Finding the Right Size Pump for Your Above Ground Pool 2021 – Guide

By Harry ! Last Updated: May 01, 2021

Finding the Right Size Pump for Your Above Ground Pool

Did you know that a suitable pool pump will help stop bacterial breeding in your pool while ensuring a steady supply of water? However, you need the right size pool pump for your above ground pool if you want to enjoy the benefits above. Notice that your pool performance gets compromised when you have an over or under-powered pump.

Most above ground pool owners are clueless when it comes to choosing a suitable pump. If you don’t know where to start, you have come to the right place. Additionally, I have also included a guide on choosing the best size filter for your above ground pool.

What Size Pump Does Your Above Ground Pump Need?

When it comes to choosing a pool pump, you can’t just go with the cheapest model you come across in the market. If picking a suitable pump was easy, then we wouldn’t need to get technical and make lots of calculations. To make the buying process easy, I have put together a step by step guide on how to choose the right size pool pump.

1. Determine Your Pool Volume

Before we discuss anything in detail, you need to start by determining the amount of water that is in your pool. Note that the depth, size, and shape of your pool will dictate how many gallons of water can be contained in your above ground pool.

The good news is that several online calculators will help you determine the exact amount of water in your pool. If you are not so good with math, then this is the best way to go. You won’t have to rely on guesswork.

2. Determine the Gallons of Water per Hour

Once you know the pool volume, the next logical step is determining the gallons per hour, also referred to as GPH. Note that the GPH will; determine the amount of water that gets pumped to your pol per hour, through the filter.

However, notice that most pumps will have gallons per minute (GPM) rather than gallons per hour. When dealing with such a scenario, you will have to divide your initial GPH by 60 to get the gallons required per minute.

To determine the gallons per hour, you have to divide the pool volume by the turnover time. Note that the turnover time refers to the amount of time you will need to move enough water to fit your above ground pool. Understand that the volume of water has to move through the sanitation and filtration process once.

3. Buy the Correct Pump

Once you are done with the calculations, we need to start shopping around for the best pool pump for your above ground pool. You can always refer to the manufacturer specifications to get a pump that meets your needs.

Below is a summation of the correct pool pump sizes that are based on the common pool sizes. Hopefully, the summarized table can help you find a suitable model.

Pool Size


Minimum Flow Rate

35,000 US Gallons

8 hours

73 GPM

35,000 US Gallons

10 hours

58 GPM

24,000 US Gallons

8 hours

50 GPM

24,000 US Gallons

10 hours

40 GPM

18,000 US Gallons

8 hours

38 GPM

18,000 US Gallons

10 hours

30 GPM

4. Calculate the Feet of Head

Understand that you can always stop once you figure out the right size pump for your above ground pool. However, if you want to get a bit technical, then you also have to pay close attention to the feet of head.

The feet of head is defined as the total resistance to flow. Notice that this number comes down to the average time that it takes for the skimmer to get to the above-ground pump. However, this is only applicable when you have one skimmer.

If your above ground pool has multiple skimmers, you will have to find the average. Calculate the feet of heads for each skimmer and calculate the average. The good news is that you can easily calculate the pump size you need without having to worry about the feet of head.

Why You Need a Proper pool Pump Size for your Above Ground Pool

When it comes to finding the best pool pump size for above ground pools, most people tend to simply go for the highest rated GPH pumps. However, this shouldn’t be the case if you want to enjoy all the benefits of having a suitable pool pump size.

Notice that finding the right pool pump size will be critical when you are looking for peak performance. Notice that the pump is considered ineffective when the power is significantly less than what your pool needs. In such cases, you will move less water which increases the chances of more bacteria growth in your above ground pool. A weak pump will translate to stagnant water which is a breeding place for diseases and can lead to chemical imbalance.

You might be wondering whether there is any harm if you pick a pump that is too big for your above ground pool. Well, in such cases you will end up spending a lot of money on bills when most of the energy is simply wasted. Notice that a big pump will also increase wear and impact your pool filter’s performance.

Finding the Right Size Sand Filter For Your Above Ground Pool

Finding the Right Size Sand Filter For Your Above Ground Pool

Once you find a suitable pump size for your above ground pool, the next logical step is finding the right size sand filter. Note that the best size filter will increase both the safety and cleanliness of your above ground pool.

When you look at most pools, you will notice that most people use undersized sand filters. This is because most individuals tend to go for cheap options. What most people don’t realize is that you should always go for bigger when it comes to sand filters.

When you match the right size pump with the right size filter, you will get long-lasting performance. Ensure you find a large size sand filter for your above ground pool if you are looking for high-end performance.

As a rule of thumb, experts will advise you to go for at least one size larger than what you initially thought would be a perfect match. First, you start by determining the capacity and volume of your above ground pool. Once you get the value right, divide the number by 10 or 8 depending on your turnover rating. Once this is done, divide the value by 60 to get the GPM. The number you get will help you find the right size sand filter for your pool.

Most manufacturers will refer to the size of your sand filter as the design flow rate. Notice that the value is often measured in gallons per minute. Check out different online resources to find a chart that outlines the common design flow rates.

Having the right formula is always a step in the right direction. However, it shouldn’t be the only determining factor. For instance, you have to look at how often you use your swimming pool and the amount of dirt that gets into the pool. An above-ground pool that is in constant use will accumulate dirt much faster, which means you will need a larger filter compared to the initial computation.

Other Factors that You Need to Consider

In this article, we have highlighted the most fundamental factors that you have to consider. However, below are additional factors that will be instrumental when finding the right size sand filter and above ground pool pump.

The GPM of your pool pump will be lower depending on the location distance from your pool. Note that the GPM might also be a bit restricted depending on the pipe construction.

You will need a bigger pump if you have extra water features such as spas, fountains, and waterfalls. Understand that your pump will have to serve the additional water features as well as your above ground pool.

Always ensure that the pool pump size matches the filter size. However, you can always use a larger filter but never a smaller filter. Notice that large filters will reduce the workload for your pool pump. You will, therefore, enjoy long-lasting services from the pool pump.

Never go for the highest HO or GRM that you come across in the market. Notice that you will end up with inefficiency when you get a pump that is bigger than what you need. Notice that the pressure and movement of water in your pool need to match for efficient performance.

Always go for larger pipes when designing your above ground pool. Note that large pipes will increase the flow rate. What this means is that you will get more gallons per hour without having to increase the pump horsepower. Notice that you will also save a lot of energy and enjoy reduced bills. There is never any harm with going green.


Finding the right size pump for your above ground pool is made simple with this step by step guide. Understand that you also need to look at customer reviews once you make your top picks. Note that you need a suitable pool pump that fits within your budget.


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