inch sand reservoir with a 120 lbs sand capacity. There’s a pressure gauge to monitor the condition of the sand.
  • MULTI-VALVE: A six way valve. Filter, backwash, rinse,drain, re-circulate or shut off.
  • TIMER: An easy to understand timer allows qwner’s to set up run times from one to twelve hours daily.
  • EASE OF INSTALLATION:  It’s a simple shoe in for most above ground installations with 1.5 inch connections. It also comes with a generous 25 foot electrical cord with a GFCI connected.
  • OPTION MODELS:  10 inch tank for up to 8400 galon pools and a 12 inch for medium sized pools up to 12800 gallons.
  • WARRANTY:  2 Year limited warranty.


What Owners Like

  • Installs easily on other manufactures pools like Bestway and Coleman.
  • The little sight window is really handy feature to check water color during backwash.
  • Great improvement on cartridge pump that came bundled with pool purchase.
  • Runs pretty quietly.

What Owners Don’t Like So Much

  • No real recurring problems noted for this brilliant pump range.

Rx ClearRadiant Complete Sand Filter System


Radiant Sand Filter System ABOVE GROUND POOL

Rx Clear Radiant Above Ground Pool Sand Filter Pump 

  • POOL CAPACITY: This Rx Clear above ground pool sand filter range covers pool sizes from 16000 gallons through to a model capable of filtering a 26000 gallon pool.
  • PUMP SIZE: This model has a 0.75 HP pump is matched to the smaller sand filter. The rest of the range runs a 1.00 HP pump.
  • SAND FILTER FEATURES:  A single piece blow molded tank. with a top mount and a 6-position multi-port valve.A pressure gauge, sight port and of course a drain plug are are also incorporated into the design.
  • PUMP FEATURES:  Ideal for above ground pools the pumps efficient design and full flow hydraulics produces more movement for equivalent horsepower. This results in lower operating costs. It features a two piece cover and clear view port.
  • EASE OF INSTALLATION:  The sand filter and pump combo are conveniently set on top of a universal base unit for neat and easy seat up and installation.
  • DIMENSIONS: The smaller models in the range measure 36.6 inches high with the largest model just a couple of inches taller.
  • WARRANTY:  3 Year limited warranty on sand filter.


What Owners Like

  • Because the system is integrated on a universal base it’s super easy to fit.
  • One owner reports green to clean and clear in just ten hours!!
  • Even the smallest capacity system works great on a large 15′ x 30′ above ground pool.
  • Runs quietly and energy bills are unexpectedly low.

What Owners Don’t Like So Much

  • The supplied hose connections could be better.
  • Set up instructions could improve.

Xtremepower Sand Filter Pump For Above Ground Pools


XtremepowerUS Sand Filter FOR ABOVE GROUND POOL

XtremepowerUS 13″ Sand Filter Pump COMBO w/TIMER

  • POOL CAPACITY: The manufacturer recommends for pools up to 10,000 gallons. The advertised hourly pump turnover rate is 2640 gallons so we think they might be underselling their product a little. This filter pump will clean up to 10,000 gallon pools at a jog. We like that.
  • PUMP SIZE: Fitted with a high efficiency 0.75 HP pump so it should keep system running cost down
  • SAND FILTER FEATURES:  A 13 inch moulded corrosion proof tank, it takes just 43 lbs of sand to fill it. The four way multivalve settings are Filter, Backwash, Rinse and Waste.
  • TIMER:  An integrated timer/controller is programmable. Choose from six settings from 2 to 24 hours. This is a really useful feature on any pump. Other manufacturers should take note !
  • OVERLOAD PROTECTION:  The system is protected with an automatic thermal overload protector.
  • WARRANTY:  1 Year limited warranty on everything.


What Owners Like

  • Plenty of power. The timer means it’s just set and forget. Four to five hours daily seems plenty for 10,000 gallon pool.
  • An incredible cheap price for the features and quality.
  • Exceeds by some margin the usual stock systems.
  • Simple to build and install. Connects with any 1-1/4 inch system. Just add XO for larger.

What Owners Don’t Like So Much

  • No really meaningful negatives on this pool sand filter pump.

Blue Wave Sand Filter for Above Ground Pools

Blue Wave 22-Inch Sand Filter and pump for above ground pool

Blue Wave 22-Inch 1.5 HP Sand Filter Pump COMBO

  • POOL CAPACITY: This combo has a 24,000 gallon turnover in 8 hrs so obviously this pool sand filter pump is suited to large above ground pools.
  • PUMP SIZE: A hefty 1.5 HP pump is matched to the substantial sand filter.
  • SAND FILTER FEATURES:  A 22 inch moulded one piece polyethylene corrosion proof tank. Equipped with a 6 way multivalve, pressure gauge and sight glass. Of course all the hoses and clips are included. There’s even teflon tape bundled into the kit. Nice touch !! 
  • PUMP FEATURES:  A quiet high efficiency pump is fitted. Reasonable running cost are reported by owners
  • EASE OF INSTALLATION:  The sand filter and pump combo are conveniently set on top of a universal base unit for neat and easy seat up and installation.
  • DIMENSIONS: The sand filter stands 39.3 inches high. Over all dimensions are 39.3″ H x 29.6″ L x 20.0″ W
  • WARRANTY:  1 Year limited warranty on everything.


What Owners Like

  • Excellent set up manual in proper english with lots of photos and clear instructions.
  • This pool filter pump is a super quiet runner. A bit of a Cadillac in fact.
  • A brilliant replacement setup. Far exceeds the usual system provided by pool manufacturers.
  • Uncomplicated setup.

What Owners Don’t Like So Much

  • Hose clips could be better.
  • No on / off switch.

Hayward Sand Filter And Pump System

Hayward Series 30 GPM Sand Filter For AboVe Ground

The Compact Hayward Sand Filter Pump COMBO

  • POOL CAPACITY: Probably best suited to small through medium sized above ground pools. This pool sand filter pump combo will theoretically work up to a 14,400 gallon capacity pool,  but it’s working at it’s limit there. We think not more than 10,000 gallons is where it works best.
  • PUMP SIZE: Just 0.50 HP with an output of 30 GPM. The pump performance is matched to the filter to give excellent energy consumption figures.
  • SAND FILTER FEATURES:  A 13 inch reservoir that holds 42 lbs of sand.  It’s a flange clamp design with a 4 position top mounted valve.
  • PUMP FEATURES: Made from corrosion proof molded thermoplastic. The debris basket has a see through lid to easily check contents.
  • EASY INSTALLATION:  The pump and sand filter aren’t pre-assembled.  They’re easily bolted together though, the pump sitting on an arm attached to the filter.  It’s a neat enough solution but does  restrict air flow around the pump.
  • DIMENSIONS: Certainly one of the most compact sand filter pumps available it measures just 22 inches overall height.
  • WARRANTY:  1 Year limited warranty on both products.


What Owners Like

  • No more constant changing of filters.
  • This pool filter pump is easy on the ears, noticeable but not intrusive.
  • he investment in the filter pump starts to pay back quickly when there’s no filters to keep changing out.
  • Easy installation.

What Owners Don’t Like So Much

  • Instructions are a little hard to follow for some folks, pretty straightforward for others.
  • Customer support could be better.

Rx Patriot Sand Filter Pump For 10000 Gal Pools

Rx Clear Patriot Sand filter 10,500 Above Ground Pools

The Excellent Patriot Above Ground Pool Sand Filter COMBO

  • POOL CAPACITY: Suitable for pools up to 10000 gallons. A real cost effective combination for small to medium pool owners.
  • PUMP SIZE: A 0.50 HP model matched to a 12 inch sand reservoir makes for efficient and cost effective cleaning.
  • SAND FILTER FEATURES:  A the one-piece blow moulded tank with a 12 inch reservoir, the manufacturer recommends filling with 60 lbs of sand for best filtering. It has a rather unique 4 way push and pull valve to control the water flow which we like, and an easy to read pressure gauge sited on top..
  • PUMP FEATURES: Made from corrosion proof thermoplastics. The pump impellers brass inserts add to a longer life and a brilliant performance.  Each pump is bench tested and quality controlled before to leaving the factory.
  • EASE OF INSTALLATION:  We like the neat universal base that both products sit on, Unlike the Hayward it provides plenty of airflow around the pump .
  • RANGE OPTIONS: Various other models also available for above ground pools from pools 6,000 through 22,000 gallons .
  • WARRANTY:  1 Year pro-rated warranty on tank.


What Owners Like

  • It’s small so easy to manoeuvre and fill with sand.
  • Very economical to run and a super efficient cleaner on medium size pools.
  • The water management system is a pull push which couldn’t be simpler to use.
  • Set up on the right base it’s a very quiet pool pump indeed.

What Owners Don’t Like So Much

  • No really meaningful complaints about this filter pump.



Pool Dimensions
Pool Capacity (90%)
Typical Pool ProductsFeet / InchesCentietersGallonsLiters


15' x 33" 457cm x 84cm25879792
15' x 36" 457cm x 91cm282210681
1.2 Intex Easy Set Pool
15' x 42" 457cm x 107cm328412430
15' x 48"457cm x 122cm373614141
16' x 42" 488cm x 107cm375414209
16' x 48" 488cm x 122cm427316173
18' x 42" 549cm x 107cm478618115
18' x 48" 549cm x 122cm545520647
18' x 52" 549cm x 132cm589422309


15' x 36" 457cm x 91cm328212422
15' x 42" 457cm x 107cm386114614
1.2 Intex Metal Frame Pool
15' x 48" 457cm x 122cm444016805
16' x 48" 488cm x 122cm506119156
18' x 48" 549cm x 122cm642324311
18' x 52" 549cm x 132cm698126423
20' x 52" 610cm x 132cm863832695
24' x 48" 732cm x 122cm1148343462
24' x 52" 732cm x 132cm1248147241


18' x 10' x 42" 549cm x 305cm x 107cm288510920
INTEX oval frame pool
20' x 12' x 48" 610cm x 366cm x 122cm439316628
24' x 12' x 48" 732cm x 366cm x 122cm540720465
28' x 12' x 48" 853cm x 366cm x 122cm642024300


16' x 48" 488cm x 122cm506119156
18' x 52" 549cm x 132cm698126423
18' x 9' x 52" 549cm x 274cm x 132cm454517203
24' x 12' x 52" 732cm x 366cm x 132cm840331805
32' x 16' x 52" 975cm x 488cm x 132cm1436454368

When you’re looking for the best sand filter for above ground pool installations bigger is better to a point. You’ll want a pump filter combination with the capacity finish a complete circulation of the pool volume in minimum of 12 hours.

If you are designing and assembling the system yourself then just remember that all filters have a maximum designed flow rate, so the sand filter is always the limiting component.

You can install a sand filter with a maximum designed flow rate of 60 GPM in a pool that just needs 20 GPM for a complete circulation in 12 hours.

You should never exceed the maximum designed flow rate for your filter though, it will create excessive back pressure. The higher the back pressure the harder the pump has to work and the more your energy bill will be.

It’s counter productive and reduces you pool efficiency, and can be dangerous given that we are talking about pressure vessels here.


Silica Sand

The most often used medium in above ground pool sand filters. Obviously a mined product silica sand is produced from grinding quartz down into 0.45 mm grains the result is whats graded as #20 silica sand. The fracturing of the quartz during grinding produces jagged edges which is excellent for trapping dust and other particulates from pool water.

Glass Sand

Almost always produced from recycled materials, apart from being “eco friendly” glass filter medium has a number of other benefits. It cuts down on pool water and chemical loss because backwashing can be reduced by as much as 30%.

Because the glass granules are different sizes channeling inside the tank is pretty well eliminated. It filters down to 5 microns and can last 2 times longer than sand.

Zeolite Sand

Much lighter than silica sand because of its crystal structure. It has an irregular shape to the grains that hugely increase its surface area when compared to regular sands, it’s highly effective for fine particulates. Zeolite sand should improve your sand filters performance by trapping more dirt and particles decreasing back wash time.

Zeolite sand also removes chloramines from the water, that’s the chemical that causes unpleasant eye burning and “red eye”

Polyethylene Balls

These are a highly effective form of filtration medium. It can be argued the balls are “eco friendly” , because after their useful life they can be recycled. Many filter balls are made from re-cycled plastic too. But we’ll let you decide on how eco-friendly they are.

Huge benefits over traditional filter media, much lighter and cheaper and can filter down to 3 microns.  At the end of the pool season they can be machine washed to revive and reuse next year. We like them so much we’ve written a whole article explaining their benefits. Here’s the link >>


There is nothing too complicated in any sand filter and an above ground pool sand filter is no different, it’s just a sealed reservoir of sand that water is pumped through.

If we peer into the top of the empty reservoir we’ll see a pipe running down the centre to the bottom. At the bottom it’s connected to a number of shorter pipes that fan out around the base of the reservoir, we’re going to call them laterals.

It’s the multivalve on top of the reservoir canister of sand that works the magic. It’s got a number of functions and settings but  we’re interested in the “filter” and backwash” ones.

Normal Pool Filtering

In normal operations an above ground pool sand filter has the multivalve set to filter. That means the pool water is pumped  through the top and into the sand filter.

The pool pump is going to start to build up a little pressure inside the sand filter to push the water through the sand filter medium.

The pool pump is going to start to build up a little pressure inside the sand filter to push the water through the sand filter medium.

Leaves, dust and debris are trapped in the sand filter as the pool water circulates through.  The best above ground pool sand filters should exit the water clean and clear if it doesn’t it’s time to backwash.

Backwashing The Sand Filter

There’s a limit to the amount of dust and debris our pool sand filter can cope with without becoming clogged up. That’s when it’s time to do a little backwashing to get things cleaned up.

Backwashing is really the reverse of filtering. This time the multivalve directs the pool water down the central pipe through the laterals at the bottom of the filter sand.

This agitates and washes the sand releasing all the trapped dust and debris into suspension. After backwashing just set the multivalve to rinse and the water is evacuated from the system via the waste pipe. 

  Keep running the pump until the sight glass on the filter shows the water is clear then you can reset the multivalve to normal filtering.

When To Backwash A Pool Sand Filter

That’s where our sand filter pressure gauge comes in.  It’s going to tell us when to backwash and what’s going on with a lot of other things in our pool plumbing system. 

Our above ground pool sand filter needs a little pressure inside to operate, that’s why the gauge is fitted to monitor the pressure inside it. We’ll need a little pressure to force the pool water through the wet filter sand.

How To Know When To Backwash

Well every above ground pool sand filter set up is different so there isn’t a magic number to indicate normal pressure. You need to decide that yourself.

There are a number of factors involved that affect it, pump size, filter size and if the filter sand is clean or dirty.

Take a reading when the sand filter is newly installed, that will give a base line number for your installation. A pristine new filter filled with the correct grade filter sand will give you your starting pressure for your system.

It’s the “as new” pressure for your set up, and you can use that as your normal operating pressure. In most domestic pool installations it’s generally between 10 and 25 psi.

When Sand Filter Pressure Is High

Pool professionals generally use 10 psi over normal operating pressure as the trigger to backwash the sand filter. That’s a good enough rule of thumb to use.

We’re not going to go into using percentages of normal operating pressure here, just stick to 10 psi and you’ll be good.

What is important to keep in mind is that unnecessarily high system pressures in your above ground pool sand filter will affect the efficiency of the pool system.

An inefficient system will eventually show up on your energy bills as the pump works harder struggling to clean the pool. So keep an eye on the pressure gauge folks, turn it into your new best friend.

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