I can think of no better way to cool down on a hot day than jumping in a swimming pool! Something about the clear, cool water beats the heat better than any air conditioning ever could. If you have a pool though, you’ve got to filter it! Otherwise that cool refreshing water quickly gets dirty and full of debris and bacteria. Likewise, your filter can’t do the job if you don’t have the right pump.
Picking out the best variable speed pool pumps is a hard task when you don’t know what makes a good one. To help you choose the one that’s right for you, I’ve reviewed six great options, and I’ll even share my favorite pick out of the bunch. If you want to keep your pool water from getting dirty and dingy, read on and learn everything you need to know about Buyer’s Guide and variable speed pool pumps.
The Best Variable Speed Pool Pump in January, 2020 - Comparison Table
1. Pentair 011018 IntelliFlo
2. Hayward SP26115VSP
3. Pentair 342001 SuperFlo
1 1/2 HP
4. Hayward SP2610X15
Why Do I Need a Variable Speed Pool Pump?
Without adequate filtration, pool water quickly collects debris, and no one wants to swim in that! Whether you use a sand filter or cartridge filter, you also need a pump to run the water through the filtration system. Variable speed pool pumps are superior to single or dual speed pumps, because they produce less noise, consume less energy and have greater durability. Since you may need to filter your pool for up to 12 hours a day, you’ll get a lot more for your money by purchasing a variable speed pump. Not sure what pump to install? Keep reading for reviews of some great pumps.
Recommended Best Variable Speed Pool Pumps - In Depth Reviewed
#1. Pentair 011018 IntelliFlo - (Editor’s Choice)
Additionally, you won’t hear any loud pumping noises, as the IntelliFlo is incredibly quiet — you may even forget that you’ve got it turned on! If you use digital pool or spa controls that manage lights, heating, jets and other pump features, the IntelliFlo will likely work with your system. Even if you don’t use any other digital control system, you can program the IntelliFlo with eight different speed settings, and varying run times to maximize efficiency and optimize water flow. Additionally, integrated diagnostics ensure the longevity of the pump, so you’ll have a clean pool for years to come.
2#.Hayward SP26115VSP Super Pump VS 0.85 HP - (Editor’s Choice)
If you have a small or medium sized pool and want to replace your single speed pool pump, the Hayward Pump may be right for you! Hayward designed this pump to easily replace existing single speed pumps without having to make any changes to the electrical system. The permanent magnet motor will consume less power than the single speed pump — you can expect to use 80% less energy by installing the Hayward Super Pump.
The Hayward installs very easily; in many circumstances, it’s almost as easy as simply putting it into place! You can program the pump for different priming times, pumping durations and speeds, or set up their automation program to take all the guesswork out of pool maintenance.
#3.Pentair 342001 SuperFlo VS Variable Speed Pool Pump
Unlike other variable speed pumps, the SuperFlo has more limited options; with only three speed settings, you won’t have the same variability that other pumps provide. While quieter than single speed pool pumps, you will experience more noise from the SuperFlo than from some of the other pumps I review.
I’ve had very few problems with this pump, and have never experienced any kind of leaking or dripping. The water flow has always been consistent and reliable. This Pentair pool pump will also help you reduce energy consumption by up to 80 percent, so you can experience savings on your electric bill thanks to the SuperFlo.
#4. Hayward SP2610X15 Super 1.5 HP Pool Pump
Considering this is an article about the variable speed pumps, you wonder why I’m reviewing a single speed pool pump. Why include the Hayward Super Pump? First, it gives you the chance to compare a single speed alongside variable speed pumps. Second, if you opt to install a single speed pool pump, I would recommend this one!
Simple, functional and reliable all describe this pump. Of course, it fails to compete with variable speed pumps as far as power and energy efficiency goes, but if you have a small pool that you don’t use as frequently as others may, the Hayward Super Pump can likely handle your needs. While quieter than other single speed pumps, the high performance motor will produce more noise than the variable speed pumps I review.
This is the best selling single speed pool pump in the world, and with good reason. Simply put, it works! If you have a limited budget or a small pool, and don’t need all the bells and whistles other pumps provide, this pump can do everything you need it to.
#5. Hayward SP3206VSPVR 2.7 HP Variable-Speed Pool Pump, TriStar VS
The last pump in my review is another Hayward, the TriStar VS. The TriStar boasts the most power of all the pumps I’ve reviewed; 2.7 horsepower allows you to use this with almost any residential size pool. If you have children and worry about the risks of suction entrapment, the TriStar will provide relief! It features an integrated safety vacuum release system that detects any changes in suction and pressure.
If anything blocks the drain, the system shuts the motor down, releasing whatever created the blockage. This system can potentially prevent injuries and or save lives.
The TriStar can save you up to 90 percent on energy costs and is energy star approved — making you eligible for potential utility rebates! You can program the time and speed, use Hayward’s automation program and the system will actually monitor its own power consumption! All in all, you get a very powerful variable speed pool pump and impressive energy efficiency in one package!
How to Choose the Best Variable Speed Pool Pumps
With so many options, how can you ensure that you pick the right pump for you and your pool? Your pool is a big investment, so you don’t want to make the wrong choice. You want to guarantee that you and your family can enjoy it as much as possible! If you still aren’t sure which pool pump you should get, consider the following points.
Some pumps simply don’t have the horsepower to effectively pump the water for a large pool. These same pumps will likely have no problem taking care of your needs for a smaller swimming pool. Make sure that you select the right size pump for your pool. If you overwork a pump that can’t accommodate the size, it definitely won’t last as long as you will want it to!
Many swimming pools come with additional features now. These include
- Massaging jets
The best variable speed pool pumps will supply water to them without a problem. Many can integrate with the features’ control systems, so that the proper water pressure can be applied. Take any features you have, or would like to get, into consideration when shopping for pumps. If you have a simple pool without all the bells and whistles, then you don’t need to worry about your pump working with any additional features.
How much would you like to spend on your pump? Of course, you want to get the best deal you can. The best variable speed pool pumps may cost more, but that’s because they have more features. Ask yourself if you will use those features. If you only use your pool for occasional swims, you may not need one of the more expensive pumps.
Something else to remember; a new variable speed pool pump may have a high initial cost but you will save money over time because of the energy savings.
Are you concerned about reducing your power consumption, or saving money on your electric bill? If so, investing in a pool pump that will cut energy consumption is a great idea. Some will even be eligible for utility rebates. No matter what variable speed pool pump you select, it will use much less energy than a single speed pump!
Will you hire a professional to install your new pump, or will you do it yourself? If you plan to hire a professional, then you can worry less about the ease of installation. If you plan to install the pump yourself, however, you will want to think about how difficult — or easy — installation will be. The best variable speed pool pumps work with a variety of pool filters and install very easily.
How to Set Up a Variable Speed Pool Pump
Although every pump installs a little differently, you can follow these general steps to install your variable speed pool pump. Start by removing your old pump. Turn it off and cut or disconnect the pipes coming into and out of the pump.
Now shut off the power to the pump at the breaker. Remove the bare wire that attaches to the pump’s motor, and then open the back panel. This will give you access to the two power wires and one inground wire attached to the pump. Once you loosen the connections, you can pull the wires loose. Now you can discard your old pump.
Attach those wires to their connections in the new pump, close the back panel, and then attach the bare wire to the outside. Now you must line up the new pump with the old plumbing, then connect the fittings. What pump you select and what filter you use will determine what unions you use to plumb your pool pump. Whatever joints you use, make sure to use teflon tape, and PVC glue.
Once the plumbing is ready, prime the pump, and start filtering your pool more efficiently! Use the programming interface to set up speed and duration if your pump has those features.
Best Variable Speed Pool Pumps Buyer’s Guide
Why buy a variable speed pool pump instead of a single or dual speed pump?
Single and dual speed pumps aren’t inherently bad — I even recommend a single speed pump in this review! That said, a single or dual speed pump produces more noise, and can’t compete when it comes to energy efficiency. Once you add in programmable interfaces, timers and automation, variable speed pool pumps tower over the competition.
Do I need an integrated safety vacuum release system?
If you have children or expect kids to use your pool on a regular basis, this system provides a great safety mechanism to prevent injuries or death. Even adults can fall victim to suction entrapment if they have long hair or dangling jewelry, but incidents with adults happen less frequently. If you don’t have children, you may not worry as much about the risk and pass on investing in this feature.
How much money can a variable speed pump save me in energy costs?
Different pools with different features will save different amounts. Depending on what pump you select, how you run it and what filter you use, you could potentially save roughly $600 a year or more. At that rate, you will cover your initial investment cost in less than two years.
Why program pump speeds and duration's?
One great feature of variable speed pool pumps is the ability to program their speed and duration. If you want to have a lot of active pumping and filtration throughout the day, you could have your pump run faster. In the evening and at night, however, you may run it at a slow speed, or have it automatically shut off in order to save power.
Will a variable speed pool pump last as long as my old single speed pump.
A new variable speed pump will likely last longer than a single speed pump! The internal components of the motors are completely enclosed, protecting them from the elements. Because they run at lower speeds, the parts will stay cooler and last longer. All of this means a long lifespan for a variable speed pool pump.
Do I need to have my variable speed pool pump professionally installed?
This depends on a few factors. Are you comfortable plumbing the pipes into and out of the new pump? Can you safely attach the wiring? If you answered no to these questions, you should consider hiring a professional.
Additionally, some pumps have a different warranty if a professional installer doesn’t do the installation. That doesn’t mean that you can’t or shouldn’t do the job yourself, but it does provide another factor to consider.
My state now requires a multi-speed pump. Is a variable speed pool pump the same thing?
In some states like California, Texas and Arizona, pool owners can no longer simply replace a single speed pump. Instead, they must upgrade to a multi-speed pump. Multi-speed pumps can include dual and triple speed pool pumps, but also variable speed pool pumps.
Additionally, it looks like the use of a variable speed pool pump will be required by federal law effective in 2021. That being the case, it’s better to get ahead of the curve now and start saving money right away!
More power is always better, right? Should I get the strongest pump I can?
Unless you know you need more horsepower, you probably don’t need to upgrade. If a professional has told you that your current pool pump doesn’t have enough power, then consider upgrading. Otherwise you can probably stick with the same amount of horsepower when you buy your variable speed pool pump.
Does it matter what kind of filter I have?
There are a few different filter variations out there, but the pumps I’ve reviewed in this article will work with almost all of them. Still, always make sure that whatever pool pump you buy is compatible with your pool filter and any water features included in your system.
How long will my new pump last?
Nicer variable speed pumps will easily last a decade. You may get more or less use out of yours depending on how you use it, what features it supplies water to and the size of your pool. Rest assured, you won’t replace this investment any time soon.
Picking the best variable speed pool pumps has proven difficult; all the pumps I’ve tried have worked out very well. Still, when it comes time to purchase my new pump, I know which one I’ll go with — The Hayward SP3206VSPVR 2.7 HP Variable-Speed Pool Pump, TriStar VS!
Sure, the TriStar has the highest price tag, but no other pump I checked out offered a safety vacuum release system, and I value that safety feature. It ties with the IntelliFlo when it comes to the best energy savings, and is one of the quietest variable speed pool pumps on the market.
For the money, the Hayward TriStar is the best variable speed pool pump, and I give it my highest recommendation.
Also, Take a look how to install a HayStar variable speed pool pump