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Best Above-Ground Pool Pumps 2020 – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

Last Updated: July 29, 2020

an above ground pool pump

The difference between a crystal-clear above-ground pool and one that is cloudy and gross is often the pump that you use to clean it. It’s important to make sure that you get a pump that’s up to the task at hand, but it’s not always easy to tell which those are when shopping online.

Misleading product descriptions can make it hard to get the model that is right for your pool, and you can forget about getting great value for your money. Our reviews are designed to show you the good and the bad on each model and help you understand them fully so that you can be happy with your purchase years down the road.

Comparison of our Favorites (updated in 2020)

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Harris ProForce Above Ground Pool Pump Harris ProForce Above Ground Pool Pump
  • Great durability
  • Low noise
  • High efficiency
  • Second place
    Hayward Power-Flo Pool Pump for Above-Ground Pools Hayward Power-Flo Pool Pump for Above-Ground Pools
  • Great power
  • Clear filter cover
  • Runs quietly
  • Third place
    Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pool-Pump 16-inch Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pool-Pump 16-inch
  • Sand filter
  • Built-in timer
  • Low-maintenance
  • Best Value
    Intex Krystal Clear Above Ground Pool Pump Intex Krystal Clear Above Ground Pool Pump
  • Cartridge-based filters
  • Auto-timer
  • Great price
  • Blue Wave Maxi Pump for Above Ground Pools Blue Wave Maxi Pump for Above Ground Pools
  • Dual port design
  • Quiet
  • 5 Best Above Ground Pool Pumps

    1. Harris ProForce Above Ground Pool Pump – Best Overall

    Harris ProForce 1.5 HP Above Ground Pool Pump

    The Harris ProForce 1.5 HP Above Ground Pool Pump is the best overall pool pump for above ground pools. It’s made well and is extremely durable, so you should expect years of service out of this model. It’s also well-engineered, so it’s not as noisy as other pool pumps of a similar size. That’s an especially good thing given that many pool pumps live near the above ground pools they’re powering, so the noise won’t affect the fun. This model is also energy efficient, so you can run it without worrying about running your bill up too high.

    It also comes with a filter basket which is easy to access, and easy to clean, making this model a good deal for those who want to do preventative maintenance and keep their pool clean. The only downside to this model is that you can only turn it on and off by plugging it in and unplugging it, as it lacks an on/off switch. This is a weird oversight, but it’s not one that detracts from how well it works otherwise. Overall, this is a great model to get if you want to take care of your above ground pool.

    Pros
    • Great durability
    • Low noise
    • High efficiency
    • Easy-clean filter basket
    Cons
    • No on/off switch

    2. Hayward Power-Flo SPX1500P Pool Pump for Above-Ground Pools

    Hayward Power-Flo SPX1500P Pool Pump

    The Hayward SP1580X15 Power-Flo Pool Pump is the model you’ll want to get if you’re looking to get superior circulation in your pool. It’s a bit more expensive than our top model, but it provides more power, and if you have a pool that tends to get dirty, this pump will help prevent that from happening. You would think that it would be a loud model given its great power, but it runs quietly, topping out at about 64 decibels, which won’t be loud enough to interfere with a pool party. It’s also very easy to install, especially if you’re replacing another Hayward model.

    This model also comes with a clear filter cover, which is a blessing and a curse. It makes it easy to see when the filter needs to be changed out, but it also has a habit of getting stuck on. We suspect it has something to do with expansion of the parts in the summer heat. Still, one has to wonder how useful a filter is if you have to struggle to get to it to clean. However, this is still a great overall pump and one which will leave most people happy with their purchase.

    Pros
    • Great power
    • Clear filter cover
    • Runs quietly
    • Easy installation
    Cons
    • Tricky filter cover

    3. Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pool-Pump 16-inch

    Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump 16-inch

    The Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump 16-inch is, in theory, the model which you want to get if you want to have the cleanest above ground pool in the neighborhood. This pump comes with a sand filter, which does a great job of cleaning your pool. Some users report that dirty pools clear up within just a few hours, which is a testament to how well it operates. It also comes with a built-in timer, so you can program it to run when you aren’t using the pool. The filter basket will need to be cleaned from time to time, so the only major anticipated maintenance is changing out the sand, which only has to be done once every five years.

    However, this model suffers from quality control issues. Most prominent of these is the overtightening of screws, which cracks the plastic shell. That’s something which should be spotted at the factory but apparently goes unnoticed. Some units also come with defective filters which leak sand into the pool, which is a pain to deal with. Overall, this is a good model when made correctly, though the quality control standards aren’t always high enough to ensure that’s the case.

    The bag holds a substantial amount of leaves and debris. As a result, you don’t have to empty it very often unless there’s been a large storm.

    Pros
    • Sand filter
    • Built-in timer
    • Low-maintenance
    Cons
    • Quality control issues
    • Sometimes leaks sand

    4. Intex Krystal Clear Above Ground Pool Pump – Best Value

    Intex 28633EG Krystal Clear

    The Intex 28633 Krystal Clear is a good choice for those looking for a very inexpensive pump. It comes with an automatic timer which allows you to set times for cleanings and leave it alone. That way, your pool will remain clear and clean without a lot of work on your part. The filters are also cartridge-based, which makes it easy to clean them off and replace them when they wear out. Since you can get this model for a fraction of the price of the other models on our list, this model is the best overall value for the money.

    However, it does have some problems which keep it out of the top three. Different units ship with different degrees of durability. Some last for years, others conk out after months or weeks. If Intex could sort out the issues and deliver a more consistently-reliable pump, then we’d certainly rate it higher. It also doesn’t include the fittings you need to connect it to a pool, which is no problem if you’re replacing a pump, but a pain if it’s your first. Overall, it’s good value for the money, but it’s not the right model for everyone.

    Pros
    • Cartridge-based filters
    • Auto-timer
    • Great price
    Cons
    • Inconsistent durability
    • Doesn’t include fittings

    5. Blue Wave Maxi Pump for Above Ground Pools

    Blue Wave NE6171B Maxi Pump for Above Ground Pools

    The Blue Wave NE6171B Maxi Pump for Above Ground Pools is a decent overall pump for above ground pools, but it has some critical flaws that will make it the wrong choice for most people. It does come with a dual port design, which means you can mount it horizontally or vertically. That gives you a lot of flexibility while you’re doing the installation. It’s also one of the quieter models on our list.

    However, this model falls short in that it requires adapters to work with many popular above-ground pools, which adds a lot to the price. It also doesn’t come with an on/off switch or a timer. That means you’ll either have to manually plug it in and unplug it at the right times or invest in an additional timer to keep your pool clean. Given the price, those are features which you could reasonably expect to be included with the pump. Their absence means that you’re not getting great value for the money with this model. While it has some nice features, it’s not going to be the right choice for most people, and in some cases, you’ll be able to spend less and get better value.

    Pros
    • Dual port design
    • Quiet
    Cons
    • Requires adapters
    • No on/off switch
    • No timer

    Conclusion

    The Harris ProForce 1.5 HP Above Ground Pool Pump is the best overall model due to its great durability, low noise, and high efficiency. In second is the Hayward SP1580X15 Power-Flo Pool Pump which has great power, easy installation, and quiet operation, though its tricky filter cover drops it a spot on our list. The Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump 16-inch comes with a sand filter and a built-in timer, but its quality control issues keep it out of the top two. The Intex 28633 Krystal Clear is inexpensive and comes with a timer, and its low price earns it the title of best for the money on our list. The Blue Wave NE6171B Maxi Pump for Above Ground Pools comes with a dual port design and runs quietly, but its lack of adapters and timers drop it to last place.

    Hopefully, our reviews have helped you better understand above ground pool pumps and have helped you find the model which is right for you.

    If you want to learn about the popular variable-speed pool pump type, then you could read our guide here.

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